Unsettling, but normal

I have started freaking out about 26.2 miles more regularly than before. Today, walking to the bus stop, I was thinking about what the chances were I’d fall in leaves again close to race day. I mean, fall is coming, you guys! The leaves are going to FALL! Yeah, so its like that.

This Sunday, I ran 16 miles. My training plan has kind of gone sideways since I had some inflammation issues right in the middle of training for this marathon. My friends that I would normally run with were only slated for 14 miles, but I’m having to ramp up a little quicker because they’ve already done 18 (last week) and I have catching up without injury to do.

It was a solid run. We chatted away the miles and I found it to be mostly fun. Then, my brain short circuited. We were almost to the starting point at 14 miles, where they’d leave me to finish my last 2 miles alone. For no particular reason, my scumbag brain started in on me about how bad everything hurt after only 14 miles and how there was no way I could stand the pain of 26.2 miles. I stopped in my tracks. My friends Denise and Dianna ran on ahead and I walked slowly trying to clear my head and think about anything that wasn’t running. I saw a group walking together and I made myself pick up to a run, turn to them and say “Hello,” with the best smile I could muster. The little girls and their adult walking companion smiled back. I decided to be strong and at least get back to my friends.  They came back to me and I told them I was just too far inside of my own head and needed a minute.

We got back to where we’d all parked and I tossed a shirt into the car, grabbed some sports drink from the cooler in my trunk, climbed into the driver’s seat, turned the car on, and then turned it back off and got out. I took off on my run to my friends yelling “Go, Jenn!” They were going into the local co-op grocery probably to get smoothies.

I ran south on the trail waving to every single person that went past me. Most passersby were on bikes. In my head, I joked that I should ask them to circle around and make sure I’m still alive in like  15 minutes. I tried to recall song lyrics. I looked at discarded things along the trail and the road and made up stories about why they had to be littered there. I have a pretty amusing imagination. I saw a sign that said “student mail,” and none of the universities in town were near my location, so I bet that sign had a really interesting story that probably involved vandalism and alcohol. Oh, there were beer bottle caps lined up in a perfect little row with most of them donning golden foil with some peeled away, but of the same type.

I turned around before I hit 15 because I didn’t feel like exploring the places beyond the trail like I often do. When I got back to my car, I paused and took a drink of water. I looked down and I saw a rock there. One of those kindness project rocks that people paint and hide and post to Facebook. I picked it up and examined it. There was a book painted on it. I started to move away and there sat another one. I couldn’t wait to show my kids those rocks and go somewhere to hide them. I stuffed them into the pack that held my gels earlier in the run and I took off to finish my run. I looked at my watch every few seconds hoping that I was finished and I could just walk back the car. I no longer felt completely exhausted, though. I had energy to move myself forward.

When I got back to my car after 16 miles and a little cool down walk, I actually spent a little extra time stretching at my car. I felt like people may have been looking at me, but it didn’t matter. I ran 16 miles. It was ugly and it was not the good kind of memorable. I started picking on myself and cutting myself down while I was still running. Even though I’d already crossed the halfway point for a marathon distance, I was tearing myself down. I stopped, I hit reset, and I moved on. They’re right about motivation. It doesn’t last and that’s why you have to keep finding things that spark that light inside.

I truly enjoy running and even though not every run is enjoyable, I’m doing something I take pride in. I’m cool with the people that think it’s crazy or pointless.

I got this on a postcard in the mail and it is going be one of my sparks for this weekend’s 20 mile run:

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What keeps you going? Do you have any mantras that get you through the tough spots? I like “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” Good luck on your training goals! Maybe you could do a race for charity sometime, too?

My fundraising site is here: Click these words

Where have you been?

Where have I been? On the crazy train, guys. Google assistant says I spent 48 hours in a car in August. It’s probably  more than that, which is simply disturbing. More than 2 days driving and I don’t think I left Illinois. I also didn’t go on any road trips that were for pleasure.

That doesn’t answer the question of where I was. I started physical therapy. I didn’t finish it, but my foot feels great. No pain when I run. The extra time I took from running was due to my oldest child, the one with Crohn’s, being in the hospital for 15 days. We went from a local hospital that was only 10 minutes away to her being transferred to one 45 minutes away to be closer to her specialist and in a Children’s Hospital. Originally, she was just a little dehydrated. Then, her liver enzymes were up. Before we knew it, she was jaundice. Her liver was not doing well and she had viral hepatitis. All of these things started from one nasty virus that doesn’t even make some people sick when they get it. Epstein-Barr virus, also known as ‘mono’ by the masses, landed my daughter in the hospital for over 2 weeks with a couple of those days in the Intensive Care Unit. Her IBD medications took down her immune system so so her intestines weren’t being attacked by the immune system. Her immune system had a harder fight than it was able to handle. She landed in a hospital bed miserable and missed her first 2 weeks of school including the first day.

I tried to work out as much as I could. I had nervous energy I needed to expend. I did treadmill work at the gym one day until the hospital called. I planned to run one day on the way home from the hospital when my husband had taken my place watching her. Sleep won that day. I needed sleep more than I needed a run. When she finally was released, I went for a run to unwind.  I turned an 8 mile run into a 13 mile run and my friend who was (and is still) helping me get to the marathon distance was not surprised I had run extra. She told me to go for more this week. So, with exactly a month left to to until my first marathon, I have run 13 miles at the most. This weekend, I’ll be going for 16 miles. I’ve actually done 4 and 6 mile runs week outside without pain to my foot or ankle. I’m excited to get the long run out of the way.

I always talk up my running family and how runners are such awesome people. I never imagined how they’d all be there for me when I really needed them. There was so much encouragement and support when I was injured and even more when my daughter was in the hospital. It was amazing.

This week, I finally hit the fundraising minimum for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. That put me 3/4 of the way to my goal and I was so excited to see that number and finally being so close.

I had a while when I was really down and out and so pessimistic about pretty much everything. Now, I feel like I have peeked around all of those excuses and ‘what ifs’ and I can see success somewhere in the distance.  I even think I can finish a 26.2 mile race despite a few snags in my training plan.

There’s no magic formula. There’s no words I needed to hear to push away the doubt. I decided that if there are people who can go through these things and come out fine, I can endure a marathon using up 1/4 of my day.  I want to do it now more than ever before. So, I hope you cheer me on in Chicago. I hope you give to my fundraiser. I hope you find the ‘why not’ when you think of reaching a goal you have wanted for awhile.

Fundraising link: MomJennGoal26.2

Here’s a picture of me after my 10k run yesterday. I have my “Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.” bracelet on. I am one tough broad, guys….

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Peroneal Tendon. Again.

I saw my podiatrist after experiencing what I thought was a stress fracture to my 5th metatarsal bone on my left foot. The injury that sidelined me from my first marathon (two days before the race), was to my right foot. I had a tear in the peroneus brevis, a sprain to my ATF ligament, and tendonitis in the tibial tendon from running on the other two for a few weeks. It has taken me months to get from walking a 20 minute mile to walking 16 minutes and faster. I have recently broken the 12 minute mark running a mile. Progress! Finally!

I was so happy with the progress. I pegged on a 12th mile during my 11 mile run. When confronted with pain, I was completely stressed out about it ending my training. I called the doctor anyway because searching the web turned up results that mostly said “you fractured your foot, dummy,” or something like that [which means I shouldn’t have put it in quotes, but I don’t want to edit them out]. I didn’t run any training runs until I saw him. It was so great that the pain was gone, I couldn’t really figure out what went wrong. I ran 12 training miles the following weekend and my foot hurt again. I scheduled another appointment and I didn’t take time from my training runs. My appointment was on a Monday following my planned 13.1 mile training run. I did the run. It was not pleasant after, but when I saw the doctor, he ordered x-ray images of my foot and did an extensive exam. I had brought him my running shoes to examine and he added padding to one side of my shoe insert and laced the shoes differently. He ordered physical therapy as well.

I got to see the physical therapist whom I’d spent a lot of time with after my right foot injury. Her parting words to me [the last time] were to not go all out too soon. I didn’t want to tell her that I was injured. I still went in and we talked a little. She studied my walking stride and then watched me run on a treadmill. Then, I sat down and discussed with her that my walking included a little flick of my left foot toward the outside. She said she hadn’t seen it on the treadmill, but believed that I was probably doing it after settling in on my run. She treated me with an an external anti inflammatory and sent me on my way to see me again in a couple of days and three times next week. Thursday, when I saw her, we discussed that my foot wasn’t hurting. She had me do some stretching, discuss what I need to do to correct my gait issue with strength, and gave me electrical stimulation and ultrasound therapy. She sent me on my way saying I was okay to work on endurance using an elliptical machine and that my outdoor mileage could go to 2 miles at the most because that was the threshold where I’d started to feel pain on my earlier in the week 3 mile run.

There are less than 60 days before the marathon. I am not calm about the situation. I’ve had a lot of other things in my life that are stressful. I’m a stay at home mom and it’s summer. My kids present me with challenges regularly. I am trying to focus on the positive. I am working on it. I’m going to finish this marathon. I am going to do what I can to ensure that I do. So, here goes something.

I’m still fundraising for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. I have a fundraiser going on with Keep Collective if you like jewelry. I love making myself bracelets with them and I’m thinking I need a new necklace. Here’s the link:  https://www.keepcollective.com/soc/n39v7    

Please consider a donation as I’m a little over halfway to my goal and I am very close to my deadline date. My fundraising page is here

And here’s a pic of me after my run on Monday evening. The song came on in my 2nd mile and I ran relatively fast.

 

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Body Image Issues

I started on this journey running long distance to prove to myself that since my body isn’t exactly cooperative in looking how I wish it would, I’d show myself that it can still do amazing things. I’ve had some amazing experiences with that journey and I’m glad that I have shown myself that I can set goals and I can accomplish them. I don’t know that I would have imagined myself enjoying physical fitness and having it become an important part of my everyday life.

My injury and recovery has been a major setback in how I feel about myself and the way I look. I gained around 25 pounds. I’ve lost and gained 10 pounds a few times. I hate the number on the scale and my pants are a little snug lately. For some reason, I was doing much better with eating well at first than I have been eating lately. I hadn’t gained any weight until the first of this year. Then, it just piled on quickly and my confidence dropped. When the cast and boot went on and I was restricted from moving, I started to worry about whether I’d even be able to run my marathon this October. I have started training and easing back into running. I’ve been slower than I wish to be and I get tired much more quickly than I’d like to. It has had an effect on how confident I am in my ability to train for and complete my race.

Last week, I went to the Gulf Coast in Alabama for vacation. This was not good for my ego as I saw women walking by in their swimwear confidently as I wished I could just hide a little more of my chest or that my shorts were a little longer to hide my fat legs. I have never loved my body. Even at a slim 150 pounds and 5′ 7″, I wore a size 11 and I felt chubby. *I’ll have to cover my female influences as I grew up in a blog post [and probably a therapy session] at some point. Let’s just say that I’ve been trying to diet as long as I remember.

I sat behind my sunglasses in tears trying to battle my inner thoughts about how I looked fat and ridiculous and it wasn’t fair that I gained so much weight just over a matter of weeks. I thought about how I understand that I’m not 100% healthy eating and that I don’t work hard enough to look fit. I still don’t understand why I can’t seem to look the way I want or a way that I’m comfortable with. I was starting to feel good when the injury happened and I still did into this year. I felt like I’d made real progress and I wasn’t as focused on the scale. I was confident in myself. As much as I try to convince myself I’m the only person that sees what I see in the mirror, I can’t look out of my eyes from this body and feel okay with it. I get stuck on saying internally all of the things I think other people will think when they see me. I’m quite mean to myself despite knowing that I can run distances some people would only consider driving and I’m always trying to encourage others to “do the hard stuff.”

Tonight, I’m nervous that I need to train for a marathon and I’m not feeling the usual confidence that I have in the past. I want to run a marathon and I planned to last year. I don’t feel like I’m going to be capable of finishing. I am in a week where my long run should be 7 miles and I’ve run 4 miles at the most. I am lacking confidence and despite knowing that it is 100% something I need to change in my head, I wish I could change my body instead. I wish that it showed that I work hard to be this chubby woman and if I didn’t, I’d be larger. I wish I didn’t feel like crying when I see someone else having a good time in a 2 piece and not trying to cover herself or hide. I am pissed that I’m this person when I work so hard to be the person I feel like I should be.

I wrote the above paragraphs, took a little break, and went to the store. I spent time thinking about what I’d written here. To some degree, I feel this is just a mood that I get into at times. I am truly envious of people who have a slender build and I often get caught up in the “why can’t I just,” attitude about my body. The cure for this would seem to be plastic surgery or taking more extreme measures to aggressively shape myself into the woman I want to be. It isn’t the solution, though. This is a psychological issue. This is hating my body for just being the way it is. This is something that people struggle with and rarely talk about. People will encourage by commenting on other redeemable qualities, but truly, what you need to know is that you’re being too critical of yourself and it is great to want to take care of your body and your health to be healthy. Not because you think it will change what you look like. That is something I need to work on changing from within myself. I’ll continue training to run 26.2 miles because I know my body is capable. I’ll find a swimsuit that covers more of my chest so I feel more comfortable and spend less time tugging at it and looking down at my body and more time enjoying the moment I’m in. I’ll realize that I can’t really know what’s going on in the heads of those women who seem so comfortable in their own skin as they walk by and that I can’t compare myself to them. Also, I don’t mention these things in front of my kids and I hope that I can one day carry myself in a way that they find admirable and they find confidence in themselves.

Sorry that this one was kind of a downer. I plan to get out and run tomorrow as my schedule says. I figured out how to get intervals on my watch, so I’ll run/walk if needed. I am still fundraising. That’s another issue altogether with how hard I’ve been working on that. I’m $916 to my $2k goal.

Here’s a pic of me drinking wine on the balcony while on vacation. The Gulf Coast is gorgeous. I had a great time and I think my kids really enjoyed themselves as well.

 

Usually, I’m patient

I’m a patient person. I typically just wait in line and amuse myself while not really behaving like my plans for the day somehow are more important than those around me. I was aware that my ankle injury would require starting over. I just thought that I’d be starting over at a slightly less quick pace. I didn’t think about how much it would hurt my body to push myself. I didn’t know that not using my foot would cause swelling in other areas like the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon once I got out of the boot and back to using it normally.

I mapped out my 20 week training plan for the marathon. Yesterday was 3 miles run/walk. I decided to try to do it by how I felt. So, I was walking within 1/4 mile. I ran less than I walked. 1 mile in, the bottoms of my feet felt like they were bruised and tender. My left calf was tight. The wind was whipping into my face and I started trying to run again after a break at a water fountain. I made it less than .1 mile before I realized I was not going to run through any pain. I turned around and headed home with a few spurts of a slow run to test the feeling in my feet. While the pain wasn’t only on the hurt side, I didn’t want to chance it. I went 1.5 mile by the time I got home.

I was disappointed. I was angry. I felt defeated. I couldn’t finish even 2 miles of a 3 mile run. How am I supposed to run a marathon? First of all, I’m supposed to train for a marathon, not worry about running 26.2 miles this week. Next, I didn’t run 3 miles when I started out a few years ago. I couldn’t do 60 jumps in therapy a couple weeks ago. Now, I can do it. I couldn’t do 60 calf raises in therapy without pause. Now I can do it. We get stronger through persisting. We get stronger by trying. I will get there. I will rest today and I will go back out tomorrow if I feel rested enough and I will see how far I can take these legs. I won’t push through pain. I’ll push through being tired and I’ll look away from ‘can’t’.

I am not always feeling the most optimistic. Nobody is always going to be. You could say “fake it ’til you make it,” but I’d rather just say that you should believe in the best possible outcome and be prepared for it to not work out that way without a few tries. Giving up is the true failure, though. I’m going to keep my head up. I’m going to try again. Maybe I’ll be able to run a full 5k by the time my race comes around at the end of June. I have a one mile race on Memorial Day to worry about. One race at a time. One goal at a time. I can run a mile. Now I want to run 2. We’ll worry about the 26.2 as it comes along.

Thanks for reading!

If you want to know how my fundraising is going or you want to give, Click Here!

I made a new collage pic for it to make the Facebook page more attractive. My friend donated her time to help me with my profile pic that I absolutely love. I used it as the background for this collage.

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Physical Retraining

If this is your first time reading my blog, you might not know that I injured my ankle back in November. It was 2 days before my first marathon and I wound up cheering for my training partners from the sidelines. While I did what my primary doctor had advised, I felt like there was something still wrong with me. It became more prevalent as I tried to ease back into running and working out regularly at the gym. So, I got a second opinion. I found out I had a longitudinal split of the peroneus brevis tendon, a chronic tear of the anterior talofibular ligament and a sprain of the calcaneofibular ligament. I was referred from orthopedics to podiatry. I wound up in a boot and a cast for awhile as a conservative treatment since it wasn’t a full tear, which would have meant surgery. I’m now in a brace all of the time and I’m in physical training to get released to run again. So, if you see your doctor and you have that nagging feeling that something isn’t right, you should probably trust your instincts. This could have been resolved months ago and I’d be out on the trail and in the gym, which is my zen. Exercise literally makes me happy mentally and physically.

I’m in physical therapy 3 days a week and I have homework for the days I don’t have an appointment. These therapists have got me working hard and I see the progress. Day 1, I couldn’t walk down steps the way I used to before the boot. Now, I can walk the stairs, balance on one foot, and do many other things I couldn’t before. I thought I’d go through some of the things I do in therapy to show that while it is challenging, it isn’t impossible.

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When I got to therapy, all I wanted was to hop on the treadmill and try to run. My first trip involved me drawing the abc’s with my foot, doing crunches with my toes, and moving my ankle in ways I hadn’t been able to with the cast on. I learned stretches, and exercises to increase my flexibility.

We’ve been wrapping appointments up with electrical stimulation on my foot. I call it the “zappy thing,” but it doesn’t zap as much as it is a little massage directly on the spot it gets irritated. The therapists say that it helps to interrupt the pain signal from reaching the brain and prevents inflammation to the area, which can result in increased pain.

I was ecstatic when she let me ride the stationary bike. Yes, I was super happy to do it, but I was sweating after 5 minutes and felt pretty exerted. I am up to 15 minutes and it definitely isn’t as difficult as it was a few weeks ago. I still feel a little silly breaking a sweat and having labored breathing after what seems like such a brief time doing something that seemed much easier before the time I was sidelined.

I was put on the treadmill on a board with a bottom part much like a rocker. Standing one way made me have to balance myself forward and back; the other way required me to balance longitudinally. Both ways were challenging at first, which I credited to having been in the boot for the previous weeks.  I find myself grasping the hand rails much less frequently when on the board.

When I went to phase 2 of my ‘homework packet’, I started doing more challenging exercises at home. The most difficult was calf raises with my toes pointed outward, forward, and inward. It was even more challenging when I was asked to do it on only my right leg (the injured one). Then, she added weights. I was sore after that workout, but we’ve started doing some additional stretches that seem to have stopped it. One is standing on the ‘slant board’ with my knees straight, then bent. The calf raises are something I should probably incorporate as a regular thing moving forward in my fitness journey.

Another balance tool I use is something that is called a “Bosu Ball”. That is a brand, but it is an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform. I have done squats on the platform side trying to make it balance. I have improved so much, one of the therapists commented on how well I was doing with balance. I also have done lunges on the ball with my injured foot being placed onto the rubber part and my other foot firm on the ground. Both have had ankle weights added to the routine to add a bit of a challenge.  I’ve also been able to use the step with and without weights doing repetitive steps for different time frames. I also balance on one foot on a stability cushion often. I haven’t quite mastered staying on it for longer than 10 seconds at a time.

I think the rebounder is a lot of fun to do. There’s a trampoline set at an angle and weighted balls. I stand on a pad on the injured foot while tossing and catching the weighted ball. My initial goal was to increase my throws by 1 each time without putting my left food down to balance. I’ve finally gotten to that point even with a slightly heavier ball.

When she put me on the treadmill, I sent a Snapchat out that I was finally on the treadmill. I was walking, but I was on the darn thing! The first time, I couldn’t really go over 3 mph walking. The last time I went, I was almost up to a light jog. I was told that next time, I will be allowed to walk/run for 20 minutes next time I go and I was so excited, I almost had tears. How close is that to an end? Pretty close, darn it! I’ll be running in time to start training in June like we’d discussed in the beginning of therapy.

I’ve had time on the stair stepper. I believe I’ve never actually used this machine before therapy. It is challenging. I have done it a few times and I seem to be able to do more each time than the last. It really isn’t something I have a positive or negative reaction to. I would just rather bound up real steps for some reason.

This is not a complete list of the things that I do. The therapists are amazing, though. I really feel like I’m making progress. I thought I should share what I do in therapy because I’m not sure how many people know what goes on when people are going multiple times a week. I know I didn’t know and I certainly didn’t think it would be a workout each time.

I’m still raising money for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. I’m going to run 26.2 miles in Chicago on October 8th. Please consider giving and asking your friends to consider it. Thank you!!!!

Fundraising page:Click Here

Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have questions or comments.

 

 

 

FUNDRAISING IN FULL SWING!

I’ve started busily fundraising and planning upcoming fundraising events. I’m more determined than ever to get back to running!

A few ways you can help:

  1. Go to my fundraising page and donate! This is the page that was provided to me by the charity to fundraise: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262
  2. Buy from Schwan’s using my fundraising code (32389) or click below:
    https://www.schwans-cares.com/campaigns/32389-jenn-runs-chicago-for-team-challenge
  3. Like my Facebook page to see events that you can attend if you live in or around Bloomington, Illinois (right next to Normal, guys. Like…almost Normal. But not. Get it?):  https://www.facebook.com/MomJennGoal26point2/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND FOR READING MY BLOG.

I’m going to start training very soon and I’ll be so excited, I’m sure I’ll have an update for my blog! We’ll go step by step through training for a marathon after a long absence from injury. We’ll cover what I’m doing in addition to running to prepare for the big race. I’ll plug my fundraiser when I can because I really want to help Crohn’s and Colitis be a thing of the past by helping find a cure!!!! Below is the logo I created for my facebook page. It may look really simple, but I’m not a graphic artist, so it wasn’t for me. Respect to those who can do it and do it well.

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