Tuesday, May 27, 2014

plantar fasciitis is a four-letter word.

Well, I'm just going along in life, complaining about being busy and being happy that I am running again, and BOOM.

Plantar fasciitis rears its ugly head again.

The doctor warned me that it can flare up at any time, and I might be able to run a lot with no pain, or I might run a tiny amount and suddenly feel it again. So, apparently he was right. I am trying to figure out if there is any option (besides another shot in my foot, yikes that was brutal) like maybe wearing a walking boot or something so that I can at least walk around at work and for things I have to do, without being in so much pain. I'm not sure if that's really something they do, but I am trying everything I can. I'm taking some time off from running, but I want to stay active with biking, swimming, weight training, etc. I am just frustrated with this.

Especially because my #1 favorite 5K is coming up next weekend and it doesn't look like I'll be able to do it. It is the best race ever because husband proposed to me at the finish line, it is one of the first 5K's I ever ran when I started running, it costs $8 and includes a huge bag of candy (it's sponsored by Nestle), and they give away tons of prizes at the end! I've never won anything at it, but the same year that Chris proposed, my dad won a new TV! So I am so sad to not be running it with my parents this year. I didn't run it last year either because it was the day after my grandpa passed away. So sad.

But I am trying to be positive and not lay around and cry all day. I got a Fitbit so I am going to work hard on sticking to the diet plan that it gives, to try to lose weight and ease up on the pressure on my poor foot. My usual tactic is to just become very lazy and mad at everyone, but that's not really working out for me... I am also doing anything and everything I can to help with the symptoms- ice, night splinting, etc. Fingers crossed!

Friday, May 23, 2014

May

The past couple of months have been so busy around our house. Suddenly both husband and I have new jobs at church, which have more responsibilities, so one of us is often running to or from a meeting...and on the days we don't have those, we are running to a friend's choir concert, babysitting, trying to catch up with friends, or somewhere else. I am wiped out and looking forward to a long weekend. Although we didn't have much planned for the weekend at the start of the week, pretty much every day now has something planned, so it may not be as relaxing as I hoped...and we don't even have any kids. It's hard to imagine getting it all done when we do.

It's helping me realize that I have to learn how to prioritize and sometimes have the courage to say no to things. I imagine that becomes easier when you do have children, since their schedules dictate what you can and can't make happen, but I need to work on that now. Sometimes it's okay to say no, and not give a myriad of reasons why it just won't work out. It's really hard for me because I want to accommodate and make things work, since I feel like my schedule is probably the easiest one to alter, when I am making plans with friends who have kids, or more rigid work schedules, or whatever else might make their life seem busier than mine. But I am realizing that because of this personality trait, I am coming home late, feeling exhausted, and struggling to get to work on time because I am just tired from running around.

So I am making my life and schedule a priority. I remember when I was losing weight, and I was extremely rigid about my workout time. I went at a certain time every day, and nothing short of a stress fracture could stop me. My life definitely had less going on then, but I still think that I need to bring this mentality back. When I am working out, everything else feels so much more manageable.

Anyway, I'm done with that for now. I got a treadmill a couple weeks ago, and I have been running on it a lot. I'm still having an issue with my hamstring, but when I run slower on the treadmill, I don't feel the pain like I do when I run outside. So, I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Victories.

Well, I've been running 2-3 times a week for the last month and it's going well. I have some weird knee pain when I bend my legs certain ways, but they don't hurt at all when I'm running, so I have self-diagnosed it as a problem with my new mattress. It's pretty plush and I sleep on my stomach, so I think that somehow I am hyper-extending or twisting them in the night, since I was waking up every morning with horrible pain that would slowly diminish throughout the day. I started putting a pillow under my ankles and it has helped a ton.

Anyway, back to running. I am up to 3 miles, and aside from one tougher run this week, it's been great. I feel so much better about myself and everything in my life when I am able to run. I planned out my 12-week half marathon training plan for a race on June 21, and then the next day, I got a wedding invitation from my cousin for the same day. It's a cousin who I have only met a handful of times, so it wouldn't be the worst thing if I didn't make it. I am still trying to decide what to do. The race is put on by my work, so the entry fee was pretty low, and it is an annual event so I can always run it another year...and I was already feeling hesitant about trying to increase my mileage so much after coming back from injury...

But I am still not totally decided. So I am going to keep training and see how things go. And find out which of my other cousins are going to the wedding, since that may play a big role in whether I go or not :)

In other news, we had a chocolate fountain at my work today to celebrate one year in our new office building. The past week and a half have been very difficult at work, so this was a fun break. We switched to an entirely different software program that basically impacts a huge number of our jobs, and it has not been easy. The software has crashed every single day since it launched. So I am ready for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A busy couple of weeks.

So I started easing back into running at the beginning of last week - did 1.25 on the treadmill last Monday, then another 1.5 this week. The first run felt pretty good (although I was super out of breath, can't believe how fast I lost my endurance!) - it was awesome to be back to running, but I did feel some pain in that hamstring again. So I foam rolled like crazy and then tried it again, and this past Monday's run felt so much better! I had a tiny bit of pain just after I stopped running, which subsided quickly and by the time I left the gym, I didn't feel it at all. Hooray! I am signed up for a 5K at the end of April, and then a half in June, so I am hopeful that I can get there by then.

We went to Vegas last week for husband's spring break, which was so fun. We saw Bill Cosby (!!) live, which was one of the coolest things for me. I have been a huge fan ever since I was a little kid, because it was one of the only TV shows we watched at my house. We had a bunch of episodes recorded on VHS tapes and would watch the same ones over and over. My dad saw him once when I was around 8 years old and brought me a signed picture, and I still have it! The autograph is pretty much worn off, but I still display it proudly. I have a neighbor who comes over every Tuesday for dinner and 2 episodes of The Cosby Show and it is the highlight of my week. So, it was AWESOME. The trip was fun too, it was really warm so we went swimming and ate good food. Very relaxing.

We got some big news while we were there - husband's parents put their house on the market and put in an offer on a house in Daybreak (a planned community in Utah). It is in a 55+ community, so his dad is looking forward to saying goodbye to yard work. Husband isn't that upset about it, but he isn't as attached to things as I am. I am sad because I have always felt so welcomed and comfortable in their home, and we stayed there for a couple of weeks over the summer while our house was flooded. Plus Caesar (our cat) absolutely loves going there because he loves the stairs and the huge basement where he can run around. So it is emotional for me, although not nearly as bad as when my parents sold my childhood home...

The good news is that their new place will have a full gym, so they are going to give me their treadmill!!! I am super excited about that. Husband kept saying that we didn't have room, but after some convincing (and begging...and offering to get rid of stuff...) he agreed that we could make it work. YAY! It is a perfect one for me too, because his dad has a lot of joint pain and arthritis so he picked one that has an extra cushioned deck. So it will be easier on me while my body tries to heal. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Feeling less afraid

After finally coming clean to husband about my concerns about my sciatic nerve causing all this pain in the back of my leg, he was kind enough to offer me a massage with some Deep Blue cream. While he was poking around, he found huge knots in my muscles right in the spots where the pain is the worst. After doing some more online research, it looks like my symptoms and physical evidence are pointing to a hamstring strain.

To me, this is a huge relief. I was seriously stressing about a possible nerve problem, because I just didn't know what the outcome would be as far as sciatic nerve problems and continuing with my running goals. The websites I read said muscle strains typically happen because of overuse, which totally makes sense after the super downhill and uphill half (I didn't train on hills at all). I never took time to let it heal (even when I was off running, I continued to do elliptical, heavy spinning, and weight training, all of which used my hamstrings a ton).

So I am making the executive decision to continue with massage (thanks husband) and ease up on weight-bearing activity for a week or two, and see if that helps. If not, I think I will go back to my sports med doctor for some extra help.

I have a 5K coming up next month, and a half marathon in June, so I am really hopeful that I can get healthy enough for those!

It was my birthday yesterday, had a super fun and relaxing weekend with all of my favorite things and some of my favorite people.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Afraid.

So it's been awhile since I ran. November 9, to be exact. I ran the Haunted Half and felt great, but when I went to run 4 miles a few days later, my foot was in a lot of pain. I took a week off, then gave it another shot and ended up limping home because it was so sore. Saw a doctor, got a diagnosis, blah blah blah now it's three months later and I am really scared to run again.

My foot generally feels okay as long as I wear my orthotics. Days where I am on my feet a lot at work are worse, but I feel like that issue is resolved (hopefully). What I am more afraid about is the pain that runs down the back of my right leg. This has actually been going on since the half marathon too. I thought it was maybe just a strain from overuse (I climbed a LOT of hills during that race) but it hasn't gone away... And it gets sore when I do certain exercises at the gym, not just running.

So, like any foolish person with access to the internet, I googled it. Sometimes this is beneficial, and other times it makes you want to cry. Apparently the area that I am having pain is right where the sciatic nerve sits. I don't really know what to do about this. Do I make an appointment with my sports med doctor? A neurologist, since it's potentially nerve related? Ignore it and pretend like nothing is wrong?

Well, anyone who knows me knows which option I chose. (Spoiler alert: it's #3.)

But now it's three months later and I am still feeling the pain and I still don't know what to do. And next week I am going to start re-introducing short runs but I don't know if that's really that smart. But if I don't start running soon, I think I might just lose it.

Serenity now.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

All the cats.

I have always loved cats. When I was little, we had a big black cat named Panther who was more of a guard cat than a loving lap cat, but I still loved him fiercely. I have pictures of myself as a little girl, holding this huge cat in my arms and smothering him with kisses. After Panther got sick, we had to put him to sleep, and I was about 10 years old, I think. It is one of the saddest memories I have from my childhood, having to say goodbye to my sweet old cat as he went to sleep. The vet tech saw how upset I was, and gave me a poem called "The Rainbow Bridge" that talked about pets and their owners being reunited in the next life. I actually still have that, framed and on a shelf.

After sweet Panther, my mom let me grieve for a few months, then took me to the local shelter to pick out a new friend. We got Max, a spunky ball of black and white fur who was constantly chasing a toy or jumping up on the couch and trying to play with my brother. All of our cats were mostly outdoor (we lived in California, so they stayed warm enough, and we had a huge yard that they loved to patrol) but I never knew that the lifespan of an outdoor cat is an average of only five years, versus 15 years for an indoor cat. Max didn't make it very long, I'm not sure what happened to him, but I still miss him and keep a picture of him in my room. After Max came Sophie, a spoiled and beautiful long-haired gray princess, who brought in a handful of leaves in her fur every time she stepped foot outside. Between those two, I brought home an abandoned kitten who mewed constantly for the entire 48 hours that she was in my care.

To call me a cat lady would be an understatement. I fully own my obsession and love for all felines, big and small, long-haired and short-haired, fierce and docile. If I could have a pet panther, I would have three. Instead I settle for having one completely spoiled cat, Caesar, who has a basket full of toys and a heated bed on the couch. I would love to bring more cats home, but anyone who has ever had a cat knows that they are extremely territorial, and it can take months or longer for them to get along in a shared space. So, I volunteer a few times a week at the Salt Lake County Animal Services to get my cat fix.

When I started, it was really hard for me to see these sweet kitties in cages and rooms, limited by space constraints and sharing small areas with other cats. As I have continued to spend time with the cats, employees, and other volunteers at this shelter, I am amazed at how much each person can offer to the life of an animal. This shelter is called "low-kill" which means that they never euthanize due to old age or space. They are forced to euthanize animals that are sick or injured beyond help, or are dangerously vicious towards others.

An older cat came in, who the shelter staff named Barney. He spent two months in the infirmary, receiving treatment for just about every illness a cat could have (worms, fleas, dental infections, etc.) and they estimated he was about 15 years old. They also guessed that he had never had a home of his own, based on his mangy and dirty coat and struggles with these illnesses. After he was cleared of his sicknesses and the vet had to pull all of his teeth, he was put up for adoption. A lady came in and asked whether he might be euthanized, and I was so happy to tell her that he wouldn't. Just a few weeks later, a couple came in and chose him to join their family.

There is so much that a single person can contribute to the life of an animal. An abused cat came in who was terrified of humans, cowering if you lifted your hand near her, and had knots in her fur and every bone in her body protruding. Over the 4 weeks that she was at the shelter, as volunteers and staff showed that they were there to give her love and food and kindness, she transformed into a sweet and loving cat who would sit quietly for hours as we brushed and detangled her fur. When a family came to find a cat that would be kind to the children in the home, they chose Fern, who lovingly rubbed against their hands at first meeting.

Volunteering at the shelter has been such an amazing experience for me. I know there are people out there (members of my own family included :) who find it strange that I am so attached to animals, but it has been my therapy during difficult times over the last couple of months, as I see the love and kindness given to each of these discarded and abandoned cats. Adopting from a shelter is the greatest way to add a pet to your home, and if you aren't able to adopt, consider donating time, supplies, or anything you can spare.