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.