Be Happy


be-happy

It’s Sunday and I’m feeling really…overworked in fitness.  Maybe?

I’ve been going so hardcore lately – “upping” it in my classes, and going all out in my own personal workouts, in addition to picking up a few additional clients.  And this weekend I am paying the price.

I haven’t had a tarsal tunnel flare up in a few months but I totally overdid it this week (my own fault) and screwed myself and now my ankles have been buzzing since Thursday.  I can’t quite explain the pain to you – but it feels like ongoing electrical shocks in my ankles and at the bottom of my legs.  On top of that, my back is still going out every other day, and my hamstrings have been super tight the last few days (again, self inflicted and I should know better).

I could sit here and write about how horrible my life is and whine about “why is this happening to me?”.  But I won’t because I absolutely do not feel that way.  In fact, I feel the opposite.  I am blessed to have the ability to get up and work out each day.  I am thankful that I have a full belly each night – and that I even have the option of creating healthy meals.

Quite recently I saw a rerun of an old Judge Judy episode where one team mother was suing another team mother of their sons’ football jerseys.  The plaintiff really looked like a smug lunatic and she and her husband kept stating how “upset” they were that the uniforms weren’t what they expected.  Judge Judy then asked “Do you have healthy children?”  To which the plaintiffs responded “yes”.  Judge Judy then said if they were “upset over a uniform they were sickos” and that if they had to “deal with parents who were upset that the lettering was coming off the children’s uniforms when the children are able to run around a football field and healthy enough to do that then you’re all sickos.”

See the point?

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to better my fitness goals.  I am thankful that I have the ability to get up and lift weights and run and jump and teach classes.  I am blessed to live my life the way I do and have the option of making the choices I do.

I think positively.  I work hard.  I eat healthy.  I dance more.  I exercise daily.  I love often.  And I AM HAPPY.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress, Again

The other night I went for my first outdoor run in a very long time.  Pretty much since my ankles/tarsals got to the point of unbearable several months ago.

SNeaker

I had to take a break and the break, unfortunately, last longer than I’d expected.  My with the constant pain and swelling and bruising, I didn’t have much of a choice.

I’ve been doing a mile here and there at the gym, easing my way back into it, but taking it super careful, and even resorting to wearing compression socks (which, by the way, worked wonders.  I highly recommend them.  Thanks, Mom!).  And it’s been working.  Slowly, I’ve been making progress.  Hallelujah!

So, the other night was perfect weather.  And I felt kind of blah and like I needed a little cardio, so I went for it.  And, it was glorious!  I had such a good run.  In fact, the run was so great and pain free that I actually forgot about it until last night when I was updating her on the tarsal tunnel.

I am pumped to get back in the saddle again and start hitting the pavement when I can – especially in the evening once the sun starts to go down.  I love evening runs.

The major downside from this setback – aside from the pain, swelling, and bruising caused by the tarsal tunnel – is that it’s looking like I won’t be running in the Harvest Marathon this year.  At least not the half marathon like I’d planned.  There’s no way I can start training for a half marathon set for the start of October this late in the year.  And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I really want to.  Not that I don’t want to run the half, because I’ve had my heart set on it all year and had been in training for it, but because I don’t want to go right back into hardcore running and put my ankle health back in jeopardy.  That would just be stupid and irresponsible of me.

Hurts to stop

Truth.  But it was the right decision.

So, for the time being I will work my way slowly back into a running routine and, perhaps I will set my sights lower for the Harvest this year and do a 5 or 10 k.  I just need to remember, no matter how disappointed I am about not running the half, is that I am doing this for me and it is the right decision.  Because in the end….being able to walk the rest of my life is more important than running one day.

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Road Again-ish

Last week I decided, while in my gym routine, to try a run.  I hadn’t been running in about a month or so since my tarsal tunnel flared up and we discovered I have tendonitis on top of it.  But I figured I’d given them enough rest to try a run again.  I ran a mile on the treadmill and carried on with the rest of my workout.

The run wasn’t too bad, although my ankles were tingly afterward, I expected much more pain than what I had.  So, this week I decided to try a run again.  I ran two miles before carrying on with the rest of my gym routine.

That was Thursday night.  By Friday night, not only were my ankles completely puffy (although, the puffiness seems like it has found a permanent place in my feet), they were bruised on the inside once again.

What the heck is going on??

When I saw my doctor a few weeks back my biggest concern was the bruising and hers was the swelling.  I’m wondering now if she’d be more concerned with the bruising.

My ankles feel splintery; like shards of bone are being pulled away on the inside.  I can feel my bones clanking together where my leg meets the top of my foot.

Foot Description

Basically, we’re talking with the fibula meets the talus. *clank clank clank*

And so, it looks like running will have to be put on hold once again.  My BFF -slash – running buddy and I have a race weekend away planned for this upcoming weekend but it looks, too, like that is out of the question.

I am devastated by all of this.  Running is so important to me.  It’s something I have done, albeit off and on, for so long and to not be able to do it not only makes me sad but also terrifies me.  I’m not certain of the damage, if any, that is being done inside my legs and feet, and I know that I have to heal, but I feel defeated by not being able to pursue something that I have loved for so long.  At least for the time being.

So for now I make the choice to sit this one out – that may include this whole season, or just this race.  I don’t want to push myself to the point that I’m damaged goods for life.  Although it pains me, I need to be sensible and do what’s right for my body in order to keep it in its best form for as long as I can.

In a few weeks’ time I will attempt another mile and see how it goes.  I’m looking forward to getting back on the road again.

~FB

Sacrifices

Three weeks ago I aggravated my tarsal tunnel syndrome to the worst it’s ever been.  For the last 21 days I have been living in agony while my ankles have vibrated, ached, pained, splintered, and I have been barely been able to walk.

I’ve had to put on hold my running (ACK!!) and have had to go down in weight while lifting.  Thankfully, my classes have been over the last 2.5 weeks – although new boot camp classes start this week.

I’ve had some massage therapy – and I’ve got a great boyfriend who’s been wonderfully massaging my ankles while we’re home.  But there’s a lot of puffiness and bruising – which was concerning.

I finally got into the doctor today and she confirmed the tarsal tunnel aggravation and says there’s likely some tendonitis in there as well.  Although, she too is concerned about the swelling and bruising.  (My colleague told me I had a case of “O.L.D.” – but the doctor said I was still young -ha!)

Needless to say, it’s been a tough couple of weeks.  Not being able to run (or walk, for that matter) it’s race season!! -, having to go down in weight when strength training, etc.  I have had to make some decisions and some sacrifices.  It sucked, but it had to be done.  This is the worst flare of tarsal tunnel I’ve ever had and I need it to go away. Fortunately, it has been subsiding the last few days, but my joints are still very tender to the touch.

I will continue to take it easier – although with the start up of teaching my classes again this week my “easy” is a bit limited.  I have to doctor’s go-ahead, but with the orders to “go light” and ice when finished.

My biggest annoyance is not being able to run.  This is the longest hiatus from running I’ve taken in about a year and a half.  I’m hoping to get back into it very soon.  I have a race in June, dammit!!

I have an ankle massage scheduled for tomorrow and I’ll be icing them tonight.  Hopefully this will pass soon and I can get back into it (semi) full throttle.

~FB

 

Misery

I’ve been running pretty much non-stop for the last year – and then some.

I’ve been so ecstatic about getting back into my running, and although I’ve had a few set backs with my tarsal tunnel, this past weekend I really feel like I’ve hit a wall.

Last week I could feel my ankles getting a little worn.  I’ve been running so much the last two weeks and I could feel the wear and tear.  Thankfully, I had Thursday night off from Zumba (as you likely know, Thursday is my favorite night of the week.  I hit the gym right from work, run a few miles, get some crazy strength training in, hit the stairs for reps (the last few weeks it’s been a minimum of 2000 steps), and finish my night with Zumba – and I love every minute of it!) and decided to take it semi easy.  I did get some strength training in, but decided to forego the run.

Friday night I didn’t run, I hit the gym and did a workout on the elliptical for a warm up and then killed it in the strength room with my old buddy Mr. Smith (Machine), but by the time I got home I could barely walk.

I’d had my shoes off at work all day and as soon as I got home I had to jump in the tub to soak my ankles.  Then I iced them.  And when my boyfriend got home I got him to rub them.  And that’s how it was all weekend:  soak, ice, rub, repeat.

It literally feels like splinters of bone peeling off the insides of my ankles.  I feel like poor James Caan in Misery with crazy Kathy Bates swinging that sledgehammer.

misery-ankle

*OUCH*

I am so cranky that I’ve been sidetracked by this pain, but there’s nothing I can do about it.  The pain is so intense that I can’t even tell if it’s a flare-up of the tarsal tunnel or if it’s something else.  All I can do for now is rest and keep soaking and icing my ankles – and hope for the best.

I mean, in all honesty, I can (for the most part) still work out – but I can’t overdo it.  I don’t want to exert too much extra weight on my ankles so I will have to modify the strength workouts.  And it’s pretty clear that I will not be running this week (although, the weather people are calling for a major storm tomorrow anyway, so perhaps my {outside} running may not have happened anyway).

I’m hoping for a speedy recovery from this.

~Fit Bitch

I DID IT!!

MEDALYesterday I ran in the Harvest Marathon here in Nova Scotia.  It was my first time.

I didn’t realize how big this event was – or had become – but it was insane!  There were over 900 people registered in my category alone – and more than 3000 Nova Scotians registered for the entire marathon (not counting those from other provinces – or even countries, as there were a few).

I was excited, nervous, and anxious.  I was tired and sore (I think I pulled a hip flexor in class the other night), and was worried how my ankle (and bladder) would hold up.

It was an early morning with a BFF.  It was dark, dreary, and really cold.

But we did it.  All of us!

I ran alone (BFF was registered in a different category).  Plugged into Darius Rucker’s Wagon Wheel (it honestly helped me run), and pushed myself harder than I’ve pushed myself in a long time.

In fact, I pushed myself so hard I shaved 34 minutes off my time from Thursday night (just three days before).

My ankle is 100% okay – thankfully.  My hip flexor, on the other hand, is a different story – I have to tug on the toe of my sock to lift my leg – and my calves are tight today, but all in all I feel fantastic and proud.

And I’m proud of the other runners – and inspired by many!

This was an incredible experience and I am so elated to have finally been able to experience it.

~Fit Bitch

Preventing Knee Injury When Exercising

I have mentioned many times over the course of my posts that I have very weak ankles.  I’ve had problems with my ankles for as long as I can remember – since I was a toddler, I believe.  They’ve both been sprained, strained, twisted, torn, rolled, and broken (yes, both of them).  Because of my ankle weaknesses I am always super diligent in doing my best to prevent (further) ankle injury.  So much so that I sometimes need to remind myself that other parts of my body need to be looked after.
Like the knees.
via Yahoo

via Yahoo

Because I’m so active, and because there is a history of osteoporosis in my family, I have made a conscious effort to be kind to my knees – and I’m going to let you in on these efforts:
First of all, be aware.  That’s pretty easy, right?  Our knees carry us and they take a lot of crap throughout each day.  So, if we are aware of the possible injuries we could endure – and what our lives might be like with a knee injury – we can ensure better care and safer performances.  We want to avoid a bigger situation, such as getting a knee replacement and having ongoing problems after that.  (The Zimmer Persona Knee Replacement is just one example of this.  Coincidentally, a few months ago I posted MOM-spiration and told the story of my mom being injured in a hit-and-run accident and has suffered her whole life with bad knees as a result. She is potentially facing knee replacement surgeries but is doing her best to avoid that option.  She’s been coming on-and-off to my boot camp classes (go mom!!) and has joined a walking group.  Knee replacement surgery is clearly something we all want to do our best to avoid.)
And of course having proper footwear is a key factor in preventing many types of injuries – knees and ankles included.  Making sure you have the right type of sneaker for your particular exercise is necessary, even if it will cost you a few extra bucks, it’s worth it in the long run.  Since I run and do a lot of plyo exercises I find it necessary to have a high end pair of sneakers or two with excellent shock absorption and tread, to start with.  And wearing proper and well-fitting gym shoes will help maintain leg alignment and balance (something I often need help with due to my weak ankles).
Having an exercise routine that includes a warm up and a cool down!!  THIS IS KEY.  I REPEAT <<– THIS IS RIDICULOUSLY IMPORTANT!!!   I make sure my clients, my fitness groups, and myself are all properly warmed up prior to exercising.  I can’t tell you how often I see people at my gym jump right into a workout without warming up.  That right there is one of the biggest factors causing injury.  If the body isn’t warmed up properly we’re not respecting it and we put it at risk.  Warming up before a workout will reduce the chance of soft tissue injuries and will lubricate your joints for easier movement. Cooling down and stretching after a workout is just as important as the warm up.  Our muscles tighten during exercise, so stretching post-workout will help loosen our muscles and joints, getting them back to proper mobility.  Although, we must be cautious of overstretching as this can further ail us by softening the ligaments under the kneecap or pulling tendons and muscles further than they should be pulled (stretched).  The Runner’s Stretch is guilty of this.
Having a strength-training routine is great for me for supporting my ankles and knees.  Strengthening my leg muscles will help me in the long run to reduce further injury, stabilize my muscles and joints, and keep me better balanced.
Knowing how to treat a knee injury is very important.  If it’s an injury due to over-training or over-use then there are several rules to follow.  I had an over-training injury to the side of knee that lasted for months this past winter and spring.  It was a terrible joint injury that caused me more pain than I had bargained for.  Here’s the routine I followed for a very.long.time: Ice and elevation, for starters.  I would come home from the gym, or from work, or from a class and elevate my knee over some pillows and then put the ice packs to it.  I was also very big on Epsom salts baths (Epsom salts are brilliant.  The sulfates play an important role in the formation of joint proteins and easing muscle pain.  Also, the magnesium helps with nutrient absorption, which can help with osteoporosis).  I would soak my knee for a good 20 minutes nearly every night for weeks on end.  I found a lot of comfort in doing this. I also made sure that I did some light stretching while my knee was warmed and soaking.  Compression wraps are something I had to deal with.  It would look big and bulky underneath my gym pants or whatever I was wearing but it had to be done to reduce the swelling.  Anti-inflammatories* became my best friend.  Well, not really, but when the pain and/or swelling got too bad I had to pop an Advil** here and there to reduce both.  (* and **  I am not promoting this, nor do I have any affiliation with Advil.  Please either see your doctor or your pharmacist or other health professional before taking any medication, and follow the instructions and/or recommended dosage of any medication.)  I also spoke to a professional to determine that my injury was indeed an over-use injury.  Because my pain was in a weird place I wanted to ensure it wasn’t anything more worrisome.
Following a yoga practice definitely helped – and continues to help me.  Yoga has helped me: increase my flexibility, enhance my performance, reduce stress, and stretch my muscles.  After all the exercising I do, incorporating a regular yoga practice is probably one of the smartest things I’ve done to help my body recover after my workouts and from the daily wear and tear I put it through.  My body (and mind and soul) continually thanks me for introducing it to yoga.
And lastly, but certainly not less important, knowing my limits and exercising properly is just as important as every other factor.  And this goes for everything I do.  Thankfully, my over-training injury healed up several months ago and I’ve been fortunate enough to not have another flare of it (I’m knocking on wood as I type).  If we are educated properly about exercises – whether it be by a trainer, an instructor, a doctor, or a teacher, then we can prevent almost any type of injury. For instance, we know that when doing a basic lunge the knee is not supposed to come out further than the ankle.  Just like we know that in a plank or push up our lower back should not sink in.  Anytime either of these happens we are putting our body at risk.  But there.  I’ve just told you the most important rules of a basic lunge and of a plank or push up.  Educating ourselves on correct form and exercise basics (what to do and what not to do) and how to avoid injuries is a great start to any fitness routine and respecting our body.
{FYI: I work with a man who has ongoing knee problems stemming from an old injury and ever since I found out about his issue (somedays, when flare ups occur and he’s visibly in pain) I will send him tons of info on preventing knee injury, strengthening his knees, and taking care of himself to prevent further injury/flare ups.  I think, perhaps deep down, he appreciates my scolding and sticking-my-nose-in.}
~Fit Bitch