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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trying to be Patient

I love reading blogs that offer race recaps and exciting news.  I feel badly that I don't have the most exciting things going on right now.  My last race, the Detroit Women's Half Recap is HERE if you are looking for some "lighter" news.  It was a great weekend and I had a good time being silly with friends.  Sadly, I don't have any races coming up!

Most of you that read regularly know that I've been struggling with my foot.  The DX has gone from stress fracture to morton's neuroma, to a strained/lightly torn tendon.  Thankfully things have been ruled out by scans as we go.  The last DX I got came from my MRI.  I thought that was the "end" of my issues because I assumed that the doctor now knew what was going on, could treat it and we could all live happily ever after!

After the MRI and DX I begged to run my last 1/2 marathon of the season and I was told I could if I promised to stop if I felt any major pain.  Apparently I don't have the same definition of "major pain" as my doctor?  I ran and then couldn't get shoes on my feet for 4 days due to the swelling and couldn't walk for 3 of those 4 days.  Since I was in so much pain, I called my foot doctor on Tuesday to get in early for the injection she promised would end my tendon issues.

Cortisone injections HURT!   I've read other forums and blogs where people said they barely felt it. They are LYING! LYING, LYING!

Fast forward to Thursday and Friday.  The numbness from the injection has worn off.

My foot still hurts.

I'm really trying to be patient.  I am.  The truth is, I'm not a patient person.  My foot started hurting in June.  I saw a doctor in July.  It's almost October!  I want this, whatever it is, to be taken care of and done with.  My hope was to have this healed so I could train for another half in December.

I've done a lot of inspecting of my foot and I noticed it was swelled a lot on top.  The foot doctor told me it was just the inflammation.  The swelling has slowly been subsiding.  This morning I woke up and though the pain was still there when I walked, I didn't think the side of the foot looked swelled for once.  However, I did notice two very "swollen" areas on top.

Lumps 1 and 2... ignore the "fort" my children were building in the background!

I did what every athlete does.... I played google doctor!  The lumps feel like they are filled with liquid.  Everything I've read points to ganglion cysts.  Any one ever have these?  What happened?  Did they have to be drained?  Surgery?  Go away on their own?  The problem I have is that it hurts to wear shoes for any period of time.

Here is a better shot of the one on the left (which is smaller but harder than the right one)

Sigh....  I REALLY just want this to be done with.  I'm so frustrated because I always feel like time slips away so quickly.  I had planned to started training NOW for a 70.3 distance triathlon so that I would have a great base to work with.  I wanted to get my running base set and keep working on cross training so that I could seriously start training in January.

My podiatrist doesn't act like she is treating me for me to be able to do these events.  She treats me like her goal is for me to walk normally again.  I don't want to just walk normally.  I don't want a bandaid.  And for gosh sakes, I don't want to live off of cortisone injections like they are asprin for my foot!  I want to be "healed" so that I can move on with my training- pain free.

Do I ask for a referral to a sports ortho?  Do I ask for a second opinion?  Do I call her Monday and beg to be seen based on these new lumps?


Do I trust that she WILL treat this and heal me and stop acting like an impatient baby??

Do they do foot transplants somewhere local?

Ok, Ok, I know I'm being silly and will probably offend someone.  I know there are people with much worse foot problems than me.  I get it.  Pity Party....  Party of ONE please.

But in all seriousness, does anyone have any experience with these or other foot issues and what would you recommend I do to get this taken care of in a reasonable amount of time?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Detroit Women's Half Marathon Race Re-Cap

It's been awhile since I've done a 1/2 marathon, so when some friends I had't seen in awhile started meeting me to run again on the weekends, I asked them to sign up for a race with me.  We made it a girl's weekend and had plans for travel long ago.  Too bad most of us ended up running injured, but we all made it!

My foot has been hurting pretty badly the last few weeks and since the MRI results, I have been hoping I could just make it through this weekend.  On Friday I was getting up from a chair and heard a snapping sound followed by some searing pain.  More on that later, but I PROMISED everyone I knew that after this race, I will listen to the doctor and take the time off to rest my tendon and allow it to heal.  Most things I read say 6 weeks tops.  It's the off-season now right?!  

On Saturday morning I went out for a 3 mile run just to see how my foot would feel.  Lots of pain, but I found out the faster I ran, the less pain I had.  Good deal right?!  Run fast and I'm all good.  

Here is my view on the run... so peaceful-

After running I packed up  (and showered!) and headed out to meet my friends. We drove up to the "expotique" or packet pick-up.  The whole expo wasn't very big and it was crammed into two small rooms and a hallway.  It would have been nice to have it in one larger room so we weren't all trying to push past each other, but I suppose they have to work with what they have.  First we had to find our bib numbers...  I looked mine up online beforehand.  114!

We got our shirts, bibs, and swag.  We met the pacer groups.  My PR is 2:17:22 and I was hoping to maybe (crazy idea when injured huh?) PR and found that I needed to run between these two to reach my PR.

2:10 and 2:20

Come race morning they added a 2:15 so I actually TRIED to stick with that person...who is the 2:20 in the picture above.  She was an awesome pacer and I did my best to keep her in sight!

We also visited lot of the local booths... and picked up some fun stuff.  Then took pictures being silly.

Kim and I wearing our "RUN with DMC" headbands (Detroit Medical Center)

Trying one of 10,000 ways you can wear your Hoo-Rag!  (Too bad someone wasn't handing out wrinkle cream- my forehead is screaming for some!)

Posing with the "Women Run the D" sign

We ended up getting some ice cream at Cold Stone and then walking around Detroit for awhile since we weren't ready for dinner yet.  (You know, because ice cream the night before a race is recommended!)

I was excited to spend some time with them exploring Detroit.  I'm sure when I say Detroit, I strike fear in some.  Detroit has it's not so nice places, but the city has done a great job cleaning up the tourist parts for the sports teams and theatre.  It is still a big city, but it's not so scary when there are so many people around for events.  

The Detroit Tigers were playing that night so we saw lots of people going to the game and we stopped at Comerica Park to take some pictures-

We found our way to the FOX theatre and also to HOCKEYTOWN

 The funny thing was, I live about an hour away from my brother and see him about 5 times a year.  He happened to be in Detroit that night for a Hockey game and we were within 5 minutes of seeing him!  Oops- better planning next time!

We ended up back at the hotel to eat dinner and head to bed.  I slept horribly- between the loud traffic, people banging on doors for the "fun" of it and others screaming at each other in the hallway.  Oh well.  6am alarm and up and at 'em!  6am is LATE for many events, but our run started at 8am and we wanted to take the 6:40am shuttle to Belle Isle.

Waiting for the shuttle!

Early morning view of the finish line I wanted to get to SOON!

getting in our corrals.... 2:15 pacer in front of me- 10:18 minute miles.  I wasn't sure if I had it in me, but I was going to start with them and hang on for as long as I could!

12 minutes late and we were off!  I felt decent for the first few miles, but by about mile 4 my foot was killing me.  I could relieve the pain if I curled my toes under for just a second.  Too bad I couldn't run like that the whole time.  I stay just behind the 2:15 pacer until about mile 8.  Then I slowly lost pace.  By mile 10 I had tears in my eyes and I just wanted to finish.  By mile 11 the pacer was almost out of sight.  I knew I was still close to my PR of 2:17.  The course was 2.25 loops of Belle Isle.  It really was beautiful.  It was a bit windy and cold, but it was good for a run.  

Detroit from Belle Isle!

Once I got to the end of the second loop, I just wanted to finish.  I was looking for the cut across to the parking lot and it just seemed to take forever.  Eventually I got there, but I felt like I was in slow-mo!  The last mile seemed to take FOREVER!  I checked my watch when the finish came into view and tried to kick in anything I had left.  I crossed the line at 2:18:03.  Only 41 second off my PR.  I'm calling it a good day considering after I was done walking was so painful I felt like my foot was broken.  

I got my medal and some food.  I cheered in all of my friends and we hung around for a few minutes and decided to head to where we thought the shuttle stop was.  The shuttle guy told us he would pick us up where he dropped us off.  We waited for over an hour and no one came!  We walked back to the finish to ask the race directors who pointed us to a totally NEW location and we gingerly walked to where they pointed us to, only to see the bus arrive at the EXACT spot we were just standing.  We hobbled back as quickly as we could, hoping to not miss the bus!  It seemed like miles, but I'm sure it was only about .25!  

Here is our group AFTER the run:

And me....

All in all, it was a good race.  We had a GREAT time and I enjoyed being with my friends doing something we all love!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Great Reminder of WHY I'm doing this!

Almost 2 years ago I decided to start running.  I needed a reason bigger than myself to start because, for some reason, I didn't value my own health at the time enough to commit to running that much.    I joined Team in Training to honor a friend's daughter who was fighting Leukemia, but as soon as I found TnT I realized that the little girl I was honoring was teaching me that I needed to live my life with no regrets, because we aren't all promised the next day.   It ended up being such a eye-opening decision.  I had suddenly flung myself into improving my fitness level so that I could do the things I so badly wanted to be able to do in my life.  I wanted to be healthy and I wanted to control all of the health  concerns that I indeed had any control over.

Today I received my biometric screening results.  For those of you unfamiliar with what a biometric screening is, our insurance company offers a full blood workup to look for concerns or issues and also has us fill out health surveys to pair with our results.  I was so excited to see exactly what I have done for myself.

In the last two years, I have lowered my cholesterol by almost 80 points, lowered my triglycerides by 22, lowered my BMI from 40 to 25, and my overall health risk number went from a -5 to a -30!  A 0 means you are in OK health with few risk factors.  Any thing in the negative is AWESOME!  So I guess that means I'm awesome-er than I was before!!!!!

I reviewed my entire list of counts and scores and not a single number was out of range or of concern.  Everything came back in the "optimal" category.

While I love that I have lost 35 pounds and feel great, I think I'm more excited that my health has improved so significantly....  I'm sure my kids love that I am thinner, but I hope they eventually realize the benefit of me taking charge of my health now more than anything else.  I'm proud of myself for making these changes and I'm excited to think of what's to come.

Monday, September 16, 2013

One Foot In Front of the Other

I've haven't been great on posting, but mainly because I haven't been doing much.  I was looking forward to having a race coming up and thought that would help motivate me.  Next Sunday is the 1st Detroit Women's Half Marathon on Belle Isle Detroit.

I'm pretty excited to be running another 1/2 marathon with some friends.  I have been keeping up with my training plans and doing some decent long runs.  I wish I would have gotten 1 more 12 mile run in, but things got a bit busy and I ended up doing 3 10 mile runs and only 1 12.  Oh well...such is life right?

A few months ago I started having pain in my right foot.  I've been updating what's been going on when I get new here goes!  At first my doctor thought it was a stress fracture and did a x-ray.  The film did not show anything so they scheduled a bone scan.  The bone scan did not show anything, so my doctor referred me to a podiatrist who diagnosed a Morton's neuroma by way of locating pain.  I was given a round of oral steroids and two rounds of cortisone injections....  the first few weeks I seemed to have less pain (I know now that this is probably because of the oral steroids rather than the injections.)  After 4 weeks I went back and explained that the pain was gone for 2 weeks, but came back with every day of exercise.  I was given the second round of cortisone 2 weeks ago and had NO relief because I wasn't taking any oral steroids.

Last Friday I was sent for an MRI and today I was called with the results.  

Strained/torn peroneal tendon. 

I was told that she would start with an injection into the tendon and offered an appointment on Wednesday.  I asked the doctor if could I run on Sunday after an injection.  She laughed and said, "If I tell you no, will you listen?"  I of course told her no and she quickly offered me an appointment the Wednesday AFTER my race on Sunday with the promise that I would STOP running if I felt any sharp pains.  She knows me well!  When she set up the appointment for NEXT Wednesday I asked if I would be told to rest and stop training and her response was, "We'll talk about that when you come in."  Unfortunately she said it in a really sly, almost laughable tone that told me that she planned to sit me down and tell me that I HAD to stay off it and that I would have to stop all of my non-pool training.  :(  

I guess at least this is the "off" season for me.  I plan to run Sunday and then seriously consider what I need to do to heal so that I can focus on my goals for next year.  The hardest thing for me is the feeling of not doing enough.  I always get into funk if I feel like I can't exercise at my hardest.  I fall off my diet bandwagon and get depressed.  I am going to try to focus my energies on strength training through the rest time I'm ordered.  Gotta find my "guns" under my batwing arms!!

That's the update.... I guess I'll know more next Wednesday.  Expect a race report before that though!  Gotta get it out of my system.  :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Volunteering at Rev3 Cedar Point

Several people have told me that the best way to learn about longer triathlons is to volunteer, so I did just that.  I've looked up all the Ironmans and have realized that there are not many "close" by.  And by close, I mean within 2-3 hours driving time.  The idea of doing such a large race somewhere that I am not familiar with freaks me out...I need more friends that want to do triathlons!!!  Then I came across Rev3.  I'm sure you've heard seen me mention them before.  After looking into their races, reading about them on blogs, and watching their age group videos, I fell in love with their race series for one main reason- they are family and athlete centered.  They welcome families and want them to be part of the day.  They celebrate EVERY athlete, not just the serious/winners.

It was about a year ago that I found out that Rev3 does a 70.3 and 140.6 at Cedar Point.  For those of you not from around my area, Cedar Point is the best amusement park in the world.  I'm not just saying that- they really have been voted that designation.  I've been to CP numerous times growing up.  The park is about 1.5-2 hours from my house by way of the turnpike.

Since I'm not ready to DO a 70.3 this year, I thought I would learn more about it by volunteering this year.  I waited until they posted positions and then I signed up for three- packet pick-up, swim exit, and finish line.  Needless to say, I was excited!

Last Saturday I left mid-morning to get to CP in time for my first shift.  I got there well in advance so that I could find my way around and take a few pictures.  This year the race wasn't as big because it wasn't a pro-race.  I was a little sad because it did seem to lack the "big" race atmosphere, but knowing that it was only an age-group race, I understood.  Several people told me that the "expo" was a lot smaller this year because of that.

 Walking up to the expo, you can see the roller coasters in the background!

The finish line being set up!

Rev3 has huge semi's with their name on it.  

I worked packet pick up and for the most part the athletes were very nice.  We tried to keep everything moving to help them get everything they wanted quickly.  At first I was working with some older people from the center of aging who were volunteering.  They were sweet, but they didn't have much knowledge about triathlons and I think that frustrated the athletes checking in.  After their shift ended, the few of us left all knew about the events and we could move them through everything and answer their questions.  I was one of the last people left working as the pick-up ended.

I stayed at my sister's house for the night and my alarm went off at 4:30am.  It was EARLY!  I guess at least I wasn't waking up to DO the triathlon.  Due to the high winds, there was a rip current in Lake Erie so the swim portion was moved to the bay (the other side of the peninsula) and that meant that athletes would have a 1/2 mile run to transition after coming out of the water.  It wasn't ideal, but it was better than having to cancel the swim portion.  Rev3 allowed them to stash shoes at the water exit and it would be my job to keep spectators away from the shoes as the athletes came out.  

The start of the shoe area....this was early on in the stashing, but the time all of the athletes got there, it was much more of a shoe mess!

This is where the swim was supposed to be:

I took this picture the day before when I got to CP.

I have to say that most spectators were nice about us asking them to NOT walk through the shoes and to go around.  A few were confused and some just ignored us.  The people that were the rudest?  The athletes!  The full Rev (140.6) went off at 7am and some of the faster athletes were coming out of the water before the 1/2 Rev athletes started their race at 8:30.  The 1/2 athletes were still putting their shoes down and then wanted to stand around IN the shoes as the full athletes were coming out frantically searching for their shoes.  We tried to politely ask them to move to the other side where everyone was lining up.  Most complied with a dirty look.  A few screamed at us.  One got in a volunteer's face and thumped his chest like a gorilla.  I'm not sure what that was about- I think he was trying to tell her she should stop acting like she was the king of the jungle, but all it did was make us think he was a jerk.  

Like I said, MOST people- athletes and spectators, were nice and moved out of the way quickly like asked.  The race was off and running.  It was really neat to see the elation of some coming out of the water.  Some people were upset with their swims and we only saw a few quit for the day.  The swim was still choppy and COLD even in the marina.  

The last person out of the water happened to be someone on the same tri team as me.  She had several injuries leading up to the race, felt under-trained, and just wanted to finish.  When she came out of the water we formed a chute of clapping people to welcome her back.  She was blue and shivering, but she kept moving.  

I had some time to walk around before my shift at the finish line and I enjoyed watching some of faster athletes coming back from the bike to transition.

This is what transition looked like the day before:

This is what it looked like the day of while everyone was out on the bike:

Finally the athletes were about to come back from the run and it was time work at the finish line.  We started un-wrapping the medals and getting everything set up.  Working the finish line meant we saw everything and anything.  Some athletes were elated to be done, happy to be given their medal and cold water.  Others came back mad about something that happened during their race.  One man came back yelling, "This is Bull S***" at us and pointing his finger in our faces.  He claimed that he didn't know which way to go for the aqua bike finish.  Rev3 had 950 volunteers that day... most places were WELL marked and staffed.  HOWEVER- it is the athlete's responsibility to know the course no matter what.  He was just plain rude to everyone.  

We had a few athletes pass out as they finished, some throwing up, and some smiling ear to ear.  The Wind on the bike really made each and every one of them suffer. I can't imagine being out there on the bike.  What I did notice is that there were athletes of all shapes and sizes.  I really thought that a bigger event would mean that everyone would be the serious athlete with the $6,000 or more bike.  Yes, there were mostly really expensive bikes and very serious athletes, but there were also back of the packers like me.  

The one person that made the biggest impact on me was a younger girl who was overweight (like me!), but obviously working very hard at improving herself.  As she came down the finish cute she began to cry and almost was embarrassed to finish crying.  I'm sure she didn't see me, but I started crying too.  Crying because I knew where she was at.  She had the courage to start and the will to finish.  It's because of people like her that I am inspired to do something like Rev3 70.3 next year... not the uber-fit guy winning the race.  

I was able to see my teammate finish too:

It was a very neat experience.  I'm so glad I was able to volunteer.  The Rev3 staff were all so nice to the volunteers.  They gave us all great direction.  Some places I have volunteered before left me feeling lost because no one seemed to know what we were supposed to do or where we were supposed to be.  Not Rev3- they had everything organized.  The staffers talked to us like we were part of the team.  Many of them introduced themselves to me during down times and asked questions trying to get to know me.  They all seemed genuinely interested in my story and cared about who I was.  They all seemed to LOVE what they do- even if it wasn't their full time job.  They loved working for Rev3 and sincerely cared about the experience of every athlete.  Some day, I hope I'm one of those athletes they welcome across the finish line!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Living in Chaos

This post will be short....I think.

As my title of my blog (the whole blog, not the post!) suggests, I'm always on the run.  I thrive on chaos.  At least that's what I have always said.  Work is absolutely crazy and everything that is crazy about education right now all hinges on my position.  My after school program is to start in 2 weeks, which means 3 more hours a day at work- but not doing MY work, but rather working with kids who need me and my staff.  THIS is the work I love!  Kids need people to care.  I care.  I want to see them succeed!

So why am I feeling like I live in chaos?  Tonight for the first time we got a notice that we had overdraft fees.... something I've never had issues with.  We don't know if someone hacked our account and took money or if I overpaid something? Generally this isn't something we worry about.  Of course, banks are closed now so it must wait for tomorrow.

Tonight I saw SBM's post and I think some large revelations flooded into me.  I need to decompress my life.  I, too, have PMP issues.  As she suggests, I Pile My Plate to keep up my image of being a good person in all aspects of my life.

I can't do it all and I have to stop believing I can.  I have to know that being me is good enough.  I don't need to over-do it to impress people.  Sometimes less is more.

I just have to decide which things to purge.  What makes me happy?  What makes me healthy?  One thing for sure- I WILL continue to swim, bike, and run.  I am a better person when I do.  I'm happier.

Let the purging begin?!

And since less is more.... I'm leaving this post at that.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oral IV review

*Taken from their press packet

I recently had an opportunity to try a new(er) hydration aid and jumped at the chance.  As many of you know, I hope to someday train for a 1/2 and Full Ironman.  I am currently working towards my 4th 1/2 marathon and I have thought a lot about finding something to drink that would help keep me hydrated because I'm not really a fan of drinking my calories with the sports drinks that are available.

I am also a VERY picky eater and I'm a little scared to try new things- especially new flavors.  What if I spend a lot of money on something and then don't like the taste?  This has kept me from ordering something.

Oral IV offered me samples of their product if I would, in turn, write a review.  I am in no way being compensated for this review other than with the samples that were sent.  You should probably know that I am a very skeptical person and I would never fabricate my thoughts or experiences.  If I don't like something, I'm going to tell you.

I received the Oral IV package in the mail this week and it was perfect timing because I had a long (for me) bike ride that night, a shorter run (4 miles) scheduled for the next day, and then my long (12 miles) run on the calendar for this morning!

The packages had 4 tubes of the Oral IV in it.  

The information recommended either adding the tube to 16oz of water or consuming it by itself before, during, or after physical activity.  

Additional information given via email explained that Oral IV was not a hydration replacement- meaning that the volume of water needed during activities should still be consumed and that Oral IV should be used in addition to that volume of water.  

What's in it you ask?  "crystalloid electrolytes and purified water"

Sounds good to me!  Also good- There is no flavor.  I'm not a fan of many flavors.  When I run, bike, or swim I generally want water and I dislike that most drinks that have electrolytes in them also have flavor.  While I figure that Oral IV may eventually add flavors....I'm good if they don't!  I hope they always keep the no-flavor option!  

Since I still needed water during my bike ride and runs, I chose to mix it with my water and I couldn't taste a thing.  I did not drink it directly, so I can't comment on that, I but I didn't smell anything upon opening it.

I added it directly to my bike water bottle and 16oz of water for my Thursday night ride.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to notice a difference.  I'm mean, really, I'm not sure I notice a difference when I'm drinking a sports drink or taking a Gu.  

I added it to my bike and I was off.  I left at 7pm and I was hoping to get 1.5-2 hours in on my bike before it got too dark (slight miscalculation on my part since I forgot that it's starting to get dark earlier!)

Verdict:  This ride was the FIRST time I had ever used all of my drink while out.  I manage 23 miles in just over 1.5 hours.  I felt great and I didn't seem to wear out at all during my ride.  Aside from it being dark, I could have kept riding.  For some reason I just felt more energy.  Fluke? Wishful thinking? Placebo effect?  I don't know.  We'll have to keep trying it to see if I still feel this way.  We all know we have good rides and bad rides, good runs and bad runs right?

Less than 12 hours later my alarm went off for my 5am run.  I needed to get in 4 miles before work.  I HATE morning runs.  I hate getting up, I hate trying to get my legs moving.  I added Oral IV to my water bottle and headed down to the dread mill.  Generally I have to run 2 miles before I feel "good" while running.  I don't know why, I just know it takes that long for me to warm up.  I got my 4 miles in.

Verdict: I had a GREAT run less than 12 hours after riding 23 miles.  The first mile flew by and I realized that I felt good the whole time.  I didn't need my usual 2 mile warm up.  The run was unusually painless and easy.  Another coincidence?  Only a long run will tell.

This morning I got up and added (2 tubes) Oral IV to 32oz of water and then poured that into my fuel belt bottles.  I purposely bought a fuel belt for this run because I was worried that someone would pick up my bottle if I stashed it along the way (YES, this HAS happened recently!) and it was supposed to be hot and humid this morning and I wanted to make sure I had water the whole 12 miles!

Verdict: I had a GREAT run this morning.  I never really hit my wall until the very end and that has more to do with training than hydration.  I never cramped up though.  I was able to keep my pace and I could really tell when I took in water that I seemed to feel better afterwards.  I also noticed that though I sweated profusely (like so much that it looked liked I had stood in my shower fully clothed- too bad I didn't smell that way!) that once the sweat dried on my skin on the way home, I wasn't wiping away salt crystals.  Interesting!  I generally can see the salt build up when I run.  Not today.

So, can I say that Oral IV was the complete reason that I had great rides and runs?  Probably not, BUT I honestly think I will need to be purchasing some soon.  I don't want to run out any time soon.  I generally will just go with whatever is there, but I think I have found MY new and permanent hydration aid.  I am impressed with my short term results.  I plan to update you once I use the other 4 tubes for long runs/rides.  I'm personally a little worried that I won't get more in time when I need them next!  I liked the results THAT much.  I never thought that hydration was anything more than just drinking enough water.  Now I know that there are things out there that will help your body preform better.

If you are looking for a hydration aid and you don't want the sugars, stimulants, etc. that are found in sports drinks, you MUST check out Oral IV.