Kirsten with crutches

Lesson learned: Listen to my body and my doctor. Surgery + crutches = no fun.

My name is Kirsten (Miller) Ankenbrand. I’m a digital marketer by trade, and I’m a runner when I’m not hurt.

That wasn’t very often for quite a while.

Feel free to contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I’m not a physician and I do not dispense medical advice. This blog is not meant to treat or diagnose any injury or illness. I only share my stories as an example of what can happen if you don’t listen to your body. If you are in doubt about what your body is telling you, I encourage you to seek medical advice from your doctor.

Here’s my story:

It was just supposed to be a little joke.

“Team f— my injury.” That’s the phrase I had printed on two little blue t-shirts in 2007. One was for me, and one was for my friend Andrea.

A month or so before we were scheduled to run the Washington, D.C. ten-mile Cherry Blossom race, I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, and she sprained her ankle playing tennis (or something like that).

I had already paid for my flight and my run – so I was going to train right through that painful ailment. Nevermind that I could barely walk when I stepped out of bed in the morning. I planned to run. I was going to run. The shirts were just a fun little way to make our injuries take a backseat to our biggest running moment.

The joke’s on me.

I did the run. It has remained my biggest running moment had remained my biggest running moment until the F^3 Half Marathon on Jan. 29, 2011, due to one simple fact: I am stupidly stubborn. (Andrea has gone on to bigger running glory. Lucky.)

Here I am almost was in 2010, hurt again, nearly three years later. All of my ailments since can be traced back to that stupid shirt, or, to be more accurate, to the moment I decided to ignore my doctor’s advice and keep running.

That plantar fasciitis hung on for more than a year – even though I stopped running after the Cherry Blossom, did physical therapy, stretched, iced and had acupuncture.

Nothing worked. So I went to the needle. After two rounds of steroid shots to that tight band of tissue in my foot, and a prescription for orthotics that I still wear in my gym shoes, the plantar fasciitis went away.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed a tightness in my right hip. I figured it was nothing; something stretching would fix.

I stretched a lot and I started running again. I slowly built my way back up to running for 30 minutes straight – it took ten weeks.

But then came I what I not-so-lovingly call the “peg leg.” I could barely get through a run without feeling like my femur was shooting up into my hip socket. I couldn’t lay on my side without discomfort. Anything that touched my hip caused me pain.

This time I stopped running.

Turns out I had something called hip bursitis, an inflamed sac of fluid around my hip.

I went to physical therapy twice a week – for almost a year – but it didn’t do much to alleviate the symptoms.

Depressed that my beloved sport was essentially dead to me, I buried my running gear and equipment in the back of my closet.

I stopped working out altogether.

I didn’t change my “I run all the time so I can eat anything I want” diet.

And I got fat. (That little blue shirt ain’t so little any more.)

Determined to get myself back on track, I decided to go with surgery. My bursa sac was laproscopically removed.

It was the best option. Three tiny little scars, five days of crutches and a few weeks of physical therapy – and I was good to go.

I was thrilled to run again!

I started off even slower this time. I alternated 30 seconds of running and a minute of walking for 30 minutes. I ran three times a week. I cross-trained on my bike. I was being smart this time.

Then, during a run this past summer in the summer of 2009, I stepped half on the edge of the sidewalk and half onto the much-lower garden, and sprained my ankle. The doctor said I had “significantly damaged soft tissue.”

Ugh. No more of this “If I can’t run, I won’t do anything” BS.

So that’s the story behind fmyinjury.com.

It was no longer about laughing off an injury. In 2010, it became about getting healthy, eating right, being active, losing weight – and being accountable.

Nothing scares me more than public humiliation. Since I’m stubborn and competitive, I have to put myself out there. If I’m the only one who knows if I were to fail, I’m not humiliated, just disappointed.

There. It’s out there.

9 responses to “About

  1. David Haas

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?

  2. Hi Kirsten,

    I found your blog after searching for info on stress fractures. I was up too early this morning, sitting in bed feeling sorry for myself and my fractured left foot. I’m a 50-something “girl” who decided to start running in minimalist shoes. Ouch!

    I landed right in the middle of your blog (in 2010), where you were hearing more bad news. When I went to your home page and saw that you’re running again, I felt hope! So I’m going to sit in bed today, let my foot rest, and read your blog like a book.

    Thanks for putting your story out there.



    • Hi Anne,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your fracture. I know how frustrating and depressing it is. I haven’t posted a new blog entry in a while (it’s difficult to stick to the topic when I am not hurt), but I’m glad you’re finding my blog useful. I’ve been there and I know that if you rest, follow doctors orders and build back slowly when you’ve healed that you’ll be back to running soon.

      Hang in there. Sending you good, healing vibes!

  3. Hi Kirsten! I just came across your blog because twitter suggested we be “friends” and I thought the name of your handle was really catchy. I like anything with the word f*ck attached to it… haha. I hope you continue on your journey of health and get lots more satisfaction out of continuing to cross finish lines!! Also, I know you don’t know me, but I *really* appreciate a well-written blog… kudos to you for keeping it real. xo

    • Thanks so much for popping over :) Sorry it took me so long to respond. I had a crazy summer (new job, getting married in September) and I lost focus for a hot minute. I’m so glad to hear that you found the blog and like it. I’ll keep on keepin’ it real for you ;)

  4. Yo Uncle (guess which one?)

    Dear Niece,

    Knowing your lineage (two sets of stubborn grand parents)… your upbringing from the time you first screamed after you left yo momma’s woomb, the term “stubborn” when used to describe you is an understatement. I think your photo should appear in the dictionary right next to the word so that every one knows what stubborn looks like (except for your dad, he helped cast the mold)….
    Good article and you are wonderful niece! You make me laugh. Glad to hear you are getting better. Maybe riding the bike a little longer will give you the same workout?

    Hugs and kisses
    your favorite uncle….

  5. As a mom, I am so proud of both you and Andrea and your accomplishments in getting healthy and staying healthy. My hope is continued success for you and that the both of you inspire me to keep going in my search to be healthy and fit. I will be your cheerleader in the background!

  6. I still have my t-shirt and I wear it running…I get the funniest looks at the gym or in the neighborhood. I am sorry you have paid the price for so long for running the 10 mile cherry blossom run with me, but selfishly, you were great running company and a great running partner. I hope we can run a half marathon together sometime soon. Get well soon.


  7. Pingback: Stress fracture: Feet don’t fail me now! « f my injury [dot] com

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