When a Runner Feels Less Like a Runner

Training

It seems that just when you start taking for granted your ability to train something loops around and reminds you to be grateful. For me, it was a stress fracture. Usually, the s-word conjures up images of poor nutrition and over-training. This was not the case for me.

I knew something was wrong when, after more than a week out from the San Antonio Rock n’ Roll half-marathon, I was still not recovering. The sore calves lasted a little longer than I expected and there was a pain in the lower, outside of my right leg that felt like a dry twig ready to snap at any moment. Yet, I kept running. I was sure that, as always, running would alleviate my pain, I just needed to loosen up my muscles, I thought.

However, when ten days out from the event I was in more pain than the day following, I went to see my physical therapist. I was able to fake my way through the tuning fork, keeping a straight face, holding back the grimace that I felt welling up. The ultra-sound was another story. I almost kicked my PT in the stomach. I knew it before I went in, but I had not wanted to admit it. He looked at me with regret and said, “you know what this means.” I nodded as silent tears began to spill out and down my cheeks.

The diagnosis was a stress fracture of the fibula, the NON weight bearing bone. To this running purist, three weeks on crutches and up to five weeks in the pool was more than a little overwhelming. Not to mention I would be at least eight weeks behind on my training. It was a completely new experience, one that I would not wish on anyone. After an in depth examination of my foot and ankle my PT discovered two bones out of place and zero mobility in my big toe joint. Combined, there lay the cause of my injury.

After 24 hours of feeling sorry for myself I began to look at this as a challenge. How strong could I become? How flexible could I be? I began aqua running immediately and heart rate-which had never been a focus of mine-was now all I thought about. I went from 4 to 6 days of strength training and from 2 to 4 days of yoga weekly. Three weeks later, I was off crutches and graduated to the elliptical after only five weeks. One jumping-the-gun failed attempt at running and seven weeks later, another visit to my PT revealed a healed bone and a happy runner.

Nine weeks out from the diagnosis, I am running six days a week and began speed training a few days ago. I am stronger (went from being able to do one pull up to ten), more flexible (thank you, yoga), and ridiculously fit. I am also more dedicated, appreciative, and prepared to put the work into my training. Over all, I feel less fearful of “expectations” and more excited about possibilities.

Initially, I was angry-not only at the situation but at my body for letting me down. However, I have come to realize that as athletes we tend to push and push and push, all the while expecting more and more from our bodies. But sometimes our bodies fight back, and in the end our bodies always win.

___

Written by Andrija, a member of Oiselle's racing team.

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February 11, 2011 — sarah

Lets put a pin in that.

Social

I would love to report on blogs this week, but I've been busy pinning. Pinterest is a beautiful board of inspiration gathered from the web and pinned up for all to see.

So as you surf the web and see a beautiful font, dress, or kitten doing a headstand you can 'pin it' and share with the Pinterest world.

Click here to check out Oiselle's inspirations on Pinterest. Do you 'pin'? We'd love to see what inspires you!

behind-the-scenes
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January 28, 2011 — sarah

The Marathon: A Fickle Beast

Racing

Guest blog post by Becki Ordway of Team Oiselle.


Aboard my flight from Dayton Ohio to Sacramento California, I couldn’t stop my mind from wondering to thoughts of coming through the 20 mile point, feeling poised and ready to cruise to the finish line in 2:36 well under the time I needed to obtain the long sought after Olympic Trials ‘A’ standard.  I knew that would take a very solid effort on my part since only 2 months prior my dreams had come crashing down around me long before reaching even the 12 mile mark in the Twin Cities Marathon.  Since then I had a few more great workouts, and very solid training block under me.  Unlike Twin Cities I felt confident.

Two days and numerous bouts of daydreaming later, I found myself standing on the starting line breathing one last calm breath before the gun fired. It was finally time to do what I had imagined hundreds of times over in my head, RACE!  I settled in quickly just off the back of the lead pack, and plugged away running 5:50’s for the most part.  With each passing mile I kept waiting for the course to flatten out and the lead pack to start breaking up.  Around mile 6 the pack began to break, but not the way I had hoped.  I was the one falling off!  The 5:50 miles had quickly turned into 5:45 miles, and I couldn’t hold on any longer.  I frantically tried to keep myself from imploding, by reevaluating things, and trying to plug away at 6:00 pace.  By 10 miles I was struggling to be under 6:10 pace.  This was not the daydream race I had imagined.  Around mile 14 a friend passed and with a slap on the butt she tried to pull me a long.  We laughed a bit but I couldn’t keep up long.  Mile 16 came in what seemed like 20 miles from mile 14 and another friend had caught up.  She was having a hard time, and I tried to pull her along, but it wasn’t much after that she needed to walk.  I counted my blessings then and realized, “this could be worse”.  Around mile 18 a few men were passing out free beer. I want to tell you I didn’t even notice them because I was plugging away running as hard as I could, I was in the zone…but that would be a bold faced lie!  I desperately wanted to stop, have a beer, laugh, and enjoy, enjoy ANYTHING!!  7 miles later when I finally reached mile 25 a little girl yelled “good news is, you can still break 3 hours”.  Let’s just say she is lucky she was 8 years old because my smile would have been a more grotesque gesture had she been 18.  Finally the finish line!  2 hours 55 minutes, and 15 seconds of dream shattering running behind me, then oddly enough I felt a smile come across my face.

I looked back through my splits, and had to laugh.  I ran like I had no idea what lay ahead.  As if I was stronger than the 26.2 miles of pavement that was ahead of me.  And like the fickle beast it is the marathon had reminded me that all the confidence in the world doesn’t change it’s ability to bring us to our knees.  I was sad to have missed my goal, ashamed of my decisions to run reckless in the first 10 miles of the race, and amazed with how well I was handling the disappointment.  I have never learned so much in a single race during 15 years of running as I did in this one.  Our ability to endure for the sake of something we want is simply incredible.  Mile after endless mile we seek our goals with an unabashed passion, and the really difficult miles make all of the great ones more worth it.  When I think back to the days leading up to the race I realize I couldn’t have possibly understood how much a terrible race could become a terribly amazing experience.  I know I am blessed to fall apart to a 2:55 marathon, and I know that the next time I line up for a marathon, I will bide my time, and have a reverence for the distance before me regardless of how confident I feel, and if all goes well, hopefully I won’t notice the free beer until I cross the finish line with the Olympic Trials ‘A’ standard under my feet.

racing
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January 26, 2011 — sarah

Running Blogs

Social

Ahhh Friday. Friday at Oiselle is all about wasting time on the internet (just kidding Sally!) But perhaps in whatever cubicle you find yourself in this Friday afternoon you may be killing some time peeking at blogs, reading The Onion, tweeting, seeing which celebrity actually wore the dress better, or thinking about your evening run. And for you I present Friday-Blog-Round-Up-Party-Time. I'm still working on the name...

It's a great time to be a runner, not only you can join in the running community in your area, but also stalk talk to runners training all over the world. When I was younger, running in my small town in Massachusetts, I imagined other people were as crazy as me. Somewhere out there, in the cold, the dark, the snow, the heat they were putting in their daily miles. Now I can see them! They are on the internet!

You can follow the journey of all kinds of runners. New runners finding the love for the first time like Sara Ann. Or ask an elite runner like Lauren Fleshman a question. Laugh with fast, funny ladies like Sarah of Washington Ran Here. I personally enjoy her explanation of how many laps an indoor 3,000 is (answer: one million). You can find motivation in ripped, running mamas like MizFit. Seriously there are so many great running blogs to read.

Stop by Oiselle for the quick and dirty tour of the week's running web goodies every Friday. Have a great weekend!

behind-the-scenes
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January 21, 2011 — sarah

Strong Hips = Happy Knees

Training

Every runner has their Achilles heel. Some of yours might literally be... your Achilles. Mine are my knees. I had my meniscus repaired twice and finally had a chunk taken out. My tibia is twisted, so my I have one "flippy" foot that really grinds that cartilage. Not much to be done there. I just work with it.

But there are things working against my knees that I can control: the muscles that support healthy knee tracking. One of the main muscles that attribute to a strong, healthy stride are the hip abductors. As ladies the angle between the hip and the knee is often more severe then the dudes. Yes, even little hip ladies.

Every time my knees act up and I seek physical therapy, they tell me to strengthen my hip abductors. After they laugh at how weak they are.

Here are two exercises you can incorporate into your strength training to support your knees.

1. Leg Raises on the Ball: You'll 'feel the burn' on the supporting leg too. Oh, and your hip abductor in Sarah terms would be your 'side butt'.

Sketch by my Physical Therapist, eerily close resemblance.

 

Another view - I look different from behind

2. Hip Hike: Use a book, a weight, a stack of magazines, a curb... anything 3-4 inches off the ground. Stand on object with one foot, hover other foot next to it, 'drop' hovering hip and hike it back up to hover next to standing foot. You should feel the burn after 5 or so. It's a small movement but you will feel it in the stabilizing leg.

12 x 2 each side.

Learn more: study done by National Assiociation of Sports Medicine shows the correlation between hip abductor weakness and knee angle in women runners.

As a runner what is your Achilles heel? And how do you ward off injury?

strength
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January 18, 2011 — sarah

Fashion turn to the left...

Style

I love fashion. From Project Runway to fashion blogs, I like to stay on top of what's current in the sartorial world. Working at Oiselle has finally given me an inside look at the design world. It's fasinating for me to see a trend board become a sketch become a sample become a product in a line that I ship to you. Of course running clothes need to be about that perfect marriage of function and fashion. It's a track not a runway afterall... But that doesn't mean we don't get to have fun with 'the pretty' side of apparel.

For instance the asymmetrical stripe is hot for Spring 11, just skim the pages of your spring 11 fashion magazines. So runners, let's see how a trend goes from runway to track (roads, or trails) ...

RUNWAY

TRACK

Get ready to work it girl!

street-style
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January 12, 2011 — sarah

Time to celebrate that other Oregon sport

Social

As an unabashed running nerd and Oregon alum, I’ll admit, I think about Oregon like this:

But if you’re in the vast majority of the sports‐viewing public, you think about Oregon like this (shown here giving UW’s Jake Locker…a hug?):

And if you’re a football loving human within twenty yards of a TV tonight, chances are you’ll be watching #2 Oregon duke it out with #1 Auburn as they block, tackle, pass (and yes, run!) their way to the finish of the BCS season. Will I be watching? You bet. I’ll admit I love football (what can I say? I was raised in an all male household). And I’m an Oregon football fan too. Always have been – even when I was at school there and they were better known as the Lame Ducks (and their only bowl game had been a sad and soggy 0‐0 tie against Oregon State that came to be known as the Toilet Bowl).

But then I got to thinking more about this dual sport leadership for Oregon. Running vs. football. And thinking that it was a bit (ironic? odd? notable? pick your adjective) that Phil Knight, the original running shoe innovator, is partly responsible for driving both the success and vast financial chasm between these two sports. A quick Google search shows that Oregon’s football coach, Chip Kelly, is currently signed on a 5‐year contract for $20.5 million and that Vince Lananna, Oregon’s head coach of Track & Field and Cross Country has an annual compensation of $150K+, depending on performance. One can only assume the budget for games, facilities, travel, media, etc. are separated by equal margins.

But I’m going to stop there. This is not a rant against football programs. Or a plea for the public to love running. It’s simply an observation. Food for thought. Something to think about as we ponder what sports we elevate, and which ones play quietly in the background.

For me, it’s not about the chasm, or even football vs. running.
It’s about go green. It’s about Go Oregon!!!

Circa 1991;me and Dad on our way to Autzen Stadium for a football game.

behind-the-scenes
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January 10, 2011 — sarah

Why running friends rule

Social

Ah, running friends. They pick us up. They push us on. They listen to our boring stories mile after mile (do they have a choice? No!)… But who knew they had other skills? Did other things? And yes…wore other clothes? (Well, let’s not be rash.) And who knew they’d even have one iota of interest in jumping into mundane, brain-cell killing task of the dreaded year-end inventory?
Yeah, who knew? But they do and they did. And this is just a Friday shout out to the Oiselle family of staff (okay 3 of us), friends (okay, 2: Larisa and Abby) and pretty much anybody (fellow Green Lake Starbucks patrons?) who came, counted, stacked, and broke boxes like nobody’s business. To you we are thankful, grateful, and ever so well counted. Merci!


Larisa conquers stacks of boxes with nothing more than a tape gun and massively wicked Oiselle outfit.

behind-the-scenes
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January 07, 2011 — sarah

On Girls and Grit: Oiselle Youth Team gets 3rd at the 2010 USATF Jr. Olympic Cross Country Championships

Racing

This year’s JO nationals felt more momentous than any of the other three years we’ve coached the team. Part of it was their strength…we dominated at regionals, with five runners in the top 20; part of it was the far-flung nature of the event…as we traveled to Alabama for the big day; and part of it was the feeling of closure. As exhilarating as this experience as been, we’re not sure we’ll do it again in the Fall of 2011. The pressures of start-up ville have been so consuming and intense. And yet…connecting with young runners. Isn’t that why we’re doing this?


The race itself was classic cross country. Not so much the terrain…which was dry and gravelly. But rather the race experience and how much it takes, both emotionally and physically, to run strong in this sport. And run strong these girls did. Each and every one gave it their all – even though some didn’t “have their day” in terms of how they felt. The fact that they didn’t give up, and kept pushing, resulted in an astounding 3rd place finish – against 26 teams nationwide!

The finish line was a wild mix of emotions as the runners regrouped. Smiles, tears, laughter, relief…and finally, the news. It was 3rd and they were on the podium. After that, it was all joy, hugs and smiles. What can I say? We’re so proud of them. They worked hard, they trained weekly in Woodland Park where the mud and hills are unrelenting. And they reaped the rewards. Bottom line: these girls will go far, in part because they already have.

See more photos of the meet at Oiselle's Flickr Page.

racing
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December 17, 2010 — sarah

Runaway Bride: Wedding Dress Fitting

Sarah Mac
Style

Last Thursday at Oiselle we had our first bride come in for a fitting! Sadly, Sally was already en route to Alabama with the Oiselle junior team for Nationals. But I got to be here at Oiselle headquarters for all the fun. 

Wedding Dress Running

You may have seen our Runaway Bride dress in Runner's World, or the various blogs it's been featured in. Race day weddings are the ultimated destination wedding for running couples. They pause at a point during the race, exchange vows and complete the race as husband and wife. Often the wedding is during a marathon, and of course the Vegas races see the highest number of running weddings. Sally noticed that while the popularity of weddings on the run was rising, there were no real options for brides. So the Runaway Bride dress was born. A stunning techinal wedding dress, that moves with you, wicks sweat, has a pocket for your ring and all the bells and whistles you need for a race AND a wedding.

After the dress was featured in Runner's World we were contacted by bride to be, Kyla. She is getting married in April and as part of the wedding weekend she, her fiance and their guests will be running a group 5k the morning before the ceremony. Kyla met her future husband during a group run in their town. They both describe it as love at first site, or first run. Running brought them together and is an important part of their life together. And what better way to celebrate that meeting and their passion for running (and each other) than with a 5k run/race?!

Kyla Wedding Dress

We've been very excited to meet Kyla and create the dress of her dreams! She flew in from California and met with Carmen, our fabulous seamstress who created the Runaway Bride dress. Kyla was so much fun to work with. She lit up the office with her smile and excitement. Carmen brought a couple test dresses for Kyla to try on. We talked tulle, veils, cut and all the details that will make this dress perfect for Kyla's big day (well big day before the big day). I'm not going to give away too many details, you'll just have to wait and see the final dress. It's going to be beautiful!

Kyla and Carmen Talk Length

To see more photos of Kyla's fitting visit Oiselle's Flickr page. And to read more about Oiselle's wedding dress visit the links below:

Runner's World: Runaway Bride by Oiselle

Nina and Mark renew their vows in 2010 NYC marathon

Seattle Met Fashion Blog: Dashing Bride

To find out how to get your own running wedding dress visit Oiselle Bridal.

style-story
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December 13, 2010 — sarah

Winter Running Motivation

Training

Winter is here. In the Pacific Northwest that means everything from rain, to snow, to morning thunderstorms(?). And most everywhere it means the days are short and the temperatures are dropping. Add holiday parties, gift shopping and work to this mix, and it can be hard to lace up those running shoes.

I asked our tweeps what got them out the door during these dark, cold (and busy) days. They find motivation in getting to eat dessert guilt-free,  picturing a vacation where they want to be fit, signing up for a race in the spring to give themselves a reason to train, and rewarding themselves with relaxing in warmth afterwards. I pull motivation from all of these! Mmmm and egg nog lattes....and imagining who might be out there pounding the pavement.

But what I find more challenging this time of year is finding the time. I can let days go by with excuses of I need to eat dinner, I am meeting friends, it's too late, it won't be worth it if I can only go for 20 minutes, yada yada. I am breaking the cycle this week by going back to my tried and true method to getting my runs in: planning. I find motivation plus a solid plan eliminates excuses.

This Sunday I planned my week, which days I needed to work early, which nights I have plans with friends, which nights I might have plans, whatever. I make a goal of mileage for the week, and threw in a strength training day. Then I mapped it out and wrote it down. Some days I had to wake up and get my workout in before work, others I could do it after work. After work run days I need an extra afternoon snack, so I don't foil my plan by hitting my front door starving. Of course I have to break the plan sometimes, but I try not to beat myself up too much. Even if I can get 20 minutes in it's better than nothing. I know it's elementary but a week with a written plan gets me out the door. As opposed to a plan floating around in my head.

The holidays is all about maintaining fitness for me, plus winter is a perfect time to rehab any nagging injuries or strength imbalances. But that's a blog for another day.

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December 09, 2010 — sarah

Holiday Shopping for Fast Women!

Social

We're excited about the holidays over here at Oiselle. The snow is falling in Seattle, my Charlie Brown Christmas Pandora station is playing and it feels like the holidays are really here! Of course snow also means Seattle completely shut down for a day, but we're back.

So every good shopper knows this weekend is THE shopping weekend of the season. I'm not one for waking up early to shop. I'll wake up early to do most anything else, ski, run, get a root canal. Luckily Oiselle is online, so while we'll be offering some great perks you don't even have to change out of your PJs. Pull up your chair to the warm glow of the internet and check those fast ladies off your list.

Oiselle Gift Wrap

FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $75. It will be automatically discounted during checkout.

FREE GIFT WRAP. We are primed and ready to get wrapping. Chic and simple brown paper with a satin orange ribbon. Also we have created one-of-a-kind stamped Oiselle cards to write your gift messages on!

FREE KIND BAR with every gift. So if you have 3 seperate gifts just let us know, we'll wrap it all seperate, and top each gift with a delicious KIND Bar.

We hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Stay warm, travel safe and good luck in your turket trot!

behind-the-scenes
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November 24, 2010 — sarah