Saturday, February 21, 2009

Down, But Not Out

Since my event is only a month away, I went and talked to my Coach yesterday morning about my options. He got a good laugh at the ridiculously bulky ankle brace I've been wearing. He thought maybe adding Nike swooshes to the sides would up it's cool factor -- I think it would have been neat to at least have a few color options. I just wish it fit into my shoes like the box said it would!

Anyway, we sat and talked for awhile about where to go from here. Coach is extremely doubtful that it'll be strong enough for the full marathon. I was afraid of that, but hearing those words was like a punch to the gut. I've worked soo hard over the last four months, but all I kept thinking was that if I had just worked a little bit harder or cross-trained like I was supposed to I wouldn't be in this situation at all. While everyone's gearing up for a practice run at Cowtown next weekend, I'll be sitting at home once again wishing that my cankles were up to the challenge.

But Coach is right -- assuming my ankle continues to heal, I'll be able to run the 1/2 stronger, with less risk of re-injuring or even making it worse. There's just not enough time to pick up with training for the full. Unless I switch to the summer TEAM, which is another option.

And it's an option I go back and forth about. Sure, I could switch TEAMs so I can race the full. But then I don't get to cross the finish line and celebrate with the TEAM I've been sweating with for the last four months. The TEAM that I've grown with, and have turned into a runner with.

Before I started training, I was a couch potato with the occasional urge to do something aerobic. I wasn't overweight or completely out of shape, but I had no real desire to get up early or to do anything too competitive or athletic. Especially if it was freezing cold outside. To my first run I think I wore sweat pants, an old worn pair of Nikes, two cotton t-shirts and a hoodie. No breathable fabrics, no gloves, no watch, no breakfast, no water. Running just one mile made my heart want to leap from my chest and my legs turn to butter.

But now? I enjoy going for runs. I have cool new sneaks and running gear. I would never wear straight cotton, especially on long runs, or leave the house on chilly mornings without my gloves. I eat better, drink tons of water, and just feel better after going for a jog. I get ancy just thinking about it. For me, it's still not about how fast I'm going -- I enjoy soaking up nature and listening to some tunes.

But I know I've gotten a lot faster. And Coach has noticed the improvements too -- how I've learned to push myself just a little more each time, how I now run with my shoulders back and my eyes looking ahead (rather than hunched over and staring at my feet like before).

Yesterday, it was hard for me to think about making the switch to the half -- I'm an "all or nothing" type of person. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it's the best way to go and still finish with my TEAM. It's not about my run or how far I went, it's about the amazing experience I've had with TNT, and the thousands of dollars we've been able to raise to benefit cancer patients and their families.

I still feel a bit like I'm disappointing my donors. But, regardless of whether I cross the finish line after 13.1 miles or 26.2, I will cross it -- and the money will go to help find a cure. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what this is all about?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Injured Runner

I'm about to settle into two hours of The Biggest Loser, but thought I would pass along a site I read about in 50/50. I know many of you are also battling injuries, so check out The Injured Runner for recovery tips and more helpful information. It's a cool site!

I didn't make it to the gym today to test my ankle, but will try the bike tomorrow. Not sure whether it's the brace or the enormous amounts of Advil, but it's starting to feel better. I did hear back from the doc yesterday and my X-rays are clear -- perhaps I'll be back to running soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Doctor's Orders ...

Thanks everyone for sending good vibes my direction! I took your advice and saw my doctor today. While not a foot specialist, he's a smart guy and fellow runner, so I value his opinion greatly.

It didn't take long for him to rule out PF. [Note to self: Get a pedicure before having your feet examined.] Since my left foot seems to be feeling better, he concentrated on my right ankle -- the main cause of my throbbing pain. He determined it's either an "over use" injury or a stress fracture, and only time will tell. He ordered X-rays, though said even stress fractures probably wouldn't show up.

Doc wants me to wear a stirrup ankle brace with aircells at all times to help provide support, and to take three Advil three times a day. And, of course, stay off my ankle as much as possible. If it's not better in two weeks, he's sticking me in a boot. Doc said even the stationary bike might be too much pressure on it at this point, so I'll give it a good rest this weekend and re-evaluate on Monday. Surely the bike will be fine?

I definitely don't want to just sit on my arse for two weeks but, if that's what it takes to heal by April, then hand me a remote and a bag of Doritos! Oh, and I'm close to finishing 50/50, so be on the lookout in the coming week for a chance to be the next lucky reader ...

Side note: To the awesome reader wondering last week where I got the TNT button linking to my fundraising page -- For the life of me I can't find where that comment is and I know I published it! So, if you're reading this, I saved the button off the Team In Training site, then linked it to my page when I uploaded it on my blog. Sorry for getting back to you so late --happy running! :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

(Un)Happy Feet

Hey everyone!! Sorry for being MIA. I did try to write a post last week while at Starbucks, but my computer shut down and I lost everything. Needless to say, I've been lazy since then so this post may be a bit long ...

I bet some of you are wondering how my 14-miler went two Saturdays ago. I actually went to bed that Friday night excited about it and eager to just get out there. The weather started off in the low 40s and, with no wind, it was the perfect temp to start the day.

After TEAM announcements, I set my watch, stuffed the directions up my sleeve and headed out into the darkness to Van Halen's "Right Now". I wondered how my knee would hold up, though it was feeling strong. I spent a few minutes chasing a small rabbit out of the middle of the road before settling into a slow pace. I wasn't in any hurry.

As the sun rose splashing the streets with gold, I began to feel a little exposed to the passing cars. I kept tugging on the bottom of my TNT hoodie, trying to hide my Spandex-covered bum. I gave up after a few miles -- modesty and running don't always go hand-in-hand.

Boredom crept in around mile 5. I was thinking too much and I was quickly running out of things to think about. But, it was nothing a little Lady Gaga couldn't fix. By mile 7 I was feeling a little lost trying to follow the directions, clutching the small paper in my hand and squinting to read street signs. It turned out to be a good distraction, and I was super relieved and happy that my knees were feeling great, my lungs were working and I was sauntering along at a good pace.

Famous last words. My feet began to feel a little achy at mile 8 and turned to shooting pain at mile 9. I finally stopped to walk around the middle of 9, and by walk I mean hobble. What the hell? I stopped to stretch my feet out a bit, then alternated between jogging and walking until I couldn't take it anymore. I even tried jogging in soft grass but to no avail. Halfway through 11 I began wondering if there was a short cut back. Surely you can make it the last 3 miles? I wasn't quite ready to give up, which probably wasn't a smart move.

I loosened up my laces a bit, but I was moving s-l-o-w. An old lady collecting pecans was moving faster than I was. I couldn't quite figure out the problem -- it just seemed pain was shooting from every surface in both feet. I tried everything from walking on my tippy toes to just my heels, but the pain was still there, and I wasn't making any forward progress. Each step made me want to cut off my own feet, and I'm sure anyone within earshot thought I had turrets.

With less than a mile to go, I took off my shoes. Finally, a little relief. I walked the last bit gingerly in my white socks and, as I approached our meeting spot, was greeted with a few surprised looks and a shout of "Your shoes work better when they're on your feet." Thanks Coach. I sat on the curb and he examined my feet and shoes, which were surprisingly pretty worn on the bottom. Coach thought it might be plantar faciitas because, at the time, it seemed the extent of my pain was radiating from my heels. So, he ordered tons of rest and no running for the week. He also suggested looking into getting a new pair of shoes. Once I got home and the initial shock wore off and the pain began to set in, it seemed to be radiating from the middles of my feet and not my heels.

Fast forward over a week later ... My left foot is feeling better but still some pain and tightness, though my right foot is still giving me several problems. My right ankle began swelling the other night out of nowhere and is still a little puffy today. I haven't run since my 14-miler attempt, but I did join the gym at work last week. I figured if my feet are weak, my legs probably are too and all can benefit from some cross training. I've been taking it easy on the stationary bike, catching up on celebrity gossip from the gym magazines. I did try to test my feet a bit and do some walking on the treadmill, but after a few minutes the pain set in again, and more in my right foot / ankle than anything.

After spending way too much time during lunch today Googling symptoms, I'm starting to get a little worried as to what it might be. Has anyone ever experienced something similar? Suggestions on what to do?? My marathon is only eight weeks away -- I'm open to anything at this point!
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