Monday, September 23, 2013

Difficult Decisions, Dreams Deferred

Well, unfortunately, my injury has not been healing as fast as I dared to hope. As such, today I made the very difficult decision to postpone my "50 for 35" challenge. I will now take part in a 50-miler this spring instead of at JFK this fall. To say I am bummed is an understatement. This challenge and all that it stands for - the hope it gives me and the passion I feel about why I am doing it - is so incredibly important to me.

I know, I know - it's not over, as my close friends and family keep telling me. It's just postponed. But I was really excited about hitting that Appalachian Trail with some of my favorite running friends in November. But if I've learned anything in the past couple of years - during which time life has thrown me a lot to handle - it is that life is not easy and it is most definitely not fair. That said: life gives you additional opportunities to fulfill your dreams and complete your goals, as long as you are open to seeing those new opportunities, owning them, and, well...rocking the sh*t out of them.

That's what I plan to do this spring.

I have a race picked out but I want to wait until I am fully cleared to start training hard again before I officially register and announce which race I'll be doing. For those of you supporting me in this challenge, rest assured that I won't let you down. I cannot say enough how important it is for me to accomplish this goal and finish this journey.

And, as always, when things feel unfair and crappy, a little perspective is always good. My dear friend Kara Goucher had to make a similar decision recently. You may have read about it here. Talking to Kara about my struggles in running and, well, in life in general, always gives me great perspective. And not just because she's a pro and running is her job -- the implications for her are far greater when she finds herself injured and unable to perform. It's more about who she is. I've known Kara since Jr. High and through all of her struggles and triumphs she has remained, from my perspective, so level-headed and able to joke about and accept even the saddest and most frustrating disappointments and she always looks to find a silver lining. Always. I am so thankful I have her in my life for constant pep talks, support, and as an amazing role model.

So that's what I'll do with my disappointment. Let it go and focus on what I have to look forward to. I am already excited about the race I hope to run in March. And, well, when I get back to running I am going to work my darnedest not to take it for granted! I love running. I absolutely love being a runner. I miss it terribly. When I get it back, I am going to treasure it like never before.

My fundraising page will be updated soon to reflect the postponed race date. In the meantime, I would still be grateful for your continued support! I am still so incredibly grateful to the people at Jacob's Ladder and the smiles they put on my nephew Henry's face every single day. I am also grateful that I was able to support such an amazing place as I undertake this challenge. Henry and I are both lucky to be paired with them as we pursue our goals!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 20: Some Results

Well after not so patiently waiting, I finally got in to see my doctor. I saw him last week Thursday and he ordered an MRI. My problem was not presenting as sciatica, because that shoots pain down the leg. (I have pain shooting up from my butt into my lower back). So he guessed it was probably a disc bulge of some kind, which is what I assumed as well. It took me a week to get in for the MRI, which I had this past Wednesday and yesterday, Thursday, I saw my doctor for the results.

Before I got my results, though, I met with a physical therapist yesterday morning. I am always skeptical about physical therapy. I had it a lot as kid with all of my sports injuries. It usually resulted in me being the proud owner of an array of different colored therabands and not much else. But, as I am pretty desperate here, and my doctor recommended it as an option, I thought I'd give it a shot. Fortunately I really liked the place I chose (randomly from my insurance website) and really liked the therapist. After examining me, so did not think the symptoms were presenting as a disc problem. She was able to deduce that that I have a slight tilt in my sacrum...and her assumption/guess is that I tweaked it at some point and it just hadn't gotten itself back into place. So we did not exercises, etc. to work on that. (Knowing I would get my MRI results later that same day.) And, yes, she sent me home with some exercises and a theraband. Which I am proud to say I have already used! Nothing like a little motivation and a time crunch to get me to follow the rules.

The news from my doctor was good. There is a slight disc bulge but no more than is to be expected from anyone else my age. So while it's possible it's causing the pain, it's not particularly likely. My doctor is still not convinced of a diagnosis (he is a pain doctor, so he is less focused on specific or particular diagnosis - or having some precise "answer" or "cause" and more on pain management, which is why I am coupling with PT). He had the records from my PT and together we decided that I would get a pain injection in my SI joint. Not only might this reduce my pain (that has been debilitating and severe since the day it started, August 22) but it will also give us some answers. If it works, and the pain goes away (even if temporarily) we know it's an SI thing. So I got the injection. So far so good - it seems like it may have worked. You never know for a couple of takes the medicine 2-4 days to start working, and you always have soreness from the injection for the first day or so afterwards. But I am walking without severe pain for the first time in three weeks. So I am happy and hopeful.

I may not be as fit and prepared as I would have preferred to be come time for JFK, but I am feeling more and more confident that I definitely will be there. (If, for any reason, I am unable to be I will pick a 50-miler in the Spring at which I will complete my challenge.) Who knows, maybe this was a fortuitously forced rest for some reason I'll never know.

Whatever the case, I feel like I might finally be on the other side of this thing and am feeling good and relieved. Still a lot I don't know, but finally getting some answers. And some relief! Hopefully I will be running again soon. In the meantime, I am owning the bike and pool. 10 weeks until the race!

Fundraising has gone well, but still a long way to go! I appreciate support in any amount. To donate, click here.

Training Mileage Summary
Week 1: 30
Week 2: 31
Week 3: 36
Week 4: 36
Week 5: 27
Week 6: 32
Week 7: 40
Week 8: 34 
Week 9: 43
Week 10: 44
Week 11: 40 
Week 12: 33 
Week 13: 49
Week 14: 50
Week 15: 38
Week 16: 50
Week 17: 14, Injured, cross training
Week 18: Injured, cross training
Week 19: Injured, cross training
Week 20: Inured, cross training

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I've been dealing with a disappointing and frustrating injury that has had me sidelined for the last week and a half. It's been a huge bummer on lots of levels. I moved back to DC a week ago and have been getting settled in for my final year of law school. I was excited to get back into town and go on some of my favorite running routes with my extra time before the semester started. No such luck. I am not sure what the injury is yet - I have pain in my lower back/butt that results from weight-bearing. So, running. And, well, walking. The pain has moved to different areas, so I am fairly certain it is nerve-related. Based on my history and experience (I have a herniated disc in my neck), I am guessing it is a herniated disc in my lower back. I see the doctor this week and will hopefully learn more.

So, the bad news is I haven't been able to run. Fortunately, pain only comes from putting weight on it so I have been riding a stationary bike at the gym and keeping up with my strength/core workouts in order to keep up my fitness. I also plan to start water jogging this week. This isn't altogether unfamiliar territory for me. In both high school and college, when I was a sprinter, I tore my hamstring (each of them, four-years apart!) and was relegated to the pool. Though it's not ideal (it's boring as hell) it is a great way to, again, keep up fitness and endurance when regular running isn't an option.

I am optimistic I will get this figured out and I will be back on my feet - and on the trails of DC - within the next week or so. Whatever the case, I am confident I will be on the starting line in Boonsboro, MD in November!

Mostly, I am bummed because I am really missing running. It's good for me (and you!) on so many levels and I am mourning the loss of it right now.

Fundraising has been going well! I've raised $1,180 so far! Thanks to everyone who has contributed. I'm well on my way to my goal of raising $3,500 by November 23rd! If you would like to donate, you can do so here.