The Big Day

Tomorrow morning at 9:50 I am scheduled for the steroid injection in my neck to help with the nerve the bone spur or disc is pressing on.  I found out at my last doctor’s appointment that I will be put under general anesthesia for the injection, and I’ve been having second thoughts ever since.  The numbness is annoying and at times it hurts, but is it worth going through with all this?  General anesthesia isn’t something to be taken lightly, so I’ve been mulling that question in my mind over and over again.

The numbness started back at the beginning of May and progressively got worse until I could no longer ride my bike because it was causing so much pain.  When I first quit riding, the pain & numbness stayed the same, but in the last month and a half, they have gotten less persistent.  Which makes me question if I should just wait it out.

I really want to get back on my bike though, and every time I think, “maybe it’s done being numb & hurting,” it somehow reminds me, and it did so last night while I sat on the bleachers watching my daughter at her practice, and it proceeded to remind me during my sleep last night as well, so I will be going ahead with the injection in the morning.

I’ve been told that it should improve pretty quickly, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to make the last evening group rides of the season next week, probably wishful thinking.  We shall see………….

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Injury update

Since my last update, I went for an MRI on my neck and got the results.  The MRI showed that I had a bone spur on my C6 vertebra that was pressing on the nerve that goes down my arm as it exits the spinal canal.  It also showed some other minor disc issues, but the bone spur is what seems to be causing the issue with arm numbness and pain.   The orthopedist said a bone spur in that area is actually pretty common, and if we did MRI’s on everyone over 40 (which I’m not), then we’d see it on over half the images, but since I’ve had a pretty active life it’s not unusual at my age.  For lack of a better word, he said it was basically some arthritis forming.  Yeah, yeah, just go ahead and say I’m getting old doc.  THANKS!  He thinks that with a cortisone injection the inflammation will go down, and the numbness and pain will get better, and surgery won’t be necessary.  Thank God, because I’m not really sure that would be an option I’m willing to consider.  The pain would have to be really bad before I am willing to go that route, and luckily I’m not in a lot of pain.  As a matter of fact, most of my pain is now gone, so it’s mainly just the numbness that is bugging me still.

On August 30th, the orthopedist referred me to a pain management doctor, but the doctor was to call me.  After a couple of days of not hearing from them, I stopped by their offices on Sept 4th, and I was able to schedule an appointment for tomorrow Sept 10th.  However, the appointment is only for a consultation to discuss the injection.  I wanted to go ahead and schedule the injection as well, but I was told that I had to wait until after the consultation to do that, so hopefully, I can schedule the injection by the end of this week or next at the latest.  My husband keeps telling me that I’ll be self-healed by the time I actually get the injection, and I’m beginning to think he may be right.  At least I can make it to about mile 3 or 4 now on my runs before my arm goes numb, and it doesn’t usually hurt anymore when it does, so my half training is getting back on schedule.  I still can’t bike though, and I’ve been told to stay off my bike until after the injection and preferably  until all numbness is gone.  I’m hoping I can return to biking by the end of September.

My DBS has been put on the back burner for now since I’ve been dealing with my neck issues, but I really think the slow down in everything has probably helped it as well.  I haven’t been able to do all of my exercises for it since some of the positions aggravated my neck worse, so it’s been a vicious cycle, but I’ve been taking my running return slowly, and I’m using the run/walk method doing a 4:1 interval right now.  I’m not back to the speed I’d like to be, but my mileage is almost back on track for my upcoming half marathons this fall, and my hip is holding up.  I was able to do a long run of 8.5 miles yesterday, and I still feel some tightness in it, but no pain, and that’s what counts!  I also ran the Big Peach Sizzler 10K on Labor Day, and even though I did it as a training run and wasn’t trying to PR, I was able to PR it since I hadn’t actually ran a 10K since last August which was my first 10K.  I could have definitely ran it faster and it wasn’t a PR I’m thrilled about, but it was a PR none the less, so it did make me feel better about my half marathons starting next month.

~ Train smart & have fun people!

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Team Hats

Injuries Suck!!!

Ok, so what’s up with me?  I know I’ve been kind of quiet, and honestly I think it’s because I’ve been slightly depressed due to frustration with injuries.  I miss my training buddies, and I miss TRAINING!  But, things are looking up.

After my last update, I went to the PT for my arm numbness & pain which is believed to be due to my C6 vertebra compressing a nerve.  My shoulder had started hurting so bad that I couldn’t finish my last 20 mile bike ride, and I had to call my husband to pick me up on Aug 1st, and I went to the PT on Aug 6th.  The PT did some manual manipulation and put my head in a traction device at PT which felt good at the time, but as soon as I stood up from it, my arm started going numb again.  She instructed me not to bike or run for the next week. ARRGGHHHH!!!!  I still have not gotten back on a bike, but last week, I was able to start back running, and yesterday, I did my first swim since the beginning of August.  My arm is still going numb and starting to hurt during runs, but during my swim Monday, it went numb, but it didn’t hurt.

I feel like I’m totally starting over again with my running since I was off running for well over a month due to my hip, and now I’m still having to run with pain in my shoulder.  My hip feels better though!  🙂  Last week I ran 3 days for a total of only 11 miles.  I’m definitely behind for my upcoming half marathons, but I’m trying to take it easy & not try to build up too fast, so I’ve been using the run-walk method.  This week’s plan is to run 3 days with a total of 13 miles, so I ran 4 miles this morning.  I have just over 6 weeks until the Allstate half which I will be running as a training run, and I have just over 11 weeks to the Savannah RnR half which I was originally going to try to PR, but at this point, since I’m still not 100%, that doesn’t seem very likely, but I’ll see as it gets closer.

As for now, I have an MRI today of my neck which I’m hoping shows the doctors whatever they need to see to make this numbness & pain go away, so I can get back to my full training schedule sometime in the near future.  The PT said she thought I’d probably need injections in my neck to help with the inflammation to relieve the pressure on the nerve.  I’m pretty nervous about having an injection in my neck, but if it’ll help, then I’m willing to try anything right now.

You never know until you try…

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After my Sunday morning run that my BRF’s and I had shared virtually in 3 different locations across Kansas and Georgia, we texted each other photos, and we were all wearing our Headsweats visors.  I’d been thinking about applying for an ambassador program, but I didn’t really know what company to approach until Amber posted the collage of her, Jeneen, and I, and we all had the Headsweats visors on.  It struck me immediately that their visors were something that I loved, and my friends loved them, so I knew it was a product that I’d feel good about sharing with my friends, running buddies, fellow triathletes, and basically everyone I knew.  My Headsweats visor is my favorite visor to run in because the terry cloth sweat band is great for keeping the sweat out of my eyes, and it doesn’t make my forehead itch or break out.

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I went to the Headsweats website, http://www.headsweats.com/, to see if they had an ambassador program, and they did!  However, as I read about the athletes that they sponsored, the self doubt started creeping in, and I wondered if there was really any reason that I should try applying.  Did I really even have a chance?  Their athletes sound pretty accomplished.  I’m still REALLY new in this journey, and they’re sponsoring people who look a lot more fit than me and who have qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  Amber & Jeneen have been encouraging me to apply for an ambassador program though, so I decided to just go for it.

As I finished the application, I didn’t really expect to hear from Headsweats very quickly since the website said it could take up to 90 days, so I just sort of filed it away in the back of my mind.  While I was at Six Flags with my kids yesterday, I checked my phone, and I had a new email from Headsweats.  I was glad to get the response so quick telling me that I wasn’t accepted….oh, no, wait a minute, what does that say?  I am accepted?  Me? Really?  I literally had to read the email multiple times.  I was so excited that I had to have the kids sit down for a second, so I could respond to Headsweats and accept.

What does all this mean?  Well, right now, I’ve got to get a bio and photo together to send to Headsweats to post on their website which is scary.  It’s going to be seen by who knows how many people.  What should I say?  What picture should I use?  Is my grammar correct?  Is it interesting?  I might have a little bit of stress going on about this now, but it’s a good stress.  It also means that all of you get a special opportunity to get a 25% discount!  To get the discount, simply go to http://www.headsweats.com, and use the code INNERSPARTAN on any full-priced purchase to get 25% off.  Myself, I will be ordering the Coolmax Shorty or Super Duty Shorty to try out under my bike helmet.  Keep an eye out for that review in the future.

Super Duty Shorty

Super Duty Shorty

Road to Recovery

It’s 5:15 AM and my alarm clock is blaring.  Am I really ready to jump back into running?  Will this morning be a waste of time and effort, or will my hip hold up?  Well, the only way to find out is to try!  Out the door I go at 5:45 AM to meet my running peeps for a 3 mile run/walk followed by a 20+ mile bike ride!  I’m feeling rather skeptically optimistic.

Beautiful Day!

Beautiful Day! Post run & ride

There’s a group that has been using the Galloway method (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/), and their plan is to run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute, so I figure I’ll give it a go today and see how that works.  I stayed with 2 other ladies who are currently dealing with injuries as well which was kind of neat because when these two are healthy, I don’t have a prayer of keeping up with either one of them, so I got to talk to them about their injuries and road to recovery as well.

One is also dealing with DBS, but hers is much more severe than mine due to several underlying problems that already existed.  She’s been out for about 6 months, and she’s just now been released to start a run/walk program.  She’s hoping to run her 2nd marathon in November, so she has 2 under her belt before she runs Boston in 2014.  Yep, that’s right folks, she qualified for Boston on her 1st MARATHON!  Like I said, I don’t have a chance to run with her normally, so it’s nice to have that opportunity now.

The other girl has a calf injury and her PT is wanting to do dry needling on her, so she was asking us some questions about it since we’ve both had it done before.  She’s hesitant to try dry needling (http://www.neurosportphysicaltherapy.com/services/dry-needling), but due to the results I had on my previous calf injury with dry needling, I’d try it anytime a PT thinks it might help!  It’s a strange sensation, but basically a small needle is inserted into trigger points in the muscle.  You don’t really feel the needle much, if at all, when it is inserted, but when the PT finds the right spot, the muscle feels like it contracts tightly like a cramp or charlie horse and releases immediately.  After having it done on my calf, it was sore for a couple of days.  I had to have 3 sessions on my calf before it was better.  I will have dry needling for my DBS on Tuesday.

Running is always more fun with friends to talk and keep you distracted.  The 3 miles actually went by really fast this morning, and we completed it in just under 36 minutes with our run/walk pattern.  It’s funny that when I started a year ago my first 5K time was slower than that, and I was dying at the end of it, but today’s run felt extremely easy which is nice because one of my main fears with having to take time off due to injury is that I’ll be starting completely back where I was in January 2012.  As I ran today, I did feel the muscle some, but it wasn’t a pain or stretching sensation.  It was just more of it being used like when I do my PT exercises, which is a good sign….I think.  I will say that I won’t be jumping up in distance really soon, and I think I may actually stick to the Galloway method for this season since it’s supposed to help with injury recovery.

After the run, 2 of us jumped on our bikes for at least 14 but maybe up to 28 miles.  I hadn’t rode after running in quite some time since I haven’t ran in forever, so I wasn’t sure how it’d go.  We rode a 14 mile loop, and it wasn’t very hilly, so it was a somewhat leisurely ride.  Instead of doing the 14 mile loop a 2nd time though, we decided to opt for an 8 mile loop, so we ended up with 22 miles total on the bike.

Overall, I’d say today was a pretty successful outing, but I’ll see if my hip agrees with that verdict later this evening since that’s when it usually starts aching.  I’m hoping this means that I can start back running with my running buddies about 3 days a week.  I need their motivation, and I miss my friends!  Running buddies quickly become more than just running partners.  Some of the best conversations about life in general happen while pounding out all those miles!

Just suck it up!

I had planned on getting up and riding at Trek this morning with the group ride, but my bed was calling my name, and I gave myself every excuse as to why I could skip.  Of course, the bed won out, and I ended up sleeping until after 10AM.  As the day went on, the guilt set in.  I hadn’t hurt anyone else and no one was putting this guilt on me other than myself, but I felt like a slug all morning after skipping.  Now, I needed to figure out how to get out of this funk.

My son had a cub scout event at the skating rink, so my husband took him and my daughter, so I had the afternoon to get my lazy butt going.  Not having anyone to ride with and knowing that I’d be doing a long ride tomorrow morning early, I opted to head to the gym to get a swim in.

Even as I walked into the gym, I was trying to talk myself out of my workout.  I’m not sure what’s going on lately, but I think this whole DBS has me in a bit of a funk since I’m not running.  I fought the urge, and I got in the pool and swam the 800 meters that I’d set out to do.  My swimming is definitely improving with the freestyle.  I’ve totally given up the breaststroke due to my hip pain, and I think the freestyle is starting to really pay off.  The added bonus is that the freestyle also works the glute muscles that I need to strengthen, so they are getting the work with the PT exercises as well as the extra swimming now.  After my swim, I decided to ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes to get some more cardio in.  Again, it took everything I had to finish the entire 30 minutes without stopping early.  I haven’t been on a stationary bike in FOREVER, and it sucked!

Knowing that I have a 10K on Labor Day and the Allstate 13.1 in October, I decided when I got home that I’ve got to try to start training again, so tomorrow morning I will be attempting a walk/run for 40 minutes with some supportive friends of mine who have graciously agreed to meet at 6AM.  I’m hoping it goes well because I really don’t have time to put my training off anymore without starting to drop races.  A lot depends on tomorrow morning’s walk/run for me, so I’m off to bed with sweet dreams in my head.