Injury Update and a Cold Parade

Injury Update

I’m still battling the Achilles Tendinitis (Tendinopathy.)  But I’m finally starting to WIN!!!

After multiple attempts to heal by resting and doing eccentric heel drops only to have the injured area become debilitating again up after a couple of runs, I finally made an appointment with our Orthopedic Doctor and my first appointment was last Monday, March 6.

Dr. Ripepi  has taken care of Dawn and I for a long time now.  We first met him when Dawn tore her meniscus.  He has operated on her knee, her ankle, and my shoulder.  Last year he helped me through an inflamed tendon on top of my left foot–DO NOT TIE YOUR RUNNING SHOE LACES TOO TIGHT!!!!

Dr. Ripepi came into the exam room, grabbed my Achilles and started to explain to me why this injury isn’t something to fool around with.  He grabbed the sorest part of my leg and explained that if it tears near the heel bone, he has a place to reattach.  If it tears 4 inches above the heel bone (where i have the problem) it needs to be sewn together and that requires a bunch of physical therapy.  He was happy to see that I was taking time off to rest, trying to run, and then taking time off when it flared up again.  Then he gave me gel heel pads and told me to wear both pads in my right shoe for three weeks, one pad for a week and come back in for a follow-up.  His routine is that if you feel better before your follow-up you can cancel and go about your business.

Both pads in one shoe for three weeks, one pad for a week.

Of course I asked about running: when can I start running again, did he think my conversion to Altra in September could have caused the problem, what are his thoughts of me wearing my new Lem’s Boulder Boots, and if I should forget about the Pittsburgh Marathon in May.

On the running front, if I do it “smartly” (his words,) I can start running after a few days.  Back off if I think the pain is causing gait issues, and since Pittsburgh isn’t my first marathon, he suggested I either sell my bib or transfer to the half marathon.

On the shoe front, since I have a little over 350 miles in my Altras, he doesnt’ think the shoes caused the injury; however, he did suggest I wear the heel pads (I bought a second pair for my left leg to make walking easier) in my Altras during the healing process and gradually removing them over a few weeks when I’m healed.  He has no problems with me wearing my Lem’s boots (also zero drop) with the gel pads, then removing them after a month.  However, the Lem’s just aren’t built for heel pads, so I’m wearing my old hiking boots for now.

I decided to take the first three weeks of wearing the two heal pads off of running.  I went back on the Ideal Protein Diet that I used to lose 177 pounds in 2015.  Because the calories are so controlled and restricted, exercise isn’t allowed.  I’m hoping to drop some of the weight I put back on over the last year and a half (amazing that you can actually GAIN weight training for a marathon.)  I’m considering the diet as training–I run faster when I’m lighter!

After the three weeks of diet and double heel pads, I’m going to ease into running again.  Take a few weeks to ramp my mileage up to 20-25 miles per week.  If I can get in at least one 9 or 10 mile long run before May 7th, I’m going to transfer to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon; if not, I’ll sell my bib for the $75 I paid for it when registration opened.  My “A” race this year is the Buckeye Trail 50K in July, so I need to ramp up my mileage and not re-injure myself.  I think my plan is conservative and very doable–as long as my heel cooperates.

I’ll update on the training as it progresses.

A Very Cold Parade

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Firefighters’ Pipes and Drums marched this past Saturday, March 11, 2017 in the Annual Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade–the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country (Chicago’s is HUGE!)  It was cold.  And when I say cold, I mean 20 something degrees cold.

Pitt SPD Marching
That’s me on the far right wearing my hood.

Being in our “kilted” Class A uniform in those temperatures actually isn’t that bad.  Our hose come up to the knees, the kilt comes down to a few inches above the knee, and our Class A jackets are fairly warm (through an insulated shirt under it and it’s warmer.)  I wore a very warm hood under my Glengarry and me head stayed nice and toasty–but my hands, oh my hands.

I cut the fingers off of a pair of mittens; this way, I could cover my fingers when we weren’t playing.  I used a cheap pair of mittens and they didn’t help.  By the end of the parade, my finger tips hurt.  They were purple and stung.  It took about 30 minutes for the pain to subside; two days later, my left finger tips are still kind of numbish (but they are getting better.

I’m proud to say, we took Runner Up in the Pipe Band category of the parade!!!

Pitt SPD Group
The members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Firefighters’ Pipes and Drums Band that marched in the parade.




Team Beef!!?!!

Proud runner for Pennsylvania Team Beef!!!

This week I recieved notification that I have been accepted to the Pennsylvania Team Beef!!!  And yes, this is a real team and I’m very excited to be a part of it!

I came across Team Beef twice: once while researching Achilles tendonitis (I’m still dealing with my bout,) and then while reading “The Running Cat” blog–a fellow nuun Ambassador.  I’m not exactly sure how I found his post from 2015, but it intrigued me.  And it sent me to Google to find out how to join.

Team Beef is a sponsored team by your state’s Beef Council.  I’m not sure if every state has a Team Beef, but Pennsylvania does!  The PA website stated the team for 2015-2016 was full and offered a form if you were interested.  I decided to fill one out and get on the list for the next season.  A couple of weeks later I got an email looking for more information; a few more weeks and I got the “Welcome to Team Beef” email.  And I’ll say it again, I AM EXCITED about this!

Let me explain my excitement before I explain the team.

When I started my weight loss journey in 2008, I ate a low fat diet, I cut out red meat, and by mid 2009, I was pretty much a vegetarian.  I was running a lot and I stopped losing weight.  Then I took my 5 year break from running where I went back to my old eating habits and regained almost all of the weight I lost.  In 2015, I started the Ideal Protein weight loss plan and hit my goal in 10 months (170 pound LOST.)  However, over the next year I gained back 30 pounds before I realized I’m VERY insulin resistant.  With the help of my Chiropractor (who is my Ideal Protein Coach,) I found the Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) diet–or the Banting Diet that Prof. Timothy Noakes advocates for runners in his book The Real Meal Revolution: The Radical, Sustainable Approach to Healthy Eating (Age of Legends)”  And yes, this is the SAME Timothy Noakes that wrote the “Lore of Running.”  I discovered that there are a lot of ultra runners that live the LCHF lifestyle– Tim Olsen and Zach Bitter are two of the more notable elites.

There’s a lot of science behind the LCHF diet.  There’s also a lot of controversy around it for endurance athletes as well!  Is it right for everyone?  I’m not sure.  But I know it’s right for me.  My weight has stabilized, and as long as I stay on track, my weight starts coming down.  As soon as I add ANY type of carbs (outside of low glycemic veggies,) my weight goes up–and quickly.  I eat on average less than 30 grams of net carbs (total grams of carbs minus the grams of fiber) daily.  In fact, most days I eat less than 35 TOTAL grams of carbs.  I eat a lot of eggs, some dairy, and of course BEEF!

At first, my running slowed for a few weeks.  I felt sluggish and my legs felt like stumps on long runs as I adjusted, but soon my workout intensity improved.  Within a month, I was back to running the same pace I ran before I started LCHF.  Then, my pacing improved a little.  I trained for the 2016 Erie Marathon throughout the summer with nothing but water and electrolyte replacements during my long runs.  20 milers in August–water and nuun.  And for the Erie Marathon?  I had a bullet proof coffee for breakfast (coffee, scoop of About Time Protein powder, heavy cream, and a tablespoon of coconut oil.)  And during the race, I drank water and nuun–no calories, not carbs, nothing else.  And I set a PR of 4:39–over 30 minutes faster than my previous PR.

So the LCHF diet works for me.  And beef is a big part of my diet. (I’m not going to get into the grass fed versus grain fed discussion at this time.)

So when I discovered that the PA Beef Council had a team that promoted a healthy lifestyle, I had to try to become a part of it.  I like to talk about what works for me and hear about what works for other people.  I like to try to help folks that haven’t found what works for them yet and I truly believe an honest effort towards LCHF will work for almost everyone.  And being a part of Team Beef will allow me to be an advocate for not only my diet of choice, but also our local beef farmers and butcher shops.

So what’s required of the Team Beef athletes? Not a lot. They ask that you wear your team jersey when you participate in races/events that you are being reimbursed by the Beef Council (more on that in a bit) and that you educate yourself to be able to answer the questions you will get about the concerns people may have about beef.  That’s it.

In return, the Beef Council sends you a team jersey, posts your bio and photo on their athlete page (I’m waiting for my jersey before I send in my photo and bio,) and reimburse you for up to $100 a year of entry fees.  That’s a lot of perks in my book.

I’d promote the benefits of eating a clean, healthy diet (and discuss the merits and health of beef) without the perks.  I’ve been doing it for almost a year now!

I run for my life!  What do you run for?

Injury Update-Getting Nervous

Trying to recover from this Achilles tendonitis (AT) is really taking a mental toll on me.

The Pittsburgh Marathon is approaching fast.  May 7th is only 12 weeks away, and I haven’t been able to run at all.  Yes, I’m getting nervous.  I have cross trained on my bike a little; however, my indoor trainer is acting up and making cycling hard too!!!  I keep telling myself that 12 weeks is still plenty of time to train, not as good as 18, but enough to get in a solid training cycle.

My goal is to get a Pittsburgh Marathon PR, not a marathon PR.  I had a rough race in 2010 and finished in 5:47:41.  I also weighed 270 pounds.  Being at the 200ish pound mark now, with a PR of 4:39:43 set last September, I’m still confident I can reach my goal.  HOWEVER, I need to heal!!

I’ve been doing my recovery exercises:eccentric heel drops, toe walks, heel walks, knee points, band work with my ankles, rolling the calf out, and toe lifts.  After two weeks, I felt fine.  No pain at all when I walked, went up or down stairs, or did my exercises.  I thought I was golden.  So, last Tuesday I hit the treadmill for my first run back–I planned on easing back in with a slow jog.  I could feel that there was a little tightness, but it loosened up and I felt great.  However, throughout the day, it tightened up and started hurting again.  Back to square one.

I decided another week of recovery exercises were in order–NO RUNNING.  As the week progressed, I started to notice that even though there’s some soreness about 3 or so inches above my heel, the majority of the “burning” sensation is just below the large portion of my calf (in the middle portion of the Soleus.)  I decided to try massaging and rolling that area a little more than the upper portion of my calf and noticed “knots” forming on the outside on my Soleus close to my knee.  I really started deep tissue massaging this area, the pain above my heel went away.  When the burning starts mid Soleus, I deep massage the tight area near my knee and the burn goes away.  I may have found the source of my AT.

Photo from

I’m going to try running again tomorrow.  I’m hoping easing back with slow jogs, stretching, hitting that Soleus area after my run, and continuing my recovery exercises will allow me to get back to my training soon.

I haven’t made any adjustments to my training schedule yet; I’m waiting until I can run again for that.  I was planning on three 20 milers in this training block;  I’ll be happy with one at this point.  I did have a base of 25-30 miles a week–including 10-12 mile long runs.  I know I’m losing fitness now (and gaining some weight,) but I should be able to recover the fitness and drop the pounds fairly quick.  I just need to recover!!!

Wish me luck!!

I run for my life,