Run for me

I never imagined that it would take so much self-discipline to NOT run.  That’s right folks, I must be plum crazy.  Everywhere I turn I see runners… at the gym, on the roads, at the park…. everywhere.  Funny, just as I was looking out my back sliding glass doors right now I saw a runner go by.  Seriously.  These runners remind me of what I can’t do right now.  The most ironic thing is that I can pretty much do anything else BUT run.  I still go to my weekly BodyPump class and pump iron, I have become a serious cyclist (okay, at least I like to think so) and I enjoy long, fast walks.  The boot camp class would be an option too, but it is usually involves some type of sprint running.  The only other thing that I can’t do is walk anywhere near water.  Usually about once a day I will happen to slip on a puddle and that actually hurts my leg.  So, no running and no slipping for me.

Let’s see, it has been 2 weeks and 1 day since my last run.  I remember that last run well.  It was a slightly painful run thanks to this sciatic business and it was rather slow.  I struggled to run 5 miles, but I did and I felt accomplished at the end.  The pain has been bearable in most cases, but obviously something is wrong and I have to fix it.  Some days I just want to say “screw it” and go for a run, but I suppose that would be stupid.  I know my husband would say so.  Therefore, I have to wait for my physical therapist to give the okay.

As I arrived at physical therapy this morning the therapist asked me how I was feeling.  I told her my muscles were sore, but only because I had done weight training the day before.  My sciatic was not bothering me and it doesn’t ever seem to interfere with my daily tasks.  It only decides to torture me when I try to run.  I kind of felt excited when she told me that I would try running on the treadmill with the assistance of a belt.  We got it all set up and my hips were re-adjusted (because my hips tend to de-align for some reason).  I started out slow and brought it up to a slow jog.  Well, guess what?  The belt didn’t make any difference.  I still had the same pain so she told me to stop.  That was disheartening.

The objective now it to strengthen my piriformis muscles, glutes and hip flexors.  Folks, I am no newbie to the world of exercise so it is kind of irritating that I have to do more of what I already do.  I just hope that the more will actually help me.  It is not like I am the average Joe who just started running and had never been doing any type of weight training.  It would almost seem reasonable for Joe to have some sciatic pain.  I have been running for many years so you can see why this doesn’t make sense to me.  It actually makes me feel a bit doubtful about any future running endeavors.  However, I will just go with the motions and see what happens.  I feel the pressure to remain positive.

Still, I am reminded about NOT running every day.  Just the other day someone asked me if I was a runner.  I automatically said “yes” but then wondered if that was really an accurate answer.  The woman had said that I looked like a runner because I had no body fat.  That would be a compliment to most people I’m sure, but I was saddened by her comment.  Not only because I now have to watch what I eat like any other non-runner, but by the mere fact that I am unsure as to whether or not I should call myself a runner.

I drive down the road and glance at the runner on the sidewalk and I think about how lucky they are.  They can run and I can’t.  As I thought about that today, I realized that I am not the only one who can’t run.  There was a time when I was running for those who couldn’t.  I can’t really feel sorry for myself.  There is just too much real grief in the world.  Yet, I can still hope that someone out there will run for me.

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I will run like my mother, but the rest is up to me

I just received notification that my subscription to my domain “runlikemymother.com” is about to expire.  I have been contemplating whether or not I should change the name of this domain.

When I started running, I began to think more about my mother.  I felt like it was a way for me to connect to her.  I thought about how proud she would be if she could watch me cross the finish line of my first marathon.  Back when I was young, my mother tried so hard to get me to like running.  I resisted and she finally gave up.  As I got older and had my own children, I began to fall in love with running.  I guess it is kind of similar to despising broccoli as a child when your parents are trying to force feed it to you and then later realizing that it isn’t so bad (okay, I am still not a big fan, but I am finally smart enough to eat it because I know it is good for me).

Running and my mother just seem to go hand in hand.  When I am running, I think of my mother.  When I think of my mother, I think about running.  Honestly, running is really the only positive thing I can associate my mother to.  I love her, but she made a lot of mistakes that I try to avoid dwelling on.  Since she passed on, there has really been no need to hold a grudge.

Yes, I have been fretting about the genetic issues that I have possibly inherited from my mother (the anemia is a for sure, but the degenerative bone disease is still pending).  I am a little annoyed that I was told I couldn’t go to flight school because of my hemoglobin levels, but I have obviously moved on and chosen a different path that still suited me fine.  Of course I am now annoyed that I have been instructed not to run right now, but that too shall pass.

The other day when I was talking to my step-mother (someone who I didn’t always get along with until I realized that she is more of a mother than my own mother ever was) she reminded me that I am not my mother. I am not my mother in so many ways.  Somehow I have learned from my mother’s mistakes and avoided making those same mistakes myself.  I am a better mother to my own children because I know what it is like to basically grow up without a mother.  The most important difference is that I am stronger than my mother ever was.  She could run marathons and not only can I run marathons, but I can fight and push through all of the resistance that life brings forth.  My mother could not and, in the end, it beat her.

I love my mother because she is my mother.  I admire my mother as a runner.  I will run like my mother.  Everything else is up to me.  I make my own destiny.

 

This seriously sucks

(Warning: this blog post exhibits a lot of negative emotions… some swearing might be involved)

It came to a point where I could no longer ignore it even if I wanted to.  It is there and it sure as hell isn’t leaving.  Not only is it a pain, but it is causing me to run slow and inhibiting me from running far.  And that’s not all.  After I finish running it punishes me with more pain and a hobbling walk.

So there I was sitting in the doctor’s office explaining the symptoms.  I had basically diagnosed myself (which I know doctors just love) and emphasized how my sciatic nerve was causing so much pain in my leg.  Well, I had experienced it during each pregnancy (same leg) so I was sure I knew what I was talking about.  I explained how the pain had been coming back on and off over the past 6 months, but was barely noticeable and didn’t affect my ability to move.  I just made sure I avoided mountain climbers during my boot camp class because that tended to produce an electric shock in my butt (a very bizarre sensation I must say).  Then I continued to talk about how the pain just recently intensified after a normal Tuesday night bridge run.  Nothing crazy happened that night.  I just ran like I always ran.  The only difference was that the next day I could barely walk because my left leg hurt so much.

Of course I basically told the doctor that I had to keep running.  I think she was a little concerned and decided to move things along quickly.  Next thing I know I was being told to go get an x-ray taken.  They told me to hurry on over and that I would be fit in between appointments.  It was actually a pretty smooth ordeal and I was back to my regular business (picking up my daughter at school) in no time.  Then, a couple of hours later as I was helping my daughter at her Girl Scout cookie booth, I get a call from the nurse.  I was kind of distracted and didn’t quite get all of the details.  All I heard was “compression fraction” and “arthritis.”  After I hung up I realized that I had no idea where the fracture was.  Was it in my hip?  Or in my leg?  So I quickly called back to hear the nurse say “L5.”  I do know a little something about human anatomy so I had a clear idea that she was referring to my lower back.  A fracture in my lower back?  You’ve got to be shitting me.  I don’t even feel pain in my lower back!  I do freakin’ weight training to keep my back stable and in good form.  How in the hell did I fracture my back??

So, of course, as I was sitting there at the booth I started googling on my phone.  What I basically found out from every single website I looked at was that a compression fracture in the lower lumbar is only caused by one of two things: trauma to the back or osteoporosis (when the back weakens it can be easily fractured).  I sure as hell would remember if I was in a car accident or hit by a bus so it wasn’t the first option.  As I continued to read, and re-read, I came to the understanding that compression fractures tend to occur in people over the age of 55.  Do you realize that I am 33?

I tried to divert my mind, but I started thinking about my mother.  That only pissed me off.  You see, my mother had a degenerative bone disease of some sort (I sure as hell wasn’t smart enough to ask any questions before she left this world) and she basically endured about 20 surgeries and was even mostly bed-ridden during the last couple years of her life.  Maybe I wasn’t so wise to become a runner like her.  I am following in her footsteps in more ways than one.

Now I am sitting here feeling pity for myself.  Not only pity for myself, but as I look at my three girls I feel pity for them too.  I still really have no fucking clue what is going on yet, but I have a very bad gut feeling that it isn’t good.  People are telling me that I will recover quickly and be back at it, but I am not so sure.  If I am on the same path that my mom was, then I am not so sure anymore.

The doctor’s office called me a day later to say that they wanted to schedule a CT scan.  I guess we have more to figure out.  Not only that, but my first day of physical therapy begins on Monday.  I know it is so hard for people to understand (especially my husband) but I will not stop doing what I love to do.  Running and exercising and doing races is my livelihood!  Besides my family and friends, there is nothing else that defines who I am!  I have the ability to inspire my own children and maybe even my friends out there so I can’t stop now.  I seriously wanted to scream at my husband yesterday when we were out touring D.C. via walking and he mentioned that we probably shouldn’t be because I was limping.  I know he only said it out of concern, but to me it was mortifying to think that whatever this damn thing is that it might try to get the best of me.  Fuck it!  Whatever the hell it is I will fight it!  Don’t try to stop me!