Thursday, December 22, 2011

Follow Shelly To Her first Half Marathon Part III

Plantar fasciitis it is . . .
I went to a sports medicine doctor today to have my foot evaluated. After reviewing the x-rays, I am pleased to inform you that I do not have a heel spur nor a fracture in my foot. Even though this is great news, I cannot say I am thrilled that I am still battling plantar fasciitis (over 2 months now). However, it is bearable.

The doctor told me that my calves are VERY tight and ranked up there with the tightest calves he has seen. He actually tried to stretch them on several occasions. The tightness in my calves is causing the micro-tearing and inflammation that is plantar fasciitis. He gave me two stretches to do 5 times a day . . . 10 reps each . . . holding for at least 25 seconds each.

I have been doing both of these stretches, however the doctor said that your muscles don't actually start to stretch until they have relaxed at 15-20 seconds into the stretch . . . which would mean that I have basically been doing totally ineffective stretching up to this point.

I was also given a prescription for a daily anti-inflammatory that will (hopefully) help with the swelling. I was also told to continue my icing regime. There was some silver lining in all of this . . . the doctor said it would be okay for me to continue my training and that there is really no further damage that could occur (except for a full rupture of the fascia . . . sounds painful . . . yikes).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Following Shelly To Her First Half Marathon Part II

My calf has finally healed enough for me to start some short runs, so I am back on the horse (figuratively speaking)! However, the process is VERY frustrating and slow going. Before I had the micro-tearing in my calf, I was running 4-6 miles per day for 3-4 days per week. For the past 2 weeks, I have only been able to start by jogging 1-2 miles every other day. I am definitely not tired at the end of these short runs, but my body tells me to stop by sending minor pain signals into my calf. Although it is frustrating, I listen to my body, and then resort to walking. I definitely do NOT want to aggravate the injury and have to go to complete rest again. However, on a positive note, I have been able to progress my "running" (if you want to call it at this stage . . . LOL) from 0.75 mile two weeks ago to 2 miles today. I have been warming my legs up by riding the stationary bike for 1-2 miles before and after each short run. I guess I should be more positive and concentrate on the fact that progress is being made . . .

To minimize the strain on my calf, I have been wearing a compression calf sleeve, and it has definitely helped. It seems to minimize the movement in my calf when running and keep the muscle warm. However, I also thought it would be a good idea to wear a compression calf sleeve on my other calf (which corresponds with the plantar fasciitis). Wearing a compression calf sleeve with plantar fasciitis ended up being an epic fail (for me). It seemed to intensify the pain from the plantar fasciitis and also to cause my calf to hurt. After doing some reading, I found that plantar fasciitis is aggravated by a tight calf . . . so I made mine tighter . . . lesson learned (check!). I am no longer wearing the compression calf sleeve on that calf, and I am able to run with fairly minimal pain from the plantar fasciitis. Today, I also completed my first run without either compression calf sleeve, and I did not experience any major calf pain . . . yea :-)

In about a week, I have an appointment scheduled with a sports medicine doctor to have the foot with the plantar fasciitis evaluated. I feel it is important to double check that there is nothing else wrong. I read in several places that you should have your foot evaluated just to make sure it is not a stress fracture in your heel. However, from reading the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, I feel that I am a textbook case. Right now, I am definitely able to manage the plantar fasciitis through stretching, icing, massage, and wearing a dorsal night splint while I sleep. My foot actually feels best when I am running . . . it hurts the most after periods of sitting or other inactivity.

Now, let's just hope the progress continues . . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Following Shelly To Her First Half Marathon Part I

We're starting a new series on Up-N-Blogging where we follow runners to meet a specific goal. In this case, we're following a good friend of UNR, Shelly! As you'll read in her first posting, she's already going through some injury struggles! Let's all follow her and cheer her on to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon:

Hello! My name is Shelly, and I am a 29 year old who is registered for my first half marathon (the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 6, 2012). My relationship with running long distance began in high school when I joined the track team upon the suggestion of friends, but I mainly thought of running as a way to train for the other sports I played. After I graduated from high school, I continued to run long distance as part of my daily exercise routine for the first few months of my undergraduate studies . . . then I experienced my first winter in Johnstown, PA. My consistent running routine came to a very abrupt halt. Following graduation from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, I started graduate school at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. In graduate school, I progressed into an even more sedentary lifestyle as homework piled up around me and quick meals became a larger part of my diet, which led to my putting on over 30 pounds in the five years it took to earn my PhD (ugh). However, I should mention that throughout both my undergraduate and graduate career, I did remain somewhat active through sports such as ultimate frisbee, soccer, and rock climbing and a short-lived period of dance lessons. I have also continually been an avid hiker.

In February of 2011, I started to experience some alarming health concerns. I had no appetite, I could not quench my thirst, and my vision was quickly worsening. Shortly afterwards, in March, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and I have since transitioned to an insulin pump. This diagnosis led me to adopt a much healthier lifestyle and led me to begin running again. In late June, I started running again (if you want to call it that). In the beginning, I did run/walk intervals with the running intervals being approximately one half mile. By mid-September, I was running 5Ks regularly and loving each race. Then, by the end of October, I was averaging 4-6 miles per day while running 4-5 days per week. As I turn 30 years old in January, I thought it would be a great goal to run my first half marathon as a celebration of my entrance into a new decade of my life.

Then the pain in my heel started . . .

It turns out I have plantar fasciitis, but I refuse to let it hamper my running. I began a daily regime of calf-stretching and strengthening exercises, icing, massaging my heel, and wearing a dorsal night splint. My training was continuing with bearable pain that only manifested in my first steps out of bed in the morning and after longer periods of inactivity until . . .

I suffered a calf strain with some micro-tearing in a volleyball tournament. The injury to my calf led me to take a 3 week hiatus from running. In this time, I tried to continue my conditioning and training by riding a stationary bike 10-20 miles per day for most days of the week, and I added calf stretches and strengthening exercises as my healing progressed. The 3 weeks have now passed, and I ran my first test mile pain-free yesterday! I am hoping that my training can now continue . . . although I realize I could be battling the plantar fasciitis for quite some time. I have to continually remind myself to not push my mileage up too quickly, so I can avoid any further injuries. However, the temptation to run the Jingle Bell 5K is definitely there!

Thank you for taking the time to "meet" me in cyber space and hear the beginning of my story. I hope that you will continue to following my progress in the weeks and months that lead up to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon (it's only 158 days away . . . not that I'm counting). Any suggestions for training (more specifically, training with plantar fasciitis) or words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Runner's Highs (and Low's)

As some of you may be preparing for some fall marathons or half marathons, I thought I would post an article that a dear friend of UNR's wrote as she was training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. This was originally published in the Erie Reader and they have graciously allowed me to post it here for you all to please do so! (Link to article:

Runner's Highs (and Lows)
by Abby Badach | April 13, 2011 - 12:05am

One slumbering night, my cruel subconscious race director designed a course that led me to become wedged between two panels of a wooden playground climbing wall. As race volunteers pulled me out, my bib number got stuck in the splinters and I was told I had to finish the remaining 12 miles barefoot on a path of densely packed pebbles.

I woke up sucking air in a cold sweat, my cotton sheets sticking to my arms and legs.

Yes, many a wise author has written about the primitive thrill of barefoot running, and some folks find it refreshing. But I know nothing of barefoot running. Heck, I know nothing about running. Every morning when I look at my half-marathon training plan on my kitchen cupboard, I ask myself, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The only thing I know for certain: On May 15, on the streets of Pittsburgh, I’ll be wearing a damn good pair of shoes.

The last time I took running quasi-seriously, I was 18 and creepily crushing on a young lad who lived on my side of town. We went on a few dates, I learned he ran cross country, I knew he drove on Route 5 on his way home from work and – bingo! – perfect excuse for a hormonally driven teenager to pick up a daily two-miler conveniently along the same road.

My T-shirts were looser and my calf muscles were tighter then, but my intentions were impure.
I ran to be seen. I ran from my own unrest. I ran for someone else – a “someone else” who, by the way, stood me up for dinner plans. I dropped the dud of a dude and the running habit in the same week.

At the wise ol’ age of 22, I can tell you already that running to chase someone down isn’t nearly as gratifying as running for yourself.

As for running with someone at your side? Well, that’s just a blessing you can’t plan for.
If it weren’t for Pat, my best friend and all-too-patient trainer, I’d still be spending my free time elbow-deep in a bag of Doritos while watching Family Guy instead of putting my miles in during a gorgeous afternoon at Presque Isle.

Pat’s been there during excruciating January runs when I’ve angrily kicked slush off the sidewalk in a fit of rage fueled by Erie weather. He’s been in my peripheral vision on the adjacent treadmill, blipping and bleeping up the speed and challenging me to challenge myself.

Pat has witnessed me PR, shave minutes off my five-mile pace, and curl up in a ball on my couch from the searing pain of shin splints.

Most of all, though, he pensively reminds me, “You have to ask yourself why you run. And you have to find your own answer.”

I don’t know if I’ve conceptualized a clear-cut answer yet – but I know every step gets me closer to that moment of enlightenment. Or maybe it doesn’t come during a moment at all, and illumination seeps out somewhere between the journey of the individual run and the journey of this thing that is “running.”

But then again...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Cause That We Very Much Support

Win an Up-N-Running Gift Certificate!

$400 Gift Card Raffle

Benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Up-N-Running is supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program by donating a $50 gift certificate to a $400 gift card raffle being held as a Team in Training fundraiser.

Team in Training members participate in endurance events around the country to raise awareness of Leukemia, Lymphoma and other blood cancers, and to generate donations for research and treatment.

The winner receives gift cards from:



Harmony Salon


Get Go


Soergel Orchards & Market


Tickets can be purchased here for $5, or five tickets for $20. Tickets are available for purchase at our store!

The winning ticket will be drawn April 30, 2011

Good luck!