I didn't run a single step this week... So I'm not going to do a day by day recap... There was so much going on. Matt working the expo, stalking the weather, finishing up progress reports at school before vacation, getting my gear in order, getting Easter baskets prepared, balancing parenting and teaching and my own shit all while my husband wasn't home because he works the marathon events. He also was flying out literally at 6pm the Monday of the marathon. I had to cancel my therapy because it was too much I wasn't able to balance it all. I had to bring the girls to the expo by myself because my sister-in-law had a baby so my mom was babysitting for them. I had to pee in a bottle under the prudential center because the traffic was so bad we got stuck there. I was exhausted- the week was exhausting. People joked that the marathon would be the easiest part. To be determined I thought. I was tired.... but it was a great distraction.
Below is a video I created at some point in the time I wasn't running. It helped me reflect on my journey and put things in perspective. Anyone that has had to go through the rollercoaster of fPaes will understand... and I hope it can be relatable and bring you hope. It reminded me that the 26.2 miles I was actually dreading is incredibly short compared to the years I've put in to get to that starting line. I made peace with whatever the outcome was and just wanted to get on that bus. I have prepared in every way I physically could and now I just needed to prepare myself mentally.... and the best way for me to do that was to reflect on how far I have come and go forward with a tremendous amount of gratitude.
Let's do this thing!
Countdown to Boston: 2 Weeks to Go
Looking back at the week of April 4th through April 10th... Man.... this was also a rough week... It was a lot of reflecting and a lot of memory lane looking up Boston Marathons from previous years to remind me why this was important. I'm going to put up a quick recap because it's hard to backlog... But I hope some of these hard times of doubt and actually misery can help anyone else that might be struggling to make sense of their post Botox experience or anyone else that is going through anything that doesn't have a straight path forward. Sometimes in this world of the internet and social media, we forget about how hard things are for other people because most people aren't showing the hard stuff... But I am. So.... 2 weeks to go....
Monday: CrossFit disaster.
Well this was great. Exactly two weeks out from the Marathon and I go to Crossfit and try to run a single quarter mile and my calf cramps up. My RIGHT calf cramps up... That never happens! What the ACTUAL Hell! It was pretty bad too... Like I was limping and all sorts of pissed off. My first thought was "well, there goes Boston".... But my next thought was... "Funny Bone" and I tried to run again but just stayed in the parking lot and it oddly was okay. Like running through it was... okayish....not great but.... okay enough to still have that thing I have such a proufound love/hate for: HOPE.
Dear Lord how am I ever going to do 26.2 miles?
Tuesday: I can't actually tell you much that happened on Tuesday. I definitely didn't run. Ha! Probably OD'd on Advil and likely spent most of my time surfing the internet looking for something to validate me or tell me how STUPID I am. Something PLEASE TELL ME TO STOP TRYING TO DO BOSTON! But instead I got an email with my corral assignment and my QR code for number pick up and at some point throughout the week my friend Linda who waited 10 years and is in the best shape of her life and is one corral behind me called and wont let me not show up. Fuck. I guess I'm going to still try this thing????
Wednesday: McGinley Webinar
I'm pretty sure he'd kick me out of these things if he could at this point. Rewatched the webinar in case there was just a tiny bit of information that was new or that I missed or that was overlooked. Then ask a bunch of anonymous and some not anonymous questions to get some freebie answers to all of my problems. Will a knee brace make things worse? What about compression sleeves again? How much exactly is too much just a month after a treatment? ... Can you please advise me against running a marathon?
I just want to remind people I *do* have a therapist, but we're twice a month now... so I'm scheduled for right before Boston- Logically.
Thursday-Sunday: More of the same. Can't remember much just know I'm irritable, ordering a billion things online, frantically checking the weather... and have taper crazies worse than anyone who is *actually* tapering. One of my athletes raced and won. So that was cool.... But I did a bit of jogging while she was racing and that cramping just kept coming. It was manageable but still very present.
BUT I spent a good amount of time reflecting on how bad this could be and how damn proud I'll be even if I'm last to finish. I started visualizing my worst case scenario... Rain, and walking in pain the whole way. A lot of people just visualize the triumph, but I encourage athletes to visualize the worst case scenario... what are you going to do if this cramping starts happening and you are only at mile 3. I started coming up with drop out criteria... Which when I stopped to think of it I had only one drop out criteria... I am unsafe to continue. I defined unsafe as two things: Hypothermic, Dehydrated. Limping did not mean unsafe. Having to walk 25 min/mile did not mean unsafe. Being hungry did not mean unsafe (but I did start thinking about how I would get food if I was going that slow) .... Hypothermic or Dehydrated. Those were my only criteria for dropping out. I started to visualize the crowds thinning and really.... I started to prepare myself for a really sad but personal triumph. The stands being taken apart, the crowds gone, the roads open again.... but I thought about all the times I stood on the sidelines missing out... and it was worth trying. I thought about the pain and all those failed runs where it felt as though I was going to lose my legs if they didn't figure out what was wrong. I thought about the sleepless nights because my numb, cold, and slowly dying feet.... Whatever baby, I'm doing this. One week to go.
Countdown to Boston: 3 Weeks to Go
I fell behind with the blogposts, but a recent jump from my instagram traffic has me feeling like I should probably finish telling the story... So although it's May 16th, I'm going to go back to where I left off, March 28, and retell the story so that it's all in one place. I'll retell it all the best I can but spoiler alert: I'm in a really good place right now so it might be hard to dig deep and remember exactly how I was feeling at the time.
Monday March 28: CrossFit
Went to CrossFit today. I've been keeping an eye on what the class is going to be like and intentionally picking ones that will be good for running. Not really looking to do any handstands or wall walks at the moment, but this was a good class. Lots of squats, and burpees. I haven't been doing speed workouts for obvious reasons, to these AMRAP or METCON style are fun because I get to push myself.
Tuesday March 29- 5 Miles 12:21/mi
After a couple days of giving my shins a chance to chill out, I was happy with how this run went. I hit up all different terrain (trail, track and road) and got a little bit of hills in there but ended up mostly walking the hills. I tried the 5 minutes on and 2 minute off method that I was pretty sure I'd need to use for the marathon but I haven't fully figured out my strategy at this point. I'm mostly just hoping I make it to the starting line.
Wednesday March 30th- OFF
Happy Birthday to Matt! He's officially a masters runner! His marathon is going to be just a few weeks after mine so now that I'm "training" (or whatever you call what I'm doing) we have to plan our schedules out a bit better. We got some pizza for dinner and the girls opened gifts.
Thursday March 31-2.39 Miles of Trails 15:46
Well this wasn't great. This is where things got really hairy for me. I went for a run on the trails behind Treehouse Brewing Company. Matt was there with the girls doing some work so I was going to do a run and then take the girls so he could go do something. I ended up mostly walking. I called Matt after a very short amount of running and let him know something weird was happening with my calf. It wasn't what normally happens, maybe more of a cramp or something with the other muscles completely different spot from usual. I was able to walk it off a bit... and then somehow run a bit more... But after some contemplation I just walked the rest of the way. Boston is too close to F this up over something stupid... My fear though was that this happened while I was running uphill and Boston is really hilly.... So... am I doomed? Do I just need to walk all the hills completely? My mind was spinning and I was pretty pissed. I hate myself for signing up for Boston at this point because the pressure I was feeling to not screw it up was significant. Yes I also posted all over social media that I was doing it. It wasn't for Social Media though, it was for me. I was really forcing myself to do this because I just *knew* how terrible I'd feel if I didn't try.... but the fear of screwing it up before I even got a chance really gripped me after this run.
Friday and Saturday- OFF
There was just no way I could run on these days. I was too terrified. I have had so many things go wrong in the last few weeks leading up to so many marathons that I was feeling all that PTSD.... Embarrassingly over running. I'm still coming to terms with this diagnosis... theres not doubt it's what I have but it just feels weird when theres so much shit going on in the world right now... but what can ya do.
Sunday- 4.23 miles easy 13:55/mi
I did not want to do this. But I have to do something. I did 5 minute run 2 minute walk again. Terrified the whole way. Stressed the whole way. Wanting it to be over the whole way. I starved myself all morning because I'm trying to check the boxes of all the things in my control leading up to the marathon, and I wanted to try out fuel on an empty stomach. I've never had my stomach blow up in my life... but it's been a while since I downed a gel so wanted to at least.... check.... (especially since I'm going to be consuming 20 of them).... There were also hills. Other than on the trails I haven't done really any hills and so If they were on my run portion I ran them and if they were on my walk portion I walked them. With about a half mile to go I got that cramp thing again. I stopped immediately and was able to walk it off. It oddly went away.... but I'm freaking out because this was 4 of the slowest miles ever. I really wanted to break 6 hours at Boston but that would need to be 13:45 pace and I couldn't even do that for 4... So.... My goals keep getting worse and worse. At this point I"m assuming this cramp thing will continue to happen and that I may very well be walking the whole damn thing. How am I even going to get the courage to run at all?? .... I keep reminding myself that this isn't all about Boston. This is about my legs getting better... and McGinley told me it might bee like "bumping a funny bone" sometimes... so Is that what is happening? I just don't know. Part of me is comforted by the fact that he mentioned this... but part of me just never wants to run again. PTSD Raging.
All in all not the best week. I wish the stupid race was just now so I could get it over with. It seems like nothing good can come from running so better to just... not run.
Countdown to Boston: 4 weeks to go
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.
Countdown to Boston: 5 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.
Countdown to Boston: 6 Weeks to Go
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.
Boston Base Building Week 4 & 5
It's Holiday Season and man the weeks are flying by. I thought I could manage running a few days a week even thought I was experiencing some pain in my shins that indicated the botox was wearing off... But after finally getting running back I couldn't just stop! Both curiosity and excitement drove my decisions. I'm in somewhat uncharted territory. McGinley has treated over 1000 people at this point, but all of us have different severity and different goals and sports and backgrounds. I created a few theories that have no evidence... but I assume based on the support group that my running background is a bit more serious and intense than the majority of people he treats (though I do know some others that are National Caliber level... we are in the minority) .... The path to permanence with botox relies on the body recreating firing patterns for muscles... I have a few things stacked up against me here:
1. I wasn't able to run until I was already in the window where the botox was waning, so I wasn't able to rewire muscle patterns as well as hoped.
2. (This is just my theory), I've run tens of thousands of miles at this point in my life... More than most people....I'm theorizing that it's going to be harder for my legs to just "forget" what they've done for decades. I feel like my muscle memory is going to be hard to override and that as soon as the botox wears off my brain is going to be like "hey! That muscle is back online!" .... BUT Even if I'm not moving, atrophy is still happening in that window that I'm doing nothing... but the relearning isn't happening. These two weeks weren't great, sadly.... But I'm committed to this process now that I got a taste of success... and I'm still hopeful I can do Boston, but now I really am not sure.
November 29-December 4
Tricky week, Matt was traveling babysitters cancel.... I did the best I could to get something in knowing I didn't have much help... But Also with my shins bothering me I was completely fine with running less.
Monday November 29, Rock Climbing
I had a great session! I haven't climbed much at all lately, but I think CrossFit is improving my strength to weight ratio so I did pretty well. Climbed a handful of V3's and was almost able to send a V4 which I'd say is about where I was before I stopped climbing because of conflict with time etc. I originally planned to go to Crossfit but it was full first weekday after Thanksgiving! Matt took the girls to his moms over night because she was going to fill in for our babysitter and keep them overnight for a few days.
Tuesday November 30, CrossFit
I was sooo happy with this session because I was able to jump! I know I'm somewhat walking a tightrope with this. Returning to activities that typically bring on symptoms at the same time the botox is wearing off, maybe not smart.... but I'm at peace with the process of ebbing and flowing in and out of symptoms now that I'm seeing some relief. Before it was just no relief at all and that was hard. Everything I do I catalog as part of this single subject research experiment... and this recent breakthrough with my legs is helping me stay on the McGinley course with more confidence.
Wednesday December 1, 3 miles
Enjoyed this run so much! Cold air, a bit of trail, I had a lot of days off so my shins felt really good and so much less worrying! Just what I needed before I went to get the girls from my MIL. Matt still was in Texas at The Running Event (TRE) So I still had lots of solo parenting ahead of me. I knew I wouldn't get much more workokuts this week so I was glad to frontload the week a bit.
I basically did nothing the rest of the week. Raea got her Vaccine Friday, Saturday Matt was home and we did a bit more decorating of the house, and then Sunday we went to an Outdoor Christmas event in the town nearby... I wanted to run but also just was sore in my shins... I talked to my husband about moving our goal of going to Wyoming up to mid January. At this point I'm sure I need to go ASAP but with Holidays I don't want to risk getting covid. I'm hosting and if I get it and a kid is positive in a few days we have to cancel Christmas even and that's just not fair.
Im not allowed to forget we’re still in a pandemic, and this week was reminder after reminder….
Monday: December 6, 3 miles
Turns out I was a close contact for Covid at school. Let the test and stay every student in my class begin! The nurses office was packed... THe City I teach in is only 42% vaccinated (even thought the state is much higher) .... so Thanksgiving cases are popping up, and it's that time of year where you don't know if it's cold, flu or Covid. ugh. Help us all! I'm vaccinated, boosted and wear a certified N95 most of the day but during phonics its really hard for the kids so I have to keep pulling down my mask so they can use lips to figure out sounds. After this I brought my clear masks for phonics. I originally planned to do Crossfit, but made the decision after today to not go until after Christmas. We don't wear masks at CrossFit, so just to be on the safe side so I don't need to cancel Christmas, I'm sticking with running and maybe climbing since masks are required there and it's easier to distance. I really like CrossFit so it's a tough decision, but it's the best I can do to protect my unvaccinated kids and my family. But I'm tired of ALL of it.
Tuesday: WOD from home. I'm still on the CrossFit app so I did the Workout of the day at home. My husband had a coworker over. I stayed away from him because I'm still a close contact and just went downstairs to do a workout and he was gone before I was done.
Wednesday: Rest. My legs are sore.
Thursday... Stair repeats ;)
I had to finish my classroom window for the Light up the Night holiday lights display. Matt had to work in Rhode Island so I had the girls with me. I had to go up and down the stairs about 10 times to get my window just right. The display is on Friday but I needed to make sure I didn't need to buy anything else!
Friday: Matt’s coworker that was over Tuesday tested positive for Covid… so we’re all close contacts except maybe me… but I’ve been testing everyday at work anyway, we have our PCR tests on Monday and took negative home tests so far. I went running and BAM calf lightning. Ugh. What a day! I knew I needed to get to Wyoming sooner rather than later but hoped I could maintain a few days a week for my sanity…. Ahhhh! It seems to never end. Onward!
Boston Base Building: Week 3
Another week without lightning striking in my calves! It’s a Holiday week, and Holidays can often make working out a bit harder mainly due to the schedule shift. I decided on Tuesday that I was going to do the Turkey Trott. I knew I wouldn’t be fast, but all I’ve ever wanted since this got real bad was to just hobby jog again…. So my week was centered around that.
I pushed myself really hard today! I have yet to be anywhere close to the Rx or prescribed weight, but this workout was a lot of reps but lighter weight which is more geared towards my strengths so I gave the Rx a try. The sumo dead lifts wouldn’t have been so bad if there wasn’t also a high pull. That’s what really slowed me down!. I didn’t finish the workout, but no one in the whole class did. We did deadlifts first, I think I did 135lbs. 4x6… then I attempted the following… but I’m still stepping the burpees, and I made it to calorie 43 so still had “67 reps” to go.
Tuesday: 3 Mile run
Got out of work, and ran from school. It was the first time I went for a run outside a 400m radius. I did a full out and back in about 10:40 pace. It was the first time I ran a hill. My plans to run the Turkey Trott were contingent on surviving a hill, so I signed up after this run. Might have cried a bit. I’m crying every time I run. I really can’t believe it. Obviously when I first was treated I believed it was possible, but having such severe sharp pain after 2 treatments made me afraid it was something else…. Now I’m back to really being so surprised to be here….
I had the sweetest little day with Maebel. I planned to make “12 Days of Christmas Crafts” for my nieces and nephews — we can’t always see each other for Christmas, especially with the pandemic, so I thought kiddos doing the same crafts and parents sharing pictures through texts would be a good way to feel together while apart. Raea didn’t want to go to the craft store with me, but Miss Maebel did, so Raea stayed with Matt and Maebel and I picked up my race bib and wandered around the craft store for inspiration. Not going to lie- my shins weren’t too happy. I’m feeling like I need more Botox to help my shins, but I’ll have to wait. Shin pain is my life- as long as the lightning bolt pain stays away I can manage until after the holidays when we might have money.
THURSDAY! Turkey trott! 29:45/9:30ish
I’m not surprised I was able to run faster in a race environment, but I am surprised actually how hard it was with hills and my cardio fitness was finally challenged. Could I run faster cardiovascularly? Yes. But honestly, not much! I’m 50+ lbs heavier than I’ve ever been and with the hills that weight was noted! That might be another factor with my shins. I probably will do every two days a run instead of every other day until I feel more sure about the source of shin pain. Is it Botox waning? Or is it just an increase in load that I’m adapting to… or both. Probably both.
This is a far cry from my two other times at this race… one I ran one of my fastest road 5ks while pregnant in 18:09… the other I won in negative temps (but pulled calf on cool down), but this one was the only one I cried happy tears for.
Push-up contest-78 push-ups?
I haven’t participated in the push-up contest for a while because for sometime I thought all my injuries were pelvic floor related, and didn’t feel comfortable doing them. I SUCK at pushups, I’m heavier than ever, but What the Hell.
Round 1 everyone takes turns and does 1 push-up. Round 2 everyone does 2 and so on. I got to round 13… and it ended in round 33… so do the math! … the goal is to go to failure… maybe with CrossFit I’ll do better next year.
I thought about going to CrossFit because I skipped Wednesday in order to be less sore for the race… but with my shins being so sore on Wednesday I wanted to see how they were after. They weren’t sore walking around on Friday, but I made sure to do an epsom salt bath and massage/foam roll just to be safe.
it Snowed, no sense in risking slipping. Also I’m feeling like my shins will need two days off for a while. Possibly until I get more Botox-to be determined…. But the girls enjoyed playing outside, doing some crafts… , and I scrolled shopping online all day.
Sunday- 3 miles.
shins a bit sore- warmed up- pretty sure it’s the compartment syndrome…. But also I’ve spent my entire life managing this type of pain so again—— as long as the lightning doesn’t strike I’m fine— but sore shins typically are a precursor to that shooting pain, not going to do anything crazy, considering the alter G again… we’ll see. Either way I’m incredibly happy to actually feel like I have a solid plan. Will I make it to Boston? I don’t know…. But the McGinley method is going to work, that’s for sure.
So that’s another week! Not too much running, but brick by brick!
Boston Base Building: Week 2
My last post was intense, I know. After all I’ve gone through the last thing I want is for someone diagnosed with fPAES to get a recap of recovery with rose colored glasses, so it was important to tell the whole story… several people mentioned with good intentions in DMs that if it’s making me feel like I want to self harm, maybe I shouldn’t try to run anymore and suggested other things to try, …. But again: It’s more than running…. This is a condition that is not caused by running, but if I can’t run, it indicates to me I haven’t really healed. Over time my arteries can be damaged and legs deteriorate. Some people end up with amputation… so it’s not about running, but running is strong indicator for me on my progress so it really got me down… and then it seems some of my pain was potentially from nerves healing!
So this whole time I’m getting worse pain than before it’s because healing was actually taking place. The more you know… anyway….
LAST POST was an abbreviated version of the darkest time since my diagnosis… this week was MUCH BETTER! I originally envisioned writing an old school training blog… but training never started! Count this as Boston base building WEEK 2!
Why do I feel like runners are eye-rolling at me “cross fitting”…put your judgmental eyes back in your head, It’s been fun! Fun and very challenging is what I need! But ironically just when I started to feel good about it I can run again. Isn’t that just the way things work…..
We started with 5 rounds of 6 reps benchpress (every 2:00)… I’ve never really bench pressed before… I’ve done some with dumbbells, but never (formally) with a barbell so I kept it light. 5x6 summed like a lot, I should have done more than 70lbs, NEXT TIME!
Then we did a metcon- which was significant cardio so it was pretty solid for me. Again probably could have done closer to the prescribed weight, but so much of this is new to me so I’m not sure how the weight will compound across the workout. I also keep assuming we need to pick a weight we can do with no breaks. But we can put the breaks wherever we need to just need to complete the workout in the allotted time. I don’t like breaks though!
12 DB hang clean and jerks (50/35) 8 chest to bar pull ups 12/10 cal row
the metcon was:
10 rounds of
we had to complete in 25 minutes, I did it in 21:50ish. My runner brain is starting to come back and actually monitor the clock.
Tuesday: Run 2.5 miles- 10:32mi
I went really slowly today. I feel like I have little inside out characters in my brain with a control panel that connects to my muscles and each day they push the same old buttons to control the same toxic sections of my calf that caused this disaster… and then when the muscles don’t work they are perplexed and slam on some other buttons on the panel until something responds. There’s an extreme disconnect from brain to body… and that discomfort isn’t fun for me. I can’t tell what is good and what is bad; what to push through and what to “honor”… but Dr. McGinley said to push through it… so I’m trying! It’s like that nightmare with the cinderblocks but worse! And somehow I’m still so grateful and really complain!
Worked super hard for this one. Again I finished quite quick because I pick weight I don’t need breaks for for the duration of set. Lots of Deadlifts… But I definitely compromised form a bit. Next time I’ll take breaks and slow it down. I’m still a bit of a newbie, so I’m afraid to finish last. Middle of the pack for me! 😅
Thursday: BEST RUN YET! 3.1 miles/10:05
I had no babysitter, the girls were at my moms but she had class. Back to the grind of getting it done no matter what! I took the girls to the playground in the back of my school (right next to my moms)… it has a great gate, is super safe, and is right next to a decent enough sized parking lot…. So I ran loops around the playground and lot while keeping an eye on them. It was pretty easy. It was a really nice day and they loved playing outside. Those little inside out guys at the control panel seem to be skipping the step where they try to summon the toxic sections of calf muscles, and they are skipping right to the new firing pattern instead. Running felt a teeny tiny bit more natural, and no pain at all today! I hit 3.1 and collapsed in tears. WHAT???! How!!!? Not only is it a surprise I can do this at all but I’VE LITERALLY NEVER BEEN PAIN FREE! All those years in high school and college my “shin splints” were this! It’s like glasses for the first time (which I forgot to mention I finally am getting) Do I think poof I’m better? NO of course not! But This whole time the Botox didn’t feel like it was working, I contemplated my next move. My gut was telling me another Botox treatment, but my wallet was telling me give up… the support group was sharing surgery after surgery… all seemingly going well… then suddenly someone from a few months ago shares they are scheduling a revision, it takes a really long time to even be mobile enough to know if surgery “worked” … they essentially just guess how much calf muscles to cut out… I just couldn’t unlearn what McGinley has taught me… and now it’s just so remarkably clear what my next move will be if and when symptoms resurface. I’m just so thrilled. I can’t even describe it.
I also was officially accepted into the Boston Marathon today- I knew I’d get accepted, but it’s more real than ever because of today’s actual run. Wow!
Matt had some important meetings today so although I really wanted to go to CrossFit; I took the day off. My legs felt great during the run yesterday, but I woke up with shin pain today. I don’t know if that’s just normal “I’m out of shape and weigh 50lbs more than the last time I ran this far” fatigue, or if it’s related to the compartment syndrome and I need Botox again sooner rather than later—-it’s just so hard for me to judge when I’ve never experienced training without this condition. It feels normal, but my normal was never normal so I’m monitoring closely and making sure we get the money together to pull the trigger on Wyoming sooner than February if needed.
Saturday- Rock Climbing
I haven’t climbed in a while so I didn’t climb too long- just 90 minutes or so. I stick to relatively easy climbs and messed around on some ungraded climbs. My shins were still sore when I work up but felt better as the day went on.
SUNDAY! Happy birthday to me! 3.1 miles!
This was the first run I didn’t just loop a parking lot. For my birthday I wanted to do a real run. I drove to my favorite trail and just went for it! Felt great! Emotional! More happy than scared today. I’m quite certain I’ll need another treatment, but I’m hoping to make it to February because a. That’s a vacation week for me, b. That’s far enough out from Boston that I’ll have time to adjust c. It’s close enough to Boston that Ill feel more confident in the Botox still having an effect, d. It gives us time to secure the money and file for our tax returns. We’re willing to take out a loan but so far haven’t had to…
These miles were also the first ones I charged my watch for and actually felt like I dressed to run. My husband met me at the trail so we could trade off kids and he could run after— like the old days— it’s so cute how happy they are that I can run too. You never really know if kids are picking up on things or how they are impacted by something like this, but I can say with certainty that it’s been unfortunately weighing on them too, and it’s a relief to all of us that this path out seems more viable now.
Time to write training plans, and relax the rest of the day! I caved and put up the Christmas decorations early, but I’m glad I did because I just feel so joyful, I wanted to get this joyful season kicked off right away!
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.