Year in Running 2019

I spent most of January and the beginning of February just enjoying running. I made this a priority because I decided to have Morton’s neuroma surgery after dealing with it for 6 years.

I really wanted to do more marathons, specifically the Baltimore marathon. I thought this surgery would be the key to accomplishing that goal.

So, on February 8th, I had the surgery.

Typical recovery time is 4 weeks or so. Unfortunately, I had a much longer and more difficult recovery. I had a ton of discomfort in the foot and scar tissue at the incision site.

As a result of this, it would be 3 and a half months before I would run a step and 5 months before I did it with any real consistency.

This time off did have a few positives, though I certainly didn’t see it at the time. The one exercise I could do with minimal discomfort was spinning. This ultimately led to me purchasing the peloton.

I credit the peloton with saving me during this dark time. It wasn’t running, but it is such a great workout. It kicks your butt in much the same way as running.

My first run back was a 5k. I just thought- go for it, see how this darn foot is gonna hold up. I was able to slowly run the entire thing.

From there, this return to running has been a work in progress. I have lost all of my speed (Happy to be running is my new mantra).

This post operative foot has been a challenge to say the least. I still have pain at the neuroma site that has led to some compensatory pain in my big toe which has required cortisone injections. Going in, I knew neuroma surgery has only a 65% success rate, I just hoped I’d be in the 65%.

It could be so much worse. Thankfully all of this manageable if you want to run badly enough and that’s what I want.

I made a gradual return to running with the help of an amazing physical therapist. I had so much initial pain in the foot, it hurt to even walk on it. That led to a huge loss strength in my left leg. So he helped a ton with this.

I was able to train for and run the Rehoboth half on December 7,2019.

It was my slowest one yet (2:05:44) but I was thrilled to complete the race. I didn’t think I would ever be able to run a half again.

So, to wrap up, I am heading into 2020 running three days a week, signed up for quite a few races, (including another half) and hanging my hat on what all us injured runners do….. hope.

Check In Time

Time for another update on the foot.

I have had an MRI of my foot which did not really show much of anything at all. There is no stump neuroma, just some edema (swelling) on the top of the foot, which is the scar tissue. My Dr. does think it’s the scar tissue that is causing all of the issues with my foot.

I saw my Dr. again to discuss results and he recommended I have K-laser (a new modality that is supposed to speed up healing) which was $550.00 out of pocket for 6 treatments. I was all “Sign me up! I will do anything at this point.” While initially I thought it might helping, it (unfortunately) yielded no real improvement.

For his next bag of tricks, he injected my foot with cortisone in two spots. I am happy to say it has helped and has allowed me to run!!!!! I was able to run 3 times last week and I have already run twice this week. I am not sure if this is short lived, but I am thrilled for now.

Yesterday I ran my longest distance since February- 5.25 miles!! The foot is a little sore today but not too bad at all. I ran and did some weights after and I felt more like myself than I have in a very long time. I can’t explain they way running makes me feel, it’s just an indescribable feeling. Endorphins man, they are real.

I also broke down and bought the Peloton bike. Spinning has really been a life saver for me since I haven’t been able to run. Plus, I know I need to continue to do both- they work different muscle groups, my foot can’t handle straight running, and I have really grown to love spinning.

Anyway, one of the main reasons I decided to buy the Peloton is that I find the times of the spin classes at the YMCA challenging. AM classes are tough because I can do it, but I am down to the minute to shower and make it to work on time and kinda hate starting my day out like that. I work at 0700 or 0730 am most days. The PM classes are late in the evening and the weekends don’t offer a lot of options. I thought the peloton would be a perfect fit as they offer live and on demand classes and a variety of instructors. I can’t wait till it comes!

For now, the foot is coming along. I am happy to be able to work out 5 days a week.

Focusing On The Positives

I’m over here today trying not to dwell on the fact that around this time last year I had just ran a marathon.

Yet, I have not run a single step in almost 12 weeks.

Delaware Marathon 2018

What have I been able to do?

I have recently started spinning quite a bit and I really am enjoying it. I would even venture to say that, for me, it is the closest thing to running. It doesn’t bother my foot at all, thankfully, and so I am able to do it 4-5 times per week.

What’s new with the foot?

I saw my doctor last week and he ordered an MRI since I am still having so much soreness. It is scheduled for next Wednesday.

I am still in Physical therapy a couple of times a week.

I still have a major issue with scar tissue. I do get massage for my scar tissue in PT but she doesn’t massage it for very long. I really felt like I needed an extended amount of work on it to really see improvement in it.

So, I decided to use massage therapy as a option to break up this scar tissue. I have had 2 massages over the last couple of weeks.

The massage therapist I have seen a couple of times (who fixed me for my marathon) was out of town so I saw a new person for the first massage. The massage was not the best, but I did notice a difference at the beginning of this week.

Then I had the second massage with an amazing massage therapist yesterday. While the first massage was painful (which at the time I was totally fine with and figured was to be expected) Jennifer’s technique was more pressure combined with space and lengthening. It feels great today although I haven’t been on it as much as usual. I’m anxious to see if there is any improvement over the next couple of days.

In the meantime I will continue to go to spin and walk as much as possible. As the title suggests I’m just happy that I can do some form of exercise!

Neuroma Surgery- 9 Weeks Out


It has been 9 very long weeks since I had surgery to remove the neuroma from my left foot.  

How did the surgery go?

The bottom line is that I am still having quite a bit of pain in the foot which is not great news.  This also means I am not running.

Prior to the surgery, I was not having constant pain in the foot the way I am now.  It really only gave me trouble with running (usually longer than 3 miles) as well as prolonged standing.

So this is a bummer.  However, I am trying my very best to be optimistic.

I am in physical therapy and trying not to think about the worst case scenario.  

What would be the worst case scenario?

 A stump neuroma which occurs in about 35% of these surgeries.  This could require additional treatment/surgery.

The good news-

I am able to stand on my feet at work all day (which at one point I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do) with a lot of discomfort, but not terrible pain.  Let me tell you, nothing will make you appreciate your job more than fearing you won’t be able to return to it.

I am able to go for walks, spin, and do weights.  

The bad news-

I have no idea when, and if, this foot is going to get better.  My doctor says it could take 9 months!

 I can’t run and no matter how much I tell myself that cross training is good for me, running is my true love.  

So, this is where I am for now.  I am hoping that I will continue to see gradual improvements and eventually the foot will just get better on its own.  If I continue to see no real improvement, I plan to seek treatment at the Morton’s Neuroma Institute in Massachusetts.  I plan to go there before considering a second surgery which could also be unsuccessful.  

Neuroma Surgery and Future Plans

Tomorrow afternoon I am scheduled to have surgery on my foot to remove a neuroma.

This surgery has been a long time coming. I have dealt with this particular foot issue for about 6 years. I have had cortisone injections, shockwave, and alcohol sclerosing injections in the hopes of treating this neuroma, all with no real improvement.

While I was able to train and complete a marathon in April, it bothered me the entire training cycle. After the marathon, I had to completely stop running for couple of months.

All in all, I am just tired of dealing with it. I can’t run the mileage I would like without it flaring up.

I really knew it was time to have the surgery though, when my foot started bothering at work. I am a nurse and I stand almost the entire day. I cannot have a foot that hurts and toes that go numb while simply standing.

I am so hopeful that after this surgery I will be able to run pain free and up my mileage.

Why?

Well, I would love to complete another marathon, specifically the Baltimore Marathon.

For some unknown reason many moons ago, I picked the Baltimore Marathon as the one I would run someday. Thus far I have run the Disney Marathon and the Delaware Marathon, but not Baltimore.

I would love to be able to do Baltimore this year. It is in October which gives me plenty of time to recover and train.

The 50 Books of 2018

I set a goal to read 50 books in 2018. I honestly didn’t give this goal it’s due and even started it late, (sometime in mid January) thinking I’d just catch up. 😂😂😂😂 I made it to 40 books and I’m somewhat satisfied with that; however, I plan to actually accomplish this goal in 2019.

I’ve decided to publish the list of 40 in case someone needs a good book recommendation. Here it is:

  1. East of Eden- John Steinbeck. People claimed this book was “life changing”  and while I thought it was a good read, it was by no means life changing for me.
  2. Final Girls–  Riley Sager. A great example of the uber-popular thriller genre.
  3. Tell me three thingsJulie Buxbaum. Cute story line.
  4. The Other Wes MooreWes Moore. A great read that examines how environment can affect one’s life outcomes with a little butterfly effect thrown in.
  5. The IdenticalsElin Hildebrand. Wish it would have been summer when I read this one, but unfortunately, it was February.
  6. An American Marriage- Tayari Jones. This one drew me in from the 1st page. One of my absolute faves!
  7. Still Me- Jojo Moyes
  8. My Year with Eleanor-Noelle Hancock. Learned quite a bit about the extraordinary life of Eleanor Roosevelt.
  9. Surprise Me- Sophia Kinsella. Cute, easy read
  10. On the Rocks- Erin Duffy. My least favorite thus far.
  11. .The Great Alone-  Kristin Hannah. This book was set in Alaska and  I loved reading about this rugged, remote land. However,the book was just ok.
  12. .The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo- Taylor Jenkin Reid. Couldn’t put it down!
  13. .Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng. Everyone raved about this one but it was a disappointment for me.
  14. .Meet Clara Andrews- Lacey London. This book was such a boring and predictable  read, I’m honestly not even sure I can count it.
  15. .Let Your Mind Run- Deena Kastor/Michelle Hamilton. Read this just before my marathon and found some inspiring takeaways!
  16. .One breath- This is a book about the perils of free diving. Loved reading about a subject I knew nothing about.
  17. .Girl, wash your faceRachel Hollis. This one started out ok but got a little preachy for me.
  18. .What I know for sure- Oprah Winfrey. Lots of good advice!
  19. .The 5 love languages- Gary Chapman. I really enjoyed it! So interesting to discover your own love language, as well as your spouses.
  20. . The Fifth Letter- Nicola Moriarty
  21. . Paris For One and other storiesJojo Moyes
  22. .Eleanor Oliphant is completely fineGail Honeyman. A poignant and touching read.
  23. .Tiger Woods- Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian–  The rise and fall of the greatest golfer of all time. Captivating tale of parental love gone awry.
  24. .Crazy Rich Asians- Kevin Kwan Couldn’t put it down!
  25. .The Wonder- Emma Donaghue Great read under pressure as it was due back at the library.
  26. .To All The Boys I Loved Before- Jenny Han Quick, entertaining read.  
  27. .Ps. I Still Love You- Jenny Han
  28. .Always and Forever Lara Jean- Jenny Han
  29. . A Spark of Light -Jodi Picoult-  Thought provoking and a great read.  She’s my favorite so, of course, I loved it.
  30. .Bloodsworth-Tim Junkin Tie for Best book of the Year!!!

31. The Queen of Hearts- Kimmery Martin

32. The Hate You Give- Angie Thomas

33. All The Summer Girls- Meg Donohue

34. The Girl Who Smiled Beads- Clementine Wamariya At the age of six, the author and her sister fled the Rwandan massacre and traveled through seven African countries to the U.S. where they were granted refugee status. An incredibly heartbreaking inspiring read.

35. A Day in December- Josie Silver. My first read of Reese’s book club and it did not disappoint.

36. Everything, Everything- Nicola Yoon. Sick teen + love story. Never fails for me.

37. The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd

38. We’re Gonna Need More Wine- Gabrielle Union.

39. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen. Now I know what all the Mr. Darcy hype is all about. Should’ve read this one years ago.

40. Just Mercy- Bryan Stevenson. Will make you rethink the death penalty and the penal system. The other Tie for Best Book of the Year!

Neuromas and A New Bike

As has become a running theme around here, I’m on the IR again.  My nagging foot pain has turned into an “OMG this hurts to even walk on” pain.

 

 

I had an MRI.  As expected it didn’t show a neuroma, just scarring and fibrosis in the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal.  The treatment plan remains the same, though, as it is common for neuromas not to show up on MRIs.

I have talked about neuromas before but in case you aren’t familiar with them here is a quick definition below:

Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes.  It involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes and causes pain in the ball of your foot and numbness and tingling into the toes.

Oh Running? Why do you hate me so when all I do is love you?!

Usually cortisone injections, shockwave therapy, and multiple injections of a sclerosing agent into the neuroma are all effective treatment modalities and surgery is rarely required.

Unless you are me.   I have had all of these treatments, none have worked, and now I am  nearing the end of my rope.

I have not run a single step in over 6 weeks and just saw my podiatrist on July 16th.  He injected my foot with cortisone one last time and if this doesn’t do it, I will have surgery to remove my neuromas.

What have I been up to?

I have been doing a combo of yoga, body pump, and biking.

I can actually say biking instead of just spinning since I just bought a bike!  Exciting right?!  I have always been a little curmudgeon-y (not a real word but go with it) about biking.  This is most likely because I am intimidated by road biking and the only time I bike is on vacation when we rent them.

IMG_5872

What else am I thinking?

I know I say this every time I get injured but this is the perfect time for me to incorporate more strength training into my routine.   I am even contemplating doing Kayla Itines, BBG program mostly because I simply adore her but also because the results people achieve are astonishing.

What do you do to get through an injury?