If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A (very) cautious (running) optimism.

I had been re-introducing runs into my schedule, and my manual therapist/chiropractor Dr. Sellers and I seem to have been getting “hotter” to the origin of where the “now” pain is located and what to do about it. The PT from Dr. Spears can’t do anything about my ideas because she has to perform by the rules of Dr. Spears’ diagnosis/suggestions, and Dr. Spears doesn’t want to see me until it’s been 6 weeks. I need to find solutions to deal with the “issue of the tissue” first and foremost, and all the exercises that help me to alter the gate are good, but not “freeing” the cause of the pain at the moment. Yeah, I know, it sucks being a doctor (at least a former one) and go to one for an advice. You never keep challenging them and always keep digging yourself. May be it’s a good thing, because all my observations and questioning and requests (and thankfully Dr. Sellers’s listening ability and agreeing to entertain my ideas) seem to be leading to somewhat a good direction. Of course, my job is to be careful and not go crazy!

I had 4 runs this week. Well, I had one last Sunday, and it was supposed to be a trial 5M loop on trails, but the day was glorious, and I was elated, and I went into an additional loop to a point of no return when the pain struck, and for the rest of the run, the rest of the day, and all the following day I was paying for it. That, and I managed to pick up am ear infection, and eye infection and a sty simultaneously, so I spent Monday home. Then life has gotten better…

I did a Stepmill and a Bikram class on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, as I left work, I drove straight to a trailhead without coming home. It was another nice day, with lots of sunshine (oddly enough, Austin had been very cloudy and rainy lately, reminding me Oregon days rather strongly), and even somewhat hot. I ran every step of my “Ken’s loop” 6M trail the way I used to when we lived in an apartment. I ran every step. I was sore and tired, but I vowed not to break into a walk, laughing at myself that endurance is all gone, and at mile 4 I feel broke, and Larry (who, himself, slowly clawing his way out of injury) and I are trying really hard to rather joke about it. Because if we don’t, it is a cause for crying, indeed. Having 2 (two!) runners in a family both of whom are injured could be a disaster. You should see our limping bodies after an hour run... How in the world did we ever run those 30 mile long runs??? Anyhow, I made it, glistening in sweat, and felt revived and hopeful. Then I was having trouble walking, again…

I took another Stairmaster punishment on Thursday, along with Dr. Sellers squeezing the life out of my left foot. On Friday I fulfilled his idea that I should try and run fast in intervals as it will help me keep the correct form and land the foot where it needs to, back to normal, as opposed to all this time it has been doing so in compensating matter. That, and I have an arch support in my shoes. So, I went late at night to run loops around that local 0.6M park, with 0.15M walk in-between. Oh, my Lord! It is not only endurance that is lost. The idea of pushing the effort to any serious level was foreign to me, but I did what I could. I timed my “intervals”, and each of those three were done in 4:21. Now, the path is loose gravel and have feet sinking in a bit, and comparing to the track, it does have some inclines and declines, but it is probably also not an exact 0.6M (this estimate is from the street distance around it). Never mind, though, because once I pressed the “start” button on my watch, I felt like a runner. A fat, slow, exhausted and tired, but a runner. Oh, what a simple button does to you…and oh, there is probably a reason it is highly recommended to come back to the repeats at a shorter intervals, like 100m!

I did a very super-easy 4 miles yesterday while kids played basketball and I jogged around that same park, and today went back to the 8M loop on trails, now officially planning to do the full thing. And run every step of it. And I did. It was coldish and rainy, and the rocks were slippery, and I wasn’t pushing. The pain came at the same 4M mark, but a mile later kind of faded, and I finished the whole thing, still running, and when came home, apparently came on the mark of my best time there. Go figure, endurance and effort combined…

My new dress and my new door.
It’s been a good week. The work finally had moved from the last 2 month’ dead spot, so there is hope for my lab presentation in a month. Older kid is still in school, although that shelter place has a long waiting list (to which he got put on), and he is still in close contact. The younger kid is doing well, and admitted to preparing a surprise for me on Valentine. Yeah, my sons are “mama’s boys”, but not in terms being pestered, rather somehow along the line I managed to matter to them, and this is the best thing I could ever, ever wish for (I am a traditional woman, you know, and my primary role is to raise children who can do well living life further). Our both kids (my Stephen and Larry’s Harrison) been very traditional boys this weekend (unlike usual, when they are totally “electronic” kids of this generation and society). They played chess, shoot hoops on basketball court, and we played Scrabble last night for an hour and half like mad. I had finished (in 1 day!) knitting a baby blanket for a friend who gave birth to a beautiful little girl and also finished knitting a dress for myself – in 2 weeks only doing so when on the bus or watching TV! I am feverishly working on a new project, and my love for crafting is back – as the wish to never spend time un-productive. Larry did his guy thing and had replaced one door (in a hallway closet) with a new one, which he got unfinished, painted, sanded, put all that other stuff on, and boy, what a good work on a $25 door does to a room! I am eagerly awaiting for him to slowly replace all of those cheap apartment-grade doors we have. I am about to hit my second-for-the-week Bikram class with my favorite teacher, and I think I have a crash on her (get your mind out of your other body parts, it’s a teacher-student crash! and I feel a little bit guilty towards my previous favorite teacher, like I am cheating on her, or something:)). The standing on one leg for a minute postures are difficult, shaky and hurtful on the left side, but the rest of the class is pure bliss, physically and mentally. In the last month I lost 2 pounds, ½ inch off my waist and behind, and learned not to go crazy when step on the scale (as well as to step on it only twice a week instead of every day obsessively). It's not easy, you know, when only 4 months prior I was displaying the best body-shape ever in my life! But, oh, well...who mentions old, gets an eye out (an old Russian wisdom)/ Somehow, in the next 4 short months, I need to get myself to the point where I can finish (nobody’s even talking about doing well at) a couple of 50 milers and a couple of 100’s.

But the main goal is double-fold: first is to NOT take steps back in recovery and continue to heal, and second is to get my base back. The speed, the endurance, and the rest of it will be added once these two achieved.

p.s. and for those who happen to stumble here from GRS, my belief is that the value of a man is not what he is making, whether salary-wise or around-the-house, but how he treats his (and other) woman. Same (but opposite) goes for a woman. And in both of their self-respect and assurance of their value:)

p.p.s. This weekend was the first one in a while neither Larry nor I joined Tejas Trails at the race. Rocky Raccoon 50/100M was in session, with lots of rain before and during, muddy trails, interesting events (Hal Koerner won, Karl Meltzer cam 2nd, Sabrina Moran took women's title, while Liza Howard dropped with injury at mile 80). As for the reason, I didn't think standing on my feet was a smart idea in terms of my own foot deal (and remembering the outcome after Cactus Rose/Bandera), nor leaving my guys was fare to them. We hope to see many of runners at the next event.


JeffO said...

Wow, what a mix, both of things you said and things I feel about it. You are both holding-it-together, shifting focus to stay into constructive activities. It's just that I'm currently struggling to help an ultra friend who seems to think her value lies in her running achievements. As if without running achievements, she's nothing. Too many ultra-runners make the mistake of defining themselves by the number of races they do, their finish-times, awards, etc. when instead they should be getting their identity (and therefore 'value') from the fact that they're always striving to achieve more, demanding excellence in anything they do. When a person who identifies all their value in achievements from a physical activity gets injured, maybe for the rest of their life, then what? Serious depression. Healthy people will see your achievements of nothing more than a by-product of your true value - not a definition of your substance. People like you and Larry are awesome and inspirational because of your entire package - how you live life, including juggling family, jobs, crises, your passion for life.
I hope you can battle back, but I hope you don't think your only value lies on your trophy shelf. Para-phrasing new meaning into Ken Klouber's saying, 'you're more than you think you are'.

Sarah said...

Great to see that you are doing some pain-free (or less painful) running again! And I like hearing about your other projects and activities. Life is so much more than running...but running makes it sweet, doesn't it?! :-) Wondered about whether you were at RR...smart move to pass this time. Continued best wishes and healing thoughts coming your way!

Mackenzie said...

Yay for running optimism Olga! Hope it continues to heal!

ALM said...

Sometimes when we don't have running all the time to keep us busy, and we have submitted to the reality, we find that we can fill up our time in fun ways to take our mind off how long it feel it is taking to heal up! So glad you are easing into running agian but still being cautious and keeping busy with other fun activities! It's not easy and you have such a great attitude!

Thomas Bussiere said...

Glad to see the recovery is going well, and you continue to heal.
You are very strong in all things.

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