Stress Fractures – an update

For those of you following my painful marathon training journey – and then my stress fractures two days before the race – here’s an update. Last week Monday, I had an MRI to see what the XRays couldn’t see – while the XRays caught the mini fractures in my metatarsals and tibia, they couldn’t see how far along I was on the healing process. Of course, the MRI was anything but fun – if you’ve never had one before, here’s what happens:

  • Get to the dr. at your appointed time.
  • Go to a locker to change out of your clothes, including any metal jewelry, and get into a hospital gown.
  • Wait in a small, cold waiting area for your MRI, in your hospital gown, while the dr. tries to figure out why your insurance hasn’t yet approved your MRI. Keep your fingers crossed you don’t have to come back another day after coming this far. Read an old Family Circle magazine because you have nothing else with you at this time – it’s all in your locked up (Just kidding – this may not happen to you … but it did happen to me.)
  •  After 30 min of extra waiting in the gown, finally get your MRI.
  • Lay in a tube, in an extremely loud room that sounds like there are constant machine guns blasting around you, along with loud beeps. Lay there for 30-45 minutes (length of time depends on what you’re getting scanned) listening to some music that they have on hand. I asked for Rock music and was given Drops of Jupiter and similar music to listen to while the machine guns blasted in the background.

Definitely an interesting experience

I went back to my original orthopedic sports medicine doctor on Thursday to get my MRI read. She said that thankfully there was no fluid in my shin, meaning the fracture was almost healed, and that hopefully I’d be in the boot for only two more weeks before coming back for another XRay. After that, it’d be at least 3 weeks of some soft exercises (like biking and elliptical) before thinking about running again. She also got my Vitamin D level tested – I take Calcium + Vitamin D gummy vitamins almost daily, but I may be able to up my levels to heal faster. So 6 weeks before my next run – it’s painful to think about, but I’m grateful that it’s not 6 months.

On a brighter note – I’m off to the beach for a week! Hopefully will get to take my aircast off to enjoy the sand on my toes a few times. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Weekend Recap – Parents, Art, Sports and A Marathon

This past weekend was the Cleveland marathon. As you may know, I was supposed to run it and my parents had planned to come in town to watch – but on Friday I learned that I would not be running. My parents still came into town and B and I showed them a great weekend and beautiful weather (for visiting not running) and more of what Cleveland has to offer.

Friday, I hobbled back into work after hearing the diagnosis from my new doctor. I was in a bad mood, as my coworkers probably could pick up on, and so I was grateful when two of them asked if I wanted to grab margaritas after work. Now if it had been two days before my race – I wouldn’t have been drinking. But two days before a race I couldn’t run? Margaritas sounded great!

margaritas from zocalo

Friday night,  my parents arrived and B and I introduced my parents to Greenhouse Tavern. Their first experience was not disappointing – they both loved their Ohio beef burgers, I enjoyed the seafood special (with local Lake Erie Walleye) and B enjoyed the lamb burger – which of course I snuck a taste of, yum! After dinner, we walked around and I showed off some of the new sights, including the new Casino. We didn’t go in, but the street was bumping!

Saturday morning we met my parents and headed over to the east side to experience the Rembrandt Exhibit. The last time I’d been in the Cleveland Art Museum was actually with my parents (last year), so I hadn’t seen this exhibit yet. It was really cool – not only was it a traditional art exhibit that showcased the artist’s work, but it also showed some works that were originally thought to be Rembrandt, but were later discovered to be either works by his fans or members of his studio. The exhibition showed how you could tell what was a real Rembrandt or not, and even showcased some work where it was yet to be determined if the works were his or not. The exhibition was also interactive- we tried out the audio tour and heard a few experts’ opinions on key pieces and played with the computer that let you digitally uncover a Rembrandt work (and see what had been done to touch up the painting through the years, so experts aren’t even sure it’s his). If I had better reception I would have been able to scan the QR codes to learn more about select paintings. If you haven’t gone yet, I definitely recommend checking it out – it’s here until May 28!

my family near the cleveland art museum rembrandt exhibit

Hanging out near the art museum

 After the art museum, we walked (I hobbled) around Wade Oval and then enjoyed lunch at Trattoria in Little Italy. I’m still eating leftovers of the spaghetti and clam sauce!

After our lunch, we headed to Progressive Field to watch an Indians game. Despite having to miss the first inning (for some reason, Will Call couldn’t find our tickets … and then they did but only found 3 of the 4 tickets … and then they still couldn’t find the 4th ticket and so on), we had purchased better-than-usual seats through the Cleveland marathon discount code and got to enjoy a fabulous game, up close. Both my parents were impressed with our affordable but still great seats (as you can imagine, being from NY, my parents are accustomed to pricier Yankees tickets) – and a great ending to the game (we won and Perez struck out three batters in a row in the last inning). Oh, and we also got up on the Jumbotron – the third time this season for B and me!

B and I at the Indians Game

After the game, B went home to relax before the race and my parents and I checked out Colossal Cupcake for dessert. We split two cupcakes – the chocolate peanut butter cup and the almond – which were delicious but slightly more expensive than I expected. Still, it’s nice to have a dessert shop open late downtown! (Dear awesome ice cream shop, like Yogurt Vi or East Coast Custard Truck– please come downtown soon! Thanks, signed Melissa).

Saturday night, in true pre-marathon fashion, B and I watched Saint Ralph. If you haven’t seen it and appreciate a Canadian feel-good (well, sorta) sports movie, I definitely recommend it. We watched it before we ran the Columbus half marathon and B watched it before he did the Tough Guy in England, so it was fitting that he watch it before his first marathon.

Sunday, B woke up early to head to the starting line at 6:15 a.m. I couldn’t sleep, and made it to my parents’ hotel by 7:45 to join them for breakfast and stake out our first marathon watch point-  just about the halfway point. B came by, feeling dehydrated, and at the last minute, his sister Katie (who wasn’t supposed to be running), jumped in and decided to run/walk the rest with him. A few hours later (and some sunburn later), my parents and I cheered on hundreds of other runners and saw B finish strong. I’m so proud of him for finishing the race – especially in the heat – but still disappointed that it’s not something I can cross off my bucket list. I’m so glad my parents were around – it was so great watching all the runners finish, but still was a constant reminder of the fact that I wasn’t able to compete with them all, and my parents helped to cheer me up. Anyone want to train with me for another marathon as soon as my aircast is off?

Me, B (with his Steve Prefontaine mustache) and Mary after their marathon

Hope you all had a great weekend in sunny Cleveland! Did you try something new this weekend?

Two Words: Stress Fractures

This time last week, I was anticipating my next Saturday night. I’d imagined myself chowing down on some pasta and bread with some other runners, getting pre-marathon jitters and feeling excited and proud about completing my first marathon the next morning.

That’s all changed. As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I found out what was ailing me — stress fractures. That’s right – plural. All week I’d been having some pain in my left foot and even after icing and taking NSAIDs, it wouldn’t go away. There was a nagging feeling that something was wrong, so I took some people’s advice and headed to an orthopedic doctor who specializes in sports medicine.

I had X-Rays on Friday – my left foot and my left lower leg – and sure enough, I had not only stress fractures in my metatarsal, but a large stress fracture in my tibia. That pain that I assumed was shin splints? That was the stress fracture. That weird bump that was growing on my shin? That was my tibia bone, growing back onto itself. I left the doctor’s office wearing an air cast (or as the dr told me, “the most expensive boot I probably owned”), an appointment for an MRI and a strict order NOT to run the marathon for fear my tibia would break in half mid-race.

That’s right, TWO days before the race, I was told not to run. Seventeen weeks of training, hundreds of miles, including a twenty mile training run — and the race was off. I would be cheering on my husband, sister-in-law and friends from the sidelines.

I know that I shouldn’t feel so bad, but I can’t help but feel that all my training was for nothing. All those Friday nights I stayed in, all those Saturdays I spent pounding pavement — what was it for? Maybe next week I’ll be feeling a little better, but right now, instead of pre-race jitters I’m feeling disappointment, sadness and frustration.

Have you trained for a marathon or another race but been forced to back out a few days before? Have you had stress fractures (of course I have them in multiple places). How did you recover – how long did it take to get back in the saddle and start running again?

Tunes Thursday – Marathon Edition

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that I’ve been training for a marathon for these past 5 months. Race day is Sunday, and despite a few pending injuries (UPDATE – I have an XRay appt tomorrow, so PLEASE keep your fingers crossed that I’m cleared to run!) I’m hoping, wishing, etc. to run! In honor of the race, here is a sampling of the songs I’ve been listening to this week, plus some ones that I like to run to. Hoping that this mix will bring me some good luck with my appointment tomorrow and that everything will be perfect on Sunday. Oh yeah – and I made this into a Spotify playlist* for you. You’re welcome.

Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

I love running to this. When the beat picks up, I can’t help but quicken my stride.

All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers

This song was in a commercial for the Olympics a few years ago, and since then I can’t help but associate it with running.

What Makes You Beautiful – Glee Edition

A new edition to my list of workout songs, this one just makes me smile. Even if I’m in pain!

The Future Freaks Me Out – Motion City Soundtrack

This was my “Happy Song” in college.

Surf Wax America – Weezer

Flavor of the Week – American Hi-Fi

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

A guest pick from B: John Williams Olympic Song

A guest pick from my brother: Thieves in the Night – Hot Chip

Spotify playlist is approximately 37 minutes long, so you could potentially run a warm up AND a 5k while listening to this!

The Perfect, Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever

Did you know that yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Day? I didn’t either, until my coworker Cari told me. I must have been psychic, though – I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies and bring them into work.

I’ve been on a quest to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie for quite a while. They tend to either come out flat, or too doughy, or too floury tasting. Well, the wait is over – I’ve found the PERFECT recipe. I am never using a different recipe again. These came out not only tasting great, but also looking perfect (if I do say so myself). And of course, I’m sharing the goodness with you!

best chocolate chip cookie recipe

How to Make the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie:

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature and slightly soft
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla.
  3. Mix together baking soda, salt and flour. Add to sugar mixture and DON’T over mix.
  4. Stir in chocolate chip with a spatula. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
  5. Bake for about 12 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven, or until edges are slightly browned. Watch closely to make sure they don’t burn.
  6. Cool on cooling rack. Enjoy!

perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe

Weekend Recap – Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Food – Part 2

Sorry, folks, the other post was just getting to long and I (and you) probably needed a break. Anyways, after an awesome Thursday and Friday in the city, I was looking forward to seeing the rest of my family later in the weekend.

Saturday

I stayed overnight in my brother’s dorm room Friday night and we woke up early Saturday to pack up his stuff and help him move out of his dorm. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Westside Market (no, not the Cleveland landmark) before meeting up with my parents to pack up his stuff into their rented van. My brother had to work again, so my parents, B and I headed to the High Line to explore the green area on what was turning out to be a gorgeous, 70something degree day. The High Line was beautiful – for you non-NYers, the High Line is a park/walking route in on an old, abandoned above-ground and above the streets train tracks. The tracks are no longer in use, and instead of tearing them down, the city decided to turn the overgrown tracks into a park-like walking area, above the city. There are gorgeous plants, vendors selling food and cute artsy stuff, sprinklers for kids to run through, and more, all along the walkway.

We spent a few hours walking, grabbed a quick lunch at The Park in Chelsea (they have “Garden Seating,” a tree in the middle of the dining room, a ricotta salada and beet salad, and serve banana bread with the meal – need I say more?), walked a little more, and then headed to visit my Grandma and meet up with the rest of my family for an early Mother’s Day dinner at our Riverdale staple – Nonno Tony’s (and yes, Nonno Tony knows my Grandma and the rest of my family, they go there so often). After stuffing ourselves with pizza and salad, B and I got dropped off at Penn Station and took the train up to Albany.

Sunday

Sunday, I woke up in Albany and spent most of the day relaxing with my family. The four of us (my mom, dad, brother and I) hadn’t been together since Christmas and likely won’t be all together for another few months (my brother is spending his summer in Jordan, Istanbul, Edinborough, London and more) so it was great. In the morning, B,  my parents and I took a leisurely 5-6 mi walk around the area. Then, we enjoyed a Mother’s Day lunch at Risotto, a new restaurant in Albany before B and I returned to the airport for our flight back to Cleveland.

My chicken and risotto .. at Risotto

What a great Mother’s Day weekend! Were you able to spend it with your mom? Did you do anything special?