Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Black and Blue...but is it working?!

So my Chiropractor is doing myofascial release, along with message and a wee bit of laser on my knee. It is incredibly painful (the myofascial part) and has left my leg literally black and blue with bruises. Owie. Initially, my leg felt "freed up" and I went for a glorious 7km pain-free run. Then I had another session and the results were less than awesome. Albeit, it is incredibly humid around the city at the moment, so I can't blame my crappy run on just one thing, still. My leg felt like I had DOMS and my ankle decided that it would swell up-yay :-/ Even with that though I squeaked out another 5k run. This Navy 10k is happening, so I'd better be ready (that's what got me out the door yesterday anyhow lol). Dr. Google has mixed feelings about this black and blue thing. I am pretty sure I bruise fairly easily, which I blame on fair skin, but is it normal?! Some forums say yes, it is pretty common, although I don't know if they mean a tiny little bruise or the ones I'm currently sporting that run down my leg from the thigh to the calf? Others say heck no, they're doing it wrong if you bruise, you should go lighter. To that I wonder, is that just a reflection of general society's view now that any therapy should be as pain-free as possible? I disagree and know that sometimes a bit of pain, or yucky tasting medicine, is the best way to go, even if it makes you scream at hilarious octaves. Either way, even with the bruising, my knee feels more mobile and less painful overall (no more stabbing pain all day, every day!) so I'll keep up the Chiropractor routine for a bit longer, I just hope I don't need to wear a swim suit any time soon lol.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shoe Review! Saucony Hurricane 16s

First off I have to say this shoe is the cushiest shoe I've ever had. Period. I've run on sidewalk, road and trail with it and it gives the same consistent ride through all types of terrain. Large trail rocks are no match for them-no footpad bruises! It has a much larger heel to toe offset than I would have normally chosen (8mm) but I wanted a shoe with lots of forefoot cushion since my gait pattern has changed since I started running again and I'm rolling much more to the right on my right foot and literally running on the side of my left foot, gawd, I must look like a hobbling duck. Anyway, back to the shoe. Here are my Pros and Cons: Pros: Cushion: Cushy factor is at a 10. If you've been nervous about taking the maximalist shoe leap and buying a pair of Hokas, this shoe might be nice middle ground for you. I grow about 6 inches with them on, they have a big platform to store all that cushion, but I don't find it bothers me. Ventilation: Even though it looks like a lot of shoe, Saucony covered the top of the shoe with a durable mesh that lets your foot breathe, even in 30 degree (Celsius) weather. Traction: Although not an actual trail shoe, this shoe has decent enough treads that you won't be nervous to run down a dirt trail or cross a stream in them. Responsiveness: Now I'm not bombing down trails and making super fast changes in direction with my messed up knee, but I like to think my usual street to trail route changes enough that I can say that this shoe doesn't try to "control" your foot at all, it goes where you want it to even though its actually billed as a stability shoe. Cons: Weight: The weight is a bit heavier than what I'm used to, coming in at 9.5 ounces, when most other shoes I've run in lately are less than 5 ounces, but really, it didn't take long to adjust to that small difference in weight. Heel Lock feature: Umm, what? My husband has the men's version of this shoe and he loves how it "locks" his ankle in place. Mine, not so much. I have to really tie down my foot tightly to get my ankle to stay put, but it hasn't given me a blister or anything yet, I'm just not buying this "lock" feature they speak of. Toe upper: What the heck is this huge cushiony thing? It seems a bit over-stuffed and I was concerned that the toe upper would irritate me as I ran by slapping against the front of my ankle, but it's been fine actually. I was also worried it would act like a sponge and collect water or sweat (yuck!) as I ran, but it hasn't done that either. All that cushion in that part of the shoe seems a wee bit like overkill in my opinion. So, all in all, this is a decent shoe. It is not my all-time favorite, but right now, as I come back from injury/with injury, it is a comfortable shoe that responds well during a run on any terrain. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars overall.

New Therapy-what the heck

I went to my GP yesterday about my new stabbing pain in my knee. Again, for the millionth time, I love my GP. She is so kind and she's also a runner so she knows my focus is to regain the quality of life I had before I messed up my knee. She checked out my knee and agreed that most of the HA fluid has probably gone straight into the lower left patella bursa, so it really hasn't been helping with my knee issue at all, although the double kneecap look sure is interesting lol. She asked how much I was running and was actually shocked that I'm running through this pain, I told her my surgeon told me to haha. In all honesty though, I would still try to run even if he hadn't told me to continue ;-) So, in the end she disagrees with my surgeon that for the next 5 months or so I should just deal with the pain, so she's sending me to a Chiropractor. I'm up for anything at this stage. It sounds a bit odd, but really, the issue is with bones and cartilage so I guess this makes sense. Whatever. This guy comes highly recommended and he's a triathlete himself, so at least I'll find a kindred spirit. Now hopefully I won't have to wait a month to see him :-/ As for my running plan, I'm continuing on, as best I can with my Breg shortrunner brace, and hope that the stabbing pain doesn't mess up every single run.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shaking Things Up to Keep Moving

What I had secretly hoped was a bit of overdoing-it-related pain has made itself known its an issue and I'd better deal with it. That stabbing pain hasn't gone away, and in fact its crept into general walking as well. Something is wrong with the medial side of my knee. I don't know if its just the OA or if something has worn down or if the meniscus is more damaged than it was when I got the MRI in February. I just don't know. What I do know is that this hurts damn it. So, taking the bull by the horns so to speak I decided to postpone my long run this weekend and do some cross training instead. I can certainly say my arms and butt needed it! Oww! I did a great chest, shoulders and arms workout Saturday and followed it up with an hour of legs and back on Sunday. Since both workouts required minimal knee involvement I felt great. I think this might be the magic pill for me; if I can get in one of those workouts each day (or most days) then I won't feel as horrible if I have to do more walking than running when I'm hitting the streets and trails AND I'll be following my surgeon's advice by continuing to work out. Now, big ideas aside, I really do need to do something about this silly pain. I know if I want to keep building my mileage (and heck-finish that half marathon in September!) I will need to find a way to run without feeling like I've got a gremlin stabbing at my knee with each step. I looked at unloader braces, but they seems pretty extreme. Do I really need something like that? Tightening and adjusting the hinges in my short runner brace isn't helping much anymore. If I was talking with someone else about this I would tell them to see their physiotherapist, but my surgeon didn't think I needed to see one. Ugh. A wee bit frustrating but then again none of this issue has been really easy (aside from the MRI appointment - Love you Mom!). Okay, so I've got 8 weeks to get trained for a half marathon and find a way to cope with this new pain. Sometimes when I'm running I wonder if one day my knee will just decide its had enough and totally give out on me and that will be it for running, but then there are other days when I hear from people who've overcome injures similar in severity to mine saying "Find a way around the injury, don't let it be a crutch!" And my perseverance side kicks in and I know I will continue to push on any way I can.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A new Mantra

Ow, ow, ow. That's been my mantra for the past couple of runs and recovery days. Ugh. I'm at a loss. I haven't done anything unusual to my knee but its angry nonetheless. Every footfall feels either like bone is hitting bone (like a pencil being poked REALLY hard into the side of your knee if you want a comparison), or it has felt like someone stuck steel wool in there. It's only on one side so I'm starting to wonder if that so-called "minor" tear in my meniscus has somehow gotten bigger? Or maybe my knee just isn't happy for some other reason. Either way, running, with or without a brace at the moment, sucks. My angry knee is twice the size of my good knee, even with daily icing and rest days. Okay, so with that whining done, what do I do about this? The way I see it I have three options, each with their own issues. 1. Go see another doctor. The Pros to this is that maybe they'll tell me what is going on and be able to help take away this pain. The Cons is what I've been dealing with since I injured myself. Doctors that if they don't see an issue on an X-ray, there's nothing wrong, right? Well I have a healed cracked knee, slightly torn meniscus and 50% of my cartilage that says xrays don't show the full picture all of the time. Never mind waiting in that ER eats up half of a day. 2. See my doctor for a physio referral. Pros, I know my doctor will give me one and maybe the physiotherapist will figure out what's going on. I could get a different brace, one that is called an un-loader so it takes the pressure of that angry side of my knee..or Cons, they could be as incompetent as my last physiotherapist and do more harm than good. 3. Do nothing, keep running with the brace, grit through the pain, ice constantly, and hope someday I don't totally collapse on the sidewalk. Pros...well that saves me tons of time in doctor visits. Cons, well that description pretty well sums it up. So what do I do?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How did I forget that?!

Yesterday I managed to forget to bring my brace. Yeah, really. Somehow I totally forgot the 5lbs of neoprene and plastic hinges sitting on my kitchen counter as I packed the rest of my gear. I had a remarkably short debate with myself at the end of the day when I was getting ready for my run-commute. Do I skip it since I have no idea how my knee will feel afterwards if I run without it (but probably not great), or say screw it and go for it. I went for it. In the interest of total honesty though it did take me 5 minutes to work up the courage to transition from a walk to a jog. The run itself went pretty darn good. The Saucony Hurricane 16's are incredibly cushy but comfortable. My feet were very happy. My knee...not so much. I kept dialing back my pace and taking short little steps to keep the impact to a minimum, but even then it felt like someone was stabbing a pencil into the side of my knee with each footfall. Guess I need that brace after all. After my daughter and I got home we quickly threw our stuff aside and jumped (I stepped ;-)) into the small pool we bought the other day. My knee was instantly happier after getting submerged in the cold water. I sat there for a good 5 minutes watching my daughter dance around with the pool noodles. Now this is the kind of recovery I can get used to! So, so far so good. I managed my 5k of training yesterday. Today I've got either a 5k or some speed work (Ha!) of 7x400. I think I may switch up the so-called "speed work" with hill training of 7x30 seconds though since I'm likely to get a better workout that way with the brace on. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about my chances of completing the Navy 10k and then the Half Marathon. I am also longing for one of Jodi and Karine's trail races, but when their 5k trail race equals the toughest 10k you've ever imagined, I know I'm not ready for that kind of running...just yet. My heart is already back out there though, now I just need my legs to catch up!

Monday, July 13, 2015

I'm In! (Gulp)

I pulled the trigger. I took the leap. Yup, I signed up for a half marathon in September! I don't think I've been this nervous since my first ultra! Okay, so the details. I'm running the Sunrise Half Marathon at the Maritime Race Weekend on September 12th. I've run the full marathon on this course so I know the half marathon route, which follows the first 40% of the full marathon route. It's a scenic, hilly but fun half marathon. It also comes with swag and a cool medal, which is half the reason I picked it. My opinion is that if I'm going to do this I want something to show for it in the end and while the MEC half marathon in October is a bit easier and cheaper it doesn't give me anything other than a non descript bib to show for my training and effort on race day. I want the medal, damn it! It also helps that this race course goes right past my house, so travel won't be an issue ;-) I've got four weeks to my first 10k race with my brace. So far the training has been going pretty well. I haven't had any major setbacks and I've managed to be consistent with at least 4 runs a week. So far so good. I decided to follow the Runner's World Half marathon training plan because I think I need some guidance and the fact it also follows a run 4 times a week schedule. This weekend it has me doing a 12k run. I haven't gone that far yet this year (at one go), so I'm excited/nervous at the prospect. The bonus though is that I finally got NEW SHOES! Yes, my husband and I both got a pair of Saucony Hurricane 16s this past Saturday. I actually haven't run in them yet per se, but I plan on it this afternoon as I do my first Half Marathon training run of 5k. So, stay tuned for a shoe review coming soon!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Being thankful and daring to dream

Yesterday's run was a good run. It was hot as all heck but I managed a solid pace for 3 miles. I was extra pleased later last night when my leg wasn't throbbing like crazy either. It just goes to show some days will be good. I wanted to post on Facebook but it just seems so silly to post "Had a great 3 mile run!", yet I could use the support too. I am so thankful for my mother who made sure I got treatment right away and I didn't have to be a victim of Canada's public health wait list for a year. I'm thankful for my wonderful husband who supports me by taking care of our daughter so I can run and caring enough to ask how I'm feeling. I'm also grateful for my online support which, honestly, has really helped me as they also know what it's like to live with OA day to day and all the ups and downs that brings. I'm also SO incredibly thankful for still being able to get out there and run most days, even if it is with a leg brace now. On my run yesterday I made sure to go through one of the only parks between my work and my daughter's day camp. As I ran along the tiny little patch of dirt trail I imagined being in one of Jodi and Karine's races, with the forest around me and 45kms ahead. Ah, a girl can dream, right?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another Pep Talk and new Plan of Action

Yesterday I had a check up with my orthopedic surgeon. I pretty well knew what would be said before I got in there. So it was no surprise I had my fifth pep talk about this injury taking time to heal, as much as it will, and if I don't find any significant relief in the next few months I can ask for another HA injection. The first injection seemed to improve how long I could go through the day without pain meds so maybe in a few months another one will help get me back into better running form. We'll see. Between now and November though I'll be doing all I can to get my leg back to the new normal as best I can. My plan of attack: 1. Keep running, consistently at least 4 times a week. 2. Run that 10k in August and half marathon race in the fall. I would personally like I run a half marathon a bit earlier than what I have planned but we'll see if there are any cheaply priced ones around. 3. Lose these damned injury pounds. I've been thinking about going vegetarian, I pretty much follow that way of eating now, except for, well, bacon. 4. Look for a non-neoprene leg brace. I didn't know neoprene would give me a rash if I wear it too long, but now I know. It's probably been adding to my hatred of the thing so the less I resent the brace the better. 5. Get a new pair of running shoes! A new pair of running shoes is a great motivator for any runner but besides that I seriously need a new pair. So that's it. My in-laws are visiting tonight but I'm still going to get my short run-commute in before making supper for them. I'll try not to drip into the pots and pans lol.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Slog On!

Well, even after yesterday's whine fest I managed to get out for a run. The heat was insane as I left work so I was happy to jump on the indoor track (that circles an ice rink!) once I picked up my daughter from day camp. In total I managed 5km walking and running, but more walking really. Regardless, I was soaked and from what I hear today will be more of the same. I've been trying to space out my runs so I have a day of rest between them but with this week's schedule; my surgeon appointment tomorrow afternoon, then my in-laws (maybe) visiting Thursday overnight, I want to make sure a possible two days rest doesn't evolve into three or four days. But back to yesterday's run. I started off slow, because hey, I've got a leg brace on so I figure no one will be too judgey if I'm moving at a snail's pace, trying hard to focus on my landings so I push off from a neutral position rather than over pronate, which I've somehow developed lately (I need to see a physiotherapist again!). I thought about a YouTube video I was watching/listening to earlier which discussed how to "reverse" arthritis. The host had some interesting opinions about extinction events and vaccines, but his reasoning around food, exercise and pain certainly gave me a few light bulb moments. His case was that it is processed food which is causing our bodies to develop chronic conditions, such as repetitive overuse injuries, MS and arthritis, and by going vegetarian and exercising at least 30 minutes a day we would alleviate much of the issues we experience. I'm not sure its the miracle cure he says but it certainly is simple (and cost efficient) enough to try. So, 30 minutes a day shouldn't be too hard. I already do that in a typical day. It's the no meat and no processed foods bit that will be more difficult. It did have me thinking about my recent trip to France though. Honestly, I saw one overweight person while I was there and you wouldn't consider her obese. Their culture is not obsessed with food or diets, although they love their food. They eat three-four meals a day. Their meals are big enough (and delicious) to satisfy you until the next meal so snacking just isn't a thing there. Really. I didn't see corner stores selling candy, chips or sticks of pepperoni and cheese, nope. You eat a real meal and move on. No one was fretting about this sauce or those calories at all. Top that off with endless amounts of daily walking and you've got a society filled with average-sized, healthy adults. I think we in North America could learn a thing or two about that approach, but then the multi-billion dollar diet industry would be out of business. But I digress... Once I got to the day camp we went up to the refreshing ice rink track and did laps for 30 minutes. My daughter raced around me, lapping me as she stopped for breaks in between (the little speed monster!). It was nice to get back on the track though. I used to spend a lot of time there and I know how helpful those sessions were to my training over the years. For a moment I had the glint of feeling like my old runner-self, just with an extra 30lbs of "injury" pounds added. One day, one run, at a time right? Right.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I can do this...right?

This past week of running has been a slog-fest. I've forced myself to get through each run interval and walked far more than I should. I've been achieving my goals in distance but it's literally been taking me twice as long as it used to to accomplish it. It is very frustrating. To boot, I need new shoes as the ones I bought just before the accident have finally worn out, or rather my "good" leg's shoe has worn out from the new weight imbalance. I don't even know what shoe would work for me nowadays. Do I continue to buy minimal shoes, knowing I need far more forefoot padding than I used to? Do I stick with what I know? Does it matter since I'm slower than a turtle in peanut butter? I'm not just frustrated with my shoe choice though, it's my lack of groove. I just want to be back to normal. I want to just throw on a pair of shoes and go, to feel that steady beat of my feet, wind in my hair and sweat on my forehead. Lately though it's felt more like some kind of weird horse gallop, no wind (I'm not going fast enough) and yes, there is sweat, a lot of it, everywhere except on my forehead. Ugh. I'm doubting myself. My ability to "get through this", my ability to bounce back in any shape or form. It doesn't help that my husband, who used to be my biggest supporter, now me tells me to take more time off. I am taking it easy though. Honestly. I run up to 4 times a week (down from 6-7) and I still haven't cracked that 8km mark, although I've only made it to 8km once in the past 6 months. So it's not like I'm overdoing it. I see my surgeon this week. This appointment is an update since I had the HA injection 3 months ago. I'll tell him that I think it had some positive affect. I don't hurt all day long any longer, now the more severe pain waits until the end of the day. I'll also tell him that I need a new physiotherapist as my last one was a total bust (treating the wrong side of the knee). I still ice every. single. day. I still take pain killers every. single. day. My leg still swells, sometimes with the changes in weather, sometimes for no apparent reason at all. And I still wake up most nights with some kind of leg pain, whether it be my quadriceps or my knee. We'll see what he says. I don't really expect him to do anything actually. I expect him to tell me (again) to have patience and that this takes time and to continue to push through the pain when I run...and he'll see me in another 3 months. I don't expect him to suggest more HA therapy or anything more invasive, and I can't get a different brace until next year when my insurance will cover it, so really, there's not much to chat about. But I'll go, because at least he encourages me to run.