Thursday, April 30, 2009

One week down, one to go

I am really looking forward to being done with the crutches. I may not be getting cardio in at the moment, but walking around campus on crutches with a backpack loaded with my laptop, lunch, water, books, and papers is more than enough exercise. I think I've adapted OK to it all but oddly enough my hands are pretty sore.

The workouts at the gym have gone better than expected and I'm glad that JRP is pushing me hard where he can. We've come up with some creative modifications to things and there's a lot I can do standing up by resting my knee and leg on a bench. I have to believe that between the crutches and the sole focus on upper body for these two weeks, I will make some some strength gains. Trying to keep it positive! The odd thing about the gym now is that I don't help AT ALL to get weights, put them back, etc. It's a very strange feeling to accept all that help.

I did the basal metabolism rate test Wednesday morning which revealed that I require 1740 calories to sustain me - just to sit around and BE. So anything else I do on top of that adds to the caloric requirements. Which isn't all that much right now. I've been eating pretty well with no major deviations lately - my standard-issue breakfast and lunch and then a nicer dinner. I ordered a week's worth of dinners from the Fresh Palate here in Bburg. They are made with as many local and in-season ingredients and I have to say it's been such a treat!!

I think I've managed to run into every last possible person I know in this town who each ask what happened to me. I can't lie so I explain it was a torn ligament and stress fracture to which most people respond with something like "overdoing?" or "overtraining?" at which point I feel compelled to defend myself, my training practices (which are conservative!!), and my common sense. It would be easier to say I broke my leg.

Still dreaming of running, thinking of running, missing running. But at this point I'd take swimming or cycling. Anything. When I meet with Dr. Lebolt next week I will be anxious to find out the game plan and how soon I can start rehabbing.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Just so I can remember, here is what I am taking at the moment to aid in recovery and muscle maintenance.

EAS Whey Protein Powder

Seems like a lot of different stuff now that I see it all listed out. But I take the whey after hard workouts and on days when I would otherwise be protein deficient. I love the vanilla whipped up in milk! The Arnica is on an as-needed basis for soreness and injury. The other three I started recently.


Yeah, OK, here it is. Not that much, but more than enough to be annoying. This is my reminder to be careful in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Character is revealed through adversity

It appears that the qualities of my character which have been revealed through this particular instance of adversity are along the lines of emotional, stubborn, and unable/unwilling to follow instructions. (who, me??) I found it somewhat shocking that both my husband and trainer essentially said they were GLAD my foot was put in a cast. But half a dozen other people since then have responded in exactly the same way. My neighbor said it was good because if it was anything removable I'd take it off and be out running. I did not realize I was perceived this way. Enlightening! Will I change as a result? Mmmm, probably not. That would be way too conformist for me!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My idea

I didn't see anything wrong with my idea that perhaps by continuing to work out my GOOD leg (leg curls, extensions, leg press, etc) it might somehow help the other one too. I thought it was clever and creative, showing a CAN-DO attitude. Turns out I was the only person who saw the value in my ingenuity. Glad JRP got a nice laugh out of it.

In reality, after just half a day with this cast and crutches, I realize just how much of a workout my good leg will get regardless. In fact, there is tremendous cardio potential in a crutch workout! It might be the next workout craze.

I've been removed from the field trip tomorrow and I'm pretty grateful. As hard as it will be, I'm going to spend the next three days REALLY taking it easy. I'm going to make it my job. I will load up on movies, lay in bed with the foot up, and catch up on work. Why the hell not. I need to get better as quick as I can. This will be weird. Wonder if the family can hack it??

Funny quote

"The moment I say I want to put a number on my chest, that’s when I start saying I accept the risk of injury,” Dr. Foster said. “It’s a decision people make and I think it’s a good one. But you’ve got to accept it. Training is not totally innocuous."

From: Want to Go Faster? You Need a Trainer (NYT)

Yup, I accepted the risk of injury. As a result, today I am sporting a lovely waterproof cast in a shade of blue to go with my eyes. Now If I can just manage to keep from killing myself on stairs or while driving the car left-footed, I will be in good shape.

Going from crutches and two feet to crutches and one foot is a whole new ballgame.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drumroll, please

OK, here it is: torn talofibular ligament, ankle sprain, edema of tibia and fibula. ADDENDUM: Dr. Lebolt said they are stress fractures.

Lovely. At least I know. I am removing the Pittsburgh Marathon countdown clock from this blog. Game OVER! But only for now...I'll find a nice fall marathon and crush it and get to Boston next Spring!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Final answer....

Well, today I went "public" so to speak with the news that the Pittsburgh Marathon is a no-go for me. After sulking most of Sunday and hitting emotional rock bottom, I think I am finally at peace with it and I am beginning to allow myself to look forward.

Saturday night's 30 min treadmill walk pushed things too far I guess and I am back to square one. Despite the fact that it seemed to go OK (I mean, really, how can you say for sure what is pain and what just feels odd?). But when I got off, any load on that leg came with a shooting pain. It was scary and not much better at all on Sunday. And not much better today either. I resorted to crutches as recommended, even to the gym. Clearly I am in acceptance and recovery mode...whatever it takes.

Back to PT today, where the consensus was we rolled the dice and came up short, but it was worth a shot. I have no regrets about having tried. Now we regroup and move forward. I am back OFF the leg once again. I tried the bike today and it was bad news...first time. I'll try again Wednesday.

Jake and I are thankfully back in good stead and he is trying to help identify other non-running goals I can work toward in the short run. He has shown enormous patience with me the last two weeks and I know that this is disappointing for him too. It is hard not to feel like I let him down, but he put a positive spin on things and pointed out I'll still feel like a veteran training for the next one! I know I will be stronger heading into it, mentally for sure. I'm ready to get to work. Well, almost. Right now my job is to be patient and careful and start replacing the energy I've drained from the strain on several relationships!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back in the saddle

I've graduated to 2x a day 30 min treadmill 3.5 mph. It's something. If I were trying to manage this injury myself I'd be even more of a basket case. Good to be surrounded by calm, confident, and reassuring people.

Pressure cooker

That pretty much describes me lately - a pressure cooker. This is my most significant running injury to date and I'm not handling it very well. Yesterday was awful as I was clearly suffering a setback; my leg was tender and sore and walking normally was an effort. Was it from the PT and massage? From the modified leg workout? From the spin class? It drives me crazy to think I may have contributed to the setback. At the same time, I am trying to balance recovery with the maintenance of some degree of fitness and cardio readiness within the guidelines I have been given.

With the 4.16 anniversary yesterday I felt raw, sad, and frustrated. The 3.2 mile run for 32 was a huge success, but I was unable to participate. My chiropractor was not happy with my progress and described the area as "still hot." Appropriate, considering how acutely sore some areas are. Deep down I know that is not a good thing and with two weeks to go, my optimism is waning at the moment.

My frustration hinges on my fear of not being able to run the Pittsburgh Marathon May 3. Of course, what's worse? Missing the marathon or starting it, then dropping out or posting a really sorry time? I guess this is the first time I've thought about it this way. Would I run if I didn't have a chance of running the race I know I can run? If I knew I could run it, but in a 4:30 time (rather than the sub-4:00 time I want), would I want to?

I've done so much training and the thought of falling short of the experience I have been dreaming of is very disappointing. I know I can pick another race, but that means I have to rehab and retrain and do it all over again. And it won't be Pittsburgh. I know I am acting like a self-centered, narrow-minded child about this but I can't describe the degree of compulsion involved. And I'm certainly far from the only person this has happened to and admittedly the stakes are pretty low for me. I can't imagine the feeling of missing a championship, the Olympics, etc., but it happens.

This is such a marginal injury - just bad enough to provide a significant interruption, but not so bad that the go/no-go decision is clear to make.

I am thankful that I have help from so many people on this, but the downside is that I get some conflicting information. Frustration results when I am left with doubts that my recovery plan is optimal (that's the Industrial Engineer in me).

I have had many tearful discussions with JRP who has had to talk me down on a regular basis reminding me to take it one day at a time, focus on other goals, and just keep moving forward. He has enormous patience - more than I have for me.

I have PT in less than an hour...and a horrible feeling of forboding. More later.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sitting tight

No news...still just managing my situation physically and mentally to the best of my ability. Hopefully I have been staying under the threshold of overdoing. The small silver lining to it all is this has forced me to branch out somewhat and I tried a spinning class this morning at 5:45. I kind of liked it, particularly the fact that it's in a darkened room, allowing for an easier morning transition!

This morning was the 3.2 mile Walk/Run for Remembrance. I was signed up to do it, but here I sit. It's been a tough day. This happened last year where I thought the whole 4/16 thing wouldn't get to me, but it hit me this morning as I thought back to that day two years ago when 32+1 lost their lives. Such senseless misery.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

WOW....this is amazing.

I was looking through some songs I had bookmarked months ago on and clicked on one to find this sole verse of lyrics (All The Above by Mercyme) staring me in the face:
Stuck in a day like a runner with no race
Are you afraid your joy has been misplaced
It's been a while since I've seen you smile, how easy you forget
So roll back the time and there you will find what never left

I liked the song and hadn't actually paid attention to the lyrics before. I found this to be a powerful message that I believe I was meant to see. Enough with the struggle - I'm turning it all over to God.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cardio Plan B

Last night was the big ES camping trip and despite a rainy start, it turned out to be a terrific success. However, little sleep was had. Everytime the rain started up in earnest, I woke up and enjoyed listening to it, being enveloped by it, but protected from it. It was very peaceful!

I returned home dirty and tired to discover we had no power! So I decided that was an omen telling me to get to the gym and get some cardio in since the gym would be closed on Sunday. I told Robert I'd do half an hour, but I started with 40 minutes and the leg and psyche both felt good so I added another 20 minutes. Then I thought heck, why not add another hour and get two in to somehow simulate a middle distance run. I got the two hours in at level 12 - a moderate level of effort and enjoyed it tremendously! That's something I will do again and it broke me out of this idea that 30 or 40 minutes is somehow the max for the stationary bike.

My leg is sore, but I have turned a corner and don't believe I need to be off of it anymore. I haven't been anyway. I think those few days when it was really bad I had little choice. No way I could have made it all over campus without some help. Now, not so much. Back to PT first thing Monday morning and I'm hoping he'll be happy enough with where things are to suggest some small runs........

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Enough already

This was one LONG day with class at 11, 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30, then cello for Spencer, worked while Grant enjoyed some food from ABP, home, then out for two hours of grocery shopping with students in preparation for tomorrow's camping trip. I am exhausted, but a pretty fun day in a lot of ways.

After feeling somewhat optimistic about being race-ready by May 3, tonight I am feeling less so. Despite two days of crutches/cane I'm not feeling like things are improving the way I would expect (or hope). Now I am concerned that the longer I am off of it the greater the chance for other things to go wrong with other parts. I need to stretch and keep everything else moving as much as possible. I'm going stir crazy and just dying to run a little tiny bit and see how it feels. Just a little. I almost just don't care.

JRP talked to the PT guy, in part to keep me honest and also because I know I may be hearing things through a *slightly* optimistic filter. I am looking for hints that all will be well in time. Today PT guy asked about my expected marathon times which I took to mean that he is feeling like I'll make it!

On the other hand, PT guy also said that if all goes well, I will only do some short runs and at most a 5 or 6 miler to prove my mettle before the big M. Yikes.

I'm looking forward to getting back to a normal running and lifting schedule.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bench PR!

So HOW in the world is it that JRP is able to so accurately predict what I can do? He said I'd bench my bodyweight at the meet and even though I didn't think it was at all possible (120 lbs) I did it. The plan he sent for today said "we" were going for 130 and I really, REALLY thought there was no way. Especially because I feel so spent and bummed about whatever is going on with my calf. But I did it! My left arm lagged and it wasn't pretty, but I did it!! This is definitely a PR for me because I don't think I ever accomplished that without a bench shirt back when I was powerlifting. And a bench shirt can add maybe 10% or more to your bench because it is so tight and resists the descending weight. Boy, I needed that.

I stayed off my foot most of the day - crutches/cane, whatever it took - except the gym where I just couldn't do that. As a result things feel much better, far less acute. I can even convince myself all is well except that it is not...yet. But it will be. I know it.

The lack of cardio is driving me crazy and I miss the endorphins, I miss the dripping sweat, I miss the mental challenge of keeping my body going when it prefers to stop! I rode the bike for all of six minutes today, not enough to satisfy.

Patience. Trust. Faith.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Oh boy. Today I had an appointment for PT fortunately with an experienced guy who has run marathons for years. His best time I think was in the range of 2:40, so clearly (!) he knows what he is doing and he understand the obsessive nature of running. Unfortunately this appointment was sobering. The issue is with a muscle/tendon that runs down the outside of my calf ending in a painful area just above my ankle bone. He suspects tears and flat out told me I am in denial but if I am a fast healer there is hope. We will know in two weeks. He also said I need to keep all weight off that foot for now meaning crutches/cane. Lovely. I'd rather be pushed around in a wheelbarrow. But I said I would do what I have to do to heal so I guess I don't get to pick and choose. My neighbor just got over an incredibly horrible leg fracture and has all the equipment that I can borrow.

My leg went from feeling a little better this morning, to worse after hoofing it around campus, to really bad. I'm thinking there is short-term pain from the massage and it will feel better tomorrow? I sure hope so.

The GOOD news is he said I can ride the stationary bike to my heart's content and do any lifting as long as it doesn't require standing up. That will make things challenging for Jake.

And how will I manage this camping trip on Friday?! I can't even go there...not just yet.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The inevitable happened...

Too depressed to write much about it but I had a misstep on my run this morning and have tweaked something in my ankle. It's not major, but sore and somewhat swollen. I'm icing like crazy and doing what I can to get this gone. I have less than four weeks to go and this is very unsettling. It pretty well took the wind out of my sails.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mental benefits of workouts

Yesterday I was fit to be tied - just wound tight and overwhelmed by life. I had a workout scheduled with JRP, thank goodness, because I'm not even sure I could have gotten myself in the gym otherwise. He got me to focus and work hard and by the time I left I felt so much better and my head had cleared. The more stressed and more busy I am, the more important my workouts and runs become. Those endorphins are fabulous.

And it was a good workout too - pullups, dumbell grasscutters with a drop set, bent over rows that he says I need to get stronger on (?), etc. This is the most sore my upper back has been in a while. Gotta love it.

I'm thinking I'm coming out of my recent run "funk" too where everything had been feeling sore, stiff, and slow. In the last two runs I was able to get some flow going, where things just click and I can put effort in efficiently.

It's going to be a challenging month. Maybe it's good I'll be pretty busy and won't have time to overthink the marathon. I'm excited for the race, but to me the real joy, the real fun, and the real accomplishment has been the training. When I first saw the program, it was hard to imagine myself 12 weeks into it, yet here I am, enjoying the process, and allowing myself to start looking beyond the marathon.