Day 78

I was really nervous for Tuesday to come around. I had an appointment with my physical therapist, who would decide whether my leg was strong enough to run again. I had done all of my exercises religiously over the past two weeks, so a “no” from him wasn’t really an option in my brain. I was so excited that my non-running streak of 77 days could come to an end that I accidentally grabbed two left running shoes and threw them into my bag that morning… luckily I realized my idiocy early enough to stop by my place before heading to my appointment!

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on...

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on…

My PT really put me through the grind. It was an hour of exercises that got more and more difficult as I went along. I was petrified that I was failing to demonstrate that my leg was fine. I got frustrated at one point but he interrupted me and said that he was purposefully was trying to fatigue my leg so he could make sure it was up for running. Which would have been nice to know from the beginning…

After what I hoped would be a convincing performance, my leg was iced for 12 minutes and I learned that I was indeed cleared to run – YESSSS!

I was so excited, I didn’t even change out of my running clothes when I returned to work. I finished my day in them so I could easily get home, walk the dog, grab my GPS watch and go. And that’s exactly what I did.

It was a perfect evening. Temperatures were in the 40s and the sun was setting. I only run with my iPod perhaps 50% of the time anymore and I decided for this special run I wanted no distractions. I wanted to hear my footsteps and my breath and remember what it is like to be a runner again!

Park 1

I headed into Piedmont Park. With each step, I felt more like me. Running is truly my happy place. It’s a time when nothing else matters but that moment.

I made sure to take in everything as ran along the path. I probably looked like a big dope smiling and looking around like I’d never been there before. But I didn’t care!

Park 3

I knew I had to ease into running, so I forbade myself from going more than two miles. This was actually very fitting, since the last run before my diagnosis ended up being that exact distance. However, this run didn’t end in tears after feeling like someone was stabbing me in my tibia with each stride.

It was only two miles, and I am a far cry from where I was in November, when I could go out and run 20. But I don’t care. I’m me again! And I can’t wait to see what I will accomplish this year.

Do you have a recent run that has meant a lot to you? Tell me about it!

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

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The Perils of PT

The past few weeks have been very frustrating for me but things are finally turning around, no thanks to my lovely health insurance provider (I don’t have warm feelings for Kaiser Permanente). A full two weeks had passed from the time my orthopedist cleared me for physical therapy until I received my referral and could get an appointment. Basically, I should be running by now. But I’m not. Which infuriates me.

(I also found out that physical therapy is apparently a 100% out-of-pocket cost. Great.)

Last week I finally got in to see my physical therapist. He gets me. After I described my entire stress fracture ordeal to him, he said, “well I love you guys. Runners, that is. You do exactly as I tell you no matter what because you’re crazy and you just want to get back out there.” I could tell it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I spent over an hour doing exercises and I will say it was a humbling experience. I was doing well until about halfway through when my leg just quit. I tried again. It quit. I asked if I could take a short break. He laughed and said yes, I was doing great but I understandably have to rebuild strength in that leg. The rest of the session went pretty well, and I experienced no pain afterwards.

The roadmap to my return to running

The roadmap to my return to running

My PT put me on a two-week, at-home program. I was extremely thankful for this considering I have to pay through the nose for any time we spend together. I am to see him again next week and then (fingers, legs, eyes, whatever else crossed) can resume running. I have two sets of exercises that alternate every other day. The exercises take about 45 minutes each day and I do them religiously because I HAVE to run next week. I NEED to.

It has been 72 days since my last run. In addition to PT, I have been biking and walking to occupy myself. I also finished day three of PiYo this morning – more to come on that in the future. But I can’t wait to run again. Especially with the Shamrock Half Marathon coming up so quickly!

Have you ever been driven this crazy by an injury? What is the longest you have gone without running?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Inspirational Words from Olympian Deena Kastor

Last week, I took part in a very fun night at Atlanta Track Club’s Annual Social. It’s a night to catch up with your running friends and find some inspiration. The guest speaker was Olympian and American marathon and half marathon record holder Deena Kastor!

The theme for this year’s event was “Suits and Singlets”. We were asked to wear business attire along with a running singlet. There was even a red carpet and step-and-repeat so you could show off your fashionable combination!

My good friend (and ATC staff member) Jennie and me

My good friend (and ATC staff member) Jennie and me

I sat with some fellow bloggers who I had the pleasure of meeting at a party in December: Elizabeth from Running for Bling, Jesica from rUnladylike, Amy from My Life as a Lazy Girl, and Kristen from Running for More.

The centerpieces at this year's event - they made a point of saying the shoes were not a matching pair, ha!

The centerpieces – they made a point of saying that the shoes were not a matching pair, ha!

Deena talked about her experiences in running – from her childhood (when she started running after doing not so well in soccer and softball) to present day (as a rock star who is still amazing as a masters athlete). As she spoke the 2008 Beijing Olympics – when her foot “snapped in half” due to a stress fracture – I thought of my own recovery process following my injury. She told us, “As athletes, we push the limits. I went over mine.” She went on to say how she learned from the injury and made sure to find the source of it. It was a good reminder to be patient as I get ready to return to running.

Deena Kastor addressing Atlanta Track Club members

Deena Kastor addressing Atlanta Track Club members

Deena also shared examples of how she gets “outside of herself” and shifs perspective to get through the tough moments.

“We can choose to throw in the towel, or we can choose to drop the hammer.”

But perhaps my favorite portion of Deena’s speech started with this: “Running gives us every opportunity to get the best out of ourselves.” And not only during a race or training session. She talked about how every choice we make should have significance on who we want to become. As a runner, as a family member, as part of the community. Deena urged us to remember that only we can make each day extraordinary.

Deena Kastor was so lovely in person – I was very excited to meet her!

Afterwards, Deena stuck around to sign autographs and take pictures. She was very gracious and took her time with each person. She suggested I try pickled herring as she did to recover from her 2008 injury, but warned that it is absolutely disgusting. (She did give some other ideas on how to get more vitamin D as well) Deena was very genuine and it was so nice to meet her in person!

Who inspires you (famous or otherwise)? How has running improved your overall life?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

The Boot: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As of last Friday, I am officially boot-free!!! I am now on day 57 of no running, and my triumphant return may very well be next week. My orthopedist and I came up with a good plan to resume running and still be on track to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. I am also starting physical therapy. At this point, I will take any little mile I can get!

bootFor now, I am thrilled to be reunited with simple things like squats, lunges, planks, and other strength training exercises that require the use of your legs. (I can even do regular push-ups now instead of on my knees, since my leg is back in action!) Mostly, I’m just excited to be able to walk around without lugging that darn boot with me!

I tried to maintain a good attitude during my time in the boot/on crutches and I think I did for the most part. But I wanted to share some thoughts about this whole recovery process. Here it is… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

  • Pre-boarding on my Thanksgiving and Christmas flights.
  • All of my helpers. This includes members of both of our families who poured me wine over the holidays so I didn’t have to get up, co-workers who refilled my water bottles and drove me to lunch, neighbors who offered to walk the dog, strangers who stopped to help me, etc. But most of all, the boyfriend, who has graciously done all kinds of random things for me over the past two months without complaining.
  • A little more time to get things done around the holidays since I wasn’t running at all.

The Bad

  • NOT RUNNING.
  • Not being able to run my first full marathon when most of the hard work was done.
  • Realizing how many things are so much harder when you can’t get around easily. Even getting a glass of water while on crutches was enough to make me want to cry. I don’t know how anyone does that for more than my measly two-week sentence. I truly appreciate my overall health more because of this experience.

The Ugly

  • Unsolicited commentary/advice. Especially from non-runners who just don’t get it. And especially, ESPECIALLY from strangers. Oh you’ve never run before in your life and you want to tell me that I should never run again? Or that there will be other races? That’s cute. Kindly stand back. (For the record, I know there will be other races. But to come that close to your first full marathon and not see final payoff of your hard work is extremely frustrating.)

Now that I’ve purged those thoughts and my stress fracture will soon become an ancient memory, I’m ready to move on! Here’s to getting back out there!

What has been the hardest part of recovering from an injury for you?