Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Elliptical, Aqua Jog, Repeat...

Bretton Woods was kind of a tease, since I woke up the next morning with an uncontrollable desire to go for a run. I quickly realized I was being dumb, but it didn't stop me. I continued to be dumb for 3 road miles in the 10ish pace per mile, followed by an ok run up Heavenly Hill with the dogs. I knew right then it was time to smarten up and stick to cross training for awhile.

I decided I was just going to swim laps in the pool at The Mill, but... that got old really fast, so I decided to venture into the fitness room to try the elliptical for the first time in my life.
The elliptical at The Mill

I was SO relieved when I realized I could do this workout with very little pain! No impact or weight-bearing. You wouldn't even know I was injured while I'm on it, but after that first workout, I stepped off it barely able to walk. Haha. I was so happy to have found something else I could do. Then the next day, Don Fredrikson offered to let me borrow his Aqua Jogger. I was totally game to try anything, so I took him up on it. The first time in the pool with it was pretty awkward, and it took me about 10 minutes to get the hang of it, but, now, I feel like a pro! And can I just say that I fucking love it. It gets me as close to that runner's high as I can get right now, and as I'm going back and forth, I'm zoning out and sorting through my thoughts, just like I would do on a run. I'm pretty shocked at how much I enjoy it. Don may never get his Aqua Jogger back.

So that pretty much sums up the last 2.5 weeks as far as working out. It definitely doesn't equal running, but at least I can maintain some sort of fitness level so that I'm not starting completely from scratch when I can truly run again. I only do an hour total, either 30 min on the elliptical, followed by 30 min of aqua jogging or an hour at just one of them. I have to admit that I'm enjoying both. They're keeping me sane and fit (kinda), and without them, I would not have been able to stay as positive as I have been. I have yet to shed a tear over my situation, although I did have my first whine (and I mean a true whine) over it yesterday. I was actually amused by it, so I didn't let it bring me down to where I was heading.

So I guess it's onto the injury. For the first two weeks, it was so up and down. Days with little pain to days of excruciating pain. Lifting and lowering stretchers at work has been very difficult and painful. Sometimes it would throb at night while sleeping. I couldn't really pinpoint the injury at first, but once a lot of the referred pain died down after these two weeks, I realized that this was specifically in the center of my left buttocks. No hip pain, no sciatic nerve pain. No muscle pain. When I touched right where the exact point of pain was, I felt bone. And the only pain I was having by this point was with impact and weight-bearing. Walking uphill didn't hurt at all. Sitting hurt. All of this has led me to the self-diagnosis of a stress fracture in my sacrum. It's the only thing that makes sense. My ambulance partner fractured his sacrum in a fall years ago and even said all of my symptoms were the same as he had. I found a case study on the stress fx of the sacrum of a runner, and his symptoms are identical to mine.
Sacral Stress Fracture in a Distance Runner
Unfortunately, I won't ever be 100% sure of this, since I have horrible health insurance, but it is the most likely injury. Sooooo, this definitely means a long recovery period. The fact that I'm going to lose so much of my training is what hurts the most, but I've accepted it and moved on. Just doing what I can. And I'm happy to have had some significant improvements in the last 5 days. I can now walk without any pain. Sitting hardly bothers it. And no more throbbing while sleeping. I've even had moments that I forgot I was injured.

I decided to test things out by "running" some Heavenly Hill repeats this past Saturday. Running steep uphills doesn't hurt, but anything at a slight incline, flat, or downhill had to be walked. Too much impact. I made it up and down 3 times, and I must admit that those moments of running felt so good! And after the run/walk, I had no pain, so I didn't do any damage during my "test". Things are on the up-and-up, even if it's slow. :)

So, what else have I been occupying my time with? Well, hikes and walks with John, even when I was still in a lot of pain. It felt better than sitting, though. We also went the Corn Maize at Sherman Farm twice. And then this last Sunday we drove down to Massachusetts to watch the Baystate Marathon. I had never actually watched a marathon before, and from where we were at the Rourke Bridge, we got to see the runners three times during the race. That ended up being a lot of fun. So I've definitely been trying to stay busy AND active while injured. It's the only way to keep the mind healthy when a huge part of your life has been temporarily taken away. So far, so good. I have a down moment here and there, but it's short-lived. Sunday will definitely sting since I'll be watching the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon this year instead of racing it. I know I could have pulled off a better time than last year with the shape I was in, so that part hurts. I'll be there, though. Volunteering. John in tow. We're working the 5k course which is perfect since we can get back to Schouler Park to watch the finish. I did register so I'll still get my shirt and free beer at the Sea Dog after party. I might have to buy a few more beers to drown my sorrows in. Haha.

Here are some random pics from the last 2.5 weeks.

Sherman Farm Corn Maize. I have a picture of John with this goat every year since the goat was a baby.

Pumpkin patch at Sherman Farm

Brook Path walk in Wonalancet. This walk was extremely painful for me.

Brook Path

Boulder Loop Trail hike

Boulder Loop Trail

Attitash Oktoberfest 

John collided with a woman's beer at Oktoberfest

Hanging out at Tamworth Fire while at work

King Pine walk after the gym

At the Sea Dog. My glass was empty.

Can you believe it?? This is the ONLY running picture in this blog post. I purposely wore a snowshoe racing shirt in hopes of being able to run again by then. :)

Back at the Corn Maize

In the maze. This was the first time we ended up at the bridge. After the fourth time, I finally figured it out.

On the Rourke Bridge at the Baystate Marathon waiting for runners to come through at almost half way.

On the Lowell side of the bridge at mile 22.6

Garcia Brogans in Lowell for lunch

Walk on the Merrimack River Trail

John hiding under the I-93 bridge

Mountain Pond hike

Mountain Pond Trail

Shelter on Mountain Pond

Mountain Pond hike with my guy

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