About three weeks ago (after finally being cleared to workout), my ankle started getting worse, instead of better. It was swollen. It hurt like hell.
And there was a weird lump.
Turns out, I tore a muscle on the inside of my ankle, just above the joint. (Chances are, this tear happened back in July/August when the injury first developed. My doc thinks the tear got worse last month, and that’s why I had the increased swelling and pain).
Here’s the gross part:
That lump on my ankle? I later was told it was scar tissue, blood and other fluid pooling at my ankle. Awesome. Super sexy.
I was told that I couldn’t work out (again) and that I had to take it easy. That meant Kinesio tape, ankle brace, icing and anti-inflammatory meds. Of course, did I listen? (you know the answer).
Nope. I spent a good 12+ hours setting up, working and cleaning up at Paxton’s Pablove Fest that weekend. I was in charge of the merchandise tent, so I was able to sit down pretty often. But, not enough. The next morning, my ankle was even more swollen and painful. I wore my calf compression sleeve, the kinesio tape and my brace the next day. And it just kept getting worse. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t have missed out on Paxton’s Pablove Fest for anything. NOTHING would have kept me away. NOTHING. Luckily, my doctor recognized how important it was for me to be there at the event, not only personally, but also to fulfill my commitments to Team Paxton.
That didn’t stop him from scolding me though.
That Monday at work, I was in so much pain – just sitting at my desk. I couldn’t take it any longer and called to get an earlier appointment at the doctor. They did x-rays, e-stim and ultrasound therapy. The x-rays confirmed there was no break (they wanted to make sure), but my doc said there was significant inflammation (duh) along with the aforementioned scar tissue and blood. The doctor said he knew I did what I needed to do that Saturday, but that now I needed to focus on my own health.
So, I’ve been on crutches for two weeks. I *just* got off them yesterday. I’ve worn my calf sleeves more in the past two weeks than in the last year! There’s been a lot of tape, ice, meds, resting, brace wearing and elevating. I’m finally in a place where I’m not in constant, horrible pain. Right now, it’s more like a really bad ache.
Amy of Losing It Without Losing Me graciously provided me with a free entry to this race! I have participated in this race since 2010. In 2010 I ran the half, and it was my second ever race, first of that distance. I came back in 2011 to try out the 5K, and this year ran the half again. I was worried about the weather for this event, given the extreme heat we’ve been having here in WI this summer (and having had the Madison Marathon cancelled on me in late May), but it turned out to be the most perfect running weather. Low 50s at the start, sunny and a very light breeze. I arrived at Memorial Union around 6:30am for the 7am start, jogged ½ a mile, and lined up at the porta-johns. There was actually a huge line, and there was some question of whether I’d have time to go or not. Luckily everyone sensed the urgency and the line sped up! I had just enough time to speed-walk up to my corral. The corrals were big enough that we weren’t packed in like sardines (this was an issue for me in the 2010 race).
The gun went off at 7am on the dot and we headed straight for the Capitol square and alongside the lovely farmer’s market. I got to high-five Bucky and hear the UW pep band. There was no bottle-necking or snags of people to get around at the beginning so I was able to pace myself appropriately from the very start. The route then continued down State Street (the main drag of town) where there was great crowd support. A sign that said “I’m proud of you, perfect stranger” made me smile!
After meandering around the south end of the UW campus, we ventured into the Vilas neighborhood toward the Arboretum. This provided a few very scenic miles, though lacking in crowd support. It was actually a little chilly (though refreshing!) since it was more shaded. Some rolling hills were involved, but nothing too noteworthy. I made an effort to speed up on the down-hills to make up for the slower pace on the up-hills and keep the overall pace consistent.
After exiting the Arboretum, we made our way back on to neighborhood streets toward campus. I saw a ‘Call me maybe’ themed sign which made me laugh. When we passed the ten mile marker, I noted that I had just PR’d in the 10 mile by almost a minute and realized it was a legitimate possibility for a PR in the half. I skipped a few aid stations here, as there were more than enough. I had just been taking a few sips of Gatorade here and there but wasn’t really thirsty since it wasn’t hot out.
Heading toward Picnic Point on the shore of Lake Mendota, I started feeling pretty fatigued and unsure I could keep up my pace. Around then, thankfully, I spotted the 1:45 pace group, which gave me a boost of confidence, and I just tried to keep them in my line of sight as much as possible. It also helped that the last 1.5 miles or so are on Lakeshore path, which is part of my regular running route and I knew it was all flat until right before the finish chute. Unfortunately I knew there was also a little hill right before the finish chute which was very rough. I did my best to sprint it in, but I don’t think I really sped up! I must have looked spent after crossing the line, since a volunteer asked if I needed help. I was fine after a few deep breaths, and ran over to my friend who was a volunteer medal distributor and gave her a big, sweaty hug!
I quickly grabbed all my swag – water, banana, chips, cookies, beer, etc. and rounded up my cheer section. We chatted on the terrace overlooking the lake before setting out on a walk around the farmer’s market. That made for a nice cool-down! My official time was 1:45:50, which was a PR by just over 2 minutes. They also recorded some splits which confirmed that this was the most evenly-paced race I’ve ever done: 5 Mile – 40:06 (8:02 pace), 10 Mile – 1:20:54 (8:06 pace), and last 5K – 24:56 (8:03 pace).
Thank you, Keegan, for sharing your race report! And, congrats on your new, shiny PR!
It was in the second half of a horrible half marathon last month that I began to wonder if something was wrong.
Horrible pain in the center of my left ankle, shooting up my leg.
And now, more mental anguish.
Today one of my fears became reality.
I won’t be running the Lakefront Marathon.
I won’t be running the Madison Mini Marathon.
I won’t be running the Brewers Mini Marathon.
This was supposed to be my year. No injuries. Smart training. Life goals accomplished. Complete a marathon before I turn 30 in November. Run four half marathons plus Ragnar as training runs for the marathon.
First, I slipped on the ice and threw out my back. Then I nursed a strained quad muscle. And just as that injury was healed, my ankle decided to be a little bitch.
The day after the Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon, I went to see my doctor. I wasn’t having the normal post race pain. I was afraid it was serious. Perhaps a stress fracture. X-rays showed inflammation and the start of arthritis. Lovely, but something I could deal with. Doctor’s orders were to rest (i.e. NO RUNNING for two weeks), ice, brace, etc. As much as it killed me, I obliged.
I’ve been going stir crazy. Besides a few short walks with my dog I haven’t done ANYTHING since that race. Two weeks later, the pain is still there. Nothing had changed. Dr. H. referred me to an orthopedic specialist this week. I saw Dr. B. late this afternoon. After an exam and closer look at my x-rays from two weeks ago, Dr. B. concluded that inflammation, tendonitis and a tiny bone spur were to blame for the pain. Besides the tendonitis on the front of my ankle, the inflammation and bone spur are in the middle of my ankle. Like the exact middle/inside of my ankle. That’s why it doesn’t matter how I move or walk on it, it hurts. He also explained that repeated pressure (i.e. running) and inclines would continue to aggravate my ankle.
Dr. B. said the good news is, it isn’t serious. The bad news is, the recovery will take months.
Absolutely no running.
No walking, beyond normal, daily stuff until the pain is gone. Then, only short walks with short strides on flat surfaces, working up to walking longer distances on flat surfaces.
Major anti-inflammatory meds for the next 3-4 weeks (or longer).
Continue to wear a brace daily.
Wear athletic shoes for the next 3 weeks (which means I’ll be rocking the dresses and running shoes look at work).
Stretching 3-4 times a day.
Yeah. It fucking sucks.
Dr. B. told me I could bike, as long as I use the heel of my left foot on the pedal.
I’m so lost right now. I’m heartbroken.
I’m going to have a pity party for a few days, including eating all the feelings. Yes. Even yours.
Then, I’m going to force myself to live with the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ll bike. I’ll swim. I’ll do upper body strength training.
Just had my first official “get off my lawn” old lady moment.
There is a family who lives in my building. There are a lot of kids up there. I don’t even know how many. A variety of ages. There might be a couple of families. The kids are nice. They like miss Beep.
I am not, however, their personal doorman.
Since I’m guessing the adults have the apartment keys, when they are gone, if the kids leave and the door hasn’t been propped open, they ring doorbells until someone answers. I’ve stopped answering when my doorbell rings, unless I’m expecting someone.
Tonight, the ringing was ridiculous. I jumped (ok, hobbled) out of bed, opened my door and yelled at a kid, “You guys seriously need to stop ringing my bell.” Then I slammed my door.
No joke, within 5 minutes the door was ringing every thirty seconds. Meanwhile, Beep is going batshit crazy. I storm back up the stairs and there is no one there. The doorbell is ringing. The apartment where the kids live? Someone is standing at their door. I can hear all the doorbells in my building dinging. I slammed the bells outside, went back to my apartment and shut the door.
Maybe there’s a problem with our doorbell system? All I know is, I’m calling the manager in the morning.
Sweet baby Paxton ended his battle with cancer Monday morning. I cannot begin to understand or imagine the pain this family is going through. What I do know is that this family needs to feel our love right now more than ever. Even if you don’t know John or Danna or their families, please help them honor this sweet, peaceful little boy.
Please join us Saturday for a tribute to our Peaceful Warrior. Paxton has touched so many hearts in his short life. On, Saturday, we will pay tribute to this sweet baby boy.
Many of you have prayed, offered words of encouragement, contributed to his medical care fund, shared his story here and elsewhere, even though you may have never met the Andrews family. They would like to meet all of you. They would like to thank you. They want to be strangers no more.
Let’s surround this family with love on Saturday, and show Paxton that even in his short time here with us, that he was loved by his entire community, his own Army of Love.
I hope to see your beautiful faces on Saturday.
Arrangements for a tribute service have been made. It will be held Saturday, July 7, 2012 at Alverno College Rotunda and Conference Center. Visitors are asked to use the main entrance on 43rd Street in Milwaukee, and park in the ramp. Visitation will be held from 12 to 3 p.m., and a memorial service from 3-4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Paxton’s Angel Network (https://www.wepay.com/donations/paxton-s-angel-network). While our angel has joined the choir in heaven, the aftermath of his battle still remains, and there are other families who continue to fight cancer. Once the medical bills have been taken care of, Paxton’s parents will listen for the quiet whispers of his heart, and do his will for charity here on earth, in honor of Paxton’s quiet strength.
All week long I was nervous about this race. I have only ran once (maybe twice) since RAGNAR two weeks ago. I had a charlie horse during that race and couldn’t finish my last leg. I’m recovering from a quad strain. I moved last weekend. Blah Blah Blah.
I knew I wasn’t going to skip this race, I just had to decide if I was going to run the race I registered for (half marathon) or drop back to the quarter marathon at the split. As the week progressed, I started leaning more and more towards the quarter. I need to be smart. Marathon training only calls for 6 miles this weekend, so a quarter marathon is RIGHT ON TARGET. But most of my friends doing the race were running (or pacing) the half. I realized that I had to focus on me and what was right for me at this point of my training.
As I lined up in the middle of Corral K (we were not corralled by last name, as I originally thought)… the LAST corral… I was still pretty sure I would be running the quarter marathon… but there was a little part of me that thought if I felt AWESOME at the split (around mile 5) I would think about keeping on in the half. I talked with Michelle for awhile (who was also unprepared for the half, but who kicked some ass anyways)… and my sis-daughter (college sorority) Bethany, along with her in-laws. I wasn’t nervous, despite the daunting task of running over the HOAN BRIDGE… TWICE… in my immediate future. I am not one for training on hills. EVER. So, running up a bridge in the first quarter mile of a race? Not something I would prefer to do. But I did.
The race started (I can only assume, as we couldn’t hear the gun or see the front of the race in the last corral), and I began running. I told myself to stay smart. Don’t push the pace, especially UP the bridge. I ran the first half mile or so and had to take a walking break, which I fully expected. I have asthma and elevation changes (along with running, duh), affect my lungs pretty severely. The foggy mist didn’t help. I walked for a minute and kept going. The fog began to dissipate as I reached the apex of the bridge, under the big yellow arches. I felt good. My hamstrings and glutes were not very happy, but I kept on keeping on.
I walked through the first water stop, felt great. Had a little gatorade and a cup of water. And took off running again. We began to see the front of the pack approaching in the southbound lanes (headed north). I saw many friends and waved. I felt surprisingly good. My quad didn’t hurt at all. I began to get in a groove. I was ACTUALLY PASSING PEOPLE. You faster people might not understand what a BIG FUCKING DEAL THAT IS FOR A SLOW RUNNER. I smiled with glee. I couldn’t believe it.
I headed down to the turnaround in Bay View and saw Annie and Marty cheering! YAYZ. Then I rounded the corner, walked through the water stop and headed back up onto 794.
As I neared the top of the exit ramp, I was in awe by what I saw. There was MY city. Laid out so pretty. The fog/mist was nearly gone. The sun was shining. The city never looked so damn beautiful. AND I WAS ABOUT TO RUN TOWARDS IT! I was seriously in awe of the view at this point of the race. Normally, when you take 794 to downtown, you’re in a car, driving 50+ mph. I got to run (4-5mph) and really soak it in. I fricking love Milwaukee. I really do. I could have HUGGED it. I love it so.
I approached the yellow arches of the Hoan Bridge with determination. I felt REALLY great. I knew I was going to rock the rest of the race. As I headed down to Lincoln Memorial Drive, I couldn’t help but smile and be proud of what I had just done. I RAN OVER THE HOAN. TWICE. EEEK.
I saw the half/quarter split point, and as much as I was tempted, I knew I needed to be smart and follow the quarter course. BUT OH WAS I TEMPTED.
At this point, I started to pick up speed. I saw paces in the 12s and 13s on my garmin. DURING THE LAST 2 MILES OF THE RACE.
YES SHOUTY CAPS.
I turned up Michigan and ran past Discovery World into Lakeshore State Park (one of my FAVORITEST places to run). As I ran past the lagoon, I could feel how close I was to the finish. I still had strength, so I willed myself to pick up the pace. I kept hearing Marty‘s voice saying “LAST MILE FASTEST.”
I began to run faster. I passed nearly 10 people during the last mile of the race. AGAIN THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I GET PASSED. I DONT PASS PEOPLE. I had a BIG OL’ STUPID SMILE on my face as I entered the finish chute.
I got my medal and water and started walking to the bananas. (My nemesis, but required post-run food). I looked at my medal and saw that it said HALF marathon on it. I realized that the volunteers probably saw my half marathon bib and figured I did that race. Let me tell you, there is no way I will every finish a half marathon in the time it took me to finish the quarter marathon today. I went back to the medals area and told the volunteer I couldn’t accept a half marathon medal for running the quarter distance. It just wouldn’t have been right. I was able to switch medals and continued through the finish line area. As I grabbed some chocolate milk, I had two separate women approach me and tell me that they used me as their pacer for the last few miles of the race. They each told me that they saw me looking so strong and willed themselves to keep up with me to the finish. They said in the last mile, it just got too hard to keep up with me when I took off.
I can honestly tell you guys that I was *this close* to collapsing in tears. These women I don’t know told me that I was their inspiration to keep going in the race. They saw me not giving up and they knew they couldn’t either. Even recalling our conversations now, I am tearing up. Ladies, I don’t know who you are, but if you happen to see this, please know that you made my day. You can’t know just how much those kind words meant to me. I could have hugged you both but I thought it might be weird of me to do that.
I finished my first quarter marathon with a time of 1:38:24, a 14:50 pace for 6.63 miles. I have NEVER EVER seen an overall pace in the 14s for any distance more than 4 miles.
Wahoo! PR by almost 2 minutes! Gun time was 44:41, but I didn’t cross the start until about 52 sec after the gun… so HOLLER for a PR, POWERED BY BACON.
I felt pretty good out there. Just kept my head down and kept on trucking. Slow and steady. Only walked through the water stop, though I wanted to walk a little more, I waited until I had sprinted to the finish. Today, I actually passed people. That never happens.