…and another injury…

Well, I guess I will just come out and say it…I’m not able to run the Flying Pig Marathon. Marathon training has been a battle for me since February when I developed right quad pain which resolved and I returned to my training plan. However, because I missed a month of training, my training plan had to become more aggressive, but my coach still thought it was doable if I continued to feel well. I felt so determined to run this marathon…it has been something I’ve been working towards since recovering from a stress fracture last summer. I continued to build my miles but new aches kept coming. My plantar fasciitis flared up in my left foot which made it feel like I was running on a ball but, with lots of epson salt soaks and running my foot over a spiky ball, that let up. I was crossing my fingers that I was in the clear (middle of March). Then, my right knee got really sore after my 14 mile run…and then that didn’t let up for a few weeks. At this point (around March 20th), my running coach really encouraged me to cut back on my running, train for a later marathon, or run the half instead of the full at Flying Pig. I decided that I wanted to keep pushing forward. I then did my 16 mile run in Chicago. It was okay, not great, and then I could barely walk up the steps afterwards because my right knee was so sore. With some ice and ibuprofen, I was able to tame the knee symptoms and gradually my right knee started to feel better. Unfortunately, at the same time, I was starting to notice that not only was my right calf really tight, it was also starting to hurt a lot more, especially when I started running. Throughout training, I’ve been getting massages and I was hoping that another massage could just cure this problem. While the massage definitely helped, it didn’t solve the problem but I was able to make it through my 18mi run 2 weeks ago. I had some calf discomfort at the beginning but that let up over the course of the run. After that run on Saturday, I needed to do a 4mi run on Sunday. I went out on that run and had to call it quits because my calf just felt like it was shattering as I ran. On Monday, I went out for a 9mi run but after 5 miles, I just couldn’t handle the pain….and from there my running decreased and decreased….and my calf pain got worse and worse, even hurting at rest. After last week’s miserable runs, I knew I was not up for the 20 miler. I couldn’t walk down the steps without pain. Rob and I are also backpacking the Incan trail in May (for a total of 4 full days of hiking) and I started to get worried that if I kept pushing, I wouldn’t be able to do the hike….so here I’ve ended up.

I don’t think I have a stress fracture because I don’t have point tenderness and I don’t think I have shin splints because the pain is solely in the right calf (typically shin splints are bilateral). I’m not sure if I just severely pulled a muscle or perhaps I have exertional compartment syndrome. Regardless, I don’t think any new shoes or multiple massages are going to fix the problem.

I’m definitely disappointed because this has been something I’ve been working towards for months. I’ve been running at least a 10 mile long weekend run every weekend (minus February) since the beginning of December. Running a marathon is on my bucket list, but so is climbing Machu Picchu.

I also think that I need to reassess why running a marathon is on my bucket list. Perhaps, my body just can’t tolerate the training….clearly, I’m having a hard time accepting that…(which is evidenced by the fact that my sports med doc has told me this numerous times…yet I still keep training…and am now too embarrassed to go and see him for this injury).

Anyway, sorry for the long, drawn out post. I also feel lucky that while I can’t run a marathon, I can still do other things (ie yoga). And I also know that this is minor in comparison to the struggles other people face.

I might still do the half….

Thanks for listening to me.

xo

Mary

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Not back in the game yet

Last  month, I wore a holter monitor for 21 days.  I affectionately referred to it as my robot heart.  Whenever I felt a particular symptom, I pushed a button on the monitor and scrolled through the lists to log the symptom and what activity I was doing when it occurred.  It looked like an awkward pager with four electrodes, so I got really creative at outfits worn to hide it.  I wore one of my running vests as an extra layer at work, it has lots of pockets so I was able to hide the monitor in an inner pocket.  I wore thick scarves to cover the stickies on the top of my chest.  At the end of the three weeks, you just stick in its prepaid box and mail it back to the company.

holter
Freeeedoooooom

 

Last week I had a cardiologist appointment to follow up on the holter monitor and the latest echos.  Both good and bad news: -my ejection fraction (this is the amount of blood or oxygenated blood or something that your heart pushes through) was measuring between 55-60%, which is almost at the 60% she wants to see (that’s normal) and higher than the 50-53% it was in the hospital (that’s too low). -the damage and thin heart wall in the lower area of my heart caused by the myocarditis is getting better. -they also discovered a have a very slight type of heart murmur, a mitral valve prolapse, which is when one of the flaps in a chamber of the heart doesn’t quite close all the way, but it’s so slight that there’s nothing to be done for it, just something to watch.

So while that sounds good, and is finally signs of healing that we’ve been looking for, the fact is that it took almost five months for that to happen.  So when the doctor said she’ll see me in four months and I have to maintain the same level of rest, I was very disappointed (“disappointed” is an understatement but I’m trying to keep it together here).  She said “I know it’s hard, you’re pulling at my heartstrings” and emphasized that I have to give it time to heal now or I won’t be able to get over it when I’m older, and risk a lot more complications.

I can walk up to three miles as long as I feel ok, and I can bike very easy (like, easy bike commute to church and around the neighborhood) up to three miles.  No running.  No swimming.  No triathlons.  No summer races.

I am not trying to be a whineypants, but I’ve been sort of avoiding thinking about it for the last few months, and I think I need to let myself do a little bit of grieving for the goals and the activities I had planned.  Even if I am able to start doing more in four months, I won’t just be able to hop back into full-blown marathon training, so any hopes of chasing a BQ or age group points in triathlons are going to be on hold kind of indefinitely at this point.

This is getting long so I am going to wrap it up after a few more thoughts.  This is a post I am going to share with a lot of running/triathlete friends so they know where I’ve gone.  I’m making an effort to unfollow some groups and people on social media, temporarily, because it does sting to see my friends literally running into the sunset while I am stuck on the couch, and also because I need to make more of an effort to fill my time with other activities to help me heal instead of just pass the time until I can run again.  I am still inspired by other runners, especially Master’s runners, who have been able to look back and say “that was a season I was not able to run, and I’m ok with that”.  Hopefully I will be on the other side of this someday, too.