Bring it, 2015.

On this day one year ago I was stuck sitting on the couch with ice down my pants trying to suck the tears back into my eyes and not move because I was in so much pain. I couldn’t walk and definitely couldn’t run, but I was hopeful. Maybe, just maybe, after two weeks off of running the pain would go away and I would be able to continue with my season as planned and all the work that I had put in over the past 6 months would come together. The weeks went on and I saw my season slipping away. I was finally able to start running 6ish weeks later! YAY! Little did I know that 5 weeks after that, the injury would relapse and I’d have to take off for the entire month of June. It’s amazing to look back and see just how tough you have to be.

This weekend I toed the line on the track for the first time since I fractured my back last February! What a difference a year makes. I found myself smiling on the starting line in my Saucony Hurricanes jersey, excited & hungry for some PRs. Going into this weekend I knew that I hadn’t touched the track (even for a workout) in a looong time but felt confident that my strength and kick would carry me through. I spent the month of January in Flagstaff, AZ training at 7,000ft to prepare for the USA XC Championships, so I knew that the altitude training would be helpful at sea level. I stepped off the track with a PR in the mile and 3 seconds off of a PR in the 3k. Nothing to brag about but am happy to know that my training is going in the right direction!

So, where am I at with training? I hit my highest week of mileage in over a year…65 miles, babaay! I sometimes find myself getting frustrated that I can’t do more just yet. I am still doing 1 long(ish) run and 1 workout a week as my harder efforts with the rest of the days as mileage/recovery. It’s tough to get in shape that way but it is exactly what I need. It has taken quite a while to get back to this level of training but I am thankful for the process. I have complete trust in my coach and our plan to progress in a smart & healthy way. When I start to feel frustrated, I remind myself to focus on my training only and not fret about what the rest of the running world is up to.

6 weeks til the Stanford 10k. Time to get after it.

“A flower does not think of competing to the other flower next to it. It just blooms”

-K

Anchors Away

Hi! It’s been WAY too long since I have posted a blog. There is a ton of excitement going on with NEDi, so let’s get started.

First and foremost, what’s going on with the community and our middle school team? Well, we wrapped up a successful XC season with the munchkins of Woonsocket Middle School in October and have been patiently waiting to hear if we would be able to gather funding for a spring season. The school has a very limited budget for sports and would not be able to support a track team, so we have been looking for funding ourselves. We recently received news that Molly Huddle has graciously donated enough funds to get our spring track season up and running! ( and jumping…and throwing…) Look! It’s featured in Runners World: http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/molly-huddle-funds-middle-school-track-program-revival.  WOW. We are lucky enough to have Molly as one of our board members. She is one of the most genuine and humble athletes I have ever met and she has decided to give back to her sport and support not only our middle schoolers, but the athletes of NEDi as well. No words can truly express how grateful we are!! I only hope to one day be able to give back to the sport for others as Molly has done for us.

Ok, now for some running stuff! I wanted to use this blog to talk about the comeback since being injured. Some of you may remember that I got injured way back in mid-February with a sacral stress fracture (you can read about it here: https://nedistance.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/hiccups/) and then again in May after many weeks of cross training (read here: https://nedistance.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/4-months-later/). So, I will pick up my story starting in June.

After re-injuring my back in May, Coach Kurt and I decided it was best to give my body complete rest, both mentally and physically. I took the entire month of June off from all physical activity. This was the hardest month out of this entire injury for me. At this point it had been a little over 4 months since I had been training consistently/reaching a fitness level that I had never been at before. I was upset and the thought of doing absolutely nothing for a month was killer! My body is so used to doing some type of activity everyday (most athletes can relate) so when you go cold turkey…well, it’s not very pretty! I slumped into a slight non-exercise induced depression for a little bit and realized that I needed to do some serious thinking.

This injury forced me to really think about why I am running and what I am running for. I have always been part of a running team in school, so I have been a student-athlete for 13 years. But now I am just…athlete? No student. So I had to start figuring out who I am outside of running and needed to get my priorities straight. I always used school and my studies as a way to balance my life. Whenever I revolve my entire life around running it doesn’t go well and I think that was happening during my first year out of college. I thought long and hard about what running means to me and by the end of the summer I was in a good place mentally. I realized that I just LOVE running for all that it is. To me, running is freedom. Running is simple (but can easily become complicated). Running is joy. It’s where I can be 100% me and let my thoughts run wild. It’s my passion.  Happiness is key in order to be successful in anything that you pursue, and for me that is running. I have found my happiness once again.

My sunshine came back in July when I was finally able to start all over and run! My progression was super slow…like, 1 min jog/1 min walk for 10 minutes every other day kinda slow. I progressed through the month of July trying to remind myself that I must focus on the big picture and not get worked up about how little I was doing but instead remember how far I had come. It was easy for me to get caught up in what every other runner was accomplishing out there with all the summer races but I had to bring myself back to my journey. It’s all about perspective.  The summer was coming to an end and it was almost time to head back to RI. By the time September rolled around I was hitting 20ish miles/week. Nothing crazy but I believed in my Coach and trusted that this conservative approach would pay off.

Fast forward a few months and I am on the starting line of my first race with my training PIC Lara! We ran a low key 5k in Providence supporting our sponsor, Performance Physical Therapy. It was a lot of fun and exciting to be back.

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One successful turkey trot and a few weeks later, here we are! I have consistently been running around 40-45 miles/week with 1 workout and 1 long run/week. Now that I have been in a few races I can see that all of last year’s base training and hard work didn’t just disappear. I feel stronger and healthier than I have before and am truly enjoying all the training.

The NEDi crew set out for PA for the Club XC Championships. This was the first time we were all traveling together to a race! Unfortunately, David sprained his calf a few days leading up to the race, so he was coming along to cheer us on and Lara has been training for the Houston Half and wasn’t going to race either.  There was a lot of excitement going around and I couldn’t wait to get to the starting line. I went in feeling no pressure and had 2 goals: crack the top 30 & break 21 minutes for 6k. I was really thankful to have Lara there with me to keep my nerves at bay, excitement high, and confidence in check. She was a trooper holding my bags and clothes for me while I focused on the race and then bouncing around to all the right places during the race to cheer me on-thank you, Lar!! Right before the race, Nich ( NEDi president) said the magic words “Anchors away. Drop your anchor and don’t give up!” This was perfect, considering he had given all 4 of us anchor necklaces (representing RI) the night before. I felt ready.

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(Sporting the Saucony Jersey in pink!-photo by Michael Scott)

The gun goes off and the race went out hard! I got a really good start and settled into the top 30-40. Apparently we rolled through the mile in 5:07. Wooo, it’s a good thing I didn’t know that during the race! I tried to let the pack pull me along and just prayed that I wouldn’t fade. I felt strong and started to gain confidence as the course rolled on, especially when I saw my Ship coach, Coach Spence, cheering me on! I gave him a quick smile and then snapped back to the race. He is the wisest man on this planet, I am convinced. I was surprised and happy with a 24th place finish and a close-to-pr time of 20:23.

Clubxc (To the finish line- photo by David Bracetty)

Henry’s race went off and it was so exciting! The men’s race had right around 600 competitors! Henry looked strong during the whole race and ended up finishing 55th in a new 10k pr of 30:34!! He is making a seamless transition into the post-collegiate running world. It was a great day for NEDi.

1928395_10101267089948524_1289266721275406232_n  (Henry front & center-photo by Michael Scott)

I am now able to look back and see that this injury was definitely a blessing in disguise. It was a long and difficult path for a bit but it also served as an opportunity for my body to rest and for me to seriously think about my perspective on running. There are so many people to thank for the unconditional love and support during this rough 10 month patch. My family, team, coach, doctors, and friends are all so special.

Much more to come for NEDi this spring. Keep your eyes peeled!

Anchors away!

Katie

Big Weekend Full of Firsts!

As normal, its been awhile since we have posted! But its been a busy fall with lots of great things having happened and currently happening!  I could probably write a book on the events that have occured the last month or two, but I will spare you!

So first things first! The biggest and most exciting thing we took part in this fall was coaching our first middle school xc team. We finished with the middle school cross country season about two weeks ago and let me tell you it has been a little sad, but also nice having a little break. Anyway, for those of you have been following along this year, you know this was the first time in six years we were able to get Woonsocket Middle School XC back up and running after budget cuts. We started the first day of practice back in August with four kids and grew to 51 by a month into the season. We finished the season off with about 45 kids. We were very proud of this because we didn’t know how many kids would keep up with it…..Guess the kids loved it! But so did we! It was a lot of work, but so rewarding in many ways. Not only did we see huge gains in the kids , but also in the community. The amount of support we received from everyone was huge, which was very evident when we held our end of the season banquet. The numbers attended far exceeded what we expected and made the night that much more special.  We are already looking forward to xc next year!

Coaches picture-post banquet. (Also first team pic!)

Coaches picture-post banquet. (Also first team pic!)

On that train of thought, time to let the cat out of the bag! Due to a very successful cross country season and huge support from many people and companies, we will be starting up a track team come spring! Things are already in the works and we can’t wait come March!

So you may wonder, what from now till March? Well we are fortunate to be able to use this time for a little extra rest and training to help us make big gains for spring. We still have some work through the after-school programs and Rhode Runner, but now it is time for us to focus more on our running and we are excited! All of us will be traveling away from the area this winter to train in climates a little better suited for high level running. While Providence is great (hence why we are here!) , it has a tendency for some nasty winters, as we found out last winter! But for now we are here because fall time in PVD is gorgeous!

Last, but definitely the most exciting news. Its a big weekend for the NE Distance Team. All four of us will be racing for the first time on one day, Sunday! Henry and David will be doing their first race together as teammates up in Franklin Park at the USATF New England Cross Country Championships. These two have been training together really well the last couple months and they finally get to race together! David was 6th last year and is looking to improve on that. Henry is toeing the line for the first time since a little hiccup with some posterior tibial tendonitis after the USATF 5k Champs in September. He has been training well the last couple weeks. We can’t wait to see what he can do on the xc course!

Also, to keep the exciting news going…it is the first time Katie will be toeing line  since January! Her comeback from the sacral stress fracture was anything but easy through the spring. After a setback in May. she managed to only make gains from there! After a good summer of getting use to running again, she started to really get back into things this early this fall. And she is ready to go! I have been lucky to be able to train with her again the last couple months. After a hiatus of not training together for almost a year due to injuries between the both of us, we were able to do one workout together last week and it was just like it was back at Ship! We were talking last week about how we just click as training buddies since we became teammates at Ship in Spring of 2012. Having  someone day in and day out share the ups, downs, smiles, and tears with you makes it that much easier to reach the top. We both share the same goals and dreams and we aren’t going to give up getting there!

That being said we get to toe the line together Sunday for the first time in over a year! I’m really excited to get back into a race again. I have been racing very sparingly this year in hopes of staying below that dreaded red line that I have managed to cross way too many times the last 3 years. After learning my lesson the hard way way too much and with the help of my coach, I have become more patient and really am starting to see things long-term.  I started the year by doing a small low key race on August 30th in Pawtucket, RI to get my feet wet. After that I managed to find out I was anemic, yet again. So I upped my iron intake and we took training down a notch to make sure I was recovering.  We then decided to hop into another local, more competitive race,  the Women’s Classic race October 5th, as my second one back with no expectations. Somehow it landed me a new 5k road PR! That proved to me patience and consistency always trumps doing more and possibly digging yourself a hole. Thanks to my coach, he has helped reign me in and taught me a lot about staying healthy.  While my iron still manages to be quite low,  I have been feeling so much better and cant wait for Sunday.

Yay for races! Look for us out on the course and roads Sunday! David and Henry race at 11:30 am at Franklin Park in Boston. Katie and I race at 10 am at the Performance 5k which is at Pierce Field in East Providence. See you guys out there! And good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Lara

Hi. I’m Henry.

Hello sports fans.

This is my first ever blog post for NEDi team, so I feel it’s only appropriate that I introduce myself properly. Hi there, my name is Henry Sterling and I hail from South Freeport, a small costal town in the great state of Maine. My recent transition from college to the real (?) world has been pretty swell thus far. I spent my summer enjoying home life while working for my high school. Training went pretty well, much like Rhode Island, Maine has a hub of fantastic distance runners that are flexible to meet up throughout the week to go for a run, so I was never really struggling to find a running partner, even if it was just to meet up for a long run on Sunday. However with work it meant having to do a lot of runs at 5:00 pm after having been up since 6:00 am. As many runners can attest getting motivated to go out for an hour long run after a long day is never easy, but once you get through the first 20 minutes or so of your run you’re always happy you made the commitment. Also, podcasts, radio apps, and iTunes make a huge difference. Overall, summer training was mainly an opportunity to get in a solid base, maybe a couple road races for fun, but ultimately get to Rhode Island happy, healthy and ready to get to work with my new teammates.

I first heard about NE Distance group in an email from my college coach while I was only a sophomore at Dartmouth. After that email, I kept tabs on the group while I weighed my options for my future. At that point I hadn’t made any huge jumps in my running career, but I was steadily improving. My senior year I had my most consistent results in all three seasons, and I was more and more excited at the possibility of continuing on with running at a high level. As for the other side of life, the hours spent not running around a rubber circle or crashing through wooded trails, I knew this chunk of time would be just as important as time spent training, and I was hoping to pursue something that motivated me. I didn’t just want a desk job or a temp job that would suffice paying for groceries. I was hopeful that I could snag an opportunity to work for a school, whether it was assistant teaching or coaching. At Dartmouth I was a psychology major with an eye towards teaching, and I took a few education classes, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. My summer job was spent conducting summer programs each week and working with kids. That was one of the main reasons I was so interested in joining the NEDi team, because of its focus on community service and working with the Woonsocket Youth. Cue my further research on NE Distance, my emails back and forth with Nich, and as they say, the rest is history. I made a visit to the group in the spring during my senior spring and I knew it had what I was looking for, and that I would get along with my housemates which seemed kind of important, I guess. Right? Right.

A picture of a Woonsocket cupcake given to us by parents for their son’s birthday.

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Anyway fast-forward and it’s already been over month now in Rhode Island! The first adaptation that I have had to come to terms with has been the Rhode Island style of driving. Often times, people around me will do some sort of outrageous maneuver while driving, which we on the team like to classify as “pulling a Rhodie.” Such decisions include but are not limited to rolling through stop signs and red lights, pulling out into oncoming traffic, turning without signaling and driving at night without lights. Besides adapting to these road conditions, my transition has been wonderful thanks to fulfilling work and great teammates. Each day we spend our afternoons from 1:30 to 3:30 coaching the Woonsocket middle school XC team. The growth of the team has been amazing, as we started with 4 kids the first week and are now up to 50 kids! Sadly the season only has about 2 weeks left, but we still have two big meets and a banquet the week of Halloween that should bring along lots of fun. Before the season ends I will be starting work at the Spark afterschool program, continuing the goal of promoting healthy activity and fitness, as well as getting having kids work together in groups to come up with different games to play.

Besides coaching, exploring Woonsocket on foot has been excellent. There are several loops to run the minute you walk out the door. So far, though, a couple of my favorite places to train require getting in a car for a short drive. Lincoln Woods State Park is only about a 15-minute drive south on 146, and West Hill Dam is just under 30 minutes north. For our long runs, David and I have begun to make the trek out to Arcadia Management Area, about a 45-minute drive from the house but definitely worth it. Miles of rolling dirt roads with lots of tree coverage make any Saturday long run pass by faster than you could ever imagine (of course there are always where you-you could-you would-you sst-you-you-you could you would you-you wanted to stop running so much you would do anything? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7RgN9ijwE4 Well we don’t talk about those runs). In terms of dropin’ beats and enjoying the night life, we have a pretty sweet set up at a bowling alley about 10 minutes away where Thursday night is 10$ (5$ for women) to bowl until your hearts content. And, upon numerous trips to Rhode Island’s most populous city, I can say that Providence is awesome.

IMG_1657Left is a photo of a light show in Providence at a U2 (cover band) concert!

IMG_1649: Katie, David and myself made a trip to see the USMNT play Ecuador in Hartford, CT. It was also Landon Donovan’s last game for the team #LegenD #ThanksLD.

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A picture of the capitol commemorating Gloria Gemma breast cancer awareness.

Providence is big enough to have a city appeal, yet small enough so that walking around is not such a daunting task. It’s also nice to have the opportunity to check out a Brown football game or Providence basketball game if we want something fun to do that’s easy to get to and cheap.

In terms of racing, David and I are excited to kick off our racing career as teammates (finally!!) at the Mayor’s Cup cross country race at Franklin Park in Boston on October 26th. Cool beans? Yeah man. Cool beans.

–Henry

Cross Country is Back and So are We!

Hey guys, its been a long time, like 2 months time since we put up our last blog! So I think we are long overdue for an update. Can’t believe the summer went by so fast! So you may be wondering what has everyone been up to this summer? Well all NEDi team members have been scattered across the east coast and world these last two months leaving us all really busy! But, we are back and so is the school year! Fall school year means XC time!

So, first things first (Im a realist…sorry got Iggy in my head), we are super excited to officially be having MS cross country practice! While we received the news in the spring that the middle school xc team at Woonsocket middle school would most likely be funded, it was really hard to believe it was reality until the kids got back to school. Well they are back and the first week of practice has commenced! We had a great first week with the kids. We spent most our week getting to know each other, learning dynamic stretching, getting started with running, doing some hills, and doing push-up parties! We ended the week with Fun Friday. Every Friday we decided we would play a a game to let the kids have fun, while still running around a lot! Today, we did girls versus guys Ultimate Frisbee. It was quite a blast with the guys just beating out the girls. We are excited to start back next week and get our numbers up! While we had 140 sign up this past May, numerous kids forgot over the fun summer or just had something come up. But each day this week we had more and more, so we are hoping that will continue! Next week Katie and I will be attending the RI middle school coaches meeting to nail down our meet schedule. But look for us competing in about 3 weeks! Once we get our meet schedule, we will post it here. So for any of you who live nearby, we hope you will come cheer on the kids! Below are some pictures from hill day: (the kids loved this day!…Strength runners?)

And they're off!

And they’re off!

Girls getting after it!

Girls getting after it!

Hill power!

Hill power!

Up we go!

Up we go!

Whew. Little break before getting started again!

Whew. Little break before getting started again!

So whats going on with us? Well we are all back in Rhode Island and ready to get this year going! First, welcome our newest team member Henry Sterling! Henry comes to us from South Freeport, Maine and is a recent 2013 graduate of Dartmouth. While at Dartmouth, he specialized in the steeplechase, but was also a stellar miler, 5k runner, and xc runner. He officially joined our team this summer, but made the move into the apartment last Wednesday. His first couple days were spent adjusting to the new area, learning some routes to run, meeting up with Coach Bob, and learning what its like to be around girls only till David would arrive back. While Katie and I think we made him feel welcome, I’m sure he was happy when David arrived back Sunday! He will be updating the blog on his thoughts soon. Look for that coming up in the next month!

David has been traveling lots this summer! He most recently was working the Foss running camp in New Hampshire. He spent 2 weeks there directly after getting back from Europe on August 4th. David spent most of his summer on the Europe circuit, experiencing racing for the first time overseas. While he wasn’t too happy with how the racing went, he got to experience his first trip out of the country, along with learning what its like racing in a different time zone and against world class runners. He’s looking to go back next summer with the experience under his belt and compete with the best distance runners in the world. He currently is flying home to Indiana to see fam and is most likely working on his GXX Part 2 blog. It’s due out in two months, to mark a year exactly since he put part 1 up!

Katie got back last Monday after spending most of the summer in NJ. After dealing with a sacral sf, Kurt and her decided it was best to head on home and recover. She spent her time in the Jers with the fam bam, babysitting, playing with kitties, and some time at the beach, so she is refreshed and ready to go! Currently she just finished week 8 of running, and is working her way back to full training. She will be building a base this fall and getting ready for Club XC and a great spring/summer season next year.  She will update the blog on her thoughts of the summer and what the plan is this upcoming fall. Look for that due out soon!

Regarding me, well I held the fort down. Most my days were spent running, working at Rhode Runner, and holding some optional middle school xc practices. Most my nights were spent guarding our apartment from the evil skunks and groundhogs that reside in the neighborhood, watching supermoons appear, stargazing, and sleeping. My dreams consisted of wishing my teammates would be back, so that animals weren’t my only friends. While it was definitely a little lonely here at the apartment this summer, I was lucky to have company for most all my runs, some workouts, and even some lift sessions this summer! Providence has become quite the elite running hub in the last decade and being able to have a group of girls to train with makes a huge difference. I truly believe thats a big part of what kept me going this summer when it was tough, with workouts ramping up, along with the heat! We have a little group forming and we are hoping to all help each other on the Journey to Rio and Tokyo! Anyway, I’m excited to be back to training after a tough past year. I’ll be looking to hop in lots of xc races this fall to build strength, leading into the USA half marathon championships in Houston come January. You may be wondering, why a goal so far away? Well unfortunately I will be sitting out the USA 20k champs set for this Monday, Sept 1st. That had been the goal since I started back running in April, but as I have learned numerous times a journey is full of curves and twists. A straight road to the top of a mountain doesn’t exist! But, I’m currently summiting my mountain. However it will just come at a slower pace for now due to a case of anemia. Even though its slow, I’m still making progress, and am already way ahead of where I was at this time last year!

Anyway, that’s the summer in the shortest possible way for ya!
So, ta ta for now! We will look to keep this blog updated more frequently so stay posted!

Lara

Support, Love, and Happiness!

“A good day is when we get to run, a great day is when we inspire someone else to run.”-Saucony.

Last week, we got the opportunity to head to Woonsocket Middle School and start recruiting for our middle school cross country team. As most of you know, David, Katie, and I will be coaching cross-country at Woonsocket Middle School in the fall. Thanks to Performance Physical Therapy, we are able to get this program back up and running. The program was cut many years back with lack of funds available. However, starting August 26th, 2014, Woonsocket Middle School XC will be a sport again and we can’t be more excited!

Back to last week. So the middle school is divided into two schools, Villanova and Hamlet. We covered each school in one day, setting up a table at lunch for sign-ups. While we expected a fair number of sign-ups, we were more than excited to find that the first day we had 85 sign-ups! This was then followed by 47 the next day. For those of you not wanting to do the math, that is 132 kids! Holy smokes!

While we still have two elementary schools to recruit from, we can’t believe the interest thus far. So many kids are excited to get running. 132 is a lot, but we are up to the task because we are doing something we love to do and inspiring others to join in our journey of running!  We have had so much support from people in this endeavor. Performance Physical Therapy got this all started. Cannot thank these guys enough.  Also, have to give a shout out to Rhode Runner for supplying us with numerous pairs of running shoes to give the kids.  Also, while we were recruiting, so many teachers were excited about the program. We even had some teachers come up to us wanting to volunteer their time (after the full-school day!) to help us coach the kids.  All the love shows how great  the community of running is and the people in it. Support goes a long way in the sport and this is surely proof of that!

With that being said I wanted to use this time to thank all those who have supported our group and supported me in this journey of running thus far. As many of you know I struggled with injury most of the past year. It was tough first year running wise, making that transition to post-collegiate running. Many people said the initial year is an adjustment period and it definitely was. While I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet, I have been currently healthy for about 3 months now. Training is going well and I’m excited for what should be a great late summer, fall racing season.  Consistency has been something I have been lacking in my training for years due to injury and I’m finally starting to get that back. I have learned many lessons over the last couple years that I will use to fuel my fire in what should be many good years ahead.

I have had so much support and help this past year and this post cannot do justice for all these people. First, shout out to my parents. Their love and encouragement has been the biggest help in keeping me going every day. A phone call to Mom makes the day that much better! Second, to Coach Kurt. Despite the constant ups and downs he remains invested in Katie and me. His commitment and support is unexplainable. From referrals to the best docs to just listening during tough times, I can honestly say I have  gotten out of my rutt because of him. Thirdly, Dr. Lanni. This guy works with numerous elite distance runners and knows his stuff. Kurt referred me to him and he has been the biggest help in my injury healing/recovery process. Not only has he helped my pain go away but he has been instrumental in finding the main source of problems and helping me become a stronger, better balanced athlete. He also is a constant encourager, having the belief that the best is yet to come.  Fourthly, Dr. Michaud. Molly and Kurt referred me to this guy and one visit made a big difference. He pinpointed biomechanical flaws and found the source of many of my problems, along with keeping me aware of problems waiting to happen. He too is a chiropractor known for his work with many elite distance runners. He even has written books on from his research with running. If interested, check out his book here! http://www.humanlocomotion.org/products/injury-free-running-how-to-build-strength-improve-form-and-treat-prevent-injuries .

 

Dr. Michaud’s book. Worth a read, especially for those into the science of running!

Next, to my current teammates, David, Meaghan, and Katie. Having the support of teammates is huge.  Leaving college running is tough, but having a team post-collegiately to back you up and talk to on daily basis makes that transition easier. Next, to all those who have been training buddies, Katie S., Katie D., Neely, Molly, Amy, Kim, Jason, etc. (You know who you are!). As all runners know, some days can be hard to get yourself going, but having people to join you in the process makes it that much easier and more fun. Sharing stories, or grinding out tough workouts with another runner makes the day that much better. Next, to Saucony! Having the support of gear and shoes has been huge. Ever since I have gotten into the Rides, my feet have been healthy and happy. I can say I have found a shoe I love! Can’t wait to start representing on the roads this summer and fall! Lastly, but surely not least. Shout out to everyone that has contributed in one way or another to our group. We are still building, but your belief and constant support has gotten us pretty far to date, and we are looking forward to an even better year!

Training in Colorado last week. Healthy and happy! Photo cred: Neely Spence-Gracey

 

Hope everyone has a great summer! Good luck to all the runners competing at USA’s in Sacramento and to those racing throughout the summer!  Stay tuned for more updates this summer, including the addition of a new teammate joining the squad come fall!

Lara

4 months later.

What feels like 2,000 years has only been 4 months! Remember that hiccup that happened waaaay back in February? Well, here’s the scoop on what went down.

I went home 2 weeks after the injury happened to see my doc and get an MRI because I still could not walk without pain. The MRI showed a right anterior sacral stress fracture. Woah. Did NOT see that coming. I had never heard of anyone having a sacral stress fracture and I did not really know how serious it was. I was advised to take the typical 4-6 weeks off and I should be good to get back to running. I was told to use pain as a guide and to be cautious.

Not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed. The 10k at Stanford was only 1 ½ months away-the main goal I have had since moving to RI-and it seemed as if it was not going to happen. I held on to this hope that my bones would heal mega fast and I could get on that track and race. But I soon realized that Stanford wasn’t in the cards for me this year. Lara had been dealing with her foot injury for a good bit of time so I joined her as a little fishy in the pool. We worked our tail feathers off day in and day out in the pool & soon became aqua jogging legends at the Y. We would get stopped in the parking lot and asked if we were “those fast joggers who were injured” haha!

Anyway, after about 6 weeks post-injury I was able to get on the alter-g and introduce some impact back into the ol’ bones. I started with 1 minute on/1 minute off for 5 minutes at 60% body weight. I slowly increased from there and after 3 weeks I started to run on land again! It was a very slow & cautious plan but it seemed to be working. I was finally able to get out of the pool and started using the ElliptiGo! Molly & Kurt were gracious enough to let me use their EGo almost daily for a few weeks. I gotta say- I’m a fan!

It seemed as if I was finally on my way out of the darkness & back to being healthy. But life has a funny way of finding speed bumps! About 2 weeks ago I went on a run with Lara. 2 minutes in I had this crazy shooting sensation go right across the spot where I had been injured. Crud. I knew right away that something was not right and that I had most likely reinjured my back. I stopped my watch and we walked back to the house.

The struggle/doubt set in. Do I belong here in this post-collegiate running world? Will I ever get healthy? Should I even continue running? Should I just move back home?  Yes. Yes. Of course. No.

My teammates, family, and coach have been super supportive over the past 2 weeks in helping me get through this injury-again. Many tears, prayers, & encouraging talks later, I have finally come to terms with this injury. I trust that God is in control and for whatever reason it is not my time to be back to running yet. All I can do is take the time off that is necessary for me to heal, stay positive, and find other hobbies to occupy my time!

Every major injury that I have had seems to lead to a breakthrough in my running. This injury is no different. I know that my body is telling me to rest up & get ready for this next chapter in my running career. Maybe what’s best right now is to do nothing so that when the time comes, I can do something that I have never done before. I have faith that when I come back I will be stronger-mentally & physically-and will be able to reach new levels in my career. I can’t wait for that day!

-K

“Grow where you have been planted”

Musics Healing Powers!

Hey guys!
So lately there’s a lot been going on in the NE Distance house!

1. First, lets start with this…Check out April’s issue of RI monthly! We have an article in it that details how the group started, who we partner with to help us achieve our goals and dreams, and what we do and what we hope to achieve as a group. Oh and there’s a couple spiffy shots of us in there too!

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Article cover!

2. As many of you already know, Katie and I will be representing Saucony as part of the Saucony Hurricanes for the 2014 season! Many of you asked, “Will you still be a part of NE Distance?” The answer is simple: Of course! The group is where we started our post-collegiate careers. We will still be representing the club, but also will be repping Saucony gear while at it. Thanks to Saucony for believing in us, we won’t let you down once we are healthy! Our teammates, David and Meaghan will be repping Karhu/Craft gear while at it too!

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Saucony! #Findyourstrong

3. Next thing, we have to give a huge shout out to all our supporters! This group would not happen without the help of the 100’s of people generously donating their time and money to make our goals and dreams work! Without your guy’s help we would not be able to do what we are doing! Next, we would like to thank our sponsors Karhu, Craft, and Saucony who keep us outfitted in training and ready to represent on race day! Next, we have to thank our partner, Neighborworks, providing us with housing. Also: Foundation Performance. Without the help of these guys we would most definitely not be able to do what we are working to do: compete for USA teams and represent the USA internationally. These guys provide us with physical therapy, prehab work, rehab work, and access to services and equipment to keep us healthy. If we get knicked up, these guys get us in ASAP and help us to get back out to the roads or track as quickly as physically possible. Runners know: you are always riding that fine line. When you want to be the best on the track and road running scene you push that red line. The key is to get as close to the line as possible without going over. If you go over, that’s when injury occurs. If you stay too far below it, you will not see improvement. Finding the balance between training and recovery is key. Thanks Foundation!

4. This leads me into my next item. As of the last post, we had some hiccups in the house. Things are going better for sure. Meaghan and David are running well. Both are getting back into routine and having some great workouts. They are currently healthy and staying sick-free! After a couple sicknesses and a short indoor season, these two are back at it. David will be opening his outdoor season with the steeple at Princeton’s Larry Ellis Invite, April 18th. He then will be heading out to Bloomington, Indiana to race in the American Track League race on May 2nd. He also may race the Oxy High Performance meet, May 17th, and the Portland Track Festival in June before hopefully qualifying for the USA Track and Field Championships at the end of June. Meaghan’s schedule has yet to be determined. But we will update you as that comes to light.

Regarding Katie and me, well we both went over that red line with our training. Lets start with Katie! After her MRI revealed a sacral stress fracture, she took some much needed time off. She is 6 weeks in and will hopefully be running soon! She may have the green light Monday for the Alter-G! Honestly, she has been a trooper through it all! While she can’t run, she has still remained positive. She also has helped me out a lot. She joined me in the pool and holy smokes, she is quite the fish! Guess what else it great!? While we haven’t worked out together in months, now we get too! We both head to the pool everyday and get our aquajog on, sometimes 2x a day. It can be monotonous and boring, but at least we have the company of each other most days and we are making friends too. We now have two women who join us for the aquajog party on occasion! The more the merrier!

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Anti-Gravity Treadmill or known as the Alter-G!

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The pool. Our sanctuary.

Otherwise lets see.. I took 6 weeks off after my MRI revealed a bad case of posterior tibial tendonitis. I started back running really slowly as per my last post. However, it wasn’t my time to come back yet! I developed outside foot pain a couple weeks later, which got pretty severe. While I took some steps back, thanks to Foundation Performance and my coach, I am back at it on the Alter-G. While I won’t be able to run completely on ground for at least another week or two, I’m just happy to be able to be get back at it.

So now to the real point of the post! Did you know that music has a healing ability?! Look it up! You will find that music can relax you and actually has healing powers! Check out this article from CNN, it demonstrates the healing abilities that music can provide: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/23/health/music-therapy/

While the injuries we have can bring us down at times, we remain positive most of the time. We know God has a plan and everything happens for a reason. These injuries are no different. However, at times when it does get tough, we find ways to clam ourselves down and one of those things is listening to music. Obviously its working to heal us right?! I find music very relaxing and an instant mood booster. If I’m having a rough day, I tend to just chill out, listen to music, and things become better quickly! Music has the ability to release endorphins, as some research says, and I truly believe it!   Most people that know me, know how much I appreciate music. I listen to it almost every waking hour, except for at work, when working out, and sometimes when I need a quiet run or I’m running with others. Otherwise I’m listening to it! Katie shares the same passion for music. We have this weird knack for talking and everything somehow then relates to a song. Our room is also constantly playing music. When we lift, do core, stationary bike, get ready to run, or even when we are getting ready for work we are listening to music! So we compiled a list of our 15 favorite songs, ones that you will find us playing quite often. These songs have kept our heads up and get us pumped up. If you haven’t heard any of them, def check them out! If you have listened to them, keep on keeping on!

1.Play Hard-David Guetta (feat Ne-Yo and Akon)
2.ArenaB.o.B. (feat Chris Brown and T.I.)
3.Power-Kanye
4.Remember the NameFort Minor
5.Ray Bands-B.o.B.
6.All of the Lights-Kanye
7.The Show Goes On-Lupe Fiasco
8.Till I Get There-Lupe Fiasco
9.Say Yeah-Wiz Khalifa
10.Dark Horse-Katy Perry
11.Can’t Remember to Forget You-Shakira ft. Rihanna
12.Rebel-G Eazy
13.Dead and Gone-T.I. ft. Justin Timberlake
14.SuperstarLupe Fiasco
15.Live your Life– T.I and Rihanna

Get your music on and relax! Ta ta for now!
Lara

 

 

Hiccups.

Since the NYRR New Years Eve Midnight Run/ winter break, the NEDi house has been back to the grind of work and training. Training has been going really well for me since January. I hopped in a track race shortly after the 4 miler in Central Park so that Coach and I could get an idea of where my track fitness stands-since I haven’t touched the track once this year in practice or in a race. I was off to a solid start for what would be a very short indoor season that is gearing me up for the 10k at Stanford in early April. Day in and day out I have been grinding through the workouts, medium long runs, long runs, and regular runs on my own since my PIC (partner in crime) Lara has been out with a foot injury. Although I miss my running buddy, I have kept my motivation high enough to be just fine. And then…

The snow hit! The New England area, as well as everywhere else, has been hit big time with snow and ice making it difficult to get the necessary training in. Coach and I have been doing a good job staying flexible and moving workouts to the treadmill here and there. However, I could feel my motivation slowly slipping away and it was becoming just slightly harder to get out the door or to start doing core or hop on the bike. I kept my sights on the 2 indoor races I was planning on running and Stanford, of course, all which helped me regain focus. And then…

BOOM. Hiccup #1. Out of nowhere I get sick. Aggh, its Thursday. 10 days til my next planned race. It’s ok, just take a day to rest up and go from there. Missed my long run and ran easy Sunday. Monday rolls around and I am still not feeling up to the workout so we do an alternate workouts.

BOOM. Here comes hiccup #2! 30 minutes in my hip feels tight. Meh, nothing out of the ordinary…runners get tight hips, right? Move along! Except, this tightness began to spread across my hip and to the SI joint…this does not feel good! Within ten minutes I had to make a game time decision to stop the run and not finish the hill circuit that I was SOOO close to being done with (but..I ..can…do it…*cringes in pain*) and definitely not cool down. I did the whole “Hey I’m standing in your yard and doing this awkward hip stretch on your lawn!” thing out of desperation to make it better but it did not help. I cleared my watch and began the walk back to the car, slightly defeated but confident that I will be fine by tomorrow. By the time I got home I could hardly walk. I knew I messed up my SI joint- it happened once before after a race in 6th grade. I spent the week going to chiropractor and PT appointments and not running or cross training. The next scheduled race was out and most likely the next race as well. Here we are, Monday. One week later. I still haven’t run but I am certainly getting closer.

How could this happen??  Or better yet, WHY would this happen? Everything was going so well! I have worked so hard since June building a great base of mileage, long runs, long tempos. This happened last indoor season with a nasty case of plantar fasciitis and my outdoor season was not that great and…Aah, silly Katie! Everything happens for a reason.  After a spending a week on the couch with ice down my pants trying to figure out the exact reasoning as to how this could have happened and what will now happen to my outdoor season, I have been able to think things through on a more rational level.

Hiccups are a normal part of life, although they are annoying and usually hurt, they too will pass and it will get better. This one has reminded me to listen to my body when it is speaking- I am so thankful that I did one of the hardest things a runner can do: STOP mid run and walk back. But, but, but it’s only 5 more minutes..what’s 5 more minutes?! Exactly. What is 5 minutes? When something is hurting you and nagging you and you know deep down that it is not a typical pain/tightness/feeling then just stop. It’s not worth it. Best case scenario you stretch, roll, ice and are back at it the next day. No biggie.  I can’t imagine what I would have been feeling if I was stubborn and pushed through 2.5 more miles just to get in the planned amount for the day. In fact, looking back I should have stopped sooner.

It has also confirmed my belief that everything happens for a reason. I am confident that God has a bigger and better plan for this season/year and that this little minor hiccup is all part of it. We all want to know the answer or the reason as to why something happens NOW. Like, right now. Tell me. Please? But that’s not how it works! It’s hard for us runners to relax about our training especially when a hiccup rolls around…doubts start to kick in, fear takes over, and the most dramatic possible scenario is all you can think about.  But how does this help us heal? It probably doesn’t. I realized that having faith, letting go of what I cannot control, and doing everything that I can do-ice, stretch, or just sit- is what has helped me get through this injury in a rational, clear minded way.  I know that one day-maybe tomorrow, 3 weeks, or 4 months from now I will look back and piece all of this together realizing that it was all part of a bigger and better plan. At this point, your guess is as good as mine as to why this hiccup has to happen right now at this exact time, but until it all comes together I can only take it day by day.  Patience is key.

Hang in there, friends with hiccups!

Katie

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for & certain of what we do not see- Hebrews 11:1

Its Been Awhile


Its Been Awhile….I have found this song to pretty much sum up me and my running over the last couple months. Or in proper English, my running and me (its been awhile since I’ve also been in school…).  Also, its been awhile since we have blogged.  So, in hopes of keeping this blog post short (key word is hope!), let me give you a quick rundown of what has happened since the last blog post Jan 21st. Lets go! Well, my teammates have been busy either training, watching the Olympics, shoveling snow, rearranging the house, trying to recover from sicknesses, more training and did I say, training?  While you can expect a post from them sometime soon (ahem…ahem), for now I will give you a little update via Lara’s writing.

Lets see. So lately, life has been quite the whirlwind. We (and the whole nation) have experienced a massive whirl of snow. It seems like the snowstorms are never ending. However, today it was a summery 51 degrees, which gives us all hope, but kind of false hope. Mother nature says Spring is not here officially until March 21st. Ok, ok, mother nature, you win.

We love snow!! Yeah, yeah....

We love snow!! Yeah, yeah….

Attempt at Shoveling snow!

Attempt at Shoveling snow!

Tired of all the shoveling. Mother nature, you win.

Mother nature, you win yet again.

While mother nature may be giving us false hope, at least my body is starting to give me hope! As per last blog, I wasn’t running and was a couple days away from getting an MRI after 3 months of on and off running due to nasty foot pain. The MRI revealed that I had a bad case of PTT or posterior tibial tendinitis, while also having mild tendinitis of the first metatarsal. In case you all care to know where this tendon is, check out the below diagram.

Who knew this little thing could cause such a ruckus.

Who knew this little thing could cause such a ruckus.

The posterior tibial tendon inserts at the navicular bone in the foot (as shown above), which is what caused lots of pain right over the navicular, making the docs think I had a navicular sf. Anyway, after talking with our PT, Mike Silva at Foundation Performance, and my chiro about the MRI, I was told the inflammation was pretty severe so it would be awhile before I could attempt a run. So, I then hopped in the pool for about 4 weeks doing some pool running, after spending a couple weeks biking before the MRI results came in. But I am glad to say that I started running this week! After talking with my coach, I was able to start at 5 full minutes!!!   The plan going forward is to stay healthy and consistently be able to train. Because when there is consistency to training, you start to see results! Imagine that. This is something I haven’t had since 2011; that is the ability to train consistently. But hopefully this is the last thing I will deal with for awhile. But anyway, after about 5 complete weeks off running, 5 minutes never felt so good. I am still currently in the treatment and cross training my butt off phase, but I am adding running into it now, with no pain (its been like at least 3-4 months where I have had a run with no pain!).

These Hokas will keep me injury free. Built up for my body. (Courtesy of Rhode Runner)

These Hokas will keep me injury free. Built up for my injury prone body. (Courtesy of Rhode Runner)

Other news include that I worked my first over 40 hour work week. During the past week, I worked a middle school winter camp (since the kids had winter break from school for the week). The week was full of excitement, lots of activity, and bets on bets. As the week wore on, the kids were more and more anxious to beat me in certain games and activities, so bets started being made. The first couple days of camp were more relaxing doing things such as Jeopardy, watching Despicable Me 2, and creating comic strips. But by Thursday things starting heating up: it was Olympics day. After being recruited for Team Jamaica, I took my roll as team member and ran with it (literally). Full court basketball, obstacle courses, a knockout competition, a kickball tournament, and dodgeball were all events that took place on Olympics day. My inner competitiveness that has been in hibernation came out and after so many: “Miss, theres no way you’ll beat us!!”, my team ended up on top. When Friday rolled around, the kids were out for revenge, but revenge is bittersweet. We had a 2 hour knockout tournament going, where I found that basketball may be the next sport I engage in if this whole running thing doesn’t work out….It was intense, but so fun. We followed that up with a 3 hour trip to the local bowling alley where the competition got even more intense. I could write a whole blog on the camp week, but in hopes to keep this short I’ll leave it at that. It was a fun week and I cant wait for the next spring camp in April! Besides that I’ve been working at Rhode Runner (the local running store) on the weekends, going to appts on appts, and cross training my butt off.

Olympics day. Team Jamaica wins!

Olympics day. Team Jamaica wins!

Last but not least, look out for David “GXX” Goodman later today competing at the USATF New England Championships up at Harvard University. He will be running the mile and the 800 at noon and 2 pm, respectively. He is going for the win in the mile and a PR. With no more facial hair and actual spikes in his spikes, he’s bound for fast times!  P.S. Katie will not be competing as previously mentioned. While a minor little hiccup will keep her out of this one, look for her to tear up the track here soon!

Mr. GXX  running so fast you cant catch him. The beard is no longer, so watch out!!

Mr. GXX running so fast you cant catch him on camera. The beard is no longer, so watch out!!

Also, here’s a link to David’s intense dancing skills that Katie shot this week. These skills are directly correlated with mile times. More dancing skills=faster running. Also more skills=more of a baller  status. (He is the one directly in the front middle with the black jacket.) The GXX getting his dance on.

Cheers!
Lara