Friday, September 28, 2012

Crutch Lessons: Part 2

Things You Can't Do On Crutches That You Probably Never Thought About:

1. Go through swinging doors. I was always kinda terrified of them in the first place... now they truly are the things of nightmares. Really any door with any kind of weight is difficult to get through.

2. Use your foot to flush the public toilet. You know what I'm talking about ladies. I can't do it and I've had to actually touch the handle to flush the toilet  and it gives me the serious heebie jeebies.

3. Get coffee in the morning and carry it to your desk to enjoy during those first few minutes at work.

4. Put on pants without sitting down.

5. Learn the Gangnam Style dance.

6. Push a grocery cart... meaning you really can't go to the grocery store (or any other store) by yourself. Because I can't carry things in my hands, at first I started just sticking things in my favorite new carrying spot (in my bra) until I realized that it might look like I'm attempting to shop lift. Not such a good idea after all.

7. Vacuum. This is driving. Me. INSANE.

8. Jump up and down/rant and rave/run around the room like a crazy person during exciting or tense football games (a.k.a. every game when you're a Redskins fan like me).

9. Talk or text on your cell phone while "walking". You can't carry it either.

10. Make use of your extensive collection of high heels (no problem for the dudes out there I guess).

Things You Can Do On Crutches That You Probably Haven't Thought About:

1. Field lots of weird comments and questions posed by random strangers. Some of my favorites have included:
  • To my husband: "Why don't you just carry her? It would probably be easier." We've had multiple people say this to us when out in public. One older gentlemen even recommended that Husband just throw me over his shoulder.
  • Small child: "Mommy why is that lady using those metal legs to walk?"
  • Guy at gym: "I'm not sure whether to ask you why you're on crutches or why you're using a stationary bike." (I'm not even sure what this even meant... obviously I'm on the bike because I'm on crutches...)
  • Small child at grocery store: "I try! I can do it!" (repeat 25 times)
Personally, I would never in a million years ask a perfect stranger what they did to themselves whether they were on crutches, had an obvious bandage, or anything else. Apparently this feeling isn't shared by the general populace.

2. Obtain a temporary handicap parking permit and park in handicap spots... if you can find one... which you usually can't. But on the off chance that you score one, it is infinitely helpful.

3. Get really really really good at balancing on your good leg/foot. My left side used to be much better for balance during yoga class but I am now a balance phenom on my right side.

4. Use your dependence on crutches as a good excuse to not do something... even if you really could  do it but don't really feel like it. You probably already thought of this though.

5. Make a game out of your staircase-scaling ability. I have started to time myself and see if I can improve my time going up and down the stairs by incorporating new techniques.

6. Avoid all forms of yard work (which I detest).

7. Shop online, spending copious amounts of money on a new fall wardrobe from the comfort of your chair. However, once the packages arrive you won't be able to get them into the house without assistance.

8. Wear Lululemon crops to work and get away with it.

9. Air guitar.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2nd Order of Business

Obviously, the second thing that I do (after running) once my foot is healed HAS to be to learn this dance.

I can't stop watching this and laughing my butt off. The description of the video is also hilarious:

The album's weighty title song 'Gangnam Style' is composed solely by PSY himself from lyrics to choreography. The song is characterized by its strongly addictive beats and lyrics, and is thus certain to penetrate the foundations of modern philosophy.

I can feel the foundations of my modern philosophy being penetrated right now. HAHAHAHA!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Have I Been Up To?

I realize that you guys are probably really sick and tired of reading about nothing but my injury. Even I'm sick of talking about it at this point.

So instead, here's a photo montage of what I've been up to lately.

Husband and I went on a date night to Stella's

Where we completely gorged ourselves on delicious food
clockwise from top left: Mushroom Saganaki (basically mushrooms
and cheese ON FIRE), Stella's Filet with jumbo lump crap and sherry
cream sauce, Tiramisu (made that day by Stella herself), and Lemon Pound
Cake with Honey Lavendar Ice Cream.

After Stella's we went to the RSO's opening night,
featuring my favorite piano concerto ever -
Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto.
If you don't love this piece, there is something wrong with you.

I noticed that I am starting to see the bones in my left foot again
(top picture - 1 day after break; bottom picture - 3 weeks after break)

I started a cross stitch. This took me 2 days and probably 2 hours....
at which point I gave up cross stitching.

I received the best thing ever - Football Shaped Oreos - from
my mom, who brought them to me all the way from Maryland.
They taste better than regular round Oreos, I SWEAR.

Then there was this... I officially deferred my registration for the Marathon to next year after
waffling over whether I might instead transfer to the 8k. (HAHA that ain't happening)

But there was also this -
18 miles on the stationary bike and 400 meters of swmming!
Swimming is hard. Really hard. But I'm starting to like it a little bit, I think.

Friday, September 21, 2012

10 Questions

Last week, SUAR (Shut Up and Run) posted this and I figured why not.

1. Best run ever: This was a hard one to decide, but I'm going to go with the first time I ever ran 3 miles. It was at the indoor track at the Y and I remember that when I was done I felt like I had just conquered the world... and that my legs were so tired I thought I couldn't walk to the locker room. I'm pretty sure it was this run that got me addicted because I proved to myself that not only could I run, it felt GREAT when I was finished. (2nd place for this is the Shamrock Half Marathon last year).

2. Three words that describe my running: methodical, steady, social

3. My go-to running outfit is: Lulu speed shorts or skirt and a Lulu cool racerback

4. Quirky habit while running: If I'm on a treadmill, I find that I sing along to my iPod (whoops). And I always ALWAYS have to round out my run so that it ends up being a .5 or .0, even if that means running past my car and walking back.

5. Morning, midday, or evening: I'm one of those weirdo evening runners. I HATE mornings and becase I have a 9-5 job, I haven't really had the opportunity to try out midday.

6. I won't run outside when it's: more than 90 degrees and humid. Yay Richmond summers... NOT. I also won't run in the pouring rain... my fear of blisters is too great. But snow and cold are fine with me!

7. Worst injury - and how I got over it: The broken foot I am currently living through. I haven't gotten over it yet, but I can't wait to return to my normal routine.

8. I feel most like a badass runner when: I complete a new distance PR and don't feel like death afterwards.

9. Next race is: I really  hope I'll be able to do a Turkey Trot 5k in Hagerstown on Thanksgiving. It all depends on the foot and how long it takes to heal. If I'm not ready for that, then I'm aiming for a Jingle Bell run or something small in December.

10. Potential running goal for 2013: Recover from my injury and get back into shape for the Shamrock Half in March... then run the darn Richmond Marathon in November 2013 and KICK SOME ASS.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No Dice

Yesterday I was so excited to go see Dr. Cutter. I have never ever in my life  been excited about going to a doctor's appointment, but yesterday I could barely contain myself. Freedom from crutches was so close that I could taste it. At 12:30 I happily declared allowed to the office that the next three hours could very well be the last three hours that I ever spend on crutches.

Too bad I was wrong.

Turns out I will be spending another 2-3 weeks on crutches.

I thought I would be mad or cry or scream or something but instead I kind of just didn't react. My foot had seemed to be so much better the last few days... I had been so certain that I was going to be crutch free as of yesterday at 3:30 pm that I had not even entertained the thought that I'd be stuck with them for 2-3 more weeks.

I guess I have just passed into acceptance of being broken.

No... what I really think it happening is that I have become determined to be the best damn bone healer you ever saw - that my foot will heal properly and beautifully and that this will never happen again because I was such a good girl and listened to everything my doctor told me.

So what's the deal with being banished to continued crutching? Dr. Cutter says that the fracture has not continued to split which is a good thing, but there isn't enough "clouding" going on yet in my X-Ray to indicate that real healing has taken hold. To be honest, when he pulled up my new X-Rays and zoomed in to the break, even I could see that it didn't look any different and I knew I was doomed.

The good (?) news is that the good doctor is allowing me to begin my career as a swimmer as long as I don't "kick too much" with the broken foot. So it's doubly good that the Speedo that I ordered arrived last night along with a swim cap and goggles.

Nevermind that I haven't truly swum (is that even a word?) since probably the 7th grade. I'll worry about that once I drag myself to the Y, crutch down to the pool, and slip into the water with all of the old ladies doing their laps.

I am also allowed to stationary bike, but have to pedal with my heel on my left foot. Not sure how that is going to work out exactly, but I happily packed my gym clothes into my bookbag last night and plan to go to the Y tonight and bike for 35 minutes.

At the end of my appointment, I gathered up the courage to ask Dr. Cutter if I would ever be able to run at the same volume again... and if this was just going to keep happening to me if I did.

"Oh yes. You're going to be totally fine when this heals up," he said almost immediately and with what I thought was a little too much confidence.

"But how will we keep this from happening again??" I asked.

He claims that through foot strengthening exercises I should be able to prevent this from happening again.

I wish I could say that I believe him, but I don't really. Right now I can't even stand on my left foot and it seems like I will never walk again, let alone run 30 miles a week.

So there you have it. Lady Limpsalot lives on.

And I promise that soon I will post about something other than my boring broken foot.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Resolution Check In

Running - Goal: Run at least 500 miles this year; run at least 1 half marathon

Through August 31

January: 47 miles
February: 72 miles
March: 80 miles
April: 69.5 miles
May: 76 miles
June: 81 miles
July: 67 miles
August: 104 miles

Total for the year: 596.5 miles

Reading - Goal: Read at least one book per month

January Books
Riggs, Ransom - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Bray, Libba - A Great and Terrible Beauty

February Books
Moran, Michelle - Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

March Books
Massie, Robert K. - Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Sussman, Ellen - French Lessons
Gilbert, Elizabeth - Committed: A Love Story

April Books
Clark, Colin - My Week with Marilyn
Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus

May Books
Raybourn, Deanna - Dark Road to Darjeeling
James, P. D. - Death Comes to Pemberley

June Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 3: A Storm of Swords
James, E.L. - 50 Shades of Gray (for the record, I hated this book)

July Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 4: A Feast for Crows
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Mantel, Hillary - Wolf Hall

August Books
Dunant, Sarah - The Birth of Venus

I also started reading Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. I love cats and I love libraries, so this seemed like a slam dunk. It turns out that a 300 page book about a cat who lives in a library is too much for me... so I quit half way through.

And I started Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall, but had to return it to the library before I finished because it was not renewable.

Currently reading:  
Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina

Movies (no resolution; just to keep track)
The Artist
Underworld: Awakening
The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans
The Avengers
Mirror Mirror
Men in Black 3 
Magic Mike
The Dark Knight Rises

Clichés and Coping

Like most people, I'm not a fan of clichés. But now I find myself living the old "You don't know what you've got til it's gone" one.

Until this broken foot business happened, I had not realized how much running had been (pardon the pun) running my life. Hours upon hours of my time and energy were being spent not only in the activity itself, but in planning for it to happen. Now that it is NOT happening, I'm finding myself with a lot of time on my hands.

Running had HAS also become a big part of my identity... and something that I have come to rely upon more than I thought. It is a big part of my social life, a source of fun, relaxation, and inspiration, and enabled me to engage in some serious calorie consumption. I've come to discover over the past 15 days of life without running that it also has a serious positive impact on the way I feel, both physically and emotionally. When I'm exercising I'm happier, I feel better, and my body just seems to work better (except for my bones, apparently). When I'm not doing it I feel tired, out of sorts, and just downright yucky.

A few years ago, if you had told me that I would be a hot mess if I wasn't allowed to run, I would have laughed in your face - loudly. Even a year ago, I would read articles in Runner's World about how to cope with the emotional trauma of an injury and scoff. "That's crazy," I'd say to myself.

Turns out it is not so crazy.

Compounding my problem is that not only can I not run, there is pretty much no physical activity that I am allowed to do right now other than crutch around. I would kill to be able to sit on a stationary bike and pedal for an hour (yeah, never thought I'd say that in a million years either). I went from 5 days a week of some kind of exercise to nothing.

Oh, and there's that little problem of me being fiercely independent and stubborn. I hate asking for help, but now that I'm on crutches I have to do it all the time. Self-sufficiency is something I have prided myself on for a long time and now I am anything but, though I am getting better as I get more used to the crutches.

So how in the heck am I coping with all this?

Intially, not very well. For the first few days I moped on the couch and watched bad TV, lamenting my broken state and crushed dreams. All I could think about was how unfair it was that I broke my foot when millions of people train for marathons every year with no problem and how much I would rather be running (and wondering why I pay so much for TV because it all sucks).

This week I would say I'm doing better. In an effort to get some form of exercise in, I am doing crutches and girl push ups every night, along with some stretching. I have been looking at purchasing a bathing suit and starting to swim or do some kind of water running once I get the ok from Dr. Cutter.

I wrote a pleading, pathetic sounding email to the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon organizers when I realized that I missed the deferral deadline by 1 day. Thank goodness they took pity on me and allowed me to defer to next year.

I started looking into the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. I even went ahead and booked a hotel room near the start/finish line. If things go poorly, I can always cancel it. But that is my new marathon goal.

And I signed up as a volunteer for the Richmond Marathon. I'm going to be at the finish line, handing out medals and/or blankets to the finishers. Either every medal I hand out will be a dagger in my heart or it will be a reminder that my time is yet to come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crutch Lessons: Part 1

Being on crutches for the past 10 days has really given me a new perspective on life. I firmly believe that everyone should have to spend at least two days on crutches to gain appreciation for being fully able-bodied. Before this, I never really thought that being on crutches was that big a deal. But it is. It sucks big time.

My crutches. I hate them.

Here are some of the things that I have learned about life on crutches so far:

1. Stairs are my #1 nemesis. We live in a 2-story house and my office has no elevator.

The stairs at work
Stairs are exhausting and terrifying. At first, I went up and down the stairs on my butt. This is the easiest and safest thing to do, but also not really appropriate at work. Luckily (?) my coworker Ashley taught me an easier, more work-friendly stair technique. Unfortunately, I am still pretty much winded by the time I get to the top of the stairs.

2. My collection of purses is now rendered useless. They all go on my shoulder, which means they get in the way of the crutches, which means I almost fall flat on my face.

My favorite Longchamp is now a hazard to my health.

Seriously, who would think that being on crutches would present a problem with purses? My solution was to buy a cheap crossbody bag. I got the ugliest one I could find. Just because.

Mmmm... blue snakeskin. Totally natural looking.

3. My husband is a saint.

Well, most of the time. I am the first person to admit that I am not easy to live with when I'm not broken. I am an OCD neat freak who is constantly cleaning, picking up, and doing stuff around the house. Now that I can't do those things, I am constantly nagging asking Jason to clean this, pick up this, move this, get me this. He has to help me do pretty much everything and to be honest, I feel almost as bad for him as I do for me.

Thank God he is extremely patient and loves me. Otherwise I'd be screwed. Big time.

4. Swinging doors are dangerous and impossible obstacles. And they are everywhere. I don't know how people who are on crutches or in wheelchairs function long term. Think about it - just about every restaurant, shop, and bathroom that you ever go into has a swinging door.

Jason and I were traveling this past weekend and we stopped at a restaurant for a quick bite. I attempted to go to the bathroom while he stood in line. I almost killed myself trying to get into the door and could not get out again. If Jason hadn't come to check on me, I would've been trapped in that nasty Arby's bathroom forever.

5.  Throwing your crutches is not the best idea, but it feels really good. There have been a few points over the past week where I was just so frustrated with the whole situation that I literally threw my crutches to the ground. This made me feel a lot better, but isn't the best idea becauseit scares the pants off of Jason every time (he thinks that I've fallen and comes running and yelling my name).

6. Crutches have put the brakes my spending. I have no interest in browsing shoes (can't wear any of them... at least not the cute ones). Going out to lunch or for a mid-afternoon coffee/yogurt break is way too much trouble (and besides, I can't carry the coffee or yogurt anywhere... not even to a seat). I can't run so I'm not buying any new gear (it was painful enough when the arm warmers I had ordered for the marathon pre-injury arrived post-injury).

7. Crutches are the perfect accessory for your upcoming formal event.

...not really.
I have not one, not two, but THREE weddings to go to over the next eight weeks. The crutch and boot really look awesome with the dresses I had purchased for these weddings.

8. Being the girl on crutches is like being a school bus. You understand why it is going slow and stopping every few minutes, but you really REALLY don't want to get stuck behind it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"That's Very Unusual"

These are three words that you don't really like to hear coming out of the mouth of your orthopedist. Especially when he is looking at the X-Rays of your broken foot and deciding your fate.

"Hm... that's very unusual. It's definitely fractured big time... and in such a weird spot!" says Dr. Cutter.

I am sitting on the exam table with my back propped up against the wall. I have been sitting there waiting for 20-30 minutes and sweating. Literally. The medicinal smell of the exam room was starting to make me feel gaggy on top of my stomach being in knots with anxiety.

"Let me go consult with our foot surgeon specialist."

"SURGERY???!!!" I exclaimed as he headed out the door with my X-Ray CD.

"Oh no, you won't need surgery. I just want to run this past him."

"Don't use the 's' word around me, please!"

That was the scariest part of my appointment.

By the time I got to the Doctor on Tuesday at 2 pm I was pretty much resigned to my fate, so hearing the words, "You cannot even think about running for 6-8 weeks" wasn't a shock.

The verdict is that I have fractured my 4th metatarsal, which, in immortal words of Dr. Cutter, is "weird." Usually people break their 5th metatarsal or their big toe. It's even more strange because there was no specific incident that caused the break. I don't have a good story like "I fell off a ladder" or, "I stepped in a hole running on a trail," or "I was running from a dog and jumped a fence and landed funny," or "My husband stepped on my foot and the big lug snapped my poor little bones!"

Even though it's useless to theorize as to what exactly caused this break, Dr. Cutter and I both think that it happened in yoga class on Tuesday and then was exacerbated by me running oh... 26 miles on it afterwards (ha - almost a MARATHON. Will you look at that.) But of course we'll never really know what caused it, which is very disconcerting to me. Part of me is relieved it could have been yoga (it wasn't running!), part of me is upset that it could have been yoga (Sseriously, who breaks their foot doing yoga??? Also, I love yoga and want to do it again but will I always be scared now?).

Most of me thinks it was a combination of these things.

For now, I am not allowed to do any kind of weight-bearing activity on the foot.

Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

"Can I even swim?" I asked, hopefully.

"Talk to me again in 2 weeks," says the good doctor.

"Do you think that maybe I can run a marathon in March?" I asked, again hopeful.

"If this heals right, you totally can!"


I think that was the last time I smiled, other than when I was tipsy last night from drinking way too much Pinot Noir. By the way, I don't recommend drinking a bunch of wine and then trying to use crutches.

So far the worst thing about all of this has been, without a doubt, having crutches. I'm sure I will write 50 entries on the things I have learned from being on crutches. I am a very independent and hard headed woman, so having to ask anyone for help is KILLING ME. The fact that I can't get myself a glass of water is incredible frustrating. The other day I stood in the kitchen and yelled, "How can I run 15 miles one day and now I can't even GET A GLASS OF WATER FOR MYSELF TODAY?!?!?!"

And then I may or may not have thrown down my crutches and cursed profusely at them.

And I may or may not have done this multiple times in the past few days.

Aside from being independent and hard headed, I am also a pessimist. Three qualities that are not helpful in my situation. I am trying very hard to find some bright side to all this, but it's very difficult for me. So I'm putting on my best Susie Sunshine act right now and I'm going to come up with 5 things that I should be thankful for in this situation.

1. It wasn't my right foot. If it was my right foot I wouldn't be able to drive and then I'd really be screwed.

2. It doesn't require surgery.

3. I am using this injury as an excuse to wear Lulu Astro crops to work.

4. ...

5. ...

Ok that's all I got at the moment. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 8 - THE END

This week was going so well.

4 runs for 30 miles and a day of yoga.

Training highlights:
  • Broke 30 miles in a week for the first time ever (no pun intended...)
  • Sucked it up and ran 8 outside on Wednesday even though it was pretty darn warm out.
Training lowlights:
  • I broke my foot.
I wish I was kidding.
Saturday's run was supposed to be a 15 miler. I made it Richmond to run with my friend Siri by 6:30 a.m. - a true miracle. It was extremely muggy and not the most pleasant run for the first 9 miles because my shorts were so drenched that their weight was making them slide down my butt. And a nagging pain had started on the outside edge of my left foot.
This pain first showed up on Tuesday night during yoga class. We were doing a wide legged forward bend and I was really pushing myself.
Image Source
I wanted to get the top of my head on the ground, so I had my legs very far apart. There was a lot of pressure on the outside edges of my feet and I felt what I assumed was a muscle pull or strain in my left foot.
When my foot hurt a bit during Wednesday 8 miler, I chalked it up to residual muscle ache from yoga.
On Saturday, by the time we got to mile 10 I knew I was in trouble. The pain was shooting. We were so far away from our cars that really the only option was to hoof it back, so we cut the route short and walk/ran back to the Y at my insistence. I figured I had really pulled that muscle big time but wasn't really freaking out yet.
By the time I got home, I could barely make it from the car to my house. Husband carried me up the stairs to our room where we took off my shoes. There wasn't any swelling or outward appearance of injury. I took a shower then iced the foot. We went about our planned Saturday (shopping, dinner, baseball game). I was hobbling and slow, but not in excruciating pain.
On Sunday morning when I woke up I instantly knew it was worse - the foot was definitely swollen and I couldn't put any weight on it. We decided to go to Patient First (an urgent care facility in our area). I did not want to go there but it was our only option as I refuse to go to emergency rooms unless there is a true emergency. X-rays revealed the break. Before I knew it, I had crutches and a boot that seems to weigh more than me along with instructions to get to an orthopedist as soon as possible.
This being a holiday weekend, I haven't been to the orthopedist yet. I spent most of yesterday crying, more out of frustration than anything. Tomorrow morning I'm calling my doc at the sports medicine office first thing to see if they can fit me in. All that I am hoping for at this point is a boot that doesn't weigh 50 pounds and come up to my knee.
I have avoided writing this entry because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to hold it together long enough to get it out. Today I have only cried twice. I'm going to end the entry here because I don't think I can say much more about it right now without making it three times.