Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.


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First Trip to the Chiropractor

My lower back and right leg/upper thigh have not been thrilled with me this past week. I ran a total of 2 miles last Wednesday… and haven’t run since. Only 2 miles in the last 9 days. I ran 89 miles in December, 96 miles in January, and then 73 in February. Apparently my body needs a break.

After my massage last week to try and work out some of the kinks in my back and right leg, the therapist suggested I try some yoga. So, this morning I tried to do some. Nothing too unusual or hard. Just some basic sun salutations/chaturangas/downward-facing dog. Yeah… it didn’t feel awesome after. I wore my new over-the-counter backbrace (aka best friend) to work, just in cases. And I was in a world of hurt by the time I got to the office. 

Enough pain that I immediately called my doctor’s office’s nurse/triage line to try and get an emergency appointment. After being on hold for 10+ minutes, I got a nurse on the phone. After describing what was going on, she transferred me to the chiropractor’s assistant to make an appointment. Unfortunately, the assistant didn’t understand the plan and immediately transferred me back to the nurse, where I was put on hold for another 10+ minutes. No worries, guys. I was only standing in the hallway in excruciating pain and on the verge of tears from the pain. When I explained to the nurse what had happened, she felt horrible and booked the appointment for me.

Dr. Maalouf is my new bestie. He did an extreme evaluation of my body and found that not only is the right side of my pelvis set higher than the left, but my left leg is longer than my right because of it… aka I’m super out of alignment. While sitting on the chair, he had me raise my legs one at a time and I could barely raise my right leg. Based on the fact that I’ve been experiencing lower back pain on and off for a while now, this misalignment has probably also been a problem for a while, and it’s only because of the recent uptick in running that my body has suddenly decided to fight me. 

Mind you, I’ve never been to a chiropractor. I kind of thought it was just a more intense version of massage. MY BAD. Dr. Maalouf attached some pulsating electric nodes to both sides of my spine to ease up some of the inflammation. He then rubbed my sciatic nerve area (a nice way of saying my right butt cheek) with a therapeutic ultrasound. After the ultrasound, he applied pressure to my back and rubbed me down some more. I gotta say, it was so comfortable that I almost fell asleep. By the end of it, my legs were much closer to the same length and I could walk without the limp that I walked in with. 

So, what now you ask? Well, me and my new bestie Dr. Maalouf are hanging out on Wednesday. And Friday. And Monday. And Wednesday. All in the hopes that I’ll be able to go to North Carolina a week from Friday and run the Tobacco Road Half Marathon with Sarah. And, because, let’s be honest, my bestie and I are going to miss each other after all this quality time together, I’ll be seeing him when I return from North Carolina too. 

It’s a good thing I get 18 visits each year through my insurance and only have to pay a $15 co-pay…

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Is my back sore because it’s so cold?

I recently read this article on CNN that seems to indicate that winter weather could very well be the cause of my extra sore lower back. According to the article, “Cold weather causes muscles to lose more heat and contract, causing tightness throughout the body. Joints get tighter, muscles can lose their range of motion and nerves can more easily be pinched.”

Why didn’t anyone mention this to me??

Obviously, I’m now working on stretching my lower back more before runs, even the short ones. Stretches like this one (doesn’t look like stretching, right? It kind of just looks like the person is laying there, but the back is totally flattened rather than arched in this position, which helps the back prepare for the movements related to running).

Fitsugar also has some tips on other stretches (that I now do) that can help alleviate back pain. These — combined with my ice pack and sleeping with a pillow under my knees — have really helped how my back has been feeling.

Luckily, this past weekend was warmer than usual — just in time for my longest run yet! Last week, I made a goal for myself to hit 30 miles this week – and I did it! I got in 3 runs during the work week, between 3-5 miles each, and then I ran 18 miles on Sunday, split into a morning 15 mile run and a late afternoon 3 mile run. It was *so* nice on Sunday that I even ran the last few miles of my morning run in just a t-shirt. And then grabbed iced coffee and walked home. And it’s FEBRUARY! In NEW ENGLAND!

Don’t worry folks, it’s back to cold and snowy 24 hours later. This week I only plan on running 25 miles (a long run of 14 miles on Sunday plus 2-3 work week runs). Let’s hope this snow doesn’t carry on for too much longer…


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Citrus Heritage Run – Race Recap

Half marathon #1 of #12months12halfs has been completed! Weeeee!

I usually don’t enjoy flying long distances during the holidays (who does?) so instead of flying home to Los Angeles to see my mom around Hanukkah, I usually wait until after the new year to fly across the country. I’m beginning to think this planning is flawed, especially since my new job gives me the week between Christmas and New Years as a vacation, so it makes less sense to take more time after that break. We’ll have to rethink that for the next holiday season!

Anyways, I flew out to Los Angeles on Wednesday night. Boston has been extra snowy/cold/wet/icy/foggy so I missed out on running Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning I went for a 5 mile run around my old neighborhood. It was a much different run, considering I went out only in a t-shirt and leggings. I also stumbled upon a set where they were filming the tv show The Goldbergs. Oh, Los Angeles. (I then saw two other sets throughout the rest of the day).

On Friday, my mom and I drove out to Riverside where we checked out the Riverside Art Museum, picked up my race packet at Sports Authority, checked into the hotel, and grabbed dinner at a great organic Italian restaurant in Riverside. After dinner, we did a drive-by of the race route. Even though it was dark out, I could tell that it was fairly flat and very seriously surrounded by orange groves.

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Race map!

The next morning we woke up nice and early and headed to the race starting point (after a quick stop for some much needed coffee for my super supportive mama!). I ate most of a Cliff bar pre-race (but then hit what tasted like a rancid nut and decided to not eat the rest) and drank almost a full bottle of water. After parking, we walked around, I stretched, I peed a couple times, I ate a pre-race Gu, and then we were off!

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Me and my mama pre-race

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Start of the race – hello, palm trees!

We ran straight down a street for a couple blocks before making a couple right turns to head back the way we came and towards the California Citrus State Heritage Park. My mom and I had found a good spot where she’d be able to see me run by twice. As I ran by the designated spot (at around mile 3ish), I found her walking towards the spot. I beat her there! Luckily she was close enough that I could yell and wave (and I could hear her yell and see her wave back). After another block, we turned left through the gates of the park. At first we were just running around the paved roads of the park, but then we hit the trails. It was beautiful. Being surrounded by orange groves and the excitement of running on trails almost made me (almost) not realize we were tackling some serious hills. I tried to take some pictures to show off how nice the scenery was:

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It was either this or orange groves for the whole race. Not too shabby!

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Climbing up one of the hills in the Citrus Heritage park

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Best orange slice ever!

My Nike+ was off distance-wise, so I wasn’t totally sure how I was doing pace-wise. Based on overall time, I was hitting the first 5 or 6 miles at around a 9:30 pace, but by around mile 8 or 9 I started to slow down. The last few miles were definitely tough, but there were some highlights, like running past some horses, getting an orange slice from a guy cheering on the runners, and getting text messages from friends and family – including a text from my sister telling me she was accepted into graduate school! Even though I had to walk a little bit in the last couple miles, I was able to finish in 2:10:05 – an overall 9:56 pace. I was two minutes over my previous/best half marathon time, but still under a 10:00 pace. Overall, I’m pleased with it!

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At this point, I could smile, but not quite carry a conversation.

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The medal is *SUPER* sparkly!

BUT, the worst was yet to come. After the race, I stretched. I foam-rolled. I drank a couple bottles of coconut water. My mom and I went out to brunch where I had a delicious meal that had carbs and protein and salt. I wore compression socks. I took it easy for the rest of the day. But later that day, I started to get a headache. When I woke up the next day, the headache had blown up and it felt like it had taken over my whole head. I generally avoid taking painkillers because I don’t like masking pain when I should be trying to figure out where its coming from and treat it, but this was a special exception. I walked into the kitchen clutching my right eye and the right side of my head. I took a couple advils, did a few stretches, and got back into bed. When I woke up an hour or so later, the headache had subsided a little bit so that I could at least function like a human. The headache remained for the rest of Sunday, and into Monday a little. UGH.

I’ve done some researching, and the headache is most likely related to not getting the right nutrients or having shitty posture while I run. I did a 4 mile run on Tuesday and felt fine. I did a 7 mile run on Thursday, and the headache came back. I was able to get a massage during my lunch break on Friday, and she explained that my neck/shoulders were in pain because they were super scrunched. She also explained why I get lower back pain and how those muscles are totally devoted to the acts of walking and running. It was suggested that I start icing my lower back after runs and start sleeping with a pillow under my knees to straighten my back at night and relieve some of the pressure on my lower back (yay?). I also want to get in touch with a nutritionist to make sure I’m giving my body everything it needs. I think that I’m drinking enough water, but that I’m losing my salt too fast so I’m going to try drinking water with Nuun to get a little more sodium in my system.

Considering I woke up sore this morning and it was freezing rain/snowing outside, I decided to take another rest day. Tomorrow, I’ll be running a total of 14 miles over 3 separate runs to prepare my body for Ragnar. Fingers crossed that it’s not icy outside tomorrow!