Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fall down 7 times, get up 8

Well, hello there blog!

Has it really been 7 months since I last published a post here? Ack! I honestly cannot believe that blogger hasn't just given up on me and closed my blog down by now, but since they haven't I will do my best to write a catch up blog post and get to where I am today (and the meaning of the the post title).

I wish I could say that I have been absent from blogging because my husband and I had won the lottery and spent the past 7 months traveling the world, but the reality is that my life has just been very busy. Between training, volunteer work with Girls On The Run, searching for, buying, overseeing the remodeling of and moving to a new house, helping my son through some tough challenges at school and trying to keep up my housewife duties (at least keeping us all fed and in clean clothes) while my husband works his 100 hour weeks, well, there hasn't been much time left to blog.

I spent my fall doing a lot of this...

...and this
and this!

Pain face in the final 400 meters of the road mile

The good news is that my fall racing season was, overall, pretty fantastic. I held off on racing as a masters runner until September, which was pretty great because it gave me plenty of time to get fit and gain confidence in that fitness. Unfortunately it also gave me plenty of time to get ridiculously nervous about that first race back. Despite the nerves I made it to the starting line without a) hiding in the port potty, b) barfing or c) having my heart reach its max heart rate before the race even began. And 5 minutes and 20 seconds later I found myself with a new lifetime road PR, a state championship title and a 6 second masters state record. Needless to say, that was a GREAT way to start off my masters running career! I have worried since then that I may have peaked in my first race, but hopefully that won't prove to be the case over the long run.

After the National 12k Champs
With Carter after a dismal,
but oddly successful 1/2
marathon state champs

The rest of the fall was a series of ups and downs, with a some immensely frustrating races (all due to breathing issues) punctuated by a few great results: a masters trail 10k national championships win, second at masters 5k XC national championships (despite breathing woes), second at masters 12k road national championships and a state 1/2 marathon championships masters win. The season ended on a high note as I travelled to Bend, OR as a part of the Bull City Track Club masters women's team where we produced a stellar team performance, finishing 4th at Club XC Championships. Individually my race was the pits (breathing crud, again) but I am honestly far too excited for my 2 teammates fantastic individual races and our team result to give a damn about how I ran.

Nancy, Alison and me at Club XC.
The were both AMAZING on the
crazy hills!

Despite the success I had in terms of placing at large races, I was definitely not thrilled with all of my race times and as the season closed out I was already looking forward to the big goals I have for 2014. But before goals could be chased I first took a solid break and turned my attention to the home renovation I was managing. We bought a multi-generation house built in the mid-1970's and it was, at time of purchase, a pretty awesome time capsule of its era. Consequently my winter break was chock full of design decisions, materials procurement and packing up our family to move. It may not have been the most relaxing break but it sure was exciting, especially for an architecture and design junkie like myself!

As January rolled around and my fitness started coming back I turned my thoughts to the indoor track season and pacing my training partner to a new PR at Boston. And then I rolled my ankle during a Sunday trail run. It wasn't a bad roll at all...I remember saying a 4 letter word but I felt no lasting pain as I continued on my way. The next morning, however, was a different story. Every step of my run was excruciating! I felt like I was being stabbed in the lateral (outside) side of the foot with each and every step. I had hoped that the run would loosen up whatever was tight but it was clearly not going to happen. Once this became apparent I threw in the towel and called my trusty, talented sports chiropractor. Unfortunately he was unable to find a concrete cause of the foot pain. And its not just him! During the course of the past 3 months I have seen my regular sports chiro, a well-regarded sports podiatrist and a second, also extremely talented sports chiropractor. I have taken a 1 week break from running, a 2 week break from running, taken awful prescription pain killers that made me want to vomit for 2 days straight, had X-rays taken of my foot and done tons of core exercises and strengthening and strengthening for the foot and ankle. And yet...every single doctor has not been able to identify why I continue to have that pain on the outside of my foot right where my peroneal tendons wrap under my fifth metatarsal.

Now I spend a lot of time
doing this...
After 11 weeks of this I am pretty much out of patience with my doctors (whom I continue to respect, trust and really like, but who just can't figure this out) and have depleted what funds I might have initially spent on an MRI on doctor's visits, so when my coach suggested I reacquaint my foot with my trusty boot, I honestly didn't complain. Needless to say, indoor track didn't happen, Boston isn't happening and outdoor track, which was my focus for the entire year, is completely up in the air. To say that I am frustrated would be the most massive, monumental understatement of the year. It is one thing to sustain an injury, have it diagnosed and then know that you need to recover from it for a set amount of time. That is EASY and I am really, really good at it. But this is the THIRD injury in under four years that I have sustained that is not easy to diagnose and has no foreseeable end point.

And that is where I come to the title of the post. "Fall down 7 times, get up 8". I have always loved
Hello old friend...
this quote; I discovered it many years ago when I was witnessing my grandmother will herself, through stubbornness and hard work, to recover from a series of strokes that she was told she couldn't recover from. But every single time she dusted herself off, learned to write again, drive again, walk again. And if she can do that then I can tackle this frustrating setback. Honestly, what other choice do I have? At the suggestion of my doctors, I tried running in pain...and it was AWFUL. I had never really tried to do that before and I don't recommend it. I would rather be in this boot and never run again than run with that level of pain ever again. So despite the fact that I smell like chlorine all the time now and my boot is causing my SI joint a lot of grief, I am grateful to be in the boot and doing PT exercises that will, at least, further strengthen my core and hips. With no end in sight to this mess I am choosing to give myself a little pity party every day but to not dwell on the frustration and anger I could be feeling. I'm just going to put my head down, do the work and hope that someday there will be a pain-free run waiting for me when I lace up my shoes. In the meantime you'll find me in the pool singing to myself (hopefully not out loud) and hanging the last of my art work in my house.

For those who are wondering (because I know I would be) here are a few pics of our house before, and now. We aren't done by any means but we are getting there!

The kitchen before
And now. Same cabinets!

Looking from the kitchen to
the living and dining room

Almost the same view now

The new floating sideboard
Looking downstairs towards D's office

There used to be a stairwell there. Now there's
this fab painting of women running,
painted by my grandmother's cousin.
Much better!