The past week has been difficult as we said goodbye to our beloved furbaby and confronted the loss over the course of the week. We’ve been here before and we’ll be here again, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Each loss is difficult because each of our dogs are unique and special to us. Our little guy came into our lives unexpectedly nine years ago. Nine years of memories and love, gone in an instant. But that’s life. The only difference this time around is I haven’t (yet?) experienced shock and denial. I knew at the time of diagnosis we’d get at least a year, so this was expected. With our first one, although she had a chronic illness, I didn’t expect for her life to end so soon. Even when we took her to the emergency clinic, when her quality of life had deteriorated in a two-week span, I didn’t anticipate that we’d lose her. This time, we gave ourselves a week to say our final goodbyes. We took him for a long drive on his last day, gave him a cheeseburger, and showered him with hugs and kisses. I miss the little guy, but time will heal the ache in my heart.
And just like that, a month has passed since my last post. Here are the stats since the last update:
Week of 1/29: 14.1
Week of 2/5: 23.3 (ooops!!)
Week of 2/12: 25.2
Week of 2/19: 4
I was doing well and running consistently until last week, when we had a downpour every.single.day. I managed to get one run in – a 4-miler and the first pain free run I’ve had in over three months. I also did an hour-long cardio session at the gym but that was the extent of my workouts.
I wasn’t sick, I just wanted to be home. The terrible heartbreak I’ve been bracing for in the last 12 months is happening today. We’re saying goodbye to one of our boy dogs. He was diagnosed with a nasal tumor a year ago. We opted for palliative radiation treatment. There’s no cure for this type of cancer and surgery is not an option. But radiation took care of most of the tumor.
By the middle of December, the bleeding was back which means the tumor was growing again. Any additional radiation would only buy him another 8 months, so we decided just to let nature take its course and make his last few months as comfortable as possible. Meanwhile, the symptoms intensified and the tumor began protruding through his nose and distorting his face. Early last week, we noticed the second nostril was bleeding. We decided it was time.
Today is his last day on earth. We will spend all day with him, shower him with love and hugs and kisses, give him a taste of a burger, and then let him go in peace.
My heart is tearing into little pieces. I’m going to miss this sweet little guy so much, but as with everything in life, his time is up and the best thing I can do is the humane thing.
It’s been one month since I’ve officially returned to running and, for the most part, it’s been successful. The Spenco orthotics are working out perfectly. With a few exceptions, I’ve been running with minor pain which is a drastic improvement over where I was two months ago. Here are the stats since my last post:
Week of 1/22: 12.2 miles
Week of 1/29: 18.6 miles
Week of 2/5: 23.4 miles
Clearly I didn’t stick to the 10% rule. And as expected, my PT exercises have dropped off. This upcoming week, I will make a concerted effort to get back to regular PT exercises and I hope to see significant improvement by March 3rd, when I’m running my first half of 2018. I signed up for this last fall, long before the injury, thinking it would be a good time trial for the Spring training season. My body had different plans. I figured I’ll run the race anyway. I just won’t be going for a PR.
In other, non-running news, I’m making progress on my 2018 goals. I’ve already finished three books (it’s amazing how much time is freed up when you’re not training) and we’ve taken some major steps toward the big goal, which shall remain private for the time being. I’m still struggling with my morning routine but tomorrow is another chance to do better.
I’m happy to report that I’m officially back to running. The stats are unimpressive but I’m trying to ease back into it. The Spenco orthotics are working like a charm. Unfortunately, I seem to think that I no longer need to continue PT. That couldn’t be further from the truth and I need to knock out at least one PT exercise today – other than yoga this morning which incorporated stretching and balance poses.
It’s been a long week though so I’m cutting myself some slack. Monday started off with a bit of a scare with DH, but everything turned out to be OK. Let’s just say that a frantic call to 911 and an ambulance ride to the hospital was involved but everything checked out fine. Oh how I can’t wait for the medical bills to arrive – NOT!! An emergency is an emergency and the expense was worth it but really America? We paid a $200 copay and here’s what else I’m anticipating – large bill from the hospital (because….deductibles), bill for the ambulance ride, bill for the chest x-ray, bill from the locum agency for the ER physician. Based on previous ER visits, I’m anticipating a total of $2k which will wipe out my entire FSA contributions. But I digress…
The plan for this week is to stick to the 10% rule to build my mileage back up. Or should I say 10%-ish. That comes out to three four-mile runs or four three-mile runs. I’m also going to squeeze in 2 yoga sessions, at least one upper body day, and at least one long bike ride. Sounds pretty doable.
Another goal this week it to start building good habits and the most important one I need to work on is getting to work on time – without speeding like a maniac, that is. I need to leave 5-10 minutes early which means I need to be in the shower 5-10 minutes early. I’m hoping to have at least three days of success but we’ll see. It sounds like I’ve really set the bar low for myself but setting the bar high so far hasn’t worked out so I have nothing to lose at this point.
I’ve been fairly consistent with PT exercises the past couple of weeks so I decided to do a one mile run to gauge my progress. Within a minute or so, I started feeling the pain. I realized pretty quickly that one mile was definitely too far but I endured it. The pain persisted into the morning and it dawned over the course of the day that I didn’t feel the arch support I once used to. Furthermore, I kept thinking about my foot collapsing inward – that shouldn’t happen with orthotics. And these were custom made ones. The second I got home from work, I tested them out on the floor. Sure enough, the orthotic collapsed as I stepped on the injured foot. They say that custom made orthotics should last about 5 years. Granted, I put a lot of miles in both pairs, but a year between to pairs? Sounds unreasonable. Unless they’re just bad quality and can’t withstand a runner. So off to RunOn I went and got myself a $40 pair of Spenco Max. I tested the arch and it didn’t collapse. Next stop was the gym where I ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes. I didn’t feel anymore pain than I have all day. Have the $300 orthotics been the culprit in my lack of progress? Possibly. I’m cautiously optimistic. The plan is to let my foot heal before I try running again. Fingers crossed.
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Why put off something until next year, or next month, or Monday, when you can start today? That being said, I do like to set some loose goals for myself – nothing set in stone, just something to work toward. As with most people, I hardly ever reach my goals – lose weight, eat better, organize, build better habits. I’m not a particularly motivated person (my younger self would shudder at this thought but I’ve embraced it) so I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Or maybe I’m just lazy and it’s much easier to imagine myself getting to work on time rather than actually doing it.
In any case, I do need something to keep me going and this year will hopefully (and in one case, unfortunately) bring about some big changes, barring any unforeseen circumstances. These are for another post.
So here are some concrete goals that I must accomplish, come hell or high water:
- Get over my tendinitis so I can get myself back in my running shoes (this involves consistent rehab exercises, something I’m bad at)
- Take the next several steps toward one big change
- Allow myself to face the second big change. It won’t be easy. I’ve been here before and I’ll be here again. It’s part of life.
The loose goals that I absolutely refuse to commit to 100% are:
- Finally get down to my racing weight – and I don’t mean lose water weight
- Learn that damn crow pose
- Quit wasting time in the mornings and get to work on time
- Read more books
- Meditate and/or practice mindfulness
- Improve my diet and eat cleaner – eat like a runner should
- Take care of my skin – I’m so bad at taking care of my acne and eczema
- Be a better person – be more sympathetic to others’ feelings. It seems like a no-brainer but it’s something I struggle with
- Be more compassionate toward myself. Self-loathing is in my blood
With the exception of the crow pose, these are pretty general goals. I don’t want to set numbers or quantities. Maybe it’s the wrong approach but this is as far as I allow myself to go at this point in time.
Why “pause my garmin”? I’m a runner. I started running off and on in 2002. I was 19 years old and while I’ve always been curvy, my metabolism seemed to take a nose dive and I needed to keep myself from ballooning.
But it wasn’t meant to be…just yet. I put on the freshman 15 and fell into a deep existential crisis, coupled with anxiety and depression. I suffered a traumatic event. I withdrew from the world. Then, a year and a half later, my brother’s first marriage ended and he moved back home.
I needed a change in my life. That year started off terribly – one of our dogs died. Weeks later, I started taking anti-depressants and by the time my brother moved back, they started kicking in. The fog was lifting. I was slowly emerging from my cocoon. He started waking me up at 5 am for 2-mile runs. He put me on a low carb diet. Needless to say, the shock to my system produced visible results within a week. I kept at it, increased my mileage to 3 per day and pretty much remained there for the next decade.
Over the years, between marriage and grad school and a quarter life crisis, my running plateaued. It became a chore. A demanding new job in 2010 left little time for running but I managed to squeeze one in now and then. I also took up yoga which was unlike anything I’d ever done before.
Fast forward a few years and I decide to start getting serious about running. I raced a 5-miler and a 15k in my early 20s but running a half marathon seemed crazy…well, only half crazy. 3 miles increased to 5 miles in the hot Southern summer. 5 miles increased to 7 and then to 10. I got my first running watch – not a Garmin. I invested in better shoes and running gear.
Around this time, I was also working on getting my mental health under control. I started on new medication, I was emerging from my shell and while I didn’t know it at the time, my confidence – an elusive quality for most of my life – was increasing. By the time 2016 rolled around, I was ready to take the plunge and sign up for a training program with my running club. The rest is history. Since then, I’ve run 1 marathon, 7 half marathons, several 5-15ks. I joined a gym. I’ve done cross-fit. I’ve resumed yoga after taking a several-year hiatus. I purchased my first road bike and and then upgraded. I began weight-training consistently.
2017 was a good year of races but the last few months have been tough as I’ve been nursing an injury: posterior tibial tendinitis. So I’m not running at the moment but I’m doing everything else along with my rehab routine. It’s frustrating, but I’m trying to remain positive and use this as an opportunity to become a better runner through cross-training.
So this blog will mostly be about running – or currently trying to get myself back to running. It’s my love, my passion. I’m not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination. I’m a mere mortal, after all. But in a few months, I hope to be back out there, taking it step-by-step, so if you happen to see me flat on my face, please…pause my garmin.