Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Well, you know pain, right?"

I had an appointment with the PT today for my hip.  I saw Dr. W for this problem a couple of weeks ago.  It was barely there.  He told me I could run through it and it went away.

Until last Tuesday, when it returned after I ran a quickish (7:00 pace) 6 miles.  It's been bothering me ever since, so I figured I needed some PT.  We'd tried our hardest to Graston it out ourselves, but it still bothered.  It's not SEVERE pain, but it hurts, and the last thing I need is a nagging injury.  I've survived running with 11/10 abdominal pain, and I'd like to hang my hat up in terms of running through pain, please.

Today, my PT was Jeff.  Jeff and Mike, both PTs at Dr. W's office, have inflicted MUCH healing pain on me via Graston treatments.  I've had Graston on the following areas (listed in area of painfulness):  Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, IT band, hip flexors (first time today!), and the soleus.

I told Jeff that my pain was a bit different than it was when I first saw Dr. W.  So he did a full assessment on me.  I kept mentioning that Dr. W said I could run on this, because what I really wanted to know is...can I still run on this?  Jeff evaded this question over and over as he was assessing me.  He announced that it was iliopsoas tendonitis as the result of a strain there.  Cool, but can I run on it?

"Well, you know pain, right?"  "Yes, I do."  "Well, you know how to judge when something should be run through or not.  Just listen to your body."  Actually, Jeff....no, I am still learning to do that.  So I need you, someone, anyone, to tell me what to do.  I didn't actually say that.  I said "I sometimes push through too much."  "Just don't let it get worse than a 4/10."  4/10?  Are you kidding?  If this was a 4/10, buddy I wouldn't be here.  Maybe it's just me, but it's got to get to a 6 or so before I seek help.  I'm glad to know that 4/10 should be the cut off.  Maybe that will keep me out of this situation in the future.

Anyway, I finally just asked him to please ask Dr. W if I could run.  I have utmost faith in him and will do whatever he tells me to do.  First, Jeff did the Graston.  Ow.  But he got it.  He dug around and it made my eyes water, so hopefully it will help.  I'll be getting the rest of my Graston in Bedford (two minutes from my house) by a therapist named Penny.  Never met her, but I will tomorrow at 2:15.

Dr. W said that I could run on it if it wasn't too bad, but to listen to my body.  FINE.  "What if I took a week off of running?" I asked Jeff.  "That would be great for it."  So I'm starting there, and will have Graston probably two or three more times before then.  He told me I could use the elliptical or the bike.  I tried the elliptical and it bothered my hip after 10 minutes.  I'll try to the bike soon, but it may be that I need to totally rest my legs.  I hate that, but luckily there is an answer.  It won't keep me aerobically fit, but it will keep me sane and it is guaranteed to hurt:  P90X.  Starting tomorrow...just upper body stuff, and maybe the yoga.

I have also told myself that I may need longer than a week.  I have 4.5 months til Chicago.  Two weeks off will not affect my performance much (say it with me....it won't matter, it won't matter, it WON'T MATTER!).

In other news, I'm still struggling to get an appointment with Dr. Wiebke.  I called his office today, and his (consistently rather rude) secretary told me that they didn't have any info on me and then said:  "Do you actually have cancer, or what?"  Um.  So I told her what my path report said.  And she said:  "That might be wrong.  We need to review the pathology to see if you even need to see him."  I said okay, and that I'd make sure the other surgeon sent the pathology.  Then she informed me that she refused to schedule my appointment until they had received my pathology.  I was a bit shocked, but said okay.  THEN she said..."And we have one spot open next Thursday.  After that it would be the end of July."  Whoa, I cannot wait til then.  I told her so and asked if she could please schedule me to hold the spot.  She wouldn't.

I immediately called Dr. Jones' office, who should have sent my info over last week.  No answer, had to leave three messages.  They called me back at 4:30 while I was changing wild Rowan's diaper.  I couldn't get to the phone (he can jump off the changer), and she left a message.  The message said that they hadn't sent my info over because they can't find the right phone/fax number.  Google, use Google!  I called back immediately and they were closed.  So I have to call first thing in the morning and tell them to rush the slides containing my abdominal contents to Dr. Wiebke's office.  If the appointment on Thursday is gone, I don't know what to do.  I would probably pull any strings that I have.  One of my T32 advisors knows him well, and I know she could probably get me in.  Or I might just email him again myself.  I'm kind of through playing nice with these people.

Monday, May 30, 2011


On the resting deal.  Now...let me explain.  I rested a few days and, when I woke up this morning...my hip felt a lot better.  No pain with walking, climbing stairs, etc.  I ran a bit with Amelia, and I didn't have any pain.

So I decided to do a very slow run.  I was pretty much pain free until 3 miles in.  Then I started to just feel it.  So I stopped and walked a little, then started back slowly.  It was still there, and got a little worse.  Never excruciating, but definitely got worse as the run went on.  I am so used to tendonitis which tends to get better as the run goes.  I've started so many runs with a limp, only to have it disappear two miles in and stay gone for 15+ miles...then hurt like hell after the run.

This, though, is different.  It's not like any tendonitis I've ever had.  I start out just fine and then, late in the run, it shows up.  As soon as I stop, it's pretty much 90% better until I run again.  The only thing I can do that consistently makes it hurt and is NOT running...is abduct my knee away from me, and flex my thigh upward.  That hurts.  Bringing my leg straight up, though, does not.  No problem with stairs, etc.

So I'm seeing the PT tomorrow for some Graston.  If it's tendonitis--I'll be healed.  Graston works miracles.  But I'm worried it won't do the trick this time.  That's because I've done my own Graston on it (courtesy of Tim), and it seems to act the same way...coming on mid-run and getting worse from there.  When I initially saw Dr. W for this, the pain was in a slightly different spot and it DID act like tendonitis.  That spot (which was actually the adductor) no longer hurts.

So.  I've never run with a strain before--will a strained muscle start out fine, come on mid-run, then gradually get worse (but not excruciating--it's runnable and no change in my stride)?  If it IS a strain, I think I'll have to rest it along with the Graston.  Now, I know what you're all thinking--femoral neck stress fracture!  Because I'm thinking it too.  BUT....though I have been injured far more than is fair for anyone, I've never had a stress fracture.  Never had problems with my bones.

Which doesn't rule anything out, but makes me feel better.  Also, it doesn't hurt when I hop on it.  In addition, I can't tell for sure that it's the impact that makes it hurt--maybe more when the leg swings through.    Also, when this showed up, my miles were way down.  I had tapered, run my race, and was running like 30 mpw.  I wonder if a stress fracture can occur during the peak training and not show up til later?  And it's not excruciating pain like I'd imagine a broken bone would be.  It's deep and dull.  On the down side--it KILLS me at night, wakes me up.  Just aches when I lie in bed.  I know that's a stress fracture trait.  There's also a particular spot, up high, that if I have Tim push on it sends me through the roof.  But muscles can do that, too.  If you don't believe me, try getting Graston done sometime.

So...I'm accepting and announcing that I (think I) am officially (but maybe not?) injured.  To some degree.  Unless it's a stress fracture, I think it will heal with the proper rest and therapy.  Whatever the case, I'm just going to accept it.  There are serious things going on at present, the least of which is my bum hip.  I'll fill you in tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I'm not running until I see the PT on Tuesday.  I hate not running.  I am psychologically dependent upon it and am currently in withdrawal.  As such, I'm in a foul mood.  That is all.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

To run or not to run?

As a runner, this is the question I dread having to ask myself.  During DWD, I tweaked my right hip flexor.  I stayed off it a couple days, saw Dr. W, and he agreed it was a slight strain.  At that point, I wasn't having any pain while I ran on it, so he told me to go ahead and do very slow miles

So I did, and was doing great.  Last Tuesday, though, I ran a little faster.  I averaged in the low 7s for a 6 miler.  It wasn't hard, and it didn't feel fast.  It felt....steady.  Apparently, my hip flexor didn't like it.  As soon as I stopped, it began to hurt.  It didn't hurt at all whilst I ran...but after.  I hobbled a bit to get Amelia at the bus stop, but by bedtime it had gone away again.  I had Tim massage it and also put it under Therbo.

Next morning, I ran 5 miles with Emily.  Zero pain until the last mile (and we went very slowly), when I began to feel a pulling sensation there.  It was again sore afterward, but cleared up by the time it was time for my second run of the day.  That run was supposed to be 5 miles, but I decided to cut it to 3 instead.  My hip flexor hurt (at a low level) during that entire run.

I haven't run since Thursday, as yesterday was a scheduled rest day.  Tim and I decided...actually, Tim TOLD ME that I just had to take it day by day.  If it felt better today, I should try a short run on it.  Well, it feels a bit better, but I'm still feeling it when I walk and when raising my extended leg upward.  I am not sure what to do.

My head says:  "Rest."  My heart says:  "You can run through that."  And I know I can, but should I?  Here's my issue.  I tend to use a 20 week schedule for marathon training.  A lot of people use an 18 week one.  My schedule began this past week.  So--for you experienced marathoners--if I rest the rest of this week and build slowly back up sometime next week...will that have any major effect on Chicago training?

And I ask that knowing full well that a surgery is likely going to totally disrupt my training.  But until I know that, I'm going on as normal.  So....what do I do?  Rest until next week?  Test it out today, keep running on it?  I'm too much like my dad to make this decision on my own.  So....help.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Benign, but not really.

That is the partial title of the article I found while searching medical journals for information about my condition.  As a student and faculty member at IU, I have  access to a myriad of professional online journals.  In the search box, I clicked on title, and entered the terms "pseudomyxoma peritonei" and, ultimately, "low-grade pseudomyxoma."

The reason I even knew what to search for was because I had heard from my soon-to-be oncologist, Dr. Wiebke.  He's in Vietnam with medical students, but was kind enough to answer the email I sent him when I learned I might need to see him.  I told him about my path report, and he suspects I have pseduomyxoma peritonei caused by a low-grade pseudomyxoma.

In simple terms, it's a benign form of appendix (usually) cancer.  It's considered to be a "low-grade" cancer despite its lack of malignant features.  As the title suggests, it's benign only in that it doesn't spread through the bloodstream and spread to far-away organs like the brain.  As I mentioned in a previous post, it causes havoc by pressing on internal organs within the abdomen.  The implants (of which I have five that we know) can grow so large that they actually cause the other organs to rupture.

But that only happens without proper treatment.  And, though it's taken me an absurdly long time to get it, I'll be in the hands of an expert.  What is concerning me is the actual treatment.  From what I've read, the curative treatment is something caused a peritonectomy--basically slicing you open and peeling the inside layer of your abdominal cavity away.  This ensures that all the implants (even those that are invisible) are removed.  The other abdominal structures--spleen, pancreas, liver, diaphragm, bowel, etc. must also be thoroughly "cleansed" of any implants.  Intra-abdominal chemotherapy usually follows the surgery.

I don't know that I'll have to have a peritonectomy, but I'm about 99% sure I'm going to have some kind of surgery this summer.  Dr. Wiebke has to see how everything looks. I'm guessing he'll do that, and then come up with a course of action.  All I know is that it's something I'll have to deal with forever, it's extraordinarily rare, and I am extremely lucky to be in such close proximity to Dr. Wiebke.

So, that's what we're dealing with.  Obviously, I'm not thrilled about it (especially after reading some of those articles--I really shouldn't do that).  But I'm counting my blessings.  Not the least among them--running just may have saved my life.  It is exceedingly rare to catch this kind of cancer (I hate that word, but that's technically what it is) in the early stages.  People usually don't have major symptoms until the implants have gotten so big that they press on their organs.  People usually have low levels of achy-type pain that they (and their doctors) attribute to musculo-skeletal origins.  People don't get really concerned until they start experiencing that very sharp pain that radiates around the abdomen and into the shoulders.

That pain that I know all too well--the pain that would start a half mile into my runs and not have mercy on me until I stopped, be that 10, 15, or 20 miles later.  The pain required TWO TENS units, both set to full power, to make my runs tolerable.  I sought medical treatment because my symptoms were so severe.  They were so noticeable because I was running.  I'm glad I didn't stop.   That I didn't throw my hands up and say:  "Fine.  They're right.  It's muscular and I need rest from running."  To use a Bedford term:  Hogwash.  I knew they were wrong.  But I was becoming worn down and exhausted trying to fight them.  Talk about a test of endurance.  I'm immensely thankful I lasted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's not over yet.

After yesterday's blog post, I learned a lot more about what my biopsy results mean.  So I'll try to explain it in a better manner.  Meaning, I'll try to make it comprehensible.

To put it in context, my pain was under my right rib cage, on the left side of the abdomen a bit lower, and it often radiated (in a stabbing manner) into my left shoulder.  She found the weird-looking implants on my liver and all around my peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal cavity, right where I was having pain.  She thought they were endometriosis, but biopsy proved otherwise:  they are peritoneal mucin implants.

These things are rare (of course).  And mine are benign, thank goodness, but those are even MORE rare than the malignant ones.  Mucin is a gel-like substance that is usually associated with the ovaries or the appendix.  If those organs get sick, as in they get a tumor, that tumor can burst, which leaks mucin all over the peritoneum.

The mucin latches on, and implants into the ultra-sensitive peritoneum and surrounding organs...usually the liver or spleen.  When this happens, inflammation and, often, infection (as in my case) happens, causing a sort of limited peritonitis.  The immune system is activated, and attacks these areas, causing a cycle of inflammation and pain.  The result is a benign form of  pseudomyxoma peritonei.  Benign only in that it isn't cancerous.  It can cause a lot of problems, including bowel obstructions, damage to vital organs, and, of course, severe pain.  They are also associated with weight loss (given the constant state of inflammation--takes a lot of calories to try and eat up those implants) and general fatigue.  It is considered a serious condition which needs very aggressive treatment to a) determine the cause and b) remove all implants COMPLETELY.  They can recur if not removed correctly or "deeply" enough.

We don't know what caused mine, but something mucin-containing had to rupture.   Luckily, I live just an hour and a half from someone who actually specializes in this stuff.  Finally, someone who knows about what I have.  His name is Dr. Eric Wiekbe, and he's at the IU Simon Cancer Center.  He's on vacation til June 6, but I should be able to see him shortly after that.  He has excellent credentials, and has listed on his biography...specializes in cancers of the peritoneum.  I hope he can deliver.

So, it's not over yet.  We know what we're dealing with, at least, but it appears there is maybe (likely?) more to be done.  This may mean more surgery.  This, of course, would interrupt Chicago training.  But I don't care.  I've got to make sure I get this fixed.

Other news:  Hip flexor continues to plague me.  I don't feel it when I run, only after.  Ready for it to be gone.  Tornadoes are all around.  10 miles total tomorrow...split into two runs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not what I expected.

I got my biopsy results today.  No endometriosis.  That surprised me.

Here is what the biopsies from my right and left peritoneum, as well as my liver, revealed:

Dense fibrous connective tissue with mucin deposit accompanied by muciphages.  No malignant component identified.

Now, to translate that.  The key word up there is mucin.  Mucin is a gel-like substance that, from what I understand, is usually secreted in the presence of carcinomas (cancers).  It should NOT be in one's peritoneum, as it is in mine.  My surgeon didn't know anything about it, and I'm still trying to piece together information.  It can be caused by a benign tumor of the appendix.  My appendix looked normal, but I don't know if that rules it out as contributory.  My appendix was mentioned in the path report as a possible cause.

Bottom line:  I'm calling a surgical oncologist tomorrow for a consultation.  The pathology report said that it was not malignant, but mucin implants must be treated aggressively, as they can affect the liver (and it appears they already have mine, though I may have had an infection concurrently).  And they can turn malignant if left in place. 

I realize this is a disjointed blog post, but I'm kind of in shock and very confused.  Mucin deposits could only be in my peritoneum because a cancerous or non-cancerous growth on an organ is making them over-produce.  I don't know if this means more surgery or what.  I'll update as soon as I know something, and I must say that now I am even more angry at all the doctors who did nothing to help me.

In other news...great run today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not Pretty.

Not for me, at least.  Today is trail run day--a day I always look forward to.  Tim and I met Wes, Scott, and dad near the Three Lakes Trail at Morgan Monroe.  It's a 10 mile trail.  I've run lots of double digit runs back to back, so I didn't think yesterday's 15 would affect me today.

It did.  Big time.  Within the first half mile, I was struggling.  We were in a line:  Wes, Scott, dad, me, then Tim.  I lost contact with the group within a mile.  I told Tim I was struggling and that he should just go around.  He wouldn't.  I continued to fall back.  I felt miserable.  I felt like I was bonking, and we were only a mile into it.  It was that feeling of overwhelming fatigue--nothing you can do about it.

I was in trouble, and asked if anybody had a Gu or gel I could have.  Tim and I didn't bring any.  I usually have an emergency one, but figured "Hey, it's only ten miles."  I never ask people for anything.  I have to be REALLY hurting, and I was.  The only person who had one was Wes.  He was going a total of 33 miles and it was his last Gu.  He reluctantly gave it to me.

We stopped at a shelter house and I ate it--it was coffee-flavored.  HORRENDOUS.  I got it down and hoped it would help.  Except, within a half mile of eating it, I was puking it up.  Wes noted that he knew I was going to throw it up.  I actually felt a little better after that, especially because we were on a flat section.  I could almost keep up.  Then, the first big climb.  And I just couldn't recover from it.  It became, as my dad says, a death march.

They gapped me so much that they had to wait for me at the top of the hill.  Tim was still with me, and I was still telling him to go around.  I was having a really bad day, and we both knew it.  I hate to affect someone else's run, which is why I kept urging him to go around.  He just wouldn't.  The fact that he was behind me made me try to push harder, and I just kept going deeper and deeper into that fatigue feeling.  We stopped at a creek crossing, which gave me a moment to get my bearings.

As soon as we started climbing again, though, it was clear that the jig was still up for me.  I wanted to walk SO badly.  I didn't, but I'm not sure you can call what I was doing on the hills actual running.  Everything was irritating me.  The bugs, the roots, my incisional pain, everything.  And we weren't even half way into the run.

At just after 5 miles, we came to a parking lot that I recognized...a little place where you can stop to jump on the trail.  As we approached, I thought to myself "Oh, I can stop here" and then "No, no, don't stop, you will be fine.  Keep going."  As we began to run past the parking lot, I stopped and told Tim they should just pick me up there when they were finished.  Could I have run 5 more miles?  Yes.  But it was: a) not going to be pretty and b) not necessary.  Dad ended up stopping with me.

I sat down on a log, exhausted.  And then a huge storm came in.  Lightning, thunder, downpour.  GREAT.  Dad and I, after having been roasting during the run, were now freezing.  Luckily, a fisherman had mercy on us and took us back to the cars.  There, we got in dad's car and waited for the others.

Until now, I've never cut a run short.  I've had runs like that before.  But I've always forced myself to finish them.  Not today.  And I'm (convincing myself to be) absolutely fine with my decision.

As soon as I got home, I pleaded with my mom to watch the kids a bit longer so I could take a nap.  She did (thank you, mom).  Tim was going out for a ride.  I fell asleep immediately.  When I woke up, I felt a little better, but I'm still exhausted and EXTREMELY hungry.  Tomorrow is a day absolutely, positively OFF.

Oh, the abdominal pain.  It continues to stay gone, but the whole right side of my trunk really hurts when I run (from the incision).  I keep thinking that's going to get better/go away, but it's not.  I see Dr. Jones on Tuesday, so I'll ask her about when I can expect this to be gone.

Major props to Wes and Scott for running 33 miles out there today in this heat.  And I am eternally indebted to my brother, Wes Trueblood, for spotting me a Gu when I was clearly in severe trouble.  Wes, you're an angel.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

HOT run!

It sure was.  Tim was up in Terre Haute for his very first tri.  So I ran with Kathy this morning at 9:00.  When we texted last night, we had settled on a 17-mile run.  When I went out to stash water last night, though, it was so humid that I wondered if I should stash in a way that would allow us to cut it at 15 if needed, so that's what I did.

It was needed.  When we started, it was in the high 70s and sunny.  Very humid.  And it would hit 80 while we were out there.  Hardly any wind.  We wore as little as possible, but it was still very warm.  We intentionally started out pretty easily, but perhaps not easily enough.   We are not quite acclimated to the heat yet, and neither of us have done a super hilly long run in a long time.

I actually felt really good on this run, but I was burning up.  I am usually not too affected by the heat, and I wasn't today, but Kathy is.  And toward the end the humidity was making it hard to breathe.  It was so hot I kept thinking "I wonder what would happen to Bill out here?"  When we made it to the twin tower hills, the temperature seemed to sky rocket.  It's because there was absolutely NO wind.  Those hills were tough.  But I still like them.

Needless to say, we ran 15, not 17.  That's perfectly fine.  And my legs finally feel normal.  They haven't felt this way since the marathon/surgery.  And, I'm happy to report--NO abdominal pain.  I am still sore under my rib cage on the right side from the surgery, but it's soreness and not stabbing pain.  I had zero of the old pain.  I'm still at the point that, every time I get ready for a run, I'm scared the pain will be there.  But it's not.  I just don't know how long it will take for me to be convinced that I'm totally better.  But I felt great today.

We finished and Kathy had to leave quickly.  I went in the house to see if Tim had called my phone.  I wanted to know how he did.  He hadn't called.  I texted him and didn't get a response.  Kathy called wanting to know how Tim did, but I told her I still hadn't heard.  Finally, I called him and he answered.  He had a good race, with a couple of hiccups:  He and Bill got there later than they expected, which led to a hurried start.  They gave him the wrong color swimming cap, which indicates in what wave you start.  He started in the correct wave, but was wearing the wrong color.  They told him that they'd correct his time, but it does not appear that they did.  Finally, he had an issue with the water bottle on his bike.  The velcro on it kept coming unstrapped.  He messed with it for 5 miles but finally it fell off, which meant he had no water for the bike ride.  He also didn't have a watch.  His Garmin is in the shop and he didn't have another watch to wear.  Now, he didn't think the lack of a watch was a hiccup.  I'm the only one who thinks that.

But, for his first tri, it went VERY well.  He placed second for the first-timers (and maybe first if his time were corrected).  His official time was something like 1:55:17, but again we don't think that's correct.  He's not too concerned about the time, though.  This was a practice tri for his half IM in July..a way to work the kinks out.  I do know this:  he had a blast.  Which means that bike was a good investment.

Trail run tomorrow!

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's almost that time again.

Marathon training time, that is.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me first report that I ran 6 miles yesterday and 3 (extremely slow) ones today.  I'm feeling pretty good except the right side of my abdomen, literally the side of my trunk, begins to hurt after about a mile or so.  It's around the surgical incision there.  The naval one doesn't hurt anymore, but it seems like the other one is much more deep and diffuse--it's not just at the site, but about an inch area all around it.  It's annoying, but not bad.  NO left-sided pain, NO shoulder pain, and I felt just a tad of the right-sided pain early on, but it went away...and it was never sharp.  I assume that will continue to fade away.

Tomorrow is Run with the Foxes day...which I'm sadly not running.  I REALLY want to, but I know that when Dr. W says something is a bad idea--it must be.  He knows me and pretty much lets me do whatever I can...but when he says don't run, I do have to listen.  He's only told me that twice before--when I had severe plantar fasciitis and then again with my obturator groin strain.  I did not listen about the PF--and I ruptured my plantar fascia.  I listened about the groin until another doctor told me to try running on it--I did, and was set back weeks more.  So, regarding running injuries, I listen to him.  Not that I'm injured, of course.  I've been injured.  To me, injured=can't run and, often, can't walk without a limp.  This is just a little niggle, a tweak, and it's almost gone.  But fine, I won't run Run with the Foxes.  I mean I could run it and not race it...but, yeah, that probably wouldn't play out.

One more thing to talk about before I get to the content that goes along with the title.  Some updates on my professional life.  First, dissertation continues to go well, and I don't have that many more interviews to do.  The real work is in analyzing them.  And I'm slow at it.  But wow, is it interesting.  Second, I'm interviewing for a full-time faculty position at IU (as an assistant professor) in June.  It's hard to believe that I'm finally almost done with school and will have ONLY a job instead of a job and school.  Thirdly, I've been invited to speak at the Iowa Advanced Practice Institute.  It's not actually in Iowa--it's in Indy.  The advanced practice model was created in Iowa, and they travel around and hold a 2-day institute for advanced practice nurses.  They're coming to IU Health (formerly Clarian).  I have been asked to lead the discussion regarding the evaluation and appraisal of quantitative and qualitative research.  I'm very excited.

Okay, okay, enough about me.  Marathon training is about to make its return!  That didn't take long, did it?  Marathon training takes a long time--about 5 months.  It takes about a month to fully recover from a marathon, so you can only really run (meaning race) two marathons in a year.  People usually run one in the spring and one in the fall.  I prefer fall marathon training because it means that the bulk of my training is in the summer.  While I don't particularly like the heat, I HATE running in the bitter cold.  My muscles never loosen up and all the clothes make it hard.

My fall marathon is the Chicago marathon on October 9.  It's one of the biggest marathons in the country.  I've never run it.  I was registered for it in 2009 and got hurt and had to DNS.  I went to the race to spectate (Tim ran), and it's unbelievable in terms of crowd support.  A very different experience than something like Eugene, I'm sure.

Next week, I'll do one final recovery week, and after that...it's go time!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dr. W and more

I saw him today.  If you remember, Dr. Weidenbener is my sports medicine doctor.  I went to see him about my hip flexor.  It's actually much improved, but I already had the appointment and I hadn't had a chance to talk to him since my surgery.  Dr. W is the only doctor who is surviving this whole ordeal--I've fired the rest of them.  He told me up front that he did not know what it was, and felt that it was an issue for my internal medicine doctor (which it was).

The first five minutes I saw him, we didn't even talk about my hip.  I told him all about my surgery, what they found, and how upset I was with the other doctors.  He agreed.  Then it was onto my hip. I really just wanted to know one thing:  is it okay for me to run on this?  Yes, it is (whew).  It's not a stress fracture, which I knew since it hurts more to pull my knee up than on impact.  It's a slight strain, so he said I'm fine to run on it, but I can't do any hard/fast running for two weeks.  That's fine, as I do not need that kind of running right now anyway.

This is why I like Dr. W so much--he answers that one question that all runners have.  And he's more aggressive than a lot of other doctors.  So many people tell you to rest when you don't HAVE to..and when slow, easy running actually helps.

The only thing bad about the appointment was that I had to get up around 7:00 to go...and I didn't get to bed til 3:00...and that was after being up 21 hours straight.  I had a hard time waking up.  Thank goodness for my mom, who is off on Wednesdays and came to watch Rowan for me so I could sleep.  I was out cold for two hours and felt tremendously better when I got up.  The rest of the afternoon was spent in T32 seminar (which I joined via webinar because I wasn't about to drive up to Indy again today).

At 5:00, Tim and I met with the "5 at 5:00" group since mom was here to watch the kids. The usual suspects were there, including Bill and Kathy.  As soon as we started, we split into two groups:  me and Kathy in the front, and all the boys behind us.  We weren't going fast, they were just going more slowly than usual, and I think that might have been because Bill has a dinged up hamstring (which would be fixed if he would submit to our robot, Therbo, but he's skeptical.  Bill:  it works wonders!!).  There was a light drizzle but otherwise the weather was nice.  Kathy and I talked about what we were going to do this weekend since Foxes is out for me.  Tim has decided to do a sprint tri up in Terre Haute with Bill et al., and Kathy is on the fence about Foxes.  She may do a long run in town instead.  So, if she does the latter, I'll run with her.

Now, not the whole way.  I'm thinking she's probably going to do 20 or even more (she's racing Sunburst in early June).  I don't feel quite ready for that yet.  But I could at least join her for 15 or so.  We also talked about running skirts and various other girl topics.  At the beginning of this run, I did have a little bit of my abdominal pain.  It was not bad, and it faded to virtually nothing, but it's just a reminder to me that all of that is still healing up.  I see Dr. Jones next Tuesday and will get the biopsy results and will also find out if more surgery is necessary for the endometriosis.  The pain is very associated with breathing, and so I know this pain is the diaphragm.  It sits right on top of the liver, and so when it was infected the diaphragm got really irritated (left shoulder pain, which I had, is often a sign of some kind of liver infection...sad nobody picked up on that).  I don't know if the diaphragm is still irritated or if the liver is rubbing it wrong or what.  I have a lot of questions for Dr. Jones when I see her.

The pain was nothing but an annoyance.  Definitely not sharp or stabbing.  I think it will continue to fade until it is totally gone.  The group ran 5, but Tim and I ran 7.  My hip felt better when I finished than when I started.  I have no idea how fast we went.  My Garmin is messed up, and Tim's is broken.  It was very weird to run without a Garmin.  But, alas, we survived.  It can be done.

In other news, my new coaching endeavor is going well.  I LOVE it.  Sara is doing great and I find myself really enjoying helping her out and watching her progress.  Her fall marathon is going to be awesome!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Long day and bad food.

I got up at 3:30 this morning.  And I wasn't happy about it.  But it was necessary to catch a 7:20 am flight to DC.  I was so tired on the way to the airport that I had to roll all the windows down to stay awake--Flagyl has that effect on me, and I'm on it for over another week.

I made it there and met Esther, a fellow PhD student.  Our dean, Dean Broome, choose us to attend an NINR council meeting at the NIH today.  That's. A. Big. Deal.  Students don't usually get to go....like NOBODY gets to go except for council members.  But she invited us and we couldn't refuse, even if it meant getting up at 3:30 and getting home at 2:00. 

I took my Dramamine and got on the plane.  I remember hearing the pilot say we were slightly delayed.  The next thing I knew, we were landing.  I fell asleep that fast and stayed asleep that long. 

We really didn't know what we were supposed to do when we arrived in DC.  Both Esther and I sent an email yesterday asking where we should go and how we should get there.  We took a cab (as they told us to do) to the NIH--$57!!  To top it off, the driver was creepy.

When we got the the NIH entrance, we had to get out of the car (as did the driver) and be patted down.  They searched all our bags.  They searched the car.  There were sniffing dogs.  Wow.  We finally got in, and then we couldn't find the building we were supposed to go to.  He drove around and around and the bill just kept going up and up.  We kept saying we needed the National Institute of Nursing Research--both Esther and I just assumed it had its own building.

Wrong.  It has a few rooms in a hallway.  I have to admit, both Esther and I were underwhelmed by the NIH campus.  NIH funding is such a big deal to us, and it's beaten into our heads so much as the holy grail, that we expected it to be some very modern-looking, extraordinary campus.

Now, it is big.  There are lots of buildings.  But they all look like county health departments or old high schools.  We were all dressed up, and everyone around us had on very casual clothes.  We were starving, and so we went to the cafeteria.  When I say cafeteria--that's what I mean.  Like a school cafeteria.  I got some much-needed coffee and we both got some cereal.  Esther asked the cashier if there was a Starbucks in the building, and the lady looked at her like she had three eyes.  Nothing as modern as a Starbucks was in this building.  We had been anticipating some good food...but we didn't get any.  It was not even fair.  It was bad.

We sat and talked about how in shock we were.  The NIH is where million and billion dollar decisions are made.  Where huge medical and other discoveries are made.  And there wasn't even WiFi.  We expected a whole building dedicated to nursing research and that we would be surrounded by nurse researchers or at least relics of them.  Nope, just NINR staff.  Which makes sense...since NIH-funded researchers are generally faculty at universities.  Still, it just wasn't what we pictured.

However, things turned around when we attended the actual NINR meeting.  We did not sit at the main table, but in the perimeter of the room.  The table was surrounded by the Who's Who of nursing researchers:  deans, senior researchers, military members, etc.  We got to meet Patricia Grady.  I know that most of you won't know who that is, but she is IT in nursing research....she is the director of the NINR.  And she is very sweet and unimposing.

The last hour of the meeting was the best.  There was a panel discussion about how NINR grants are funded (this is very good information for me and Esther).  It got a little, well....heated.  And that was fun to watch.

After the meeting, Dean Broome showed us the Metro (which we wished we had known about much earlier in the day) and we headed to the Smithsonian.  We were STARVING....and the first couple of places we went to eat were closed.  We ended up at the Museum of Natural history at the Fossil Cafe.  Yes, another cafeteria.  More bad (and way overpriced) food.

We are now at the airport waiting to head home.  We are both exhausted.  Esther lives in Indy, so she will be home when we land.  I won't get home until around 2:00.  But it is worth it for this opportunity.  However, I must say I'm not a fan of flying somewhere and then home again in the same day--it's a little too much.

My hip flexor felt basically painless when I woke up this morning....however, as I've been walking around I still feel it, definitely going up stairs.  Run with the Foxes is definitely out.  I'd probably be fine, but there is no sense in risking that--none at all.  I'm going to see Dr. W in the morning--I think it would clear up on its own, but I don't want to mess around with it.  And I really want to talk to him about my surgery, etc.  I'm going to ask him if I can run slowly on it.  If not, I'll cross train.  I have accepted that recovery is the most important thing for me right now before Chicago training starts in June.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coach Wendy!

That's right.  I'm coaching someone, a runner, for the first time.  It's been in the works for quite some time, but we're just now outing it.  Now, I use the word "coach" lightly.  I like to think of it more as helping.  Of course I don't have any major credentials.  But they may not be needed in this case.

The lucky runner is Sara Jane Baldwin (you should check out her blog, Fast Twitch Follies).  Sara is a VERY talented runner.  She's actually an excellent sprinter, but over the years has fallen in love with distance running.  While she has run 4 or 5 marathons, she's never really trained and, more importantly, she's never really raced them.  If you read her blog, you'll see that Sara is not a fan of pushing out of her comfort zone.  Of course, to race well, that has to be done.  She's ready to do it.  We just have to train her slow twitches to be as good as her fast twitches.

I think that's why she contacted me to help her--I have an ability (often to my detriment) to push through a lot of pain and keep going.  Sara has this ability too, of course...she has just never done it.  So, enter me.  Sara Jane and I have actually never physically met, but I've known her for a couple of years via Hal Higdon's v-boards and on Facebook.  She is a fantastic, intelligent, and extremely witty woman.  See why we get along so well?

I only send her her schedule one week at a time.  That way she doesn't get overwhelmed, and I guess it promotes a level of anticipation.  She is running Grandma's in her hometown of Duluth, MN, and I am helping her with her last few weeks of training for that.  But then it's on to the real training...which will be for NYC in November.  I don't have a certain time goal for her, and she doesn't have one either...she's just going to RACE a marathon for the first time.  Oh, and run one with some real marathon training under her belt.

Onto other things--no running today.  My right hip flexor/adductor thing really bothered me while I slept last night.  I had to get up with Rowan once, and just walking from my bed to his got it aggravated.  In total freak out mode, I called Dr. Weidenbener's office and have an appointment for Wednesday.  After I made that, the pain started getting better (naturally).  Now I hardly notice it.  I think it was just a tweak.  My calves and hamstrings are very tight from DWD (I can't believe my quads aren't).  Wes and Tim are very sore as well.  I don't know about dad and Quigley.

I'm not running tomorrow, either.  I probably wouldn't anyway, but I have to go to Washington, D.C.  It's a whirlwind trip--flight from Indy at 6:45 in the morning, get back in Indy tomorrow night at 11:45.  Yuck.  Long day.  But...it's an incredible opportunity for me, along with another T32 fellow (Esther), to get to attend a National Institute for Nursing Research meeting.  NINR is sort of, well, no, actually it IS, the hub of nursing research in the US.  This is where all research funding decisions are made.  So we will be there all day, with Dean Broome (dean of IU School of Nursing).  I think there will be a LOT of walking, so it won't be absolute rest, but at least no running.

I might do a very short run on Wednesday, but it's clear I'm not totally recovered from Eugene yet.  The hip flexor acting up is just a sign of that, as is my overall exhaustion.  I have to also realize and acknowledge that I just completed a training cycle, as well as a marathon, with perihepatitis and severe diaphragm irritation related to a massive infection in my abdominal cavity.  I was not just in pain..I was really, really sick.  No energy.  Night sweats.  Weight loss.  I'm recovering from that, too.  Oh, and I had surgery a week ago.  So it's no wonder my runs feel blah, my legs feel dead, and I just feel slow in general. 

Now, Run with the Foxes is this weekend.  It's a trail half.  I've won it before.  I love the course and want to run it.  But I have to swear to myself (and all of you) that I will not race it if my hip is still bothering me at ALL.  I could always run with my dad or my friend Kathy.  Or run the 10K or 10 miler instead.  I don't know.  I just love that race and getting to see all my trail runner friends.  But I'll have to put my competitive spirit somewhat to the side--and that is hard to do.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


You'll understand the title by the end, I promise.  On the way home from DWD yesterday, I texted Kathy to ask if she wanted to run today--10 miles in the county.  She said yes.  I didn't feel too beat up from DWD, and I've been itching to get out on our course.

Last night, I noticed my right hip flexor was a little sore.  I massaged it with Therbo before I went to bed.  I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that it was bothering me a bit as I walked, and also when I turned over in bed.  When I got up, it was still pretty sore.  I'm sure that I did something to it during DWD (climbing cracks of doom and going through streams will do stuff to you).  But I decided to try it out on the run.

When we first took off, I was acutely aware of it.  It hurt.  But my stride wasn't affected.  It hurt a lot worse going up hills.  As the run went on, it got a lot better.  It was sore again after.  I got back under the robot and also had Tim massage it.  So it's very sore to the touch.  That, I can deal with.  What I don't like is that it hurts every time I raise my leg.  Now, it's nothing like the groin strain I had back in 2009.  I couldn't even walk with that.  But, because I've had so many catastrophic injuries, I am constantly afraid it's happening again.  I've had many things like this crop up--a hamstring and a quad last cycle.  But it always scares me and I fear I'm going to have to take off for months.  Tim assures me it will be gone with a couple days of rest (which were scheduled anyway--I have to go to Washington, DC this week).  It's funny that I'm starting to have issues with my hip flexors.  My left one was so sore for several days after Eugene, and now the right one.  My body just keeps finding new ways to hurt.

Speaking of hurting...let me get to the title of this post.  Back to my run with Kathy.  First, I love running with Kathy.  She is one of the nicest people I know, and we're very similar in some ways.  We'll run through anything.  Kathy doesn't just run races, she races them.  She gives it all.  And I know that we are so much alike in that way...both very competitive.  As a funny side note, we both had on running skirts today.

We took off and, other than the right hip flexor...I just felt kind of blah.  My legs were tight from DWD, but not that sore.  However, they WERE dead.  Just...no zip.  Kathy always worries about slowing me down (and she shouldn't), but today I was pushing it to keep up with her.  Not only were my legs dead, but that overwhelming feeling of whole-body fatigue is something I just can't shake ever since my surgery.  Doesn't help that I hardly ate yesterday and had nothing for breakfast (did take a gel, though).

It was raining a slight drizzle the whole time...actually made it nice and cool.  I haven't run with Kathy in several weeks, so we had lots of talking to do.  The miles, despite me not feeling that great, just clicked by.

At mile 3ish, we stopped to use the bathroom.  I was massaging my hip flexor and then it hit me:  My abdomen doesn't hurt.  Well, that's not totally true, I still have some soreness from the incision on the right side.  But the sharp, stabbing pain beneath my ribs and the left-sided pain were just not there.  I wanted to say something to Kathy.  But I feared that doing so would jinx me.  After all, it was only 3 miles.

When we got to 5 miles, I became aware that I STILL didn't have any pain.  I wanted to tell her so badly but told myself I had to at least get more than half way through the run before I announced it.  We chatted away, and when we hit the 6 mile mark, I said "Kathy.  I have to tell you something."  I'm sure she thought I was going to blurt out something awful, but I quickly said:  "This is the first run, since last September, that I have run with absolutely NO abdominal pain."  For the life of me, I can't remember what Kathy said...it was one word that was close in meaning to "awesome," but I can't remember what word she used.  I will.

Anyway, it was nice to have Kathy there to witness it.  There I was, soaked in the rain, dead legs, totally exhausted, struggling to keep up, a right hip flex talking back to me, and I was smiling like a LOON.  When we got to 9 miles, I thought to myself "Okay, this time it's real.  I'm going to make it an entire run."  And I did.  I finally am getting better.  Finally!

 Not that long ago, I had resigned myself to never running without that pain again.  Even with my TENS on, I could always feel it.  I couldn't imagine that I'd ever run without that device and be completely pain free. I believed what those doctors told me--that I had some condition that would never go away.   I hate to admit it, but for a while, I gave up.  I told a friend tonight that people in this situation have to give up/resign themselves to it because it is SO EXHAUSTING to know that something is wrong with you--that you are broken--and no one (as in physicians) seem to be able to help you, and they don't all necessarily care that they can't.  After that brief relapse, though, I got right back to it, with the help of my mom and Tim, and finally got the care I needed.  If you are ever in this situation, do not simply accept what they tell you.  If you're not getting better, it's time to change the treatment course.

Now, I'm not going to proclaim that I'm healed.  I may have a little pain for a while (she DID scrape my liver), but I'm confident I'll NEVER have that stabbing pain again.  Thank God that is gone.

Oh...and our DWD team WON!  They left us out of the results, though.  They assigned our bib number to the wrong team.  I've emailed them to correct it.  Now it's back to obsessing about my right hip flexor...but I'm oh so much happier to do that than obsess about that abdominal pain!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We headed out to Gnawbone, IN very early this morning.  Our destination?  Mike's Dance Barn:  Dances with Dirt Headquarters.  The ride there was fairly uneventful.

Except for me vomiting a LOT.  As soon as we got in the car, I started feeling incredibly nauseated.  I was trying not to puke (because I had just taken my medicine), but I couldn't hold it.  Luckily, we had a bag I could use.  I felt IMMENSELY better after vomiting, but was left with a feeling of overwhelming fatigue and weakness.  I'm blaming the strong antibiotics that I'm on.

Shortly after we arrived, we found the rest of our team:  Wes, my dad, and Terry Quigley.  We slapped on our bibs and, before we knew it, it was go time.  In case you're not familiar with DWD, the main race is a 100K relay.  Each runner on a team runs 3 legs--not all at once, but spread out throughout the day.  It's an all-day event, starting at 7:30 and going into the early evening (and perhaps late evening if your team is slow enough).

It is, for the most part, not a serious race.  The majority of the participants are hashers and are thus more concerned with drinking that running.  They wear (mostly inappropriate) costumes.  They sound horns, beat drums, and act otherwise like complete idiots.  There are a few teams (ours included) that I would call "normal" and who do not drink during the race.  But we are certainly in the minority there.  My dad once saw a guy taking shots of vodka and then chasing them down with Red Bull.  And then taking off to run minutes later.  Um, okay.

DWD is advertised as being "Off Road."  Virtually none of the race is on the road--just trail crossings.  It is all on trails, and sections of it are TRULY off road--as in there is no trail...you're just in the middle of the woods, bushwhacking.  Last time (and the only time) I ran DWD, I was almost 7 months pregnant.  And so I only ran two legs, and I picked the "easiest" ones (which aren't easy, but at least are manicured trails).  This year, I was less than a week out from surgery.  I'd like to run it when I'm not in some special circumstance physically.

Anyway--as team captain (meaning only that I organize everything), I assigned the relay legs.  I gave myself two of the "easy" ones, and for my last one chose one of the hardest ones--the final leg.  I figured I'd see how I did on the easy ones.  If it didn't go well, Wes said he'd run my last leg for me.

Tim started us out this year.  When he finished, we were in fifth place (which is VERY good). Quigley took the next leg and held our place.  Then it was Wes' turn.  Wes passed some people and I THINK got us into third (it is hard to tell because "cheating" is legal at DWD--slow teams are allowed to start a runner early so that they finish before dark...but many teams abuse this privilege and thus end up on the trails the same time that the faster groups are).  Then it was my turn.

My first leg was titled "Short Bone."  All of the legs have catchy names:  Stairway to Heaven, Devil's Daughter, that sort of thing.  Mine was called this because it was the shortest of all the legs.  I stood and waited for Wes, and I still felt SO weak.  I told myself I'd just run steady and not push it.  Before I knew it, here came Wes over the ridge, covered in sweat.  We did the big high-five handoff and I was off.

The guy who took off in front of me had about a 4 minute head start.  I had a feeling the guy starting behind me was going to be pretty close.  It became my goal not to let him pass me.  This trail was very hilly, but very firm and well-maintained.  I felt weak, but otherwise I felt good.  Just some incisional soreness and a slight bit of the liver pain, but I was okay.  One thing I didn't like about this leg:  STAIRS!  I had to go up and down 5 flights of very steep stairs.  At first, I ran them.  Then I realized it was faster to walk and skip a step.

About halfway through the leg, I came to a turn.  They mark the trails with ribbons.  There was NO RIBBON.  I was running totally by myself and had no one to follow.  I went with my gut and turned left.  I was wrong.  I got about a minute down that way and realized this was no longer really a trail.  I turned around and headed back to the turn.  As I did, I saw the ribbon....on the ground.  Crap!

Getting lost at DWD is common, but it's not fun.  I ran pretty steady, but not terribly hard until the last mile.  I had no idea if the guy who started behind me had passed me when I took a detour.  I finished on the ridge to the sounds of drums beating (from the team dressed as Indians), sirens blazing (from the team called "Border Patrol"), and a song about Jesus being a hasher (from the group dressed up as the nativity scene).  It was down a steep hill and then a mega-handoff to dad.  Turns out, the guy behind me did pass me by when I was lost.  Crap again!

We got in the car and headed to our next stop.  This is where dad would come in and hand off to Tim.  Tim then handed off to Wes (who ran the mostly grisly leg of them all--you should have seen the blood on his legs when he emerged!  At the handoff, he said "That was an effing nightmare!  Must've been bad, as Wes is a trail runner by heart).  Wes handed off to Quigley.  Quigley handed off to dad, and I was next up.

My second leg was called "Ogle This, Bub!" because it's basically a trail loop that goes around Ogle Lake.  As I was waiting for dad, we figured up that we were at least in the top 6, possibly top 5.  That is much better than we did last year.  Dad slapped my hand and I was off.  I had about a quarter of a mile on the road (thank you!) and then it was all trail.  LOTS of climbing at first, but it was nice and firm.  And beautiful.  The run is in a state park and very scenic.

I noticed I wasn't even looking at my Garmin.  I was just running.  And that felt nice.  Same kind of pain as the first leg, but I felt okay.  When I got to the last mile of this leg, it became slightly downhill.  I was able to really fly, and caught up to a team in front of us.  I sprinted and handed off with Tim, who was awaiting me at the next exchange.  I felt good enough that I decided I should definitely attempt the last leg.

After that, as we headed to the next exchange, I couldn't believe how tired I was.  Not leg tired, just overall exhaustion.  I felt like I could fall asleep any minute.  I hate that feeling.  Tim handed off to dad, who headed out on his final leg, called "Lunchmeat."  Dad handed off to Quigley, who ran, for the first time ever "Stairway to Heaven."  This is a very (in)famous DWD leg.  Quigley survived and handed off to Wes.

And then it was my turn.  My final leg was called "Crack of Doom."  The description of it made it sound awful, but I couldn't believe that it could really be that bad.  Well, it was....and more.  First of all, it started in a creek.  Yes, in a creek.  I don't mean like crossing the creek bed...I mean I had to run up the creek.  I don't know if you know this, but Indiana has been getting a TON of rain.  This was one high creek.  I tried to jump on the rocks, but quickly realized this was futile.  Then, there were no rocks.  It was up to my waist.  I couldn't run, of course.  So I walked as fast as I could.  I finally found a rock--a big flat one.  Guess what?  That rock was SLICK!  I fell smack dab on my butt, and my whole head went under.  I got passed when I did that.  I hurriedly got up and caught back up with him.

And then we were stopped by a guy who was working for the race.  He mumbled something about the ribbons we were supposed to be following (the white ones) not being along the correct path.  GREAT.  So he described the course and told us we'd have no trouble.  I was so afraid of getting lost.

About a quarter mile after that, we came to the ski slope.  Yes, an actual ski slope.  I tried to run up it.  IMPOSSIBLE.  I had to scale it like a wall.  It took me forever to get up it, and I was huffing and puffing when I reached the top.  After that, it was flat, and there WERE ribbons, but there was no trail.  Just woods.  And limbs.  And thorns.  And downed trees.  And more creeks!  I can't tell you how many times I fell.  Once, I fell and actually slid down, probably 50 meters, in the mud.  I couldn't get any traction.  I just started laughing.  This was insane!

And it only got worse.  Soon, I came to the actual "Crack of Doom."  The CoD was actually made by nature.  It appeared as though 3 trees had been struck by lightning and all fell on top of one another.  Limbs were everywhere, as were thorns.  It was at least 30 feet tall.  I came to it and stopped.  How do I do this?  I couldn't go around it, as there were steep banks on either side.  I couldn't fit under it.  I had to climb it.

I saw a guy, wearing a red shirt, on the top of it, struggling to get over.  I actually did it without falling, but wow I wasn't trained for that.  When he jumped down, he looked over his shoulder at me and took off hard.  I made it my goal to pass (chick, Bill) him.  Still no trail.  Nothing even RESEMBLING a trail.  It was like a field with a ton of trees and debris.  For large portions, I couldn't run.  It would have been impossible.  Too many limbs.

I made it through that madness and came to a huge, extremely steep hill.  I looked around for the ribbons, as I was certain there was no way we could be expected to get up THAT.  Then I saw Red Shirt trying to climb it, on hands and knees.  Then I saw the ribbon.  Okay, I guess I'm supposed to go up it.

When I say I couldn't run up it, I mean that I couldn't stay vertical on it.  I, like Red Shirt, got flat to the ground and pulled myself up with tree roots.  Several times I slid down on my belly, and tried desperately with my mud-soaked trail shoes to get some traction.  In this section, my ARMS were burning.  I pulled myself up and, when I got to the top, briefly looked down it wishing I had my camera.  No one would believe what I had just gotten up.

After that, more and more bushwhacking.  Then, we reached the top of the ski slope again...had to go down.  And this is where I caught Red Shirt.  I told him good job and he said "Do you know how much longer this lasts?"  I laughed and went on.

So, I went down, down, down the ski slope.  I was terrified of falling, but I didn't.  That took me back down to more creeks.  I could hardly move in them, they were so deep.  I saw two guys in front of me in the water.  I knew there was only one way to catch them:  swim.  So I did.  I swam right by them.  Nobody said you couldn't swim.

I jumped out of the creek and was finally on a halfway decent trail.  I poured it on and passed two more people.  My team was waiting for me at the finish and we crossed together.  We came in under 9 hours, over an hour better than last year!  My last leg was so difficult it was funny.  That's why they have to say "Off Road!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Let's Dance.

As in...Dances with Dirt, Gnawbone Edition.  It's tomorrow.  And, yes, I'm running.  Dr. Jones told me to base it on how I was feeling.  So I decided to run a little yesterday, as well as today.

Yesterday Tim and I ran 3 miles together, with Rowan in the stroller.  It. Was. Hot.  Mid-80s, sunny, and pretty much no wind.  How's that for your first run back after a marathon and two days after surgery?  The heat was, honestly, my main complaint on this run.  Now, don't get me wrong, I was sore.  VERY sore on the right.  I have two incisions--one in my belly button (which you can't see), and one on the right side a couple of inches below my ribs.  It's not the incision itself that hurts, but everything underneath it.  But I survived the run (and the heat) feeling like I hadn't run in years.  I was hoping today's run would be better.

It wasn't.  It was a bit cooler out, but still warm, and I was just struggling.  I felt EXHAUSTED on both runs.  I was running 8:30s but it felt like so much effort, almost like I was getting sleepy during the run.  I suppose these are lingering effects from the anesthesia.  I know it's not pain medicine, as I haven't taken any (or needed any) since Wednesday morning.  But, on both runs, I just felt like I could hardly move.  I've felt better at the end of 20s out in Buddha.  Tim was with me on both runs, but I didn't even have the energy to talk to him.

Now, to devote a special section here to the pain I felt on the run.  Yesterday, it was just the incisional soreness.  Today, I had something I've not had for a long time--the left shoulder pain.  When all this first started, and as it worsened, when I would have the abdominal pain, I'd often get a sharp, stabbing pain in the front of my left shoulder.  Definitely referred pain.  Once I took the antibiotics a few weeks ago, though, I stopped having that.  Until today.  Now, it wasn't horrible.  But definitely there.

I know exactly what causes the left shoulder pain.  I have long suspected it had something to do with the diaphragm (though no one would listen to me about that, and they said it was referred from my abdominal muscles...pah-lease!).  But, after my surgery, that evening, I was sitting on the couch watching TV.  And I got the shoulder pain....the pain I've only ever gotten while running.  I got it SEVERELY.  And then I remembered from nursing school--after laparoscopic surgery, people often complain of left shoulder pain because of the gas that is put into the belly during the surgery to allow the surgeon to see everything.  I googled, and determined that the reason this gas causes this pain is because it irritates the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm.  When it's irritated, it doesn't cause pain at the diaphragm, but in the left shoulder.  More specifically, in the front (tip) of the left shoulder.  That's exactly where mine is.

Now, the pain I felt there after surgery likely had nothing to do with my "condition"--everyone who has abdominal surgery has this shoulder pain.  But I recognized it as the EXACT pain I've had there while running, which means that phrenic nerve irritation has to be causing it while I run.

My liver clearly sustained a nasty, chronic infection.  The diaphragm sits just on top of the liver, and so the infection most likely aggravated the phrenic nerve.  But...why now, as it looks like there is no active infection anymore?  I can only hope that the surgery itself somehow irritated the phrenic nerve, and that that will go away.  But if it doesn't, I know Dr. Jones will listen to me.

So over the last few days, I've had some time to digest the results of my surgery.  For the day or so after, all I knew was she found a whole lotta scar tissue on the liver and that I have some (what is likely to be) endometriosis.  I am so analytical, that I wanted to start putting all the pieces together as to how all that has caused not only my pain, but my fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, etc.

I pulled out my timeline.  Letting me just tell you...if you are suffering from some un- or mis-diagnosed health problem, you MUST keep a detailed timeline.  Not only for you, but for the doctors.  They can't possibly remember everything you tell them.  You don't know how many times I've been asked, mid-way through an appointment, something like "So how long after you run does the pain come on?"  "No...it's WHILE I'm running."  You get 10 minutes with them, tops.  BRING A VISUAL AID.  Anyway--I pulled mine out.  I am clearly dealing with two things here:  an infected (and now healed/scarred) liver and endometriosis (on the left).  In looking at my time line, I see that the right-sided pain began shortly after Rowan was born, but the left-sided pain didn't begin until much later...January.   I remember being surprised the day it showed up.

So what happened in January?  I went off birth control and had an IUD placed.  A-ha!  Ovulation is what stimulates the growth and pain associated with endometriosis.  Obviously, I wasn't ovulating during my pregnancy.  And I was not ovulating six weeks after when I went to my follow-up visit because I was breastfeeding.  At that time, I started the birth control pill (late December), but went off it in January when I had the IUD placed.  So, I was ovulating again (my IUD does not stop ovulation).

But why had I never felt the endometriosis before?  Because, my entire adult life, other than the two times I was trying to get pregnant, I have been on birth control (which keeps a woman from ovulating).  Both of my kids were conceived VERY quickly.  With Rowan, I was monitoring my ovulation and know that I conceived during my first ovulation cycle after going off of birth control.  So I never felt/had the endometriosis before because, other than maybe one week before I was pregnant with Amelia and Rowan....I never ovulated!  Endometriosis relies on ovulation to grow and form.

So, I talked to Michele, the NP, yesterday.  She's putting me back on birth control.  Hopefully, that will help a lot with the endometriosis pain.  She's also treating me with a big, aggressive antibiotic regimen that involves both injections and pills and will last two weeks.  That way, any remaining infection will hopefully be knocked out.

I'm still worried about that left shoulder pain and my diaphragm.  But I have to remember that I have no control over what is happening to my body--I can only keep hope and continue going to doctors who will help me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Well, it's good you had that done."

Today I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hamilton, my primary physician.  I have seen Dr. Hamilton for years, and went to him back in January for the abdominal pain.  He was the first doctor I saw about this pain.  He is the one who got the ball rolling with ordering the gallbladder scans.  When the abdominal ultrasound showed an enlarged liver, he ordered labs to check my liver function.  When those were normal, his nurse told me that "Well, some people just have an enlarged liver" and that I shouldn't worry about it.  I told her I was still having pain, and she called back and said Dr. Hamilton wanted to send me to a GI specialist, which he did (Dr. Spier).

I saw Dr. Hamilton once more throughout this process, back in February, but not for the abdominal pain.  I saw him because I was becoming seriously depressed through the entire process.  He prescribed me an anti-depressant and told me to keep seeing Dr. L (at the pain management clinic) for the muscular treatment.

Today's appointment was a follow-up for the anti-depressant, not the abdominal pain.  He was sure that I was getting the care I needed with Dr. L (that's what he told me last time).  When I went today, I took my surgery pictures.  Below is basically how the conversation went...pretty much verbatim.  I do want to preface this with saying that I have always really liked Dr. Hamilton, and I think he's a competent doctor.  But just not in this case.

Dr. H:  So, how's it going?

Me:  It's going okay.

Dr. H:  Not feeling as depressed?

Me:  No, I'm feeling better.  Remember all the abdominal pain I was having?

Dr. H:  Yes.  How's it going with Dr. L?  Oh, and looks like you saw Dr. Haddad, a surgeon?

Me:  Yeah, I did.

Dr. H:  So you've sort of been taking your own medical care into your own hands?

Me:  Yes, I've sort of had to.  I had surgery on Monday.  Dr. Jones, from Indy, did it.

Dr. H:  Oh, really?  Did she find anything?

Me:  Yes, she did.  (showed him the pictures).  There is scar tissue on my liver, and I have what they think is endometriosis as well.  These were found right where my pain is.

Dr. H:  So how did she know to look inside?

Me:  Well, it never made sense that this was muscular.  I had told Dr. L that, and also Dr. Haddad, but no one would believe me.  I even had my muscles lengthened and got no better.  I took a round of antibiotics for a staph infection and noticed I was getting better.  So I began to wonder about some kind of infectious disease.  I saw an NP who prescribed me antibiotics for a vaginal infection, and I got still better.  Then I learned about Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome.

Dr. H:  What's that?

Me: (silently) Oh great, he doesn't even know what it IS.  Then went on to explain to him what it is.

Dr. H:  Hm.  Well, it's good you had that done.  That scar tissue certainly can be painful.  Now do you think you want to change the anti-depressant?

That's it?  That's all you have to say?  I wasn't finished yet.

Me:  This was quite an experience, Dr. Hamilton.  I've seen so many doctors--you, a GI specialist, chiropractors, pain management, a surgeon, and an OBGYN.  Everyone kept telling me it was muscular when it wasn't.  I just knew it wasn't and they kept treating me incorrectly.  I had four rounds of coritsone injections that were completely unnecessary.

Dr. H:  Well, we never want to do surgery unless it's a last resort.

Me:  We were at that point, at the last resort, months ago.  All of you were content to diagnose my problem as muscular.  You were all finished looking for answers.  I had to push to have surgery.

Dr. H:  And why did you go to Indianapolis?

Me:  I knew that, to get help, I had to get out of this town.  Through this journey, I have learned that all of you know each other and will not question one another.  I could get nowhere because every doctor knew what the one before him had said, and they all know each other personally.  No one was willing to take a different direction.

Dr.  H:  Hm.  Yeah, I can see that. But your CT scans, MRI, ultrasound--they were all normal.

Me:  No, not entirely, they weren't.  If you recall, I had an enlarged liver on all of those.  Hepatomegaly with normal liver function tests is usually indicative of a liver infection, and specifically Fitz-Hugh-Curtis.

Dr. H:  But that scar tissue on your liver could be from an infection that occurred years and years ago.

Me:  But I've never had symptoms until NOW.

Dr. H:  Yeah.  So, on the anti-depressant....

And he was done talking about it.  No apology.  No desire to know how to prevent this from happening to someone else in the future.  He didn't ask for the surgical report.  He just moved right along to the anti-depressant.  The underlying cause of my depression has been the utter incompetence of the physicians I have seen.  But most doctors and, pardon my bias, particularly male ones, aren't so interested in looking for root causes.  What a shame.

I will, of course, be finding a new doctor.  A female one.  Not just a primary one, but also a new OBGYN.  I have endometriosis which needs treatment, and my OBGYN brushed me off when I even mentioned the possibility.  I refuse to let my insurance pay people like that anymore.  If I have to have a hysterectomy, it will be done in Indianapolis.  I am planning to make an appointment with Dr. L--not for injections, but to show him my pictures.  They will be faxed to him, but I want him to have to talk to me about it.  I want to see if just one doctor will admit that the case was not handled appropriately.  Had Dr. Hamilton been able to do that, he'd still be my doctor.  But he just wouldn't.

I do not understand the culture of (male) medicine.  It seems they are more interested in espousing each others' opinions--blindly--than in actually practicing medicine...the goal of which is to correctly diagnose and treat disease.  Perhaps my experience is unique (I hope so but I doubt it), but for this to have happened to even one person is criminal.  And I'm educated (in the health care field no less) and I have good insurance.  What about people who don't have those resources?  What happens to them?

I'm sure there are no data existing that demonstrate how often people are misdiagnosed and subsequently mistreated.  How could that data ever be captured since so many people are never accurately diagnosed or treated?  But think about all the wasted resources.  We met our deductible--which is $3,000--in February due to all the scans, the colonoscopy, the injections.  NONE of that was necessary.  Maybe the first few scans, but none of the other stuff--certainly not the injections or the chiropractic treatment.  And it led me to have to use anti-depressants.  More money that could have been saved.

As a nurse researcher, part of my job is to research things that could save us money.  Well, someone needs to research the experiences of people who have been wrongly diagnosed.  The trouble would be accessing this population, but I think it could be done.  Post-dissertation work!

Oh, I have to add that, right as I was finishing my appointment with Dr. Hamilton, he said "Oh, you've been losing weight.  That's been intentional?"  "No!" I nearly shouted.  "I have been SICK FOR MONTHS."  They just don't get it.  It's not that they don't care, but they've been socialized in such a dysfunctional way that they cannot actually perform their jobs adequately.  Health care in this country is a mess on so many levels.  Thank goodness for doctors like Dr. Jones.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Surgery Day.

The day finally arrived.  The get-this-crap-out-of-my-abdomen day.

And it started early--shortly after 4 am.  Tim and I got up around then, got our stuff (including a sleeping Rowan) together, and headed toward Indy.  We stopped in Judah so my mom could follow us (we drove two cars in case I would have had to spend the night, that way she could have brought Rowan home).  I was really, really tired.

Why?  I didn't go to bed until 12:30.  I was up working on a meta-analysis that I've been working on with a writing group at IU, and we're hoping to get the manuscript out in a few weeks.  I had to finish my portion.  I did (and I actually really enjoyed the work, I was just tired), then packed a bag for Rowan for the next day and went to bed.

Rowan woke up at 2:00, so I had to get up to feed him.  I was back in bed by 2:15, but couldn't sleep.  The last time I saw the clock, it was 3:30.  The alarm went off at 4:00.  Oh, well.  At least I'd be sleeping most of the morning.

We arrived at the surgery center at Community North around 7:00.  I checked in and then, within five minutes, they were calling me back.  At this point, Tim, mom, and Rowan couldn't go with me, but they would be able to soon.  The nurse explained to me that she is a nurse and would be taking care of me today (I find it so strange when a nurse tells me what he/she does...because I totally know).  She weighed me and took me into the pre-op room, where she asked me the standard health history questions.  She took my blood pressure and my pulse, which was 44.  It was then that I had to break the news to her that I'm a runner.

And I finally outed myself as a nurse, too.  Conveniently...right before she started the IV.  She did so successfully, hung the IV antibiotics, and the next thing I knew mom, Tim, and Rowan were in my room.  That's when I started to get a little nervous.  I always worry about general anesthesia, and part of me was still worried they wouldn't find anything.  We talked for a while, and the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself.  He told me he'd be using Propofol to put me to sleep.  As an ex-neuro trauma ICU nurse, I have administered a LOT of Propofol (it's also the "Michael Jackson" drug) and I know how effective/fast-acting it is.  He also promised me some Zofran to combat any post-anesthesia nausea.

Then Dr. Jones came in.  I felt at ease just seeing her.  I again pointed out all the areas where I have pain.  She smiled and said "I'll look around everywhere, don't worry."

And then it was time.  I hugged and kissed my family and walked back to the surgical suite.  Word had gotten around that I'm a nurse.  The intra-operative nurses asked me what kind of nursing I do.  When they found out I taught, they asked me all about that.  It put me at ease as I was getting situated on the table.  I saw the anesthesiologist again and knew that if I had anything to say I better say it quick--he had Propofol in hand!

I looked to my left and saw the white liquid (Propofol is white) about two inches from my arm.  "Uh oh," I said to the anesthesiologist, "It's coming."  "Yep!  Good night!"  I quickly said, "Oh, I'm starting to feel it."  And then I remember saying "What kind of music are you playing in here today?" (it is very common for surgeons to play music while they work.  I heard the nurse say, "I don't know--I think..." and then I woke up in the recovery room.

I woke up at a mildly inopportune time--when they were attempting to extubate me (removing the breathing tube).  This is not very comfortable.  I guess I moved around too much, because I heard the nurse say "I just pushed 100 of Fentanyl."  That's a lot, especially for someone my size and who has no tolerance to Fentanyl.  Before I knew it, the tube was out and my throat hurt a LOT.  The nurse then said "I gave her some Labetalol because her pressure was 158.  And 50 more of Fentanyl."

So, with all the Fentanyl in me, I felt like I was in a dream.  My eyes weighed a ton.  I knew I had just had surgery, but I was in NO pain. None.  So I started wondering if they had actually done it.  I heard myself say a single word:  "Husband."  No one answered, so I said it again:  "Husband."  So interesting to be on the patient side of things, because patients do these things all the time when you're trying to manage their blood pressure, etc.  The nurse came to me and said "Your husband will be here soon, he's in the waiting room."  I heard myself continue to say "husband," though I knew it was futile.  But I really wanted Tim.  She then told me she had just given me a little morphine and was going to give me an injection of Dilaudid.  I wanted to protest, but in my drugged up state couldn't do it.  I felt the injection in my upper arm.

I tried to calculate how many narcotics I had been given (at least those that I even knew about).  150 mcg of Fentanyl, an unknown dose of IV morphine, and an unknown dose of IM Dilaudid.  That's a LOT for me.

The next thing I remember, I had Tim by my side.  I was back in my original room.  I still felt like I was in a dream.  It felt weird...kind of nice, actually.  I'm pretty sure I was stoned (I wouldn't know because I never have been before).  I asked him what Dr. Jones had done, and he told me.  But I didn't understand a word he said.  So I kept asking.  And I kept not really understanding.

I was too messed up to know what had been done to me.  I just kept going in and out of consciousness.  Occasionally, I would hear Rowan babbling in the background.  It was so bizarre, like a dream.

Finally, after I sobered up a little, Tim told me again what Dr. Jones had found.  She had not found any active adhesions--nothing attached to anything else.  But she saw a large area of scar tissue over the surface of the liver....right beneath where I told her my most painful area is on the right.  And on the left, there was a very abnormal area on the peritoneum (the abdominal wall...not the muscle, but the abdominal cavity).  She thought it looked like it might be endometriosis (which I had previously been told it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to have in that area).  The area was in the exact spot where I have the left-sided pain...lower than on the right side.

So what did she do?  Well, first of all, she took some biopsies of the abnormal tissue.  That was mostly for the left side--it will tell for sure if it is endometriosis (and from searching at pics online and looking at my picture, I'm pretty sure it is) or something else.  She scraped off the scar tissue from the liver.  Why was there scar tissue there in the first place?  My liver was infected, of course.  Not just infected, but chronically infected, which resulted in quite a bit of damage to the outer hepatic tissues.  As they've healed, they've formed scar tissue.  She mentioned to me (when she came in later) that it is possible that the liver was, at one time, adhered to the abdominal wall, but that it, at some point, broke free.  That may be why I've been feeling relatively better.  Anyway--she got rid of the scar tissue and then worked on the endometriosis (or whatever it is), removing as much of it as she could and cauterizing it.

She also looked around the rest of my abdomen and pelvis and didn't see anything else needing attention.  But she had succeeded in finding two GLARING abnormalities that were situated exactly in the areas of pain.  And she took pictures so that I can show all the (male) doctors that it is NOT MUSCULAR!

If the one biopsy does turn out to indeed be endometriosis, I'll have to consult an OBGYN (not any of those I've seen up to this point, as they dismissed me...other than the NP, but she couldn't treat this).  A hysterectomy would likely be in order to prevent the endometriosis from recurring.  Fine by me!

They told me I could leave, but they had me so sedated that I couldn't get up.  I slept it off a little more and finally felt like I could walk a little.  They wheeled me to the car.  I slept the entire way home.  Tim helped me to the couch, where I passed out cold again.  I still wasn't having any abdominal pain--this is because she gave me an abdominal nerve block.  If you ever have abdominal surgery--ask for one!!  For almost 8 hours, I had no pain.  I do have some now, but it's not too bad.  Taking pain medicine (but Lord knows I don't need much after that narcotic buffet) and resting.

I'm glad the surgery is over and that I have physical evidence (pictures) that prove that there are internal abnormalities where I am having this severe pain.  I asked her when I could run again, and she told me to wait until I saw her next (next week).  I mentioned I have Dances with Dirt this weekend, and she said I could do it if I feel like it.  She did tell me, though, to be aware that the liver surface may be sore because she removed that tissue from it--it will take a while to heal.  As of now, I'm planning to do Dances...I might give one of my relay legs to Wes, though, so I won't be running too much.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mini Day.

As I blogged a few days ago, I decided not to run the Mini.  Tim, however, was running and headed up with Bill this morning quite early.  Amelia and I had planned to go and cheer them on, but I developed a low-grade fever last night (something I've had on and off with the abdominal pain), and Amelia developed some tummy issues.  I was up quite late with her, and so she and I made the decision to sleep in today and not spectate.

It's too bad we couldn't go, because Amelia made a killer sign that read:  "Run Tim, Bill, and Jimmy.  Murderers are Chasing You!"  There were even graphics included...a knife with blood drops and running shoes.  There's always another race.

Tim ran right around 1:28, as did Bill.  And Jimmy was solidly sub-1:30.  John Heatherly ran a PR of 1:33:58..a week after running Lousiville!  Jessie ran a 1:35:xx in his very first half, and JoAnna ran 2:15:xx after a long break in training.  Tim Strunk ran 1:46.  My dad ran a 1:37.  Not bad for a 62-year-old man.  There were a ton of other local runners who had great races as well.

Not running the Mini made me feel bad.  Like I should have been out there.  Of course, I have a perfectly good reason not to...I ran a marathon (my first) 6 days ago and am definitely not recovered.  I have a fever.  And the run was bound to be painful (abdominal pain).  I also don't feel well at all and am struggling again to keep an appetite.  But it really bothered me that I wasn't there.  This is part of my psyche that I have to work on changing.  I struggle the most with recovery.  And that is what gets me into trouble.  I hate recovering and resting.  During this past training cycle, I did a very good job of keeping my mileage moderate and very low intensity.  But that was because of the abdominal pain.  Through a large part of the cycle, I had to force myself to run, and I certainly wasn't going to run longer than what was on my schedule.

But once my pain has been taken care of, that will change.  And it will be back to holding back and not overtraining and getting hurt.  I'd much rather fight that battle than the one that I've fought over the last 8+ months.  And, by doing moderate mileage, I've shown myself that I still got decently fit without going way overboard.

That said, I am really jonesing for a long run.  I communicated with Kathy today via text and we are both excited to get back out to Buddha.  I don't think she is running a Fall marathon (she coaches cross country and is usually busy at meets every weekend...though Chicago is on a Sunday), but she wants to keep her endurance up with doing 15-20 every Sunday.  I can't wait.  My favorite runs are the group runs with Kathy, Bill, Tim, and the others who sometimes show up (dad, Emily, Scott, Wes, Magnus, et al.) out in the county.  We have such a good time--I don't know why we can't get more people (John and Jimmy!) out there.  Bill tells the best stories and the miles just tick by.  And Kathy spoils us with Gatorade.  I actually forgot to mention it in my race report...but when things got tough I said to Tim, "I wish Bill and Kathy were here."  When we got to 23, I tried to imagine myself running with them during the last three miles of our route.  I tried to think of them pushing me.  It helped a lot.

That's one of the best things about this past training cycle--that I have formed some great running relationships.  I haven't been able to run with Kathy for a while, and I miss it.  She is one of the toughest women I know, and I feel like running with her makes me stronger.

But..no running for at least another five days or so (kills me to type that).  Surgery on Monday morning.  Tim has convinced me that there's no reason to run between now and then.  I hope to be able to run on Wednesday, but that may be being a bit optimistic.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

On our way home from the airport to Bedford, I said to Tim "Why don't we see if we can get bibs for the Mini on Saturday?"  I had run a marathon barely more than 24 hours before, and I thought that running the Mini on Saturday would be fun.

We found out that we COULD get bibs, and we decided we'd run it.  Not race it, but run it.  That was my plan....until I ran today.

My leg soreness is markedly better.  People no longer (at least I think) look at me walking and wonder what's wrong with me.  I can still feel my quads and hamstrings, but nothing like a couple of days ago.  I decided that today would be a good day to do a very slow, short run, just to work the gunk out of the legs.

As soon as I started out, my hamstrings began to talk to me.  Quite loudly.  Not injury type of talk, but they were very tight and sore.  As were my quads.  I went very slowly.  But it's not like I even had a choice.  I thought that I'd take it easy and run something like 8:15 pace.  I was barely breaking 9:00 the first mile, and I slowed way down from there.  My legs were not just sore, but they were TRASHED.  If you run, you know the feeling. They're just gone.  Non-functioning.  Totally ticked off at you.  Around my turn around point, I realized that running the Mini, though physically possible, would be a very bad decision.  There's no reason for it.

In addition, my abdominal pain was quite bad today.  I'm sure Sunday's marathon got things all inflamed in there.  My surgery is on Monday, and I just don't see the need to line up for a half that 1) I'm not racing, 2) would probably turn into survival and not much fun, and 3) would force me to experience the abdominal pain for no reason.  I didn't wear my TENS unit today.  I swore that after the marathon I never would again.  Plus, it tore up my skin so badly on Sunday that there's no WAY I could strap it on right now.  My surgery is on Monday, and I'm counting on running being pain free after that.

Today's run, though humbling and slow, was not a total wash.  Now, you know I'm all about Nike.  But I have fallen in love with the lululemon running skirt.  Yes, a skirt.  I've never worn a running skirt before.  However, my friend Kathy has one and it has all kinds of hidden pockets in it for gels, etc.  I'm not a fan of Race Ready shorts, so I thought I'd give one of these skirts a try.

After the race on Sunday, I got a chance to meet up with a friend of mine from high school, Karly Wade.  Karly is also a runner and lives and works in Oregon.  She works for lululemon and they were doing a trunk show in Eugene.  I hobbled over there and she had pulled a skirt aside for me (I had messaged her previously interested in one).  It fit perfectly.  It's black and has the compression shorts under it.

I ran in it today, and I really, really liked it.  It was light and cool and I can't believe how much room there is for gels.  I also ran in my Free 3.0s.  I was afraid to run in those leading up to Eugene because I didn't want to mess with anything, but I've long desired to transition to them.  I love them.

I don't know when I'll run again, and it very well may not be until after my surgery on Monday.  At this point, after today's experience, I don't want to run for at least several days.  You'll rarely hear me say that!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Post-Marathon Let Down

I've seen it happen to Tim.  He trains his butt off, runs his race, and then...like that...it's over.  You have to recover.  No training at all for many days, and, for the first time in many months, you're not driving toward any certain goal.  It was sort of a relief at first, but now I'm uncomfortable with it.  It is sort of a let down.

I have started thinking about Chicago already.  I'm thinking about my training and what I need to do differently.  I've always known I had a lot of natural fast twitch, but after my experience (at mile 23) on Sunday, I'm pretty sure that not only do I have a lot of fast twitch, but that I'm mostly fast twitch.  I am absolutely positive I could run a low 19-minute 5K right now.  But my endurance in the longer distances doesn't match up with that.  To be fair, this was a low mileage cycle, but it just reaffirms that what I need is volume, and not so much speed work.  I didn't really have EITHER for this past cycle, but I think it's more important to focus on the volume over the intensity in training for Chicago.

We arrived home yesterday evening after a VERY long day of travel.  2 hour drive from Eugene to Portland.  3.5 hour flight from there to Kansas City.  Two hour lay over.  One hour flight to Indy.  1.5 hour drive to Bedford.  I'll just tell you...walking through the airports was quite an experience, and I'm sure a spectacle for everyone watching.  I remember laughing at Tim in the Boston airport in 2009.  He could hardly shuffle.  This time it was his turn, and laugh he did.  The problem is, everyone in an airport is in a hurry.  At security?  It's all business.  Well, there I am, moving like a snail, walking like Frankenstein, and taking forever to bend over and get my shoes off.  I'm sure people were irritated, but I was doing the best I could.

I am still really tired.  Sunday night (the night of the race), I was up most of the night with GI upset that started soon after the race and is still, to some degree, going on.  My legs are feeling better, but they were put to the test when I had to climb, and later descend, three flights of stairs in Ballantine Hall today.  I gave my students a final exam, and they were good enough to come up to me when they had questions, rather than making me walk toward them.

I'm starting to think about running again, which I guess is a good sign.  I think I'll wait til Thursday and do a very short run, and maybe elliptical tomorrow just to get the legs moving again.  Tim and I have the option of getting some bibs for the Indy Mini Marathon this Saturday, so I think we will run it.  RUN...as in NOT RACE.  If the corrals work out, I will try to run with my dad.  But if I'm feeling bad, I'll just jog and enjoy the course.  The only time I've ever run it was last year, when I was more than 6 months pregnant.  It just wasn't a good experience, as I was too concerned with my bladder and my right calf to enjoy any of it.

That will be my last run before my surgery on Monday.  I can't wait to get this crap out of me.  My abdomen is so burned up and blistered from the TENS unit on Sunday that I can't bear to think of strapping it on again.  Hopefully, it will be a quick and easy surgery during which she just makes a few snips.  But you never know, especially when it comes to me.

Tim went back to see Dr. Weidenbener today about his foot pain which, despite a round of prescription anti-inflammatories, is still there.  He told Tim it's most likely a stress fracture, but that he could keep running on it.  With its location, there is not a risk of it becoming a full fracture, and continuing to run on it will just result in it taking longer to heal.  He didn't do a scan since it wouldn't change the course of treatment anyway (he offered, but Tim declined).

Tim is now out on his new bike riding with Bill, Jimmy, and probably some others.  I hope he and the bike make it home in one piece!