Monday, March 26, 2012

Busy much?

Spring break is over... now time to get back to school kids!

I would have enjoyed spring break more if I could have done something.  Like... walk.  Anything.  And by the time the 2 weeks is over, I'm usually more than ready for everyone to be back on a regular schedule.  And I am.... but this time it's a little bittersweet (aka 'selfish') because I won't have all my little helpers to help me!  Actually, I'm getting around a lot better.  Cheating more than I should i.e. using 1 crutch so I can have 1 hand.

The boys are already off to school, Lucy starts swimming lessons today, and hubby leaves for out of town.  Swimming lessons are at the gym which means I get to darken the doors again.  I'm SO excited!  I just need to smell it.  I'm only going to ride the bike and stretch, but at least it's something.

As I mentioned before, I begin PT at the new place tomorrow.  Hopefully I can set up recurring appointments for Tuesday and Thursday's while Lucy is at preschool.  Thursday is also hubby's birthday and report cards come home (happy birthday honey!!  I hope.)  And then the grand finale' of the week - Friday is follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon to hopefully get off these crutches.  (crossing everything)  If he says I can't get off the crutches, I'm going to beg him to at least put me in a boot - PUH-LEEEZE!  I need my hands back.  And my life.  I'll even promise to not run the month of April.  Well, most of it?  The half marathon ain't happenin' anyway, and honestly, I know I need more healing.  I've come to grips with all of this.  Believe me, I've had PLENTY of time to think things through.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

So that was our winter, eh?  Best winter ever in my book.  Only 1 snow, and the rest... unseasonably warm.

Since it is now spring, I thought I'd give a fresh, new look to Peace, Love, & Hamstrings!  Do you like my new background??

Still on the crutches but I did pimp my ride...

That pocket has saved my life!  I carry everything in that sucker.  As long as I have my bottle of water, my phone, and my Burt's Bees chap stick, I'm a happy camper.  For the most part.

So, some of you know how I love Fleet Feet - local (if you call a 40 minute car ride 'local') running store.  I love the staff there and all their products - even beyond shoes.  I follow them on Facebook and get their newsletter via email.  Well, I got the newsletter the other day and it was titled "Love Getting Injured?  Then Stop!"  Is that an article written directly for me, or what?  It even started with "Dear Andrea..."

Fleet Feet has some new, very cool products for staying injury free.  I love all that but I want my leg fixed ... yesterday.  Then I was reminded about their free injury screenings that they have twice/month.  I've thought of going to one a few times.. but now was the time.  I promptly emailed the owner - Christi Beth - and she immediately emailed me back - LOVE that!  Injury screenings are the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 3:00 - 6;00.  PUKE.  That couldn't be a worse time for me - on any day.  Wednesday is smack-dab in the middle of the week (in case you didn't know) and that almost guarantees my husband will be out of town - which in turn means I'd have to take all 3 kids.  Um, no thanks.  And 3:00-6:00?  Kids getting home from school, homework, and start dinner time.  Then Christi Beth said this "We have a screening today, but the schedule is full. Our next session will be Wednesday, April 4th if you want to call and schedule an appointment ... but if you're still holding out hope for the CMM 1/2 then I'd contact Perry Smith ASAP to see if he could see you sooner!"

Holding out hope??  Really??.. I mean... do you really, truly mean there ... still could... be... hope???  I promptly told her I wasn't really holding out hope - until she mentioned it - thanks Christi Beth - now you've got my hopes again!!  Just kidding, but it did flicker my spark a bit.  And it felt good.

Let's sum this up:  So Perry is recommended to me by my favorite RUNNING store, who conducts their INJURY screenings personally, and is a RUNNER himself - I want him to treat me.  I contacted Perry of ProMotion physical therapy - someone from his office contacted me an hour later and we set up an appointment for next Tuesday at 10:00.

I don't know why, but I feel like I'm getting ready to get real and proper therapy, and that my chances of success in running again are going to be so much greater because of the paragraph above.  

I'm so excited for Tuesday I could spit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hip, hip, hooray

Went to my first physical therapy appointment today.  Was told it was just a consult = I can take Lucy with me since hubby had to work.  Nope.  Full on exam and then exercises.  But as usual, Lucy was a trooper.  Except when she HAD to go 'tee tee' right in the middle of my IT band exercises... with no toilet paper in the bathroom (which they QUICKLY fixed with my glare)... and then missing the seat with said 'tee tee'... and then staying in there til I yelled 'what are you doing?'  Lucy: 'waiting for you Mommy.'  So, I quit my exercises and hopped on one leg to the bathroom - thank God it wasn't too far from my exercise table - and cleaned the floor, Lucy, and then myself up - all on one foot.

I have weak hips!  Well, howboutchee.  And I'm going to cheat a bit tonight as I need to eat before I pass out, and cut and paste some things about weak hips and why weak hips should matter to runners.  These are different exerts from a great article on the subject from

See if this sounds familiar: First your Achilles flares up. The next week your knee starts bothering you. Then your hamstring gets all hitchy. And all on your left side. It can't be a coincidence. It's gotta be the shoes, right?

Conventional wisdom has cast atypical pronation, or the inward roll of the foot upon striking the ground, as the running injury scapegoat. And while the torsional forces caused by atypical pronation shouldn't be disregarded in diagnosing an injury, new research suggests we look deeper, or rather, higher

The main hip muscles to focus on strengthening are the hip adductors, hip abductors, gluteus medius, tensor fasciae latae, piriformis, and hip flexors. If you're already injured, Ferber emphasizes the importance of "positive daily stress." Translation: Do the exercises every day. Once you're out of the woods, two to three times a week is sufficient.

I return to PT on Thursday and then Tuesday and Thursday of next week.  I will be doing all my prescribed hip and IT band exercises at LEAST once/day if not twice/day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Are you mental?!?

Injuries suck.  (have I already said that?)

My strength has grown.  My endurance has grown.  My self-esteem has grown.  My muscles have grown (nice physical perk).  I've worked on my form, my technique, and my footing relentlessly.  I've read, and read, and practiced, and practiced.  And yes, there have been times I've become obsessed with running, but it's better than the alternative (insert your choice of unhealthy alternative).  I have barely missed a beat in my training schedule.  I've been a good little student and have played nice and followed all the rules.

Then the unthinkable happens.  And it freakin' sneaks up on you.  An injury. And it's not like it was a major injury or anything - and it's not like something popped or cracked or broke.  Something is just not right.  And then you start asking yourself the questions - "Is is both knees/legs/feet/calves or just one??"  "Is it just a pain I need to deal with and run through?"  "Does it really hurt THAT bad?"

And here I am on crutches and have been told I need to not run for at least 3 or 4 weeks.  (Honestly, between me and you, I think I'm gonna need a bit longer.  Just a hunch.)

If you're a serious athlete and have had an injury, then you KNOW that the physical hurt you feel is only one VERY small part of your pain that you have to go through in your rehab/recovery process.  The physiological pain - the mental aspect - of your injury, and the temporary, or God forbid permanent, loss to your sport can be far more devastating than your strained muscles or torn ligaments or fractured bones.  I believe that your physiological pain has to be directly addressed and "treated" - otherwise, the entire recovery will be slow and possibly suffer.

Family, coaches, spouses, parents - who are insensitive to these very important aspects of healing, can do more harm than good.

I finally consider myself a runner.  For a long time, I was on the fence.  But now, it is an extension of my identity and my sense of self.

This is a bump in the road.  A road I hope I have the privilege to run on for as long as my body and mind let me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All Rise!

The verdict is in:

1)  Mild to moderate strain in 3 muscles around upper tibia (soft-tissue issue);

2)  Benign bone cyst at back of tibia/below knee joint;

3)  Swelling on bone - 3 inches below knee joint aka "stress reaction"; "tibial stress syndrome"; "stress edema"

No signs of stress fracture at all.


1)  Dose pack steroids - 6 days, then 800 mg ibuprofen 3x/day;

2)  Address muscle part/soft tissue with physical therapy - 2-3x/week for 2 weeks;

3)  Crutches til the end of the month;

4)  No impact exercise - can swim and maybe bike

Don't worry about the cyst at all.


Yes, I'm glad I don't have a stress fracture.  Yes, there are a LOT more things in life that could be worse.  But right now in MY little running world, I'm devastated.

I cried like a baby all day yesterday.  The news plus the pain plus being so helpless around my house and having to have everyone else do almost everything for me plus my boys getting ready to leave plus my mom calling saying she probably wasn't going to be able to not only fly with the boys to FL but not even be able to take them to the airport because she is so sick.

Do you ever feel like your fairy godmother stepped out for a smoke break???

SO, today is today and that is all I'm going to (try to) focus on.  I haven't cried once so far and it's already 10:30 a.m.

I got up at 5:15 a.m. to get the boys up get my husband up so he could get the boys up.  (I hate having to depend on other people!!  I'm very stubborn in that area.  I'm very appreciative - but just let me do it.).  My mom called 5 minutes later and asked if I could at least drive her and the boys to the airport and she would do all the leg work.  PERFECT!!!!  That made me AND her feel so much better.  So that is what we did - it was definitely the blind leading the blind.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:

Did my 2nd 9 miler yesterday again at Shelby Bottoms.  It was another gorgeous day in Music City - 71 degrees!  Thought I'd share some of the beautiful scenery I have been doing my long runs at over the past 4 weeks:

I *believe* this is the pedestrian bridge that goes over to LP Field - which is where the Tennessee Titans play.

This is a roundabout taking you from the Greenway (where I run) to the pedestrian bridge.

And this is my favorite bridge.  Why?  Because when I have it in sight, I know I'm almost done with my run  because my car is parked underneath it.

The Bad:

When I started my run yesterday, I couldn't get my breath.  I forgot to take my Flonase nose spray before I headed out.  Not real smart running in a park in 70 degree weather in a state with a very high pollen count for almost 2 hours and forget your allergy medicine.  Finally, after I hacked up a few coughs, things seemed to clear up a bit.  I even spit twice.  I still kept having to stop and walk.  Which is fine!  I always take walk breaks on my long runs.  But this was more than usual.  I realized I hadn't even run 1 MILE straight without having to stop.  After I finished this stop-n-go for the first 3 or 4 miles, I told myself  'when I hit mile 5, I'm running straight til I hit mile 6'.  I had to channel my inner Goldilocks to do this... not too fast, not too slow, but juuuuust right.  And so, I did it.  A nice slow, controlled run. (FYI - I now feel confident saying that I'm currently about an 11:30 min/mile runner.)

After that, I decided I'd do it again from mile 7 to mile 8.  This thinking was definitely more fun, and I was looking forward to the challenge.  (shouldn't be such a challenge at this point in my training - to run 1 mile straight).

That *fun* idea never happened.  Before I got to mile 7, I had a twinge in my ankle.  It was mild, and if I landed my feet just right on the ground, I didn't feel it at all.  At this point, "just right" was landing on the big balls of my feet.  (you know, the balls of your feet, but the BIG ball under your BIG toe?  so, big balls.)  I was concentrating extremely hard to do this.  Too hard.

Mile 8-9?  All walking.  Well, all walking and a little bit of limping.  My whole knee discomfort was now radiating down my leg to my ankle and part of my foot.  Lovely.  I stretched quickly (a big no-no, but I was starting to be in more pain than I liked) and drove home.  After my 35 minute drive home, and no moving of my leg, I could barely walk to the door from my car.  I took a 15 minute ice bath and hoped like hell that my knee/calf/ankle/foot would be so numb, I wouldn't feel anything for a while.  Didn't happen.

The Ugly:

I'm on crutches.  The same crutches that I had when I had my stress fracture 6 years ago.  I'm waiting for my doctor to call with my MRI results from LAST week - when I could actually walk and before any of this pain started.  I think I need a re-do.  My MRI has got to be completely different from how my leg/knee/ankle - WHATEVER - is feeling now.  Right?

I've been on the verge of tears all day.  My kids are on spring break.  My boys leave tomorrow for Florida to see their dad - which is always a heart-panging day for me.  I need to pack their bag, but would rather send clean clothes in their suitcase than dirty, so I have a lot of laundry to do as well.  My 3 year old looks bored to tears.  My husband is on conference calls all day but dressed and ready to sweep me off my feet to the emergency room for another xray (that's what he keeps saying I need - honestly, neither of us know).  And he leaves out of town tomorrow.  And I can't walk.

Don't even mention my race.  Or lack there of.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ice pic(s)

Real quick, I wanted to post some pics from my (drum roll please).............. first ice bath!  Yep - I did it.  I also did my 9 miles last Sunday successfully.  So - into the bath I went!

I asked my hubby when I was on my way home to start the water and make me a hot cup of green tea.  I changed into a MUCH warmer top and just got in.  SO. FRIGGIN'. COLD.  Omg.  My toes stayed numb for hours!  And they were OUT of the water!

Hubby also tested the water and it was 56 degrees.  I stayed in for exactly 12 minutes.

Do I think it helped?  Actually, I do.  Not that day or night, but the next day, I had zero soreness from my 9 miler.  I'll be doing it again.  When needed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Flu, Pneumonia, Tornados... OH MY!

What a week.  I feel like I start all my blogs with that sentence.

Hubby had pneumonia.  Baby girl just left for the doctors after throwing up on the bathroom floor - due to her high temps and lethargy (flu??).  That stupid mouse is still here - I've named him "Smokey" for his dark gray color.  He avoids every mouse trap in the house - goes around them all.  He SO lives here.  And we had tornadoes and hail and thunderstorms off and on all day yesterday.  Oh, and I haven't ran since Wednesday.

I returned to Shelby Bottoms last Sunday to do my 8 miles again - it was GORGEOUS out!  I did the 8 miles in 1 hr and 27 minutes and I did the previous 8 miles at Shelby Bottoms in 1 hr and 34 minutes - PR!!  I rested Monday.  Tuesday I went out at 6:30 A.M. to do my run (it was a new weekly goal to go run one of my short runs right after my coffee - to burn the calories left in the tank) and it was a bit chilly.  I felt like I was dragging sand bags around my ankles - I could not get going.  My CardioTrainer totally screwed up again (I so need a Garmin!!!) and I realized that I better just get done what I could because I still needed to eat, get dressed and get Lucy to school.  I ended up doing 2.25.  Better than nothing, right?  Until I realized that I was actually supposed to do 4 miles - not 3.  Oh well.  Wednesday I woke up with sore knees and a little pain in my left knee - right below it to be exact.  Right where my stress fracture happened 6 years ago to be very exact.  So, I went to the gym, did 1.5 miles on the elliptical, 2 miles on the TM and that's all I could do.  I ended up taking not one, but two naps that afternoon.  I was exhausted.  So by Wednesday I was supposed to have logged 9 miles but was at 6.  Thursday I went to Wayne and did a light strength training and then rolled out my ITB areas really good.  YOWZERS!  They are really tight and they are still painfully sore as I type this.  Yesterday, Friday, I was supposed to do another "easy" 3 but ended up taking a rest day on purpose.  I am taking another rest day today in hopes of being able to do my 9 miles tomorrow.  However, the first words out of my mouth to my husband this morning were 'I think I have a stress fracture.'  Really?  Please no.  I will head out tomorrow and see what happens.

I think today may be the day to take the plunge (pun intended) and do the ice bath.  Or maybe tomorrow since today is a rest day.  Here are some do's and don'ts I found on ice baths - didn't know there was such a thing:

  • DO: Be conservative with water temperature as you get started. Most rehabilitation specialists recommend a water temperature between 54-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider starting a bit higher and inch this downward a degree or two each exposure.
  • DO: Recognize that each individual will have his or her own cold threshold. Play within your personal comfort zone, and consider investing in booties (toe warmers made of wetsuit material) as your toes are likely the most sensitive body part to be submerged.
  • DON'T: Overexpose! At the recommended temperature range above, 6-8 minutes should be sufficient. Unless supervised or you have history with ice baths, do not exceed 10 minutes.
  • DON'T: Assume colder is better. Spending a prolonged period of time in water colder than 54 degrees could be dangerous.
  • DO: Be aware that moving water is colder water. Much like the wind chill created when you ride, if there are jets in your ice bath and the water that is warmed at the skin's surface gets pushed away, the resulting impact of the water will be cooler than measured by the thermometer.
  • DON'T: Assume 54-60 degrees or bust. Cool water (say, 60-75 degrees) can still be beneficial -- as can active recovery (very light exercise to facilitate blood flow to musculature)
  • DO: Seek to simplify. Building a personal ice bath daily can be a daunting task. Look for a gym that has a cold plunge, or if you live close to a river, lake or the ocean, keep tabs on the current water temperature.
  • DON'T: Rush to take a warm shower immediately after the ice bath. The residual cooling effect and gradual warming are ideal. Consider initial warming options of a sweatshirt, blanket and/or warm drink... but DO take the shower if you are unable to warm yourself.