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Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the tag “SI joint”

The new normal

4am Saturday.  Apparently 36 hours of sleep out of 48 is quite enough.

The second SI joint injection, while it did make it much less painful to sit, has not solved the problem.

Natural Childbirth was newly the rage when I was having my first child.  It was all new news; if you took so much as an aspirin while pregnant you risked terrors unknown for your unborn.   My mom drank coffee and ate sugar and took aspirin and look how well that turned out.  What’s everyone worried about?

I slept, cocooned around the life in me, planning the joy of birth, all natural:  breathe innnnnnnnnn breathe ouuuuuuuuuuut.  Soon out would pop a pink face resembling the Gerber baby.  Labor and delivery revealed to me a different world.  And, yet, when my second child came along I repeated the process.  This time there was no rosy glow surrounding my daydreams but I knew it was probably best for the baby.

When the twins came along, rosy glow or no, it was epidural time.  One of them was crossways and he had two choices:  breech or transverse, and the doctor didn’t consider either option optional.  Loaded up with an epidural I gave birth pain-free.  (This could explain why the carpet, 14 years later, ended up on fire.  Small fire, quickly extinguished, but, still, fire.  On my carpet.  In the middle of the den.)

Cue the robins and rainbows and clouds:  la-la-la-la wow.  That didn’t hurt a bit.

For the intervening decades pain level for me has always been compared to childbirth.  Am I being torn apart limb by limb?  No?  Ok, give me some ibuprofen.  I may still hurt, and I may not be a happy camper, but just leave me alone to get through whatever’s going on, and I will.

It took me until this morning to put together this week’s clues.  Like the Sunday puzzler, right?

1.  Tuesday and Wednesday I walked 3 miles each day.  Agonizingly slow miles (and please, no one get offended if they are walkers, because taking an hour to walk three miles when I did 10K in that time ten weeks ago, including allowing for the limping to the finish line the last two miles of the race, is a blow to my ego even though I should be above that type of thing.  I’m a shallow, vain person.)  I’m also impatient and stubborn, which is one of the reasons I run.  Every time I walk I think, I could be done now…I could be done  now…  In fact, I’m going to admit something else that shames me.  On Wednesday as I trudged along I saw a guy running past me in the neighborhood.  I always try to make contact with other people out running and walking, a little wave, a little ‘hi’ if I have enough breath.  No.  I trudged along, head down, refusing to look up.  I was mad.  He was running.  I was not.  Nice attitude, eh?

2.  (Here’s where genius comes in, see if you can figure it out before I did)  Tuesday and Wednesday nights I had spasms in both legs – dozens, all night long – which would grab my legs and freeze them with electricity so hard that two days later my muscles are still sore.

3.  Thursday morning after a night of pain I woke, exhausted.  “I don’t feel so good,” I thought.  I started to sit up.  Ohhh, noooo …. and I hit a pace to the bathroom which would shame Usain Bolt, where I was immediately and completely assaulted with the worst stomach virus I’ve had in at least a couple of years.  This set the day’s pattern.  Sleep like the dead, awake, beat Usain to the throne.  Twelve hours later, both Usain and I exhausted with the intervals, the last of the virus had been exorcised.

4.  How sick was I?  I never had any coffee all day.  Yes.  Now you understand the seriousness of the situation.  Mere mortals fear to tread.

5.  Thursday night I slept like Eric Northman in daylight.  Another twelve hours and I woke, Friday morning, wondering why there was roadkill in my mouth and how I could possibly have actually melded to the mattress.  And, yet, initial consultation revealed both seemed to be true.  Further rumination revealed that I’d had no leg spasms.  None.  Oh, sure, twitches but that’s always there.

6.  All this meant that Thursday’s follow-up visit to the ortho was, understandably, postponed to yesterday afternoon.   After a lunch of Ramen noodles and sipping a Route 44 Diet Cherry Limeade, nectar of the Virus Gods, I headed to the Doc.  Driving was not very painful.  I didn’t find myself shifting restlessly in the seat, spasms in my hamstrings.  Odd.

7.  All Together Now:  Why did I not have spasms?

8.  Because lying around all day long is good for not having pain.

9.  I refuse to accept a lifestyle that includes that as an option without exploring every other option possible.  (see 1, above)

10.  This has nothing to do with my back, but I have to tell you both about Murphy Munker and Mo.  The entire time I was sick they would not leave me.  Ok, well, Munker and Mo ran down the hallway like their butts were on fire every time I jumped out of the bed and bolted for the bathroom but that was just the suddenness of movement.  Murphy, who will spend 8 hours outside in 40 degree weather if he can just find a squirrel to hate or a 24″x 24″ patch of sun to lie in, would not leave the bed.  He went outside for a couple of minutes twice in 24 hours.  If I moved to the couch, he moved to the couch.  Munk and Mo followed.  It was cute.  Like a sick little parade.  Me, wrapped in a blankie, shuffling downstairs, Murphy running ahead to clear the path:  Make Way — Make Way — Munk and Mo following, occasionally stopping to playfully bat one another in the head.  Once in the den they would put on a little cat show, running back and forth, hiding behind the plants or the chair, jumping out to pounce on each other.  Look, Mom!  Funny, Right?  Smile?  If you have an empty nest, I recommend you find some good used animals.  You cannot overestimate the joy they add.

New Normal continues as we continue to puzzle out my Falling off Butt:  My new BRDr.FF has scheduled me for another epidural which should happen next week.  She said we’ll give it a week or so; unless I call her singing the Hallelujah Chorus and already planning my next marathon training schedule we will move into Plan B, Operation Save the World from Terrilee:  visit the Neuro.

NEXT WEEK IS THANKSGIVING!  What are you two planning?  Regardless of my back and my whiny little tiny baby issues, I am blessed.  I have many wonderful friends whom I love, and who seem to love me even without their drugs, a fantastic, wonderful, supportive, loving family, a job that’s out of this world and, of course, Murphy Munker and Mo.  I could want more – and usually do – but I know the truth:  I’m incredibly blessed.

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Breathing underwater.

My new BRDr.FF, Dr. L, slammed my falling off butt with another steroid shot Thursday in the SI joint.  She said give it a bit and take it out for a shake down run, she wants to see what happens.  Since it continued to hurt and actually felt worse after the injection I waited.  Friday as the day progressed I was surprised to find that sitting wasn’t hurting near as much, and I decided to try a run this morning.

I felt like I was in high school again and after waiting nervously for weeks, the boy I secretly liked had just asked me to prom.  I carefully charged up my Garmin, located the HR monitor, got my inserts back in my running shoes.  I opened the drawer I’d just recently and reluctantly tucked my running stuff into, thinking I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a while, and happily dug out shorts and shirt.

It certainly did not hurt a bit that it’s a gorgeous fall day, brilliant blue sky, green, gold, russet leaves drifting in a breeze, birds chirping, cheeping, and flitting through the trees.

Spring, 2011 we moved into this house.  I had not been running consistently due in part to the plantar fasciitis but mostly due to the incredible busy-ness of renovating a house, keeping up a house we were trying to sell, and then moving.  Stir in a few emergency trips to my parents…it was a crazy time.

My usual route leaves my house and across the busy street at the end of our block.  There’s a lovely upscale neighborhood about 1/2 mile away with a lazy winding road running through it.  The developers wisely kept all the old growth; houses sit back from the road and 30′-40′ trees line the narrow road, natural undergrowth left in place.  It’s like running through the country although I can vaguely hear the semi’s on I-40 a 1/2 mile away.  I like the sound of trucks on a freeway, the thought of where they’ve been and where they’re going, zooming along in their little contained worlds.

Last spring when I started back running I ran this road consistently, reveling in the beauty of these beautiful trees leafing out, the birds serenading each other and wooing, daffodils and crocus popping up through a layer of leaves.  Today I ran that same route, watching the swirling helicopter seeds float past me, squirrels rushing to the trees for more hickory nuts.  It’s not uncommon to see deer here, usually does with their young ones in the spring, with their tweens and teens later on.  I didn’t see any today but last time I ran I saw three young buck, antlers just fuzzy bumps, young enough they could still be friends.  They stood back, but didn’t run.

I have friends who are former runners (committed runners, people who did well under 3 hour marathon PR’s in their younger days) now walking stiffly with worn hips and knees (and – not from running, but genes).  They ride like crazy now, and we’ve discussed before my opinion of that as a substitute for running.  At this time, and I’m trying to keep an open mind, biking as a substitute for running is like getting a turkey sandwich with an apple for dessert while sitting next to someone with a steak and sweet potato fries and a huge hot fudge sundae for dessert.  It’s a moot point, I can’t bike anyway, it makes my toes go numb from the pressure on my back as I lean over the bars.

If I rode like this it would be OK:

Gotta find me one of these.  Since I frequently match her cranky attitude, however, I might find myself cackling as I biked.

As I grow older there are many things I want to begin cutting out of my life, but activity is not one of them.  I do not want to be that person who cannot carry two bags of grocery to a car.  I will do all I can not to lose that.

I want to get rid of the worrying, catastrophizing (my counselor made that word up, it’s a great word) OMG this is the worst that could happen, that is horrid, what if, how can we, who will…impatience – that car is in my way, when is the paper getting delivered, my K-cups pouring forth nectar within 30 seconds.  I want to slow down.  I want to look around.  I want to feel this day and live it, not wait it out, which I have done too many times.

When I run I am using the body I was given.  I am making muscles what they were formed to be.  I have life flowing through me and I am alive to the world.  I feel that in some way I am doing honor to the honor I was given:  life.

I love the act of running.  Looking down watching my feet blur on the street.  Hearing my breathing.  Street level, looking at the world go by on my own power; open to the world on this little private journey, burning some endorphins.  I’m alive in that moment, for just a moment existing in that present.  Yes, of course, most of the run still has a running conversation of when, how, next, then – but the hum is quieter and running further in the background.

There are so many things we no longer do for ourselves.  When my daughter was born I used cloth diapers.  The first few months I didn’t have a dryer and I hung them to dry in the Arizona sun.  I made her food.  The grocery was about a mile away, if I only needed a few things I put her in the stroller and walked to get milk and things.  I washed the dishes.  We had a swamp cooler but no A/C.  On Saturday she’d play in the hose while I’d wash the car and let her play with the bubbles.

Now I order Christmas online, getting most of it done on Black Friday as I sit in my climate controlled office in order to avoid the traffic.  I drive everywhere, the washer and dryer left spinning and the dishwasher chugging away at home as I run my car through the car wash after I buy gas.  I’ve got a sack full of microwavable veggies and pre-formed hamburgers, automatic bowl flush cleaner tabs.  Hubs’ 100% cotton button downs go to the cleaner.  I haven’t ironed in so long that while typing this I had to stop and think where the iron might be.

I’ve recently discovered a poem that has grabbed hold of me, circling in my brain, landing for consideration then lifting up and swirling back into my thoughts as it floats about lighting little dark corners of my day.  I have too often and for too long held my breath and dug my toes into the sand, determined to stand still and maintain a moment, a place or an event. I stand, clinging, to imagined wrongs, to imaged rights, to how I think things should be.

I want to learn to tumble through life embracing it all, living in the coral castle, learning to breathe underwater.  When I run, I feel I am.

++++++++++++++++++

Breathing Underwater

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.

A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
-and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors,
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbors,
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

Sr. Carol Bieleck, RSCJ
from an unpublished work

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