Tag Archives: pain

Injuries Abound

2 Oct
Even on concrete paths, still beware the branches.

Even on concrete paths, still beware the branches.

I’ve been running for about six years now. With the miles that I take on, I always say I could do a 10k on a Tuesday. My knee keeps me somewhat humble on my treks, but I can still get it in.

Aside from the IT band weirdness, I can gladly say I’ve been injury free. No twisted ankles, no broken limbs, no missing toenails (yes, that’s a thing). Those were all the things my runner friends told me to look out for.

Imagine my surprise when I found a new one: chafing.

Last weekend, I did a stupid thing and ran around the city for about 20 miles in a five-and-a-half hours. My hips hurt, my thighs burned and my knee was starting to get to me. At the end, all I craved was an ice bath followed by a warm shower. The ice bath did the trick and kept me from swelling. The warm shower was an amazing relief—until I began the actual washing process.

I’d been running around the city so long that my sports bra stopped being kind. Somewhere along the way, I’d rubbed off some skin on my underboob. Have you ever had to clean a wound on your underboob? Can you imagine awkwardness of putting Neosporin and a Band-Aid on an open wound there?

It was…weird, to say the least. Because this was something new, I polled my runner friends, none of whom were unfamiliar with this chafing phenomenon. No one thought it was a good idea to warn me about this crazy injury, either.

As a matter of fact, no one told me about any of the peculiar things that can happen to you as a runner. But since I’m in the business of offering readers a service, here are some things I’ve discovered can happen after you lace up your sneakers.

1. You can cut your chest with your keys and ID. My chafing injury wasn’t the first time I’ve had to bandage my boobs. Not long before that, I’d gone for a run in pocketless pants. I wasn’t going for a long run (about 4 miles), so I figured I’d be OK. Nah. My ID cards pinched my skin in such a way that I actually bled. Lesson learned: either only run in pants with pockets or stick my key and ID in my shoes.

2. Bugs have no chill. When you’re out for your jaunt, know that gnats and flies can and will get into your eyes, nose or mouth. You will gag and cough and likely want to throw up. Just get it out of your system, drink some water and take it slow. And swat away in front of you whenever you see a swarm.

3. Mowers are the enemy. It’s not so much of a problem in the late fall and winter, but during the spring and summer months you’ll have to contend with landscapers. They’re doing their jobs, so you can’t be too mad at them. But it will begin to seem that they only want to mow the grass during your time to run. I usually pull the neck of my shirt over my nose and mouth and try to hustle out of there quickly.

4. At some point, a cyclist will try to run you down. Depending on where you are, pathways can be quite narrow. One of the paths I run has a foot-and-a-half wide space for runners and a three-foot wide space for cyclists. Cyclists don’t like riding so close to one another, so they’re always in the running lane. You’re then forced into a game of chicken with the oncoming cyclist. If you’re in the appropriate lane, I say don’t move. Unless they’re distracted or yell that they can’t stop, the cyclist has to get out of your lane. Now, if you’re in the bike lane…um, good luck. Jokes aside, there is real danger in a collision. Please stay alert.

5. Beware the random twigs. Running on concrete affords you the luxury of avoiding branches and brambles. Sometimes, though, you need some fresh air. That’s where a good nature run comes in handy. Running on a beaten path can help you avoid critters like snakes (but not always, so be careful). It won’t, however, help you avoid falling tree limbs. Be mindful of the surface you’re running on. Nature runs are rife with unsteady rocks, unearthed roots and branches waiting to scratch and trip you up.

I’ve experienced all of these mishaps. None of them have kept me from hitting the ground running, but they did add a layer of precaution to my journeys. What’s the most interesting injury you’ve encountered on your weight-loss journey?

Ugh, Cramps!

9 Jun
The struggle is real

Even Lebron James knows: the struggle is real.

As much as I love sports, I am absolutely not an athlete. I am the quintessential couch coach. I can call all kinds of plays from the sidelines of my living room. That’s why I love the NBA Finals. After the Super Bowl, it’s my favorite sporting event of the year.

Like a lot of people, I was halfway paying attention to the first game of the NBA Finals last Thursday. It’s the first game; there will at least be four; it’s two tough teams guaranteed to play a close game; who needs that kind of stress? But at the end, I peeked up from my book to see “King” LeBron James limping then being carried off the court. “What the…?!?!” I said to myself. I hit rewind to find out it was 90 degrees on the court as the air conditioning had gone out in the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Texas, but for some reason it just remains hot there. Just…just nasty hot. And it’s June. In Texas. At the time LeBron needed to be carried off the court, the temperature was in the low 80s with about 70% humidity. In other words, it was damn hot—and that was outside.

I know I wasn’t the only one laughing at the mighty LeBron being carried off the court. But I also understood why.

When you exert yourself the way top athletes do, especially in this type of competition, your body temperature is going to rise. Couple that with the heat in the arena and the lactic acid that had built up in his body over four quarters and you’ve got man down due to cramps.

There’s no other way to say it: Lactic acid buildup is a bitch. When in beast mode, it will slay the beast. Ask any runner, basketball player, football player, fencer, etc. When you get into a groove, it can be easy to ignore the burn that is attacking your calves, hamstrings, triceps.

People who’ve never experienced that type of pain will be the first ones to call LeBron a punk for not continuing to play in such a tight game. Those people are idiots. I laughed because it’s funny watching LeBron getting carried off the court, not because he couldn’t finish the game. As a woman, I’ve had debilitating menstrual cramps. And while it hurts to walk, you can still move. You can’t do that with a Charlie horse. Charlie horse is a cute name, but is not acute pain.

Here are a few tips to help you get through beast mode without falling on your face:

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It can never emphasized enough: You have to hydrate. Gatorade, VitaminWater, or just good-old H20 will all do a body good. The water acts to counter the lactic acid building up in your system. This keeps your muscles from tightening and preventing Charlie horses. (See: LeBron)

Stretch. The other day I ran in a 5K (post to come). Afterward, I had to go to work to pick up my stuff and my running mate tsk-tsked me because I hadn’t stretched yet. I admit that stretching is annoying. If you’re like me, you just want to get your workout over with and go about your day. That becomes difficult when you can’t move. So take those extra five minutes before and after to loosen up your limbs. Your body will thank you. And drink some water.

Don’t feel the burn. This isn’t the ’80s when people were still trying to figure out how to exercise. Everyone these days is a self-proclaimed expert (including yours truly). The one thing they agree on is pain is not the point. So if your thigh or arms or back starts tingling in an unfortunate way, stop. Just stop it. Move on to something else. Learn the difference between the feeling of your muscles working and your muscles hurting. And drink some water.

Frequency is key. Though you need to stop when the burn hits, increasing the frequency of your workouts helps. The fitter you are, the less lactic acid that will build up. If you’re a once a month exerciser, do you, boo. But you’ll have to compensate that with extra time spent on stretching, eating bananas and hydrating. Please drink some water.

“Bananas taste the best and are the best for you.” Aside from that, the potassium helps prevent the buildup of lactic acid. But I’ll let my girl Chiquita Banana give you the other benefits of bananas. And drink some water.


What do you find that helps you with your workout pains? I hope one thing you do is drink water.