It’s Official, My Legs Hate Me

Sometimes, as much as the outcome sucks, it is good to know a decision was made based on correct intuition.  When I pulled out of Rutgers, it was not a difficult decision.  I just knew something wasn’t right.  Remember when I said a gut feeling is not just a euphemism?  This is a perfect example.  I knew what I was feeling wasn’t in my head.  Although, I wish it had been.

Turns out, what I was feeling at Rutgers, was not in my head.  I saw the doctor on Thursday when the pain was only getting worse in my foot/ankle.  I was terrified of a stress fracture. 

The goods news is, nothing is broken in my foot!  And seriously, that is some great news!

The bad news is I have a pretty significant case of Peroneal Tendonitis. 

Peroneal Tendonitis refers to painful inflammation of the peroneal tendons located on the outer side of the foot, a little behind the ankle bump. 

There are two peroneal muscles on the outer side of the lower leg. One long one, called the peroneal longus runs from the knee to the ankle, and one short one, called the peroneal brevis muscle runs from below the knee to the ankle. Both these muscles when they approach the ankle, convert into tendons, which are thick bands of fibers that connect muscle to bone. Both these tendons run side-by-side and curve behind the outer bump of the ankle, then run below the foot where they insert into the bones of the foot.

As the muscle contracts, these tendons pull the lower surfaces of these bones, pulling/bending the foot downward (plantarflexion) and outward (eversion).

Once we had a diagnosis, it was time to treat.  Out of waitressing for 10 days and lots of RICE method.  Additionally in an effort to keep my leg stabilized and because “I can’t be trusted to stay off my feet,” I was also put in the CAM walker for the weekend.  Thank God that was only for a few days.  If I never have to see that boot again, it will be too soon.

And I’ll be rocking this again for a weeks to keep my ankle stable:

2013-04-29_08-34-02_385I know, I know…desperate for a pedicure!

I was also supposed to do this weird thing…I think normal people call it relaxing?  Yeah, I am not so good at that but didn’t have a choice.  I spent Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday on my couch with my foot up and ice on and off.  Sunday, I mowed the lawn in my boot- that was a new experience…!   Other than a few errands, my friends housewarming Saturday night and mowing the lawn Sunday, my weekend mostly looked like this:

 wine2Relaxing is better with wine.

As much as relaxing isn’t my thing, I’ll admit it was a nice break.  I run on empty most of the time, so to be able to have a reason to do nothing was a good and much needed chance of pace.  It is hard to stay off my feet at my day job as well but I am trying.  And since I am not working  nights this week, and I cannot afford to do anything because I am not working night this week, the above is pretty much my game plan for the rest of the weekFor now, running is completely out of the question and I have to wait until I am pain free to get back to ballet/barre but I am hoping next weekend to get a work out in, even if it is just slow on the elliptical and some lifting.  I’ll take anything!

It may seem as though my spirits are up; that is mostly due to the fact that I am so happy I don’t have a fracture.  But the truth is, I am really bummed out.  I did everything right training for Rutgers.  I felt so ready.  And for things to just fall apart and me to be back off running is a huge blow.  I am frustrated.  Actually, I am beyond frustrated.  I feel like I am always injured.  While it seems everyone I know is getting better and faster, I am regressing.  My running has never been the same since I broke my foot and I am worried that it never will be.  The other day a friend of mine said she really felt like a runner now that she was fast.  I said she was always a runner because if you run you are a runner.  She replied that before she felt like an imposter.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  Is she saying that slow runners are imposters?  Am I one?  I mean, I don’t think so…but when I am struggling, this is the exact thing that gets in my head.  The exact thing that makes me just want to throw in the towel.  I don’t even know if that is what she meant or if I am just hyper sensitive because I am feeling so low.  I have been fighting injuries for so long…I am not getting any better.  How long do I keep doing this to myself?  I don’t know.  I have to see how this PT goes and in the meantime, I’ll be sticking with barre and ballet and lifting and trying to get strong.   Both physically and mentally.

In other news, to end on a good note…this came in the mail over the weekend:

bosontshirtBest mail I have gotten in a while!

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Rutgers 7.8 Race Report

7.8 what huh?  I thought it was a 13.1?

Yeah…so about that…

My training leading up to the race went pretty well.  My 10 miler was a beast but I chalked it up to a bad day.  My taper runs went off without a hitch and I saw my sports PT three days before the race and everything checked out.  Then, Friday after work my ankle and shin were bothering me.  It was a long shift so I just iced and stayed off it most of Saturday.  Sunday, I could feel it but wasn’t too concerned.  My friend Lisa and I drove up to the race together and while I debated dropping to the 8K, I thought it was all in my head so I headed to the half-marathon start line.

Miles 1-4 were okay.  I really did not expect the hills.  The race is described as flat but it was entirely full of rolling hills.  My calf muscles weren’t happy- I mean, I train in SOUTH JERSEY!- but I was getting by.  It was at about mile 5 that my race started going downhill.  My pace was still fine but my calves were cramping and my shins were on fire.  There was a certain level of “push through it” and a certain level of “don’t hurt yourself” going through my head at the same time.  I was walking a whole lot more than I like and no amount of stretching was helping.  The last thing I wanted to do was give up but I was getting increasingly frustrated.  I would stop, stretch and then less than a quarter mile I would have to stop again.  By mile 7, I had pretty much had it with the race.  The cramps in my calves were getting worse and every time I saw a hill, I wanted to cry.  At this point, I wasn’t running at all and still had over six miles to go.  I really did not think it was wise for me, mentally or physically, to keep going.   So for the first time ever in a road race, I stopped.  At mile 7.8, I pulled myself from the race, walked over to an aid station and had them radio me a ride to the start where I was able to catch a shuttle to the finish line.

I kept waiting for the tears.  To feel the failure in the pit of my stomach.  It never came.  Because I didn’t fail.  I made a decision.  And truthfully, it wasn’t even a difficult one.  I have spent much of the last 3 years injured.  It isn’t worth it.  I have no idea why my legs failed me- obviously, I need more hill work, but it has to be more than that.  Today, I will meet with my sports chiropractor and see what he thinks.  We have already talked about the next marathon (another post for another time) and today we will talk about the path for this year.  I don’t have any more races planned until July, so for now, I am just going to work on getting these legs back in working order.

After the race, I met up with my friends and we had lunch at a local brewery.  The day went on as normal.

Here is a photo from the day-

Joining The “Boot” Club

So there ya have it!

Here’s the deal.  My Plantar Fasciitis has been flaring up really badly; I wake up in the morning and can hardly stand, let alone put weight on it and run.  But the thing is, once I get moving and do run, I feel fine.  But anyone who has ever suffered from any level of PF knows that it that doesn’t mean I am okay.  My plantar fascia ligaments are pretty inflamed right now.  And in an effort to be proactive, my doctor ordered me to wear this to hopefully stabilize my ligaments.  Right now, my spirits are pretty high and I am feeling positive about this whole ordeal.  The really positive part is that I am still able to run and work out.  And I will be working two nights a week as long as I can handle it.  But at all other times, it’s all about the boot!  Given that this is all about being proactive, I know it is up to me to decide when I can and cannot workout.  I actually feel really lucky that I have a doctor that is also a good friend.  A doctor who is a marathon runner and a mulitple Ironman finisher.  A doctor who gets it, knows what it right for as an athlete and cares about me as a patient and a friend.  I feel lucky that I have a doctor who believes in being proactive so that long term goal focus isn’t lost.  That is probably why I am smiling in the photo- yeah, the boot sucks.  It is heavy, uncomfortable and not exactly a fashion statement.  But in the end, this is going to help me.  And I didn’t have to face a season-ending injury before getting relief.

For right now, I am taking it one day at a time.  You know…whatever gets me to that finish line in Novemeber!

Fear Of Injury Or Just Being Smart?

Maybe a little of both?

With two days to go until PDR, I was still feeling conflicted when I woke up this morning.  And I don’t even know why because I honestly knew the answer.  By lunchtime, I was willing to make the decision that I knew was best.

I am not running PDR Sunday.

I have been conflicted over this race since I ran Avalon on Sept 5.  This is one of my favorite races and I have looked forward to it all year.  It was my goal to run this back when I could barely walk from my injury.  All my hard work was for this race.  And then suddenly, I just didn’t want it anymore.  At least not enough.  But I could not figure out why, so I made no decision and continued to give it some thought.  Perhaps I just needed a break and some time to think.

As it turns out, I had a lot to think about.  I came to several conclusions as to why I was feeling such a way coming into what was supposed to be my comeback half-marathon but it always came back to one thing–> I am almost paralyzed by my fear of re-injury.  And it has led to a bit of self-sabotage on my part with training which has thereby kept me from being prepared for this race.  And maybe if I knew that was what was happening all along, I could have stopped it, but honestly until I assessed the situation honestly with myself, I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  And once I realized it, it was really too late.

If I learned anything, I learned that it is never a good idea to race when injured.  And no, currently I am not injured- at least no injury has been diagnosed- but I have been having this pain in my shins.  It didn’t bothers me unless I was running hard or after about five miles and it wasn’t even all the time.  But it was enough.  And it hurt after seven.  And I expected to run thirteen?  I did.  But I haven’t run in almost two weeks and truth is, I haven’t really wanted to lately because I don’t want to push through pain/soreness.  In addition to feeling like something is up, I also am feeling slightly burned out.  The combination of all the variables just wasn’t adding up to anything good.

Yet…despite all this knowledge, I was still conflicted until today.  And then it hit me…at some point it became clear that I was only truly conflicted because of my fear of disappointment.  I hate to think I have disappointed those who support and believe in me; and I really hate to think I have disappointed myself.  What if I was just being paranoid…what if there is nothing wrong?  But then again…what if there is…what if??  You know what happened the last time I second guessed myself…I did not run for over two months.  Way back in February when I thought my hip pain was nothing, I ran a half-marathon and ended up with a torn hip flexor.  My gut told me something was wrong but I was so afraid of disappointing people and myself that I ran the race anyway.  Right now, my gut tells me something is up with my body- no clue what..shins, burnout…whatever- but I feel like my body needs a break.  Running thirteen mile is not a break.  I will never regret running that race in February; it was one of my favorite races of all time.  But hell if I am going to make the same mistake twice!

So in the end, like so many other races this year, I have decided to skip this one.  And maybe it is out of fear of injury.  Or maybe I have finally wised up.  Either way, it still sucks.

I am trying to remember how far I have come this year- they said at first that I would be lucky to be running by June and lucky if I raced at all before fall.  Instead of giving into that theory, I busted my butt and was back out running in the middle of April and racing by the end of May.  And I went on to not only race all summer, but almost every weekend and I piled up the PR’s.  So is it disappointing to give up another race?  Of course.  But instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I am trying to remember what I have done and what I will do in the next few months.  I still plan to do Warrior Dash and now that I have had a break, I am going to start picking up the miles in preparation for Philly Half.  I fully intend to still run that race.

I tried to write this post a few days ago- but I wasn’t ready and I was overemotional about it.  Now, I feel at peace with the decision and ready to go cheer on my friends while they race.  I already feel better about getting out there and running a few miles…starting a new training cycle for Philly…I already want to run again.  I’ll be able to run just to run…I mapped out a two mile loop by my house that I plan to run a few mornings a week to get a base going. I went from being stressed out and sad to peaceful and rejuvenated.  Man, letting go feels good!

Slow And Steady Wins The Race??

Look, lets face it:  slow and steady confirms ones spot in the middle of the pack.  It does not win the race.  Just saying.

As for me, slow and steady is the only way.  You know, those baby steps I keep writing about.  And speaking of baby steps, this classic clip here is for Lacey:

Today was my first real day back at the gym.  In four weeks, I have been there only a handful of times…and all I was doing was basic lifting and ab work.  Booooring!  But today…today I had a real workout…well, about as real as it is going to get for the time being!  I started out by warming up with 10 minutes on the bike.  10 slooooooow minutes!  Then I did 15 minutes on the elliptical.  Even though it was a struggle to stay at a slow pace, it felt really good to break a sweat.  Afterwards I did a lot of stretching, worked on some of my strength exercises and then did some lifting and ab work.

It really did feel good to be back…I am looking forward to getting back into a routine, going to the gym again in the mornings and getting refocused for what is to come.  I am not fooling myself, the road is long…but these small victories add up and I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time before I am back to new!

Don’t forget, tomorrow starts the weekly Q&A; the voting for theme ends at midnight tonight and the first Q&A will be posted early tomorrow morning, along with the theme winner!  If you haven’t already, please vote.  If you did, thanks 🙂  Looking forward to getting this started!

 

Injury Report, Baby Steps, Ab Challenge, The Madness and Random Thoughts

Warning: This post is all over the place!

Happy Monday!  Hope everyone is enjoying their Daylight Savings!  I know I am happy it is finally here (even if it is messing up my sleep schedule) and that we will be having longer and lighter days!  It has been a rainy mess the last few days but on the positive side…it’s not snow!!!

PiF Update: 166.8 miles confirmed 🙂  What a wonderful thing we are all doing together to help a great cause!  Thanks again for taking the few seconds to come here and dedicate your miles.  And an extra thanks to those shouting it out on your blogs; only 33.2 more miles until I hit my goal of 200 total miles in one week!  Keep ’em coming- it’s on until Wednesday!

Injury Report:  On Friday I was cleared from my crutches.  Woo-Hoo!  And yesterday I went to the gym.  Woo-Hoo times two! 

So here’s the deal- I am cleared to workout very lightly.  Basically stationary bike only right now.  Probably the elliptical by the end of this week and  I should be in the pool by the end of  next week.  As for running, who knows.  Everything really depends on both my follow-up MRI and my progress in PT.  I am following everything to a T; still going to ART three times a week and PT two days a week.  I have seen/felt a remarkable difference, so I know what I am doing is working.  I wouldn’t go as far to say I feel good, because I am still very aware of the pain.  I can say I feel better though because the pain is not as severe nor as constant. 

And about those baby steps…Sunday, I did ten minutes on the stationary bike.  Doesn’t seem like a lot but considering I have nothing but some ab work in the books for March, this is huge.  It is the first step to getting back to my normal workouts.  And even though it was only ten minutes…ten very slow minutes…it was still something.  I also got back to lifting which felt great.  I could have been lifting all along, but there was no way I was going into the gym on crutches because that just would have felt ridiculous.  My total workout was less than 40 minutes but I was just happy to be burning calories again!

Speaking of burning calories, Katie is holding an abs challenge!  This works out great for me as I am doing my own year long challenge- yeah for extra motivation!  I really realllllllllly want a six-pack (I would even settle for a four-pack) by summertime. 

I’ll take these abs please…

Want your abs to be kick ass??  Go check out Katie’s challenge!

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In news that has nothing to do with working out but is still sports related…THE MADNESS HAD BEGUN!! 

March Madness is here and I am in love!  My team, the UNC Tarheels, did not bother to show up this season so I am going to be rooting only for the teams that I have in my pool.  And sometimes that is tough because it requires me to root for teams I dislike (Michigan State, Kentucky and Georgetown).  I think it would be great if Villanova won, since they are the home team, but I don’t think they have the size to get very far.  Of course, as always Duke got special treatment (really…ahead of Syracuse…reallllly???) and has the easiest bracket.  Other than Nova, they really don’t have too much competition, so it is a small possibility that Nova could get to the Final Four.  But who knows.  This had been one of the toughest brackets I ever filled out but I am really looking forward to this years tournament because with big teams (UNC, UCONN, UCLA, Memphis) missing this really could be anyone’s year.  I think Kansas is the clear “easy-choice” winner but it won’t be made easy for them.  If they get past Syracuse, I think they have it.  But like I said…it is anyone’s game to win or lose.  And I expect a lot of twists and turns.  And don’t worry about my Tarheels…next year, they will be back.  And by back, I mean back on top!

Do any of you follow NCAA basketball?  If so, do you have a special team?

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And before I go, some random thoughts…

Why are there still people without a Road ID???  Last year, a PA woman was killed by a tree; she was not carrying any I.D. and she went unidentified for three days.  She was identified eventually because the news placed a photo of the shirt she was wearing on T.V.  That is how her family found out about her death.  I am sure this is not a singular case, yet still so many people do not have an I.D.  If you are one of those people…please buy a Road ID.  Not tomorrow…not in a week…now.  Don’t wait for another give-a-way.  Don’t wait until it is too late.  There are many different options; you can pick your color, the type you want (ankle, wrist, shoe…etc) and how much info you wish to share.  They start at only $19.99.  Go now.  Buy it. 

Whatever happened to TiaRT? Am I missing something because I used to love and look forward to this every Thursday and it has been MIA since the end of the blogger guest appearances.  If you are interested in what mine was, go here.  Yup, shameless plug!  Anyway, my point is, I miss it and I want it back!

Like I said, this was a random all over the place post!  Thanks to all my readers who are sticking with me while I am injured!  I know non-tri & non-running talk can get boring but hopefully I am keep you plenty entertained with Q&A’s and randomness like this.  And for you who are new to Tri’s, stay tuned for a Swim 101 post with information about beginner swimming and swim training!

The Hip Verdict & A Question Answered

The other day I asked you readers to help me stay occupied with posts by asking me questions!  To those of you who have, thanks…I look forward to answering them; to those of you who have not asked me yet, what are you waiting for?????  Get your thinking caps on and ask away! 

Q: Meg asked me: What are the details on your hip flexor, was it from a one time injury or over use? Who did you see for the diagnosis? This is the perfect question for today because I had planned to fill you all in on the verdict.  And I know you are all waiting for me to pop up on your google reader with my status.

A: I saw my chiro the week before I left for the Florida race because I was having some mild hip pain.  My flexibility checked out good and he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, so we did some ART and he gave me the green light to run the race as long as I felt up to it.  Come race day I felt fine.  There was some uneven pavement on the course and it was not fun for my hip but after a few days rest, I was back out and running.  And other than some post-race stiffness, there was no pain.  The following weekend, a week post-race, I went for 6 miles.  It hurt a lot and I should have stopped.  But I didn’t.  I went home after the 6 miles and iced/stretched.  I woke up Monday almost unable to walk and made a doctor’s appointment.  They gave me Thursday but by Tuesday night I couldn’t take it anymore and they saw me on an after hours visit.  I was given some Vicodin and a script for an x-ray.  I got the x-ray Wednesday and went back to the doctor on Thursday.

The Verdict: I have been diagnosed with Iliopsoas syndrome. 

In Layman’s Terms: I have a grade 2 hip flexor strain in the Iliopsoas area.  This is caused by a sudden contraction of the iliopsoas muscle, which results in small tears (anywhere from 25-75%) in the soft tissue, usually at the point where the muscle and tendon connect.  This is a bit worse than a just a pulled muscle (that is a grade 1) but not nearly as bad as a full tear or rupture (grade 3).  My chiropractor said that Grade 1 & 2 strains are common and believes that I am on the lower end of a grade 2; with proper care, I should be back to working out in another week and could be running in about three weeks. 

How it happened: More than likely, since I had some irritation prior to the race, I probably fed the beast by running on the uneven pavement.  This probably resulted in a Grade 1.  A Grade 2 happens upon an event (striking a soccer ball, falling on ski’s and running intervals are the most common) and somewhere in the 6miles I tore my soft tissue.

The Good News: No fracture!  This was the very best news I could have asked for. 

The Bad News: See photo below…

Lovely!

Yup- crutches it is!  Because of my pain level, both my primary doctor and chiropractor (both athletes themselves-score!) agree that I need to spend some serious time completely off my feet.  Here’s the thing…if they told me to stand on my head and drink oyster juice in order to get better, I would do it!  Today is day four of my ten days off.  The rules are as follows: I should be spending 75% of my time off my leg; anything more than 15-20 steps and I need to use the crutches.  It is a pain in the ass (and in my arms!) but hell…I WANT TO RUN!  

The Treatment:  When the 10 days on crutches are up they will assess my pain level and take an MRI to check the progress.  It will then be determined if I can go back to easy working out (swimming, light biking, ellip…etc)  Additionally, I am seeing a PT two days a week for stretching and my chiropractor three days a week for ART for the next three weeks.  After those three weeks, they will determine if I am ready to run again.  Regardless, I will continue with my Chiropractor two days a week and PT one day a week for six more weeks. 

The Training Plan: Clearly right now I am at a stand still.  Everything is contingent on how things go with treatment.  I feel ridiculous going into the gym on crutches so I am hardly working out at all.  I am doing very (read:extremely) light ab work at home but that is about it.  I am really hopeful that I will feel better after 10 days off and some ART/PT and that I will at least get to do some light working out.  As for running…I want to take all that one day at a time.  If it were to all work out perfectly and I got to run the RU Half in April, which is a possibility as this point, then that would be great.  But if I can’t, then I will be okay with that too.  The goal here is to get better and since I will have to all but start over in three weeks, I need to take it very slow.  It is common for this injury to re-occur in Grade 1 and that is the very last thing that I want!  So for now, I wait.  And wait.  And wait and see.

So Meg, I hope that answered your question! 

I feel lucky that my primary doctor is  runner and my chiropracter is an athlete.  They not only know medically what they are talking about but they “get it” as well.  My recommendations for anyone dealing with an injury of any kind is to find a doctor you trust and who really understands.  Additionally, I recommend you to follow whatever treatment program you are given.  After only one ART session I feel a world of difference and I expect it to only get better from this point forward. 

Thank you so much for all your kind words, emails and support!  I am keeping a positive attitude as best I can (and it is not easy) and focusing on the good stuff.  Like getting this in the mail when I got home from the doctor:

Hello cheese face!

Now…go ask me a question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!