The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
This weekend was a bittersweet one for me. I completed the Edmonton Marathon’s 5K race, walking it with Mommikins and we finished it standing tall and smiling (and having passed a couple or 6 people along the way). It was also great to see three of my clinic buddies (the only three to finish the clinic in the end) show up and run the 5K course. It was the first time racing for all three and they all did amazingly well – they all had times under 40 minutes which was great! And it was so uplifting to see their smiling cheering faces as Mom and I crossed the finish line. Hugs all around! However, it was a reminder that I wasn’t able to run as I had originally planned and that any plans for running have to be put on hold.
 A big low moment for me was seeing the pictures that all of us took of the team together both before and after the race. It’s very apparent that I have gained weight, even since I stopped running, and it all seems to have gathered in my middle and my neck. The middle I’m used to but the huge neck that stared back at me from every picture I was in? Depressing. I don’t see it in the mirror or in pictures I take of myself but I certainly see it in pictures other people take of me. It was extremely upsetting.

Shortly after leaving the running clinic, I joined a gym. I figured if I couldn’t walk/run, I had to do something and I have rarely ridden my bike since moving. I’ve only been a few times so far but part of me regrets not joining the Y downtown. From the sounds of it, Mom (who joined the Y) gets unlimited trainer sessions, or at least more than the two measly sessions my gym offers. And one of those two is the intake where they weigh/measure you and you really don’t do any exercises. The couple of times I’ve talked to my trainer she’s told me how most of her ladies train with her 2-3 times / week. Some of us don’t have that kind of money. I have a feeling I’ll be figuring out a workout plan on my own. Plus, if I want to go right after work, it takes 45 minutes by bus and at this time of year it’s hot, stuffy and sweaty. Sigh. I’m going to go to yoga tonight after work and see what their class is like. I need to get more bendy.

Yes, I’m fully aware that is a horribly constructed sentence.

I’m also cutting way back on the soda. Since moving, and having access to a grocery store that offers cheap cases of my dark bubbly elixir, I have been going a bit crazy. Combine that with heavy snacking at work (almost always with a Coke nearby) and it’s no wonder the pounds have been piling on. Portion control, eating healthier and an overall better awareness of what I’m doing to myself is vital moving forward. Speaking of moving – I must do more of that (hence the gym).

Sigh. How many times have I said all of this before?

Learn to Run No Longer

Sunday, July 19, 2015
You'll have noticed  there was no recap of Week 5 of my Learn to Run clinic. That's because I am no longer taking part in the runnign part of the clinic. There were no upsetting comments from our fabulous instructor, Miles, like there was the last time I took this clinic. And no, its not because I'm being lazy and don't feel like going, like the time before that. Its all to do with my health.
As you know, I've been experiencing cramping and pain in the arch of my left foot and my left (and right) calf when I run. Week 4's first two runs went relatively well, although the pain continued, and I had my first visit with Marcel in over a year. While the foot problems alone are enough to keep from continuing, I was determined to stick to it and finish this damn clinic. Four attempts and I have never made it to the end. I skipped the Sunday morning run for Week 4 to give my feet a rest and to continue with my stretching. However, before I could dive into the first run of Week 5 the next night, something happened that I was hopeful would never return. I once again began to get chest pains.
While we know that it there is nothing wrong with my heart or my lungs (3 ECGs, 1 Stress Test, 12 rounds of bloodwork, two emergency dept visits, and a CT Scan all say so), I'm not taking any chances. Given the prevalence of heart problems in my family, I'm wary when it comes to my ticker. So, when you put the two problems together... Feet + heart = no running.
Thankfully it was only one day (so far) that I've had the chest pains and they weren't nearly as bad as last year, I have the almost constant icy heartburn like feeling which spreads across my chest as it did for the 5 months or so that I was undergoing all the problems last year. Lucky me! The unknown inflammation is back! Anti-inflammatories and prevacid for everyone! 

I haven't shared the chest pain situation with my running clinic yet. They know about my feet and that's enough for now. While I am no longer running with the group, I am planning on still attending on Monday nights for our talks. The same information they share applies equally to walking and running, and I'm hoping that once the foot thing gets a bit better, I will go back to walking longer distances (no racing...maybe). Miles and the ladies in my run group were bummed that I couldn't continue with them but are happy that I'll still be stopping by to spend one evening a week with them. They're a great bunch and I'm really glad that I got to run with them, even for only a short while.

Foot Frustration - Learn to Run Week 4

Thursday, July 09, 2015
Week 4 of Learn-to-Run is almost over but the problems with my feet and calves continue. Despite a great visit with my physiotherapist on Tuesday, when I ran on Wednesday the pain came right back without any hesitation. Yes, I know. One visit to the physio does not solve the problem but it’s frustrating nonetheless. New to the pity party and not sure what I’m talking about? You can read a bit of my past problems here, here, here, here and … here.  The short story is that I have done some bad things to me feet over the last 40 years due to my habit of sitting on one of my legs and wrapping both stems around the legs of whatever chair I’m currently sitting in. Attempts at running on and off over the past five years have met with the same result – I get to a certain point and my feet and my calves rise up in revolt and attempt a coup.

This new running journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. After the first class, I had my usual thoughts of quitting but rebounded quickly with some awesome words of wisdom from Robyn. While it’s been tough, moving as quickly as we do from one week to the next, I’ve enjoyed each run, even the bad ones. But then, after the first two weeks, my foot and both calves started acting up as if right on cue. Tight arches by the second or third set, accompanied by tight calves do not lend themselves to running success. It’s annoying and painful. I have managed, so far, to get through each run despite the pain but when does it become dangerous to do so? You hear horror stories of people snapping their Achilles or some other dreadful sounding injury. I definitely do not want to go through something like that.

I had success with both physiotherapists I’ve seen in regards to my running problems – Marcel for my feet and Joyce for my calves. However, neither round of treatment (and at home care) was really immediate or long lasting at the outset. It took multiple visits and, for my arches, it was recommended last time that I take a break from running to give my feet a chance to start righting themselves. This is not the route I want to take given the success (and fun!) I’m currently having with my running group. There is a wonderful core group of 4 or 5 of us that usually show up to all the extra group runs the Running Room offers and I don’t want to lose the comradery we’ve built together over the past four weeks. However, if things with my feet don’t improve, I don’t want to risk further injury.

Our next group run is on Sunday morning; the last of the R3/W1s. I will be spending the next three days doing my toe curls and stretching & strengthening my calf muscles as best I can. No decisions to be made immediately but without improvement of their current state, some hard choices may have to be made soon.

Looking Ahead - Week 3 Learn To Run

Sunday, July 05, 2015
Today marked the end of week 3 - R2/W1s. The week has not gone as easily as I'd hoped but I stuck with it and was still smiling when it was all said and done.
See? Post-run smile! TBH, I was daydreaming of a cool shower, a nap, and my air conditioner.

Learning to like the Run - Week 2

Saturday, June 27, 2015
I could REALLY go for one of these right now.
This past week was Week 2 of my Learn to Run clinic. After a not so great run on my own during Week 1 (we do 3 runs/week), I seriously considered chucking it all in. The run didn't go so great for a number of reasons but my mood following our first clinic probably didn't help. The in-clinic run went well but as you could likely tell from my previous post, I had some hesitations about whether I would succeed, enjoy the clinic any more, or run as a group again.

ARRGH. Blogger just deleted 3 paragraphs... here I go again.

Fortunately, I have a fabulous friend in Robyn and she read my whiney texts last weekend patiently before finally telling me quitting is for losers and, in true Nike fashion, just do it. The love will come back. So...I did. And she was right.

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