Just struggling…

My last blog post, I was feeling pretty down on myself. Low self esteem and body image will do that to a person. Major depressive disorder likes to rear its ugly head when it feels like being a jerk and I have very little control over when I’ll have a huge down swing despite the meds and exercise that keep it at a minimum. I didn’t suddenly start loving my body or feeling better about it. I’m actually still in the stupid down swing where I’m critiquing my existence and my impact. I just wanted to pass along some tidbits I’ve picked up since I’ve been trying to come back from having the cast and boot off of my ankle from the tearing and spraining I did 2 days before I planned to run my first marathon last November.

Yes, I find myself questioning my decision to sign up for another marathon after not completing the one I’d trained for last year. Of course I would feel ambivalent about it. I’m running much slower than I was this time last year and I feel like any distance takes me an eternity to complete.  I actually have the ability to run a mile in just under 11 minutes. I simply don’t have the endurance to sustain that speed for over a mile. I ran a 4 mile race this past weekend. I’d signed up to run the 15k (9.3 miles) race and asked to be moved down from the longer distance upon realizing I wasn’t in 9 mile shape.  I met up with people from Fleet Feet Bloomington to take a group pic before the race. One of the people in the group was Nikki, who I had run with a few times in the past. She started the race with me and I was starting to feel worn out and told her to just go ahead if she was feeling energetic. She assured me she wasn’t there to run fast, and we finished the first mile in under 11 minutes. We walked a little because that first mile was exhausting. The rest of the race went on in an erratic walk/run cycle. We picked up Barb (from our group) near mile 3, who had recently felt the sting of injury and needed some walking time as well. We went on to walk and run until the last half mile.  The three of us finished the end of the race running. My split times were crazy. Mile 1 was just under 11 minutes, mile 2 was over 12, mile 3 was 14 minutes, and mile four was 12 again. I somehow averaged in the 12 minute range, so that was impressive for my comeback race. I don’t think that I’d have started running again if Nikki wasn’t there to encourage me and ask if I was ready to pick up again after walking. So, that’s a testament to how I can really count on my running “family” to support and encourage me through this crappy time where I have no idea why I started running in the first place.

Sunday, I got up at 5 am. Some folks may think of 5 am and shrug. I think that’s the crack of dawn and there is very little that could convince me otherwise. I like staying up late reading, so waking early isn’t my jam. Anyway, I met up with a local marathon training group for the first time at a a park all the way on the north side of my town (I live pretty far south along the main strip). One person I’d met before was there. Denise has been running at least 1 mile every day for a few years now. She just needed to get her mile in, but she started out with me because I didn’t really have anyone my pace there to run my 6-7 miles with. The training plan dictated 7, but I accepted that I’d be happy with 6 if I made it. Anyway, Denise ran with me and I notified her when 1/2 mile passed and she said she’d go a little bit further. She ran the first mile with me before turning back. That mile averaged 14 minutes, and it settled me in for the rest of the run and helped me finish all 7 miles. Without starting out with someone, I probably would have set out to ‘just get it over with’ and blown all of my energy. I didn’t do that this time and I caught up to my training plan distance.

I’ve received a lot of encouraging words and offers for people to help me get back to running. I have tried new things to make it easier. I think running insoles have a little to do with having a good distance weekend. I am still hard on my body for being so much more round and heavy than before my injury. In a way, I wish I’d given myself time to work up to training for a marathon again. Most of it is nerves and self doubt which are purely mentality issues and not whether I’m physically able. I trust that with training, I’ll get there. I feel like it’s difficult to complete each run and that I don’t remember it being quite as hard to push through in the past.

Most people ask me how my ankle feels. The truth is, my ankle is fine. No pain with running [during or after]. My endurance could use some work. My attitude could use an adjustment. I could use a shot of self esteem. I’m getting there. My injury is gone. I’m just trying to make a comeback and I somehow forgot to exercise that toughness that I had in me when I started running distances. There aren’t really any foot holds on this incline and I’m trying to claw my way back up. It’s freaking hard. That’s all. I’m struggling. I’m not quitting. Screw that. I literally don’t know how to quit. Even when I joke that it looks like me laying down and waiting for the struggle bus to run me over….I doubt I’d even take a knee to try to lie down. My depression is truly a jerk sometimes, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me.

Thanks for reading! Marathon is October 8th. This will be my first. I’m fundraising for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation because my teen has Crohn’s. If you want to throw a few bucks at the cause, just go to my link. Click here

Here’s a pic of my ‘fluffy self’ finishing the 4 mile race:

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I was exhausted, but look at that hint of a smile at what I achieved. (Thanks for the photo Steamboat Classic)

Body Image Issues

I started on this journey running long distance to prove to myself that since my body isn’t exactly cooperative in looking how I wish it would, I’d show myself that it can still do amazing things. I’ve had some amazing experiences with that journey and I’m glad that I have shown myself that I can set goals and I can accomplish them. I don’t know that I would have imagined myself enjoying physical fitness and having it become an important part of my everyday life.

My injury and recovery has been a major setback in how I feel about myself and the way I look. I gained around 25 pounds. I’ve lost and gained 10 pounds a few times. I hate the number on the scale and my pants are a little snug lately. For some reason, I was doing much better with eating well at first than I have been eating lately. I hadn’t gained any weight until the first of this year. Then, it just piled on quickly and my confidence dropped. When the cast and boot went on and I was restricted from moving, I started to worry about whether I’d even be able to run my marathon this October. I have started training and easing back into running. I’ve been slower than I wish to be and I get tired much more quickly than I’d like to. It has had an effect on how confident I am in my ability to train for and complete my race.

Last week, I went to the Gulf Coast in Alabama for vacation. This was not good for my ego as I saw women walking by in their swimwear confidently as I wished I could just hide a little more of my chest or that my shorts were a little longer to hide my fat legs. I have never loved my body. Even at a slim 150 pounds and 5′ 7″, I wore a size 11 and I felt chubby. *I’ll have to cover my female influences as I grew up in a blog post [and probably a therapy session] at some point. Let’s just say that I’ve been trying to diet as long as I remember.

I sat behind my sunglasses in tears trying to battle my inner thoughts about how I looked fat and ridiculous and it wasn’t fair that I gained so much weight just over a matter of weeks. I thought about how I understand that I’m not 100% healthy eating and that I don’t work hard enough to look fit. I still don’t understand why I can’t seem to look the way I want or a way that I’m comfortable with. I was starting to feel good when the injury happened and I still did into this year. I felt like I’d made real progress and I wasn’t as focused on the scale. I was confident in myself. As much as I try to convince myself I’m the only person that sees what I see in the mirror, I can’t look out of my eyes from this body and feel okay with it. I get stuck on saying internally all of the things I think other people will think when they see me. I’m quite mean to myself despite knowing that I can run distances some people would only consider driving and I’m always trying to encourage others to “do the hard stuff.”

Tonight, I’m nervous that I need to train for a marathon and I’m not feeling the usual confidence that I have in the past. I want to run a marathon and I planned to last year. I don’t feel like I’m going to be capable of finishing. I am in a week where my long run should be 7 miles and I’ve run 4 miles at the most. I am lacking confidence and despite knowing that it is 100% something I need to change in my head, I wish I could change my body instead. I wish that it showed that I work hard to be this chubby woman and if I didn’t, I’d be larger. I wish I didn’t feel like crying when I see someone else having a good time in a 2 piece and not trying to cover herself or hide. I am pissed that I’m this person when I work so hard to be the person I feel like I should be.

I wrote the above paragraphs, took a little break, and went to the store. I spent time thinking about what I’d written here. To some degree, I feel this is just a mood that I get into at times. I am truly envious of people who have a slender build and I often get caught up in the “why can’t I just,” attitude about my body. The cure for this would seem to be plastic surgery or taking more extreme measures to aggressively shape myself into the woman I want to be. It isn’t the solution, though. This is a psychological issue. This is hating my body for just being the way it is. This is something that people struggle with and rarely talk about. People will encourage by commenting on other redeemable qualities, but truly, what you need to know is that you’re being too critical of yourself and it is great to want to take care of your body and your health to be healthy. Not because you think it will change what you look like. That is something I need to work on changing from within myself. I’ll continue training to run 26.2 miles because I know my body is capable. I’ll find a swimsuit that covers more of my chest so I feel more comfortable and spend less time tugging at it and looking down at my body and more time enjoying the moment I’m in. I’ll realize that I can’t really know what’s going on in the heads of those women who seem so comfortable in their own skin as they walk by and that I can’t compare myself to them. Also, I don’t mention these things in front of my kids and I hope that I can one day carry myself in a way that they find admirable and they find confidence in themselves.

Sorry that this one was kind of a downer. I plan to get out and run tomorrow as my schedule says. I figured out how to get intervals on my watch, so I’ll run/walk if needed. I am still fundraising. That’s another issue altogether with how hard I’ve been working on that. I’m $916 to my $2k goal.

Here’s a pic of me drinking wine on the balcony while on vacation. The Gulf Coast is gorgeous. I had a great time and I think my kids really enjoyed themselves as well.

 

Usually, I’m patient

I’m a patient person. I typically just wait in line and amuse myself while not really behaving like my plans for the day somehow are more important than those around me. I was aware that my ankle injury would require starting over. I just thought that I’d be starting over at a slightly less quick pace. I didn’t think about how much it would hurt my body to push myself. I didn’t know that not using my foot would cause swelling in other areas like the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon once I got out of the boot and back to using it normally.

I mapped out my 20 week training plan for the marathon. Yesterday was 3 miles run/walk. I decided to try to do it by how I felt. So, I was walking within 1/4 mile. I ran less than I walked. 1 mile in, the bottoms of my feet felt like they were bruised and tender. My left calf was tight. The wind was whipping into my face and I started trying to run again after a break at a water fountain. I made it less than .1 mile before I realized I was not going to run through any pain. I turned around and headed home with a few spurts of a slow run to test the feeling in my feet. While the pain wasn’t only on the hurt side, I didn’t want to chance it. I went 1.5 mile by the time I got home.

I was disappointed. I was angry. I felt defeated. I couldn’t finish even 2 miles of a 3 mile run. How am I supposed to run a marathon? First of all, I’m supposed to train for a marathon, not worry about running 26.2 miles this week. Next, I didn’t run 3 miles when I started out a few years ago. I couldn’t do 60 jumps in therapy a couple weeks ago. Now, I can do it. I couldn’t do 60 calf raises in therapy without pause. Now I can do it. We get stronger through persisting. We get stronger by trying. I will get there. I will rest today and I will go back out tomorrow if I feel rested enough and I will see how far I can take these legs. I won’t push through pain. I’ll push through being tired and I’ll look away from ‘can’t’.

I am not always feeling the most optimistic. Nobody is always going to be. You could say “fake it ’til you make it,” but I’d rather just say that you should believe in the best possible outcome and be prepared for it to not work out that way without a few tries. Giving up is the true failure, though. I’m going to keep my head up. I’m going to try again. Maybe I’ll be able to run a full 5k by the time my race comes around at the end of June. I have a one mile race on Memorial Day to worry about. One race at a time. One goal at a time. I can run a mile. Now I want to run 2. We’ll worry about the 26.2 as it comes along.

Thanks for reading!

If you want to know how my fundraising is going or you want to give, Click Here!

I made a new collage pic for it to make the Facebook page more attractive. My friend donated her time to help me with my profile pic that I absolutely love. I used it as the background for this collage.

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Physical Retraining

If this is your first time reading my blog, you might not know that I injured my ankle back in November. It was 2 days before my first marathon and I wound up cheering for my training partners from the sidelines. While I did what my primary doctor had advised, I felt like there was something still wrong with me. It became more prevalent as I tried to ease back into running and working out regularly at the gym. So, I got a second opinion. I found out I had a longitudinal split of the peroneus brevis tendon, a chronic tear of the anterior talofibular ligament and a sprain of the calcaneofibular ligament. I was referred from orthopedics to podiatry. I wound up in a boot and a cast for awhile as a conservative treatment since it wasn’t a full tear, which would have meant surgery. I’m now in a brace all of the time and I’m in physical training to get released to run again. So, if you see your doctor and you have that nagging feeling that something isn’t right, you should probably trust your instincts. This could have been resolved months ago and I’d be out on the trail and in the gym, which is my zen. Exercise literally makes me happy mentally and physically.

I’m in physical therapy 3 days a week and I have homework for the days I don’t have an appointment. These therapists have got me working hard and I see the progress. Day 1, I couldn’t walk down steps the way I used to before the boot. Now, I can walk the stairs, balance on one foot, and do many other things I couldn’t before. I thought I’d go through some of the things I do in therapy to show that while it is challenging, it isn’t impossible.

(continues after photo)

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When I got to therapy, all I wanted was to hop on the treadmill and try to run. My first trip involved me drawing the abc’s with my foot, doing crunches with my toes, and moving my ankle in ways I hadn’t been able to with the cast on. I learned stretches, and exercises to increase my flexibility.

We’ve been wrapping appointments up with electrical stimulation on my foot. I call it the “zappy thing,” but it doesn’t zap as much as it is a little massage directly on the spot it gets irritated. The therapists say that it helps to interrupt the pain signal from reaching the brain and prevents inflammation to the area, which can result in increased pain.

I was ecstatic when she let me ride the stationary bike. Yes, I was super happy to do it, but I was sweating after 5 minutes and felt pretty exerted. I am up to 15 minutes and it definitely isn’t as difficult as it was a few weeks ago. I still feel a little silly breaking a sweat and having labored breathing after what seems like such a brief time doing something that seemed much easier before the time I was sidelined.

I was put on the treadmill on a board with a bottom part much like a rocker. Standing one way made me have to balance myself forward and back; the other way required me to balance longitudinally. Both ways were challenging at first, which I credited to having been in the boot for the previous weeks.  I find myself grasping the hand rails much less frequently when on the board.

When I went to phase 2 of my ‘homework packet’, I started doing more challenging exercises at home. The most difficult was calf raises with my toes pointed outward, forward, and inward. It was even more challenging when I was asked to do it on only my right leg (the injured one). Then, she added weights. I was sore after that workout, but we’ve started doing some additional stretches that seem to have stopped it. One is standing on the ‘slant board’ with my knees straight, then bent. The calf raises are something I should probably incorporate as a regular thing moving forward in my fitness journey.

Another balance tool I use is something that is called a “Bosu Ball”. That is a brand, but it is an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform. I have done squats on the platform side trying to make it balance. I have improved so much, one of the therapists commented on how well I was doing with balance. I also have done lunges on the ball with my injured foot being placed onto the rubber part and my other foot firm on the ground. Both have had ankle weights added to the routine to add a bit of a challenge.  I’ve also been able to use the step with and without weights doing repetitive steps for different time frames. I also balance on one foot on a stability cushion often. I haven’t quite mastered staying on it for longer than 10 seconds at a time.

I think the rebounder is a lot of fun to do. There’s a trampoline set at an angle and weighted balls. I stand on a pad on the injured foot while tossing and catching the weighted ball. My initial goal was to increase my throws by 1 each time without putting my left food down to balance. I’ve finally gotten to that point even with a slightly heavier ball.

When she put me on the treadmill, I sent a Snapchat out that I was finally on the treadmill. I was walking, but I was on the darn thing! The first time, I couldn’t really go over 3 mph walking. The last time I went, I was almost up to a light jog. I was told that next time, I will be allowed to walk/run for 20 minutes next time I go and I was so excited, I almost had tears. How close is that to an end? Pretty close, darn it! I’ll be running in time to start training in June like we’d discussed in the beginning of therapy.

I’ve had time on the stair stepper. I believe I’ve never actually used this machine before therapy. It is challenging. I have done it a few times and I seem to be able to do more each time than the last. It really isn’t something I have a positive or negative reaction to. I would just rather bound up real steps for some reason.

This is not a complete list of the things that I do. The therapists are amazing, though. I really feel like I’m making progress. I thought I should share what I do in therapy because I’m not sure how many people know what goes on when people are going multiple times a week. I know I didn’t know and I certainly didn’t think it would be a workout each time.

I’m still raising money for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. I’m going to run 26.2 miles in Chicago on October 8th. Please consider giving and asking your friends to consider it. Thank you!!!!

Fundraising page:Click Here

Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have questions or comments.

 

 

 

FUNDRAISING IN FULL SWING!

I’ve started busily fundraising and planning upcoming fundraising events. I’m more determined than ever to get back to running!

A few ways you can help:

  1. Go to my fundraising page and donate! This is the page that was provided to me by the charity to fundraise: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262
  2. Buy from Schwan’s using my fundraising code (32389) or click below:
    https://www.schwans-cares.com/campaigns/32389-jenn-runs-chicago-for-team-challenge
  3. Like my Facebook page to see events that you can attend if you live in or around Bloomington, Illinois (right next to Normal, guys. Like…almost Normal. But not. Get it?):  https://www.facebook.com/MomJennGoal26point2/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND FOR READING MY BLOG.

I’m going to start training very soon and I’ll be so excited, I’m sure I’ll have an update for my blog! We’ll go step by step through training for a marathon after a long absence from injury. We’ll cover what I’m doing in addition to running to prepare for the big race. I’ll plug my fundraiser when I can because I really want to help Crohn’s and Colitis be a thing of the past by helping find a cure!!!! Below is the logo I created for my facebook page. It may look really simple, but I’m not a graphic artist, so it wasn’t for me. Respect to those who can do it and do it well.

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Finish in sight

The cast has been off about a week and a half now. I’ve started to wean from the walking boot. I’ve seen the physical therapist. I’m doing exercises to strengthen my ankle. These are all good things. I’m headed in the direction of getting back out for a run. I’d even take a “dreadmill” run over the stationary bike at this point.

I can definitely see the finish a little more clearly now. I’m at the point where there’s probably a few hills on the way, but at least I don’t doubt there is an end in sight to this injury and the whole process of getting myself into running shape again.

The challenge I’m currently dealing with is the first phase of my physical therapy. I am working my ankle and my calves three times a day to regain some strength. The therapist says that I should be able to start training again in 3-4 weeks. She understood my desire to run again and didn’t question my therapy goal of “to run outside again.” I even explained to her that I’m already signed up for a marathon in October that I will be completing by doing intervals. We had a good conversation about how intervals are used in races and how it was actually a great method for long distance racing. She even said she would consider using it in her own training. I was so appreciative that the experience with physical therapy was a positive one.

I’ve had to ice my ankle after each PT workout. It isn’t pleasant to complete all of the reps, but I’m already making progress. The first day I put a shoe on over my brace instead of the boot, my leg below the knee and my foot felt so fragile that I was afraid to walk on it. I wasn’t steady and I was completely ready to put the boot back on after the time period as I was instructed. Now, I feel more sure of myself in my shoes and the brace than I did before.

I’m glad that I have been able to get out of the boot and that I can walk better because I’ve been up rather often at night with my youngest child, who just had her tonsils and adenoids removed Wednesday. She had a sleep disorder that I’m hoping is now resolved after she recovers. While she seems to be recovering well, we’re giving her medicine around to the clock to prevent pain and ensure no infection develops. She’s not a happy camper at 2am or 6am. She also sees no point in taking medicine when she’s trying to sleep and makes it a challenge each time. Her cuteness keeps my head from exploding and leaving brain matter all over the room. At least I assume that’s why I can find adorable a little girl knocking things out of my hand in the middle of the night and yelling, “NO,” at me when I’m barely awake. I’ll miss her little snores that let me know she’d fallen asleep each night, but there’s comfort knowing that her quality of sleep will improve after we stop waking her every few hours for meds.

So, I could be running by next month. I could be running on a treadmill for my therapist soon. I’m going to keep fundraising. Now I know that I’m going to be able to make my marathon dreams happen with the right level of self care and discipline. I haven’t been great with going to the gym and I haven’t been keeping up with eating right. Sometimes, I let my feeling icky seep into my health and fitness. That’s going to have to stop if I want to make my goal a reality….and I do.

Please check out my fundraising page on Facebook and consider a donation. Any amount is appreciated and goes to a very good cause. My 16 year old has ileocolonic Crohn’s disease, so I am doing this for her as well. Thank you for reading! Have a great week!

My Facebook is here: MomJennGoal26point2

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I wore my Team Challenge shirt for the first time this week. To my therapy appointment.

Getting closer

I’m finally getting closer to running! At least I hope so. I saw the doc today again. Foot rotations, poking, and prodding were all painless to my ankle. I was impressed, but also very stiff when asked to move things around.

He said I could get fitted for a brace and no longer wear the cast that I’d been having changed weekly for the past 5 weeks. I’ve been through light blue (twice), pink, purple, and red for cast colors. So, he said that I’ll be wearing the brace with the boot full time (except shower and sleep) for the next week. After that, I’ll wean from the boot, but not the brace, for a week. I’ll slip out of the boot and wear my brace and an athletic shoe for increasing time increments until I’m fully out of the boot. Once out of the boot, I’ll still need to wear the brace full time (except showers and bed) for 6 weeks. Then, I’ll have to wear the brace every time I do anything where I could re-injure my ankle. I forgot to ask him if that meant walking to the bus stop, since that is actually how the injury occurred in the first place.

I tried to ask if I could go swimming, but he asked if I meant for exercise or pleasure and he said I could get in and do water aerobics, but not any lap swimming for awhile. He once again directed me to the stationary bike , which I explained the issue of the boot making one leg much longer than the other and me banging my knees or missing the pedals entirely. He agreed that as long as it didn’t hurt my ankle, I could wear an athletic shoe to operate the bike (with the brace on).

So basically, I didn’t exactly get the news I was hoping for. STILL….I get to shave the part of my leg that has been steadily growing hair for 5 weeks. I can take showers without that foot condom thing to protect the cast from getting wet.

I have a consultation with a physical therapist next week, so I’ll know more about my timeline with running then. I’ll probably know by the look on her face when I tell her I want to run a marathon in October whether or not I will be ‘cleared’ for it. I’m hoping that by saying I’ll train in intervals, the idea will be less likely to get ‘moved to the recycle bin’.

I miss running. Last week was spring break and I didn’t make time for the gym. I just kind of let the laziness flow into this week and now I feel bad that I haven’t worked out. I was kind of letting the situation get under my skin with having the boot and a harder time getting around. It’s hard to override the voice in my head that is like “f*ck it, let’s go eat chocolate and read a book,” instead of, “let’s change into fun workout clothes and see how many times I can lift heavy things.”

So I’m looking into my eating habits and I’m questioning them. I’m going to do something drastic soon. I’ve prepared by drinking a soda as a way of bidding it farewell. I will not give up chocolate because I’m not insane or delusional. I like it and I associate it with relaxation. So, I’m just going to clean up my nutrition a bit and weed out some bad habits I’ve developed.

All that might bore you to death. Or not. I don’t know. I know that I still plan to run a marathon in October until someone says that it is not in the cards. I will fundraise regardless. I will eventually have my shot at running a marathon, and then I will promptly avoid long distance running for awhile.

I went to a race this past weekend and watched my husband in his first half marathon race. I got to see a few people who I know through running cross the finish line as well. One person had her first half marathon that day, too and she was so elated to finish, it made the trip and the hobbling around totally worth it. Also, I saw Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln at Starbucks….lol. Photographic evidence:

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Thanks for reading! Consider donating to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for my fundraising efforts. I’ve got a little more than $1500 to go and I’m really excited at this opportunity to raise awareness about IBD. Thanks for reading! Questions and comments are always welcome!

A little longer

I saw the podiatrist today for my 3 week checkup since the cast and boot were put on. While most of the pain in the highest area of concern is gone, there is still a bit of pain with rotation and pressure on the tendons. So, he said he’ll look again in 2 weeks. At that time, I should be able to get fitted for an ankle brace I’ll have to wear all of the time. I’ll also need physical therapy and to be weaned off of using the boot to get around.

I made sure that my use of the machines at the gym wasn’t a problem. I told him that I get some looks when I do abduction exercises. He said that my upper body workouts and my hip workouts are fine as long as I’m not using my leg to operate the weights or doing standing exercises. These are the same as the last time I saw him, but I wanted to touch base and make sure I was on the right track. I also wasn’t sore after my upper body workout Monday. Yay!

I sold a race entry to a friend and transferred it officially through the race director. Now my next race is in June. I still intend to be in shape for a marathon by October.

I’ve been a little better with my depression issues I was having. I spoke with  the doctor [nurse practitioner] and we’ve adjusted my medicine in hopes that things will look up. I had a rough couple of days this week, but I’m handling it. Being a mom is hard work and often emotionally draining. I’m still here, though. Like the workouts I have in the gym [and again out on the running course soon], I’m stronger from what I endure. Things might push me to be upset and to quietly contemplate how I got here and how I plan to continue, but I can’t be kept down for long. I refuse to let myself do that.

I know it all sounds so much more positive than the last time I wrote. That’s a good thing. Something to remember is that we can’t all be positive all of the time, but when I try to be positive, I hope to influence others who aren’t quite feeling themselves and need a little light. I want to offer what I can and I lose nothing by using my flame to light another candle. I’m not all the way back from the dark, but that’s ok. I still have some light to share.

Please consider giving to my fundraising page for Crohn’s and Colitis. I’m at $441 of my $2k goal. I’m still very excited to be part of a fundraising team running in the Chicago Marathon this October. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is doing great things to help people with IBD. If you have a chance, check out their website, too. Here is my fundraising page link: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262 Any donations are greatly appreciated.

If you just want to read about IBD, this is their page: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

Cranky boot

*In the past, I’ve chosen to be reserved and leave out any colorful language. That’s not who I really am. So, I’m going to try to write how I would actually say things.

I have been in a cast and boot one day short of two weeks. I haven’t run since February 19th and I miss it like crazy. Not only that, but this boot thing is bullshit. Not in the sense that it isn’t real science or serves no medical need. I’m sure it is legit. I just hate it. It could be that I’m more irritable lately. That could be because I can’t go for a run.

I’ve been to the gym a few times to lift weights that work my upper body. I even used the machines that could be operated with my legs without bearing weight on them. I’ve used my dumbbells at home, too. I have been doing knee planks, bicycle crunches and some other core work daily just to try to ‘stay healthy’. I’ve tried to keep my focus positive. I’ve got to say that I still don’t feel that great. I don’t seem to want to eat well and I just generally feel tired.

Compound my recent health woes with the fact that I feel a little trapped at home by the boot being on my right leg and having to change it every time I drive, and I’m suffering a little. I feel the ubiquitous surge of depression nagging. That voice in my head that says things will always be one difficult thing after another, which equals up to nothing of value. The voice that tells me that I’ve already failed at so much in life, that I really don’t deserve good things to happen. That voice that is still me, but so mean to me. No matter how hard I try to create things or to make an impact, I’m still not doing it right and I never will. I’m not particularly good at anything and I have nothing which sets me apart from anyone else. Disposable. That voice is a real bitch if you ask me, but it still hurts my feelings and I struggle against it like I’m swimming upstream. I’m never quite adequate and I don’t know if I ever will be. I’m usually okay with not being perfect, but when the darkness sets in, the mean voice is louder and it quiets my confidence.

My confident voice, the one that is sure I can do anything I put my mind to, is little more than a whisper. I don’t try to shut that out because I sincerely hope it comes back to being the loudest. Depression ebbs and flows. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this recurrence, just like I never know how long it’ll hide in remission. I’m used to neatly tucking it away when it comes around. I’m used to the irritability it causes me and the feelings that nothing matters and everything matters all at once.

I’m used to people who don’t suffer from mental illness trying to tell me that there are others who have it worse. I know and I feel bad that I can’t handle my much smaller load of life. Actually, worse after you mention that I’m not dealing with my shit as well as people who have it worse. Thanks, though.

Yes, I have a doctor. Yes, I take medication. I also typically work out for it, but that’s temporarily limited to what I’m able to do at the moment without disturbing my healing or further injuring myself. I mean, I am actually trying and I don’t expect a cookie or anything. I just wish it wouldn’t rear its ugly head while I’m already working hard to overcome this injury. It could’ve picked a better time.

Anyway, I put little sticky jewels on my boot. It amused me a little.

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A boot, to boot

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My pretty blue cast with a warming thing over it.

So, that’s my foot up there. Technically, both of my feet are in that picture, but the right one is the most noticeable. Good thing I chose yoga pants for my podiatrist visit because I didn’t know I was getting a cast and boot as a consolation prize while I was there and I’m not sure how I would’ve gotten my jeans off once I got home.

How did my foot get into this predicament? I twisted my ankle…on November 3rd of last year. That was two days before my first marathon that I didn’t get to run. I saw my primary care physician, who told me that it was not broken and that I should go ahead and just hobble on it and take it easy from exercising on it for a few weeks. It nagged when I got back to working out, so I asked about the pain. The doc told me that sprains just take a while to heal. I asked him where to get a second opinion and he told me to see a orthopedist.

So, I went to the orthopedic. He ordered an x-ray, and then an MRI. He told me that I had:

  1. longitudinal split of the peroneus brevis tendon
  2. chronic tear of the anterior talofibular ligament (often referred to as the ATFL)
  3. Sprain of the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL)

He then referred me to a foot specialist saying that the longitudinal split would not heal on its own and I would likely require surgery. He told me that my only options for surgeons were in towns that were 45 and 60 minutes from my current location. So, I sent a message to my friend and coach who is more familiar with the doctors in the area. I asked her how it was possible for other people to have foot surgery without going to these other cities. She gave me the names of some specialists that she’d heard of other runners having seen and I took the list to research my insurance. I called one and explained the list of things on the MRI report and asked whether their office could help me, and the person on the phone went and double checked with the doctor before scheduling my appointment.

Yesterday, I went in and brought them my MRI disc and info. The doctor took more x-rays of my foot (because he needed to see what it looked like weight-bearing). Once he came in to talk with me, he asked about the initial injury. He told me that I should have immobilized the foot immediately following my injury. He explained each issue with the MRI results. Then, we discussed my running. He said that I can’t swim, run, or elliptical for the next 6 weeks. He said I could keep lifting weights with my arms and that I could ride a stationary bike with the boot on my foot (which made me chuckle to visualize). Someone came in and wrapped my foot in a ‘soft cast’ to immobilize the foot for healing. Then, I was given a boot to wear over the cast to completely immobilize my foot. As I started to leave, I asked how I was supposed to drive a car with this thing. They brought out a second boot for me to wear and the doctor was emphatic that this small boot was ‘ONLY FOR DRIVING AND NOT FOR WALKING IN’. So, I felt like the cast was probably because they didn’t trust me to actually immobilize my own foot (ha, ha).

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Trevor the dog says “What the heck is that? Want me to sit on it?”

As it stands, if this is effective to healing, I will not need surgery. The doctor said that my physical examination showed evidence that there was strength and stability already in the affected area, which ruled out a complete tear or surgically necessary repair. He said that he’ll check up on it in 3 weeks and the cast and boot could come off that quickly, but the conservative estimate was still 6 weeks. I’m less than a day in with the boot and I already feel that we’re enemies. I’m not good at just sitting in one place.

Fundraising? Of course I am. Not only is my entry not transferable, but I can’t defer a charity entry into the marathon for any reason. My plan was to still fundraise regardless of the outcome of my visits, but the news is looking much better than I’d expected at this point. My plan will be to start my interval training as soon as I’m ready and to work my marathon training in run/walk intervals. *Look up Jeff Galloway if you’re curious about intervals. I’ve run a half marathon using this method and it was pretty close to my “running only” finish time.

If you’d like to give to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for my fundraising efforts, I’m only $1600 away from my goal. I earned my training shirt (pictured below). My awesome donors helped earn me the shirt! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!  I’m glad I took a pic of the note because my youngest drew on it, then cut the star out for herself.

My fundraising link: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262

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