Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sad, Upset, and Feeling Broken.

One of the things that I find really important these days is maintaining a positive attitude.

I spent so much of my life being pessimistic and self-conscious, and recently I have realized what a waste of time that is. When I was growing up, I used to obsess about the what-ifs and the negative things that I was experiencing... always trying to find ways to fix my mistakes...

As an adult, when I felt myself going to that place I would call my amazing mother for advice... which always ended with "Amy, don't let yourself go there. Stay away from that place."

And recently I have become acutely aware of how the outlook of others can affect my own outlook. When trying to remain positive myself, I am now making a concerted effort to surround myself with positive and supportive people so that I can continue to remain positive and be supportive of myself and others as well. Kind of like the basic tenets from Rhonda Byrne's books, The Secret and The Power. You maintain a positive attitude and positivity and good things will be returned to you in the process.

And it works. It really, truly works.

Except that today, I am having trouble being positive. Instead, I just feel sad. And upset. And broken.

We all know that I have been struggling with foot/ankle issues in my right leg. Last time I wrote about my injury, I talked about how the xrays showed no breaks, showed dorsal spurring, and how the Dr. believed that it was just achilles tendon issues. The remedy was to be off my feet for 2 weeks.

And I didn't want to follow his orders. But I did anyway... lest I get worse and sabotage my upcoming 6 in 6 birthday gift to myself. In the end, I actually managed to stay off my feet for 2 and a half weeks. I went stir crazy, but I did it. and I went out for a couple of runs last week and had absolutely no pain.

I thought that was the end of it.

Until I went to my part time job on Saturday. This job is fast paced and I find myself averaging about 16,000 steps during a shift. About halfway through my shift (when I was at about 9,000 steps), I started to feel significant pain in my heel. Then by the time I hit 12,000 steps, I could barely walk. Other employees were concerned but I brushed it off with my newly adopted power of positivity.

But I knew there was something wrong. I knew I had to be concerned.

First thing yesterday morning, I called the doctor and got an urgent appt with the orthopedic. I went in there knowing that there was probably nothing that could be done, but I knew I was going to ask if there was anything that they could do so that I could resume my life while still following the orders for RICE. I kept thinking a boot would make sense, so I went in and asked specifically if that would make sense.

And I KNEW KNEW KNEW that a boot wouldn't be recommended because it was soft tissue damage and walking boots are rarely prescribed for tendonitis. I KNEW he would say no... which is why I felt confident in suggesting it... (how ass backwards is that?)

And wouldn't you know... the very first thing the Dr said was that he agreed that I needed to be in a boot. And now I need an MRI.... because how the heck does someone follow Dr. orders for 2+ weeks of rest and wind up WORSE???

He told me he hasnt ruled out my being able to participate in my upcoming birthday races... and he will make that decision after seeing my MRI....

But I'm angry. And hurt. I've been preparing for this since May. And less than 3 weeks out, I am falling apart.

I'm allowed to take my boot off to shower, sleep (when I am supposed to replace it with a different boot), and ride my bike (if I can tolerate it)... and the Dr says I am looking at being in it until at least the end of September...

If he clears me to run the races at Center of the Nation... I will be traveling with the boot and wearing it every moment that I am not actually running. But the verdict is still out on that. Trying to be positive.

But all I want to do is cry.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What is a runner?

Since I began to consider myself a runner, I came down with a case of the buts. You know how it goes:

I'm a runner but ... I am slower than molasses rolling uphill in the winter.

I'm a runner but ... I am still kind of new at it and can't go very far.

I'm a runner but ... a lot of people can walk faster than me.

I'm a runner but ... I use run/walk/run intervals.

I'm a runner but ... I don't have a runner's "body" and am overweight.

And the list can go on and on.

I hear people saying these things all the time (Crap, we all know that I SAY THESE THING ALL THE TIME). But why? Why do we feel the need to quantify our self descriptors based on our speed, or our distance, or our weight? Why do we negate our own self perceptions when talking to others?

In my brain, I am a runner. I'm not like Hussein Bolt. I'm definitely not a Kenyan. But I am a runner. I am a STRONG runner. I am a STEADY runner. I run.

The past few months I have been making a concerted effort to not validate myself as a runner. I am just a runner. Period. End of sentence. End of paragraph.

I am a runner because I need to run to maintain my normal daily life. I am a runner because if I go a number of days without running, I get irritable and desperate for the opportunity to log some miles. I am a runner because I run.

The other day, a female runner that I know wrote a status update on facebook that really hurt me. Although it wasn't exactly what she said, the metamessage was that the title of Runner should be reserved only for those who run at a certain pace. She wanted to know at what pace is someone no longer a runner and when they are just a walker using the wrong title. I don't know how else to explain what she wrote, and she has long since taken the update down... but you get the gist.

And I tried a dozen times to just chalk my hurt up to being overly sensitive about my own slower than molasses pace, but I couldn't. I reminded myself that it wasn't personal, but that didn't make it hurt any less. I know she didn't say this to personally attack me... which is why I protect her identity. And I'm hoping she wasn't talking about me in general, but that doesn't make it hurt any less.

I run slow. In my first half marathon, I was passed in mile 12 by an octogenarian with a tri-wheel walker. In my shamrock 10-miler in march, I was passed by a 30-something who was on arm crutches.  I'M SLOW. But I am still a runner. I bust my ass, and I run.

And I am angry that someone I know would try to take that away from me or cut me down.

It reminds me of the mean girls in high school who had to cut themselves down to build themselves up. Under normal circumstances, the running community isn't like that. Normally it is people building one another up and helping one another along with encouragement. Not cutting one another down because so-and-so is a faster runner and therefore is more entitled to use the term Runner to describe themselves.

Before judging others, we need to remember that we all started somewhere. For most runners it was when they were in their childhood years. The kids ran around on the playground... and most adult runners just never stopped. But what about the people like me who learned to run at the age of 31? When you see me now, you just see a fat girl running. You don't immediately see all of the health and medical issues that I have had to overcome to get to where I am. So lets try not to judge.

And if you are like those creepy guys in cars who holler as they drive by me while I'm running... it ain't nuttin buta thang. You don't bother me. You just look dumb. Because we all know that you are just trying to make yourself look better by cutting others down... and we know you are secretly jealous. I'd like to see you get out of the car and run 10 miles with me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Finally Smashed... kinda

Back on the first of August, I became aware of the fact that I was very close to reaching my yearly mileage goal. At that point, I was overcome with excitement.

The very next day, I began to have significant pain in my right ankle, and I would later learn that I had to take some time off with my feet up. What's more, I was having some other health issues, and a second doctor forced me off my feet. I was devastated. And I felt like a failure.

Reaching my goal was so close I could almost taste it, and there I was being forced onto the couch and not able to finish what I had started. But Drs orders are Drs orders. And I didn't want to play around with the possibilities of how long I would be sidelined if I didn't follow their orders.

So I followed their orders, and I sat on the couch. A lot. My brain and body felt like they were turning into mush. Just when I felt I couldn't take anymore laying around, it seemed like the 2 weeks was over, and I got back out there.

And I am proud to say that I am proud of myself.

As of this past Monday night, I have met my goal. I didn't pass it by a lot, but I reached it.

The goal was 312 miles in 2013.

I am currently logged at 313.8 miles for the year!

I did it.

And somewhere along the line, with the help of My Fitness Pal, I managed to also lose almost 8 lbs in 3 weeks. I am shocked.

As a final side note on today's post: last week I chose to leave the I Run 4 Group and stop running for little Donnie. While being laid up, I felt as if I was short changing Donnie, and I felt like he and his family deserved better. In the end, this is probably better for me as well. I need to make sure that I am running for myself for awhile.... at least until I get back on my feet.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Just what the doctor ordered

It has been a rough week.

I feel like I am completely falling apart here, and I don't know how to get myself back to that positive mental place.

I'm starting to cry as I write this. I'm just feeling so down.

I run to get out frustrations. I run to spend time with myself. I run to help develop solutions to problems that I am having. I run to help lose weight. I run so that I can eat more throughout the day and be guilt free. I run because I have ambitions and goals. I run to keep myself in a well balanced mental status.

And now, it has been a week without running... per doctors orders.

Supposedly I am supposed to make my body healthy by taking some rest and not running. But what good is a healthy body if I feel my mind deteriorating and becoming less healthy?

Turns out there were no fractures or breaks in my ankle... but the x-rays showed that there was some moderate dorsal calcaneal spurring (HEEL SPURS), and the doctor was aware that I had a significant amount of soft tissue trauma in my Achilles and the tendons in my foot.... hence the reason that my foot blew up to the size of a grapefruit this weekend. The only real thing I can do now is wear a boot at night to keep my Achilles and foot stretched out... lots of rest (no running)... and anti-inflammatories. I'm hoping to begin walking again to keep my mind clear.

And keeping my mind clear and functional right now is a PRIORITY... particularly after my cardiology testing this week. What originally brought me to the cardiologist was that the heart monitors picked up back to back episodes of extreme tachycardia when I was sick in early July. And during the testing this week... the monitors picked up ongoing extreme bradycardia. If the normal adult heart rate is between 60-120 beats per minute, and my heart rate was at 35 bpm while sleeping and 37 bpm while awake... what can that mean? this is not good.

For people who are extremely physically fit or people who have trained themselves to have lowered heart rate, a pulse of 35-37 bpm can be quite normal. But I have not trained myself and while I participate in distance running events, I am NOT what anyone would call extremely physically fit.

And if 35-37 bpm was a natural range, would I be having trouble getting a full breath, hot flashes or bouts of the sweats?

I wont know more until my follow up on Aug 21... and I am trying to be positive and not go to that scary place of what ifs...  that wont be helpful to anyone.

I just don't know what to say. I'm falling apart here. And I just want to be outside and doing what I love... or rather what I love to hate to love.

I'm kinda scared here.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Well, I didn't manage to log enough miles this weekend to officially break my goal of 312 miles for the year... I actually managed to log nothing.

Which leaves me at 309.82 Miles so far for the year. So much for Hulk-Smashing my goals this weekend. :shrug:

My body seems to be in revolt. This weekend, my breathing was all sorts of messed up, and it felt like a 900lb Sumo wrestler was doing jumping jacks on my chest every time I tried to take a deep breath. It wasn't like asthma, and my asthma meds didn't seem to help the situation. I might have to ask the cardiologist about that during my appts this week.

What's more, my feet  and ankles swelled up to the size of softballs... and they were painful to walk on. The outside of my right ankle is giving me a sharp pain each time that I put weight on it. The pain in my ankle is nothing like that pain that I was having early this year in the arches of my feet.

I went to two appts today... the first was at the cardiologist to get my holter monitor  put on... 24 hours of heart monitoring... we hope that it will pick up on some of the irregular rhythms that I was having. The electrodes and the tape are already driving me batty, the wires are making me feel tangled, and don't even get me started on the monitor box. I know it is important to do this testing (particularly before my big trip), but I'm just irritated. The cardiologist office said no showers while the unit is attached, so that means no workout tonight because I wont be able to shower...

But that's somewhat OK because at the second appt (the one for my ankle), the doc ordered XRays and STAY OFF of my foot while I am waiting on the results. He thinks there might be an offhand chance that I have a hairline fracture in my ankle, but more than likely, the pain I have been having is related to achilles tendonitis. I've legitimately had that issue before, and it felt NOTHING like this ankle pain feels, but what can I do?

If its the achilles tendon, he ordered my to be off my feet for the next 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS?!?!?!

I looked at him like he had 25 heads. TWO WEEKS?!?!?!

Aint nobody got time for that. I've got training to do and races to prep for. I can barely even justify 2 days off in a row right now, and he wanted TWO WEEKS?!?!?!

I told him he was nuts and we came to a compromise right in the middle... As in, I'd agree to 4 days off with my feet up... and when I return I will take it easy. As much as I know I have to take care of my body and listen to the pain, I also know that I am still unprepared for this trip to the Center of the Nation.

I just had this discussion last night with my dear friend Brina.

She is worried that I am unprepared. She is worried that I am going to quit on her. She is worried that I will give up or peter out. I worry all those things too, but I also know that if I push too hard, it may take more than just a few weeks with my feet up to correct the problem.

I was feeling really good about my training last week... and now less than  a week later I am falling apart at the seams. I just want to succeed, but right now it is just feeling like I'm having failure after failure after failure.

I don't want to give up. I want to be well trained. I want to be prepared to give it my all.

But most importantly... right now, I want to go put my feet up. Rest is just what the Dr ordered... because right now, that point one will get me.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hulk-Smashing goals.

If you remember correctly, back in early January I set a mileage goal (although I didn't start blogging till later, the goal was set in early January). It wasn't a resolution, per se, but just a goal of how many miles I would like to log for the year. This was back before I got this wild hair about doing 13 half marathons this year, before I decided that I wanted to run a marathon next January, and WAY before I dreamed up this crazy idea of doing 6 half marathons in 6 days.

The goal was to log 312 miles this year. It was more mileage than I managed in 2012, but not so much more that it would be unattainable. I wanted a challenge, but I didn't want to set my goals too high, lest I set myself up for inevitable failure.

In January through June, I logged just under 200 miles, so it seemed that I was right on track to pass my goal. But then in July, although I spent a week off my feet due to illness, I managed to log 93 miles. NINETY-THREE!

Technically I've never logged over 50 miles per month, so 93 miles was a lot.  And as of last night, my year to date mileage is at 292.43 miles.

Should all go according to plan, I'll be hitting my 2013 mileage goal by Saturday.

That is mind-blowing to me.

In other late breaking news, I have officially quit on Weight Watchers. My health insurance company told me I was overweight and could reduce my premiums if I lost weight, and they offered me a free weightloss coach. She suggested that Weight Watchers may not be working so well for me because it only tracks on a points system, not individual things like calories, fat, protein, sodium and sugar.

She had suggested using My Fitness Pal. While I resisted making the change, Ray started using it recently and has given it glowing reviews. So for now, I will be tracking everything that I consume and logging it. After the first day, the reports suggested that after 5 weeks I should be at one of my first target weights. I like the idea of that.

I'm gonna Hulk-Smash that goal too. And if the scale only moves 0.1 lb per week... that's ok. I wont let it get me.