The last few mornings have been lovely, and fall is getting closer. As you head out to the trails, be careful to look after your dog when you’re out and about.
I take my husband’s dog running every now and then, but I’ve never taken her out on a trail run. I’m mostly nervous that we’ll injure one another because of the leash, but I’m scared she might fling herself in front of a bike or another runner if she’s not on the leash in the first place. It’s a complicated situation.
Nevertheless, here are some great tips from healthy pet expert Brad Kriser. These are verbatim suggestions he has for different dangerous scenarios:
- Ingests harmful water – Lake, pond or stream water can be toxic to your dog if ingested. In some cases, it creates Giardia—an infection in the small intestines. If your dog drinks contaminated water, give him treated, fresh water to try to flush his system. If symptoms occur, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain or fatigue, visit a vet for additional treatment.
- Injures a paw – If you discover a cut on your dog’s paws, soak the paw in sea-salt water, remove any debris and use a disinfectant to clean the wound. Bandage the wound with three layers of rolled gauze in a taught manner. Use an anti-inflammatory spray, such as Dr. Rose’s Remedies Skin Treatment Spray, to help the irritation.
- Is stung by a bee – The first thing you should do is look for the pest/stinger to remove it. Be sure not to break it or more poison might go into your dog’s blood stream. Clean the area with a baking soda and water paste. If the irritation continues, consult your vet about giving your dog an over-the-counter antihistamine, like Benadryl, to counteract reactions.
- Walks through a poisonous plant – If your dog comes in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, do not touch his coat until you are wearing protective gloves. Even though a dog’s coat adds a great layer of protection, vulnerable spots with less hair, like the ears and stomach, can react to poisonous plants. To help prevent infection, bathe your dog in warm water, using a mild shampoo and rinse thoroughly to remove the plant’s oil. If your dog continues to itch, consult a vet about an antihistamine.
- Gets bit by a venomous snake – The best way to react is to stay calm and immediately find a veterinarian. Restrict movement in your pet as much as possible, even if it means carrying your dog. Do not try to treat the bite yourself by applying ice, removing the venom or applying a tourniquet. If you are nowhere near a vet, a snakebite kit can also be used. Other preventative options include snake aversion training or vaccinating your dog against snakebites.
Turns out, working out while ill is a horrible plan.
My pal encouraged me to join her for some butt-kicking cross training. Our soccer team has been taking a break, so I’ve been looking for something entertaining. I was excited to try this mysterious, gut-busting ordeal. It was intense – donkey kicks, burpees and lots of other jumping-around-things that I don’t know the names of.
Until about halfway through the first set when I took a break. As I caught my breath and cooled off, I realized my face was flushing hot. Like, super hot. I had to sit down. That’s when it hit me.
“Please don’t throw up in this gym. Please don’t throw up in this gym.”
Megan walked me into the bathroom.
“Please don’t pass out in this gym. Please don’t pass out in this gym.”
The good news: I didn’t pass out. The bad news: I did get sick.
I’ve surmised that I had a stomach bug that my daughter broguht home from school. Awesome. But getting up early, I didn’t give myself a chance to figure out if I felt good or not. Lesson learned.
As I was sitting on the bathroom floor, begging myself not to faint in front of my running buddy, she told me that probably the gym bathrooms were probably the cleanest of all the bathrooms in our office.
That’s what friends are for, people.
So I’ve injured my pain. And let me just say, back pain is horrible, people.
I had a back spasm about a year ago, so I was sure that was what was going on this time. (It was the week before the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Really? Again? Yes, again. Back spasm the week of the race again. At some point, this is just statistically stupid.)
I went to the doctor and was treated for the spasm, but the pain still lingers. This time it was more than a spasm. I started physical therapy last week, and long story short, the bones in my back are not cooperating with one another. It was a long, gross story the physical therapist told me, and I honestly was blocking out half of what she said because I am the biggest medical wimp of all time. At one point, I actually asked her to put away the plastic spine model. She ignored me.
Anyway, I asked my doctor why this happens in the first place. I want to prevent this from happening again, which it likely will the week before the 2013 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. There are two main risk factors, he said:
1. Being an athlete.
2. Being overweight.
So when you’re an overweight athlete, it’s a 1-2 punch. My back never saw it coming.
But my doctor was quick to say that he’d rather I be an overweight athlete than an overweight sedentary person. (Really, the best case scenario is an athlete at a healthy weight, but we all already know that.) So as I recover, the goal is to continue running and playing sports. A little less weight on my bones wouldn’t hurt, either.
This weekend, I had to cut my long run short. I blame the wind.
My 7-mile plan quickly turned into a 5-mile trek when I got a pulsating headache. If I walked, it faded away. If I ran, it came back with a roar.
I had some water and a healthy breakfast before I went out. I took water with me on the run. So what happened?
I’m pretty sure that the Oklahoma wind that puts my hair in knots tricked me into thinking it wasn’t as hot as it really was. Temperatures were creeping toward 90, but I didn’t feel it at all. I was sweating, of course, but I wasn’t dying.
Turns out, I wasn’t as acclimated to late-morning running as I thought I was, and I didn’t drink enough water at all. So, lesson learned on that one. You won’t fool me next week, wind.
I think I might be accidentally doping.
Yesterday our company had a health fair, and St. Anthony’s Hospital was on hand to give out flu shots. You could also pay $10 and get a B12 shot. My mother-in-law raves and raves about them. She gets one every month. She convinced me to give the B12 shot a go. I figure I’d go ahead. It was only $10, so what was there to lose?
Let me just say this: the B12 shot is magic.
A couple hours after I got the shot, I started feeling so energetic and good. I felt like I could run a marathon. Yes – me!
This morning I still feel great, so I’m eager to see how long this feeling lasts. Even for one day, it was $10 well spent.
So I was out on a short little jaunt after work this week when the embarrassing happened: I fell.
I stubbed my toe on a broken sidewalk and went down like a sack of potatoes. Nothing was hurt but my pride.
This totally happened because I wasn’t paying attention. I was going through a neighborhood that wasn’t my own, and I was busy admiring all the houses around me. When I tripped, I was looking left – actually almost looking backwards. So, of course, what happens in this quiet neighborhood with no traffic? Traffic shows up. Nobody offered to see if I was OK, which was probably a good and bad thing.
I was telling my husband about it later and he said, “Did it feel like it was happening in slow motion?”
Yes. It did feel like that. Because I was in slow motion. That’s when I realized that when it comes to running, everything I do is slow. Even falling.
For my past couple of outings, I’ve had to cut my run short because of a pounding headache. I’ve never experienced this before, so it was kind of creepy to be jogging along and then BAM! I don’t get migraines or anything, so I had to do some research. Here are some common reasons runners get headaches.
Well, I have never in my life had a problem eating enough carbs. Ever. And even though I won’t pass up on the chance for a nap, I’m getting enough sleep.
The problem: the heat. My body was getting too hot too quickly.
I thought heat sickness was for the very young, the very old and people who spent all day working outside. Turns out, I’m an idiot. I was ignoring the signs of heat sickness:
- Headache or intense heat buildup in the head.
- Confusion or lack of concentration.
- Loss of muscular control.
- Over-sweating followed by clammy skin and cessation of sweating.
- Hot and cold flashes.
- Upset stomach, muscle cramps, vomiting, dizziness.
Runner’s World offers lots of tips for running during hot weather. These are my favorites:
- Acclimate with care. It takes up to two weeks to acclimate.
- Wear light, loose clothing.
- Start slowly. Lengthen your pace by a few minutes.
- Bag it if it’s too hot. Some days are going to be dangerous. It’s OK to run inside, cross-train or just give it a pass.
Running inside might be better than trying to gut it out when I’m not ready. I’m not a fan of headaches.
Sunday marked the beginning of my downfall. For the first time in my life, I had back pain.
As the day wore on, my back felt worse. Monday was even worse. Yesterday, I went home in tears. I could barely shuffle to my car. A friend carried my laptop. Then I couldn’t carry it into the house on my own. I had to wait for my husband’s help when he got home.
I visited a chiropractor recommended by my boss, who saw the same doctor for a bad hiop. It helped a bit, but the pain didn’t subside. I went to our family doctor, who adjusted my back and then explained that I was having back spasms.
Apparently this isn’t just your average Charley Horse. I’ve had it for days. I guess I imagined this would appear and then disappear after massage or even just on its own. But apparently that’s not how it works sometimes. He gave me a muscle relaxor, which released the muscles. I returned to the chiropractor today, and it helped even more.
I’ve been stretching like crazy, taking ibuprofen that my doctor prescribed and icing, icing, icing. My doctor recommended upping my Pilates workouts from weekly to as many as three times a week.
So what does this mean for Sunday?
My goal is to still run. Even if I can’t run the whole way – even if I have to take 100 hours – I’m going to finish this race. I’ve worked too hard to sit out.