Stress Fracture – The Update

I’m pretty sure last week ranked right up there with “most exhausting week of my life”.

I work approximately one hour (sometimes +) from where I live, so grabbing the early shuttle is necessary 4 out of 5 days a week. This means waking up at 5:15am to attempt to put some semblance of effort into my appearance – run a flat iron through my hair (the keratin treatment I got a couple of weeks ago has literally changed my life and I will never go without them again), throw some tinted moisturizer, eyeliner, and mascara on, get dressed in a pre-selected outfit from the night before (I have a slight “shopping addiction” – some may call it “shopaholism” and I do not take getting dressed lightly) and run out the door to catch the 6:20am bus.

Yes I just made up “shopaholism” but in my opinion, it works.

Only lately it’s been all of the above… minus the “run” out the door. The word “run” has been entirely abI don’t want to constantly be thinking about it. Some people may also call this “DENIAL” but I am not one of those people.

Week before last, I was able to function at work without crutches. By the end of the week I was booting around like I owned the place. I had a follow-up with the Foot Doctor (I believe we call them Podiatrists) that Friday afternoon and I went in with very little expectations.

He squeezed the living hell out of my heel, and, much to my surprise, I had no pain…. not even the slightest hint of discomfort.

He explained that with stress fractures it’s not so much the actual bone breaking, but the fibers that make up the bone breaking down. The recommended treatment is to rest, stay off of it, and cross train to allow the fibers that build the bone back up to replenish and take over the fibers that break the bone down. Basically there has been World War 3 happening in my heel the past 3 weeks.

My stress fracture was a repetitive overuse injury. The constant motion of running (lately in less than how do you say “supportive shoes”) lead the fibers that break down the bone to overtake the fibers that build it back up… and here we are.

Needless to say my Brooks Pure Flows are now a permanent part of my wardrobe and will be the only shoes I run in (whenever that happens again – really any day now foot, I’m waiting on you) . Sorry Vivo Barefoots, but we can still walk together. Preferably with a dog.

At the end of the appointment the doc said those magical words: “I WANT YOU OUT OF THE BOOT.”

Say whaaaaat?

Evidently if you wear a boot for too long you start overcompensating on your right side (I already was because I have little to no coordination in life in general) and run the risk of injuring your other foot. He didn’t want that. I certainly agreed.

So last Saturday morning, for the first time in 3 weeks… I walked normally.

I  put on my running shoes, and made a slow, but pain-free walk up a few blocks to meet my mom for brunch. As the weekend went on I walked more and more (still slowly) without pain. Brooks Pure Flows I’ve never loved you so much.

Oh look another completely unrelated picture of a dog that isn’t mine on this blog. I don’t even care, she’s so darn cute and will soon be at my desk on a daily basis.

The caveat was – I had to wear running shoes last week. My beautiful shoe collection has never felt so neglected.

I took “wear running shoes this week” to also mean “wear Lululemon with your running shoes this week”. And so that is exactly what I did.

My office is pretty casual so I wasn’t crazy out of place in my active-wear best, and I won’t lie, it’s been pretty cozy and lovely and all… but I wanted out of workout clothes/shoes and into my clothes.

I was in a state of denial last Monday (weird I know) and wore a low wedge to offset the pressure to the heel. Then I just accepted it and went with the running shoes the rest of the week. I’m happy to report that in my running shoes I can walk at a bit faster of a speed (like 3.1 miles an hour instead of 1) without any pain. Today I’m finally, finally wearing normal boots. Not the kind you pump up with air that weighs 10 pounds. That makes me happy.

Something else that makes me happy? A totally original photo of the RED CUPS Starbucks has finally started handing out. (In my opinion this should be every season.) I also realize I’m the first person to post a photograph on a social networking site of said red cup. I march to the beat of my own drum.

Dr. Foot Man also told me I could try jogging for 10 minutes on the treadmill on Wednesday. That would be ~5 days ago. My foot was a little sore so I’ve been opting for Pilates, Barre, Arc Trainer-ing (I refuse to Elliptical), and upright Stationary Biking.

I walked for a mile on Friday on the treadmill (while watching our new obsession Breaking Bad on the iPad), and then completed a circuit of Arc Trainer-ing and biking. Saturday was Pilates and Sunday was a spin class. I’m thinking today may be the first attempt at a 10-minute jog… depending entirely on my foot. I want to heal fully and completely before I remotely introduce running back in.

Especially because I may or may not have 4+ half-marathons that I’m already registered for in 2013. But that’s for tomorrow’s post.

Heel it’s time to heal. Go Time. Let’s do this.

I will leave you with the single greatest iPhone application I’ve found to date – WEATHER PUPPY.

You can thank me later. In the form of puppies.

Happy Monday 🙂

A GIANT Sweep + Thrive – Day 1

Oh hi, happy Monday! I was just putting my broom away.

Why?

Oh just because the GIANTS SWEPT THE TIGERS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES IN 4 GAMES.

Posey running to the pitcher’s mound after the final out is my all-time favorite moment of the World Series win in 2010 and 2012. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Boyfriend and I watched the game at Nick’s Crispy Tacos in Russian Hill with some friends, and a few hundred other Giants fans. Once the final strike was called… well Polk Street pretty much exploded in celebration.

Also the Giants have been undefeated since the boot came on to my stress fractured heel. Coincidence? I don’t think so. You’re welcome world.

After being right in the thick of the revelry in 2010, the boot and I opted to drive home and listen to the madness from the safe distance of the apartment. We had a pretty good view of it all from where the car was parked off of Polk Street (thank you handicap parking placard). Boyfriend stayed out a bit longer to celebrate with the guys and take it all in, but needless to say I was more than happy to not come home covered in beer and champagne. If I have to wear this boot a few more weeks I’d rather it didn’t smell like stale alcohol.

The World Series win couldn’t have come at a better time, since today Jaime and I started a 2-Day Thrive Juice Cleanse!

Jaime discovered Thrive, which operates out of Nectar Wine Bar in the Marina during the day and I’ve been in no less than 10 times to pick up green juices. She did their cleanse, raved about it, and I immediately wanted in.

I picked up my juices yesterday (Megan and Stephanie, the owners are SO NICE), and couldn’t wait to get started. I bought a couple extra Green Dreams and Tropical Greens so that I could get my system used to the juices yesterday, but officially started today.

Last week was full of eating out, lots of wine and margaritas, sweet potato fries, and over indulging for the World Series. Add to it less than usual exercise (stuck on crutches will do that to a person), sitting on the couch for 10+ hours a day, and I was feeling a bit…. blah.

Cleansing seemed like the perfect solution. Detox, flush out toxins, and get back on track.

And really, how could overloading my body with Vegetable Juice for 48 hours not help my foot heal? It’s practically science.

I’m doing the Deep Dive Cleanse for 2 (and possibly 3) days. It includes:

  • 4 Green Dreams
  • 1 Lively Lemonade (my favorite!)
  • 1 Cozy Cashew Milk (which I plan to dump in a blender with a few ice cubes and some nut meg and make into a milkshake tonight)
  • 1 Aloe Vera Capsule (benefits of Aloe Vera capsules can be found here)

 

I also subbed out one of my Green Dreams for a Tropical Green (in which they swap the apple for pineapple for a little change of pace.) Really getting wild over here, I know.

This is my second time cleansing so I know what to expect (being cold, feeling weak, etc), and what not to do this time around (attempt to run or do pilates which I actually can’t do with a stress fractured heel… so that’s a win for the broken foot) so I feel more prepared for what’s to come over the next 2 days.

Workout wise, I plan to rest today (worked out Friday/Saturday/Sunday this past weekend) and then swim on Tuesday and bike on Wednesday. Nothing crazy strenuous, but enough to get some type of sweating into my day. (Stress fracture exercise update to come this week.)

With that, it’s time for Green Dream #3. Woo hoo lunchtime!

Finally.

After two weeks of hobbling around on crutches, staying stationary on the couch or on the bike, yesterday I got to MOVE.

And I mean really move.

I re-joined my gym (left when I took my job in Silicon Valley – didn’t seem to make sense since they have gym facilities there) for one very large reason – the pool.

After dropping $70 on Amazon the other day, my swim gear finally arrived on Friday evening. And my career to becoming a professional swimming began yesterday.

You don’t have to tell me, I already know that cap makes me look pretty badass.

Boyfriend and I made our way to the gym, I crutched to the pool area, stuck a toe in the water, thought eff it, and dove right in.

I started with a 200 yard warm-up and for the first time in 2 weeks I felt free. I finally had that feeling I get when I’m on a really amazing run and I feel like I’m on top of the world.

I swam competitively for ~10 years so jumping back in the pool felt completely natural. It reminded me of all those summer mornings spent on the pool deck at practice, hitting intervals, and going through all the kicking, pulling and sprint sets.

It. Was. Awesome.

My workout looked like this:

  • 200 yard warm-up freestyle
  • 8 x 100 yard freestyle
  • 50 fly (just to see if I still had it – and while it’s not as pretty as it once was… I still got it!)
  • 200 yard cool-down freestyle

Total yards: 1250

I left feeling friggin’ amazing. The best I’ve felt in weeks. Endorphins I’ve missed you so! (I’m sorry cyclists, but biking does nothing for endorphins when you’re used to a runner’s high.)

I’ve certainly had my share of ups and downs while dealing with this injury. It frustrates me to no end that this recovery is (basically) completely out of my control. I can stay off it, rehab it, eat healthy, and get enough sleep, but for the most part it will heal when it wants to heal.

And for a control-freak like myself this is simply unacceptable. I’m used to being independent and self-sufficient. I like to make other people’s lives easier, not burden them with extra responsibilities and tasks. When I’m faced with a problem, I find a solution. I then apply that solution to make the problem go away.

With a broken heel that just doesn’t happen, and it drives me absolutely crazy. I hate feeling like the simplest of tasks – like taking the trash out this morning (after having several friends over for snacks, drinks and the Giants game last night made for quite a bit of it) is impossible to do on crutches and I constantly have to ask for assistance. I’ve never been so reliant on other people to do things for me, and it’s something that is definitely taking some getting used to.

Boyfriend has been absolutely amazing – driving me to and from places, helping me in every single way possible and being so understanding and supportive and there for me 24/7. I literally can’t thank him enough, but I’ll certainly try.

I’m taking it a day (and a swim) at a time, but I’m hopeful I can ditch these darn crutches soon. They’re seriously cramping my style. (Literally and figuratively.)

Also friggin’ amazing? My alma mater Arizona UPSET USC to take the win, and the Giants beat the Tigers to go up 3-0 in the WORLD SERIES.

Vogelsong for the win.

With that, I’m off to the pool again… 1400 yards is the goal for today! (For Game 4 of the WS!)

Happy Sunday! (And GO GIANTS!)

The 5 Stages of Running Injury Grief

As I type this post, I’m watching Game 2 of the World Series. I’m also watching my eyes get assaulted by a one MR. WILL SCHUSTER (from Glee) singing the National Anthem. 2010 brought us Lady Antebellum. 2012 brings us Mr. Schu. Somehow this doesn’t seem fair. To anyone involved.

Boyfriend and I were lucky enough to go to Game 1 last night – and by lucky I mean we shelled out an obscene amount of money for Bleacher tickets to be there while Pablo Sandoval made history, and Justin Verlander got owned by our entire line-up. IT. WAS. AMAZING.
Not amazing? Crutching. I have BRUISES on my ribs from those contraptions. I took it easy, stayed seated, and didn’t leave my seat once. A Cha Cha Bowl (my first!) was also thoroughly enjoyed – Tyler Florence knows his stuff – those things are amazing.
It was singlehandedly the best game I’ve ever been to (Game 2 of the 2010 World Series comes in at a close second for obvious reasons – Cain domination over the Texas Rangers) and I cannot WAIT for the series to continue.
Giants aside, let’s move on to how Kristine has become the clumsiest, most-accident prone person on the planet.
Never mind that I trained for and completed a full marathon with NOT A SINGLE INJURY, but in the last week the following has happened:
  • Stress fracture in the heel – requiring crutches/boot
  • Slamming my hand in the car door trying to get said crutches/boot in safely
  • Dropping the base of our VITAMIX BLENDER (approximately 10 lbs – no joke) and in an effort to shield my precious broken heel, breaking it’s fall with my thigh. Resulting in a massive bruise
  • Said crutches bruising my ribcage

Yeah, this blender is HUGE.

My life is in shambles and I’m literally, a battered mess.
(Did I mention I’m not dramatic at all either?) 😉
But really, stress-fracture wise, I think I went through the 5 Stages of Running Injury Grief (I just made these up so just go with it…)
1. Denial
  • As I ran the Nike Half (yes I ran all 13.1 miles on a now-stress fractured heel), I thought it was at most, a twisted ankle. I kid you not. I never in a million years thought a bone in my foot was fractured with tiny cracks. Never. I would never have run a half-marathon on a foot that could be broken. I told myself it was probably a minor sprain, maybe from wearing flip-flops on weekends or heels during the week. I told myself it wasn’t serious and it would stop hurting as soon as I stopped running. Nerves, pre-race jitters, you name it, I convinced myself that was it.
 
2. Anger
  • Setting up my iPhone 5 was the catalyst here. I had just come home from a Spin class, was utterly exhausted from having to crutch around the Marina and our apartment, and was getting beyond frustrated trying to set up (and failing miserably) my iPhone 5 while simultaneously hopping/crutching around the apartment trying to get ready for the day. Enter pity party. Enter boyfriend being a complete saint (as usual) and talking some sense into me. “No Kristine your life has not ended because you logged exactly 0 miles the last 10 days. No you can’t die from lack of mileage. Yes I’m sure you will run again at least once in your life.” 😉 (I’m kidding on the exact context, I swear I’m not that much of a headcase.)
 
3. Sadness
  • Stemming from the anger, I then got sad. I convinced myself my running days were over, and I would probably never again be able to wear my beautiful Stuart Weitzman heels, much less run in my BRAND NEW Pure Flows. I would never experience NYC, Chicago or the Boston Marathon. I’d never again wake up early, do my pre-race ritual and toe the line at one of my favorite SF half-marathons. So I got depressed. Very depressed. So depressed that I went on Amazon, bought a Speedo bathing suit, swim cap and goggles to start my new career as an Olympic Swimmer. (That did actually happen and it will arrive tomorrow thank you very much 2-day Amazon Prime shipping.)
 
4. Bargaining
  • This happened on Monday. Well if I don’t run for 2 weeks then I’ll probably still be able to do the Us Half. Then, Okay maybe not the beginning of November, but definitely a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Followed by If I swim every day I won’t lose any fitness or hurt my foot and I can easily run a half in December. And then Worst comes to worse the Superbowl Half I’m signed up for in early February will absolutely happen.
 
5. Acceptance
  • The end result? I have no idea when my next race will be. I’ve accepted it – it’s reality and it’s happening. I won’t lie – that’s a pretty crappy feeling. I’m taking it day by day, I’m staying positive (when I’m not swearing in my car from slamming my hand in the door or yelling obscenities in my apartment after dropping a Vitamix on my thigh). I’m going to start swimming tomorrow (alternating it with biking and some sets of abs whenever I can) and just pray to the running/foot gods that I’m cleared to run by the New Year. I have a follow up with a specialist next Friday so FINGERS CROSSED EVERYONE. (Please just cross them.)

With that, GO GIANTS! and have a lovely Thursday evening!

Stress Fracture Week #1 – The Workouts

And so wraps up Stress Fracture Week #1.

Fitness wise, I feel pretty good – I mean at least I did something right? And forget even remotely working on my triceps – those babies are going to be strong as steel by the time they’re done with these crutches. Also crutching is tiring.

Also tiring?

Being the cutest dog ever.

 

My friend Jenna sent me this picture of her dog and I just about melted.

Moving forward my plan is to do 2 (modified) Pilates classes, 2-3 stationary bike sessions, and ideally 2 swim workouts a week. I feel like that way my cardio/strength level will stay where it is, and I’ll get the benefit of cross-training different muscles I may not have been using while running/pilates-ing exclusively. Also that will allow for me to continue my assault on the unlimited frozen yogurt machine at work guilt-free.

Sunday (The scene of the crime) –  The straw that broke the camel’s back (heel). The Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Regardless that this race was my downfall and that I was in pain from the first step I took, I loved every single mile. (I also realize how stubborn/potentially stupid it was to run 13 miles in discomfort (mile 1-8)/pain (mile 8-13), but it was the first onset of any discomfort while running so honestly I didn’t know any better.) Looking back the most compelling thing that sticks out in my mind is how much I had in my tank and how fast I wanted to run. I wanted to BLAZE up those hills, and fly through those downhills. I have no doubt a sub-1:45 was in me Sunday morning. My foot just had other plans.

 

The last time I ran. 8 DAYS AGO. The horror.

Monday – Stationary bike 10 miles

Tuesday – Stationary bike 10 miles

Wednesday – Rest. Throw pity party. Get a haircut and a pedicure.

Thursday – Stationary Bike 6.85 miles, few sets of ab work

Friday – Stationary Bike 7.25 miles

Saturday – Stationary Bike 8 miles

Sunday – 45 minute Spin Class – I was a little apprehensive but since I’d had no pain biking all week long, I decided to go for it. About 30 minutes before class started (you begin to plan way ahead when you don’t have functioning use of half your feet), I strapped on the boot, grabbed my spinning shoes, took the bus 4 blocks, and went for it.

The class went pretty well – I got a few “what the hell is she doing here with a boot and crutches?” looks but overall uneventful. I know I said I went to a spin class, but in reality I just spun the wheels… changed up the resistance a bit, but couldn’t do any of the fun standing, hill climbs, jumps, etc.

To make myself feel better I headed to Plant to pick up omelette specials for boyfriend and I and a couple fresh juices from Thrive.

Then had a minor pity party as I attempted to set up my iPhone 5. After about 10 hours of sulking about the phone, and one conversation with an extremely nice lady from South Carolina at AT&T support, the 5 is up and running and I’m so in love with it I’ll look past our little indiscretion from yesterday.

Also something I’m in love with?

This.

The end. Have a great day. Go Giants!!! Go for a run. (Subtlety is not my strong suit.)

Total: ~52 miles biked. I’ll take it.

Crutch + Boot + Work

I’m sorry I forgot to share with you all the #1 reason having a boot doesn’t suck;

HANDICAP PARKING PLACARD FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS.

This my friends, is San Francisco parking GOLD.

The two major perks?

  • The Whole Foods Parking Lot in Pacific Heights will no longer cause me road rage
  • METERS (I no longer have to pay for them… ever. OK, for the next 6 mos.)

Silver lining?

Today is my first day attempting this foot contraption combination at work. I’ve worked out in my head the logistics for getting to/from work in Silicon Valley and any incidentals during the day:

  • Begging Muni to drive me 4 blocks from my apartment to where my company’s corporate buses pick up (Today’s scenario went like this Me making a scene with my crutches: “I’m just going 4 blocks.” Bus Driver noticing crutches/boot/scene: “Uh yeah, just get on the bus.”
  • Work bus for an hour
  • Nicely asking co-workers to take my bag up to my desk while I stop off to pick up breakfast downstairs at the cafe
  • Nicely asking yet another co-worker to take my breakfast up to my desk while I wait for the elevator to go one floor upstairs
  • Planning 10 minutes ahead for all bathroom/kitchen/anywhere trips
  • Sucking it up and eating whatever is at the cafe downstairs because riding a beach cruise to another cafe with a boot and a skirt on seems ill-advised
  • Strategically planning how I’m going to get the 25 yards to the gym with my bag/crutches/boot in tow
  • Strategically planning how I’m going to get from the work bus back to my apartment after work if boyfriend isn’t home yet (begging bus driver to just drop me off)

The past couple of days boyfriend worked from home and was able to chauffeur me to/from multiple doctor’s appointments, going back and forth to the freezer to grab ice packs, making sure I’m elevating, Advil-ing, and staying off my foot. I literally can’t thank him enough, so I’m putting it on the internet where it will stay forever and ever. (Thank you so much, you mean the absolute world to me.)

This weekend I have big plans of…. doing nothing. I can’t teach my Sunday Pilates classes because I can’t move, so demonstrate lunging or anything else that involves standing upright seems to be a bit out of the question. (I did however sign up for multiple spin and sculpt sessions at a nearby studio to keep up my fitness in the upcoming weeks… and finding a pool is next on my list.)

I plan to catch up on TV, bike at the gym, bake, clean the apartment (which will probably take 2 hours to do in a 600 square foot apartment because of my lack of movement), and relax.

And just hope I can ditch the crutches by Monday. The doctor said to use them as long as I felt pain when bearing weight on my bum foot. I tested it this morning and let’s just say it didn’t feel like rainbows and sunshine and puppies.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Add It To The List

3 blog posts in 3 days. Guess who’s baaaack?

So where did we last leave off?

Oh that’s right, the two words no runner (or anyone really) ever wants to hear: Stress Fracture.

But it gets even better (worse?) my friends.

My sports medicine doctor called me this morning with my MRI results – it appears I not only have a confirmed Calcaneal Stress Fracture but also a severely bruised heel bone.

From what Livestrong.com has told me (and really, Lance Armstrong lie? not a chance), deep heel bruises result from microscopic calcium fibers breaking apart. These fibers are normally interconnected to help form bones, so when a portion of the fibers is damaged, a deep heel bruise, or deep “bone bruise” occurs. Also known as a periosteal bruise, this condition develops when the outermost layer of the heel bone — the cortex — essentially suffers tiny breaks. These breaks occur when the heel is subjected to repetitive and forceful impacts, usually from rigorous sports activities or strength training exercises.
So basically a series of tiny breaks on a fracture.
(Also I hope you understood the sarcasm of the whole Lance Armstong/lying sentence above.)
My doctor referred me to the Head of Podiatry at California Pacific Medical Center- basically my first thought was that you don’t see the head of anything unless it’s bad. Like on Grey’s Anatomy – you don’t see Derek Shepard unless you have a really dire neuro problem. (I also realize I’m probably the only one on the planet that still watches Greys Anatomy. I do, and I will… probably forever.)
I met with the doctor who confirmed what I already knew – stress fracture in my heel, bruised bone. Then I got fitted with this little number:
(Please ignore the eroding toenail poster in the background. And note my NWM Finisher Shirt. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me.)
This my friends is my new best friend for the next 2 (godwilling) – 3 weeks.
As soon as he told me how to “inflate” it with air it immediately reminded of the Pumps shoes we had growing up. I never had them but always wanted a pair.
Not really what I had in mind.
In conclusion, the next 2-3 weeks of my life are looking like this:
  • Boot on whenever I bear any weight on my foot
  • Crutches as needed to bear weight
  • NO. RUNNING. Under any circumstance.
  • Biking/swimming/strength training OK (as long as I’m not standing)
  • Ice/Elevate as often as possible
  • Ice/Warm Wrap/Ice 2-3 times a day
  • REST (what does that word even mean??)

So I started off with this:

30 minutes on the bike – hill program – resistance 7 – 6.85 miles total

Took it nice and slow and finished off with a few sets of abs (done on my back – no weight bearing here.)

I got more than a few looks as I crutched into the gym, biked, then crutched over to abs.  I’m contemplating getting a shirt made (by shirt made I mean ironing letters onto a Cool Racerback) with the phrase “I HAVE A STRESS FRACTURE IN MY HEEL AND THE ONLY THING I AM ALLOWED TO DO HERE IS BIKE”.

That should get the message across no?

I’m hoping to break into swimming sometime this weekend or next week – ready to get my Michael Phelps on in the pool. And buy a workout appropriate swimsuit.

Hope you’re enjoying your night! (And cheering for the Giants! Unless you are from St Louis or Detroit in which case I completely understand why you wouldn’t care.)