Friday, January 29, 2021

Oops I Did It Again

Second Verse, Same as the First (sort of)... 

So I went and had me  another one of those knee surgeries. This time, I got the right knee taken care of pretty much the same as my previous surgery that I had on my left knee this past summer.

So to answer the question that I am sure most have - Why again? Well basically, my knees, both knees, are/were just not ever right. It wasn't because of running, in fact the first time I ever went to a doctor about knee pain was a good decade before I started running.
As you can see from my posted X-ray, (taken before either was fixed up) my knee caps actually were not located in the correct place which ground down the cartilage leaving the sides of my knee caps grinding bone on bone. As you can imagine, this hurt basically most of the time I moved, let alone ran. I'd just gotten accustomed to it and did things like taped them or wore support braces to mitigate it.

Apparently knee caps belong in the middle, huh!

What started the whole knee-fixing process was I did actually injure the left on top of the underlying misaligned knee cap and no cartilage thing (that was from running, my bad - torn meniscus training for an Ultra). I got referred to an ortho that specializes in athletes (ha ha, me an athlete) and his assessment was if he was going in to fix the injury, he might as well fix everything. 5 procedures and 6 months later, my left knee is pretty darn "normal" and totally pain-free, something I'd never really experienced.

Since the procedure was so successful in fixing the left knee, he recommended that I do the other one too. Luckily all this knee needed was the correction to the degenerative issues - a lateral release to properly align the knee cap and microfracture drilling to create new cartilage. My left had 5 total procedures due to surrounding injury, the right only needed 2, so I am hoping for a quicker recover, though I will still be non-weight bearing and in a locked brace for up to 4 weeks. Turns out things were again, just a bit worse on the inside than the scans showed, and I had several bone spurs all up in there as well which had to be removed, but overall, still less work was done on the right.

But... after this recovery period, that should be it. I should be good to go with two properly aligned knee caps and brand new cartilage. Which means when I am cleared to be back up to running again after surgery, I should, conceivably be able to run pain-free and work my way back up to where I was or even faster.

Part of the decision to go ahead and do this now is that race events are still not going to be happening for a while, so the hope is that I can recover without missing out on too much. That by the time events are up and running again, so will I be. And, if I am being totally 100% honest, I am not terribly sad to be missing cold weather runs. (You may have heard this on a blog post or 12, but I really hate being cold).

One Week Down
Looking a bit better already
It has been a week since my procedure, and overall, it’s feeling really good. The pain is mostly just soreness and it feels pretty sturdy, but I’m listening to doc’s orders and not putting any weight on it and keeping it in the locked brace like a good girl. There's still substantial swelling, but about the same as the left knee was at this stage. When I first unwrapped the bandage at day 4, there was a lot more post-surgery bleeding than the last time, and so much bruising, but all of that has mostly cleared up after a week. It still looks a little yellowish, but in the inside, the pain is much much less than the left knee was at this stage. Either that or I just don't remember clearly. I go in on Tuesday (Feb. 2nd) for my 10 day follow up with the surgeon and I am confident I will be given the clear to unlock my brace then. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Bit Early, but Still Hot Chocolaty Fun!

received entry into the AllState Hot Chocolate Charlotte15K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 

In my last blog post, I talked about how I had to change up my original plan for my Hot Chocolate 15K Virtual Race. That instead of running the event on the Charlotte event date of February 20th, I had to run my race early due to having a knee reconstruction surgery this week. It will be 4 weeks before I am able to walk again and another 8 weeks after that before I will be cleared to run. So rather than waiting until after, I decided to run it early, because you know I was for sure going to earn that awesome SWAG.

In addition to my race, I used the opportunity to run the route that I had planned for the runners of the Virtual Race event to check the distance and to see if there were any issues on the route. So on January 16th, I set out bright and early in the cold to the race event site, Knowledge Park, to set off to run the routes. Since the event had both a 15K and a 5K race, I made a 10K route and a 5K route so that the 15K runners can start out earlier and join back in with the 5K runners to finish together. 

It was a cold morning, but not nearly as cold as the last Hot Chocolate 15K that I ran, which was just 22 degrees when we started!! Ugh! This time it was 31 which was much more bearable. I followed the 10K route that went through downtown Rock Hill, around Glencarin Gardens to Winthrop Lake, to the Winthrop Campus and back to Knowledge Perk and then back out again for the 5K which lead back to the Winthrop campus and towards downtown Rock Hill and back up to Knowledge Perk to finish. 

As for the route, I did make 2 changes in route. One change was to move a turn a block so the route crossed at a stop light with a crosswalk for safety and another change to go down a more scenic street. But even with the route changes, I hit exactly 15K when I got back to the street corner by Knowledge Perk where I started. So yay!

When I finished my Virtual Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte, I of course had to get a nice hot cup of Hot Chocolate. It was delicious! And so nice after a cold run. My time wasn't spectacular,  but I did take it easy due to my knees and stopped to take a few pictures along the way to clarify some things on the route. 

Since I ran my race early, I haven't yet received my SWAG. They will start shipping out packets on January 31st, well before the race date of February 20th. And as for my event, I currently have 30 racers confirmed currently and I think a few more still will join. I am really excited about some of the plans that I have made to make it more like a real race event, one that runners are sorely missing including race day pictures, awards and finish line treats. 

When BibRave and RAM racing found out about our little event and sent us a box of treats including chocolates and HC magnets. I may have indulged in a chocolate piece to celebrate my finish. 

I'll be sure to share pics of my awesome gear once it arrives. And of course share all the epic race day fun that I have planned on February 20th. In the meantime, if you want to earn your own SWAG and/or plan your own event, register here: www.hotchocolate15K/charlotte. You can score yourself a cool HC branded Tech Hat (seen above) using code BRHC20 when you check out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A Chocolatey Change of Plans

 received entry into the AllState Hot Chocolate Charlotte15K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 

So, 2021 looks like it is still going to be doing it's best to be difficult at least for a little while, which for us runners mean more virtual races. No worries, it is all of what you make of it. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I am the Queen of Virtual Races and making them amazing and fun. If you are new, seriously, go check out some of my Virtual race recap posts, some have included 8 way high fives, 
multiple race surfaces, inflatable animals, shooting BB guns and other craziness. So when I heard that the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Charlotte was going virtual, I was like - No problem, I got this! 

The original idea - Get together a few friends to run the race here in Rock Hill on the race date - February 20th. Usually I attend this with a pretty decent size group, so gathering a crew I figured would be no problem. I thought it would be fun to meet at a local coffee shop that serves hot chocolate to celebrate after. Fun right? 

Some of the "usual" Hot Chocolate Charlotte Crew

What it's turned into - Apparently, I got a bit excited and have now taken on the task of basically hosting a mini-race of multiple distances. But you know what? It is going to be crazy fun! I will post more details later when everything becomes set in stone, but as for now, I have 25 confirmed racers that will be meeting up at Knowledge Perk in Downtown Rock Hill to run, walk or both either 15K or 5K. The 15K racers will meet at 7:30 am to tackle a 10K course through Downtown Rock Hill and around the Winthrop University Campus. Then return back to Knowledge Perk to meet up with the 5K runners for their remaining 5K course. After there will be a finish line party at Knowledge Perk with Hot Chocolate (or hot beverage of choice). We'll have cheer areas, an official finish line and handing out of medals, almost like a real race! I may even bring some bananas!! Oooh, and I just thought I can totally take finish line photos!! Luckily, I will have my best girl and Virtual Race planning partner, Kim with me again for the assist.

Here's hoping it'll be warmer for my race
than it was at last year's HC 15K!! 

But here's the kicker... I am actually not going to be able to run my own race event. In perhaps the biggest change of plans concerning the whole thing, I am going to be having another knee surgery, this time on my right knee, in just over 2 weeks which will have me side-lined and most likely on crutches still during the race day event on February
 20th. No problem, it is probably actually easier for me not to run it so I can better organize the day and make it special for the participants. I plan to run my 15K distance the weekend before my surgery (surgery will be Jan 21, so I will run it on Jan 16) and use the run as both my Hot Chocolate 15K and as a course preview for the mileage I have routed for the main event. 

No matter what, it is going to be an awesome time of running, friends and chocolate. And I cannot wait! 

Sound like fun? You can organize your own virtual event. I am happy to share any advice, just ask in the comments below. You and your crew can register for the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Charlotte here:

The Hot Chocolate SWAG is always so SWEET! Your package will include a comfy charcoal grey full zip jacket with a removable hood, a keepsake 15K or 5K medal, personalized bib, hot chocolate packets, chocolate squares, and some awesome sponsor goodies. You can get a bonus tech hat when you register with code BRHC20.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Hating the Cold a Little Less with the Buff® DryFlx+ Collection

 "Disclaimer: I received a Buff USA DryFlx®+ Hat and Neckwarmer to use and review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!"

I'd like to think that I am a pretty open book. And for sure one of the pages would read in big tall bold letters - LISSA HATES BEING COLD!! Like really hates it. But, runners gotta run, so I begrudgingly drag my butt outside to put in the miles no matter the weather (cause let's be honest, another one of those pages would say LISSA HATES TREADMILLS!!)

I've written many a blog about how I hate the cold. Seriously, at least 2 or 3 each winter. And I am always on the lookout for something, anything that will make the freezing and below temps a bit more bearable. So I was super excited to have the opportunity to try out Buff USA's newest winter line, the Buff® DryFlx+ Collection. 

Here's the technical low down from the Buff USA website:

Featuring technical smart zones that increase breathability and targeted warmth, while enhancing active fit and moisture management – so you can focus on what matters.
  • Moisture-management
  • Thermal Insulation
  • 100% Seamless Woven Design
  • Reflective Elements
Sounds pretty great, right? But how does it perform?

I received the Hat and Neckwarmer, both in Deep Blue. When I first received them, I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to give them a proper testing. See, I live in SC and our Decembers tend to be pretty mild with the coldest temps in late January through February. Well 2020 for once did not disappoint (or did it, cause again, cold is awful) by delivering an excessively cold December. It was well below freezing way more than usual. One week it was below freezing almost every single morning when I got up! Perfect (well for testing at least).

For my first run in my new Buff DryFlx®+ gear, I broke the cardinal rule of running - Thou Shall Wear Nothing New On Race Day. But, I have worn several Buff items in the past, so I felt pretty secure in my decision. (Links for posts to other reviews of Buff gear can be found at the bottom of the page). 

Post Charlotte Half Marathon pic 

So the morning I had planned to run the Virtual Charlotte Half Marathon it was pretty darn cold. I wasn't sure I would need both, but I for sure wanted to wear the hat. And it was an awesome 
decision. My first thought was that it was crazy thin, so I was a bit suspect about it keeping me warm. No problem, my head was nice and toasty warm. My second thought was I was worried about over heating when the sun came out full as I started my 13.1 miles before the sun came up, but would be finishing in daylight. No worries there either! Somehow, the fabric never made me feel too hot, despite the temperature increasing a good 10+ degrees during my run and finishing in full sun. I was wearing a vest where I had plenty of pockets for stashing stuff, but never felt the need to remove it. 

The next week the temperatures were down right brutal. Most mornings I go to Burn Boot Camp at 5:30 am and on strength days, I will typically run at least a mile right after camp. This usually has me starting my run at the absolute coldest part of the day. And this day, it was 27°F!!! That is just downright disrespectfully cold for the first week of December in SC. So I added my Neckwarmer in as well. And you know what? I felt pretty good. I particularly like the way that the Neckwarmer is high enough to overlap the back of the hat so there is no gap to keep your neck and back of your head completely covered. The Neckwarmer is also designed so that it has an articulated mask design to cover your mouth and nose. I was surprised how easy it was to breath through and left the mask up the whole run. Cause yeah, it was REALLY cold! 

Not happy with the weather, but happy with a nice warm head

It worked so well, I did a bit extra running that morning.

I've also worn it on much longer runs where again, I started out super cold and it warmed up a bit before finishing and the Neckwarmer is comfy when folded down as well. Overall, I am highly pleased with the DryFlx®+ collection and am happy to have these items as a part of my winter wardrobe. 

You can pick up your own DryFlx®+ gear, or anything else from the Buff website here: Sign up for emails and receive a code for 15% off of your order.

You can follow Buff on Twitter here: Buff_USA
and on Instagram here: Buff_USA

And if you haven't followed me yet on either of those, you can find me here on 
Twitter: RunNerdGirl
and here on Instagram: runnerdgirl

Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 Word of the Year


My Word of the Year for 2021 is REBUILD. I’m getting my other knee rebuilt this month and will spend the year rebuilding my strength and fitness after.

My goal is to be back to a sub-2 hour Half by year’s end with the focus being on achieving this at the 2021 Rock n Roll Savannah Half Marathon.

I’ll focus on rebuilding some non-running aspects as well which I will go into more detail throughout the year.

Do you have a 2021 focus? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I'd love to cheer you on this year.