One Step at a Time

Since my last post things have been uneventful, yet productive.  It took me about a week or so to finally come to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run any of my spring races this year, including the Salisbury Marathon.  Knowing this, I have been able to clear my head and focus on the road to recovery.

After running the 5K at the Tim Kennard River Run and waking to a re-aggravated achilles tendon the following day, I fessed up to my Physical Therapist and vowed to not run again period until she says I can.  Not one mile, not one minute, not one step!  Since then there have been a few times at work or at home where I’d be in a hurry to do something, making an attempt to get from one location to another as speedily as possible on foot.  Whether it would be from one exam room to another or from my car to a building in the rain, I would have to stop myself from running.  I was determined to keep my “no run” promise!

My physical therapy seems to be going well.  I am making progress every day.  I am being super-diligent about getting my prescribed exercises done each day, even if it means I have to get them done at 11:00 PM.  I had an assessment early last week and it was determined that I need to continue Physical Therapy.  I am making progress, yes, but as my achilles improves and heals, more problems are coming to light.  One of them being a problem I’ve been aware of for a few years now as it was pointed out by my previous Physical Therapist…my hips!  They are weak and lax on one side and super tight on the other which is throwing my form off and, likely, is why I keep having these nagging injuries.  Having me watch myself in a mirror while I performed some prescribed work at a recent session really brought it to light.  Now, when I do my exercises at home I do them in front of a mirror and it is making a difference.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 was the 7th annual Run for the Animals.  For those of you who have been following my pathetic blog, you know that this is my “heart” run!  I have participated in the event every year!  This year was the first year that I had to walk the entire thing.  I only did the 5K, but I am happy to report that C.J. and I completed it and I still feel great!  I haven’t had any problems with my achilles at all.

Today I had another Physical Therapy session.  I was able to run for 5 minutes on the treadmill.  I hate a treadmill, but for PT purposes I will do it!  It was a super-slow pace and I was extremely mindful and cautious throughout every millisecond of movement.  I am feeling good as of writing this post.  We will have to wait to see what tomorrow morning brings.

It’s a process, that’s for certain.  This time I’m going to do it the proper way and hope that I come out stronger (and maybe even faster!) than ever before!  I’m going to take it one step at a time, patiently yet persistently.

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Tim Kennard 2018

Today was the 15th Annual Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run & 5K Run/Walk. I registered for the 10 miler about 2 months ago, then promptly injured myself. (If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you know all about my achilles injury!)  I have not run at all in over 6 weeks, so I downgraded myself to the 5K because I knew I wouldn’t be ready for 10 miles.  Walking hasn’t been a problem for me, so I figured I could walk the entire 5K if I had to.

The weather was nice today.  It was cool, in the upper 30’s, with a light breeze.  We could have done without the breeze in these temperatures, but at least it was very light.  It was clear and sunny, so that helped ease the discomfort of the coldness (for me anyway).  I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many half-naked people I saw on the course!  One guy was wearing shorts and no shirt, countless others were in shorts and tanks.  I don’t know how they do it.  I wish I could do that.  If I did, my entire body would seize up with a Raynaud’s event.  I was covered from the tip of my head to my toes, with Hot Hands insole foot warmers in place and hand warmers in the pockets of my jacket. Not my personal ideal running conditions, but I’m happy it wasn’t raining or snowing, or, worse, blowing gale-force winds.  For late March on the middle East Coast, it was decent.

I was dreading the start line, I can’t lie.  I just knew that my first attempt at “lift off” would lead to pain or discomfort and I would be further disheartened.  Did I mention how I have not run an inch in over 6 weeks?  I did a little on the bike and some on the elliptical, but that isn’t running.  My plan was to walk for 5 minutes, then attempt to run until I felt any type of discomfort, then walk/run from that point on as needed.  I don’t know who I was trying to fool because as soon as the gate was open I took off like a dog breaking loose from his leash (only much slower).

To make a short story shorter, I ran the whole darn thing!  I felt good the entire time and finished with a time of 27 minutes and some change.  Nothing close to a PR for a 5K, but way better than I would have ever even thought given my current circumstances.  And I know I’m going to pay for it.  That dull ache on the lateral side of my achilles has been there since I started my heel lift exercises prescribed by my PT.  My PT has not cleared me for running yet, but she knew I was going to walk/run this 5K.  She told me if it hurts to stop!  It never hurt beyond that dull ache.  So I continued and pushed through.  I finished with an official time of 27:31.  WHOA.  I was bookin’ it harder than I realized.

Because I already registered for the run way back when I figured I’d, at least, show up and get my shirt and take a DNS.  Then I could support and encourage all of the other runners!  Thankfully I was able to default to lesser mileage.  I knew in my brain I needed to take it easy, but I didn’t…

I haven’t run in 6+weeks and managed to pull this out of my ass today.  I’m going to pay for it in the coming days and will likely get a scolding from my PT this week.  I didn’t want to do this, it just happened!  The dangers of organized races.  It gives me hope for the marathon that I will not run in late April!  But maybe, just MAYBE I will be able to do the half?

I say as I am icing my ankle/achilles and noticing some swelling and such.

At least I got some cool stuff this year!  Awesome shirt and my first bling from Tim Kennard!

 

Run for the Animals is next.  From now til then it will be determined whether or not I might be able to do a half marathon (marathon is OUT) in Salisbury on April 28.  I’m going to go for it!

PT =

My PT is PT with my PT is turning into PT and PT.  Totally makes sense, right?  If you need help deciphering this message, here’s the key:

Personal Trial | Physical Therapy | Physical Therapist | Positivity Therapy | Patience Testing

As of Tuesday this week I have started my Physical Therapy for my achilles tendon injury.  After meeting with the Physical Therapist, there’s a very slight chance I might be able to run my marathon in late April.  One of my major downfalls is that I haven’t been keeping up with enough cardio exercises to maintain my aerobic capacity.  I was hesitant to do too much bike riding, wasn’t sure if the elliptical would be okay, and in performing HIIT exercises I have to modify most of them to not strain my ankle and achilles tendon.  My Physical Therapist told me on Tuesday that the elliptical would be fine (and is recommended) for this type of injury until I can get back to running again.

Dang.  I wish it didn’t take so long to get an appointment to see her because I could’ve been training on the elliptical all this time.  But now I know and will train as much as is safely possible from here on out.

I have had zero achilles tendon pain in over 2 weeks since I’m not running at all and I have been modifying all of my activities.  According to my PT that means I no longer have tendinitis, but am now in tendinosis.  What does that mean?  It means that the inflammation has subsided but the tendon is still damaged so I have to be extra careful from here on out so as not to rupture the tendon.  No pressure!

Apparently I can “fix” or better this and that is the focus of my therapy; to remodel the scar tissue that has formed at the tendon.  The average time to full recovery is about 3-6 months.  My marathon is in 6 weeks, so when I said there was a slight chance I might be able to run it I really meant that I probably won’t be running it.  However, the positive is that I will be able to run some by then, and should be able to run/walk a half marathon as long as I take it super slow and easy, and if I feel any pain or discomfort at all to stop.  I have been in touch with the coordinators of the run and they have the course mapped out such that I can make my decision to go all the way or half-way while I’m running!  So, no matter what, I will be running that race in April!  I will likely not be running 26.2 miles, but will hopefully be able to complete 13.1 miles at a super slow and steady run/walk.

As for the other runs I have scheduled prior to the marathon, I can still participate in both.  I will not be running the Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run, but I will be participating in the 5K Fun Run/Walk and will walk most of it.  I will not be running the half marathon portion of the Run for the Animals this year, but I will definintely be able to run the 5K and maybe run/walk the 10K.  Thankfully I have until race day to decide which one I want to and will be able to do.

So there you have it.  I will be ultra-diligent with my PT exercises for sure, and will be utilizing the elliptical machines at the Y very regularly in the next several weeks.  Though I will not be able to perform the way I had set out at the beginning of the year, at least I 1) can still perform at all and 2) can heal and recover to come out even stronger next time around!

Never lose sight of what is truly important to you.  Choose to find the positive in everything; even if you have to search really hard for it, it is there…always.

Runners are Crazy; Injured Runners are Crazier

Have you ever had that feeling like you are out of control? A feeling like your life is just getting away from you? I feel that way lately and I know why. It’s because I am supposed to be training for a 10 miler in late March, a half marathon in mid-April and a marathon in late April. However, an achilles tendon injury has me sidelined, so all that planning and scheduling I did for February, March and April was all for naught. I’m trying to stay active and moving, modifying strength-training workouts and cardio workouts to keep my achilles happy, but I feel lost since I’m not running. Those workouts cannot replace the feeling you get after finishing a long run, or a fast 5K, or just an easy run.

I’m having a really difficult time with this. I know I am not the only person in the world to suffer an injury during training, and others have suffered much worse injuries than what I’m dealing with! My friend Jen was training for an ultramarathon last year and slipped during a training run and broke her ankle. She was sidelined for a very long time, but after her doctors gave her the okay to start again, she did. She trained safely, she trained intelligently, she listened to her body and she completed that ultra this year! I respect her and look up to her and hope that I can be as strong as she was with my puny little injury. She’s a hero in my book.

My appointment for Physical Therapy isn’t until March 13, 2018. It’s just a few days away thank goodness, but I’ve been waiting since mid-February. It’s the waiting and wondering, “am I going to be able to run any of my upcoming races?” that’s making me feel out-of-control and lost. Am I crazy? Of course…I’m a runner.

2018 5K & Firetruck Pull to benefit Area 19 Special Olympics Virginia Athletes

Come join us at the Onancock Elks Lodge #1766 in Accomac, VA for the 3rd Annual 5K & Firetruck Pull to Benefit Area 19 Special Olympics Virginia Athletes!  The event will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday April 21, 2018 at 22454 Front Street in Accomac, VA.  You can visit the event page for more information.

If you are interested in the 5K, you can download a printable registration form by clicking on the following link:  Elks 5K Registration and Waiver.  Complete the form and return it to the Lodge with your registration fee.  I will be coordinating the run, so if you have any questions about it feel free to contact me at animalwhiz@yahoo.com.

If you have any questions about the Firetruck Pull, you can contact the Lodge or message me and I will find out the information for you.

This is a really great, fun event for all ages and supports a wonderful cause.  Help us make it the best yet!

 

The Running Gods have something to tell me…

…and I’m not liking it.

I started training for the Salisbury Marathon early this year. Things have been going well, considering most of my training runs have occurred on the treadmill because I am a fair-weather runner.  Then I decided to do incline/hill work during one of my interval training runs.  When I finished that run, I felt a minor strain in the back of my right ankle.  So I took it easy the next couple of runs.  I didn’t notice any problems.

One night, while sitting around at home recovering from the day, I was fiddling around with my training schedule and trying to coordinate local runs with my training plan.  I hopped online and registered for both the Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run and The Run for the Animals half marathon.  I had myself pumped!  Very much looking forward to both runs preceding the marathon.  About a week later, I got sick.

When you’re training for something like a marathon, you just don’t have time to get sick!  It was a severe upper respiratory thing, and I had to take a break from running until my lungs cleared of all the mucus so I could breathe.  I ended up taking 8 days off.  During the first week after recovering from my URTI, I eased myself back into the runs.  I shortened my scheduled training runs by about 25%.  The next week I was pretty close to being back on track!  Then that pain in the back of my right ankle started to creep up again.  It wasn’t severe or debilitating, but I do know that when your body is eliciting pain, it’s telling you something is wrong.  When I lift weights, the next day or two afterward I feel pain, but there isn’t anything really wrong going on in this case, right?  I (foolishly) took the same approach to the pain I was feeling in the back of my ankle.

I had a 12 mile training run to complete this week.  The weather was gorgeous on Tuesday so I decided to get it in since I had the day off from work.  I did my usual 10 minute warm-up which consists of a lot of dynamic stretching through yoga techniques.  I took it nice and easy since I had that slight tinge of pain in the back of the ankle, and by mile 6 or 7 I started to feel more pain.  At that point I started to add in some walk breaks.  During the walk breaks my ankle felt fine.  Then, almost immediately as I started to run again the pain came right back.  I had to make my way back home so continued my run/walk intervals.  I finished my 12 miles.  I did my usual post-run stretching, foam rolled and took a hot shower.  I teach SoulBody Barre Unhitched at our local YMCA on Tuesday evenings, so I needed to clean up and I continued to stretch and move around so as not to tighten up prior to class.

I felt good, and my ankle seemed fine, but there was a very minor dull ache.  When I started teaching class that night, as soon as I had to do a toe-point, I felt the back of my right ankle.  Then, while performing a plié jump, OUCH!  Yikes.  That really hurt.  So I modified throughout the rest of class.

When I got home I started to panic a little, not gonna lie.  So I did what we are ALL guilty of when something like this happens…I jumped online and posted in my running groups on Facebook for advice, then googled ankle/achilles injuries and how to handle them.  The more I read, the more freaked out I became.  I even pulled out my Netter’s Musculoskeletal Flash Cards.  I self-diagnosed myself with Achilles Tendinitis.  I am not going to be able to run my marathon, I feared in my head.

The Achilles

Conditions of the Achilles Tendon

 

Before you go on to chastise me for consulting with “Dr. Google,” like so many did in one of my Facebook running groups, I work in the veterinary field (and blog myself) and I know better than to take the advice of any web-based recommendation without first consulting with my Physician.  I was merely seeking advice from others who have experienced similar injuries, and I appreciated all of those who shared their experiences.

The next morning I called my Doctor’s office to get an appointment ASAP to get an official diagnosis and, hopefully, a prescription for Physical Therapy.  My appointment isn’t until Monday (I am writing this on the Saturday prior to my appointment).

In the meantime, I’m “on the bench” and not running at all until I get some answers.  I’m following the standard RICE procedure for injuries.  As I sit here writing this post, my right leg is elevated with a cold compress on the affected area.  I currently have zero pain, but I do have some swelling and a little “bump” in the middle of my Achilles.

If the running Gods do have it in for me, I’ll find out for sure next week.  If they’re just trying to challenge me, they’re doing a pretty damn good job of it!  I will (begrudgingly) take a DNS over a NRA.  Who knows, maybe I won’t have to worry about either!  Please feel free to share your running injury experiences in the comments, or whatever else you’d like share.  I’ll hopefully have some good news to report early next week.  Stay tuned…

Time to get back on track!

This recent bout of illness, whatever it was, has really thrown a wrench in my marathon training. I am a week off and my lung capacity is diminished some because they still contain crud. Also, my energy level and motivation level are both in need of help.

Today I did a slow, short bout of running followed by strength and balance training. I’m glad it was nice enough for me to run outdoors because once I got moving, the coughing started. I would hate to be in the gym hacking on everyone around me! I’m hoping that all the coughing got rid of a bunch of that lung crud so that I can go a little further tomorrow. Then further yet on Monday.

Part of my training has been to learn how to fuel my body most efficiently. I thought I had it figured out for my first marathon, but I obviously did not because I totally hit the wall at about mile 19! I know what I need to do, but want to be able to test it before race day. However, again with the illness, my diet got thrown way out of whack over the past week too. I am sure that has a lot to do with my energy level slump.

When you prepare your training for an endurance event, you prepare as though everything will be hunky-dory throughout the training period. When you are forced to halt your training for whatever reason, you have to spend time revamping your training schedule. I should probably go do that now!

I’ll let you all know how I fare in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any recommendations or would like to share your experiences with training for an endurance event, please do so! How do you fuel your body in preparation of the event? What do you do to maintain your energy level during the event? Have you ever had a hiccup in your training plan; and, if so, what did you do to get back on track?

Off to edit my training schedule for the coming weeks…