Three Words I Thought I’d Never Say

I miss running.

There… I said it.  And it’s something I never ever ever thought I would say in my life — EVER — but it’s true!

A few weeks back (October 7 to be exact), I went out for a nice little run.  It was less than 3 miles… in the park I usually run at on Mondays.  No big deal.  It felt like a really good run, actually.  I had a good pace and I didn’t feel sore or tired.  I only stopped when I did because I had to go pick up my daughter from her dance class.

The next night (after having a very normal, pain-free day), I went to sleep and at about 1AM I woke up to excruciating pain in my right knee…. so intense it actually woke me from my sleep! I tried stretching and rubbing and doing anything I could think of to make it go away, but nothing would help.  I ended up icing it down and was able to sleep for a couple hours, but when I woke up I was still in terrible pain.

Well, me being the doctor-hater I am (sorry to any doctor’s reading this ..ha!) and having the worst insurance on the face of the earth and being on limited funds….. I decided to just try to take care of it myself and wait a while to see if the pain would go away.  Fast forward one week and after taking it easy on my workouts, stretching it several times a day, using a foam roller religiously and taking some leftover prescription-strength Ibuprofen I had from some dental surgery a while back…. nothing.  I was still in so much pain, especially when I would lie down at night, I could barely sleep and it was painful to even walk or sit.  Not cool.

So I finally sucked it up and made an appointment with an orthopedist – a sports injury specialist.  And of course (reason #10993 I hate doctors), the earliest I could get in to see her was ONE WEEK LATER.  Sigh.

By the time I got in to see her, my pain had gotten a little better.  I could sleep, at least, but bending my knee or squatting or getting out of a chair or car, or doing anything that kept my knee bent for any length of time was still really killing me.  She ended up having me take a steroid pack and more Ibuprofen for a week and wanted me to come back 2 weeks later for a cortisone shot in the knee if things hadn’t improved.

Two weeks later, I’m back in her office… still in pain… but now the pain has gone from my knee all the way up through my quadriceps and hip, rear and lower back.  AGH!!  She decided a cortisone shot wouldn’t be appropriate, since the pain wasn’t localized any more, and referred me to a “physiotherapist” instead.  Yes…. this is after a full month in pain and not much relief yet!

So now I’ve been going to this physiotherapist/chiropractor’s office for the past week, and I am feeling a lot less pain, but I still can’t run.  And now the physiotherapist has found a whole slew of things wrong with me — from my neck to my upper and lower back, to my hips and leg.  What started out as a pain in my knee has now turned in to a diagnosis that basically my entire body is falling apart!    *sigh*

Check out these Xrays (just cuz I think Xrays are cool).

This first one is my lower back.  The green is where things should be, and the red is where things actually are.  Kind of explains why I’m always having lower back pain and sciatica.

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Then this one is my neck.  The person on the left has a “normal” neck.  The one on the right is mine.  I had no idea a neck was supposed to be curved, but my doctors say it is.  And mine is straight.  That is apparently not a good thing.

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Anyway!  So this long story is all to say….  I’m still in some serious pain and I haven’t been able to run in over a month now, and I really miss it.  As much as I hate it while I’m doing it, I miss the great feeling I get when it’s over.  I am actually jealous of the people I see running on the side of the road now.  And my sweet husband has been trying to become a runner.  I’m really happy he’s trying so hard, but it does bum me out when I see him tie up his shoes and head out in the mornings.  😦  And sadly, I actually signed up for my very first full-fledged 5k that’s next week and now I’m going to have to walk it.  THAT SUCKS.

Ah well… enough of the pity party!  A good friend of mine was hit by a car the other day while riding his bike and is in pretty critical condition at the hospital right now, so I feel like a huge, ungrateful baby even whining about such a small ailment as this.  I am truly blessed to have the health I have.  I just hope I can get back to 100% one of these days.  And I promise I won’t complain about running any more if/when I do!  You can hold me to that!

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I’ll Take the Little Victories Where I Can Get Them

Well, the scale still refuses to budge any faster than a snail, but I did celebrate a little milestone today. I ran for 35 minutes straight without stopping. Yay me!

I know this is hardly a major feat by most people’s standards… and it was on a treadmill, which I admit is a lot easier than running on the road… but I think my previous record was 20 minutes (maybe 25?) so it was a pretty big deal to me! My quads were on fire for the last ten minutes so it was a tough mind game at the end, which made me feel even better that I didn’t give up sooner.

I even took a little post-run selfie in celebration of my accomplishment. Sweaty, un-made-up-face and all!  Hey, I gotta celebrate when I can!!

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Weekly Weigh-in

Well, despite my consumption of way too many chocolate chip cookies earlier in the week, I was able to lose a pound this week.  Yay!  I think these two-workouts-a-day days are doing some good finally!  What a blessing to be working from home now so I have the time to do what I need to do.

So while I was feeling all pumped up this morning I hurried over to the Y to swim some laps.  I was a bit worried because I knew it wouldn’t be empty like it was the last time I went swimming, but it ended up being ok.  There were four lap lanes open and all four had someone in them, which of course made me nervous at first, but I got over it, picked a lane and jumped in.

And guess what!  Last time I did 20 laps (or about 1/4 mile) in 35 minutes.  Today I did 40 laps (or about 1/2 mile) in 35 minutes!  YAY!!  That’s not exactly iron man speed, but hey it was great progress for me!  I did a lot less resting and a lot more swimming today.  🙂

Now to keep this momentum going!

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Swimming Right Outta My Comfort Zone

When we joined the YMCA a couple years ago, one of the things I was most excited about was their beautiful indoor pool.  I pictured myself hitting it up all the time, swimming laps, getting some good workouts in.  Well that was almost 2 years ago, and how many times have I used the pool?  Zero.

“Why?” you ask.  Well… because it intimidated me!  Or more specifically, the people who use the pool intimidated me!  I may have lost some weight, but I still have a long way to go and I’m extremely uncomfortable wearing a bathing suit in public. I also haven’t swam for exercise since I was on the swim team as a little girl.  I wasn’t even sure if I could swim more than a lap without dying.

This is pretty much how I picture myself at the pool:

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Well, the past few months I have been challenging myself to shake up my workouts a little bit. I kinda got into a rut with running, and with the really hot weather coming it’s going to become harder to run anyway (except on the treadmill and I hate the treadmill).  But there’s just not a whole lot of variety around these parts.  I love the Y but their gym equipment is super basic — just the usual treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes.  They don’t even have a rowing machine, which makes me very sad.  I love taking group classes, but even those are very limited.

So that led me to the thought that I really should give swimming a try. This probably sounds really stupid to you normal people out there, but it took me weeks to psych myself up and get the courage to try.

But I did it!

Last night I finally put on my Target tankini and a pair of my daughter’s swim goggles and hauled my butt down to the Y at 7:30PM (when I calculated the fewest people would be there to witness) and I actually swam laps for the first time in over 20 years.  As you can see… no one was there!  It was the perfect time to go.

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 And guess what — it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I had made it out to be.  In fact, I’d almost say I enjoyed it!  Don’t get me wrong… it was still exercise and it was pretty boring exercise at that… but it was really nice to get in some variety and to feel some new muscles being worked.

I did 20 laps, which ends up being 500 yards, or only 1/4 a mile, and that took me a half hour.  Yipes.  That sure doesn’t seem like good stats!  But hey I did it and I’m happy I’ve found something to add a bit of variety to my workout routine.  Will I do it all the time?  Probably not… but I can see myself swimming once a week for sure.  My shoulders and back are feeling it today and I like that.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately?  Do you like to swim for exercise?  I’d love to hear your experiences.

Lifting Weights to Lose Weight — will it work for me??

It started with a visit to my doctor.  It was actually a great visit, which is a miracle for me because (no offense to you doctors out there), I hate doctors.  I’ve hated them since as far back as I can remember; mostly because every doctor I’ve been to likes to attribute any problem I might have to being overweight.  Have any of you overweight people noticed that?  You can go in for a sinus infection and somehow the doctor will work in a way to tell you you need to lose weight.  As if I don’t know I’m a fatty already. It drives me nuts.

Anyway!  That’s a rant for another time.

So a couple weeks ago I went to my new family doctor to get a referral to a dermatologist.  I hadn’t planned on talking to him about anything other than the dermatology issue, and I certainly didn’t plan on talking to him about my weight loss, but of course as it always does with doctors, it came up.  This time was different, though.  For the first time I can ever remember, a doctor actually told me my weight “wasn’t that bad.”  Believe me I almost fell off of my chair.  And what was even more amazing was, he actually talked to me about my weight loss for about ten minutes instead of rushing me out the door.  He complimented me on how far I’ve come and actually sympathized with my frustration over my plateau.  Compliments and sympathy are two things I’ve never gotten from a doctor.  It was truly a momentous visit.

We talked for quite a bit about different things he wants me to try — one of them being to work out more often, and another is to add more weight training to my routine.  The first one really didn’t sit well with me because I already work out 4-5 days a week for about 45 minutes to an hour (while being a mom and working full-time). I couldn’t hide the disgust on my face when he told me he wanted me to up that to 5-6 days a week.  He calmed me down by assuring me that if I upped my workout frequency, I could cut down on the duration…. especially if I changed my workouts to be more centered on weight training instead of cardio.  Hmm… interesting theory.

He told me that I needed to stop thinking like an obese person; that I had needed lots of cardio to get to this point, but my body is different now. I guess I never thought about it like that.  Of course he gave me a whole lot more details that I won’t bore you with, but basically he said if I’ll up my workout frequency to 5-6 days a week, and make them 60/40 cardio/weights (while keeping to my healthy diet, of course), he thinks I’ll start seeing some weight loss results.  He said he’d eventually like me to make that more like 50/50… or even 40/60, but for now let’s experiment with the 60/40 combo and see how it goes.

Well, you know I’m desperate to bust this plateau, so of course I’m giving it a try.  And guess what… after following his plan for two weeks…. so far I’m up 4 pounds!!  Yes, you read that right… UP 4 pounds!  Wow.

You probably think I’m gonna give up on this experiment, but I’m not, for a couple of reasons.  1) I haven’t been 100% great with my diet over the two weeks (although I haven’t been terrible either, but still it’s not fair to judge unless I’m going to commit to a clean diet while I try).  And 2) It’s that wonderful time of month so who knows what’s going on with water retention and whatnot.

So this week I’ve committed to sticking to a clean diet and adding more weight training to my routine.  We’ll see how I’m feeling at the end of this week.  It sure would be nice to see some pounds come off, but at the very least it’s got to help me tone up and shrink a little bit, right?

I’ll keep you posted.

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Your Legs Are Not Giving Out …

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I usually hate little saying like this, but I saw this one on Pinterest right before I went out for my run on Saturday, and I have to say — it really helped!  Every time I felt like stopping because my legs were sooooo tired, I’d think of this and push it just a little bit farther.

I ended up doing my longest run yet — 44 minutes of running (and 14 minutes of walking).  And guess what?  My legs didn’t give out!  Right on!