Rounding a Corner
This week was SOLID (well, until the weekend...)! It was the first week I really felt like I could push. I shared my blog with three people that DM’d me on Instagram and in the support group. I’m so glad I’ve committed to documenting in great detail because even though no ones experience will be exactly like mine, I think it can help to see the whole story not just the highlights. This week, though? Mostly highlights. This is the week I thought I’d have after the Botox set in. I underestimated how hard my brain has had to work to figure this all out, but I think the biggest challenge is going to be knowing when to push and when to not and that's getting easier as I’m able to push more.
Monday May 24, 2021
So here’s a little weird piece of info I haven’t shared. Every day at recess duty I do all my mobility and single leg drills. My coworkers endearingly make fun of me but even they notice I’m getting better! My Achilles is still acting a bit sensitive, and I’m terrified to screw anything up... but I’m committed to doing something every day even if it’s just recess drills.... So here’s a pic of me living my best playground duty life.
Tuesday May 25, 2021
After work all I’ve ever wanted to do is sit because my legs would be lava and have a visible pulse from throbbing, and my feet would be numb... so habitually I get home and want to get right to that.... but that lava feeling is so gone I wonder if it was as bad as I thought? Did I imagine it? Short term memory sure is something. Like a woman instantly forgetting how bad labor is... some traumas are better off forgotten... and I’m hoping that’s the case with the physical pain, but unfortunately emotional turmoil and scarring still feels raw. Tiny things people said on the internet still hurt... and I’m not easily hurt... but people literally were commenting on forums about how crazy I was. Here’s a tip for anyone watching someone suffer who wants to suggest it’s all in their head: by the time YOU have come to that conclusion THE PERSON YOU’RE CALLING CRAZY HAS ALREADY CONSIDERED THAT OPTION! Anyway, I’m know I didn’t make this up but I’m so hardwired into thinking a lot of it is in my head that I now find myself trying to convince myself that I haven’t made much progress... that I was never in that much pain. “You were just a wuss”... ugh.. can I ever shake that narrative? I don’t know. After work can no longer be my time to recover my legs... it’s gotta be fine to push them. I took out the agility ladder and got to work with a pair of sidekicks..... I also did a story with the ultrarecovery massage gun on Instagram then they sent me a 20% off code. This shit works!
For more info visit ultra-recovery.com/ and use “GERMAIN” for 20% off! I find foam rolling the calves and shins a pretty tricky location but this accesses it well!
Wednesday May 26, 2021
Night time was a bit disastrous... both girls came down with fevers and coughs. I don’t know how far into the future someone will read this looking for info on the McGinley method-I was reading blogs from 6 years ago and posts on old forums from even further back... so hopefully the coronavirus is just an epidemic or less... but at this point in time mask mandates are being removed everywhere because about 60% of eligible adults are vaccinated... but kids still aren’t... and Raea is in school at full capacity so... I WORRY! Unlike many other people and parents I’ve chosen to err on the side of caution for the most part, but did send Raea to school. We went to get tests to ensure it’s not Covid. Some have called me sheeple, and I’m like “excuse me, I traveled halfway across the country and dropped an exorbitant amount of money on a procedure only a small subset of people know about that isn’t FDA approved.... NOT “sheeple”. (Insert eye roll)”... but the tests were negative thankfully!... once we got back I did drills in the driveway... things did feel pretty good so I tried running the length of the driveway and even that felt good... so I did it a few times but didn’t want to push my luck. Calves were still a bit wonky and honestly I still can’t hop on one foot without feeling like there’s gonna be a problem... I’m not sure how much of that is learned distrust and fear or real concerns. It’s crazy how much I’ve programmed my body and brain to resist certain movements. My brain has sent out so many signals that said “no single leg hops ever again... we did not like that” that now I can’t figure out how to override that. 🤷🏻♀️ Hard to tell if its weakness or perceived weakness. ....I’m afraid to screw up! So the second anything felt worse on one side than the other I pulled the plug.
Thursday May 27, 2021
The girls felt much better by the time we got their Covid tests yesterday, but since at least Raea can’t go back to school until she’s fever free for 24 hours I had to keep her home and therefore I stayed home. This was going to be my first full week of work but I ended up taking two days for the kids. They were 100% fine all day though so lots of me sending them outside to play so I could keep the house clean. I didn’t do much but committed to something everyday. I gave calf raises a try thinking the Botox would have the bad muscles frozen so I could build up the rest... but fast forward to when I’m writing this... and calf raises are one of the “do not do” things. So I won’t do those again, but it was an interesting way to pinpoint some of what I’m feeling. Matt took Maebel to his moms overnight. We’re still in childcare limbo for her. Matts job is pretty much back to normal, but I don’t want to add the expense and risk of daycare for her right now... so since he was going to be working up north near his moms they were overnight and if was just Raea and I.
Friday May 28, 2021
10 x 1 minute walk/1 minute run
Raea and I went back to school today! I didn’t do my recess exercises because on Fridays we order out and I ate A TON! Plus I had to break up a few playground fights... so I actually had to monitor recess more carefully. I’ve felt low energy all day- I suspect I’m getting sick with whatever got Raea and Maebel so my plan was just to go home and chill out, my default after years of pain... but I got a call from the nurse, Jen from Dr. McGinleys. I wasn’t expecting another one yet, I thought week 6... so I was really hoping to have more to report. She basically told me I should be running. I was hesitant, and scared, abd told her my fears about the weakness and she told me I had to run to get past that. I’m not the type to let fear hold me back. After some criticism on Instagram for trying to run when it was clear my stability wasn’t good and then having some limping, I second guessed it all! I keep having to remind myself that I wasn’t injured all these years. I had a condition. Anyway. I immediately got changed and ran loops in my driveway while Raea rode her bike since my husband still wasn’t home. I turned on the strava app but clicked away from it and just used the timer on my phone to go off every minute and kept count. Strava only recorded 14 minutes or so so there’s obviously a satellite issue near my house, or i was going so slow it thought I wasn’t moving... possible. 🤣... but I was very happy with this! I did the usual recovery stuff at night. Massage gun, rolling etc. etc... had some throat tea...the shop is sinking, I’m for sure getting sick!
Saturday May 29, 2021
WELL, my kids were sick with some kind of non-Covid virus, as kids often are.... and WOULDN’T YOU KNOW, on the EXACT day Massachusetts removes mask mandates, Matt and I are both sick! No longer an “I think I’m getting sick” or “I’m not 100%”... we are... SICK and it’s below 40 and pouring rain. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything, but Matt went to the store to get tissues, cough drops etc... and you better Believe we are masking up a bit longer! I’m not sure how long it will be until all masks are removed, Massachusetts is the least vaccine hesitant state, and third highest vaccination rate, but I’m hoping cold abd flu season people will wear masks if they don’t feel well and I’m hoping I can put a mask on a child if they are blatantly ill and in school. But I’m getting side tracked- all this to say the only thing I really did is rest... even my husband did, which is unusual. I really want to run again and get into and every other day situation so if I rest I thought maybe by Sunday afternoon I could circle my driveway again.
Sunday May 30,2021
Wow, sleep was elusive. For once I’m not kept up from my throbbing legs but instead my throbbing head. Another freezing cold day with a head cold doing next to nothing. Hit up all the recovery tools for Instagram... my brother moved his gathering to Monday because of the rain so maybe we’ll feel better. The day started brutal but by the end I felt less sick and more annoyed than anything. Why the F is it so cold and why am I sick? Is this Gods way of intervening with lifted mandates? I don’t really know. Hopefully I can run or climb tomorrow. We will see! Stay tuned for next week!!
Here we go week 4! I thought I'd be running by now but that's not happening.. though hopefully soon! I'm 20 weeks out from the Boston Marathon but that is not my focus right now. It can't be! I can't even run a mile never mind 26.2! But unlike all the other marathon build-ups in my life, I feel like If I am able to get this one going it will be more stable than any build up I've ever done. I've almost always failed to make it to the start if my training is more than 10 weeks long because the pain compounds and compounds until I literally can't run. I know in the grand scheme of marathon builds that's a short amount of time, but if I spent any longer training hard I'd get hurt. I think in this case I'm going to be able to trust my body more in many ways towards the end....but the one big wildcard is if and when the Botox will wear off... and if I'll have the money to go to Wyoming (obviously we are budgeting for it, but life happens and we're new homeowners and let me tell you - every season there's something new to do! Hopefully nothing urgent like the water tank before Christmas!) As of right now I still plan to run Boston even if I only get my long run to 2 hours. I'll likely take a very similar approach to Erie... Cross train half the time... So I'm going to need to start cross training... But for now I still have training wheels and am just trying to get movement into my life with good recovery.
Monday May 17, 2021
Rough but fun start to the week. As I posted last Sunday my husbands friend Jack was visiting so Sunday night we stayed up a liiiiiiittle too late or a typical Sunday... So basically I just got home and tried to CHILL! My husband was going to be gone for a bunch of days so we prepped for that and I took an epsom salt bath. My legs start to feel better by Sunday and then Monday hits and I've gotta be keeping up with kids and just doing every movement mindlessly. Siiiighhh I know I over did it from the start so it’s hard to write blogposts and be like “I did nothing” but sometimes nothing is everything... as is the case most of this week.
Tuesday May 18, 2021
Matt left early in the morning so I had to get Raea ready myself and Matts mom came for Maebel. Fortunately that all went off smoothly. I had a call with a new athlete which is exciting! I'm trying to decide where to cap my roster but I do love coaching so much that it's hard to really pin-point what "full" is... Especially when I have the summer off and pre-covid teaching is WAY easier than what I've been doing so I should have more capacity in the upcoming year....We shall see! I had a hard time with dinner and bed time tonight. Not that the girls weren't good, just my legs get so tired! Hopefully this fatigue level goes away soon. Barely slept because it was hot as hell and our AC didn't work. Ugh. Not prepared for spring to be over! Overall just another day of focusing on doing as little to aggravate my legs since I bit off a tad too much early on.
Wednesday May 19, 2020
I haven't worked a Wednesday in a while but I had to work today because of the Standardized testing. I had to get both girls ready for the first time in a really really long time. Stress is stress so even though I’m literally doing nothing except foam rolling and recovery stuff... adding anything right now wouldn’t be in my best interest even if my legs felt up to it. Fortunately the girls were really cooperative! I dropped Maebel off at my moms who lives next to my work and then Raea came with me as always. The day went well. I actually sat a lot more than usual because I was working with the student who was remote a lot of the day. After work I cleaned my car and ate dinner at my parents. One less thing to do at home. I was limping a lot by the end of today though my mom even noticed. I'm telling you- the multidays of work in a row is tough! My goal on weekdays for now is survival and recovery... then I try to mix in some stuff on the weekends. I’m less frustrated about it than I initially was. Initially I just thought I had made it to the goal when i got to Wyoming! I’ve adjusted my thinking a bit and am feeling emotionally better.
Thursday May 20, 2021
I took today off from work.
1. I had no childcare,
2. No testing today and my legs were going to HATE 4 straight days!
Today I got a lot of rest in which I needed badly since the AC situation had me up late and late night with Jack from last week. I was offered a discount on a massage gun... and it’s just about the only recovery tool I don’t have and one the nurse mentioned. It came in today and IT WAS WORTH IT! GAME CHANGER!!!!! I don’t really want to be associated with any product I don’t actually like because my reputation as a reliable source is too important to me— AND my husband works in the industry—too much to lose, so... it was great! I don’t actually know the science behind these things, but it felt effective and Im a big believer that even if something is placebo (they say KT tape is, I will never believe it) “the placebo effect is still an effect”... so the Ultra Recovery gun really seems to be working! Yay!
EDIT: After I posted on Instagram they gave me a discount code! Am I an influencer now? I don’t think so... but this massage gun has been CLUTCH!
visit Ultra Recovery and use code GERMAIN for 20% off
Friday, May 21, 2021
I went back to work today but felt really inspired to try some plyos when I got out. I had purchased an agility ladder knowing these type of things will be helpful and wanted to bust it out. I did a bunch of different ones...
1. quick feet
2. centipede (moving laterally two in, two out)
3. icky shuffle (two in one out)
4. double icky shuffle (two in two out)
5. bilateral hops
I also tried single leg hops. Running is single leg so that’s the goal before I run again, but immediately felt like a setback. I was pissed and threw up a little temper tantrum Instagram post... I rolled and ultra-gunned, and did the compression boots. Matt came home from his trip at like midnight so at least I could’ve focus on myself (sort of?) for the weekend.
Saturday May 22, 2021
Up at the crack of dawn for the girls dress rehearsal. Hair, make up, and Covid restrictions galore. My legs felt surprisingly normal after the plyo mishap. When the crazy dance morning was over we added more craziness with yard work. Legs were tired but felt balanced... like nothing glaringly bad-no hot spots! The yard came out pretty good on a budget-I’m sure I’ll manage to kill everything but... worth a try. #homeownership... we went to get ice cream after. What a jam packed day and NO LIMPING!
Sunday May 23, 2021
I spent all morning writing training plans. I picked up 2 athletes in this last week and one of my athletes just started up after a really great marathon... so lots of looking ahead and making notes. After that I was able to get some drills in. I’m still having a hard time with the coordination so I did some slow motion “speed” drills. It really went well! I think I’m turning a corner where the pain I feel is more normal training fatigue as opposed to doing too much too soon or just having no fucking clue how To use my Botoxed Legs combined with whacky compensation patterns. We picked up an AC unit from my friend who had an extra, and then went out to dinner. Someone paid for our whole meal! This was the first time the girls have been in a restaurant since Covid. Massachusetts gets rid of all restrictions next week so back to keeping my kids somewhat quarantined (away from high risk activities) until vaccination rates are higher. Fortunately Massachusetts is doing pretty well! I can’t believe if all times to be in a restaurant someone pays!
This week started off badly but I’m turning a real corner. Hopefully next week I can start building a routine and some consistency. Still can’t believe i have this rare condition... sometimes it feels like I’ve been dealt a bad hand, but with a VO2 Max north of 60- i can’t complain about my cards-just looking forward to playing them all.
Another week of wobbling my way through work and questioning all my life decisions. Not much to report but here we go:
Sunday May 9, 2021
Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I originally planned to have my husband take the kids away so I could just rest my legs after my first run... but I didn’t feel terrible, and knew he’d take them somewhere nice and I’d get jealous... so we just all went together. Mother’s Day was a disaster. Kids were terrible in the car, Maebel fell while we walked up hill and cried about the tiniest speck of blood on her thumb, and Raea complained all day that there was no such thing as “Kids Day” ... but generally when we take them outside things improve. In this case Maebel peed her pants, so that was fun.... and then we got ice cream for the way home and accidentally bought a pint with almond milk-which I’m allergic to, and Raea was mad that I took the other ice cream. She didn’t want to share-wanted the whole thing, and kept saying I should eat the one I’m allergic to. Nice. Then when I told her the day wasn’t about her she lost her first tooth to prove that, in fact, it was. #momlife #biggirl
The walk in the woods seemed like a good idea. During my Saturday run, it became very clear that the big issue moving forward was going to be a lot of stability. I can tell that there’s a delay with my brain. It’s like it sends a message for muscles to move, then the message kicks back when it doesn’t work and then it sends another one until it works and then when my foot hits the ground that process repeats. Over and over again my brain sends a message that gets kicked back and then sends another. Everything is slow and delayed and frustrating... and risk of other injury is high... it’s not just impacting my calves, because my quads and core are going to be bearing extra load too, plus I gained a significant amount of weight so... it’s a lot. To improve these “messages” I need to be moving. Walking on trails is perfect because it’s a bit harder than regular walking which was going fine, but low impact and low risk. It is probabky for the best that we had to turn back early, though.
Monday May 10, 2021
Monday is Matts day off from running. It was a nice day and I decided I’d try a return to run program. Now that I had the 15 minute run I knew the treatment was working, I had a good sense of what my weaknesses were going to be, and could proceed without doubt in my head about if it’s “working”.... but I knew I wasn’t ready for continuous running. The return to run program I follow and use with my athletes starts with a walking warm up, then 3 minutes of walking and 1 minute of running. That all went fine. I committed to going very slow and trying to move very consciously. It required such intense focus. Usually you can zone out a bit when running but that was not the case! Unfortunately in the walking cool down I had to walk up a big hill and it just was too much. My right calf got more cranky than normal fatigue. I’m not 100% sure if it’s fPAES related or if it’s just too much too soon... but typically my left leg is the problematic one so that makes me feel good... ??.... but definitely a set back I’m not thrilled about that impacted the week moving forward.
Tuesday May 11, 2021
I basically only rested today. I had to go to work though so rest is relative and it was crazy. I had to take several kids to the nurse and not a single one required a Covid test even though we know that kids are more likely to be asymptotic cases... or have mild symptoms. Symptoms are all over the map, headaches, stomach aches, coughing, etc... my frustration for this school year is at an all time high. There’s no real way to social distance with the special needs in my class for one, so I feel this immense pressure to keep everyone safe even though I can’t teach and abide by CDC guidelines, and my feelings on testing are better safe than sorry... but that’s not the requirement. Secondly, I probably should have taken time off for my legs, but it feels like it’s too late for that even though I think it’s the right thing for my legs... I just didn’t want to do that when some of my students I hadn’t met in person yet and they just started on May 3rd. Just some days the sacrifices feel too large. I really think work is setting back my recovery... yes I’m supposed to be moving, but I should get to dictate the movements a little better. I spoke with my staff and for the time being I’m likely to take every Wednesday off because I can do 2 days on one day off. They see how much I struggle by the end of the day and it’s really really hard. The whole Covid thing is just icing on the cake. Less that 25 days 😩. So needless to say, I took Wednesday off.
Wednesday May 12, 2021
I rested today, but also spent the day catching up on a lot. Lots of cleaning! Matts friend we visited in Colorado is coming to Massachusetts for work so we’ll get to see him twice in 30 days. He hasn’t seen our new house yet so I want to keep it clean! Challenging feat when walking normally is a struggle and.... kids.... Raea went to school, but Maebel was home. I FaceTimed my sister who lives 2 hours away so Maebel could have a virtual play date with her cousin, and I was able to get a lot of cleaning done while sitting.
Thursday May 13, 2021
Back to work. Another day of trying to survive teaching remote and in person kids simultaneously without feeling like an epic failure. Make this year end! Anyway... At night I stretched and did a bit of stability. I got some well intentioned feedback on Instagram for using a disc before building up to it in the typical post-injury way. Let me say this: the only expert here is me and this is not typical. It’s my body, I have been begging for this diagnosis for years because a CTA couldn’t pick up what I knew... and some of the greatest minds in the field also couldn’t figure it out... so I trust my judgement..... and yeah, I’m going to make mistakes (already have) that maybe could be prevented if I followed a more gradual protocol... but I learn through movement... and I also learn through mistakes... and that’s largely his I was able to make the assessments that got me to Wyoming. I’m going to learn from all of the way I need to... I was told I need to push myself, and so I will... and *I* will determine when I’ve pushed too hard with the team *I* assemble for myself. This is procedure that only 1000ish people have ever had done and only one person in the world is doing it. No two people are the same... so while I generally enjoy and am not sensitive to feedback, I don’t need anything in my life making me feel like I’m at fault for my own pain. I’ve carried that burden long enough and I won’t do it anymore. I’ve been particularly emotional unwrapping all of my personal history impacted by this condition I lived with for so long and didn’t know I had... I’m a tough person in general, but I’m a bit softened right now, and don’t need a single thing added to the weight I didn’t know I’m carrying that I’m finally trying to set down. ✌🏻
Friday May 14, 2021
TGIF!!! Other than the fact that people in the country are hoarding gas and my tank is literally on zero... pretty standard day. Legs not too bad, but not too good. Right leg more sore than left still. Occasionally things feel fine... then I think I walk funny and irritate some of the compensating muscles probably still healing from the walk/run. Not entirely sure. I got a call from the Nurse Jen at the McGinley clinic yesterday. I somehow missed the call, But called her back today. I mostly just filled her in on everything I’ve just included here. She helped me sort through which things to push through and which to not push through. Some of it is a bit counterintuitive when compared to other returns to sport-so my intuition about the stability is correct... but I think the original 15 minute run was probably just too much and then the cumulative walk/run after... I’m glad I did it though because it felt good to have a concrete measurement. I could tell her a bit more confidently that I feel it’s working since 15 minutes was impossible prior to the Botox... just need to make some adjustments to how I approach it from here now that my head is mostly on board. I did voice a concern I do have- I knew I had issues with my right leg too, but generally didn’t see this as a bilateral problem. I have this weird fear that I was thinking and sending so much energy to my left leg in the scan to MAKE SURE something showed up, that I unconsciously pushed harder with my left than my right and the scan wasn’t as clear for the right? I know the right didn’t get as much Botox, but what if I pushed uneven and it needs more than the scan indicated? Pretty sure I’m over thinking as my shins still feel good, but she sort of just reassured me that it’s way too soon and common to have soreness from using muscles differently. We touch base again week 6. Time will tell. Like I’ve said- I’m confident this is my solution, but not 100% sure this first round will be enough to get me running anywhere near the level I used to. I’m okay with that, I just want to be able to run enough that I can eat cupcakes and not gain 10lbs again. I never had to think about my weight until this got so bad I couldn’t really exercise at all... and I never want to think about my weight ever again.
Saturday May 15, 2021
I really held myself back from doing anything today. I basically just stretched and rolled and tried to keep the house clean. I really want to take more days off straight... 😩 because I think these full days off really help... but Monday is the standardized testing day... so ugh. As much as I wanted to get outside and go for a walk I know I’ll have no opportunity to recover before going back to work. I’m a Broken record here.... but is it summer yet?
Sunday May 16, 2021
Well, my husband’s been gone all day to go run, work, and pick up his friend Jack. I cleaned the house (this weeks theme) and went grocery shopping, and cleaned the house, and cleaned the house and cleaned the house. Just rested my legs as much as possible after that so hopefully next week is a better week.
Good thing I cleaned, right?
Summery: (not editing that spelling error-it’s just a perfect indicator of where my brain is) This is harder than I expected. I still have a long way to go... but I think things will really start improving as school comes to an end. I’m really tuning in to the details of what my body is telling me now that I have some initial success and trust in the treatment. One day at a time.
It's been two weeks (and a few days) since my treatment at the McGinley Clinic in Casper, WY. On the post-treatment protocols, this week was supposed to be a week of no high impact exercising (well, no problem there because I haven't done high impact exercise in basically a year with a few exceptions where I attempted to "make a comeback" and... that was laughable) ... The Botox is supposed to really set in this week so I've made it this far, I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize the treatment. As a result, this week is pretty boring. Not much to report until the end of the week, but I'm committed to weekly updates especially if I"m able to train for the Boston Marathon... getting back to weekly recaps will be a fun thing to do! I first started this blog working through pregnancy with the hope of running Boston and then qualifying for the Olympic Trials... But I never even made it to Boston, so it would be cool to finally get to do that. But first: McGinley Method: Week 2+
Saturday May 1 2021
I literally did nothing on Saturday. Actually... I enjoyed doing nothing so much that I reflected on how much I was going to miss doing nothing on the weekends instead of prepping for a big workout or long run. Ahhh... the life of a retired runner. I'm gonna need to give myself lots of pep talks to get out the door after all this rest!
Sunday May 2, 2021
I was SORE today. I don't know why I was so sore on this particular day as opposed to other days... but .... I was. I was limping and all sorts of strange things popping up in my knee and my stability was shit. I obviously expected there to be some issues... but, also the case presented at the webinar made it seem like it was such an easy return. That girl was a high schooler so..... Siiiiiigh.... to be young again! ;) I guess that's one of the reasons I'm writing this blog... Reading more step by step accounts would definitely help ease some of the mental fatigue that I'm experiencing. I keep getting this sensation that I'm getting closer to some sort of finish line and then when I'm not actually there, and the goal posts keep moving, it's hard to not get discouraged. I think this was just one of those days where I had a reality check. It was nice to live in my delusion that this wouldn't be any harder than any other comeback. Even still, I maintain that most of my pain must be from compensation (at least that is what it should be from)... So whatever non-impact exercises I can do to increase my stability and retrain the new patterns of movement I want to be doing. So.... I got going on some band exercises... and surprisingly I felt relief from those. On another note: My athlete ran a nearly 20 minute PR in the marathon!! So even though I was feeling a bit bummed about the status of my legs and the future of my own marathon training, I was reminded that I get to help people achieve their goals as part of my job... and that is pretty awesome! It was also a bit more of a glimmer of hope in regards to COVID. I know we've got vaccine hesitancy and then straight up refusal... but in person races and numbers decreasing due to vaccines and nice weather give me hope. Nothing lasts forever, this.... all of this will some day be a thing of the past and I wont even be able to remember the agonizing details of my late night google searches.
Monday, May 3, 2021.
Sunday had me convinced I was going to need to take some days off from work, and I considered taking Monday.... but it's the first time we went to a full week where all the kids (whose parents chose in person) are returning and there's no more hybrid learning. Also, it's Teachers Appreciation week and work bribed me to come in with the ice cream truck. Yeah, I'm like a kid... I hear that ice cream truck music and I come RUNNIN (or in this case slowly walking)!! Fun little childhood fact: When I was a kid (teenager really) the ice cream truck came to our street every day in the summer. Now, maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal because you might think we were just on their route.... BUT we lived on a dead end... and the driver caught wind that there were 8 of us (10 if you count parents) so we always made his trip up the hill on the dead end road worth it. Everyone check the couch cushions! There's gotta be more change somewhere!!!.... Anyway, I did feel much better today overall... and basically went to work and came home and rested as much as I could so that I could have a successful week at work and not have too many discouraging symptoms so I wouldn't send my emotions into a tailspin.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Boston Marathon acceptances went out today... and guess what?.... I got one. I'm not surprised at all. I had a 12 minute buffer and the field wasn't reduced *that* much... But actually getting it, being vaccinated, being from Boston, and having treatment makes this all feel like it can really happen, and that is a crazy place to be in considering when they announced the new date I was really really really far from ever believing it would be a possibility. The last few weeks has been a crazy roller coaster. I LITERALLY REGISTERED FOR THE RACE THE DAY I GOT DIAGNOSED AND TREATED (because there was only one more day left to do so)! It all feels like I'm making stupid "return to running" decisions.... But McGinley said I should do it, and that pushing myself and returning to sport was necessary... so.... DOCTORS ORDERS! Did I mention that he's like a professional adventure racer who does like.... 200+ mile races?... Maybe he isn't the best judge of what someone should do in this case? Does he even know how hard 26.2 miles is? Whatever... It was a weird day on social media too because a lot of people were celebrating, and a lot of people were utterly disappointed... and then there's me... Really not sure how to feel at all. Here's what I posted on instagram. Sorry for the repeat to those who are on there, but I want to have this documented on my blog as it's part of the training for Boston! But believe me, I in no way believe I'll actually run it... but wouldn't that just be something?
I’ve spectated many Boston Marathons never thinking for one second that actually running it would be so damn difficult for me, but... 8 years after my first BQ, I still haven’t done the damn thing!
Wednesday May 5, 2021.
Wednesday was just another day. Work was hard. I had to leave work about an hour late on Tuesday and on Wednesday because one of my students had a tantrum that lasted several hours and required his mother to come get him. Then I filled out whatever necessary paperwork. Fortunately my staff is amazing so they handled it without me for the most part, but I told them to leave at their contractual time. At that point the tantrum had settled down enough that I didn't have to worry as much about potentially having my legs kicked or having to chase a kid or anything that could potentially cause me to get injured simply because my body is still adjusting to having muscles "turned off" ... Anyway... I basically went home and did nothing. One of the things that has been so nice about remote teaching is that significant tantrums take up staff... and when I have less staff available there's less differentiation going on so instead of continuously being able to meet each individual need, we rotate between kids and let them work independently more often. The problem is most of them have goals related to independently working.... so you can imagine that there's more redirection than teaching. Once attention is lost it's hard to get back. Whereas remote teaching the parents are handling the tantrum and teachers just keep teaching (and I have a mute button!). I'm just sooooo ready for this school year to be over! Matt and I discussed me working summer school. I know the botox is A LOT of money... but I just can't keep going. I didn't take the break last summer so I've been pandemic teaching straight on through and I just need a reset button. Thanks to Mitt Romney's child tax credit, we will be getting extra money in the summer anyway. Not quite what I'd get for summer school (and obviously if I worked summer I'd get more on top of the tax credit)... but, I haven't prioritized my mental health very much at all. I've spent all my energy trying to get a diagnosis and it's kind of just like... after you're done a fight, there's this big emotional release... and I'm experiencing that quite intensely... so... NO SUMMER SCHOOL! The countdown is on!
Thursday May 6, 2021
Ahhh, Finally a good day! The rain stopped (did I mention it rained literally every day) so my mood was just instantly a bit better. Normally Thursdays feel like Fridays because I only taught morning meeting for the whole year from home on Friday, so even if I had professional development or something... the amount of energy it takes to put on the 6 hour performance that is teaching, could be used for something else.... BUT unfortunately this was just a regular ol' pre-pandemic Thursday. There aren't a ton of things I've loved about teaching online. I've leaned a lot, that's for sure... but now that we're back in person there's trade offs for that, too. one being what I just wrote regarding yesterday, and the other is this. RIP Asynchronous Days! So instead of doing something fun like going climbing at night (which I am on day 14 at this point so probably shouldn't anyway!) I stayed home, sat on my porch, and put together a reel for instagram that someone requested in a Q&A I put up on Monday. I've been doing these band drills nearly every day. They feel good but still pretty shaky. Technically I'm "cleared" to run Friday, but part of me think's (knows?) that I'm not really ready. But... Curiosity!
Friday May 7, 2021
Happy Day 15! Day 15-21 I have instructions to "Run 1 or 2 miles at 10 min/mil pace daily or every other day"... Joseph, Joseph, Joseph (Dr. McGinley)... The runner coach in me is Shakin' my head! Maybe he doesn't know how hard 10 minute pace is for many people, and how one mile or two isn't exactly gradual. We did talk about this in person and he basically said it's just a generic suggestion and to do whatever proper return to sport I would typically do... But Doc, You put a mile or two down... and this girl hasn't run over a mile in over a year... SO if I make it that far it would be a pretty good measurement of how we're doing, right? .....
Well my husband was gone so I couldn't even try to run today anyway. I did some warm up drills to test out single leg impact and hopping. Where I'm sitting now (saturday night post run) I shouldn't be surprised... the drills felt strange... and I probably need at least 2 weeks of drills and walk running before I run consecutive miles or minutes. But... I am in constant search of validation, so.... I'm not always making the best decisions. Here are the drills I did if you're interested:
Saturday May 8, 2021
Got up, Got Dressed, did Warm up routine... and GOT GOING! I turned off pace data on Strava (I haven't run so long I actually don't know where my Garmin is. Runners, try not to die at the thought that I needed to use my phone to time my run!) I ran from my house on the street that I've run on a bunch of times since we moved and I know exactly how far I usually make it before it's too painful to run another step.... My goal was 15 minutes. I knew for sure that 15 minutes is something I could only do if the Botox was working. I did not intend to just tear the band-aid off and use 15 minutes as my baseline every day. I just wanted to do it today (and initially I thought maybe a few days) just to see how things are doing. It would give me more definitive feedback to give to the nurse when we do a follow up. Anyway... The run was... WEIRD! First step felt fine, then I'm about to take off into my next step and .... I'm not even sure my legs left the ground!? I "ran" by a guy with a dog and I was like thinking he was staring at me because I must look so weird. I wanted to ask him if my feet were leaving the ground or going straight. WTF! So weird! So I'm trying to focus on lifting with my hip flexors and but I'm still confused. I felt like that scene in Bambi where he stands up for the first time. The good news is that I'm 100% sure it's working at least to some degree because there's no way I could have made it 15 minutes 2 weeks ago. BUT after the run I had calf pain only on the left side. I know it's most likely the compensating muscles... I had that pain when I started walking at first, too... But... This is an emotional roller coaster! It's going to take some time! I attended the second webinar that McGinley put on today. I didn't originally intend to do so because I already got the treatment and learned so much the first time, but I'm glad I went. For starters, I missed the first 15-20 minutes last time and if it was anything like this time he harped on how annoyed he is by the diagnosis of shin splints... Which has plagued me so bad for so long I just stopped even treating it like a thing. I do what I can to prevent or improve them but ultimately it was just a thing I swallowed down and accepted because at one point I was told if I could tolerate it I could run. I forced myself to tolerate it because at some point I just believed it was me... Like I must be a wuss and everyone feels this way and I'm just the only one making a deal out of it. ALSO, I'm glad I went because last time his published paper wasn't finished, so now I could have more concrete evidence to look at to remind myself that this is going to work. It's funny because my best friend (the one who performed the stryker tests and encouraged me to not get surgery and look into vascular options) was very skeptic of the botox. She didn't say to not do it... She just was like "That's a lot of money for something that I can't find great evidence on... but you need to do what feels right for you." I sent her this paper and she was like "Is it ever going to be covered by insurance? I will be able to refer my future patients that present like you to him" Unfortunately it doesn't look like it will be covered anytime soon. Botox doesn't need any money or need insurance to cover anything. They already make a killing so... It's of no interest to them to get it FDA approved and then deal with the consequences if something goes wrong. Anyway, I enjoyed the reminder that if it doesn't work the way I want this round it will eventually work. Again, I think I just had it in my head that I was close to the finish line of this whole nightmare, but like I said.... goal posts keep getting moved... and although I'm tired AF, there's only one way to go.... and it's... Not left, not right... but FORWARD (Sorry, had to....If you know you know. If you don't... You should!)
Overall a very good week. I didn't have nearly as much pain as anticipated throughout the week. So my legs adapted to walking again in about a week. HOWEVER.... I tried running and damn, this is gonna be a little trickier! I feel pretty confident I'm going to get through this though. Can't give up now! Worst case scenario, I have a diagnosis and surgery is always an option.... but I just don't think I'll ever need it. The craziest and most exciting part of all this is how much I've learned. I first learned about compartment syndrome when I was in high school. One of my teammates who had really bad shin splints quit the team because she received that diagnosis. Her options were the really brutal surgery or to quit. She was a sophomore in high school, how sad. As I said, I also had shin splints, but at the time they weren't super bad, and I never really trained hard. I ran maybe 20-25 miles a week all on soft ground (we weren't supposed to leave school campus) and never ran over the summer. Fast forward to college and I asked my trainers if I had compartment syndrome because my freshman year my shins hurt so bad I only raced the championship races. He said it was possible but that the treatment option was the same as shin splints. Modify and run as tolerated... so I decided again that it must be me being a wuss. No one ever wanted to administer the stryker test because it was invasive and it was just pretty much always assumed I was over training (which is laughable in hindsight. I literally never ran over the summer AT ALL!). It took forever to even get the stryker test after years of trying everything and took driving 3 hours to my friend who basically was like "enough is enough, I'll do the test for you if you don't mind driving!" I thought I knew what compartment syndrome was... but all that information I thought I knew so well wasn't entirely accurate. Even now, there's a lot of runners I know who have had this surgery and think that they fully understand the diagnosis... but they essentially had symptoms treated in the most invasive way possible. I could have decided to advocate for myself earlier and I might have several 10 inch scars and still be in pain. I just feel like things aligned in a way that this has to work. This has to be the plan for me. It all just feels so serendipitous that I found this guy after all I've pushed through. So despite my surface level doubts, deep down I'm confident and all in on this process. I just need to figure out how to be more patient. I've made it this long....
Next week I'm going to blog Sunday- Sunday and hopefully by the end of next week things feel a bit more... "normal" and I can start actually approaching my weeks like I'm training and not like I'm in a "wait and see" period.... but for now I'm still gonna do exactly that.... wait and see.
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.