Agony of my foot

Agony of my foot?

I would have said “the feet”, but it’s really only one foot and I haven’t actually let it defeat me. I’ve been better. I’ve also been worse, though. Had I not been so active when I twisted my ankle, I probably could have had a much worse injury or it may have lingered much longer.

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My lovely ankle at the end of the day Tuesday. (The mornings, I have more of an ‘ankle’ than a ‘kankle’)

The Present

I’m not running yet. I’ve been away from running for about 2 weeks now. I miss going out and running. I fear that my speed and my endurance will drop while I’m not out there. I wonder if the injury will somehow alter my abilities to run well. Only time will tell and I was once completely new at it and had to work hard to gain speed and endurance. It wasn’t much easier after I’d gotten to go further and faster because there is always room for improvement and hard work. I’m willing to do it, so there’s really not a need for worry in that area.

I used my health insurance benefit to get a gym membership. They offer a fitness program through participating gyms that is a set monthly fee, but I can go to multiple gyms for that one fee. I started out with the local Gold’s Gym that has a pool inside. I’ve been trying to keep up my cardiovascular exercise through swimming laps  I’ve gone 3 times so far and I’ve done better each time. I went from barely being able to complete 2 laps without significant rest to doing 20 lengths one day and then 44 the next. I really had to push myself to the 44. I’d set the goal before I’d gotten in the car to drive to the gym. While I was swimming, I kept convincing myself that if I just made it more laps than the previous day, I could settle for that. Then, I kept asking myself if I couldn’t go on or just didn’t want to. I had to swim another lap to test that question each time. So, I kept going. The pool isn’t quite 25 yards, so 87 lengths or 43 laps is a mile. I went half of a mile just to see myself do it. The day I swam 20 lengths of the pool, I dried off and headed out to the gym floor and used a few of the machines that focused mostly on arm, chest, and back muscles. I tried to stay around 35-50 lbs on each one and complete at least 2 sets of 25 repetitions with a short break in between sets. My arms were so shaky afterward, I thought I may have overdone it. I’m not terribly sore, though. I suppose using the free weights at home for so long helped me after all. I’m excited about the new additions to my fitness routine, but I really am excited to get back to running as well.

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#NewAdventure

The Past

I’m going to take a moment to tell a story about my swimming background and it will probably tell you a lot about me. I was 16 and a couple of my friends said they were going out for the swim team. I had never taken a lesson in my life. My swimming experience was limited to a doggie paddle and a side stroke to get from one spot to another in a lake. My diving experience was off of a pontoon boat in Cumberland Lake in Kentucky and my Aunt Lisa had gotten me to actually go in head first without belly flopping. I went for the dive team and man, I stunk it up. I couldn’t straighten my body out after touching my toes on a pike. I was never very close to the board after jumping. The diving coach didn’t give up and tell me not to come back. She sent me to the swimming coach. I hopped in the pool and I imitated the front crawl/freestyle from what I saw and I came out gasping for air every few strokes and sounding like I was for sure not going to survive. Coach McFarland didn’t let me give up. I stayed a little after practice a few times until I learned to breathe during a stroke. I learned to flip under the water at the end of the pool. I learned to dive off of the block at the end like someone would to start a race. I got to participate in swim meets when the season started. I knew nothing about the sport and I joined the team and got to actually be a part of it. My teammates were helpful and would show me how to do the strokes outside of the water to help me do them in the water. I didn’t squander the opportunity. The end of the season awards ceremony saw me the recipient of the “most improved” award in addition to a “gag gift” of goggles because I had a terrible habit of losing my goggles off of the block at the start of races. I’d somehow get the goggles to pop off of my face in all the excitement or they’d come down on my neck and I’d yank them off and toss them onto the pool deck while swimming. I wouldn’t say I went from zero to hero, but I stayed with it even after I realized I wasn’t that good at it.

The Future

These past two weeks seem to have crawled by so slowly and I still have about 4 weeks left of recovery before I can fully go back to running. I still intend to go back to running outdoors on a regular basis. I intend to finish a marathon when I’m back to that fitness level and endurance.  I also intend to keep going to the gym. I asked a friend who had done bodybuilding in the past for some direction in lifting. Her trainer answered me directly, which was a huge help for me. I know I’ll feel less self conscious on the gym floor now that I had that talk about feeling new to the gym. She told me that while she has years of experience, just being in a new place can be a little overwhelming for the most experienced lifters. I like having a variety of things to do. I want to get stronger and  to get better at swimming. I plan to establish a fitness routine in the coming weeks and have the flexibility to change it as running comes back into the picture. My brand new reflective running jacket hasn’t even had the chance to go for a test run. I can’t wait to get out there, but I’ll still be active in the meantime.

Have you ever had an injury that sidelined you from a favorite activity? Did you find other ways to be active during that time? Thank you for reading! Any comments are welcome! Please let me know if there’s something you need me to discuss on here about my journey.

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Not just yet…

This past weekend was the big day. November 5th was the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon I’d trained 16 weeks to run. I had my bags packed, hotel reservation, dinner reservation, and babysitter all lined up. Then, it happened.

Thursday, I did some more cleaning like I had been all week. I swept and mopped all of the floors and I let my youngest take a duster to all the wood surfaces. We went to get my son from his bus stop in the afternoon. Walking down the street, I noticed a man was raking his leaves. I decided to be playful and I told my little girl that we’d jump over the leaves across the sidewalk. Up and over, that was it. I lifted off and felt a horrible pain in my foot and ankle and I fell to the ground straight into the leaves writhing in pain. After lying on the ground a minute and assuring the man raking that I was fine and just needed to walk it off, I made my way to the bus stop and messaged my husband and closest friend to let them know I was hurt. Neither thought I was serious.

I went home and wrapped an ice pack around my foot and ankle and placed my foot up high on the back of the couch while laying down. I sat and freaked out while crying. I cried mostly out of frustration and worry that my hope of racing had been dashed. I reached out from my computer to get some perspective and comfort. Everyone was really positive and said I had probably just tweaked it a little and it would be fine by Saturday morning. I messaged a coach, Julie, to tell her that I was in the process of freaking out. She replied that she understood, but that this wasn’t the only race there was and that even if I didn’t get to do it this weekend, I would soon. It calmed me down enough to make me come up with a contingency plan just in case. I still had faith that I’d somehow wake up fine and go to Indianapolis with a ‘little scare’ that only lasted a few hours.

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I woke up like this. Friday. Fat foot.

My hotel room was non refundable within 72 hours and I already had a sitter lined up. Besides, I could somehow rally and end up able to run the race.  I iced it and kept it elevated even as I slept Thursday night into Friday morning. Friday, I woke up to an oddly shaped and very swollen foot and ankle. I cried some more, popped some ibuprofen, and started to unpack  my running stuff. My husband asked me what it would impact if we brought the running stuff with us. I answered that it would affect my pride, but that wasn’t good enough, so we put it in the minivan and headed to Indy once my in laws arrived to watch the kids for us.

I put a yoga mat under my leg and propped my foot up on the dashboard for the ride to Indy, which was a little more than 2 hours. We checked into our hotel and set off to find food for lunch. We stopped in at a place and had beer and appetizers. The food was incredible. We had bbq sliders and fried portabella mushrooms. I was feeling better for a little while, but that may have been the yummy food and the alcohol that was bringing relief.

We went to the race expo where I started to feel the reality that a run was not in my near future and had a few moments of teary eyes. I went to the help desk and I asked for a deferral, to which they declined and said that they weren’t offering any. I checked the website and it said they wouldn’t offer a deferral after October 7th. I was bummed out about it and I was a little angry that I was going to miss out the race.  I made the best of it and got myself some new headbands and some fun freebies. There was no shortage of free lip balm tubes. I rested at the hotel awhile before heading out to dinner with a group of running friends. The dinner experience from the restaurant was not enjoyable, but at least the company was good to chat with. Returning to the hotel room, I unwrapped my foot and saw bruising that hadn’t been there before and the same icky appearance to my foot from swelling. I picked up my phone and set my wake up alarm for an hour later than I had originally planned on waking up. I exchanged my race clothes for the ones I’d packed for post race and I added my group t shirt to the pile. I was going to spectate the hell out of that race.

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Lovely shade of bruised Friday night

I set out in the morning with my husband to see everyone off for the race and wish them luck. I also got to pose for a group photo with my fellow running friends and my training program group. I acquired a cowbell from a race volunteer giving them away and found a spot to cheer everyone on as they set out from the start. After the crowd passed, my husband and I got some coffee before going back to the hotel to rest a little while until the half marathon was about over. The race was on the TV news in segments and I kept looking to see if anyone I knew went across the view of the camera. We headed back out to the race finish area and I messaged Julie to let her know that I was ready to go spectate. She was running the half marathon and had invited me to meet up with her to cheer on runners from the full marathon. Once she had cleaned up and changed clothes, we met around mile 25.5 of the race and cheered everyone as they ran by. It went by pretty quickly and I really enjoyed seeing my friends run by. I even felt my mood lighten as I saw my running friends pass by and the women I’d trained with pass by.

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I look pretty good at mile 25.5, don’t I?

My husband and I headed back to the finish line and met up with the group and chatted awhile. We left there and lunch at a pub. My fish tacos and beer were a fabulous way to end our trip. I climbed into our minivan middle row seat and reclined the seat in front of me to rest my foot elevated for the ride home. I fell asleep on the ride. By the time we were home and I looked at my feet, I had more bruising.

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My toes looked black.

I relaxed all day Sunday and called the office of my doctor after helping get the kids off to school. I was growing more impatient, when the nurse finally called to tell me that the doctor could see me in the afternoon.

Once at the dr, the nurse that took my vitals looked at my bruises and told me that she hoped it would stop hurting soon. The doctor came in shortly after she left, examined my ankle, and sent me to the x-ray area of the building. The x-ray tech spoke with me about how people who said that the ability to walk on a leg means it isn’t broken is a wive’s tale and that I could bear weight fine with a break along the side. My husband and I went back up to the dr office to wait and we saw the x-ray tech come up for a few moments. When the dr came to discuss the results, he said that he and the technician were surprised to see no fracture in the initial reading of the x-ray. My doctor was pretty specific that I would resume normal activity in about 2 weeks, but running would need to wait at least 4 or 5 weeks. He told me no playing in leaves before a marathon again. He also said that the results were only preliminary and that they’d call later in the day if they located a fracture that they missed on the initial review of the films.

I was relieved that it wasn’t broken, but I was also feeling like I’ve been such a spaz when I get hurt and I’ve gone to the doctor for things that were minor. I cried a little at the thought of not running for over a month. I’m considering alternatives, but what I really want to do is run.

My husband has tried to reassure me that I got hurt just being a good mom. It doesn’t really help. I don’t get to be in my cold weather running group that just started up last week. I can only hope I’ll have enough time to train to complete a challenge I signed up for in early January in Chicago.

This is just a setback. I’ll probably need to start the journey over again, but some trips never really were about the destination in the first place….

Countdown to glory!

Finally! We’re rounding out the 16 weeks of marathon training and leading into the weekend where my friends and I will run 26.2 miles in a race! I’ll bet you’re going to miss my constant rambling about training to run this race. Don’t worry, there will be more things for me to talk about.

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Little reminder on my shoe of the work I’ve done and the work I have yet to do. (26.2 charm)

So far this week, I’ve been doing things around the house that are reminiscent of spring cleaning despite the calendar and leaves clearly displaying that it is autumn. I’ve managed to fill nail holes, wipe down walls and baseboards, clean windows (inside and out), touch up paint the exterior of the house, and so much other stuff that I can’t even remember. When people say OCD and they’re joking, I’m serious. I have mostly been able to push that away and deal with the obsessive thoughts that lead to the compulsive behavior. When the alert is on high, I kind of like using the compulsive cleaning to distract my mind. Besides, I’m hosting Thanksgiving at the end of the month and cleaning now is a good thing. I’ve also not had much time for the negative intrusive thoughts that major depression has been forcing on me for awhile now. I have felt anxiety, but also plain excitement over the upcoming challenge. I have visualized running and pushing through the thoughts that could try to stop me. I intend to push through and cross the finish.

I’ve also had packed bags since Monday. I’m leaving Friday to get my packet and check in to a hotel once my family members arrive to take care of the house and the kids. I have 3 bags packed with one of those bags stuffed inside of another that is filled with things that I can either gear check or have my husband lug around for me. I want to have time to toss stuff into the bags, but not be scrambling to get all of the items on my checklist. The checklist I have was based on one from our training group and I’ve managed to get those items into the bags and ready to go. Pre race dinner is reserved by a fellow group member and I’ve already checked out the menu for that. I will be having eggplant parmesan, which is something I’ve eaten regularly through this training session.

You could say that this final taper week has made me loopy, but that would probably be an understatement. I was definitely a little nuts before this training even started. After all, I did sign up to run 26.2 miles just for fun. I feel like each day this week is crawling. I’m taking extra electrolytes and vitamin c all week along with drinking more water daily. Though I’ve tried to stick with a healthy diet, Halloween was Monday and I imbibed a lot in some candy yesterday. It was sooooo good! Fortunately, I’ve prepped ahead most of my meals for the week, so I can’t stray too far and end up with fast food. After all, that would be risking some pretty hefty stomach discomfort.

All in all, this past 16 weeks has been amazing. This past 18 months has been amazing. I started out wanting to lose weight then shifted my focus to what my body was capable of. So I decided to run a half marathon to show me what I could do. I didn’t stop for the winter like I had so many times before. I kept going. I mentored for a 10k while training for a half marathon. Since 2015, I’ve run 5 half marathons, I’ve placed in two 5k races in my age group, I’ve trained for and am about to run a full marathon. I’m not skinny, but I sure as hell am stronger. Running has improved my life in countless ways. My running friends are like a family to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I partially blame my husband for getting me into running. I blame the local Fleet Feet owner, Julie for getting me into running in groups by inviting me to come in and run for free on a Monday night. Then, there’s my friend Jeffrey, who pushed me to ‘just run to the top of the hill and then you can walk’ while I ran out in the cold. I thank them, too. I have countless other running friends who have made this journey worthwhile. Jane and Maureen will be running with me on Saturday. Most of the people I’ve worked with mentoring have inspired me to keep going. I have been blessed with this experience.

Thanks for reading! Next time, I’ll be writing about my marathon. Let me know if you have any questions. I love feedback!

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Jane and I were all ‘matchy matchy’ for our Tuesday run. Maybe we’re just that in sync this week before the race.