See Nancy NOT Run: How I’m Working Out With a Toe Injury

What can you do when you have an injured toe? Pretty much anything but run and jump. *sigh*.

December ended with me carrying an additional 5 pounds more than my “normal” weight. Cookies, much? Oooof. Just enough to make all the clothes feel tight. It really wasn’t too much cookies, but rather I was still eating like I was running a marathon, even though not only was I NOT training for a marathon, I wasn’t even running at all.

Once January hit, and I was also starting to feel blah and cranky, I resolved to workout 5x per week, even if I couldn’t run. I’ve been:

Swimming: I signed up for an endurance swim class for the winter. I’m determined that the swim will be the least suckiest part of my triathlon game this year. Already, my stroke is better, and I’ve worked up to a mile (MILE!) total workout in the pool. SWIMMER-ARM POWER: ACTIVATE!

swim training off season endurance swim

Makin’ waves

Spinning: I’m keeping with my weekly spin class at a private studio in the woods. As long as I avoid “jumps” and ease into the different cycle positions, my toe is fine. Switching to rigid bike shoes helped tons.

spinning injured runner

Blurry, ’cause I’m spinning so fast

Bike Trainer-ing: I got my husband a bike trainer for Christmas. A perk of being married is that you get to share all gifts, amiright?

bike trainer triathlon injured off-season

Kids’ foam block lift only adds to the superb basement playroom ambiance.

Yoga-ing: I had a Groupon for a Hot Yoga place in my town. I tried it twice. I like yoga, but I’m not feelin’ it for the hot yoga. It’s just too…HOT. Besides, crowded hot yoga is second only to childbirth in modesty loss. - My favorite yoga pose is the Whatever-The-Sanskrit- Word-Is-For-Nap.AMT-ing: There’s this thing at my gym – I didn’t even know what it was at first. It’s like an elliptical, only better. The Adaptive Motion Trainer is hard to explain, so I’ll just link to it here. I’ve been doing some interval training on it, as it’s easy to vary your strides, but I have to make sure I don’t push off to hard. Otherwise, it’s pretty cool.

Precor AMT off season crosstraining

Not me. Not my house.

Cross-fiting: Groupon strikes again. I have a couple of friends who are not the gym-rat type at all, but they LOVE it. So I’d thought I’d try it. So far I’m just in the training phase (learning the moves before partaking in the regular classes) but there is some serious butt-kicking potential here. Also, I did my FIRST AND UGLIEST PULLUP EVER (assisted by the bandz).

crossfit crosstraining pullup

Glorious. Yes, the chin did get over the bar. Barely.

I think I’ll end on that note. Getting a sweat on 5x per week has lifted my mood tremendously. Thank goodness there’s tons of snow and ice around, otherwise, I’d want to be out running. I think once March rolls around, I’m going to get that ITCH to RUN RUN RUN. But, I must have patience and wait for April 1st – my goal date to come back to running.

If you’re injured, what’s your alternative workout? Any runners out there who also so Crossfit? I’m curious as to how to you integrate it in the middle of training for a race. Leave your answers in the comments below.

Road Rash Rage (Warning: Gross)

Warning…gross-yet-facsinating photos ahead. You might want to peek with one eye.

In our last episode, the happy hormones were just starting to kick on a warm night run, when I quite simply went SPLAT.

It wasn’t even one of those slow-motion falls, where you know you are falling, but are powerless to stop it. Nope, one second I’m happily pacing along, the next second I’m sprawled on the pavement, thinking, “What the hell just happened?”

I do remember, however, hearing myself let out a big “OOOOFFF!” as I hit. If I picture it as a cartoon bubble above my head, I think of Charlie Brown getting decked off the pitcher’s mound.

I pulled myself up, and quickly did a face, head, and movement check. No loose teeth, all joints working, good.  My right palm and right knee I could tell were scraped up. My whole right side kind of ached. I took a deep breath and walked back the 0.3 miles (yes, I was that close to finishing) back to my brother-in-law’s house.

When I got there, I realized my palm and my knee were bleeding something awful so I woke up my husband to give me some spouse-triage. The first thing that stunk was trying to clean the wounds and get the dirt out. YYEEEEEOOOWWW! At some point during the “scrubbing” I said, “Stop! I’ll live with it!” and we applied some large bandages, antibiotic ointment, I took some ibuprofen, and went to bed. In the morning, the wounds had turned from “bleeding” to “oozing” and I knew that I might need to give them a different kind of TLC.

Road Rash

This was the second day. There’s still dirt in there.

So, of course, like any good consumer, I hit the interwebz for medical information.

I found out that what I have is ROAD RASH. I found a good road rash article on a biking website and it suggested that I need a special kind of bandage for weeping wounds. The bandage binds with the oozing and makes an “anti-scab”. You leave it on for up to 5 days and when you take it off, you have fresh skin, like dermatological voodoo. There are three main brands out there: DuoDerm (really hard to find), Tegaderm, made by 3M and found after a couple of trips to different pharmacies, and a Johnson & Johnson product called Tough Pads, which just about every CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid has.

Road Rage

I feel a little tougher just looking at the box.

I ended up putting the Tough Pads on. But first, I made a quick text to my doctor friend Jacquie. Because I just know that doctor friends love making diagnoses over text photos, I texted her a photo of it and asked if I should see my doctor. I was concerned about the amount of dirt left in it (I didn’t want a “dirt tatoo”), and whether it was too deep. She had a helpful suggestion. I had to try one more time to scrub the dirt out, but this time, soak the wound in cold water for 20 minutes, and then use a soft tooth brush to work at the dirt. So, with gritted teeth, a followed her directions, and ended up getting about 95% of the grit out, with minimal screaming. Then I applied the Tough Pads to my palm and knee.

Well, these things are miracle workers. The pads stayed on for about 4 days, even the one on the palm. At one point on day three I had to reinforce the palm pad with some first aid tape, but no biggie. Then, on day 5, I peeled off the bandage to find…

Road Rash

Day 5: New (ish) skin!

…new skin!! You can see on the left side where the pad didn’t stick as well and ended up forming a scab. You can also see the 5% residual dirt that was still embedded. But, that’s new skin, not a scab! The dead skin edges peeled away eventually, and the dirt worked itself out.  Pretty darn cool, if not still a little grody.

Now, I’ve got a cabinet full of road rash products, should you ever do a faceplant in my neighborhood. I also have a new nickname courtesy of my brother-in-law: Tripsy McBleedsalot. Nice.

Road Rash

Day 22 – looking good!

The body heals itself in amazing ways. Have you taken a spill while running? Ever had some road rash? How did you treat it? Do you have a dirt tatoo? Leave a message in the comments.

Until next time, stay upright, folks!