Speed bump

A runner’s worst nightmare…random knee pain out of nowhere.

Training was going great. I had a rhythm to each week. Long runs were going great. I was even figuring out nutrition and trying out solid food while running. (More on that next week.) I had settled on a 4:1 walk run ratio.

And then stupid me decided to change it up. I switched to a 3:1 walk run ratio for my 4 mile Tuesday run. The run felt fine from beginning to end. I went inside after my run, made a smoothie, and then went down to my office to sync my Garmin and update my training log. When I stood up from my desk chair, my left knee had a sharp stabby pain around the knee cap. I instantly knew it was runner’s knee (a.k.a patellofemoral pain syndrome). I have had it before, but it surprised me. The last time I experienced it, the pain was a gradual build up and was accompanied by IT band pain and tightness.

I haven’t been doing much strength training or stretching, so that was mistake number one. And mistake number two was not switching back to my trusty Saucony Guides as the running increased and walking decreased. You’d think after nearly 10 years of running that I would learn my lesson. Nope…runners are stubborn and inherently forgetful when it comes to injuries.

I took Wednesday and Thursday off and then tried a 2 mile treadmill run on Friday. There was still a lot of pain and discomfort. I got a soft brace to wear at work. And of course, I pulled out my PT exercise arsenal and started doing exercises and stretching twice a day starting Tuesday evening.

I was sad to miss my long run today, but my knee feels much better. Mr. Neon and I went on a 2 mile walk with minimal pain and virtually no pain since. PT for the win! I think I’ll try for a longer walk tomorrow. Sadly my next week’s worth of run/walks will be on treadmill because it’s going to be COLD in Kansas.

Fingers crossed my knee continues to improve and I continue to stick to a routine of strength exercises.

Ultrarunner in Training

Remember when I said I was going through an identity crisis and was considering changing this blog’s name? Remember what I said my screen name no longer felt relevant because my running motivation was waning? Yeah…about that…forget I said it.

NeonRunnerGirl is BACK! Sort of… I haven’t talked about it on here at all, but I’ve mentioned it IRL to a handful of people. Starting on January 1st, I started training for my first ultramarathon…a 50K! That’s 10 5Ks stacked back to back. At least that’s how my brain sees it. 31 miles. The best part is that walking is still a huge part of my training. All of my runs so far have been done as a walk/run. I went back to my Galloway roots and started with a 9:1 walk run and progressed to my current 4:1 walk run. My average pace is around 13:30. I think I’ll play around with cutting down the walk to 3 minutes and again to 2 minutes, but running for 1 minute seems to be my happy place. At least for now.

I’m excited to see where this takes me. I feel better, stronger, taller. I’ve been doing yoga, balance work, and meditation on my rest days. I’m putting down mileage numbers that I never have before with less wear and tear on my body. Even after Saturday long runs, my legs just feel tired. Sunday doubles are becoming my favorite thing, because they force me to keep the muscles moving and keep the dreaded DOMS away.

I’ll share my training as I go, but I still don’t think running will dominate this blog. I’ll still be writing a lot about my mental health journey and my self-discovery following my ADHD diagnosis.

Stay tuned.

Am I actually an introvert?

When I was a college freshman at K-State, I took Intro to Leadership Studies. I can’t remember why I took it. I think it was part of my scholarship requirements. I was briefly interested in pursuing the leadership minor, but other courses got in the way. Anyway…as part of the course, we took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI). Not an online one, but the actual paper-and-pencil fill-in-the-bubble test that you have to wait for the results in the mail. I remember the professor being very adamant that we needed to think seriously about our answers and not answer with how we want people to see us. We needed to be honest with ourselves about our responses. That’s a lot to ask of a room full of 18 and 19 year olds.

When I look back on those instructions from the professor, I realize I was full of baloney. I definitely did not answer those questions with how I truly felt about myself and my interactions with other humans. But I know I wasn’t fully aware that’s what I was doing. I realize now that I was masking my neurodivergence…my ADHD, my social anxiety, my sensory issues. To hide the true way that my brain functioned, I acted like an outgoing, confident, smart young woman ready to take on the world. Inside, I was insecure, lost, and always anxious.

As a college freshman, I tested as an ENTP. This personality is what 16personalities.com calls The Debater. At the time, it made sense. That’s how I wanted to be perceived. When I take any of the online versions of the MBTI now, I test as a INTJ or The Architect. This makes a lot more sense with how my adult life has progressed and with the discoveries I have made about my mental health.

Am I really an introvert that has been masking as an extrovert most of my life? I have often referred to myself as an ambivert since I tend to share traits from both types.

It’s incredibly unnerving, but at the same time, enlightening to realize these things about myself at the age of 39. I suppose that’s why I feel such a sense of hope for 2023. I am finally coming out of my shell and embracing my “oddness” rather than try to hide it or avoid it. Or argue with my family members when they point out how “weird” I am.

I’m not weird…I’m not odd…I’m neurodivergent. And it may be corny to say, but I do think my neurodivergence is one of my superpowers.