Month: August 2015

Verdict: Tendinitis

Well, I went to the chiropractor yesterday evening and it looks like I might have tendinitis in parts of my left leg. Sigh. As I mentioned before, I marked the tender spots with a pen and my chiropractor told me that in her 16 years of practicing, she’s never had someone draw on themselves. It made for a good laugh, but it was easy for her to pinpoint the pain areas.

She said it’s not shin splints, but tendinitis around the tibialis anterior and peronial muscles–simply put, pain on the inner and outer parts of my leg. She worked out some of the pressure, and it feels so much better today! It hurt a lot in the process, though. In addition to massaging the muscles, she suggested stretching them (I suck at stretching), limiting exercise (aka “listening to your body”) and taking vitamins that could help soft tissue healing. My shoes are fine, and orthodics probably wouldn’t help much more either.

I’m going to give it a few more days, and then ease back into the training. I guess I am going to have to start slowing down. I don’t know…am I just not built to be a “faster” runner? Am I not doing it right? Out of the 10 half marathons I have run, I’ve had lower leg pain for two or three of them…and they were the ones that I legit trained for and ran the fastest in. I feel like at this point, I just need to take it down a notch for NYC given that I am halfway through training already. I’m so afraid of getting super sidelined and not being able to run the marathon. If it means going slower, I guess that’s what I have to do. I’m certainly going to research how to get faster without injuring myself, but the focus right now is just doing it. It makes me mad, but at the same time, I guess training for a marathon and running one is pretty extreme for our bodies. My mind says, “26.2 miles, yeah, whatever” and my body is saying, “26.2 miles? Hold up!”

Hoping I am back in the swing of things over the next few days. Let’s do this!

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When Will It Get Better?

Well, I’ve taken a full week off and it looks like I have to keep going. I only rode bike once last week, and I took the rest of it off. Things were nuts, there was a lot going on, and I just wanted to lay off of my leg. I wish I could say it was better, and while there have been days where it’s been OK, today it’s not. I have a lot of tender spots throughout my leg. I’ve read about anterior and posterior shin splints and I feel like I might have both. I don’t know.

I’m going to go to the chiropractor today for a regular adjustment and then ask about my leg. I marked the tender spots with a pen, and hopefully I’ll have some answers or treatment options.

One thing is for sure–I NEED to modify my training plan to ensure I don’t get hurt again once I am back at it. My plan currently has me running four times a week, including a long run. I might add more cross training and delete one of the midweek runs. If I have to slow down, I will. I just want to finish the marathon and be healthy in the process.

I’ve run up to 13.1 in my plan. These are the long runs left:

  • 10 miles
  • 15 miles
  • 16 miles
  • 12 miles
  • 18 miles
  • 14 miles
  • 20 miles
  • 12 miles (taper)
  • 8 miles (I’m signed up for a local 10-miler the weekend before the NYC Marathon, so that will be my taper)
  • Marathon

As far as I am concerned, the runs in bold are the most important. If I can modify my plan to include them, get up to 20 miles and still have time to taper, I’ll feel much better. Every third week in my plan is a “stepback” to aid recovery, so I am a bit concerned about cutting them. Hopefully cutting back on my midweek runs and adding more cross training will aid recovery enough.

I am open to any advice! I need it.

I’m Slow, But I’m Still An Athlete

I’m still taking the week off from running, and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to get back into it this weekend. I hope I can, but I don’t know.

After a birthday dinner at the casino buffet (carb central, y’all), I struggled to keep my blood sugar levels in check. I pre-bolused, corrected and corrected even more following my delicious dinner, but alas, it was still disaster. I expected nothing else, even though I hoped for different results. With a blood sugar level in the 300s, I gave myself some more insulin and went to bed. At 5 a.m., I woke up with an excruciatingly painful calf cramp on my right leg. I checked my CGM–I was still in the 300s and had been there for the last six hours. I was dehydrated.  48 hours later, my calf hurts A LOT. My shin seems to be getting better. It’s always something.

All negativity aside, though, I’ve been reflecting on this whole running journey. I’ve come a long way. I recently had to get an EKG done, and my doctor told me my resting heart rate was 50 bpm. That’s low, he said, but it’s normal for someone who is “an athlete like you.” An athlete? I’ve never been the athletic type. I never played sports growing up and I never had any muscle mass before I was forced to workout due to my Type 1.

Sometimes it’s hard to look past the struggles and what I think is a lack of success. I’m slow…what I consider my “fast” pace is average to below average, really (and I still get injured!). I’ve crossed the finish line of 10 half marathons and many other races in between. I’m training for a marathon. I proudly wear my finisher medals, and then, I feel disappointed when I look at official race results. For example, the 2013 NYC Half was my fastest half at 11:18 min/mile pace. I placed 12,762 out of 14,534 finishers–almost 88 percent of the race finishers were ahead of me. If that’s not a kick in the ass, I’m not sure what is.

Today’s society tends to look down on people who don’t do things well or they think that only winners deserve to feel good about themselves. My sister has been a spectator at the majority of the races I’ve run (if she isn’t running with me-haha), and I can’t tell you how many times she’s told me she overheard some jackass spectator commenting about how they could run faster than some of the people in the actual race, blah blah. People think medals should only be given to runners who win and/or place in the top 3. Even Pittsburgh Steelers football player James Harrison has made headlines for taking away his two children’s “participation trophies” because they didn’t win; therefore, they didn’t EARN the trophy.

It’s really easy to doubt your success when there are so many people who are better than you are. I will never be a fast runner and I will never place in my age group. I accept that. But I will continue to cross that finish line. That makes me an athlete, and in my eyes, that makes me a winner.

Hanging On

This rest business is stressful. Well, not stressful in the “I love to relax and I can’t run so I have time to relax” way, but in the “I need to run to succeed in this marathon and if I am on the sidelines for long, I don’t know what I am going to do” way.

I keep reading about shin injuries and how to prevent/treat them. The consensus seems to be that shin injuries take at least two weeks to heal. I seriously don’t think I can afford that much time off. I don’t know…maybe I can. My goal is just to finish the marathon upright and healthy. I don’t have any serious time goals, but it would be nice to stay within the 5- to 6-hour mark.

I’ve started reworking my training plan in the event that I am injured longer than I anticipated. It’s not that I am experiencing excruciating pain. It’s sore, and the area is very tender when I touch it. I’m just afraid of aggravating it even more and making it worse. I get way ahead of myself when I think about it and start to freak out. I just need to take it one day at a time. I’ve run 10 half marathons. I can certainly modify my plan to finish a full (even if I’m not glowing at the finish line). Right? Right.

I was supposed to run 3 miles yesterday, so I biked 5 miles around the neighborhood. The shin felt fine while I was doing it, so I’ll keep that up in the meantime.

Things on the diabetes front have been OK, I guess. It’s my birthday (hooray!), so there have been quite a few splurges over the last week or so. However, the spikes associated with those splurges haven’t been as bad as I would have thought. So, that’s good. I changed my pump site yesterday and it’s in an uncomfortable spot. Bummer. My CGM site on my belly also chafed during my 13-miler the other morning UGH! I always make an effort to put my pump on my back during outdoor long runs because I typically wear a shirt over my sports bra (I don’t on the treadmill). I had my pump on my back on Sunday, but my CGM was on my belly and must have rubbed against the shirt. I’ll have to figure out what I can do for that. It was quite painful.

Activities Completed:

Tuesday: Biked 5 miles (10 mph)

Week 8: What a Pain in My Shin.

Well, I’m injured. And it sucks.

I felt like I was starting to get better and then that nagging shin pain from last week turned into a full-fledged ouch after my 13.1 miles yesterday morning.

I was supposed to run 3 miles on Thursday, but it got too late and I decided to run 2 fast miles. After I finished, though, my left shin was really sore, so I used the foam roller and iced it. It seemed to help a bit, but the area was really tender.

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Frozen corn will do!

Friday and Saturday were rest days, and I fully took advantage of those. I don’t remember having any crazy pain or anything like that.

Sunday morning, I woke up a little before 6 a.m. for an early run. It was going to be 90+ degrees outside and I do NOT do well running in the heat. So I sucked it up, got out of bed, fueled with a bagel and some honey peanut butter and went on my way. There was immediate discomfort in my left shin, but it’s just this dull ache. It’s not a sharp pain or anything like that. Because it was really early, I went out alone and didn’t drag anyone with me on the bike. I brought my iPod, though, so it worked out! From my house to the Hulton Bridge in the neighboring town is about 1.5 miles. I decided I would take that route and then take as many detours as possible before getting there. Not even a mile into my run, I turned into a new housing development along the river and ran those streets and a 0.25-mile long path until I hit 4 miles.

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I went back on the main stretch and at about 5.5 miles, I stopped at Walgreens and bought a big bottle of water. I ran to the track and ran miles 6 through 10 down there. I didn’t think I would be able to go for that long on the track, but I think the laps helped break up the long run in my mind and I was able to set down the water and drink freely. Plus, it’s easier for me to strand myself somewhere knowing that I have to run home still. Anyway, my shin was really hurting, but I was feeling so good and ambitious, that I thought I would bite the bullet and run 15 miles while I was at it. I texted my sister and told her what I was thinking, but she told me I should take it easy and let my shin rest. Good reality check.

At 11 miles or so, I headed back for home and got back into my town at around 12.5 miles…that last 0.6-miles was brutal. I could see my house and I was DONE, but I had to keep going. To make matters worse, I was on target to beat my half marathon personal record, but somehow I miscalculated and thought I would miss it by over a minute. Thinking it didn’t matter at that point, I stopped for a quick walk break. When I actually finished my 13.1, though, I saw I had missed my PR by 25 SECONDS. I was upset, but happy to be done. I haven’t run at this pace in a long time, so I was proud of myself.

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My left shin has been very unhappy since yesterday, though. I’ve been icing it, massaging it and I am wearing a calf sleeve today. I also took some Advil. I’m freaking out. It’s not an excruciating pain, but it definitely hurts and I could feel how sore it was, even overnight. The only thing I know that will help completely is rest. I feel like I can’t afford to rest right now, even though I know I HAVE to. Because I started training early, I am a week ahead of schedule. I gave myself that buffer in case something like this happened and I needed to rest or something came up, but I wish it wasn’t so early in the game. I’m halfway through training at this point. It’s upsetting. Looking on the bright side, I guess it’s better to have the time to rest now than having to push through pain or being sidelined closer to marathon day.

So, I’m out of commission for a few days (maybe even the whole week–I really hope not). I’ll plan to ride my bike this week for some low-impact activity. Cross your fingers for me. I need to rebound soon.

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My kitty thinks my running accessories are cool haha

If anyone has any recovery suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Activities:

Thursday: 2 miles (10:16 min/mile)

Sunday: 13.1 miles (11:20 min/mile)

A Future with Type 1?

Type 1 Diabetes has has a huge impact on my life and how I identify myself. It doesn’t define me as a person, but it’s made big enough waves to define what my future will be. At least, that’s what I think sometimes.

I try to be as positive as I can about it. Sure, I had 25 diabetes-free years where my blood sugar levels were normal. Unfortunately, the majority of people who are diagnosed with Type 1 are children, meaning they have to struggle with high/low blood sugar levels from a young age, which in turn means more years of out-of-range levels and a higher chance of complications or negative effects to their bodies once they get older. I guess I got lucky, right? I’m almost 29 years old and I have a little less than 4 years of crazy blood sugars under my belt. There are kids out there who could be as young as 5 and they have the same amount of years under their own little belts. It’s really sad to think about.

Technology is getting better, and the way we treat our diabetes has been getting easier over the years. I can’t imagine having to use pee sticks to check if my glucose was high (without having specific numbers…just a high or low indicator) or not having insulin to treat my disease. Guys, insulin was first tested on a human in the 1920s. Think about that. Insane. Before that, low-carb diets would keep people with diabetes alive for a few years, at best. It makes me really emotional thinking about that.

But, we’ve come a long way since then, and as thankful as I am for the advancements in medicine and all the devices I use to keep me alive (even though they drive me nuts sometimes), I wonder what diabetes is going to do to me. Will I ever see a cure in my lifetime? Will I be a diabetic forever? Will I experience complications or damage my organs (because let’s face it, I can take care of myself and strive for the best control, but I am human and I make mistakes)? Will I look back one day and say, “Man, I probably should have laid off of the chips and guacamole.” And, the worst thing of all, will I pass this along to my future children (I don’t know if genetics have anything to do with my case)?

I don’t mean to be a downer. I am so, so happy and proud of how I have handled this short journey/battle with diabetes so far. I have pretty good control and my doctors are happy, but sometimes, you can’t help but wonder if you’re doing enough. I just have to take things one day and a time, and who knows, I might look back one day and think, “You did good, Heidi. I am proud of you.”

On Goals and Improvement

I’m feeling really good about my training over the last week. I’m feeling positive, encouraged and excited about the miles ahead. I haven’t felt like this in a while. I remember when I first started running in 2012, I became obsessed! I couldn’t wait to get my run in at the end of the day. I was seeing results, I was getting faster. When my sister started running with me in 2013, that excitement came back because I was helping HER reach new distances and meet new goals (even though she wasn’t happy with me for making her run). Plus, I was unemployed for a good chunk of the second half of the year, so running helped.

2014 was fine…I participated in awesome races (Disney Princess Half and Disneyland Half weekends) and ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for JDRF, but I wasn’t challenging myself. Sure, I ran for diabetes control, but it became a routine and I guess I was doing the bare minimum. For example, in 2013, I ran 667 miles total, while I only (I say this loosely) ran 449 miles in 2014. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pleased with my efforts and I know it’s more than a lot of other people out there, but I know I can do better.

I had a really slow start in 2015, but it’s picked up significantly since marathon training began in June. My legs muscles feel significantly stronger, and I am currently at 291 miles for the year. Training will help that number go up, and we still have 4 1/2 months left. I am hoping to reach 600+ miles. We’ll see!

Last night’s 6 miles went well! I’ve been so exhausted and I fell asleep when I got home from work. I was groggy and not feeling it when I woke up, but my sister came over to ride bike and we just went up and down the neighborhood streets. Just before mile 3, I saw that my blood sugar was in the 90s with the arrow pointing down. I ate an expired GU gel (gross), and evened out in the 80s. I think I finished in the 70s. I feel good when my levels are on the lower end during a run, BUT it makes me really nervous because it’s so close to low. It’s frustrating trying to get that balance. There’s such a difference in how I feel and my performance when my levels aren’t high or going up. I know it’s not always going to be perfect, so I really relish the times when I’m within a good range.

I have 3 miles and 13.1 miles on the schedule for the rest of the week…it’s going to be in the 90s this weekend, so I see myself either getting up REALLY early to run outside or popping in a movie/catching up on the DVR on the treadmill (or maybe both). We’ll see!

Activities completed:

Wednesday: 6 miles (11:49 min/mile)