Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The "Benefits" of Not Exercising

It is Day 17 of my foot's captivity, and I'm starting to lose my mind.  I wasn't naive enough to think this would be a fun little break and would give me a chance to do all kinds of indoor stuff like reading and catching up on TV shows.  I knew I'd get restless and bitter.  But still, I've tried to remain positive.  It's getting tough, but I managed to wrangle a list of the benefits of being on the disabled list.

  1. I get to sleep late.  I've slept until 7:30am almost every day for the last three weeks, which has never happened that much in my life.  No more worries about sleeping through my alarm or struggling to find a free lane at the pool.
  2. I haven't had a chance to injure anything else.
  3. I've had all kinds of time to do things like paint my nails.  They've never looked better.
  4. I started fake tanning with spray on tan, mostly because I'm in denial that summer's over and I don't want to look like a vampire.  Not a sexy vampire, that would be okay.  But more like a middle aged, out of shape vampire.  
  5. I've saved so much gas because I haven't really been driving much.  I can, but it's a huge pain and probably not a great idea (due to the walking cast on my right foot), so I stay home more than usual.
  6. I'm all caught up on Days of Our Lives.  (Sammie's out of jail, Kristen's still crazy, Jennifer looks exactly like she did 20 years ago).
In short, during this downtime I've turned back into the teenage version of myself.  I'm thinking about getting a subscription to Teen Magazine and plastering my bedroom walls with posters of Zac Efron and Robert Pattinson.

In case you, like me, were thinking that at least being in a cast means I can shoot down to Disney and cut to the front of the line on all the rides, you can forget about that.  Did you hear about their new policy?  Guess I picked a bad time to get all disabled.

On Monday I have a follow up appointment with my podiatrist.  I'm not overly optimistic because my foot is still pretty painful.  I'm hoping for a miracle because it's killing me to be stuck on the sidelines while all this beautiful picture perfect weather has been coming through.  I was okay with being injured when it was 90-100 degrees, but not when it's 60!  That's my jam!

In the meantime, between painting my nails and watching soaps, Kristen took me kayaking to prepare for this weekend's Greenway Challenge.  This is a 60-ish mile relay race comprising of running, cycling, mountain biking, and kayaking.  I was supposed to do a 19 mile road bike segment, but due to my foot injury I was reassigned to the kayak.  I tried to back out of the race entirely, but my fellow ladies wouldn't let me wuss out.  It was a little dicey getting in and out of the kayak without putting a lot of weight on my foot, but while I was in the kayak it was a total blast.  I'm hooked, and naturally dying to go buy my own!  Maybe next year.  After our kayaking adventure we cracked open a beer and ordered some take-out food to pick up on the way home.  So now we can add drinking beer in the woods to my list of teenage-like behavior!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MRI results (& further proof of my badassness)

I'd like to formally retract the statement I made in my last post where I secretly wished for something alarming to show on my MRI which would justify the pain I've been in for six months.  Be careful what you wish for, right?

So last Thursday I went in for my MRI, and I was happy to hear that I was only having a regular MRI and not with a dye contrast as I originally thought.  Some people hate MRI's but they don't bother me at all.  I just close my eyes, listen to some loud music, and even sometimes nod off despite the loud noises.  Every time you have an MRI, you have to go through a thorough interrogation 1. on the phone when setting up the appointment, 2. in the office with the person registering you, 3. on a paper questionnaire, and 4. with the MRI technician.  These questions are almost identical in each situation, and sometimes I think I'm going to get caught in a lie.  Samples include: Do you have any tattoos?  Do you have hearing aids?  Do you have any shunts or stents?  Do you have any metal in your eye?  I felt like responding saying, "you know, I did lose my paring knife this morning, thanks for reminding me!  I stuck it in my eye socket...there it is!".  Do you have any osteoarthritis? I said, "how about you tell me after the MRI?".

I anxiously awaited the results of the MRI, and in the meantime I took the opportunity to go for a run Friday morning in the nice cool weather.  Ever since before the Boston Marathon I've been feeling really burnt out from running.  I think running back to back marathons was probably not the best idea (mentally or physically), and I really didn't mind taking a break from running.  Lately though I've started getting the itch to run more, and Friday was a beautiful cool day and I took advantage of it with a 4 mile trail run.  Despite my heel pain, it was a wonderful run and made me realize that I do in fact still love running.  I hoped that I would get the MRI results, get a cortisone shot, and get back into a steady running schedule.

Monday afternoon I got a call from my doctor.  He started off by saying that he looked at the results of my MRI and now he knows why I've been in so much pain for so long.  Uh oh.  He said that the MRI confirmed plantar fasciitis and inflammation, but also a torn ligament in my heel.  He said that without complete rest, this ligament would never have a chance to heal, and my only option at this point is to completely immobilize my foot.  This means four weeks in a walking cast, and possible surgery if there's no improvement.  The one great thing, he said, was that fortunately there is no tumor.  Wait, what?  That's the good news?  Was a tumor even on the radar as a possibility?  

So, once again I find myself in the familiar place of being sidelined with an injury as autumn (and in my opinion, the best time of year to run) approaches.  It seems kind of cruel that this is the third consecutive autumn that I've had to halt running.  For those keeping track, in October 2011 I had hip surgery, in October 2012 I got a stress fracture, and now September 2013 I'm diagnosed with a torn ligament.  Unlike my previous doctor's orders, this time I plan on fully adhering to the requirement to rest.  The threat of surgery is enough to smarten me up, because that's the last thing I want!

Instead of doing all kinds of things to sidestep my doctor's orders, I'm doing other non-active things.  I paint my nails a lot.  I've been doing a lot of reading.  I've watched a lot of Tosh.0.  I'm thinking about going to buy some yarn and crochet an afghan.  Really just anything I can think of that will keep me busy and not thinking about all the running I'm not doing.  One thing I'm not doing is spending a lot of time on social media like Twitter or Facebook.  I'm happy that so many people are happy and out running, but I'm not, and I'm trying not to get too bitter about it.

The good thing is I have plenty of support from loved ones.  Like this guy --->

And this guy! --->

Isn't Rocco great?  He took me apple and pear picking in the front yard.  He's really good at sidepassing his way through the branches and helps me get the fruit that's waaaaay up high.

And one final thought:  Have I mentioned lately how badass I am?  Just to remind everyone, after tearing this ligament (most likely in the Boston Marathon), I still ran a half marathon in May, and completed my first triathlon in July.  I did those in some serious pain.  Just think of how great I'll be next year when I'm all patched up!  Right?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MRI's and bike crashes (totally unrelated)

You may have caught on over the last six months that I've been having a bit of an issue with a pesky case of plantar fasciitis.  I've tried to spare you from the frustration of it all (you're welcome) while keeping myself busy swimming and pedaling all over town.  The PF started just before the Boston Marathon, and never really went away.  In May I finally went to a podiatrist where I was ordered to do some additional stretches, icing, resting, and walking with Power Step inserts.  Progress was minimal, and in June I started a six week physical therapy program.  The problem, it seems, originated from my under-developed hip, which never really fully recovered from my hip surgery back in October, 2011.  PT had me doing all sorts of core and hip strengthening exercises to even me out while doing massage on my calf and foot.  The short term result was new hip pain in addition to my heel pain!  But, the long term result was that my hip strengthened up and that sets me up for a stronger, more even stride.  Unfortunately, the PT didn't provide a whole lot of relief to the heel pain, and after six weeks I was maybe only 20% improved.

At my last appointment with the podiatrist, he recommended we take the next step and get a cortisone shot, but before that he wants an MRI to really get an in-depth look at what's happening inside my foot.  My MRI is finally scheduled for this Thursday, and I'm looking forward to getting the results.  Part of me wants to hear "hey great news, it's not as bad as we thought!", but part of me wants justification for all the whining I've been doing for the last six months, with something akin to, "I can't believe you're walking let alone running!  You're simply the strongest, most amazing person I've ever seen in all my years!".  Okay, maybe dial it back a notch.  But you get it.  I want my pain validated.

For now I'm just continuing to run a couple miles at a time, a couple times a week.  And of course pedaling all around town!  After doing several 30 mile bike rides, we (the gang of women) decided to up the ante and make it a 50 miler.  Saturday morning, Jackie, Kristen, Luke (honorary member of the gang of women) and I headed out for a long long ride.  What we didn't realize was how much harder a 50 mile ride was than a 30!  I think the 150% humidity had something to do with it, but man were we spent.  We decided to be responsible and cut the ride back to 40 miles, and start our Corona re-hydration plan early.  In case there was any question that I was just being a sissy and could have made it another 10, I managed to crash my bike at mile 39.  Proof positive that I was just too gassed.  Not to worry!  Lexi is fine.  She has road rash on her pedal, but that just builds character.  As for me, I have a fabulous bruise on my leg, which this photo just doesn't do justice.

And for the record, there was nothing sissy about this ride.  Check out these hills!

In the last week I've managed to crash my bike and crash my horse (yep, poor Rocco took a nose dive while galloping).  I really hope this MRI gets me pointed in the right direction, because these cross training activities are getting risky!