Running will not be in my near future…

Even though I felt fine before, during and after my 5K yesterday, I woke this morning to a crunchy, swollen achilles. In addition to that, my calf has been cramping up all day, worsening with each step.

I was so hopeful that I would be fine today. If there was a slight tinge of something, that would be okay! No big deal! I would just continue to rest and do physical therapy exercises and everything will be okay. But my hopes were shattered when I took my first step out of bed this morning. As soon as I lifted my right heel I could feel the crunch of my achilles tendon. Then I noticed the “bump” was back as I was shaving my legs in the shower. “$h1+!!!! You dummy!” That’s what I screamed to myself in my head.

I took a hefty dose of ibuprofen this morning, and iced my achilles for about 10 minutes prior to teaching my SoulBody Barre Unhitched class this morning. I taught the class with complete modification so as not to perform any heel raises myself. I also cued but did not perform anything plyometric! I will continue to do this for the next several weeks. In addition, every minute I was on my feet at work today made my calf tighten up more and more.

As of early this afternoon I swore I wouldn’t run again until I got the okay from my Physical Therapist. I’m out for both the Run for the Animals (but I should be able to walk the 5K) and the Salisbury Marathon (I won’t even be able to complete the half-marathon at this juncture). I’m in a state of depression, I’m not going to lie. I am looking for all things positive from here on out! I will fess-up to my PT on Wednesday about my foolishness and own up to my failure. Things are about to get really serious here for me. So if you see me out running about in the next 2 months, stop me! I have a problem and I need help in multiple ways.

Being injured as a runner, in any way, really sucks. Running is my therapy. It’s what helps me clear my head and get my affairs in order. It’s my zen, my happy place! Without it I am … this. I don’t like this.

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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.

Impatiently Awaiting Physical Therapy!!!

Brief post:

I am still on IR, and not doing anything more than teaching my GF classes at the YMCA (modified for me due to my injury). I’m riding my bike, instead of running, to get in some cardio and lower-body work.

My Dr. Appt. went as expected/hoped on Monday. Yes, I have an injured achilles. How bad is it? It’s not ruptured! So preventing that is key! I have an URGENT prescription for PT, but the soonest I could get in is 3/13/18. I promise to refrain from any excessive activity until then. I will continue to teach classes (modified for me), I will train my upper body, and I will utilize the bike as much as possible in order to maintain my aerobic capacity. But, in order to run well you have to run.

My marathon isn’t until the end of April, so there is hope. For now, here’s to hoping PT brings me to a finish for my marathon! But, more importantly, here’s to hoping they can help me heal my injury (whatever it takes) so that I can continue to run in the future.

I’m in it for the long run…

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…

Marathon Training

I had been planning on attempting my first marathon while I was 40. That didn’t happen due to 2 running injuries. The first was tendinitis in my left lower leg and the second was an ankle sprain in my left ankle. I spent many days, weeks and months cursing my body! But I did get in to see a Physical Therapist to learn what I was doing wrong in my running that was causing my injuries (the sprained ankle not being one in question…I stepped on a pinecone and wrenched my ankle due to my not paying close enough attention to what was in front of me).

My PT examined my gait as well as my hip flexibility. My hips were tight as could be! And my gait was all wrong because my hips didn’t move like they’re supposed to. My upper body would compensate for the balance required to remain in walking or running motion. After working through a few months of PT exercises I was ready to take on long distances again. Long distances for me being anything 5 miles or more. The farthest I’d ever run was a half marathon in April of 2015.

I started to plan my marathon options and training near the end of 2015. I really wanted to run the St. George Marathon, but that is one of those lottery runs so there would be no guarantee that I’d get in for 2016.  So I kept my eyes peeled, seeking out a run that I thought I would enjoy.

In November of 2015 I had met two new running mates, Becky and Sarah, through another runner friend of mine, Lisa.  Sarah was new to running and lived only 15 minutes from me.  I was so excited!  Finally!  A running buddy that lives nearby!  And to make it more fun, Sarah had signed up to run her first marathon, the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.  Lisa and Becky were signed up for this run as well.  This was awesome because Sarah would need to run a lot for training which meant that it was that much more likely that we’d be able to run together frequently.  Additionally, I could get some marathon training tips by helping Sarah, and maybe get a better idea about when I want to give that milestone a shot.

After a couple of runs with all of these gals, they suggested that I sign up for the marathon as well.  We could ALL run it together!  I said, “no thanks.”  I thought that there was no possible way that I could be ready, mentally or physically, to run 26.2 miles by the coming spring.  I needed more time to prepare myself for that kind of a commitment.

So I signed up for the run a few days later.  They twisted my arm.  Though it didn’t take much.  I figured, why not?  If I sign up for it I will have to train diligently, and the bonus was that I’ll have a great support group to train with and on race day.

Training has been going quite well.  We were able to coordinate most of our long runs so that we could all train together.  I even met yet another running mate, Jen, who also had her arm twisted like mine and will be running Shamrock with us.  Sarah and I ran several of the shorter long runs together, and we were also able to meet up for a few other small runs here and there as our schedules would allow.  The long runs were definitely much easier and more enjoyable with the company of this crew than if I had to run them alone.  Especially during those times when conditions were much less than ideal.  We ran through rain, snow, wind and cold!

15 Mile Run in the snow and slush

15 Mile Run in the snow and slush

I did end up having to do the 20 mile training run solo.  Everything went okay up until about mile 17.  My hamstrings started cramping up on me and made it really difficult for me to push through those last 3 miles.  I managed to finish all 20, and then started to have thoughts like “how on earth am I going to be able to run 26.2 miles when I could barely finish 20?”  I was starting to worry, until the next day when I was still able to move and was without pain.  I’ll find a way to make it to the finish line, even if it takes me 6 hours!

On the shorter run days when my schedule wouldn’t cooperate with Sarah’s, I relied on CJ to keep me company.  He’s been quite the entertaining running partner!  I’d try to keep up with him on my speed training days.  On longer run days he’d wander off ahead and find surprises for me.

"Look what I brought for you!"

“Look what I brought for you!”

It’s hard to believe that this time next week I’ll be able to call myself (hopefully) a marathoner!  Whether or not I ever do another will be decided after I finish this one.  Stay tuned…