…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.




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.



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.

Midterm Madness (featuring a leisurely spring break)

This past week was spring break, which I spent at home with my cats (duh). I did a fair amount of homework, etc, but didn’t have to go in to my internship at all. So instead of being at the hospital every day I…




Hid under blankets


Did Yoga

(done with 30 Days of Yoga and on to Adriene’s Yoga Camp videos!)

Sewed a shirt

(while watching an entire season of Alias)




Wore this tank top way too many times

Put the deck furniture back out


And broadened Hunson’s literary horizons


This has been an episode of Michelle’s life in pictures. Tune in next time for an exciting glimpse of Internship Applications (that’s right folks, fall internship slots are filling fast!), Birthday Shenanigans (will Michelle ever pick a restaurant for birthday dinner? But what if she wants birthday brunch? How will she ever decide??), and our fan favorite: What Non-Food Item are the Cats Trying to Eat Now? (will Hunson find a cardboard box to rip to shreds with his teeth? Will Freyja ever find a snack tastier than Michelle’s hair at 5am when she is trying to sleep? Just what decadent treats are the humans hiding in the bathroom trash can?)

Marathon training restart

Well February was a messy month. The first week of February I started getting pain in my right thigh when running and of course, I got worried. After having 2 previous stress fractures in my left femur, I was convinced that I had yet another stress fracture. This left me feeling so frustrated. With the encouragement of my running coach, I went to see my sports med doctor in the middle of February and he ordered an MRI. I debated not even going to this appointment because I’ve gone through this before and feel like I can self-diagnose and treat myself. But, I went. I had to wait a whole week to go see the doctor again and discuss my MRI results. In this time, my leg was feeling quite a bit better and I had picked up running but was just keeping my miles low (like 7 miles/week). By the time I went to my appointment, I was starting to wonder if I made the whole right leg pain thing up in my head. Turns out….maybe I did. There were no signs of a stress fracture in either of my femurs or my pelvis. WHAT A RELIEF. However, I was also frustrated because I just missed 3 weeks of marathon training. Thankfully, I have a running coach, who makes figuring out how to return to marathon training after a 3 week hiatus a whole lot less stressful. I did my first “long” run since the end of January (14 miler then) last weekend and clocked 8 miles. This weekend, I will run 10 and we will continue to ramp up the mileage a little faster than planned with an emphasis on “slow and steady” pacing. If things start to flare up, I might just have to sit this marathon out. I’m crossing my fingers that I can get back into the swing of things within the next few weeks and still make it through the marathon. With a bigger perspective, I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep moving forward and enjoyed increasing my yoga practice in February. Also, I keep reminding myself, that I am not defined by my physical accomplishments, and if I have to let this go, then I will.



ps- I only take pictures of Arlo these days. He says HI!

A short blog visit to Michigan

I meant to do a real post about January, but that didn’t happen.  Maybe I’ll get to that this weekend.

Today is a short update on the ongoing myocarditis thing.  I had a couple of ER visits to treat some symptoms, and a cardiologist appointment today (my cardiologist injured her right arm so she was in a sling, so we were just both a mess this week, ha).  Next week I have an echo, and am getting a halter(?) heart monitor (edit: Google says it’s a holter monitor.  With real wires.  I thought it was going to be something fancy ant+ enabled like my watch.  This is going to be slightly more annoying than I anticipated, lol).  I guess it’s a device made of three little monitors that I have to stick to the same place on my chest for 21 days, and wear a little computer on my belt like a cell phone, and it will monitor all of my heart activity (and all you triathletes thought you were so cool with your heart rate monitors, ha).

Today she also discovered that I have a rotated rib on my right side.  It’s about two inches down from my collarbone, and is slightly rotated/warped/turned from it’s attachment point in my back all the way around to the front.  While I was definitely having real chest pain and palpitations, it’s good to know that some of it is not currently heart related, instead my skeleton just being weird.  So I am going to call the licensed massage therapist I went to a lot last year, and see if she thinks she can work it out.  I am hesitant to go to a chiropractor, but I would definitely like to be able to take a whole breath, so this may be the thing that pushes me to a chiro!

January in Colorful CO

Happy last day of January!

January used to be my least favorite month of the year. It is always so gray and seems to drag on forever. However, this January was a great start to 2016. It was filled with a lot of adventures and fun! Here’s a quick recap:

New Years: We started out in Denver for New Years Eve with friends. It was great to catch up and was one of the best New Years to date. The place we went wasn’t too crowded and had great music. We then headed up to the mountains to play for a long weekend. I snowshoed on Saturday and went snowmobiling Sunday. I had never snowmobiled before by of course my adventurous boyfriend insisted it would be a great time…and it was! It was a lot less scary than I thought and it was a beautiful way to explore the mountains. IMG_1286

Back country Skiing:

We grew up taking cross country ski lessons and skiing with our parents, however I had never gone back country skiing. We rented some cross country skis and drove up the Poudre Canyon and went skiing. It was SOOO pretty and fun! There were no groomed trails so you just went on the snow covered trail. I think I enjoyed it more than snowshoeing. We covered about 6 miles on our skis. On the way back the weather got a little dicey! The temps dropped and the wind picked up which created a lot of blowing snow. I was not dressed appropriately and Matt broke a ski, but we survived!


Courage to Risk Conference:

Last weekend, I was able to attend the Courage to Risk Conference in Colorado Springs with some girls from work. This is a special education conference held at the Broadmoor Hotel. The hotel/grounds were beautiful and the conference had great topics! I think we will try to go again next year. It was a nice change of pace and was a refreshing start to the new semester.


Lastly, the month ended by staying in town and enjoying some of the local breweries. We had planned to go skiing this weekend but are supposed to get a huge storm today. I didn’t want to be stuck in the mountains or traffic, so we decided we would wait until next weekend. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to get out and ski before I forgot all my tips from my lessons in Michigan. However, this ended up being a great way to end a busy month. The weather was really nice on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We decided to take our bikes out for a spin around town. However, the snow started around 6, so we took a cab home! We covered around 11 miles. It was so nice to be outside and enjoy the warmish temps!

P.S.: My roommate last year found that cruiser in the dumpster at our apartment. We washed it and gave it a little TLC. IMG_1366

Workouts: I’ve been much more consistent with working out now that I’m finished with grad school. I’ve been going to Bodypump one time per week and am trying to get back into running. I can run about 2 miles now. I just got a new pair of running shoes and they are oh so pretty. 🙂


Xoxo Rachel



Marathon Training, Arlo, Clinic Work

Marathon Training: Not too much excitement happening around here recently, which is a good thing! I’m still working with my running coach and every week that I complete injury free amazes me (knock on wood). I’ve been feeling really great with where my training is at and how my runs have been feeling. In addition to making it through my runs, I have really been enjoying them. No marathon burn out for me yet. My friend Lindsay and I have actually decided to run the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati because Lindsay can’t make it for the Nashville race. Flying Pig is only a day after the Nashville race which I was planning on so I don’t need to make any big training changes.

Arlo: Arlo’s personality comes out more and more everyday and he has become so much more comfortable over the past month that we’ve had him. Arlo has his first training class this afternoon.  While overall, he is a pretty well behaved pup, there are some things we need to work on (ie. barking meanly at other dogs when they walk by). The poor pup also has to have his back molar removed on Monday. How I love him though…it breaks my heart to think about him in his little kennel at the humane society.

Clinic: I’m plugging away at a really lovely primary care clinic this semester. No calls and daytime hours are definitely nice, although I do really miss birth and midwifery care! The transition to this clinic has been really easy and I’m grateful for the additional experience.

That’s all of the news I have for now! Off to run 14 miles 🙂

New Semester, New Goals

Today was my first day of internship! Today and tomorrow are mostly going over orientation materials, getting the lay of the land, and settling in. So far so good, it seems like the internship will have the right mix of structured time/tasks and independence for me to learn and grow. I’m anticipating a busy semester but I think it will be manageable.

I quit my job at the childcare center to make space for the internship, and though I intend to go back over the summer it was a little sad saying goodbye. I worked pretty  hard with a some of those students and am sad to no longer be their to work on their goals and watch them grow. I guess it’s time to work on my own goals and growth now!

Speaking of goals, I recently started a youtube yoga series! I’m doing the 3o Days of Yoga from Yoga with Adriene. I’m not doing it every day because I think I would lose steam on it and just don’t want to over commit. Realistic goals. So currently my plan is to do it four days a week, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday. Tuesday is my day off from internship so Thursday will be the only day that I will have to commit to coming home from the hospital and pulling out my mat. That said, it was kind of nice to come home from my first day at the hospital and take some time to myself, do my yoga and get my mind calm and organized before word vomiting about my day to Nathan.

Current/Semester Goals:

  • Yoga with Adriene 4x per week
  • Daily notes/journals about my internship
    • We have to turn in weekly journals, but I’m afraid that at the end of a busy week I wont remember enough details to write in depth. To help organize my thoughts I’m going to commit to writing at least a few notes every day. Today I did that on the train on my way home, which I think will be a nice routine.
  • Be honest with myself about my professional growth and actively seek opportunities to branch out and strengthen my weak spots.

Acceptance and waiting

“Accepting where you are is not the same as settling.” -Lauren Fleshman

I started writing this last weekend, after an appointment with my cardiologist here in Lansing.  I had a whole big thing of feeling sad about the irony that is my heart being damaged by something that is supposed to keep me healthy – but I’m gonna delete it all, and start over.

The short version is, the EKG and echo didn’t show any change from the previous appointment in December.  The result is another appointment in March, and continued orders of no exercise till then.  But I can walk.  So I went to the indoor track at the Y and walked in circles (ovals?) for 20 minutes, which seems to be my activity threshold for right now.

I emailed my tri coaches and withdrew from the tri team training at the Y. 😥  I am signed up for the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 28 and Ludington Triathlon on August 21, but I am going to have to accept that there’s no way to know when I’ll be able to train again, so I am not signing up for anything else until I know for sure I am back at normal capacity.

So here’s what I’m doing to fill my time:


Keep up on my grad reading, not just skimming or skipping chapters

Read more books for fun, and keep a list of 2016

Cook – I actually really like cooking when I am not pressed for time…baking is a different story.  I melted some cookies today.

Get back into art – there’s a studio nearby with open nights on the wheel, I have a friend with a wheel and a kiln, I’ve still got all of my drawing and painting supplies

Meet Arlo

In December, I was hoping to start a blogging pattern…but that didn’t happen. Perhaps, I will make it a New Year resolution to blog weekly. But, on to more important matters….

IMG_1935 2

Arlo joined our family on December 29. We adopted him from the humane society for a whopping $45. He had been at the humane society for about 10 days before we adopted him. The poor pup was found as a “stray” so they couldn’t tell us much about him. We were a bit worried that they couldn’t tell us about his habits but he was so sweet, I couldn’t leave without him. The vet at the shelter thinks he is about 5.5 years old (they can approximately tell by looking at his teeth) and is a terrier/schnauzer mix. So far, he appears to be house broken. We are working on teaching him some basic commands and getting him to know his name. I signed up for beginners obedience training at Petsmart which will start at the end of January to help as well. His personality comes out more and more everyday; overall he has been really well behaved. Arlo does bark quite a bit when we are gone which is the biggest issue right now.

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Arlo’s favorite spot and position (he has some cat-like qualities)

I’m also hoping to get Arlo to become a better running buddy. He can only run about 2.5 miles right now….with a little walk break in the middle. The little guy needs a running program 🙂

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Arlo post run.

Stay tuned for more Arlo updates.


Mary and Arlo