Limping toward the finish line

We are, literally and figuratively, limping toward the finish line of this school year. God, it’s been a rough one. I thought last year was bad. Apparently this year saw last year and said, “Here, hold my beer.” This Herd is DONE. Toast. Finis. Exhausted. Drained. And oh yeah, I am limping.

You see, two days after the Bigs finish school, Big Man and I will run the Rock n Roll Half in San Diego again. My training was a bit derailed last week. I headed out for a four-mile easy run Thursday. I immediately felt pain in the left side of my left knee, and my left Achilles tightened up too. I tried to work through it, slowed down, and then stopped to stretch, but it just hurt. I made it all of .88 miles before I caved. At just over four weeks til race day, I wasn’t going to risk injury. And it really freaking hurt.

I hate when I have to stop a run because of pain. My whole day goes downhill. I was able to get out and finish four miles on Friday morning, but it wasn’t easy. There wasn’t any pain, but there was discomfort. I had to mentally fight to the end. Same happened on this morning’s 5-mile easy run. I was super slow, my muscles didn’t loosen up until mile 3. I will admit, I was tense, afraid the pain from last Thursday would return. I’m so not where I want to be mentally and emotionally with running right now. I’m afraid for this race, afraid I’ve put too much pressure on myself. I’m a little scared.

As for school…we’re usually beat up by this point. That’s nothing new. What is new is the level of being drained we are all at. It’s bad. The Bigs have four more weeks of school – 18 more school days. Big Man just finished the second of two AP exams this morning. The Princess has hers this Friday. In a few weeks, they face final exams. Blessedly they don’t seem to have the level of end-of-school-year projects they’ve had in recent years, thank the  Good Lord. It’s been a brutal year for both of them – academically for Big Man, socially and emotionally for P. We’re all ready to be done, to put this year behind us, chalk it up to life lessons and growing pains, and kiss it goodbye. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, 16/17 school year.

Little Man has 6.5 weeks of school. Yep, you read that right. He isn’t out until June 20th. I can’t remember when my kids were in school that late – past my birthday this year. Insanity. That’s 18 days AFTER the older two finish. Utterly ridiculous. I’ve been whining about it since the calendar was released last year. Then, get this, because they are aligning the middle and elementary school calendar with the  high school calendar, he will have just eight weeks of summer, as opposed to ten or eleven. Again, absolutely ridiculous.

He’s struggling right now, again. His SAI sent me an email the other day he’s back to leaving the classroom quite a bit again, spending a significant amount of time in the great room rather than in his class, doing what he’s supposed to be doing. She said he seems more stressed but he can’t express why. We have seen an increase in his anxiety level at home. I have no idea what the source is for his stress. He does tend to go a little sideways the closer we get to the end of the school year, but who knows.

I have no energy. I’m tired. I’m over the morning routine and homework battles. I’m tired of thinking about carpools, 6am cheer, and test scores. The kids are tired too.

You know, some years we come sliding across that finish line with a bang. We’re beat up, but we fight to the end. We might make it by the skin of our teeth, phoning it in on whatever we can. But this year, we’re limping. It’ll be a close thing. I know we’ll get there, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Wrapping my mind back around it

I am finally back on my full running schedule, without pain, which is awesome. I’m trying to ramp the miles back up slowly, and am taking care to really stretch completely afterwards, as well as foam rolling pre-run.  I am so happy to be out there again, especially without any knee, hip, IT, or Achilles pain.

The thing I didn’t count on was the mental drain. I have yet to go over five miles, and that was a struggle mentally the last 1.5.  I was bored. I was mentally tired. I have plans to go for six tomorrow morning, and already my mind is going, “uhhhhhhh……”  This part of running distance sucks – getting your mind to go along with it while you’re in it. It truly is a mental challenge.

I think it’s time to completely revamp my running playlist. It’s old. I’ve added and subtracted some over the last few years, but I believe I need to ditch it and, with a few exceptions, start all over again. Maybe that will help with the mental drag?

I used to become more mentally focused as I ran, writing blog posts in my head. Now, my mind scatters, and I can’t grasp on to even a wisp of a thought.  The mind is a muscle, apparently, and it’ll have to get back up to speed just like the body.  It’s going to take some work.

Music suggestions welcomed, as are any training tips to get the mind to stick it out for long distances.

Yeah, that answer doesn’t work for me

I’m working on over two months of dealing with this leg injury. Yes, I was able to get one 2.5 mile run in a couple of weeks ago, and was totally giddy about that, thinking I was back on the running road. But two days after that run, I could hardly move. It took about 10 days to recover. I have cried over it, trust me. Every email that comes through on upcoming races is a punch in the gut. Every friend’s post on their races and runs stabs a little bit. I’m happy for them, just envious, and more than a little sad. I never thought I would miss being able to run. I was that prissy girl who never understood running nor runners,  never wanted to work that hard nor sweat that much. Now I’m going out of my mind.

I’ve been resting, elevating, icing, heating, foam rolling, and taking nsaid’s. I’ve been going to the chiropractor, which has helped other issues, but not this one. I’ve had two intense massage sessions, which also have helped but not kicked the issue. I’ve gone completely non-impact as far as exercising, reintroducing  yoga, and taking lots of walks. My last good run was before Christmas.

I don’t even know what I really did to hurt my leg. I can’t even really tell you what’s hurt exactly. It could be my knee, and my hip is compensating. It could be my hip and my knee is compensating. It could be both my knee and hip. Regardless, my hamstring, IT band, and quad are all knotted up, every single day. It. Hurts. All. The. Time. I finally caved and called the doctor last week. My appointment is next Friday. The waiting….argh with the waiting to get in to see the doctor. I know the process will likely be long, and involve at least x-rays – don’t they always seem to start there? – and maybe an MRI if I’m lucky and can convince them of the need, before I get a referral to my fabulous ortho doctor. I’m sure he will be happy to see me again as it’s been over two years since my shoulder surgery – some kind of record for me, honestly.

Here’s the kicker – I’ve had no less than three people, my chiropractor included, tell me maybe I should just stop running. What the what? Yeah…that answer doesn’t work for me. My yoga instructor asked why that is. I told her I’ve seen my brother come back from multiple knee surgeries on both knees to run marathons. I’ve been passed on courses by 75-year-olds. I won’t give in to an injury. I just want it fixed so I can run again.

Trust me, I know running is harder on the body. I get that. I’ve been running for almost 10 years now. It doesn’t always feel amazing. When I’m not injured, getting ready to run is a process involving warming up, using the foam roller, and taking some ibuprofen, definitely making sure the hydration and nutrition are right leading up to long runs.  The older I get, the longer the process. Sure, walking is nice. We’ve had some gorgeous mornings, and it gives me time to pray, to think, to look around in a way I can’t always manage when running. It also takes twice as long to burn the same amount of calories. It just doesn’t feel the same as running.

“Have you tried cycling?” they asked. Yeah, not so much. I don’t mind pleasure rides with the kids around the neighborhood, but I hate wearing that dang helmet, am terrified of falling off/crashing (there’s a lot further to go from a bike than there is when you’re on your own two feet), and let’s not even mention those fancy cycling suits. Cycling isn’t for me.

So, I’ll wait, go see the doctor next Friday, and hopefully soon be on the road running again. Wish me luck!

Over a month

On Wednesday, I charged up my FitBit for the first time in months, and slapped that baby on my wrist. I was motivated yesterday to get all my steps in, so I headed out for a walk late in the morning. My leg was tight in the beginning, and the hip/knee somewhat painful, but it all quickly loosened up.  It felt good being outside again.

It’s been over a month since my last run. Yes, I’m going a bit crazy.  I’ve reached the point I’d like to trip every person I see out running, just out of pure jealousy. Do they know how lucky they are to be able to run? I started seeing a chiropractor a few weeks ago. It has helped my hip joint a bit. There’s definitely more movement. And my hips feel level for the first time in years.  Being the impatient person I am, I wanted to test the leg out yesterday. I haven’t attempted to even run down the hall since December 28th. It only took about three running steps to figure out I’ve made zero progress towards running again. My  hip and knee both still hurt upon impact, and on pushing off. Pushing and pulling both hurt. I can walk with barely-noticeable discomfort, but if I try to run even one step, it’s kick-you-in-the-gut painful. Sigh.

I keep getting notifications of upcoming races. Each one makes me sad. I have no idea at this point when I’ll be able to run down the street, much less train for a race. It’s very depressing. And it’s making me kind of an angry, not nice person. I’ve been doing other things…..walking, weight training, yoga, Pilates….but it isn’t the same. Not one of those things gives me the same feeling as running. I have to work twice as long as when I am able to run.  It’s disheartening. I’m cranky and I know it.

It’s probably time to call the regular M.D. and have it checked out, get some x-rays, maybe an MRI. I’ve been trying to avoid going down that road, worried another surgery is looming, or that some doctor will tell me I won’t ever be able to run again, at least without crazy pain. I haven’t seen enough improvement to continue down the path I’m currently taking.

Injuries suck.  I hate them. I have no patience for being limited. So wish me luck, and recovery. I need to be on the road again, soon.

Injury woes

A week ago Saturday, I started out on my 7-mile training run. There was pain from the very first step in my right hip and right knee. I had weakness and pain pushing off, and pain on impact. I struggled on, fully believing it would loosen up and I would be fine. After re-starting from a stop light rest, the pain only intensified. Frustrated, I stopped. The pain didn’t stop. I was 1.43 miles away from home. I made the slow walk home, where I promptly fell apart.

I’ve spent the last ten days resting, icing, elevating, and taking some anti-inflammatories.  It still hurts. I tried jogging a few steps yesterday, just going to get the mail. ARGH! I still have the weakness on push-off, and pain on impact. I withdrew from my February 7th race, and I’m so bummed.

Starting the year off with an unknown injury bites. I’m feeling limited. I’m feeling anxious. I have fitness and health goals for the year.  It feels this injury will only hold me back. I realized I hate not being able to run. There are a LOT of runners in our neighborhood. I am jealous every time I see one of them out there running.  I have new running gear waiting to be tested. On top of all that, I’m worried. I have no idea what’s causing the pain, whether it’s my hip or knee. Maybe just a sciatic flare? Pinched nerve? Whatever is going on, I’m not a fan and I’m kind of stressed out. With no improvement after 10 days, I know it’s probably time to call the doctor, but I’m living in denial land at the moment.

I’m taking suggestions for non-impact workouts which don’t involve walking or putting full weight on my right leg. I’m still frustrated, but determined not to let this injury hold me back.

The Weight of it

It’s a new year, but I’m struggling to feel the hope and excitement I should be feeling. Rather than being excited about the blank pages to be filled, I am stressed, anxious, a bit sad, a tiny bit angry, and a whole lot of frustrated. I’m tired and unmotivated. My stomach is in knots. Thinking about resolutions only makes me feel a failure already. I have a serious case of Negative Nellie-itis. Blah. Blech. It sucks to not have hope on the second day of the year.

It doesn’t help I’m fighting an injury. My running has been sidelined for a week. The level of pain means essentially no cardio at all. Which makes me feel like a total blob, and frustrated  I can’t begin to start on re-gaining a healthier lifestyle. It means pulling out of a race I was really excited about.  For a runner, not being able to run will drive you insane. I see other runners out there getting it done and it just makes me sad, as well as jealous.

Last week, I had plans for this new year. Now, I don’t even want to think about them. It’s overwhelming. I look at the to do list hanging over my computer and I just want to erase it all, crawl into my cave, and hibernate for a couple of months.

This will pass. I know it will. I’ll get a few good nights’ sleep and my outlook will be much improved. Giving myself the weekend. The kids go back to school Tuesday. Then I will re-frame, and dig in. For now, I’m letting myself have this pity party.