I started this week just 4 weeks out from the Boston Marathon. Last week I ended with a pretty great deal of anxiety, but that 9 mile run did give me confidence. As I sit hear I have more confidence in my left leg not blowing (the nerve-y leg) and more concern that I'll just not be able to make it for all the millions of other reasons people don't just randomly, haphazardly do marathons. Anyway... 4 weeks to go, giddy up.
We did a clean to front squat, I got up to 75lbs
Then we had box jumps (I did a combination of jumps and step ups)
All things that are very good for running. The box step ups really made me realize how much of a difference there is between my left and right strength. The botox behind the knee definitely impacts the knee stability. I had a knee surgery in 2015 and my adductor feels like it is still problematic. I did all the rehab I was supposed to do back in 2015 as best I could but I was 23 weeks pregnant when I got the surgery so I had some limitations... Then when I wasn't pregnant my knee felt mostly better and I never really had any issues. My guess is I didn't rehab fully but running isn't very adductor intensive so... I just didn't know. Oh well.
Tuesday: 5 miles, 11:53/mi
I ran from school today. I had a really bad day at work- obviously I can't share details but on Monday we were asked to listen to a training on Secondary Traumatic Stress... and it was supposed to help us cope with our job but for me it was truly triggering. I was told by my own therapist not to listen to podcasts etc. that might bring up these feelings of trauma ... he just told me that Friday... so pretty crazy to have to do exactly what I'm not supposed to do for work immediately following a fairly traumatic day. So anyway. I sat at my desk and cried for a solid 15 minutes. I couldn't tell if I was crying over work and all my shortcomings or my past trauma, or because I was just really anxious about running. I called my husband and ultimately it was just a "just keep going" moment. I got changed, I ran, and I actually finished my last mile in sub 10. My first sub 10 mile since this treatment.
I planned to go to Crossfit today too, however I felt SICK today. I've taken a few covid tests throughout the week as allergy season takes over my life... but all were negative. The post-nasal drip from is all is impacting my sleep in a serious way and the stuff from work hung over my head. I couldn't shake it even after a run.... Tuesday night I slept so bad that I just needed to go home and put my head down- which felt AMAZING. I followed up with some basic strength that I knew was important: curtsy lunges, step ups, box squats etc. It's been feeling more and more like my knee is the most likely limiting factor other than my calves so I'm working like crazy to prep my right (surgical) knee especially. My ultimate goal was to get a good night sleep but I failed at that once again.
Thursday: Game Changing Run 5.52 12:09/mi 1:07
I've been running from school to cut back on time I'm away from the girls and Matt... however, I recognize that some of the routes and loops I just dread from history of training in the area so I just need to go to some place that feeds my soul... someplace that can help me get out of my head. So off to the Railtrail I went and it was AMAZING! I did 7 minutes on 3 minutes off for some of this run... but then I just started to just freely run or rest as I felt necessary. I sort of listened to my intuition and just enjoyed it. It was a gentle rain and no one was there except me. It really was a turning point where the anxiety suddenly went away. If I do Boston, great... If I don't or if I fail.... So what? I'm going to get running back in my life... like... this is working!
Friday: 4.5: Back to the railtrail 10:45/mi
Back to the railtrail and this time I stuck with a plan. I ran 10 minutes on 3 minutes off and it went really well. At no point did I feel like something catastrophic was going to happen. It felt natural and smooth. I have been noticing the shin pain returning but it does improve as I run. I know this pain all too well though- I'm sure it is part of the compartment syndrome. So far every time I've had my scans there's been a lot of improvement with the arteries (arteries take more pressure to compress) but the veins have still been not so great. My right side has been worse for the last two scans so having the right side have shin pain certainly feels like I have to adjust my plan to preservation of my legs and managing compartment syndrome. I'm super aware that this could also be from a quick jump in mileage... but either way I'm playing it safe.
I did a crazy amount of rolling and rehabbing hoping to run Sunday... Drills, Strength, etc. etc. My shin was sore and I've sort of come to terms with whatever it is. As long as my left leg doesn't have a nerve issue, I can manage the shin pain. I've spent my entire career managing shin pain. In the meantime, I'm definitely saving for an additional treatment. I'm going to get the most I can out of this one and then hope to go again in the summer.
Sunday: 2.5 mile walk 50 minutes
I planned to attempt 7 miles but walked instead. I started running and felt the shin pain I'm incredibly familiar with. Every marathon I've ever had I had this shin pain leading up and I always made the decision to just.... rest.... so that I could be ready on race day... so this was no different for me. Pain management until race day it is. Nothing I do running-wise from here on out is going to change my outcome in a positive way. I can only make things worse. SO I'm going to do just enough to manage and stay familiar with my body... I'm going to do the drills... I'm going to do the strength... but at this point I'm just trying to preserve myself so that I can make it to the start.
I'm not going to be dramatic and sad if I don't make it from start to finish. If I get nerve pain I'll have to handle those emotions as they come. I'm highly aware that what I'm doing is a bit crazy... but hey, I'm not the first person to do a crazy thing for the Boston Marathon, and I wont be the last either.... So... Three weeks to go, three weeks to go.
Last week I ran a total of 12 miles... This week I more than doubled that. Definitely not the recommended progression, but I'm in uncharted territory here. Worst case scenario my calves blow and I can't do Boston... and to be honest, my anxiety about the next 5 weeks and the race is so high that maybe it would be great to just have that removed from my expectations... But I don't have the ability to just simply.... NOT DO IT. I'm sure I'll have regrets if I don't try so I HAVE TO TRY... Even though it may just kill me. Onward.
Monday: 1 mile ish... Then I fell in a river.
Honestly... This was the best feeling I've had all week.... Really took the anxiety off. Basically I went running in the trails near my house after a staff meeting... and I tried to cross a log... and turns out you need calf stability to cross a wobbly log... but... I'm stubborn and fell right in even after attempting to do it with my phone out. I put my phone away and still tried again and fell shoulders deep. Fortunately it was rather warm out and daylight saving time allowed me to get back to the car before it got too cold.
Tuesday: 5.26 miles 13:31
Walk/ran at the railtrail. I don't know, I just kept going because all I've ever thought about this whole time is running on the railtrail. This was very nice even though I was pretty anxious, the walking definitely helped. I was most relieved when it just.... Was over.
This was a great re-start to crossfit. Last week they finished the opens so it's a "down week". We did lots of running specific exercises. I did 4 x 8 deadlifts at 125lbs, bulgarian split squats, jumprope, burpies and overhead press, and box stepups. All really good for running in general and it was a small class so it was easy for me to chill out and not compete.
Thursday: 5 miles 12:02/mi
Easy running after school. A common thread this week is increasing anxiety about running. It seems every run I should be more happy that things are improving, but really every run I'm afraid even more. More and more and more I'm feeling closer to the Boston Marathon and then I realize I've already done this song and dance so many times (get excited for Boston and then have my calf blow) that I'm just afraid to feel that feeling again. I'm bracing myself for the inevitable.... If I get to the starting line that will be a miracle... The finish? ha! I try not to picture it but nothing would bring me more joy right now than to DO THAT! So I feel like I've got something to lose again for the first time in a while.
Friday: Therapy and 3.4 miles 13:09/mi
We put together a safety plan for therapy because... ya know... if you dig way back you can see I've had some pretty dark moments that resulted in calling a crisis line... so we're trying to get in front of that. Kinda nice that I can have in my safety plan "watch TV"... as to distract myself. "don't mind if I do!".... anyway. The weather was perfect so after my therapy we packed up the girls and went to a local playground with a .5 mile walking path. I can't tell you how many times I've had an "episode" on this path so... yeah... the PTSD was raging. But every loop I got to see my kids and that was nice at least.
Saturday: 2.5 miles Mostly walking and drills
The girls had dance this morning. My husband went to NYC to meet with a friend for the day and so I had to solo parent all day. It was raining and I got out there anyway. I started off with a run but my anxiety was too high about it so I just walked mostly the rest of the way. Then I did some drills and some strides. I'm definitely "reprogramming" and I feel like I'm starting to have a less awkward stride... but I just cant tell if it's my fear or actual paralysis or my weight gain that is making running so hard- but it's hard as hell.
Sunday: 9 miles 13:59/mi
I wrote training plans all morning and one of my athletes made a comment that the 10 minute sections were too long but the 5 minute sections went well and it dawned on me that I was trying to run 1 mile and then walk... but because I'm so slow 1 mile is a long time before a walk! So I decided "Fuck it" I'm going to just do 5 minutes on and 5 minutes off for 2 hours. I figured I've already run 1 hour consecutively so breaking it up is NBD and I've gotta get my time on feet up... and the weather was perfect. My original plan was to do 2 miles in one direction then back to the car for fuel and the 2 miles in the other direction and then call it a day so that I was never more than 2 miles from the car... But again, my sentimental side got to me. All I've envisioned this whole time was a long run on the railtrail...so when I hit 2 miles I kept going... and then I hit 3 and kept going... and 4... I ran 4.5 miles out and felt great.... But then I freaked out... Like FREAKED OUT! Suddenly I realize how far 4.5 miles was and how long that would take to walk... I took it one section of running at a time and texted Matt each time to distract myself. I definitely felt a tiny bit of nerve twinging on a few of the intervals on my way back... and that had me stressed out. Will it ever go away? I don't really know... but... 9 F'ing miles! 2 hours! Only 4 hours to go.
All in all it was a really good week physically. Emotionally I have some work to do. I figure this stress wont subside until after Boston is either done or I am sure I can't do it or I have to drop out. I'm not expecting to make it to the finish line at this point, but I absolutely must try my hardest to finish so we'll see how this upcoming week goes.
I'm batch posting... So some of these weeks might be short updates and not much detail... Probably for the best since I probably include too many details too often, but anyway... Dr. McGinley made it incredibly clear that I was to run more. I explained that the nerve pain I felt keeps me from running... Like... Completely keeps me from running. But as we talked he explained that my EMG was clear so there was no actual injury to the nerve. I discussed the time that I lost feeling in my toes for 6 weeks and he did say I likely had damage then... And so anything I felt from here on out was more than likely like "bumping my funny bone"... because nerves behave differently. So anyway, I'm still not sure I fully understand, and not being able to see it on the scan I was like "what can I do other than keep trying"... and we did discuss that it's likely that I just might need a few days to recover and get back at it whereas before I need months to recover. So in my head I vowed that if I had the "nerve" pain I wouldn't freak out I would just take the time I needed and get back to it... Which would be super easy.... If I didn't sign up for Boston.... and if there weren't only 6 weeks (and two days) to go.
Saturday 3/5: 1.25 miles
Dr. McGinley said it could take 7 days for the Xeomin to start working. I'm not on day 7 yet but I'm close... I went to Rock Climb but the gym opened at 9 and I was there at 8:30... So I did 15 minutes of walk running (1 minute on, 1 minute off) to start off. My legs felt okay, a little weird but much smoother than other injections... (at least I thought). I climbed for 90 minutes after and tried my new downturned shoes which I was freaking out because they force a plantar flexion, but it went okay!
Sunday: 3/6 Off
Monday 3/7: 2 miles 13:35/mi
Officially one week from injections and man, this was rough. I didn't really feel fearful, but felt like it was so hard was any of it even worth it? But whatever... Just kept with it. It was raining and I did it anyway so that made me feel like I'm on a good path commitment-wise.
Tuesday 3/8: 2.29 miles 12:21/mi
I was so frustrated with my run on Monday. It felt so slow that today I added in some "quick" surges. Got up to a whopping 8:40 pace for 20 seconds... but hey, it's something!
Wednesday: 3/9 2.5 miles 11:42/mi
Snow! I've run in rain and now snow. this is my third day of running in a row... I've basically never done that... for a few years anyway.... so it felt validating. I don't know what I'm doing. I have the Boston Marathon on the schedule but I'm behaving recklessly with training... and kinda just feel like I have nothing to lose. I kinda want to push so hard that I'm more sure than I've ever been before that this is working... So I just keep going. Whatever. Every day I finish I say to myself "I live to see another day" as if every day might be my last because that's what I'm used to.
Thursday: 3/10 2.7 miles 12:12/mi
Stubbornly running 4 days in a row just to prove to myself I can run 4 days in a row. I decided I would take Friday and Saturday off from running and run a 5k on Sunday I nervously signed up but, fuck it. I keep telling myself I have nothing to lose so I'm going for it.
I had therapy today. I was diagnosed with PTSD and depression. Having anxiousness and flashbacks from all the calf trauma... All the moments growing up that I told myself I was a wuss, that I wasn't tough enough because I couldn't ignore the pain that I thought was the same as everyone else. I don't know. I'm struggling more than I've let people see at this point but... Just trying to keep going.
Saturday: Rock Climbing.
Almost sent a V4 but couldn't quite get it. My footwork has improved and the new shoes definitely help on slab, but still sketchy AF.
Sunday: 3.1 Celtic 5k: 10:52/mi
It's been gradually creeping in and the therapy session certainly confirmed it, but I did not really enjoy this. I tried to, I really did... But the noise from the crowd, and the section of the race I was in was full of kids and people that don't really pace evenly which was creating anxiety because people were stopping abruptly and then I was afraid I would stop abruptly and then I was reminded of the time I pivoted to say hi to my grandmother and pulled my calf.... I wish I had my headphones on to help me veg out. It was also like 15 degrees out and historically really cold temps are awful for me... BUT! I made it! And I was so happy! But also realizing that I'm going to be doing a HELLUVA lot more loud and slow and similar miles to this in a lot more stressful situation... So I need to find a way to trust this more and shake this anxiety but really I think it's only growing. Not at all what I expected it would feel like to run again. TO actually run again. But whatever- day by day. The parade was after so we walked a bit. Might have been freaking out about the walk… so went to a cafe and waited for Matt to finish his long run to come get us.
Overall a VERY successful first week back. I ran a total of 12 miles, did 4 consecutive day, and ran a race. By all accounts, theres no reason to feel upset buuuuuut........ Trauma doesn't give any F's about my rationalizations. I think the only way to get passed this is to keep going though. Ugh.
It's been a while since I updated. In November I was finally feeling like my nerve or whatever had been making running impossible was mostly a thing of the past since I was running again... But I was 6 months or more out from my last Botox injection so when the shin pain increased fairly significantly at the end of November and early December, I wasn't surprised to be shot back to the reality I've lived in for so long. Instead of giving my leg some rest and trying again, I assumed the Botox was worn off and I needed to get back to Wyoming for another set of injections. At this time Omicron was RAGING. Literally everyone I knew had or was exposed and quarantined for Covid... and we did not have the money we needed yet. I was always hoping to get out there in February during my school vacation but When my calf blew in December I was hoping to move it up to January but that just wasn't a reality.
I had been in contact with my brother regarding his own worsening calf condition, and although he was still able to run and symptoms were mild, he had just about had it with PT and all the stretching and warming up and the mental gymnastics saying it was something other than what I had. At this point I'm fairly confident my Dad has this condition and my brother Brian... so not a hard stretch to assume my brother Matt who is experiencing symptoms I had 5 years ago, has the same thing. He has a way better credit score and no kids so he spotted us some money and we all went together in February.
Long story short, this turned out to be a great trip for all of us.
My scans were great!
The first time I went out I was so full of hope but when things went south and my nerve was still so sensitive, I was skeptical. Then the second time I went so close to my first treatment, that I knew everything I saw on the scans was with the botox active: Meaning that sure the scans look good now but how will this look when the botox wears off? These scans were exactly that. It had been 8 months since my second visit (my touch up injection, so technically and extension of my first visit) and my legs were maintaining their improvements almost completely! There were also some true indications of atrophy that I could see with my own eyes! This gave me more confidence. I've known this whole time that I'm taking the right path for me, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
It was pretty cool to do the whole thing with my brother, but I was more stressed about him than me. I at least knew I had the condition... and the first time I came out I was legitimately at a dead end. There was no other option for me available with Covid preventing me from even exploring surgical options... so it was logical for me... my brother was still running, I think he even got a 7 miler in just before we left! But we had already done the deposit and I was like "well, if you don't have it, you don't have to pay for the treatment and whatever else going on will show up on the CT"... Usually doctors will be able to identify old injuries or hernias etc. So.... no big deal. His insurance also was a lot less of a PITA than mine, so his scans were approved quicker than mine (which was approved this third time, Thankfully!)
We had a lot of fun exploring Casper this time and actually going to Cafe's and walking around town. The white tops on the mountains were beautiful, and even though the winters can be brutal 1. We're from New England so... we know brutal winters and 2. We lucked out and it was 40's for the handful of days we were there.
Anyway... Turns out my brother also has the condition. He had extremely mild artery entrapment... So mild that it didn't even result in a fPAES diagnosis... but his veins were more entrapped so he has compartment syndrome only which means his chances of only needing one treatment are much higher. For perspective, my condition has improved greatly and still is much much worse than his after two botox treatments.
Dr. McGinley and I decided on Xeomin this time for a myriad of reasons... his research primarily uses botox so he typically starts with that, but some patients respond much quicker to Xeomin and it can be active in the legs quicker, so with me registered for the Boston Marathon like a fool, quicker activation is better for me. Bring it. My brother got the botox.
The first time my husband (also Matt) and I went Dr. McGinleys goggles were not wireless. The second time they were, and this third time there was a set for "guests" so I could wear a headset and watch the needles be injected through the ultrasound goggles. Cool shit! Anyway, the injections feel worse every time. I think my awareness about the discomfort increases my discomfort... but it was quick so, whatever... It is what it is. After that, we just hobbled around and got dinner and then the following day drove to Boulder Colorado and drove up a mountain there. We weren't supposed to do much walking around so we kept it light.
We had a red eye flight which set me up for a cranky week. I had cracked my bonded tooth at Crossfit just before leaving and had a bajillion appointments before and after the botox.... I'm so craving a break from all the needles and goggles and people poking and prodding me. My final tooth still hasn't come as I write this (March 20) but I guess next week I'll be able to put the permanent crown which should be a perfect match for my recently whitened smile. Can't wait to just have my whole life back together. Legs fixed, lose some weight, (did I mention I got my hair done before we left too), and then have a nice new smile to match my mood.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.