Run 4 Love 4 Miler

The title should actually be…”I ran a race that I am actually happy with,” but that seemed a little long.

Anyway, I ran the Run 4 Love 4 miler last week. I have never ran a 4 mile race before.

I wasn’t sure what finish time to expect. I am currently training for a half marathon so I have been doing a long run each week and still working on gaining my running fitness back from last year.

I have been making slow progress with this. But, progress is progress.

In December, I ran a better than anticipated time at the Rehoboth half marathon after coming back to running after a 4 1/2 month hiatus due to surgery. After that, I just committed to building up my mileage and hoped the pace would drop down eventually.

I was hoping to be under 9/mile for this race because last weekend my longish run was 9:20 pace for almost 9 miles. Based on that, I predicted I could probably run about 30 seconds faster per mile for an 8:50/mile pace.

Well, I finished in 33:15 for a 8:19 pace. I was both surprised and pleased. I don’t look at my watch AT ALL during races. I know, I’m weird. I just feel like it will do one of two things- deflate me or psych me out and either way I don’t need that! So I just run on feel.

I was working hard, especially the last mile but I would’ve have said I was running more of that predicted 8:50 pace then in the low 8’s.

My first thought (what an optimist I am) was, “Was this a fluke?” But I have been doing some speed work and Crossfit really provides that HIIT training, so maybe the combination is working.

My next race is a the Caesar Rodney half on March 22nd,2020. I signed up to run because it’s my husband’s favorite race but I also am running a 5 mile race the following week. I hope these two races aren’t too close together.

Crossfit

I am an injury prone runner.

I feel like there should be some sort of support group out there for those of us who are constantly battling some type of injury.

I say this with total sincerity.

Anyway, after my recent surgery and return to running, I somewhat prematurely signed up for a half marathon. Blame wine 🙂 I knew the only way to get through it would be to find a good physical therapist. So, I found one.

And discovered another sad truth about myself.

I am weak.

He devised a PT program for me that revealed just how badly I needed strength training in my life. Every week I would have some tweak and he would fix it with one exercise or another, whereas I would normally just rest it. I knew this was the key if I want to continue running.

I have a friend who does Crossfit and after asking her a little bit about the workouts, I thought it might just be the answer.

So, I contacted a local Crossfit gym.

The owner was so warm and welcoming when we met to discuss my goals. The next thing I knew I was signed up for 10 weeks and this included a nutrition challenge as well. I thought, “Well, here goes nothing.”

I had to do 3 intro classes with him and I could not believe how much these sessions kicked my butt. You think you are in shape until you realize you are not!

Weightlifting has been quite challenging for me. Again, I am weak. I just know this means I have to keep doing it.

I am in my 8th week and I am happy to say that I have given myself so much grace. I just keep telling myself- “Remember when you started running and you couldn’t even run for 5 minutes straight? or another one of my favorites, “Just embrace the suck and be ok with being bad before you get better.”

The days I do crossfit also allow my foot a bit more rest than the normal pounding of running.

Right now I am shooting for 2-3 days a week for Crossfit and 3-4 for running.

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.