When all you can think is “Poor Jen”

When the Drama Queen comes out

It has been said that running is 90% mental and I completely agree.  But I think recovery requires more mental stamina.  Mentally, I’ve been dealing with this stress fracture in my heel very well.  For the most part, I’ve kept a positive attitude and have been able to focus on the positives.  I haven’t felt sorry for myself (well….not much) and I’ve been committed to doing everything in my power to help this fracture heal as quickly as possible.  But being mentally tough takes a lot of energy and effort.  And sometimes, you just have to let your guard down and wallow in self-pity, which is exactly what I did yesterday (even though at the time, I was just reactive and none of it was intentional).

My day long pity party was triggered by doing absolutely nothing this week.  While keeping my foot up has helped the healing process, there is no doubt in my mind that it drug me down into a mental slump.  I mean, I’ve watched the entire first season and half the second season of Game of Thrones….THIS WEEK!  (The ankle is feeling much better, by the way.)

I can still cross train on my bike and went out for a less than stellar ride on Tuesday.  I think I’ve been hanging on to that ride and projecting it onto my entire recovery.  Yesterday, I woke up in a foul mood and proceeded to speculate about how my recovery will affect my training (negatively, of course).  Plano Balloon Half Marathon in September was to be THE race of my fall racing season.  The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that I would not be able to run Plano under any circumstances.  I don’t want to say I had given up, but I was definitely beginning to give up on the hope that I might make it back in time to train for Plano.

I shared my fears and concern with my partner/coach.  He suggested that I not speculate and just wait and see how things progressed.  Of course, Negative Nelly (ME) continued to counter with all the reasons that I was SURE I wouldn’t be able to run.  Then something he said resonated with me.  He said, “Even though you have given up, I haven’t.  I still think you have a chance.”  So I backtracked and explained that I was just trying to be a realist, trying to avoid complete and utter disappointment in the event I can’t run, yada, yada, yada.  (I was still swimming in the self-pity pool, by the way.)

I held on to the sadness and apprehension all day long, but ended up deciding that I couldn’t roll over and play dead.  I must stay the course and figured it was time for a bike ride.  When I climbed onto my bike and rode out of my driveway, all the stress of the unknown was weighing me down.  As the ride progressed, I realized that my ankle was, indeed, feeling much better.  I left my doubt and fear out on the road and felt like a new person when I hopped off my bike at the end of the ride. IMG_4674

I’m still concerned about Plano.  I still think it is a long-shot.  But whatever happens will happen.  I am pouring my heart and soul into recovery and will do everything in my power to get back out there.  At the same time, I realize that so much of this is out of my control.  Missing one race isn’t going to make or break me, but trying to rush into running a race I’m not ready for could set me back quite some time….I need to keep this in the forefront of my mind.

I’m not sharing this to garner sympathy.  I am sharing because I think it is important for us runners to give ourselves permission to acknowledge the negative feelings every once in a while.  It is important to give voice to our fears, air them and then realize that they aren’t as bad as we thought.

And now the Jen you all know is back, refreshed and renewed, and ready to tackle the next phase of recovery!

At least one of us kicked the boot to the curb

Yesterday was a big day for Alli.  We went for her 2-week follow-up visit on her fractured growth plate in her foot.  All signs point to healing more quickly than our doctor expected, so she is out of the boot!!!  He has advised us to ease back into volleyball activities over the next couple weeks, because she will be at risk for reinjury for a bit.  She was beyond happy that she doesn’t have to sleep in the boot anymore (and I COMPLETELY understand!!  I only have 26 more nights….)  Of course, we celebrated with Bahama Bucks!IMG_4648

A family feud is brewing

Bobby bought a Jeep this week.  Taylor has wanted one FOREVER, and, according to her, we were just waiting for her to go off to college to make this purchase.  (She said the same thing about the pool!)  Alli and I drove it around town and had so much fun!  I think this should be my new summer vehicle! Bobby took Taylor and Logan out this afternoon and gave them the first lesson in driving a standard.  It went…..better than expected.  IMG_4657

I’m suddenly very thankful that my dad refused to purchase any vehicle with an automatic transmission.  I learned to drive a standard when I was in junior high out in the pasture in my Granddaddy’s old truck.  And even though I wasn’t terribly excited about the standard transmission that I drove in high school, I’m now very glad that I know how to drive a stick!

"Old Blue"

“Old Blue”

Great memories!!

Happy weekend!

Jen

 

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Sometimes “keep moving forward” requires standing still

Many of you know about my tattoo, “Keep Moving Forward“, which I had placed on my left wrist.  It has ties to my marathon and running, my best friend, Allison, and the way I want to live my life, in general.  It’s taken on a new meaning of late, as I have been sidelined with *sigh* another injury.  In the days since the injury, I’ve been thinking about my tattoo – a lot.  My tattoo is speaking to me again, but in a slightly different way.IMG_4398

The Backstory

On Friday, July 3rd, I went out for a short 3-miler.  In hindsight, I wish I had stayed home.  The weather was crappy and I felt crappy.  I DID NOT want to go run.  I felt exhausted.  I honestly believe my body was screaming at me to stay put.  Smart Jen has been more present lately than not, but Crazy Jen took the wheel that day, and, well…..I ended up hurt. That run was tough from the beginning.  My calves were screaming at me the entire time.  I figured they would shake out as normal and I was expecting to get in a rhythm that would never come.  At the 2.5 mile mark, something drastically changed and I could not run through my stride on my right side.  I was running with a very pronounced limp.  I considered stopping to walk, but knew that would be just as painful (but walking takes longer) so I opted to finish it out.

The Further-Back Story

I had been suffering from tight calves for about 4 weeks.  I avoided foam rolling my calves because – it hurt!  I stretched some, but not enough.  I knew the slacking was going to come back and bite me in the arse.  While I was on vacation, I only ran twice toward the end of the week, so I considered it a rest week.  However, the calves were still not-so-happy.

The In-between Story

In the 10 days since “the injury”, I have stretched, foam rolled, iced, used essential oils, compression socks, Ibuprofen (which I later discontinued bc it made me feel TOO good!), Epsom salt baths and two visits to my myofascia guy.  My calves were better, but the “ankle” wasn’t getting any better.  I finally decided on Sunday that I needed to go to an orthopedic to see if I could get some answers.  I knew in my gut that this was more than a simple strain.  I went in thinking that the bursa behind my Achilles might be irritated, but the words “stress fracture” had started creeping into my thoughts….A LOT.

The Current Story

On Monday, I was lucky enough to get in to see Alli’s orthopedic.  I.  LOVE.  HIM.  (I did not expect to feel this way when I walked into the exam room.  I was very apprehensive.)  (Side note: yes I liked him for Alli, but I want a doctor that understands runners and running, which, for me has been hard to find.)  The first thing he said to me was, “My job is to get you the most out of your athletic life.”  He followed that up with a very intelligent discussion about foot strike and how incredibly high my arches are and lots of running stuff in general.  When we were discussing the cons of running on concrete versus cross training, he told me he couldn’t give me a magic number of days to run on pavement and a magic number of days for cross training – because each runner has to work out that balance for themselves. I totally agree!!  Every runner is different.  The balance is so hard – I’m still working on finding the right balance for me.  And I think I just found my medical soulmate.

He thoroughly examined from my calves down to my toes, discussing my symptoms and how they were presenting.  Along the way, he used the phrase “as we age” more times than I would like to count, but always tempered it with “but I’m not saying that is you.” LOL!!! He shared that while it is too soon for a stress fracture to show on X-Ray, he felt very strongly that it is indeed a stress fracture and all the reasons he felt pulled in the direction of that diagnosis.  However, my calves are still tight, and he feels that contributed to the injury and, at the very least, is now hindering my recovery.  As a result, I am in a boot 24/7 for a week and after that will continue the boot at night (yay…not really).  Plus, I have the green light to swim and bike, as long as the activity doesn’t cause pain during or discomfort in the hours following.  How awesome is that??

How does this relate to my tattoo?

Since I’ve gotten used to having my tattoo on my wrist, I don’t always notice it.  But I’ve been noticing it a lot this past week.  I’ve let some negative thoughts creep in like, “It’s hard to keep moving forward if you are sitting still because you are injured.”  It dawned on me today that sitting still is a part of moving forward.  In this case, trying to move forward with training will only cause me to backtrack.  Today I realized that giving my body the time it needs to heal will propel me forward in ways that I cannot yet know.  I’m committed to doing what I need to do right now in order to get back out there as fast as is possible – as healthy as possible!

The Silver Lining(s)

There are many pros to this situation, if only one looks for them:

  • Alli and I are Boot Twinkies. (OK…this may not be a pro)  IMG_4598
  • All this required rest has given me time to finally start watching Game of Thrones. (May I say that I was hooked after the first 15 minutes?!?)
  • Being on my feet too long causes my ankle to swell.  So maybe the floor shouldn’t be swept after all.
  • Extra time can be used for hair straightening.  IMG_4567
  • Alli and I can experiment with new cupcake flavors (and decorations….I stink at the decorating!).IMG_4559
  • I can still cross train on the bike and in the pool (Hip, hip, hooray!).
  • Laying out by the pool.
  • Laying out by the pool.
  • Laying out by the pool.

The Not-So-Silver Lining

It’s not all unicorns and rainbows.  Sleeping is…..a challenge.  I have some sensory issues and can’t even sleep in socks.  A boot is throwing my nervous system into overload.  I did sleep in 2 hour increments last night (the foot needed a few minutes to “breathe”) and am hopeful that will improve.  The most obvious drawback is the hit that my training is going to take.  I am really concerned about the fall races that are planned.  I didn’t mind sitting out the 15k on Sunday, but my cornerstone race was to be Plano Balloon Half Marathon in late September.  It is now 9 weeks and 5 days away and I feel that one has already slipped through my fingers.  Even if I recover fast enough to train for that distance again, I know that the PR I was chasing will be out the window.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning that a bit.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has voiced their support and concern.  I love the running community (and my non-running friends 🙂 !!!

It’s Tuesday – Eat some tacos!

Jen

Ankle Curse, Skunks stink & Winning!!

There have been a lot of things going on this week, but running isn’t one of them.  My ankle is happier that it was, but not happy enough to run.  I tested the waters this morning and was able to run an entire 3 tenths of a mile.  You read that right.  I stopped because there was pain and discomfort and I knew that pushing it would only lead to a longer hiatus from running.  So I put on my big girl panties, turned around and walked back to my car.  I made an appointment with my myofascia guy before the keys were in the ignition and accepted the fact that I won’t be running Too Hot To Handle 15K this weekend.

Old, Crazy Jen would have had a very difficult time dealing with all of this.  Honestly, I am bummed.  I don’t want to sit out (especially during the summer!!), but I’ve learned a lot in the last year.  One of the most important lessons has been to address issues as soon as they crop up to avoid time off later.  I could give lip service to that but that wouldn’t be entirely true.  I have known for several weeks that my calves were mad.  I didn’t address it as aggressively as I should have and now I’m paying the price.  Still, I think I am better off than I was and I’ll be an even more mature runner on the other side of this speed bump, so I’m trying to take it all in stride.  Pun intended.

My Doxie, Sophie, has been doing everything in her power to keep my mind off not being able to run, meaning: she burst out of the house (because the storm door wasn’t latched properly) to chase a skunk out of our yard on Monday evening.  You can imagine the result of that.  So far, Skunk 2: Sophie 0.  These skunk altercations are beginning to happen every summer and I would quite prefer to avoid them altogether.

Stinky or no - HOW can you resist such cuteness?  <3

Stinky or no – HOW can you resist such cuteness? ❤

However, I learned some important lessons this time around.

  • The magical solution is: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn dish soap.  It seriously worked.
  • DO NOT let the dog in the house until: you have changed clothes and prepared the solution.  (In my shock, I let her in the house and she rolled ALL OVER the couches.)
  • The magical solution minus Dawn works well in a spray bottle on the furniture to remove odor (but do not leave spray bottle capped or it will bubble out!).
  • The magical solution can be used to mop the floor.
  • The magical solution does not get the smell out of the air in the house, but bowls of vinegar placed around the room definitely will.

I was able to meet my partners in crazy (@anotherhalfpls and @daralem) for a Girls’ Night Out last evening and had this lovely drink.  I have NO idea what it was called but it was tropical and fruity, so it met almost all of the qualifications! (If ONLY there had been rum!)  We had to cut our evening short, though, so we could all be back home for #BibChat (see following paragraph).IMG_4538

And possibly the most exciting news of all: I WON A PAIR OF SHOES!!!  I have recently started participating in #BibChat, which is a weekly question and answer session where runners interact with each other (as if we need a reason to interact!).  #BibChat is hosted by @BibRave.  BibRave is a place where you can write a review of a race, or find reviews of races you are considering.  Last night, @MizunoRunning was our gracious sponsor and participants were eligible to be picked to win a pair of Enigma 5s.  I was so excited to win, because I LOVE Mizuno shoes for everything from running to volleyball to softball!  Be watching for my blog review after I get the shoes – although I’m sure I’m going to LOVE them!!

See?? Things aren’t that bad, even though I’ve been sidelined for a few days.  You just have to find the silver lining!

Hope your Hump Day was a happy one!

Jen

 

 

The Bummer Summer of Feet

Before I get to the running update, I am going to share what has been going on with Alli. 10 days ago, I took Alli and a couple of friends to a trampoline park.  There were 2 other kids there (LITERALLY) and she managed to collide with one of them during the first 5 minutes.  She was doing a back handspring when this kid darted across her path, apparently, and she kicked him in the head.  My gut instinct at the time was that she fractured it, however, there was minimal swelling and no bruising even though she couldn’t put any weight on it for a good 30 minutes.  She ended up walking it off and back on the trampolines.  I told her we needed to keep an eye on it and she HAD to tell me if she felt any pain in the coming days.  She played softball in the All-Star tournament all weekend and would complain about it hurting after the games (but she ALWAYS complains about her feet after running around in those cleats!).  I knew that something had to be done when she told me how much it hurt during tumbling last Monday.  I made an appointment in the office that handled Taylor’s broken foot a couple of years ago and we went down Thursday afternoon for the consult. Turns out, Alli fractured her growth plate.  Waiting for the appointment actually turned out to be a good thing, because the ortho told me that it was more evident with a week’s worth of healing (and would have likely been missed had we gone immediately).  As a result, Alli has to wear a boot 24/7 for the next 2 weeks.  She had a little melt-down in the car because she doesn’t want to miss a minute of volleyball (luckily we still have a 2 week break!).  Sadly, swimming is off-limits as well.  the boot I had promised a trip to Bahama Bucks and was SO glad that we waited until after the appointment, because she needed some snowy goodness to melt her sorrows away!  Even so, she barely ate.  sno cone love By the time we got home, the initial shock of the situation had worn off and her mood had started to improve.  Our strategy is to follow the doctor’s orders to the letter in hopes that healing will happen quickly!  She will go back in 2 weeks for a follow-up X-ray and based on the findings will find out if we get out of the boot or wear it a bit longer.  Alli has been such a trooper and refuses to let it dampen her spirits.  She even asked me if she could run (?!?) on it.  You can all stop holding your breath – I said NO!!

Most of you know running has been going very well for me over the past months.  I’ve been able to make a complete recovery, thanks to the guidance my partner/coach has been able to give me.  However, running wouldn’t be running if there weren’t bumps in the road, and I recently  hit a speed bump. True to my normal self, I really didn’t notice it at first.  Some familiar stiffness has been creeping back in, specifically in my ankles and feet.  Yes, my calves are tight.  Yes, I know my calves have been tight.  Yes, I have still slacked at foam rolling my calves.  Why?  Because it hurts like hell and it is a pain in the arse!! LOL

I discussed the issue with my partner and he encouraged me to scale back my running while in Orlando and step up the foam rolling.  Honestly, I foam rolled once while I was down there.  I know….stupid.

When we returned from vacation, I eased back into the swing of things and running was feeling pretty good….until last Friday.  Even when I have been hurt, I rarely have TERRIBLE runs.  Friday was a TERRIBLE run.  Everything hurt from the get-go and I never found my rhythm.  I was only running 3 miles, but by the last .5, I knew something was wrong.  I started limping and my right ankle was in pain.  Of course, I KNEW the cause.

I shared all this with my partner and, naturally he told me no running until we get a handle on this.  I’m happy to say that I AM getting a handle on it!  I have foam rolled, stretched, taken Epsom salt baths, worn compressions, iced, slathered essential oils and taken anti-inflammatory drugs.  I can say that waking up this morning I feel better than I have in several weeks!  I’m still in awe of the maturity that I have gained as a runner over the past year.  Even though I am still the Queen of Stupid Sh*t (#QOSS), I have been able to take this set-back in stride and welcomed the rest.  Mind.  Boggling.

I am hoping to be out again my mid-week, although I will be taking it easy because I don’t want to miss the 15k that is planned for this weekend.

Until then – Happy Foam Rolling!

OH!!!  How ’bout that US Women’s National Team!!!  GO USA!!!

Jen

Taco Libre…Street Tacos….and Rum!!

When I imagined my summer, I imagined lounging around by the pool and having wads of free time with which to do whatever I wanted.  I have made the point to lounge by the pool at least a few minutes each day, but as far as wads of free time?  Pretty much non-existent.  Still, I am enjoying not having a schedule set in stone.  Probably the most enjoyable part is getting up each day and enjoying my coffee without obligations hanging over me.  I am managing to get things accomplished and having a little fun along the way.

This weekend Alli played in the All-Star Tournament with our local softball league.  The fact that she has barely practiced or played (due to volleyball obligations) and still manages to make key plays and contribute good things to the team speaks to what a great athlete she truly is.  I enjoyed watching her success on the diamond.  As a third base player, she was able to tag several out, she threw players out at home a couple of times and even caught a couple of pop flies!  Her batting was decent, and she managed to get on base most at-bats.  The team ended up getting 2nd place, which would have earned a bid to the State Tournament had we been able to field a full roster.  However, we were playing with a 10-man roster and the rules state a full roster of 12 is required to advance.  Honestly, I’m glad because I don’t want to travel for another sport right now!  LOL!!

I rushed from the Saturday morning softball game to meet my friend Erica (@anotherhalfpls) to head to the Taco Libre Festival in Downtown Dallas.  Another friend, Dara (@daralem) was meeting us at the venue.  Erica noticed almost immediately that we were shoe twinkies!! TOMS twinkies

Apparently I am famous for my love of street tacos, because when this festival was announced in the Dallas Morning News, I was tagged on Facebook by MULTIPLE people.  I appreciate all of them trying to keep me informed, as this festival did not disappoint.  The tacos were delicious!!  And YES, I ate MEAT!  But just as important…..I had RUM!!  And I’m still trying to figure out the secret ingredients in this sweet elixir!RUM

The turnout was more than event organizers had expected, as they were nearing capacity when we finally arrived around 3 PM.  The lines were long for tacos and drinks, but divide and conquer was the Order of the Day.  We strategically sent one person for drink refills while another would get the next round of tacos and yet another would save our spot in the shade.  Teamwork really does make the dream work! pineapple pork tacos

Note to self:  drinking too much rum can inhibit your ability to remember to take pics of your food!  This is just one of the delicious tacos I consumed.  The live music was good – my favorite band was Pinata Protest, a Mariachi/Heavy Metal band from the San Antonio area.  In addition to live music, there was also the show of Lucha wrestling….and it was as corny and terrible as you would expect.  However, now I’m compelled to watch the TV show on Spike!

Not a clue what the referee did/was supposed to do.  I think they were required to have someone in a striped shirt in the ring!

Not a clue what the referee did/was supposed to do. I think they were merely required to have someone in a striped shirt in the ring!

When we had our fill of Rum (Vodka, in Erica’s case), tacos and wrestling, we made our way to Dara’s car.  Erica brought along her brother’s selfie stick and had TOO MUCH FUN with it.  I never thought I would say I had my pic taken with a selfie stick.  A good reminder to never say never.  erica

selfie stick

why

Ok….I’ll admit it was more fun than I had expected.

Dara was the ultimate trooper, since as she was shuttling Erica and I back to our cars and never complained when we would yell out for her to exit RIGHT NOW!  We made a couple of important stops.  First, we stopped at Trailercakes, because no outing is complete without cupcake goodness.  Our last stop was Total Wine, where I had to exercise self-control I didn’t even know I had.  Otherwise, Dara’s car could never have carried all the yumminess I wanted to buy!trailercakes

Until next time,

Happy Hump Day!!! (and Happy Canada Day for all my Canadian friends!)

Jen