Monday, June 9, 2014

My story of how it all happened

I've had a lot of people ask me the past few months, about how I got injured in the first place.  I realized that I never really went into it much to begin with, and I probably have an entirely different blog reader than I did 18 months ago.  So today I decided to share my journey over the past 18 months and how everything came about.  I have written and re-written this a few times so that I could cut it down and make it as short as possible of a read.  However, it is still long and I apologize so no worries I don't expect any of you to really sit and read it all, but if your interested you can skim through it:)

Before I start with the past 18 months I thought I would briefly share my journey leading up to it. As a lot of you probably don't even know me as the "Runner" of Runaway Bridal Planner:)

One day I was just a girl that missed getting picked in a lottery to get into her favorite marathon.  That next day an idea formed, and I was booking my first race and starting a goal to run a marathon in each of the 50 states and D.C.  2 years and 3 months past, and I had made a huge dent in that goal.  Running 14 marathons each year, I has successfully ran D.C. and 31 other states.

Towards the fall of my 2nd year (2012) I had an injury (torn my hip flexor) that took me off running for 6 weeks.  I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen (little did I know:). Forcing me to cancel my plans to run 1 marathon that fall.  
Fortunately I had been in great shape at the time and the injury healed and I was able to get right back into marathon running again.
That year I was even able to end it pulling out my greatest part which was 3 marathons in 15 days followed by a 4th marathon 2 weeks later. (I am still proud of that if you can't tell:)

That is how 2012 ended, I was feeling great and looking forward to a huge 2013 where I planned to pull off the remaining 19 marathons I needed on my goal.  Everything was planned out and I was ready to go. Except for the money, so I took a 2nd job, part-time working for a local library system.
After my last race in December 2012 I decided to give my body a bit of rest and I cut down my mileage significantly.  Only running four days a week 3-6 miles on those days, with the occasional 8 miler.

HOW THE INJURY STARTED
Little did I know that easy 2nd job to earn extra money for the races I had coming up would be the exact reason I wouldn't get to run any of those 19 planned marathons in 2013.
At first when I worked I was wearing 3" heels.  Yes, standing on my feet for 4-8 hours a day in heels did hurt, and after a month of it I decided to buy some what I assumed would be better shoes for my feet.

ONE A SIDE NOTE:
I switched to a low drop shoe in the summer of 2011 and had pain in my heels after 3 weeks or running, so I quit using them.  I tossed those running shoes and went back to a regular running shoe quickly and the pain went away almost immediately.  I wish I would have remembered how bad shoes like that were for me a year later, but....

Many people have heard of the term zero or low drop shoes.  Basically they are a flat shoe.  I purchased a pair that winter for work figuring that walking around and standing in my feet in a pair of shoes that were flat would be the best choice.
Biggest mistake I could have ever made, and I didn't even know it yet.

PERONEAL TENDINITIS
By the end of January 2013 I started feeling a little pain on the side of my foot.  I started cutting down my running, even though it never actually hurt to run, it really only hurt when walking around or standing. Eventually I realized it hurt mainly when I was at work.  But still things didn't clue in about the zero drop shoes.

Finally I broke down and visited the first of what would be many doctors.  Peroneal Tendinitis was the diagnosis.  I was wearing a foot brace at this point, and I mostly just wore it at work when things were hurting.  I never needed it when running because it never hurt to run.

Eventually things got worse and I dropped running down to 1-2 days a week thinking it all had to be caused by running and I was just experiencing an "after effect".  So I was at that point referred to a Specialist which I saw in the late spring.

BRUISED BONE
Oh and on a side note, one day I stupidly dropped a heavy table on my foot, same foot I had been having problems with (of course.)  After another Dr. and an x-ray they decided I had bruised my bone on my foot, and I was going to be in pain for that for at least 4-8 weeks.  -when it rains it pours-

Me and this Specialist did not get along one bit.  He told me after a few minutes of me to find a new sport, he was sure running was never going to be in my future again.  I ignored him, and his comments.  He gave me the same diagnosis the first doctor did.  Put me into a different brace that was slower on my calf, and gave me heel inserts.
He was sure my injury was caused not by running, but by wearing the flat shoes at work.  He told me never to wear flats, because I had high arches and being a distance running I was only asking for trouble by doing so.  He even said if I had continued to wear the heels at work this would likely have never happened.
This doctor told me I could wear the new brace he gave me and continue running and come back in a month for an ultrasound and we would go from there.
I trashed the flat shoes, and bought a regular running shoe and added a 1/2" heel insert to them for when working.

I didn't like that Dr. so I immediately sought a better Specialist that was highly recommended by athletes both regular and professional.  The only problem was, I had to wait 3 months to get into him.
Meanwhile, I figured I would follow the last Dr's advice and I wore the brace he gave me each day, and eventually quit running altogether because I had come to a point where everything hurt and I could barely walk a few steps without cringing in pain.

So I then took 3 weeks off walking.  Yup, grabbed crutches and even took time off work.
I think it would have helped, if I didn't immediately go back to work with that stupid brace.  Things were getting horribly bad again after a few weeks I could barely take a step without wanting to cry.

ACHILLES TENDINITIS AND BURSITIS
Finally my appointment with the Specialist I had been waiting for.  I actually saw 3 different specialists that day, each examining me individually and then they got together and then I got the news.
In short, the brace the previous specialist had put me in, was incorrect for my injury and it had caused a 2nd injury.
The new Specialists all again told me to never again wear a zero drop shoe, even if it was for just walking around.  They are not for everyone, and had I never done that they said I likely wouldn't have had this happen.  Again had another Dr. tell me that if I had stuck to the heels or a regular normal running shoe for walking around at work this would have never happened.

BY LATE SUMMER
I was put in a walking boot up almost up to my knee for 8 weeks.  I was only able to take it off to shower, yes I had to wear the thing to bed every night.
During the first few days, my ankle swelled up and doubled in size.
Dr. said it was okay, and to keep wearing the boot.
Toes went numb(ish) like that feeling you get when your hand or foot falls asleep. Ya I had that numb tingle for 8 weeks straight.  My ankle swelled up for 8 weeks, and my ankle looked like a baseball was coming out the side of it.  However, that is apparently normal at times for some.
I just had to deal with it.

I should have quit the library months ago, but I needed the extra money to pay for my medical bills, because I had to do fewer weddings because I physically couldn't handle them right now.  I know crazy, how I need the money that was just supposed to be extra money for races....

FALL 2013
After 8 weeks I was examined and the Achilles had shown huge signs of mending.
The swelling was bursitis, and it was assumed it would go away as I began Physical Therapy and started icing it again.
I had to transition out of the boot for 2 more weeks.
They gave me special shoe inserts.
PT started.

WINTER - PERONEAL TENDON PROBLEMS AND ACHILLES ISSUES BACK
After a few months of PT things weren't healing as they should and I was getting in a lot of pain again.  I was sent back to the Specialist.  An MRI was ordered and a few days after Christmas I found out that the Peroneal Tendinitis had come back a little and I had some lingering Achilles Tendinitis that was coming back again.
I was put back in the boot for 2 weeks and then had to transition out and start PT again
(Still I didn't quick the library.)

JANUARY -FEBRUARY THIS YEAR
I did everything the Dr's had said, but sometimes you just have to know when to take things into your own hands.  Plus, every cent that I had been earning and saving had been spend on medical bills, because insurance doesn't always cover everything!
I made the decision to monitor it myself and then I restarted the same PT regimen they had given me before. I added a few things that felt better, and took out a few things that seemed to cause me trouble.

ACHILLES PROBLEMS IN MY RIGHT FOOT NOW
However, my right foot that had been doing so great with taking all the extra stress the past year was not having it anymore.  I was actually starting to get Achilles Tendinitis in my right foot too.
I nipped that one quickly, doing everything I should have done (If I had known better) the year before.  I was able to rid myself of the pain and Achilles problems in my right foot in about 4 weeks.

MARCH-APRIL-MAY
I finally cut down my hours at the library, and started working more at "sit down libraries" instead.
Finally significant signs of healing.
I started walking, little by little as the Dr told me to.
Then again as the Dr. said I introduced running again.
(See the muscles in my ankle were weak, so weak!  From being in that boot for about 3 months total.  They were pretty much non-existent.)
So, I had to take my time, I started with 20-50 meters of running and then would walk.
Each week for 2 months I slowly built up to finally being able to run 1 mile without having to stop at risk of hurting the injury and allow the muscles to build slowly.
The weeks I worked less at the library, were the weeks that I increased the running.

STRESS FRACTURE
Things were going nicely, I was running 1 mile non-stop and up to 2 miles a day.
Then one day I felt a little twinge in my OTHER foot and at the time I didn't think anything of it.  However, the next morning when I went to take a step, ouch!
I had fractured my now right foot now.  -yes I am cursed with bad luck!-
This is actually my first actual injury from running since I was in high school, crazy huh!  I rarely have ever been injured from running, it's always what I do in-between it that has caused me any injury problems!

WHICH BRINGS ME TO TODAY
Yes I still have a slight lingering bursitis in my left foot behind my ankle but the more I have walked or ran it actually has been going away.  So as soon as I can get back to running I am fairly certain that will leave.
The Peroneal and Achilles Tendon area's in my left foot are all but healed.  On a rare occasion I may feel a slight tenderness, but a little ice and it's gone by the next day.
My fracture in my right foot is near healed.  I have walked as much as 5 miles on it without too much pain.
I hope to start running (again) in the coming weeks.

So now you know my story, I left out a few of the set backs and other things.  I figured this post is long enough already:)  I doubt anyone will probably really want to read the whole thing, but on the plus side my story is out there.

Yes, I am the girl who got injured working at a library, how dumb does that sound!
(What I didn't mention above, the main problem with wearing the zero drop shoes was I was walking around in them for 4-8 hours a day and occasionally pushing heavy carts or carrying heavy books in them.  It was a bit of everything that did it.  It just didn't help the matter that I had just come from being a distance runner, and distance runners are more prone to tendon injuries in the first place.)

So what have a learned?  So much!
Not only have I talked to many doctors and PT's.  But I have also spoken to many in the running community and many who have also dealt with Achilles/Peroneal tendon and bursitis issues.  Want to know something interesting, almost everyone I have talked to who was a runner who either got it from running or otherwise, they all did as I did and wore a zero or low drop shoe.  Which I find interesting!
For me and 18 months off running and 19 marathons canceled, this is a lesson I had to learn the hard way!

So I am really not telling my story to criticize certain types of shoes.  I am just bitter because of my own under-education on them before I started using them.  My only advice I give anyone runner or not.  If you've got a type of shoe that is working for you, and you are not having problems, don't change it.  No point in fixing something that isn't broken!!!!

Anyhow, that is my story of what happened to me.  If you did read all of this, you are probably thinking I did give you the long version, but I promise it would have been worse if I included all the mini-setbacks:)
Sorry its so long!
It's been a rough past year, but you know what I am okay with that, I have learned a lot.  Not to mention I never would have gotten into blogging and looking at other blogs if I hadn't of gotten injured.
Seriously, I never really knew they existed before last year!

You have to handle things that come your way with a good attitude, I have tried my best.  Because I always knew I'd be running again eventually, which is better than some injuries that could keep me from it from life.
I'm not perfect, during my time off running I know I have downed way too many calories.  It's amazing how much weight you gain when you go from being active enough to eat anything you want without worries.  Then you aren't burning the calories but your mind still craves the foot.
So yes, I have some weight to loose now, but I can do it I figure that will probably come a lot with getting back to running again.

Anyhow, thank you to those of you who have stuck by me and been sending me wishes of good luck as I have been a running blogger who had to quit running for a time:)
I am doing everything I can to get back into it.  Maybe months down the road you'll see me at the starting line at one of your next marathons.  After all, I still have 19 states more to go and who knows maybe that will only be the beginning:)

FYI IN CASE YOUR WONDERING - I am hardly working at the library anymore, about 4-6 hours a week at the most if I do.  Instead I am doing more weddings which is far more active.  But since it's not that constant standing it actually doesn't hurt the injuries or make them worse:)

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