My Struggle and Recovery From Eating Disorders

I will start this by saying this post is long and long overdue. I had wanted to write my story for some time. I read others who have poured their hearts out with the simple goal of hoping to help someone else along the way. That is my goal. My hope is that someone will happen upon my blog and read my story and heal themselves as I have. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and perhaps a snack and read on as I too pour my heart out.

I’m not quite sure where to start this story. I think I will start it from my last episode which began in 2010. Prior to that, I had a previous bout with anorexia in my mid twenties while I was going through Physiotherapy school. It ended when my husband and I moved away for 18 months to Florida and I think going where no one knew me or could judge me helped me to heal. But I am choosing to write about this latest episode (in my mid 40’s) which for me, caused far greater physical and psychological damage.

In November of 2010, I decided to have bilateral bunion surgery. I knew that this would require a long rest period from fitness and daily mobility.  For the first two weeks, the only thing I was allowed to do physically was get up to go to the bathroom. Following that it would be a long couple of months before I could truly be active. In order to avoid gaining weight, I knew I needed to make sure I ate healthfully and in small quantities. I have a sweet tooth and what frightened me most was that I would turn into a “blimp” while sitting on my butt.

In the past, during my late teens and early 20’s my poor eating habits caused me to put on about 30 lbs. After I had lost this weight, I was always frightened to put it back on, but truth be told, I started to eat quite healthfully after my first episode in my late 20’s and never did return to the poor eating patterns. So my fears were likely unwarranted. However, once someone has an eating disorder, I believe that there is always that little voice in your head–it never really goes away.

In order to take control of my weight while I was laid up, I discovered the My Fitness Pal app. What a wonderful thing I thought!! I could record everything I ate, keep track of macros like carbs and proteins and fats and make sure I stayed under my determined “safe” calorie goal of 1300. I don’t know where I came up with that number other than perhaps at the time of surgery I weighed just under 130 lbs. and I knew that 10x your weight= enough calories to sustain your Basal Metabolic Rate. So that was the number I chose. Off I went and recorded everything. I measured everything, I swore off sugar (and actually as most find who do this, I missed it less when I was off it). I started to chew a lot of gum thinking this would keep my appetite at bay. I ate when I needed to, but not a lot.

My desired outcome manifested itself. Instead of gaining weight while I was laid up, my clothes got looser and I was losing weight. I weighed myself daily and felt happy that I was not gaining weight. I did whatever activity I was allowed to during my recovery: lifting weights while sitting, eventually riding a bike, and swimming. All the while, I stuck to my 1300 calories. I tuned into my hunger signals but I think that my hunger readjusted to it’s somewhat starved state. I felt “happy” that I was getting thinner.

Once I was able to get back to running, I was amazed at how much easier it was now that I was lighter. Of course after being off for 4 months it took time to rebuild the cardio, but my body felt lighter and was easier to carry. Again, more reinforcement that what I was doing to myself was a good thing for my running. I returned to racing.  My body was adjusting to it’s lower calorie levels and I often fought the hunger feelings, despite still always being a snacker. My portions reduced and my regimented mind kept everything under control.

_DSC0358

Likely at close to my most unhealthy weight.

Getting to race again was fun. I was faster, lighter and winning a lot of age group awards. I got a PB at the 5km distance, coming in at 19:34. My 10Km time went under 40 minutes and my half marathon time was just over 1:30. I won my age group in many triathlons I raced and had a personal best for the half Ironman distance. I also won the female race at a small 5km outright. All this was motivation for me to continue my ways. I became very narcissistic about my training, and if things didn’t go my way I would freak out if I couldn’t complete a workout I was planning or if I missed a workout.  No matter how tired I was. I knew I had to get it done to stay fit and avoid gaining weight.  Listening to my body did not exist during this time period. My health was beginning to deteriorate. My brain was constantly thinking about my next meal or workout. I sometimes found it hard to focus on anything else. It was all- consuming.

elise mizuno running

Summer 2013- way too thin.

The other thing that happened is that some of my relationships deteriorated. I realize now that I was constantly under stress. Social outings were no longer fun. My relationship with my (young) daughter at the time was stressful. I see now that I blamed many of her behaviours on her when I see that they were due to MY stress and behaviours. I wish I could get that time back, I really do. My daughter eventually started to tell me I was too skinny. I laughed it off and told her “no I’m not I’m healthy”. My greatest fear is that my daughter would develop behaviours similar to mine. So far, she’s ok, she loves junk food and from what I know doesn’t concern herself with what she looks like and doesn’t compare herself to others. She is fully aware of what it means to have a healthy body and a healthy body image, but for now she is choosing to make nutrition choices as she sees fit and usually eats as her body dictates. I pray this continues …..with maybe a few more healthy foods thrown in!

My relationship with my husband became stressful as time went on, although he usually stayed silent. Eventually his concern overtook his silence and he made me go to my doctor with him.  He approached me about my disorder in front of her and as most anorexics or others with eating disorders do, they deny it. I denied it. Our intimate life suffered. Obviously my hormone levels decreased to the point where I lost my period. I did not have my period for over 6 yrs. This is called the “Female Athlete Triad”. My bone density also decreased.  I felt that as long as I didn’t have my period, I knew I was still thin enough. I also had a vein on my upper thigh that I could see and as long as I could see that, I was thin enough. These things ran through my head daily. I felt that this would make me most happy. I had lost 15 lbs. from before I had my surgery. I was living a lie to so many people around me —although I’m sure they knew. I didn’t see that until I was healthy again.

My turning point came in 2014. I was training to race the Sporting Life 10km as well as a Half Ironman in Syracuse with the hopes of qualifying for the age group 70.3 World Triathlon Championships. I had worn a new pair of shoes and ran a lot on the treadmill. My surgery failed over the 3 years and the ligament structure in my right foot started to collapse. So as my foot widened, it rubbed on my shoe. What started as a blister, then became an open wound. I would tape it up and go for a run.

After a flight to Florida a few weeks later, where I could barely get my shoe on for the flight, the pressure of the air cabin caused it to expand and swell even more. The day after I got to Florida, I taped it up and went for a run. When I got back and took off the bandages, I knew it wasn’t good. My entire skin area of my big toe was open. I called my doctor and she suggested I get it checked. I went to urgent care in Florida and my main concern was how much time I would have to take off running, not that I had done major damage to my foot. Long story to make it short, the doctor at the clinic in Florida severely underestimated the severity of my issue. She said a week off, my surgeon in Toronto said 7 weeks. No shoes as nothing could touch it. He said I was lucky I didn’t wear it down to the bone, but I had lost full thickness layers of skin and tissue.

I still did what I could to stay active, cutting holes in my bike shoes and gym shoes. In 7 weeks I got back to running. To this day, that area of my skin is still thinner than the rest but it is no longer an issue that I need to worry about.

Three months later, the night before the 10Km I felt off. I wasn’t hungry, I was tired, and I felt like something wasn’t right. My cortisol levels felt through the roof. I warmed up for the race the next day and everything felt okay. Fast forward 7km into the race and I felt a deep ache in my pelvis area. Part of me knew this wasn’t right but I was doing well and kept running. I wasn’t limping and I felt like it wasn’t changing much. The last km didn’t feel great, but it was only a Km and I knew I could finish it. When I crossed the line I was limping. I knew I had done something not good.

20140512-113101.jpg

After the 10Km when I fractured my pelvis

Somehow I managed to get home via subway and limp to my car. I was so upset. It was also Mother’s Day. I got home grabbed crutches and cried. My daughter had made me dinner that night and it was so hard to be happy. I recall eating what she had made me (pizza, salad and cake) but thinking in my head that it would make me gain weight because now I wouldn’t be training for a while.

The next day I went to the sports clinic where the doc suspected a pelvic stress fracture (inferior pubic ramus). I could see in his face that he thought I was way too skinny. It is a skinny runner’s injury. It’s called an insufficiency stress fracture. Meaning I didn’t have sufficient bone strength to handle the impact of my activity, plus being a downhill race the impact was greater than if it had been flat.

A week or so later an MRI revealed not just one but two stress fractures in my hip joint (acetabulum) as well as the pelvic one. I was devastated. Bone density scans showed a loss of bone health. I could not bear weight for 9 weeks. I went through a deep depression. My worst days were when I would use “Dr. Google”. No info was good. I would only focus on the bad outcomes.

I had a phone conversation with a great long time friend who is a Home Economist and cookbook author and I remember her telling me this was my wake up call to get healthy. To make sure I was eating to support my healing and to improve my health overall. I recall crying during our conversation realizing that I had a problem. She was stern but caring. Following this conversation, I knew I had to and wanted to start to take care of myself. I realized that the skinny version of me had horrible injuries, wasn’t happy and wasn’t the best version of who she could be. I also realized that this part of the role model I was for my daughter, was not what I wanted her to see or emulate.

This was my turning point: to start getting my eating habits back on track and listening to my body when it came to exercise. On the odd chance presently, that I feel unhappy with myself, I just need to remind myself of all of those points above, and I quickly smile at the person I see in the mirror with full acceptance and love. When I look back at photos of me from that time period, I see now how thin and unhealthy I truly was. It hurts to see those but also brings me deep pride to see how far I have come and how much happier I am today.

I took my stress fracture healing seriously and I was unable to do anything for almost 2 months. I felt embarrassed that I had this kind of injury. I didn’t want to be known as the “skinny runner” who had a stress fracture. As much as many runners get them, there is something violating and embarrassing about it. Especially when it is in the pelvis. I went through many tests, bone density, blood tests and endocrine counselling. I was tired of the label I was getting from many of the professionals.

I also saw a Sports Psychologist during this process and for many sessions I denied that I had any issues with my eating. I blamed everyone else for my unhappiness. It was a very painful time in my life. I felt alone in a bubble even though I was surrounded by family, clients and friends.

Following my recovery from my hip stress fractures, I thought short distance running would be better and so I hired a coach to keep me honest. He was great. I was healthy for the first time in a year and a half. I was slower but I was ok with that and I was very honest with him about not pushing too hard as the fear I had of another stress fracture was very real. I relaxed my eating regimens. I still ate and do eat healthy, but made room for treats and meals out without stressing. My first race back was a 5km in March 2014 at Around the Bay. I was so scared. I ran steady and when I ran through the finish I cried. I cried all the way back to my car. I felt healed. I realized everything I had gone through to get to that point.

Fast forward to Fall of 2015 and I had done a bunch of 5km’s consecutively. I felt a little pain in my foot. One run after a race where I got to be in the Canadian Championships as a Master Age group athlete and I had pain the whole run. It didn’t feel right. I went to see three medical people who all said, it’s not a stress fracture. I rested for 3 weeks, even though one had told me rest six weeks. If it wasn’t a stress fracture why shouldn’t I run? I still had some pain to hop but out I went determined to run 4km. I remember now the pain after about 5 minutes was pretty bad. But I was determined to finish it. I got back and said to my husband and daughter: “I have a stress fracture”.

Sure enough, a bone scan later that day and it was confirmed. My GP felt this was more of a biomechanical issue, vs. a low weight issue because I had gained the weight back and worked so hard to heal my body from my eating disorder. I was devastated that all that work I had put in was for nothing. It didn’t protect me from another one.

In the end, it was determined that my foot mechanics just could not handle that intensity. I remember telling my daughter the day I went for the tests, “if this is a stress fracture I’m done racing”. She was disappointed that I wouldn’t race again because she thought she knew it made me happy, but I told her I needed to just be active and not feel the pressure of races and results. I felt not having a schedule to stick to or a goal to accomplish would help me to ultimately heal. And it did.

Eight weeks later and I was back to regular activity again. This time with a new perspective. I was done with injuries so severe I couldn’t do what I loved to do. I was done with the stress of feeling the need to get in a workout. I never thought I would be able to just workout for “fitness”. I could never understand people who just did stuff to be healthy vs. achieving a goal. Now I get it!!!!! I listen to my body, I take a day off when I need one. I fuel to make sure I am getting all I need plus extras for fun. I don’t ever weigh myself and I don’t count calories or macros. I eat intuitively. What I want, when I want. What a difference this had made to my life.

I’ve learned a lot through this process. I used to look at very thin women and feel a kinship, and of course compared myself to them. “Do I look as thin as they do?”. Now I look at them and I feel sorry for them. I wish they could see through their disease and what it can do to their health and relationships and most of all their happiness. I want to go up to them and tell them that they have a way out of it.

Of course everyone who is afflicted with the disease has their own reasons behind it and perhaps this is not as easy for those whose lives are complicated. Mine was purely a need for control, and receiving positive feedback from my racing and some comments from others who thought I looked “fit”. So this is easier to heal from than someone who is dealing with trauma, loss etc.

I am happy that I don’t have a flat stomach. I feel healthy, I know my systems are all in working order and I know that having extra weight on me feels good.  My menstrual cycle returned in February 2016 and I am probably the happiest person every month when it reaffirms I have done a good job at getting healthy again.

I was always a healthy eater with a sweet tooth, even before I went down the disordered path. The difference during my disorder was that I avoided a lot of food groups and did not allow myself enough treats or break my routine, especially on social outings. I have my favourite foods and things that make me feel healthiest and energetic, but I also make sure to leave lots of room for anything I want (like almost daily chocolate and other sweet things….one never loses their sweet tooth entirely). The difference now is that I don’t have the guilt that goes along with indulging. For me and anyone with an eating disorder that is the key to healing the negative thought processes and truly enjoying life.

I have always been a sort of “energizer bunny”. I wake up every day and crave movement and fresh air. For me, exercise is like brushing my teeth. However what is different now, is I am less of a cardio junkie. I value the importance of strength training for my body as I enter the menopausal years for bone strength and preserving muscle tissue. I will walk during my runs, especially if /when my form starts to deteriorate or I feel tired. I NEVER used to do that. Fitness for me now is all about having fun, doing what my body feels like doing and cutting back on a lot of the intensity and cardio I used to do.

I hope by writing this blog post that I can help someone else who is dealing with eating disorders. It takes time, it takes work and it takes many people to support you through it. I want to thank my family, my psychologist and my closest friends. For always supporting me, for lending an ear and for telling me often how proud they are of me and how healthy I look and happy I seem. They are right I am !

I am happy, I am healthy, and I am ready to live the rest of my life remembering what is most important.  And it has nothing to do with a number on a scale, a calorie in a food or how much exercise I am doing. I want to make sure I live the rest of my life focusing on all the good things about me, my family, my career I have built and my social connections.

I don’t want to be consumed by the negative body image thoughts that so many women are confronted with and feel that a number on a scale can make them a happier person. Because trust me, I’ve been there and it does just the opposite. Throw away the scale, we are more than a number staring back at us.

 

Review-Mizuno Wave Sky

I have been wearing Mizuno Shoes for at least the last 6-7 years exclusively, and then off and on for the last 17 yrs prior to that. When the Mizuno Wave Rider was in it’s 2nd or 3rd generation, I remember having to order them from a store in Vancouver B.C as they were not available in Ontario. The one thing I have always loved and come back to in the Mizuno is the “ground feel” of the shoes. As I have written in previous posts, I am not one who likes to squish around in a shoe or feel like I’m running on pillows. However, the trade off for me has been that my feet always craved more cushion. I stayed loyal to Mizuno knowing that running felt easier and more enjoyable with that style of shoe.

wave sky

Enter Wave Sky!!!! Now all my dreams and wishes have come true. Mizuno made a neutral shoe with both an adequate amount of cushion AND maintained that fab ground feel quality that I and many others love in their shoes. Here are some specs:

  • Re-compounded U4icX  midsole on top provides a responsive cushion
  • U4icX midsole on the bottom has greater shock absorption
  • More segmented and flexible forefoot grooves enhance smooth transitions
  • Softer collar material for added comfort
  • The engineered mesh in the midfoot wraps the arch for adaptive and supportive fit.
  • The men’s version weighs in at 11.5 oz and the women’s at 9.3oz.
  • The ramp (heel to toe drop) is 10 mm which is slightly less than Mizuno’s typical 12 mm drop.

Overall the shoe on the foot feels zippy and light enough to be an every day trainer, and long distance shoe.

My second favorite quality of these shoes is the wider toe box. I have very wide feet, with one much more so than the other and typically need to wear a men’s shoe or D width women’s (most shoes don’t come in D width women’s so I get very little girlie colors!:) ) . I feel no rubbing, squeezing or confinement in this new shoe.

Finally a few words about the actual ride of this shoe: From the first step to the last of my runs, I feel like I’m almost floating on these shoes. I don’t feel like I’m sinking into a marshmallow like so many other neutral cushioned shoes on the market. While some may favor that, I for one prefer something more responsive when I run. I also feel as though I could do longer mileage in these without getting the foot soreness I tend to get because of my poor feet mechanical structure.

In summary, if you’re in the market for a good everyday or long distance shoe with just the right amount of cushion and a peppy toe off, then the new Mizuno Wave Sky is a great one to consider.

For more information on this shoe including all the specs: http://www.mizunocda.com/Running/Products/Wave-Sky

The All New Mizuno Wave Rider 20 – My Review

Last week I was invited as part of the Mizuno Ambassador Team to a media event for the release of the new Wave Rider 20 at Energia Athletics on Pape Avenue. The idea for the event was to bring together media types in the running world, plus bloggers, plus Ambassadors for fitness and food and information first hand on the new shoe. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to try a new shoe from Mizuno as I was for the Wave Rider 20. Plus, I had never been a part of a test group for a product not yet released to the public, so that alone was exciting and fun! Sort of like a little secret.

When I walked into the store, I was given a bag with my shiny new shoes in them. I promptly changed out of my Mizuno Synchro (best gym shoe ever!!! … review to come) and put on my new Wave Riders. I wear a D width shoe and since the women’s D width (yes this model always comes in D width for women…..read: girl colorus), wasn’t released until January, I got the men’s version. A nice flashy orange with black detailing.

img_1911

Fresh out of the box ! 

The first thing I noticed when I put them on was the added cushion in the shoe. Even before I ran. I have been wearing Mizuno exclusively for about 5 years now and even before that I had dabbled here and there with them. I even had the Wave Rider 3, which I had to order online from Vancouver before they were available in Ontario. That’s how much I have loved this shoe over the years!!

Mizuno has always been known for their firm cushioning, sort of an oxymoron, but what that means is it allows for ground feel and a responsiveness that many highly cushioned shoes don’t provide. What it lacked for in cushioning it made up for in the ability to run more efficiently by allowing the foot to not get lost in the shoe. The Mizuno brand definitely had it’s group of followers for these reasons. Now enter Mizuno Wave Rider 20 and soon to be all Mizuno shoes by 2018………I’m sure a whole new bunch of followers to come.

CLOUD WAVE TECHNOLOGY 

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-19-41-am

 

Cloud Wave Technology is new for the Mizuno Wave Rider 20. It has both concave and convex waves in the plate (Mizuno is known for it’s wave plate design which provided that firm responsiveness). The concave waves allow for the foot to be cushioned on impact, the convex waves allow for a springy toe off after foot strike. This is GENIUS!!!  And it’s also one of the reasons  the new Wave Rider 20 my new favourite shoe.

For those with fussy feet, like mine, it’s exactly what I needed. I have been wearing Mizuno for so long since for running, I like that ground feel experience. Wearing a heavily cushioned shoe for me as a runner does not work. My feet get lost, I get friction blisters from all the swishing around, and as I get tired, my feet and lower legs stop working and my form gets very hard to manage. With Mizuno, I avoid all these things and allow my body to still work for my stride which allows it to stay efficient in the face of fatigue. However, my crappy feet ask for cushion. I have always chosen to go responsive over foot wishes because ultimately I still need to feel good when out on a run, so I forgave some of that cushioning for ground feel. Now I don’t have to give up either!!!!!

img_1918

Wave Rider 19 on left, 20 on the right= more U4ic material

U4ic is the material Mizuno uses for cushion. As you can see the Wave Rider 20 has increased the amount of U4ic from the past models.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-18-46-am

More descriptive specs on the New Rider 20, including the weights for men’s and women’s and the consistent 12 mm ramp .

img_1912

Women’s model plus upcoming D width color! Yippee….then me in orange (men’s ) 

Finally, the last quality that makes these shoes so great is the new upper. It was introduced with the Mizuno Synchro gym shoe earlier this year and I fell in love with it. Because my right foot is wider than my left for failed post bunion surgery issues, I have often had to cut little “mitral valve”  holes to allow my foot to expand in my running shoes. Mizuno has typically had a plastic strapping across the forefoot and because of my foot issues even in a D width, I had to make little snips. Do you know how traumatizing it is to snip holes in brand new running shoes??! The new upper on both the Synchro and Wave Rider 20 is strapless and a nice soft mesh material, which so far I have not had to take my scissors to! This is so exciting for me:) Maybe future photos will not require me to hide my little artwork.

Take home message: after 4 good runs in these shoes I have declared them my new favourite shoe . This shoe is for you if you like a bit of added softness without feeling like you are landing on pillows and still like an efficient ground feel on foot strike and springy toe off. They feel fast, I run faster, and my feet are happy. What more could anyone want?

img_1934

A happy me after one of my first runs in the new Wave Rider 20. Matching Breath Thermo accessories too! 

These awesome new shoes will be released by end of November 2016. You can find a retailer (such as Energia Athletics) or order online at http://www.mizunocda.com

See you on the roads.

PS…yes I have changed the name of my website from Multisport mom to I’m Fit 4 Life. Since I am no longer doing multisport or racing I’ve changed my tagline. More on this to come!

2016….A New Year and New Beginnings

By the end of 2014, I was so happy to see that year go. I had too many injuries (pelvic/hip stress fracture, bad foot infection, overtraining syndrome etc). I thought 2015 HAS to be better. I cut back on my training distances, I cut back on race distances (only 5km’s), I hired a coach to keep me in check (which he did!), and I took a look at my nutrition and training errors and vowed to “get healthy” (which I did!). 

All was going fleetingly well until September of this year….I won’t rehash the details as it could be read in previous posts, but I got a stress fracture in my 3rd metatarsal. While I was waiting for a proper diagnosis (it went misdiagnosed for a few weeks), I said to my daughter, “If it’s a stress fracture, I’m done racing”. She was sad that I said that, but well……..for 2016 and beyond at this stage, “I AM DONE RACING!”. At least I’m done racing in a competitive manner ….. Racing for time, PB’s (of which I think they were behind me…), training programs, etc. 

This is a huge statement for me to announce. For 20 years, I have raced triathlons, road races, trail races (this year….) and participated in cycling charity events. Every year has involved a training program of some sort that on “x day” I do  “x workout at “x intensity”. I’m a Type A planner. I like a rigid schedule and I like to follow a rigid schedule. It makes me feel accomplished and goal oriented. 

However, as with each bad injury (I’ve had my share of less severe soft tissue injuries, plus one planned orthopaedic surgery on my feet which can’t be grouped as a bad injury, cuz you are ready for it!) I come out with a new perspective on things or taken up new activities. I recall a conversation with my GP after my hip fracture that went something like this:  “I can’t imagine myself not being competitive”. She understood my statement as she is a top competitive National Masters swimmer. 

While rehabbing this latest injury at the gym, yoga studio and on my bike, I realized I enjoyed the non – planning aspects of my routine. I liked not worrying about how far or fast I was going and I enjoyed the randomness of my schedule as time went on and more could be included (I started with 3 weeks of almost exclusive cycling with a bit of weights). A lightbulb went off that showed me “I think I can be that fitness athlete”. The one that just does what they feel when they feel, without a structured training plan or end goal. If I plan the night before to go for a run and the weather is crap, I don’t need to run on the treadmill just to get my run in, I can head to the gym, or hop on my bike, or turn off my alarm and go back to bed (this doesn’t often happen, but maybe now it may once in a while…..:).

With this past injury cycle, I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym. It helps that the weather is not hot and sunny, so I don’t mind being inside when it’s dark out or cold out. I’ve gotten into weight training and realized that I just may get more bang for my fitness buck by improving my strength even more and becoming less of a “cardio junkie”.

I know love how I feel when I lift and I love coming up with new routines and seeing my strength improve. And it can only be a good thing for my bones and slower aging metabolism! I’m also continuing to do yoga regularly. In fact I think I almost missed being off yoga for 4 weeks more than I missed being off running for 8 weeks.

Now that I’m back walk/running in the last month, I don’t look to see what pace I am running at. I don’t care if I am running slowly, and I don’t care if I am walking. In fact I am liking this run / walk thing and just may continue on this path. I know the less impact I have the better chance I have of not having those bad injuries again. Plus with the poor mechanics of my foot that was stress fractured, the less impact on that the better for longevity of this whole running thing.

  
So for 2016, my new mantra is to live each day as it comes. Not be so much of a planner and be more flexible in my day to day when it comes to my workouts as much as I TRY to be in the rest of my life (this too is always a work in progress!). I want to journal daily, use my new meditation app (Calm) daily, and work on my parenting skills with my pre-teen who is not only taller than me, smarter than me (in many things academic and very in tune with the world around her), and figuring out how to work her way in this adult world……as well as be more flexible in my eating (I’ve tested out a ton of new breakfast recipes which I am loving) and social outings. 

I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life and hopefully one filled with less major orthopaedic injuries which force me to stop dead in my tracks once again.

 Balance will be the key as well as rest when needed and knowing it’s okay not to be a slave to any type of schedule. Motivation has NEVER been my issue. So for that I think I call myself lucky. For me it’s always a matter of making myself sit still sometimes and be ok with it.

 

The pre teen in action

 
Happy 2016 to all.

Elise

 

Metatarsal stress fracture recovery week 5

So this Thursday marks 5 weeks since the real stress fracture diagnosis but it’s been 8 weeks today since I’ve REALLY run. I am itching to get outside and be free again to run through the quiet morning streets. I’m being very patient with my rehab (as patient is for me!). I don’t plan on running until I can hop pain free for two weeks. I think the way things are at this point it will be another 4 weeks. Maybe 3, but I don’t want to rush anything. Technically when you are 1 week pain free you can run but I’m going to wait an extra week. 

So what have I been doing with my non running time for fitness? Biking. A lot of biking. Pretty much daily riding with a day off every week or two. Riding my trainer with Trainer Road app and riding the bike at the gym. I also had the odd outdoor ride but with it being dark and colder and not being able to stand up and pedal I preferred the safety of the indoor trainer. It’s funny that you will do something that you normally wouldn’t enjoy (gym bikes) if it’s your only option. Yes, I could swim and water run, but the pool I use has a very small deep end so it makes water running even more mind numbing than it is. My daughter did ask me to go to the pool with her last week so we did and she played around me while I ran a bit and swam 500m for the first time in over a year! It felt good when I was done but it’s not something I love to do anymore. After 18 hrs of tolerating swimming for triathlon, I gave it up last year in favour of weights and yoga. Only so much time in my days. 

   

trainer road

 I wore the Aircast boot for just over 3 weeks. Then I walked like I still had it on for another week, and finally I am walking pretty normally and wearing shoes other than running shoes. I also got back to yoga last week which felt good but I made sure to modify anything that put too much pressure on my foot. The second class I did last night I was actually able to tolerate downward dog, so again progress is being made. The one neat thing about recovery from bone injuries is the progress is pretty linear if you treat it right. Unlike soft tissue injuries which often have more of an up and down progression of healing. On the flip side you have to be far more cautious when dealing with stress fractures. 

 

Lets do a little pool running

 
This week I hope to test out short bits on the rolling staircase and the Arc Trainer which I have never used at my gym but after doing some reading seems like a better alternative for runners than the elliptical.  Then if these go well I will start some early morning sessions at the gym to vary my cardio from the bike trainer! I can’t do weights in the morning as my body just feels too stiff but cardio I love for getting my day going (well that and coffee!). 

As for silver linings…..I’m still trying to find if for this go around. Last time (pelvic stress fracture in May 2014),  I realized I was harming myself by overtraining, focusing more on results, the need to workout even when I felt tired and maintaining a certain body type.  Since 2014, I have put on a good amount of weight, reduced my stress levels with yoga, started to respect myself more, listen better to my body and it’s needs and adjusted my training to lessen the load from running. However by cutting back on distance but continuing with intensity (under a coached guidance). So I guess what I’m learning this time is patience and that even when I tried to change factors it doesn’t protect me from the inevitable that many runners face. 

It is suspected that this stress fracture is from my poor foot mechanics after my surgery for bunions almost 5 years ago. Add the speed work and racing and perhaps not having enough cushion in my shoe. So now what have I decided to do? Cut out speed work. Up the cushion to my shoes. Race for the fun of it vs. needing to be competitive. I guess one comes to realize that as much as the brain wants to go in one direction, the limits of your body say another and ultimately that is the one that wins. My body is telling me my feet can’t handle the weekly speed work. I’ll just be so happy to be able to run a few times a week at whatever pace feels good for me on that day and if I choose to jump into a race it will be for the pure pleasure of participation not race times. 

This morning I read an article in the December Runners World. It  was an interview with a guy who’s been uninjured since 1978. He mentions no speed work, quick cadence and small vertical displacement, running by feel and easing into his pace. All these things are what I will do (I already use that type of stride) in order to hopefully run injury free for many years to come. 

When you are recovering from bigger injuries I find it important to connect yourself with others who understand what you are going through and can work through your rehab alongside them. I’ve done this again on this injury and it really does help you feel like you are not alone. 

Here’s to the next phase of recovery and getting back out there soon with another progressive run walk program . 

Here we go again!!! 

So I regret to write this post but I have another stress fracture. This time it’s in my metatarsal (4th) bone of my right foot. Opposite side to the pelvis one in May of 2014. How did it happen? Well about a week before the 5Km Canadian Championships I felt a significant pain in the front of my ankle. Felt like something pinching or a sprained ankle that I never sprained. A visit to a sports doc and he was 98% convinced I did not have a stress fracture in my ankle and diagnosed some early OA signs in the subtalar joint. I progressed within a couple of weeks to be able to go on the elliptical, step mill and stand in yoga poses plus downward dog without any pain. Within 3 weeks everything was pretty much pain free except hopping. But knowing I didn’t have a stress fracture I ventured out with the goal of 4K as 3mins run and 1 mins walk so I could get a rhythm going. Cuz that’s better than 1/1 for 2km. Knowing I wouldn’t be totally pain free and wanting to see how it felt AFTER I kept going despite pain in my whole foot. The first minute was fine:(. I don’t know what takes over my brain when I set out for a run but something sets in me and this time I was unwilling to give that up. Mistake #2. Mistake #1 was running when I still felt some pain with hopping and light drills. I got home and could not put weight on my foot again fully. On went my boot I had bought for episode #1 a few weeks back and a quick text to my awesome GP and I had an X-ray done and booked for a bone scan a week later at the first available appt. The metatarsal lit up like a Xmas tree on the scan. 

  
How frustrated am I? Very. Why? Because I’m mad at myself for trying to run when it hurt to hop. Frustrated that I didn’t request a bone scan initially as I know my body. But is it worth my time to act this way? No it’s not. What I learned from my last go around is time heals regardless of whether I am angry or happy so may as well be happy. Focus on what I can do (cycle, weights, modified yoga, pool running if I so choose but I don’t cuz I hate it😩). Hopefully in 3-4 weeks I’ll be back on the elliptical and able to walk. As for running I’m not rushing this at all and am happy to wait 8-10 weeks or whatever it takes to be more than 3 days pain free. 

Yes I will live to run again. Will I race again? I’m not sure I want to give it up but clearly the added intensity combined with the poor mechanics of my right foot post bunion surgery may not be able to continue. I’m not making this decision yet but I may just wait a good year of healthy slower running before I start back to intensity. Here I thought just racing 5km’s would protect me from this injury. Clearly I had that wrong even though I had a great coach to guide me. With each major injury I learn more about myself and what I perhaps need to accept as I get older. 

The other thing I’ve learned is my nature does not do anything “easy”. I push and even when I think I’m not pushing I always am. I am a body that likes to stay in motion. I challenge myself often and finish what I’ve started. In many aspects of life this is a good quality. When it comes to running it may not be so good!! 

Here’s to the next 6-8 weeks of becoming a really good cyclist and weight trainer! And continuing on with life cuz that’s all I can do while I wait to get back on the roads. 

Race report- Canadian 5km Championships

Today I raced in the 5km Canadian Championships as part of the B&O Yorkville run. This race is in its 4th year (I believe) and I have raced it every year except for last year when I had my stress fractures. Last year was the first time it hosted the Canadian Championships. I was so bummed not to be able to participate last year. In 2013, I had my fastest 5km time here in 19:34. Thankfully that qualified me to participate today and compete against some pretty speedy Masters runners! Not to mention all the whipper snapper young ones! Knowing my time was no where near the one in which I raced in 2013, I briefly considered switching to the masses race which went at 9:45. Meghan Brown, the organizer of the 5km Championships convinced me to stick in it as there were some good competitors in the 21-23 mins range. I’m really glad I stuck in it as it was really neat to run in an elite group of people. Only about 100 ran in the Championships race and it was great to be able to pace off of others who are faster with lots of breathing room around you. Here’s how the race went down…….

I got there early to get a close parking spot to the finish as I wasn’t sure how the bag check would go and my husband was running down so he needed to easily be able to find the car! I warmed up with 3km on a windy, cloudy and rainy morning. I wore some warm clothes and by the time I was ready to strip and head to the start I was more than warm. Excellent plan this time as usually I stand at the start too soon and shiver. Today I got there with about 8 mins to gun time. I found my husband and gave him my Breath Thermo top and gloves. (I should have kept the gloves!) I was happy with my choice of clothes so I was not overheated. 

 

My race outfit

 
I felt good on my warm up. Always a good vote of confidence. My goal for this race was to go sub 22. I am nowhere near that 20 mins time anymore. Maybe I won’t get there and maybe with another year of training I will. What’s important to me at this moment is I am healthy and uninjured (knock wood)…..! If I never go that fast again I won’t be disappointed. My attitude going into races is so much more relaxed and that feels great. I saw a lot of people I knew running the event and it was nice to catch up and wish everyone good luck. 

I seeded myself towards the back so as not to be taken down by the sub 20 mins crowd! I felt great for the first 2km. I didn’t look at my watch. I went by feel for the whole race, checking only around 4km at my average pace. I was running with some of Meghan Brown’s girls who were being paced and coached and I passed them as I heard the coach say to them at 2.5km “conserve here for the hill….. I thought what hill? Oh then I hit Queen’s Park (said hill!, which gets me every time!) The pacer asked me what I was gunning for and I said, no clue but something in the 21’s. She said stick with us we are running 21. Oh and then they dropped me:). Oops guess that first two km I did in 4:02 and 4:05 was too ambitious. I then slowed to 4:24 for the next km….4:30 towards and up the hill, plus the nice 30km/hr headwinds. With about 500 m to go I thought about my track workouts and pushed it. 4:20 for that km. I finished with not much left in my tank but kept good form. The finish photos will tell me if it was! 21:39. Nearly two minutes slower than 2013 but with the same effort! Man as frustrating as that seems I was totally ok with it.  I was really happy with how it went. I found out that I was 12 seconds off 3rd in my category. 

 

After the race, keeping warm to watch some friends

 
I met up with my husband , collected the great post race food and watched some friends in the main race. The rain stopped and other than the wind it was perfect running weather. I love this event and hope to be invited back next year. Maybe there is a sub 21 in me again and maybe not. Either way I’m happy, healthy and enjoying these short and fast races. 

I have one more on the schedule on October 24th back at the TO Women’s finale.