Couch Potatoes

It’s been about 4 months since the onset of my knee pain .   Three runs have been attempted since, 2 of which were in April and felt fine, the last of which in May lasted 8 minutes. I was in oodles of pain for 3 days afterwards. I biked easily and sporadically through May, but since things weren’t improving, I stopped that too. So swimming is the only thing I’ve done consistently since. Unfortunately, the last several times in the water, my back has not felt so good. (It’s been sporadic with some major aching and a little pain for a couple months). Grrr! Thankfully swimming is not doing any damage, per my doctor, so as long as I listen to my body, I can continue. Whew!

The knee has felt much better the last several weeks, but my back has not. An MRI a couple weeks ago revealed why. The results didn’t show anything major per se, but I have a plethora of issues. Some of you may recall I was in a bike accident a few years ago and herniated a disc. Thankfully, that hasn’t gotten worse, but now I also have lots of tears in the ligaments surrounding my back, as well as bone spurs, some degeneration, and a major lack of mobility in my lower spine. As a result, the nerve canal has greatly diminished which is causing pain to present in my knee and in my back too.

A nerve test was endured today as well just so we can pinpoint a more precise diagnosis. (This entailed lots of needle prodding in my lower back, legs, and the bottom of my foot). As suspected, some nerves aren’t firing well and/or incorrectly and some are damaged. What does this mean? Well, I just need more time to heal. Nothing can fix the issues other than time so no training for at least 4-8 months. I can swim some, do the elliptical up to 30 minutes a couple times per week, and walk for now. I’ll also be getting various types of therapy from my doctor including stretching, core exercises, neurological exercises, and maybe a couple of adjustments here and there as we need to deter all the scar tissue and muscles from getting tight.

There are a few other options to consider along the way, surgery is the last one, which I’m hoping to, and probably will, avoid. So I just need to continue on this path of inactivity in order to heal, something with which I am completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It’s not like I’ve only been told to not to run, not to bike, or not to do most activities. I’ve been told to totally change my lifestyle; no training, little working out, both of which mean a lot less eating too, all of which is very difficult for me. It messes with my head, my body, and my hormones. Feeling & being lethargic is foreign and no fun at all. Although I’ve pretty much swallowed this pill, it’s not always easy to be patient and optimistic. In the end, I know what I have to do and I will do it. There is no pushing through this. Tick tock tick tock…

Ironically, Scott is in a similar boat as he’s been struggling with plantar fasciitis for, well, years. He pushed through this year though, with the help of a cortisone shot, in order to run the Boston marathon. Luckily, he did awesome there, but now he’s paying the expected price.   He was put in a boot for a couple weeks and will see his doctor for a check-up in a couple days. It’s not feeling much better yet, but we’ll find out his options soon.

So there you have it, we’re both couch potatoes this summer! At least we’re making the most of it with more travel, more summer nights on the patio, and more time with family and friends.

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Fallllllllll

It’s fall and I feel like I’ve been fallllling, or rather failing, for a while now. My back was not feeling better so I took a one week+ hiatus from all activities including my chiro and pt care. That was about the worst week ever!!! Sometimes I couldn’t sleep as my back was throbbing with pain. It just hurt all the time. Go figure as it didn’t hurt nearly as much all summer while training. So I figured what the heck, I’ll try to jog for a few minutes. Well, I made it 20 minutes pain free and opted to stop anyway as I didn’t want to push my luck. Wa-la! It hasn’t hurt since! Now that’s magic! Swimming though is what usually aggravated it more than anything so I haven’t been in the pool in a couple months. Well, I eased into the pool this morning for a 20 minute flip-turn free very very very easy swim. Ah, like a pig in mud I was! I could not have been happier and my back was fine. I SO wanted to keep going, but knew better. Again, I didn’t want to push my luck. So here I am 8 hours later wondering about my future. My back doesn’t hurt, but it feels a little sore or something. It’ll be at least a couple more days before I try to swim again, but I may try to jog tomorrow. I HATE this lack of activity! Usually when someone gets injured there is some sort of activity they can do. Unfortunately, I am not in that boat. This thing keeps trying to beat me down, but I keep rising, I won’t let it win. I know I have to be careful with everything, not just athletics, but playing with our angels, not making sudden movements, etc. And it can be really hard to remember that when all is feeling good. Slow and steady will win this race!

CleanSo now that I can’t have an athletic goal at this time, I’ve chosen to focus on something else, something where I need some improvement, something that could very well improve my athletic performances. That thing, my readers, is nutrition. Now I’ve never had a big weight issue, thanks to my love of working out, but I gain lbs quickly as soon as I stop. My last race was at the end of August and by Oct 1st, I’d gained 9 pounds. Yes, I think it’s absolutely fine to treat yourself after a long season, but an additional 9 pounds isn’t exactly healthy for me, 3-5 would be more acceptable. This happens to me (I do it to myself) every year and I usually don’t shed it until July or August. I’ve never dieted though, I just do my workouts and in time it comes off. This year, now, I’m making a change. Clean is the name of the book I’ve been following to do a 21 day cleanse. Yes, me, the one who has been incredibly skeptical of any diet, fast, or cleanse. Diets are temporary, so those are out for me. Fasting? Well, I’ll only do those for colonoscopies. A cleanse though, I have found many reasons to do one. Losing weight is just icing on the cake. As most of you know, I’ve struggled with GI issues for some years now and it became much more pronounced last year. I was diagnosed with ischemic colitis. Fortunately, that has completely cleared up, but the GI issues remain. So this cleanse will be great way to possibly determine what foods are triggering these issues. Gluten is the obvious enemy of choice, but we’ll see when I’m done…in 13 days. I’ll slowly reintroduce it and see what happens. In the meantime, oddly, I’ve lost all 9 pounds. I suspect much of it is water weight, although I’ve been staying hydrated. I must say, the first 4 days I had a raging headache. Of course that’s to be expected when one consumes oodles of Diet Coke 4-5/times per week. I knew I was addicted to it and I knew that I couldn’t just cut down. I had to go cold turkey. I’ve only craved it a few times, but those few cravings have been really strong. I don’t care for coffee so DC is my caffeinated beverage of choice…with a sporadic Chai Tea Latte. Hmmm, what else? I hadn’t noticed, but Scott said I’ve had an abundance of energy lately. My skin looks and feels better too. Amazing what healthier eating can do! Ok, so to be nice, please don’t bring me any food, ask me to b-fast (my fav) or dinner within these next two weeks. 😉 I’ll report more later…no off to work on our big reveal. 😉

On the Flip Side

Too much negativity in the last blog, so here are the good parts from the latter part of July. Oh, but first allow me to wish my parents a very 51st Happy Anniversary!!! Love you!

1) My parents stayed with us for a week, loved it!

2) Sarah and Courtney saw their first flick in a theater, Winnie the Pooh. It was rather boring though, even the girls asked to leave in the middle. 😦

3) Sarah and Court turned 4 on the 20th! Lots of great gifts: personalized luggage, shades, cute briefs, jewelry making kit, clothes, blocks, personalized shirts, fun guitars, bikes, money, oodles of cards, and more! Thanks everyone!

4) A fun trip to Great America with Augsburgers and Sandy! Court LOVED the roller coasters too!

5) I placed 2nd overall in back-to-back races a couple weeks ago.

6) Lots of swim lessons and pool time for S&C.

7) Still working on the good news we hope to announce within a couple months! 😉 All for now!

When it Rains, it Pours

July, it was not our best month:

1) So, as noted in my last blog, we had a couple rough weeks between a tornado and another big storm which knocked out our power for 4+ days.

2) And after another week, we had 8+ inches of rain in less than 2 hours. Floods galore, such much so that our street flooded, enough to deem my car totalled. 😦 AND, it caused a sewage back-up in our basement, about 7-8 inches. Fortunately, I wasn’t feeling great that night so I opted to crash on the couch in the basement. Within 10 minutes, I heard the toilet begin to gurgle. For 30+ minutes, that’s all I heard, but I kept checking. After the 4th bathroom inspection, the tub was half full of sewage and the john began to overflow. SCOTT! I woke him up and we started moving as much as we could upstairs. My parents were here too, so my dad pitched in as well. Thanks dad! So, thanks to my illness, we were able to salvage a lot.

3) Poor girls, their birthday party was slated for the next day…we had to cancel as we had rented a bouncy (not good in a flooded yard) and the house was a mess! They are troopers as they didn’t seem to be down about it, especially after we told them we could celebrate at Sandy’s the next days with my p’s and the Augsburgers. Fortunately, we are all safe and sound!

Catching Up…

It seems impossible to do these days. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get enough done; from house work, to work, to keeping in touch with anyone except my parents, not enough sleep, etc. That’s life I suppose, but I hate having such long to-do lists all the time. So, in lieu of catching up in my blogging world and boring you with a slew of separate blogs, I will try to capture the last few months with bullet points:

  • In April, our immediate family celebrated Scott’s 40th with a surprise dinner. An even bigger, and quite wonderful, surprise to Scott was having his father and Kathy fly in for it. It was quite a night and I am blessed to have such a fabulous family!
  • A few months ago I woke up with a nice pain in my lower back. It turned out to be a spasm so I’ve been getting chiro treatments ever since. They worked and the spasm is gone, but now I have 3 bulging discs. They are minor as they can be treated with more chiro visits. The worst case scenario would be a cortisone shot, no big deal at all. In the meantime, I have the green light to continue training although flip turns and open water swimming aggravate it so I am no longer doing those. Sitting isn’t fun either, but I don’t do much of that. 😉
  • We enjoyed a fun Father’s Day at the Arlington Race Track. It would have been even more enjoyable had we won any money. 😉
  • My race season has fared pretty well. Last weekend I won a 2 mile open water swim in Crystal Lake. Well, it was supposed to be 2 miles…it was 3!!! I had a few clients do it too so I felt terrible about the extra mileage as 2 miles was long for them. Sorry guys, way to hang tough! The next day I did an Olympic distance tri in Lake Zurich and defended my title. Ouch that hurt, but it felt great to win!
  • I’ve been happy with my running for the most part this season, especially since I’ve only been able (doctors orders) to run 40 minutes at a time since November. I’ve worked even harder mentally because of this. I still want, and believe, I can go faster, but I no longer feel it’s necessary for ME to put in long runs in order to do so as I’ve been right on my best times. *After 6 years of coaching with New Trier, this is my first summer with them. Unfortunately, I am only able to be on deck a couple evenings a week, but it helps me stay connected to the swimmers and coaches.
  • I love love love my masters coaching gig with Glenbrook Aquatics! It’s been a great 1.5yrs thus far and the team has flourished from about 15 members to over 60! The best part? It’s simply a great bunch of people! And, sometimes they allow me to be entertained by doing some silly/fun/different sets; swimming with one leg in the air, vertical kicking while playing duck duck swim, mass swimming sans lane lines, get out width sprints followed by push-ups, tombstone kicking, etc.
  • For 4 consecutive years in Seattle, we had a Bradbury Bash where everyone had to bring an item which started with the letter ‘B.’ It was awesome so we thought we’d make an attempt to do something similar here. 80’s was the theme and there were some great costumes and good times.
  • The 4th of July was a blast at our family cabin in Michigan. We had about 20 people for a couple nights so many of us had to camp, real camping that is with tents and sleeping bags. Sarah, Court, and of course Clayton loved it all too, yay!!! *Tornado!!! A few weeks ago, we had one hit just a block away! Quite the scary experience as several huge old trees came a tumbling down in our area…and so did our power. Fortunately, no one was hurt and we had no damage.
  • Storm #2! No tornado, just some nasty winds, enough to take out more trees and cut our power for 4 days. Thankfully our neighbor Jake across the street kept our refrigerator plugged in! Thanks Jake! (A neighbor of ours has been a resident here for over 50 years. She said our side of the street always loses power, but she has yet to see the other side of the street do so. Odd).
  • Thanks to Weeji, we have a vegetable garden again this year. I think she put steroids in the ground as all is growing in leaps and bounds! The corn, cucumbers, and beans are HUGE! It’s fun to have as the girls, like us, love to pick things daily and eat them too. A few types of tomatoes and peppers and a plethora of herbs are also in the mix. Yum!
  • Great Grandma Trudy (to the girls) was here last week for a nice little visit. Unfortunately we aren’t able to see her often as she resides in NC, but we try to make the best out our time when she’s here. S&C had a ball with her! Love you Trudy!
  • Scott’s doing great. Work remains a joy and he is quite the father, coach, sherpa, and husband! His run training has been going really well too…although we are not certain which race he is shooting for…
  • Sarah and Courtney have been busy this summer as they had a month of summer school, gymnastics weekly, 3 weeks of swim lessons, and this week is bible school, all of which they love. They also did their first race, a 50 yard dash. They loved it so much, they did it again, and again, again. But like mom, they are truly like a pig in mud when it comes to the pool. Smiles abound!!! 😉
  • I’ve been in mourning the last couple days as S&C will no longer be 3. Where did time go and how did the get so tall??? 😦 They are a hoot now though. They get mad when they can’t exercise, they always want to put on ‘exercise clothes,’ they cry because they can’t run with us, and Sarah even requested a heart rate monitor for her birthday. Yep, so we’re getting them bikes for their birthday. <a href=”http://villagecyclesport.com/”>Village CycleSport </a>was a huge hit for them to test out their cycling skills only Courtney whined when she first hopped on as she complained that she couldn’t clip in her shoes!!! At this rate, they’ll be burned out of triathlons by the time they are 8!
  • And last, but not least…big news will be coming your way within a few months! ;)</