Saturday, May 23, 2015

Confessions of an Uninjured, Injured Runner, Part 2


Valentine's Day, the day for SoleMates.

I went out to train in the blizzard today and I probably went longer than I should have.  I was disappointed when my hip started bothering me with a moderate pain, especially in the short road section.  But what can I do but trust and surrender?  I am signed up to run MMT100 and as a SoleMate.  God will do what is right for me and what happens will happen (but I really hope it includes my hip and glute/hamstring feeling better and running strong at MMT).

Now to make dinner for my other furry soulmate!

3/31/2015 Training log entry

"check, disaster, but check (12.75- extra on MB trails trying to keep my hip together)@ Bedford +20 min strength"

(I had a 6-7 mile tempo scheduled, but my hip tightened almost instantly, altering my stride.  It took forever, the tempo didn't really happen despite never stopping, and I did my best not to cry during and after the run.)


Had a beautiful run at Mo25k.  Of course had to stop and stretch on the 3/4 mile of road, but o well!


Had a wonderful time at Leatherwood 50.  There was more road than I thought and my leg/hip wasn't having it, but on a particularly rough road section (flat and in the sun) a beautiful yellow butterfly came out to help guide me along the way.


I asked Nancy (my physical therapist) how optimistic she was about my hip impingement.  She gave her honest answer.  It's hard to get the edema down while I am still running.  Even with a break, there is no way to know for sure.  We are just going to do our best to have things go as best as possible at Massanutten. 

I hope I can get a more solid answer/solution in Boulder.  If I need to have surgery, hopefully God will help me find a way to pay for it.

"I have everything I need to be happy and fulfilled."

I miss feeling fast.

God, Universe, Mother Earth, Whoever, please let there be faster miles ahead and a more peaceful me.

New Goal: To be THANKFUL for every step of my 100 miles,


This has not been an easy week training.  Besides not having a pair of shoes that fit, my butt has hurt causing my hip to hurt/tighten, causing stride issues (at least I think that is the order).  I spent $25 on dry needling today- hopefully that helps.

5/13/2015  Wednesday before MMT

I saw Dr. Lear again on Monday.  We decided not to go through with another cortisone shot but he prescribed oral cortisone, which I wasn't going to take until...

Still no next steps.  I'll figure that out in Boulder.  Surgery would involve cutting through muscles and tendons to get to the bone, possibly leaving me weaker, so not an option.  Idk what the options are.

Is the hitch in my step caused by the impingement, the tear, or improper mechanics?

On Tuesday, I pulled my calf on a stride.  Now I really am injured!  Today I ran okay for the first 2 flat, downhill miles but then had to stop as the pain shot through my calf (it feels like a permanent cramp).  It will be okay, I know it will.  But yes, I ended up getting the medicine from Dr. Lear today.


I didn't write in my journal the day before MMT, but I did write this letter to my SoleMate supporters:

"Dear SoleMate Supporters,

 It has been a beautiful, but not easy 3 months and 1 day (we signed up to be SoleMates on February 14th) for Sandi and I.

As I mentioned in my last letter, I have been challenged by the impingement and tear in my hip, which has not gotten better despite hours of physical therapy. While I was dealing with that, Sandi (without ever complaining!) went through PT, tests, needles, and a recent surgery on her Achilles tendon. Finally, she is on the healing path.

Still, she always encouraged me, giving me a “way to tough it out” even when I was near tears after workouts because my hip wouldn’t let me do to the workout to the effort I desired.
Thankfully, I also had Girls on the Run and my team of 12 girls to remind of lessons that I had forgotten.

On the workouts I was frustrated with my hip, I was reminded to practice “gratitude”. To be thankful for what I could do, for my strong legs and powerful mind that always carried me forward. This past month, I have felt so blessed to spend time in my beloved Cuyahoga Valley National Park and watch the trees, flowers, and animals spring into life.

On days I felt bad about my body, not feeling fit for a runner, I was reminder to “value what is really important”. I remembered that I was smart, compassionate, and loving, qualities that overrode x10 how I felt about my stomach.

On days that I didn’t feel good enough, that my speed has been slipping away every year since my hip started bugging me, I remembered the laps I ran with my team with a slip of paper that read “I run the right pace for me”. I used “SBLR” (stop, breathe, listen, respond) to halt the negative voices in my head, and replace it with a new positive phrases like “I am enough”.

Then, a few weeks back I was once again caused to reflect on my life and it’s meaning. A daughter,Ally, of one of our GOTR coaches passed away at only 21, on a hiking trip while studying abroad in New Zealand. Despite barely knowing the coach and never meeting her daughter, it hit me hard.

I realized that she could have been, could have been a friend, could have been Sandi. When someone dies so young, what does her life mean? What happens to her dreams?
I found consolation by words of her family at her memorial service. I found out she was like me in more ways than I had thought, not just being passionate about adventure, but also had a devote love for animals (even preaching veganism :) ).

Her mom, dad, and sister, reminded all 200+ of us at the memorial to “love deeply” and “live courageously”. I realized her dreams did not stop with her death, but was passed on to all of us.
With that, I only have 2 goals for Massanutten 100 tomorrow. I simply want to do my best (as I tell my GOTR girls to do, not worrying about the finish place) and to be thankful for each step I have been blessed enough to take.

Finally, Sandi and I have one more announcement. We surpassed our goal of raising $1,111 for GOTR scholarships!

As I am leaving GOTR of Greater Summit next month to be reunited with the rest of my heart and soulmate (and twin) in Colorado next month, it means the world to me that I can give this one last gift. It is my personal mission to help other girls and women find their wings to fly, as it took me so long to find mine. Now, because of all of you, we are truly helping girls take flight through Girls on the Run.

Learn. Dream. Live. Run."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Confessions of an Uninjured Runner

End of February:

The 2 physical therapists were pulling and tugging my legs every which way, testing my flexibility and strength.  "Very strong" there they said, a "little weak" there.  If you're a runner, you probably know the deal.

The male physical therapist started to ask me questions.  He referenced my left leg as my "bad" leg  and asked me a question about my "good" leg. I gave him a blank stare.  Bad leg?  What did he mean?  My left leg had played 50% of the of the role in getting me through numerous ultra running events, and was going to get me through another one in a few months.

After several seconds of silence and bafflement, the female PT chimed in.  "He means your 'better" leg.  That helped my mind click. 

I knew which PT I would be scheduling all my appointments with.

The following journal entries take you inside my mind as I dealt with my MRI results.  They aren't always pretty or self-flattering, but they are honest.  Which is why I think others will be able to get a little out of this.  So, hopefully I am not sharing my mixed up thoughts for no reason!

January 26th, 2015

Yesterday, I sat in the doctors office waiting for my MRI results for what seemed to be 20 minutes.  I strained to hear Dr. Lear talking on the phone.  I thought he was talking about me, but couldn't be sure.  My anxiety grew as the conversation went on.  I couldn't imagine what people go through in much more serious circumstances.  I thought of my friend who's son was going into brain surgery that day- regardless of my results, I was lucky.

To cut to the chase, Dr. Lear confirmed my suspicion of a torn labrum.  However, that's not what concerned him and the radiologist (according to the radiologist, I shouldn't be able to run.  Apparently, it's common for radiologist to say that).  The concern was a more rare condition called ishio-femoral impingement.  All I really know about it is that I don't have enough space between my ischium and my femur.  Dr. Lear didn't know much about it either (obviously, hence the "rare").

Now I am in limbo- I have a diagnosis, but no (physical) action plan.  For the labrum tear, Dr. Lear wasn't even considering surgery.  Good, right?  But on Facebook, it seemed like half my friends with labrum tears had surgery and the half who hadn't was monitoring someone who had.  I just don't want to play games- I don't want to go through a bunch of PT and still end up having surgery.

On the other hand...if I go with PT, in my head there is still (foolish) hope that I could still run Massanutten.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I still need to hear back from Dr. Lear.


January 27th

Yesterday, despite half expecting my diagnosis, I was still a little numb, then down.   I knew enough that I needed to give myself some time to feel bad without feeling guilty that my issue really isn't that serious compared to other's.

Then there are my fears.  Is it true that running really is messing up my body?  Is my body weak and can't handle ultras?  And if Im not able to ever run 100% again, does that mean I have to get a "real" job (as in boring office money job) and work 40+ hours a week?

Part of me also wonders "did I mess up my body when I was a kid?  When I was "developing" as a pre-teen, did I stunt my growth and cause these problems?"

With some positive energy from friends, I am slowly transitioning into feeling thankful for my body's gifts.

I am still trying to figure out what my body is telling me (if it actually is trying to tell me anything)- do I really need to rest as much as Sandi suggests? Isn't not running enough? Should I run?
*Sandi suggested a whole month of little, low-intensity exercise.  I did a week of low intensity, 1 month off running. 

Is it really possible to mentally help heal my body?  If so, why can't I?

I should probably start meditating more.

Hopefully I get more answers soon and directions from doctors for a physical action plan.  As for my mental one, it will take some time and spiritual guidance.


January 31st

"Patiently waiting on an action plan.  In the mean time, my mind is healing.

February 1st

They don't meant to, but people are making me feel like my hip issues are always going to be there, that there is no permanent solution.  I don't want to believe that.  There has to be something.  I know a solution is out there.  Now I just have to believe it.

My hip/pelvis is starting to develop a deep ache- what is my body trying to tell me?

I also do not appreciate people telling me what they think I should do without me asking them.  I just need support.


February 4th

It might be the cold and the clouds-or lack of sleep- but by optimism has gone down.


February 5th

You can't run 100 miles without 100% commitment.

I am supposed to ask for as sign to see if I should run Mass.- I don't even know what to ask for.

Even with XT 3-4x a week, I think I could do it.


February 6th

I think I got my sign!  A Julius monkey bumper sticker.


February 9th

Massanutten 100- I am running!

My doctor said okay, so I signed up right away (I just told him a race in May).

My training is going to be very different with my more cross training than usual* but that's okay.  In this last week of no running and recovery, what I really need to work on is changing my mind- It need to be strong, healthy, and whole before I can expect the same of out of my body (oh, I saw balloons today!**)

I am not injured- I have a labrum tear and an impingement, but I am healthy and strong, capable of giving 100% at MMT100.

*That didn't happen- I still ran 6 days a week.
** Another sign.