When Smart Girls Do Dumb Things

March 25th, 2013 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness | Health | Life

You would think after my back issues last year & knee issues this January that I would have learned by now to take it easy and not push myself to hard.


I woke up Saturday planning to do my last long run before my first official half marathon in 2 weeks. The goal was 12 miles and before I even got out of bed I wasn’t feeling it. I just felt, blah. I wasn’t sure if it was “I’m just being lazy” or “my body needs rest” so I figured I’d get my butt in motion and if it really felt wrong I’d stop. We were also supposed to have horrible weather most of the weekend so I knew if I didn’t get the long run in Saturday there was a chance I wouldn’t get it done at all.

From the end of mile 1, to the painful end of mile 12, I knew I shouldn’t have been running. I just had low energy the whole time (even though I had taken Friday off from working out!) and for the first few miles I had horrific shin splints. I hadn’t experienced those since my middle school track team days. I stopped and stretched and they got better, but the area behind my right knee (still not sure if it’s the very low part of the hamstring or something else) started giving out around mile 8. Did I stop running? Of course not.

I should also mention it was 100% humidity out. I haven’t sweat so much in a workout all year (except for the time I did Bikram in New Orleans!)

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I’m still learning a lot about running and it’s clearly taken some time for me to realize the importance of listening to my body. Why did I feel so compelled to hit 12 miles? I’ve done 13 before, I know I can handle the half, what was the point of this? I need to get better and adjusting my training plan to suit how I’m feeling at the time.

Immediately after I got back I started taking advil every few hours, icing the area behind my knee, and staying off of it as much as possible. Thankfully some lovely reading material came in the mail that day!

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Although it did include some of the worst diet advice I’ve ever read.

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Really Tatyana? Sweet Georgia Brown

I was able to hobble to the store to grab a few things for dinner that night. I had some pretty epic eats after my run Saturday! Bottom right is toast slathered with PB2 and honey, and the bottom left is my ‘dessert splurge’ for the day including these amazing animal cookies from Barbara’s Bakery. I hadn’t tried them before, and I’m a total animal cookie fiend, and these were 10000x’s better! They had a much more ‘grown up’ taste to them, but I could still decapitate the little animals before eating them which is always lovely. I made some chocolate PB2 to dip them in and went into a glorious food induced coma for the rest of the night.

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Sunday I woke up sore and ridiculously bummed I couldn’t make it to my favorite yoga class. Of course the only time it fits my work/training schedule is Sunday mornings so I have to wait another week now! Shortly after I drowned my sorrows in a huge bowl of oatmeal (with PB2, of course) my toiled overflowed. Twice.

Imagine me, limping, pissy I can’t go to yoga, frantically trying to figure out how to stop the toilet from spewing water everywhere in the bathroom. Had I had my wits about me I would have taken a photo of it. Alas, at 5:30 in the morning I wasn’t thinking straight and I just cleaned it up while cursing and pouting and thinking of going back to bed.

After composing myself with some zoning out on Netflix I realized I had to get dressed and get to the store. When I went Saturday I only picked up enough for dinner so I was all out of fresh fruits and veggies.


Before I went to Publix I stopped by the mall to grab some coffee from Panera. I decided to walk around for a bit inside the mall to stretch out my leg and didn’t realize they weren’t open for another 30 minutes. I was sadly suddenly aware that I had become a mall walker. I’m 29 going on 80.

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Between the mall and Publix my leg actually did feel better and I dropped the groceries off and headed to the park to spend the afternoon reading. I’ve been totally into Anne Rice lately, don’t judge.
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I came home and made my favorite seriously amazing spinach lentil soup.

2013-03-24 17.29.51Man, writing all this out and I feel like this weekend was a total fail! Definitely not how I imagined kicking off Spring Break, but how upset can I be when I still have 7 more days off?

In better news: I have a giveaway tomorrow, I’m in the process of partnering up with an incredible brand as an ambassador, and I’m test writing this week for a position with one of my all-time favorite websites! I don’t want to say which one yet and jinx it ;) Keep your fingers crossed for me!

What’s the worst thing that happened to you this weekend?

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49 Responses

  • Hahaha oh my gosh. Crying three times a day? I think laughing is just as much of a “workout” so I think I’ll stick to that ;)

  • Linz says:

    it snowed – i’m so sick of cold weather! however, i really shouldn’t complain because it means another day off work for me :) feel better!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! I woke up today with my leg feeling significantly better. I think I’m going to do some ab work today and hold off on running for a few more days.
      I’ve come to realize, in my oh-so-old-age, that I’ll never be happy with the weather. This weekend it was mid-70’s and humid and I was miserable. Now, it’s back down in the 30’s and freezing and I’m miserable. For such a happy-go-lucky person I sure am hard to please sometimes ;)

  • Vicki says:

    I can’t really complain about this weekend at all, it was pretty good. Scott’s parents came in from Pittsburgh and we had a good time showing them around the area. Oh, we did accidentally end up in Camden NJ after heading the wrong way on route 76, but we got out of there quickly and safely. That definitely had the potential to be bad, lol! I guess the other ‘worst’ thing was that I didn’t properly stretch after a run yesterday and now my hamstring/glute on the right side of my body really hurts. Blah. Hope you continue to feel better as the day progresses!

    • Erica House says:

      Now I feel bad asking people to dwell on the negatives of their weekend, hoping to feel better about my own lol. Glad you had a good one! I hope your hamstring feels better soon – foam rolling has helped me SO much the last 2 days I’m almost back to normal already!

  • misszippy1 says:

    Sorry you had such a downer of a weekend. As runners, we are a stubborn bunch. Try to learn from this and DO back off in the future when you are hurting. I’ve been at it for 15 years and I can tell you that when an ache starts becoming a pain, I’ll take a day or two off and that’s usually all it takes. Push through it and it’s going to be longer. You’ll get there!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! I’m hoping to do some upper body strength today and am planning to go for a walk tomorrow if I’m feeling back to normal. I hope to run again on Thursday but if not – I’ll live! I can’t wait for the water to warm up so I can get my butt to the beach and swim more often to help eliminate some of the repetitive muscle strain issues I seem to be getting more frequently.

  • ERICA says:

    I’m so jealous you went out for a 12-miler! The worst thing that happened to me was being lazy and not doing any form of exercise this weekend :( I ran the NYC Half last weekend and decided to take a couple days off…but that obviously lasted more than a couple days. Gotta get back on the horse today!

    • Erica House says:

      Well….I’d say running a half marathon is about the best reason to take a week off from working out! I ran 13.1 miles about 3 weeks ago and took the rest of the week off from running. It felt amazing to let my body recuperate! I am tres jealous you are in NYC!!

  • I cannot stand Self magazine ever since they blew off my suggestion that they actually offer some exercise ideas for those of us with disabilities. They actually told me that it wasn’t worth their time.

    But this weekend held a tough anniversary for me, so that combined with cold rain/sleet made me into a hermit.

    Best of luck in the marathon!

    • Erica House says:

      Wow! It always shocks me when I hear of crude PR from major companies. Sorry to hear you had a tough anniversary this weekend. I hope your week starts off on a brighter note!

  • Oh no! I hope a few days of rest/ cross training does the trick. Sorry for the blah weekend… complete with an overflowing toilet. What a mess! It all comes at once sometimes, doesn’t it?!

  • I cry maybe three times a year. And one is almost always because of a spider.

  • erikhorton says:

    Hi Erica, sounds like there are a few different things going on here.

    First, you may be heading pretty close to overtraining syndrome which is when the body is subjected to high amounts of intense exercise without adequate recovery. One of the first signs is general fatigue and malaise or as you put it feeling blah.

    You probably know this already but it bears repeating…. remember when we exercise we are causing stress to our body, our body is not getting stronger at this point, it is actually breaking down. Where we get stronger is during the rest and recovery phase. If our rest and recovery phase is not adequately long enough our body is unable to recover from the stress we have put it through and then we workout again and pile on more stress.

    As far as the shin splints go…. they are most likely being caused by a combination of increasing your training volume too quickly and degradation in your running form. Increasing your training volume too quickly can lead to both overtraining as well as injury. Not being able to see how you run makes it difficult but my guess is that you are either heel striking(caused by overstriding) or landing up on your toes.

    When we land with our heel first the front of our foot then slaps the ground and we need to push of with our toes in order to keep ourselves moving. This push off with the toes it what causes the pain in our shins. Multiply this over 12 miles and you have a recipe for pain.

    The best way to avoid heel striking is to increase our cadence (the number of times our foot contacts the ground). This causes us to land with our feet under our center of mass on the midfoot area vs on our heels.

    Hopefully I haven’t overwhelmed you with information.

    What pace are you running at generally and do you wear a heart rate monitor when running?

    All my best,

    • Erica House says:

      I appreciate the time you took to leave this comment!

      I’m sure over-training had a bit to do with it last week. I worked out harder than normal at the start of the week as I had more energy thanks to taking most of the week prior to that one off from working out. I think I may need to go back to two days off a week, instead of the 1 day like my new plan has scheduled. I also think that my low energy translated into terrible form on my long run. I typically try to land mid-foot, or even on my toes sometimes when I’m thinking of it. I read a bit on chi running and when I start to get tired on my long runs I’ll remember some of the techniques (mostly just thinking of keeping my head, shoulders and hips in align and ‘falling forward’ to propel myself to conserve energy in my legs.)

      My pace on 8-12 mile runs hoovers around 10:30 and my HR stays around 175. If I’m really pushing it I can hit 180’s but that’s usually when I’ll slow down/walk for a few seconds.

      • erikhorton says:

        Chis running is good although a bit difficult to grasp in some areas. Stay off those toes as much as possible because that can cause shin splints just as much as heel striking.

        Are you running all of your runs at the 175 heart rate? If so, this may be contributing to the issues you are dealing with as well. With a heart rate that high you are doing a Lactate Tolerance run and are totally anaerobic (burning sugar for energy) which is fine but should only be around 20 to 30% of your overall training volume. The rest of the time should be spent in your aerobic zone (burning fat for energy) building your aerobic base. I would be interested to see the plan you are following.

        • Erica House says:

          Ty for the tip about the toes!

          My HR fluctuates between 150-175 during the run, but I’d say about 75% of the time it’s above 170. I’m following a modified version of Hal Higdon’s half training plan. I run TR and Sat – about 4-6 miles on TR and my long runs on Saturday. I cross-train w/strength circuits or barre/yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays and usually take off Fri and Sun.

  • Melanie says:

    Yucky weather here. A weekend of constant rain and temps in the 40’s is hard to handle after a week of the high 70’s and sunshine.

    Good things:
    I bought a pair of barefoot/minimalist shoes. I want to try running again but the shoes that I was fitted with the first time just didn’t work for me.

    I found a box of “skinny” clothes, that I can now fit in. It’s like a miracle. I thought that I had thrown them away when we moved. I have clothes, clothes that fit, and I didn’t have to buy them.

  • Crying three times a day??? What?? She can’t be serious. I hope your knee is back to 100% by now!

  • I hurt my knee a few months ago and it took me until last week to finally call physio about it. One day it would be fine, the next it would hurt. I still worked out, but not super full out, but I know I should have called/gone in sooner, like oh I don’t know October. Sometimes, for as smart as I am, I am not very bright.

    • Erica House says:

      If I had health insurance my ass would be at the doctors before I had time to think twice about it! It’s amazing how stubborn people can be about getting seen though – even when my parents offer to help me pay for routine check-ups it takes me about 2 years to schedule an annual appointment ;)

  • Injuries Suck!!! I pushed myself too hard a year and a half ago when I was training for my first half marathon. My achilles hasn’t been the same since. I no longer run long distances. I think I’m more of a 5k girl.
    I hope you feel better soon!

    Reading at the park sounds so nice right now. We just got 12 inches of snow yesterday so it looks like it might be awhile before I read at the park. Thumbs up to Anne Rice.

    • Erica House says:

      Your the first person to comment on my excellent reading choice lol.

      Sorry to hear about your achilles! I’ve only had an issue with my achilles on a run once and it may have been the most painful run I’ve ever had. That and knee issues are no oke!

  • That spinach lentil soup sounds awesome! Thanks for the link :).

  • Maureen says:

    Crying 3 times a day? Hilarious!! If that really worked, I’d just pop in Les Miserables everynight before bed and cry myself to sleep {and a smaller waistline}!

  • Aw, sorry to hear about your running pains, love! I unintentionally busted out a 10k on Sat- completely pain free (I’ve been dealing with tight hip flexors/IT band pain off & on for years) so that made for a pretty good weekend. Other than that, the worst thing that happened to me was a cottage-cheese induced upset stomach. Ugh!

    • Erica House says:

      Congrats on the pain free run!!

      I think I’ve also had more stomach issues due to cottage cheese than any other food I eat, but I still can’t give the stuff up. It’s so delicious (especially with some pineapple added to it!)

  • Jodi says:

    We got a crapton of snow on Saturday (like 8+ inches) so we stayed in. I thought I felt better, so I managed a 4.5 mile run in 45 min. Nothing crazy, just wanted to get back on the treadmill. My chest burned the rest of the evening and on Sunday I was feeling worse again, so I skipped the run and took a nap. ;) Today I finally gave in and headed to the doc where I found out I have an upper respiratory infection that is turning into bronchitis. I got a zpack, inhaler, and cough syrup with codeine. Here’s hoping I get to work out like normal again soon.

    As for the run and going even though you felt off, I totally would have done the same. I hate not finishing what I had planned for the day!

    • Erica House says:

      Ugh I hate that your sick! It’s so frustrating when your body doesn’t just snap out of it and do what you want it to! At least you ‘caved’ and went to the doc pretty quickly. I’m sure you will be feeling much better by tomorrow!

  • I can’t say that anything terrible happened to me this weekend but thats only because I had an awful Monday last week. I forgot to pack a bra and cami in my gym bag, forgot I had a car appointment and had to have my dad pick me up for work. I left my bacon at my parents’ so I asked him to bring it along with him, but he forgot. It was all I wanted! Then I got a phone call that my car needed $1200 worth in repairs! Ouch! It was not a lovely day.

    On the bright side – it sounds like you had a relaxing ending to the weekend and there’s nothing better than that! :)

    • Erica House says:

      Lol – I’m sorry you had a rough week but I had to laugh at the ‘forgot my bacon’ part! Car problems *suck*. I’m fortunate that my Dad has been able to do most of my car work for me!

  • dotsie924 says:

    Girrrl!!! You better rest up so you can keep on, keepin’ on!! Hope you’re starting to feel better.

    So, Bikram yoga in New Orleans and Anne Rice…I think you should just buy a condo here in the Quarter to come visit when you can! :D

    I am with you on the 29 going on 80. I am always in the mall before it opens…but I usually don’t walk it…too lazy, haha!! ;)

    Wishing you good luck on all your new endeavors and can’t wait to read about them!

    • Erica House says:

      Umm…I’ve thought about getting a place there! Or at least finding a short term rental to stay for a few months. Seriously. If I land enough steady freelance work and I’m not tied to the Pensacola area anymore my plan is to move from city to city for a while! I *love* the idea of living off of Magazine street!

      • dotsie924 says:

        If you ever decided to rent short term here, I don’t think you would have a problem, especially around Magazine St. and in the university area, which you know if a popular place for both locals and visitors. LOVE.LOVE Magazine St.!

        Moving from city to city sounds like a fun idea…maybe one day, in an RV or something I can take my bulldog in/with me.

        • Erica House says:

          My goal is to basically be an RV lady! Minus the RV, and the dentures ;)

          I never thought of how easy it would be to find rentals there since it is such a college area. I’m not sure what I’d do with my current place so there are some logistics to consider, but I’m in the planning phases!

          • dotsie924 says:

            The only reason I saw RV is so I can bring along my pooch! I have great teeth (not to toot my own horn, but if I don,t, who will?!), so yea, no dentures for me either! Maybe you could sub-let your place? Let someone live there and pay the rent for however long you decide…? You’re a smart cookie, I am sure you will come up with something!

  • Christine says:

    I’ve been feeling very blah lately too. Worst thing this weekend was definitely the weather. I hope that you feel better with some rest and all. I went to run this morning, after a blah run on Sunday, and only made it about a mile. I had to stop because I had the worst pain in my heel. I’m really hoping that it’s nothing seriously and will go away but I do have a hard time backing off.

    • Erica House says:

      Sorry to hear you were feeling blah as well! At least you were smarter than I was and didn’t push yourself through that run. I hope your heel is feeling better already!

  • I can see how you would feel like your weekend was a fail, but it seems kind of charming to me. :) Before you lob that Anne Rice book across the southern states toward Houston, hear me out: You learned something about yourself. You braved a fear. You went grocery shopping (this one point makes any weekend a success in my house). AND you somehow have the most awesome bookmark on planet earth. All of that says win to me. :)

    • Erica House says:

      Lol – I love your perspective! I can’t complain to much about sitting around the house reading good books/magazines and watching Netflix all weekend :)

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