Saturday, February 28, 2009


YES - YES - YES!!! I just ran about 3/4 mile!
Three weeks of no running - but lots of ice, walking, ice, exercises and stretching - did I say ice? I hardly felt any pain from it the last two or three days, so I felt safe trying to run today. I warmed up by walking for 10 minutes, then slowly, slowly began jogging - I was scared for the first minute, then I was thrilled, because I had no pain. No pain for the first 2 minutes - then I walked a minute to make sure that muscle was stretched out and then ran 3 minutes. At that time I felt a slight pull in it, so I walked for another minute. Then I run 3 1/2 minutes two times, walking a minute in between because I could feel some pulling/pain in the muscle. I was hoping to run more, to run a full mile, but I knew it was enough for the strained muscle today. (plus, Jerry kept saying don't you think that's enough about a hundred times) The rest of my body felt great and I wanted to keep going ... really wanted to keep going! But I did the sensible thing and quit before I re-injured it. I'm icing it now and it feels fine.
Happy Runner!

Yes, the stained muscle is on my right leg, not by 'bad' left leg. But the right leg was also severely injured. The femur was shattered - a 15in rod is permanently in the middle of it. And the inside of my knee was bruised so bad that it was black/blue/red/purple for months.

Looking forward to seeing how far I can run tomorrow!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Running tomorrow

I walked about two miles yesterday and I'm feeling good!! I plan to walk 2 to 3 miles today. The pain of the strained muscle is almost a memory - I only feel it slightly every now and then. I am tempted to run today, but my dear husband is saying wait another day or so. Guess I listen to 'Dr. Jerry' - he was a great nurse for me for months and continues to take good care of me, so I'll trust his judgment.

Which means I'll wait one more day :) so I will try running tomorrow!

I'm anxious to get back to running because April 4th is coming ... I will do the 4.6 miles in the marathon relay even if I have to walk most of it, but I would like to run more than walk, if my body allows me to.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Optimistic Again :)

My strained muscle is feeling much better - and therefore I am feeling optimistic again :)

Through a neighbor, I met Monica, a massage therapist, last fall. I connected with her instantly - you can't help but like her sweet personality and feel her love for everyone. Plus there's some similarities in our lives - she's the mother of 2 boys, she has hope in God, she used to be a runner and she received severe injuries in an accident that changed her life forever. Yes, we have connections and I like her! And to top all that, she gives great massages. Yes, I really like her!

I've been getting massages once or twice a month from her recently and had one yesterday. I explained my strained muscle to her - she gave me some great advice and then she massaged it - deep tissue MASSAGED it! Thought I was going to lift off the table a time or two, but yet I trusted that she knew what she was doing.
Last night I was 'cursing' her - the muscle was sooo sore from her 'unknotting' the lumps. The lumps were probably caused by both the severe bruising that area of my leg took almost 5 years ago and the strain of running downhill too fast too soon about 16 days ago. I iced it a few times and went to bed wondering what the morning would hold.
Today I'm thrilled with her - my muscle feels sooo much better than it has for days. This afternoon I walked 1 1/2 mile and did a 30-minute Dvd workout with my new exercise ball (to strengthen my core) To be on the safe side, I modified a few exercises to make sure I don't twist my knee while putting pressure on the muscle, because I knew that could hurt/aggravate it.
After walking and exercising, I iced the muscle and now (two hours later) I have no pain. When I press on the muscle, it's still sensitive from Monica's powerful touch yesterday, but no pain at all while walking or sitting/bending it. I almost want to go for a run on the treadmill tonight, but I know that won't be wise - a few more days of no-impact workouts will give it time to heal more completely.

This weekend - running is in my plans again :) Thank you Monica!

Friday, February 20, 2009

walking - stretching - icing

No running yet - I stretch and ice the muscle on the inside of my right knee a few times a day. Yesterday I thought it was feeling better - today I'm not sure. I ran a few errands this morning and was in and out of the car a few times. My chiro said that I need to be careful when getting in and out of a car because I could easily strain it more. I thought I was being careful, but it's so freaking cold and windy here that I was hurrying and might have put more strain on it than I realized.

I did walk at my local mall about 20 minutes when I was out - the muscle felt good at the time, but is aching now, so the ice is on it!

We are spending the weekend at a mountain lodge in central PA with our neighbors. It's supposed to be very cold, so I don't think I will be outside at all. I plan to be under a blanket with a book and a hot drink most of the weekend! I will be stretching and icing and hope that come Monday, I can go for a 30 minute walk again.

At this time, I plan to wait to run for another week or so. I'm not sure what this will do for my plans to run/walk in a marathon relay on April 4th, but I'm still optimistic! I might be walking more than running, but I still plan on doing it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Strained Muscle

A strained muscle on the inside of my knee - ugh. According to my chiropractor that's what is going on with my right knee. As he was telling me the care for it - my memory slowly came alive and I remembered that I dealt with an injury like this 15 years ago - the first time I started running. Why didn't I remember that sooner, than I won't have run downhill so fast, so soon?!

Yes, it's probably caused by running downhill.
Running uphill puts tremendous strain on my left calf, so I've been talking it easy going up hills, because I didn't want to injure that compromised area. I slowly jog on slight upgrades and walk any major hill. But downhill, that's another story - it doesn't pull on my left calf at all, so after feeling wimpy when going up hills - running downhill helps me feel powerful again :) I can feel the wind in my face and (almost) forget about my injured body.
Well, apparently I was forgetting too many things when I ran down hills - forgetting that MANY knee problems arise from beginning runners going down hills too fast! It's not really a knee issue - it's that the muscles around the knee aren't strong enough yet and they get pulled/strained from the force of running downhill.
To avoid knee injuries when running downhill, I should have taken tiny steps and not increased your speed. I did the exact opposite a few times - I increased my speed (it made me feel strong!) and I took longer strides (I don't know why)

So now what - walking is okay, no running until the pain subsides, hopefully only about 2 weeks or so. Also gentle stretching throughout the day helps it heal. A strained muscle wants to contract all the time - but if you walk and/or bend it when it is contracted it only irritates it more. So I need to stretch it gently first thing in the morning and anytime I've been sitting for awhile so it moves without straining itself more. Ice for 20 minutes after stretching is good for it and anti-inflammatory meds as needed.

I'm disappointed with this interruption in my training - but yet with this body of mine, I'm glad its only a strained muscle. Strained muscles do heal. In June, 1994 I was a brand-new runner and I strained a muscle beside my knee (don't remember if it was the left or right one) because I was running downhill too fast too soon. I now remember for it to heal - I quit running for a week or so. Then I slowly started running again - I would jog out the road until it hurt, then I would stop and walk home. Slowly the pain was gone and I was able to increase my running. In the 10 years that I ran (1994-2004) it never bothered me again.

Praise God - strained muscles heal! Time to go gently stretch ...

This stretch?

No wait, this is the one ... very gently!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today was odd ...

Today was a mixture of odd emotions. I am happy and scared that my story might bring hope to others through an article in Reading Eagle sometime in the next few weeks. I had been interviewed by the reporter by phone on Tuesday. Then today I had pictures taken of me running. I am happy to share my story if it encourages others to never give up, even when life looks overwhelming. On the other hand, it feels odd to be talking about me and having pics of me taken by a photographer.
I met Ryan, the photographer at Gring's Mill around 1pm. The wind was nasty at the time, but thankfully as we walked over a bridge to the trail, the trees blocked some of the wind. After looking around briefly, Ryan told me where and when to run along the path as he shot pictures. I was excited to run again, since I haven't run the past 2 days because my knee has been hurting. The knee felt good this morning - but as soon as I took about 20 steps, the pain was back! I wasn't happy, but determined to run when/where Ryan told me to, so I ignored the pain and ran as relaxed as I could. Thankfully, he had the pics he needed in about 10 minutes, so I survived.
Tonight my knee feels okay as long as I sit still (I've been icing it periodically) but I feel light pain when walking and severe pain when doing steps and/or bending my knee.
I'm not sure what this pain means, but I'm focused on taking one day at a time - that's how I've gotten to where I am and I know that's all that God asks of us - deal with this day and trust him for tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Advil and Ice Packs

When I 'came to' in the hospital about 12 days after the accident, I saw that both my legs were in bandages from my hips to my ankles. I remember thinking that they must have decided to put dressings everywhere because that was easier than putting a few small ones where needed. I figured there was no way there were injuries everywhere. I was surprised each time they changed a different portion of the bandages and I saw there were wound or fractures everywhere. I realized that almost every inch of my legs was injured!
Thankfully none of the bones in my knees were broken or dislocated, though they were so badly bruised that some areas of my skin are now stained from being black/blue for so long. For about a year, I couldn't kneel on them at all, but after the bruising healed, they've felt pretty good.

Since I've begun running, my knees have not given me much trouble ... until now :( I ran a small hill last week to see if I could. My legs were sore the next day and both of my knees hurt. I babied them for a few days - my legs recovered and I thought my knees were feeling pretty good also. But partway through Monday night's run - my right knee started protesting. I tried to ignore it - and walked more than I planned to. But my stubbornness kicked in at the end and I ran the last 1/2 mile with severe pain - I should have walked! My pain level Monday night was a 10+.
Advil and ice packs were my friends yesterday. This morning I have very little pain when walking on a level surface, but doing steps still hurts!
I'm not going to run today - because tomorrow I'm meeting the Reading Eagle photographer at Gring's Mill to take some pics of me running. I'm hoping I can!

Monday, February 09, 2009

And I have this!

Loving our February weather right now! Over the weekend, we've had temps near or in the 50's both days! On Saturday I ran around the Berks County Heritage Center. The trail along the river was still too slushy/muddy, so I ran loops through this bridge, the parking lot and the driveway. The drive into the Heritage Center off Route 183 has a giant hill. I walked up the hill to warm up, passing a man running down. Later running down the hill, I pass him running up again - he stops to chat, saying his run consisted of running the driveway from one end to the other 3 times equaling 4 miles.
"Good for you," I encouragingly said.
"You can do it too," He replied.
"No, I can't - not at this time, I'm just getting back into running after injuries," I said, as I prepared to begin running again. I don't like to be interrupted in the middle of a workout. I was planning to run a minute longer in this workout (6 min runs/1 min walk - 4 times) and I just wanted to keep going!
He continued to tell me I could do it and that I was just using my injuries as an excuse. I smiled sweetly while saying, "Enjoy the rest of your run" and began my run again.

Finishing the last 6 minutes of running, I looped the parking lot and guess who was getting in his truck? Yes, the encouragement to run the hill continued. "Come on, you are young (flattery!) you can do it, I know you can. If an old guy like I can (now he's looking for a compliment) you surely can. What kind of runner are you if you won't even do the hill?!"

"A few years ago, I could have done the hill," I inform him. "But as I mentioned, I'm just getting back into running."
"Yea, yea, whatever - just excuses," he says.

"I have a rod in my right femur," is my next attempt to make this guy go away and allow me to finish my run.
"So, I do too - I had injuries also and I do the hill!" He declares.

So now I try some flattery to end this conversation, "Well, good for you, injuries and you can do the hill 3 times, that's great."
I attempt to 'run away' but again, I hear, "Come on, no more excuses, go run the hill, you can do it!"
I turn back to him, lift my left pant leg and quietly say, "And I have this."

For some reason, he had to leave suddenly!

(But in his defense, before he left - he did tell me that I'm doing a good job running with the injuries I have.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Reading Eagle Interview

Jerry and I flew home from CA on July 1, 2004 - 6 weeks after our accident. My parents picked us up at the airport in a wheel-chair accessible van. When we got off at the Morgantown exit of the PA turnpike, I saw a police officer in his car with the lights. I wondered if there was a problem on the road below. I was confused as my dad pulled our van up behind the officer’s car and got out to go talk to him. It was at this time that I realized there was a surprise in store for me.
My friend Lynne had asked me if they could do some type of ‘welcome home’ celebration for me. Never one to turn down a party or celebration, I agreed. But since none of us knew how I would feel after the flight home, she assured me they wouldn’t do anything that required any energy on my part. When Lynne and her husband Lynn (yes, they are Lynne and Lynn) decide to plan an event, they plan an event! No small scale stuff for them. They had not only rallied my family and friends, but the whole town by getting stories in the local papers about my accident and homecoming.

Sigh at my Homecoming
Reading Eagle - July 2, 2004

With the police car escort, complete with lights and sirens, and the traffic stopped in both directions, we slowly drove through the main street of Morgantown. Both sides of the street where lined with family, friends and people from the community welcoming me home. I was doing the best ‘parade wave’ I could, while being amazed at the hundreds of people I was seeing. I said hi to some, smiled at most, hugged a few and waved to all. Sitting behind me, Jerry was almost as amazed as me. Lynne had included him in the planning, but he never anticipated so many people.
We were blessed by the love and support of the community. (Thank you all!) People that we knew well, people we didn’t know well and some we had only meet once or twice, all came to welcome us home and wish me well. I would have loved to drive back and forth on Main Street all night seeing and reconnecting with everyone. But I needed to get out of that wheelchair and into a bed, so we did one slow drive through town and went home.

Dan Kelly from the Reading Eagle wrote an article about the event - I recently contacted him to let him know that I'd recovered well and was running again. He emailed this morning and wants to do a follow-up article about me. I will be meeting him for some running photos and an interview next Thursday or Friday. Pray for a beautiful warm day - I hate being outside in the cold!

Monday, February 02, 2009

The First of Febuary was Fantastic!

Winter Beauty

Last April when I took my first steps (running) I was on the Union Canal Trail along the Tulpehocken Creek about 10 miles from my house. I love water, plus this trail is soft gravel and almost no hills, so it was a perfect place to begin my running again. I can't wait to run there again, so with temps near 50 on Sunday and a bright sun, Loretta and I headed in there. Well, the park system does a good job keeping the trails in nice shape, but they don't plow snow off of it and since we had a few inches of snow last week, the trail was still to icy/slushy/snowy to run on. I'll have to wait till spring to run there.
So plan B - we drove over to Blue Marsh Lake. The trails weren't 'runable' either, but all the parking lots were dry, so we measured a loop around the largest one (a little over 1/2 mile)

It was gorgeous - temps were perfect, sun was bright reflecting off the snow and my legs felt good! My legs were rested because I hadn't done any workout on Friday and then on Saturday I took it easy on the treadmill, only doing what felt comfortable, not pushing myself. Loretta is new at running - just started a few weeks ago, but she has improved at a good rate, so our workouts are different at this time. I was planning to do repeats of 4 mins running and 1 min walking. She was ready to do 12 mins running and 1 min walking. So we each set our timers and started together than did our own paces/times. Because we were running in a loop, we did run together for a few minutes here and there. I felt better than expected, so I ran 5 or 6 mins a few times instead of just 4 - yea! This run/walk reminded my why I like running again :)

Workout finished and still smiling - it was good day!

A week or so ago, I was still okay with the treadmill - now when I think about running on the treadmill, I want to quit this whole plan. Though I will force myself to use the treadmill when needed, whenever the weather is warm enough, I will be outdoors - I am so much more 'alive' when I run outside.

You don't get this* on a treadmill.

*View, feeling, joy, connection with the creator, peace - it's all there!