Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Endo Visit: Blood Sugars, Basals, Biking, and the Women's Tour de France

I've mentioned it before on my blog, but I feel really lucky to have an endocrinologist who understands me and my needs.  Randomly stumbling upon how office's website was one of the best things that could have happened to me.

Every visit starts the same way.  He walks in, shakes my hand and gives me a greeting and then asks about the book that I am currently reading while waiting for him.  I'm currently reading Room, a national bestseller and we spoke about the content of the book for a few minutes.

Then we talked about my knee issue and everything that has happened because of it.  Biking does really good things for my blood sugars.  It makes everything so forgiving.  Eating desserts isn't an issue when I bike.  Actually, eating anything I want is okay when I bike for a long time.  When I mentioned this to him, he asked if I was going to be transitioning from running to biking in the future, which I answered with a "I don't think so.  Maybe triathlons, but running is my first love.  There is so much excitement in running, and biking doesn't have that."  We then went on to talk about the Tour de France, which seems to be the epic biking event in the world.  Did you know that there is actually a women's Tour de France?  My doctor looked it up for me while I was there.  I guess it just doesn't get any media coverage.

My doctor also told me a story about a sign he saw on a car that said 140.6, but didn't know what it meant. "I thought is was something important, but just didn't know what it stood for."  I told him it was the distance of a full ironman.  "Do you have a sticker that says 26.2 on your car?"  I answered him with an, "Of course I do."  I didn't mentioned that getting that sticker was highly important to me the second I crossed the finish line last year.

After biking and triathlon talk, we spoke about my blood sugars, insulin, and settings on my pump.  We changed one setting, just a minor adjustment but hopefully it will help.

The last thing we discussed was how diabetes likes to pair up with other autoimmune disorders.  Due to the results of my blood work over the past few years, I need to have a bone density test done.  My first question, "do I have to?"  Yes, apparently I do.  This will give my doctor more insight as to what is going on in my body.  I've never had one done before, but from what I've read it doesn't seem too bad.  I have to remind myself that any information is helpful, even if it is not desirable.

***I want to say that my doctor is in the vast minority because he puts so little emphasis on what my A1C is.  As a matter of fact, he doesn't ever tell me what it is.  We spend much more time discussing blood sugar patterns rather than the average, which is what the A1C is.  This approach works well for me, and averages don't paint a flu picture of what is really going on.  With all that being said, my A1C was 5.3 because the nurse told me.***

After a few more brief comments, I scheduled my next appointment and headed out to accomplish the next task on my to-do list, which happened to be getting a new pair of running shoes.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reviewing Week 4 of Being Injured

In case you are new to this series, here are the other posts:

Week 4 looked like this....

Biking Miles: 99
Elliptical Miles: 32
Walking Miles: 5
Days I Lifted Weights: 2
1 mile on the stair master machine

I am excited that...there are only 2 more days in the month of July.  I love July because it is the only month where there is no school.  

I've already first run on August 1.  I've been looking forward to August 1st ever since July 2nd.  I'll be running with one of my friends and training partners for 3 miles.  To say that I'm excited, happy, and overjoyed would be an understatement.  

It'll be a not run 5 miles every day for the first week back to running.  I need to remember that I have virtually no running base right now, and don't want to get another injury because of doing something stupid.  

In August I'm going to....ride my first century bike ride.  That means I'll be riding my bike 100 miles.  One thing I love about biking is that I don't feel like I need to be in great biking shape in order to ride far.  I've done a few long rides in July and hope to continue to do a few more in August, but if not, oh well.  I'll still ride in the century, and will finish it.  I'm too determined and stubborn not to finish it.  

Also in August...I'm going to attempt to blog every single day.  It is something that I have wanted to do for a while, and think it is a good time to do so.  Want me to blog about something specific?  Tell me, and I'll most likely do it.  

Last mom came to visit.  No matter how old I get, I will never tire of my mom coming to visit me.  Although I didn't work out as much as I wanted because she was here, I'd take spending time with her than at the gym any day.    

I'm currently loving...that the Olympics are going on.  In my mind, I could totally be an olympian.  In reality, not so much.  

I I've made a complete recovery.  August 1 will tell me if my thoughts are real.  

I will a fall half marathon, or two.  

I'm currently losing...the medal race my friend and I are having.  We are in a friendly competition to see who can accumulate the most hardware from running this year.  This month he surpassed my total.  He has registered for numerous fall races, including I believe 2 full marathons and 5 half marathons.  I'll most likely lose the battle, but I am going to fight and try to get some more hardware before the year is over.  

Only two more days until the Newton's get laced up again...

Friday, July 27, 2012


In the past month, I have tried hard to do everything possible to get my body to recover from having missing cartilage under my knee.  I am not having surgery, and am willing to try just about anything to get my body to heal.  This meant researching some drugs to take that would help me.

I read a lot about cartilage and tissue recently and found that many people take glucosamine to help.  According to this website, glucosamine:

Glucosamine sulfate is a chemical found in the human body. It is used by the body to produce a variety of other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the thick fluid that surrounds joints.

Joints are cushioned by the fluid and cartilage that surround them. In some people with osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and becomes thin. This results in more joint friction, pain, and stiffness. Researchers think that taking glucosamine supplements may either increase the cartilage and fluid surrounding joints or help prevent breakdown of these substances, or maybe both.

I feel like my body is responding wonderfully to all the TLC, fruits, vegetables, and supplements I have been taking.  However, there is one thing that is terribly wrong with glucosamine: the smell.

Prior to taking glucosamine, I did not consider myself to be a sweaty runner.  Everyone knows people that sweat a lot, but I was almost the opposite.  I didn't sweat much at all, but that seems like a distant memory now.  Glucosamine makes me sweat like there is no tomorrow.  For example, after 5 minutes on the elliptical machine I'll be sweating.  By 10 minutes, my sweat increases and I'll need to use the towels to start wiping sweat away.  It gets worse...

In addition to dripping sweat, I also smell really bad.  My sweat isn't normal sweat.  It smells so gross.  I'm sure other people at the gym are thinking "does this girl wear deodorant?!?!"  There is nothing that can mask the smell of glucosamine, unfortunately.  My aunt who is a pharmacist told me that one of the side effects of glucosamine is the smell.  One of her friends stopped taking it because they couldn't stand how they smelled after working out.  I can totally relate to her friend.

With July almost over and visions of running happy miles in the near future, I am wondering:

Do I keep on taking glucosamine and smell and pollute the air but have it keep on helping repair my knee?

Or, do I stop taking it, smell better, and risk not taking something that could be good for me?

I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet, but I do know every time I work out I smell bad.  It makes me more thankful for showers.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Reflections from Week 3 of No Running

This week I hit some major milestones in my non-running month.  They included:

  • 40 miles on the elliptical
  • 100 miles on the bike
  • 13 miles of walking
  • 3 sessions of lifting weights
This past week...

I was astonished that...I actually logged 40 miles on the elliptical without dying of boredom.  If you are a person who regularly works out on this machine, I give you a lot of credit.  For me, anything more than 2 miles is a mental struggle.  I'm hoping I'll have phenomenal mental toughness after this.

My "long run" on the elliptical this week was...10 miles.  My goal was to do 12, but I couldn't.  I wanted to get off the machine so much after 10 that another 2 seemed like a death threat.  

I'm sad that...I was going to run a half marathon on Saturday but didn't.  I didn't sign up for it, so I'm not out any money, but knowing that I wanted to run it and not being able to made me sad.  I miss running, and racing, so much.

I'm my body is truly healing.  I have no knee pain and feel like my hamstrings, quads, and glutes are getting stronger.  I haven't lifted so many weights in my entire life.  

I'm proud that...I did a 57 mile bike ride with friends on Saturday.  We were originally going to go 40 but continued to do some more.  We set out knowing we wanted a leisurely ride on our road bikes and did not intend to go fast.  It was very enjoyable.  I'm really starting to like biking, much more so than I ever thought.

I'm trying to decide if...I should sign up for the Venus de Miles bike ride in Lake Forest next Sunday, July 29.  The longest distance is 61 miles, which is what I'd sign up to do.  It comes with a hefty price - $80.  If it was a 100 mile race, I would sign up for it in a heartbeat.  I can sign up race day morning, so it is not imperative I sign up by tomorrow or anything.  

I'm ecstatic that...I am down to single digit days of no running.  I have never wanted August 1 to get here sooner.  

I will...ride in a 100 mile ride this year.  It is something that I can accomplish at my current fitness level.

I wonder...just how out of shape I have gotten in the past month.  I have worked out a lot, but not running definitely takes it toll on me.  I'm hoping I haven't lost all of my fitness.

I learned today track coach thought I was not wise in the spring and early summer but never verbalized it to me.  Granted, I don't know if I would have taken his advice, anyway.  

I realized the breaking point of my injury was....Ragnar Madison to Chicago as an ultra runner.  I will never do Ragnar as an ultra runner again.  It was a ton of fun, but was not wise for my body.  

Two of the best inventions ever made are...padded bike shorts and bike gloves.  Enough said, especially about the padded shorts.  

9 more days until running resumes :)  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Injury

As I've mentioned a lot recently, I'm injured.  It seems as though I don't have much to talk about when I'm not running.  I'll be the first person to admit that running is a huge part of my life, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Last week, after talking with some friends from my running club, I had a MRI done.  I was nervous going in, but found hope in the spaceship-like machine.  The following day, my doctor's office called me with the results.  The results were:

  • Lateral position and tilt of the patella (kneecap)
    • This means it is misaligned
  • There is cartilage damage beneath the patella
    • But, there there is no cartilage damage anywhere else which is very good news
  • It is like there is a large pothole beneath the patella, which is a focal defect
    • I don't even know what a focal defect it, but apparently I've had it since birth
  • It can be treated with surgery, but the surgery is major 
    • After looking into surgery, it is not a guarantee that my knee would be 100% better than it is now.  The surgery would take months to heal from.
  • The surgery would realign the patella and fix the cartilage defect
The doctor said that if I wanted to keep running like I am right now, I should have the surgery.

I say: why?  It is not guaranteed to fix my problem.  It is a major surgery, and I am (relatively) young.  I am  hoping my body can heal by itself, or at least cope better after a month off than be cut open.  Plus, it would be a ton of money.  I would rather spend my money registering for races instead.  

I am not having surgery.  I am going to get better.  I will come out of this injury better than before.  

I still have goals to conquer for this year...and plan to do them this fall.  1:39 half?  Totally attainable.  Sub-20 5k?  Unlikely, but I'll give it a shot.  

In the meantime, I'll never look at potholes the same way.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Stages of Being Injured

Being injured is hard.  It is something I dreaded almost everyday for the past 3 years.  Then, it came to be, unfortunately.  Going through being injured, for me, is like the grieving process.

First, I experienced shock and denial.  I didn't want to admit the fact that I was truly injured.  In spite of the doctor's orders to rest, I went running the first week to help myself through the shock.  Running 4 days in a row may not have been the smartest thing to do, but it helped me move along the stages.

Then, I experienced anger.  I was upset that I was injured, that my body isn't made perfectly.  I had a few "why me?" days, but quickly got over them.

Luckily, I skipped the bargaining stage.  I don't really believe in bargaining to begin with, which is probably why it didn't happen.

After bargaining comes the resurgence of hope.  This is what I experienced during my MRI last week.

The final stage is acceptance, which is where I currently am.  I have accepted the fact that I am injured.  Some days are better than others in the Land of Injuries.  Unfortunately, today was not a pleasant day.  I really don't care that it is 99* outside, all I know is that I want to be out there running.  Like I mentioned yesterday, I feel my fitness is gone, which is a very, very sad feeling for me.

However, I do know that my body is healing well.  My left leg feels a lot better and is more loose now than it was all year.  It doesn't hurt to stretch, and the exercises and weights seem to be helping.  The swelling has gone down, too.  I think it is hard right now because my body feels so much better which makes me want to run even more.  But, I know that taking a full month off will help it the most.

In 13 days, I'll get to put on my running shoes again.  I'll run and be happy and thankful.  I probably won't stop smiling.  It will be the first mile of many more to come this year, and next, and for many, many more.  I cannot wait.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thoughts After 2 Weeks of Being Injured

Week 2 of not running in July consisted of completing:

Elliptical Miles: 26
Biking Miles: 46
Miles Walked: 11
Weights: 3 days

I'm most surprised...that at the beginning of last week, I still felt like I was in decent shape.  This week, however, is a totally different story.

I'm proud that... I did 10 miles on the elliptical one day to get in a "long run."  Have you ever done 10 miles on the elliptical?  It made me appreciate running that much more.  I'm happy I didn't die of boredom.

I'm relieved that...I got the results back from my MRI.  They are not the best results, but I got some information, which is what I needed the most.  I'll be posting more on this later in the week.

I'm tempted a race on August 1, when I get to start running again.  However, I know this isn't the smartest thing to do.  It is only a, so tempting.

I've given up...winning the he race medal competition I was in with one of my friends.  We were competing to see who would have more medals by the end of the year.  I currently have earned 11 medals this year, while he has 8 or 9 I think.  He is doing a ton of races, both half and full marathons, this fall, while I will do 1.  I'll try, but I don't see success in my future in this competition.

I'm feeling...the urge to run more and more every day.  It is hard to see my Newton's just sitting on the floor, begging to be worn.

Before I start running again, I am going to...go get a new pair of running shoes.  My hot pink Newton's have seen better days, have close to 600 miles on them and have seen better days.  I think a new pair is in order when I start running again.

I'm counting down...the days until August 1.  It will be a great day.  It seems so close, yet so far away.   

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MRI Thoughts

Deciding to not drown in a lake of tears due to my recent injury, I decided to go ahead and get an MRI done at the request of my doctor, and with some encouragement from running friends.  Did I want to get one?  No.  Did I know it would help in the end?  Yes.  It took me two weeks to work up the nerve to actually schedule one.

It isn't getting an MRI done that made me feel uneasy.  I had one done in high school, and it ended up helping doctors realize what my foot problem was.  However, this one seems far more important to me.  I scheduled my appointment for early afternoon, thinking I could motivate myself all morning about all of the positive things this was going to do for me.

I got to the office and filled out some paperwork.  On the paper, it asked about conditions, previous surgeries, and some other stuff.  I had to check "yes" to two boxes - the "do you have diabetes?" box and "do you wear an insulin pump?" box.  I must admit that I was incredibly surprised that the insulin pump question was on the form.  It made me happy to see it on there knowing times have changed for the better.

Having an MRI done is like being put in a spaceship.  You get put on a board and then they put medical pieces of cloth (I am 100% sure they are not cloth, but I don't know what they actually are) around the area for the MRI.  For me, that was my left knee.  Then they slide you into the spaceship contraption and tell you not to move.  They also gave me earplugs to wear for "all of the noise."  Before the MRI started, the guy that set it up told me that I could fall asleep if I wanted to, too.  I thought to myself how the hell would I sleep if you gave me earplugs for such loud noises?

I tried my hardest not to move, but it seemed like every time I thought of not moving I wanted to move more.  The noises were not too loud, and I didn't wear the earplugs.  I also didn't fall asleep.  Throughout the 30 minutes of MRI, all I could think of was this song.  Between me singing Starships in my head and feeling like I was going to get launched into space in the near future, I thought about running and life.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes I do not completely understand the reason at the time, but will see value in it later on.  The last time I was "seriously" injured was almost exactly 3 years ago when I had a stress fracture.  At that point in my life, running had become my life.  It was what I did everyday, no matter what.  I became obsessed with it, and made poor choices because of it. Reflecting on that experience, running had taken over too much of my life.  After the stress fracture healed, I still continued to work out, just not to the extent as before.

The following summer I found out I had basically no iron in my blood.  This led me to change some aspects of my diet and eat a more balanced diet.  Life was going well, training was great, and I got to run a few half marathons and two full marathons.  I obtained goals that I didn't think were possible.

Then my knee issue came up.  It is easy to say "why me?" in instances like this.  Why was I born with a misaligned kneecap?  Why am I having pain when I run, an activity that brings me such great joy?  Will I ever run again...because the doctor made it seem like that would never happen?

While laying in the spaceship getting the MRI done, I realized that this is just one test.  It will show me what the cartilage is like in my knee.  It does not define me.  It gives me information, and that is all.  It does not say "you will no longer be a good runner or win an award or run a marathon or a half ever again."  Maybe this all happened because running had taken up too much of my life again.

At that moment, I decided that I would run a fall half marathon.  I don't know what kind of training I'll do for it, or what my time will be.  But those things really do not matter in the grand scheme of things.  I'm running to prove to myself that I can.  I'll smile through the entire 13.1 mile journey and love every second of it, no matter what.  Will it be hard and challenging?  Perhaps.  Will it bring me great joy?  Yes.  I'm not sure which fall half marathon I'll be running, but I'll guarantee you that I'll be running one for sure.

Noon at the Gym

I've written about this before (this post), but if I go to the gym around noon the crowd is far, far different than my normal 5 o'clock time.  The noon crowd is quite interesting, and mostly made up of senior citizens.  Their comments are varied, unique, and a lot of times funny to me.  For example:

Conversation #1:

I go into the locker room and there are two ladies whose lockers are near mine, most likely in their 70s.
Lady 1: Do either of you know where I can get embroidery done?
Lady 2: There is a place at Fox Valley Mall that did something for me a few years ago.
Lady 1:  Was it a store there?
Lady 2:  It was a stand in the center of the mall.
*I bet you 100% that the stand no longer exists*
Lady 1:  I really don't want to drive ALL THE WAY out to Fox Valley to get it done.
*It is about 25 minutes to get there*
Lady 2: Or, you could use the Yellow Pages to look up "embroidery" to see what shows up.
*I had not even thought of the Yell Pages in years.  It is all about Google nowadays.*
Lady 1: That is a GREAT idea!!!!

Conversation #2:
Setting: I'm on the elliptical trying to motivate myself to not get off after 1 minute.  (I ended up making it a whopping 2 miles.)
Man: I have to say this to you.  That is the brightest shirt I'VE EVER SEEN!!!!
Me: Yes, it is quite bright
*It was a neon pink zip up jacket.  It kind of looks like a highlighter exploded on it.
Man: I'll never lose sight of you.
*That is scary.  I don't even know you.

Conversation #3:
Old Indian Lady: You tall.  You play basketball?
Me: No, I don't.
Old Indian Lady: But you so tall.
Me: Smile.
Old Indian Lady: My daughter-in-law is tall like you.  She plays.
Me: Good for her.  I don't play basketball.  I'm a runner.
Old Indian Lady:  Why?  You should play basketball.
At that point, I gave up.

Conversation #4:
Old Asian Lady says something I cannot understand because of her accent.
I smile and nod in return.
She repeats something, more animated this time.
I smile and nod, still not having a clue what she said.
She says it again.
I say okay because I have no idea what she is saying.

Conversation #5: 
*This happened on Monday night as I was walking out of the gym*
Biker Dude:  I haven't seen you in ages!  Now my day is complete.  Are you enjoying your summer off?
Me:  I'm happy that I made your day complete.
We go on to talk about summer, golfing, cycling, running, injuries, the olympics, and the Boston Marathon.
I actually really like this guy, and hadn't seen him in a long time.  He was a world-class judo star and was going to go to the olympics but suffered a knee injury.

Have you overhead or taken part in any interesting conversations at the gym lately? My favorite conversation post can be found here.  I still go back and read it when I need a good laugh.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Medical Miracle

When I stopped running 10 days ago, I thought I would need more insulin.  I wasn't sure how much more I would need, I was confident in my assumption.  However, my body has surprised me once again.  Since I've stopped running, my insulin needs have actually decreased thus far.  How this is possible is something I do not understand.  I've changed my basal rate so it is lower in the afternoon, the time of day that I was having the majority of my low blood sugars.  I've started to eat a snack before working out and not blousing at all for it.  I've woken up with numbers that I like seeing more days in a row than I can remember.

I can honestly say that I do not understand my body at all right now.  Maybe the rest I'm giving it is healing other things, too.  Perhaps I'll be cured of my diabetes come August 1st, as well as have new cartilage in my knee, no pain in my entire left leg, and have stronger bones?  I'll be a medical miracle.

In the meantime, I'll continue to dream....

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sisters, Sisters

Culture tells us that if you have a  sister, she will be your best friend.  She'll be the person you confide in, tell all of your secrets to, and be the maid of honor at your wedding.  You'll have tons of things in common, and only disagree a few times.  This is the picture of what culture tells me my relationship with my sister should look like.  However, mine is quite different.

Growing up, I think it is safe to say my sister and I were polar opposites.  She preferred to read, write, and learn while I wanted to play outside and play sports all day.  One summer, my parents made me read for 30 minutes a day while she had to "get 30 minutes of sun" each day.  We both complained about our 30 minutes of being forced into what we didn't want to do and thought it was terrible.

I remember one summer when my family went to the Wisconsin Dells for a few days.  My brother and I were extremely excited for this mini vacation.  I loved to go down water slides and could not wait to go to Noah's Arc.  I remember getting to the park and begging my parents to let us rent a raft so we could go on all of the rides.  They agreed, and while I stood in line to wait to go down slides, my sister brought her book in with her and floated in the Lazy River for the entire day.

Another memory I have of my sister that depicts our differences growing up is when she played basketball.  My sister, who hated all things related to sport, played on a team called the Jaguars.  They were a team that played in basketball tournaments in our hometown and surrounding area.  I think my sister was in sixth or seventh grade at the time, which means I would have been in third or fourth.  I didn't start to play travel basketball until 5th grade, and can remember thinking how lucky she was to play in tournaments.  I don't think she felt that lucky.  She was only on the team for one year.

In junior high, my sister liked Converse shoes.  I can remember thinking that they were weird.  I did not understand why someone would buy a pair of Converse shoes when you could not play basketball in them.  My sister also wore flannel shirts, while I only wore sweatshirts that had the logo of my favorite sports team on the front.  When I was running the Illinois Marathon in April, there was a man wearing a flannel shirt that was running near me for a few miles later in the race, around 20 I think.  I can remember thinking why would someone wear a flannel shirt for a marathon?!?  It was baffling, but it made me think of my sister and her love for flannel 15 years ago.  That thought led to a few more about her...

Growing up, I always wished that my family was 4 people - my dad, mom, brother and myself.  I wish she wasn't part of it.  She didn't want to do what my brother and I wanted to do, and she didn't like sports (how dare her!).  I recently read an article she wrote about growing up that was published in her magazine.  In it, she stated that she felt like she didn't fit in with the culture in which we were raised.  After I read that, I finally got it.  Her small group of "weird" (to me back then) friends probably felt the same way.  I can't say I know anyone quite like my sister now, but I do know a lot more people.  I was raised in a cultural bubble and had my eyes opened when I moved away from the town in which I was raised.  Just because you don't like sports, aren't Catholic, white, and live in a four bedroom house does not mean you are any less of a person.  In the town where I grew up, and at the high school I attended, everyone is pretty much the same.  There is no diversity - everyone, more or less, looks the same, acts the same, and believes the same things.  Growing up, I fit in because I had the same interests and beliefs at 99% of our town.

In the past year, I have come to appreciate and admire my sister more and more.  In March, I got to go to LA to visit her.  I was excited to go to California.  Warm weather and sunny skies...who wouldn't want to go?  When I got back on the plane to fly home, I realized I enjoyed not only LA, but more so my sister's company.  I got to meet her co-workers and friends, all of whom had personalities similar to hers.  I got to eat at one of her favorite restaurants.  I got to see her house - which I loved.  She took us to the House of Spirits because they have a great sunglasses selection and I left my pair in Illinois.  She delayed her lunch because I was not ready in time from running 20 miles in preparation for my marathon.  All of these things made me realize how much kindness my sister has, something I never took the time to realize before.

This spring, I was in a video for a half marathon I competed in and had an article written about me after the Illinois Marathon.  I sent an email of the video and another of the article to my immediate family.  I thought my parents would reply (which my dad did to the article), but was incredibly shocked when my sister replied to both.  Her witty comments brought a smile to my face.

Now when I think about my sister, I think about how lucky I am to be related to her.  We are still incredibly different, but I appreciate our differences more now.  She is going to be embarking on her next adventure in life soon,  which will most likely involve another move across the country.  If this were me, I would be incredibly nervous.  She takes it all in stride, awaiting her new life in another metropolitan area.  I know she'll be successful, too.  I just hope she can make it home for Christmas this year to quote my favorite movie, White Christmas, word-for-word.  Is there anyone other than her that can sing the "Sister, Sister" song better?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week 1 of Rehab Thoughts

In my first 7 days of no running, I did the following to attempt to stay in shape:

  • Biked 104 miles
  • 24 miles on the Elliptical
  • Walked 10 miles
  • Lifted weights 1 time
In order to survive the next 23 days, I must: not forget my headphones when I go to the gym.  Have you ever tried to do 6 miles on the elliptical without headphones?  I forgot mine twice this week which was like torture.  I'm contemplating get a back-up set to put in my gym bag if I forget them again.  

Biggest accomplishment of the week:  Biking my second metric century

Longest elliptical mileage of the week: 7 miles.  I think it is truly a miracle I did not die of boredom on the machine.  

Realization of the week: It is hard to go fast on the elliptical.  A sub 9-minute mile on the machine feels more or less like an all out effort.  The time it takes to run one mile on foot does not have the same value as an elliptical mile.

I'm get a MRI done on my knee this week.  I had one done a few years ago on my foot, but I feel like this one has so many more hopes and goals attached to it.  

Level of hopefulness:  8 out of 10.  My body is young and can recover.  A friend from running club told me some stretches he does to help his kneecap, which is also misaligned.  I'll be starting to do wall squats tomorrow.  I've been told by doctors things that have not come  true in the past, and I hope this is the same case.  In high school, I hurt my left foot.  I was on crutches for a few weeks and had weird, random pain.  After an x-ray and MRI, it was determined that I have two bones fused together in that foot that should not be.  They told me that I would need surgery to correct it, most likely when I was in my late 20s.  I haven't had foot pain since that occurrence, and don't think I'll ever need surgery on it.  I'm hoping my knee can recover the same way.    

Overall happiness level:  I am surprisingly doing ok with not running.  I think it might have helped that for six out of the past seven days it was over 100*.  I don't cry, get angry or feel resentment when I see another person running.

I hope to analyze each week of my recovery to get healthy again.  

7 days down....23 to go until I run again.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July Metric Century Ride

After giving up running for the month of July, it became one of my goals to get more into cycling.  Running is easy to get into - get a decent pair of shoes, the correct clothing and start running.  If you have to stop and walk, do so.  However, cycling is so different and it makes me nervous.

I consider myself to be a novice cyclist at best.  I know how to get on my road bike and pedal and break.  Anything else, I don't have a clue.  Changing a tire?  Putting air in my tires?  Correct riding position?  I don't have a clue.  I'm hoping to learn how to do these things soon.

Last year I did the Tour de Cure Metric Century ride the day following Ragnar.  It was nice and easy.  My training up to it was one 50-mile bike ride.  That seems like such good training compared to my training this year before the metric century.  Prior to the ride, I had been on my road bike one time this year for a total of 20 miles (about two weeks ago).  Who decides to sign up for a 62 mile bike ride without any training whatsoever?  Me.

The ride had multiple options - 30, 45, or 62 mile routes.  There were many people from my running club riding, including one of my friends that I consistently train with.  We decided that we wanted to do the 62 mile ride, but would evaluate it at the first rest stop because of the weather.  We ended up doing the entire thing, which made me very proud.  By the end, I was ready to get off of my bike and out of the 103* weather.  It was a good experience and I learned some valuable pieces of information in the process:

  1. Next time, it would be best to get in a few training rides before a ride that long.  
  2. I now know that my bike tires need 125 (something) of air in them.
  3. Biking and running have completely different impacts on my blood sugars.  In cycling, I tend to stay low for a long period of time.  It took a lot of effort to get my blood sugar to be 100 and not 60.  I also had to stop 2 additional times to check my blood sugar and eat something while riding, in addition to the three rest stops on the course.
  4. At one point, three miles from the end, I could feel my blood sugar going down...and fast.  It is not fun to be on a road bike and experience that feeling.  Luckily, I was able to get off my bike and eat something and hang out with my friends before finishing.  
  5. I need to get a cycling jersey that has pockets in the back or on the side.  I own one, but I hate how it fits so I never wear it.  Plus, it is from the Tour de Cure and has Red Rider on it and I don't like advertising my disease.  I decided to wear a running tank top instead, and although it worked out okay, it would be best to have the pockets to put GU or shot bloks in instead of keeping them in my carrier under the bike seat.
  6. Finally, I'd really like to thank the person who invented bike shorts that have padding in them.  If I was not wearing my shorts, there would have been no way I could have done the ride.
I'm currently looking for more bike rides to sign up for.  There is a 100 mile ride that seems really interesting in the northern Chicago suburbs.  If you live in Chicagoland, are you signed up for anything?  

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Plan for July

Last week, I went to the doctor expecting him to tell me that I pulled a muscle and needed a week off of running to fix the problem.  After hearing what he actually told me, sadness, shock, and disbelief set in.  I imagine how I felt in the doctor's office hearing about my situation is similar to how an adult feels when they are told they have diabetes.

Living with diabetes isn't fun.  It is a lot of hard work, even more so if you are an athlete.  Am I happy I have it?  Absolutely not.  But, it has instilled in me a perseverance and the desire to overcome obstacles.  I'm not anything close to a "perfect diabetic," and don't believe such a person exists, but I am proud of my accomplishments in spite of the disease (qualifying for the Boston Marathon being the main one).

By the end of last week I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to be proactive about my  new health situation.  By the end of the weekend, I loosely developed a plan of attack.  I will be attempting to do things that doctors say are not possible, yet a select group of people have done in spite of them.  I hope to join their ranks as a success story.  My plan of attack to combat everything going on in my body includes:

  1. Not running for the entire month of July.  If you know me at all, then you know how much running means to me.  Yesterday I ran 6 miles with a friend.  That will be my one and only run in this month.  Instead, I will be biking (I'm doing a metric century on the 4th of July), walking, doing the elliptical machine and lifting weights.  I know it will be a struggle, as it was when I had a stress fracture 3 years ago.  But I made it through it then and will make it through now.  
  2. Get stronger bones.  According to a few different doctors, they think I have weak bones (side note: wouldn't I have gotten a stress fracture during marathon training if this was the case?).  I've always hated milk but am now drinking it.  I was pleasantly surprised how Chocolate Light Silk Milk tasted.  I'm also going to eat more yogurt, which I already eat, and continue to take calcium pills.  
  3. Rebuild the cartilage surrounding my left knee.  Apparently the majority of the cartilage surrounding my left knee has deteriorated.  According to doctors, it is impossible to build new cartilage in your body.  Once it is gone, it does not come back.  Yet, I read about people successfully rebuilding cartilage and running again.  After some research about the best foods to eat and vitamins/supplements to take to do so, I feel hopeful that I, too, will be a success story.  
By the end of July, I hope my knee is feeling good again.  I know I will loose all of the endurance I have worked so hard to build over the past year.  When I return to running in August, I'm sure I'll feel out of shape and a 9-minute mile will feel like a sprint.  

I keep reminding myself why I am doing this.  One year ago, I decided that I wanted to run the Boston Marathon.  I did everything in my power to make it happen.  On one magical day in April, I surprised myself and ran the race of my dreams.  Boston was the celebration of achieving one of my goals.  I will run Boston in 2013 no matter what, even if it means crawling across the finish line.