Saturday, March 23, 2013

Starting Over...Again

Well...It's almost April and I'm still dealing with a petulant shoulder!  I have been able to run some (I got up to 6 miles of straight running), and swim some (about 2400, but half of those yards were wearing fins).  I haven't taken any time off the bike, but I haven't really been doing super-long bike rides either.  I decided to try a different route and have gone to see Jay Austin (a "not so traditional" physical therapist).  After a few sessions he suggested I might want to take a couple of weeks completely off of working out to focus on getting better.  As much as I didn't want to hear that...I want this injury to go away.  Last week was a great workout week...but this week has been much less than even "adequate".  This pattern will not get me to Tahoe, much less through it!

So...I'm taking two weeks completely off any kind of workout except what I'm supposed to do for PT.  I'm about 55 hours in so far and I haven't pulled even one hair out!  In fact, I actually have a very good attitude about it.

I remember the first year I did the Cotton Row 10K, I had been told early on in the 12 weeks of training prior to the race that I should take a couple of weeks off.  I didn't.  Instead I limped through the weekly runs and then limped through the 6.2 miles on race day.  After I took the time off, I came back stronger than before.  (It's kind of funny to me now to go back and read that race re-cap.  The "I-don't-know-if-I-can-run-a-10K" me had no idea I'd be training for an Iron Man just three short years later!)  So I'm going to take the advice I give to others so freely: "don't be afraid to rest".

I'm not going to lie...the thought has crossed my mind, more than once, that maybe I just can't do "it" (what "it" is varies..."it" is whatever seems hard to me at the time).  But I've gotten much better at self-coaching out of that dark place.  I can do "it" but "it" might not look like someone else thinks it should or the way I thought it would.  Two weeks is not a lifetime....and it's already down to 12 days!!

I'm not giving up...I'm just starting over.  ((But I won't be starting from square one!!)

--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Learning The Cries of My Body...

I've been talking about my shoulder injury for a while now.  I really started feeling it about mid-September but I didn't start paying any attention to it until I went to my TRX certification training on November 30th.  I remember thinking on the way over to Atlanta that morning I should maybe opt out of doing the exercises, but quickly poo-pooed that idea when I got there.  I decided I would listen to my body after the class was over with.

Have you ever tried to not listen to a fit-throwing child?  If they are really good at it, they will follow you around until you pay attention like this toddler:

That's pretty much what I thought was going on with my shoulder.  I didn't realize there was an actual problem until I found myself not recovering from one workout to the next.  When it hurt so bad I couldn't even hold a brush long enough to dry my hair I decided to do something about it.

Almost three months, 2 MRI's, a nerve conduction study, and countless visits to my favorite chiropractor (Dr Olsen, P3 Chiropractic and Sports Care) later I have finally gotten some answers.

Drum roll please....

Turns out I not only had a raging case of tendonitis but I also have a pinched nerve in my neck.

Now...tendonitis is a real thing.  It's basically inflammation of a tendon.  (No, I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one in my blog...this is just my understanding and not to be used for anything other than that.)  The only thing that will make the pain go away is reducing the inflammation.  You can do that with a pill or a shot, or reducing/limiting usage of that tendon.  Well...I took pills, I had a shot, and I reduced/limited activity of that shoulder as much as humanly possible without resorting to keeping it completely immobile.  And yet I still had strange pain that I couldn't get away from.

I like to think of tendonitis as the tantrum-throwing child.  There may be a real reason for the fit, but it's just blown way out of proportion.

The pinched nerve, however, is even "more" real.  Not only was this causing pain, it was causing my arm to tingle and go numb all the way down to my fingers.

Thankfully a good bit of the results of both of these issues have resolved.  I do still have some pain in the (bicep) tendon, but it seems the "child" is calming down a bit.  And, the numbness and tingling in my hand has mostly resolved, for the most part.

From what I understand, the nerve is still pinched.  The orthopedic doctor at Sports Med pretty much said there's really nothing that can be done short of surgery.  I haven't fully accepted than answer yet.  My suspicion is that Dr Olsen and even my favorite physical therapist, Jay Austin of Austin Physical Therapy, will have a different opinion about that.  I think I'm going to like their answers better than the one I got from the Sports Med doctor.  (Although...I have to say, I left my appointment with him very encouraged since he didn't tell me I couldn't train for IronMan Lake Tahoe.  In fact, he said I would have to train as a 43 year old woman who is trying to finish and be healthy for the rest of my life.  I agree completely with that statement.  I just think I may have a different opinion about what that might look like than what the good doctor does.)

I think the question is the same as it's always do I discern the difference between a temper tantrum and a real cry for help.  Learning that distinction is like a new mother learning her child's different sounds.  The problem is my body has thrown more tantrums than it has had the need for real screams for help.  Unfortunately I have a history of giving in to those tantrums, creating somewhat of a brat for a body.  Consequently, now, I hear every cry as "WOLF" and don't pay attention like I should.  This is precisely how I have ended up with three different injuries.

There's a balance in there somewhere...and I aim to find it.  I love my body enough to take the time I need to learn the meaning of each and every cry.  More importantly, I love my body enough to respond in a healthy way.

Thanks for stopping in.   Come again soon.  I have some exciting news to share with you!!