Saturday, May 24, 2014

Glad I Wore the Good Underpants

Remember when I wrote a lot (lot) about running and training and races?  That was cool.  For me, it was cool, anyway.  So, here's a quick (yeah, right) update on how the running and training and races are looking in my world.  (You can stop reading now, Sha.)

I have finally gotten back to running consistently.  The problem is, I'm consistently running 4-7 miles per week.  Back in the day (pre-injury last Summer, post-injury last Fall) I was easily getting in 15-20 miles per week.  Remember my mysterious calf pain?  Well, it has pretty much been explained.  I'm still planning to seek a second opinion, this time from a real doctor who specializes in sports or vascular medicine, but here's the gist of what's going on:  My legs blow.  I had (have?) a few superficial thromboses, which are basically blood clots in the smaller veins near the surface of my skin.  I also have (definitely have, not going anywhere) insufficient circulation in the right common femoral vein.
See it all the way up there?  The lady performing the venous ultrasound had to use the wand thingy and do lots of squeezes in that area to check my circulation.  Now you know why I'm glad I wore the good underpants.
I know what you're all thinking.  "Poor thing!  What did she ever do to deserve this?  It isn't fair!"  Thank you for your sympathy.  We'll get back to that in a moment.  First, let me tell you the good and the bad news.  The good news is that I don't have the dangerous deep vein thrombosis, and the back-up in blood flow (reflux, they call it) was only seen in that one spot.  The bad news is that, at least according to my PCRNPWHHADCHATTISH (primary care registered nurse practitioner who has had a different color hair all three times I've seen her- we'll call her CHATTISH for short) this is not a condition that will improve.  Ever.  The tiny blood clots they found were in the spot on my calf where I was having so much pain, which also happens to be where I have icky, bulging varicose veins. CHATTISH said that the clots will break up and go away if I use my hot compress and elevate my leg regularly, but it's also very likely that more will show up as I-you guessed it!-run.  The longer and oftener I run, the greater the occurrences of the clots will be.
Bonus!  If you look closely, you can tell which toenail on my right foot is about to fall off.   I <3 Running.
The more years that I run, the worse my veins and circulation are going to be.  Booooooo!  Now, back to your kind sympathies.  The thing is, I should've known this would happen.  The following groups of people have an increased risk of developing blood clots:
1. Smokers. 
I smoked for 10 years. (Quit almost 5 years ago!)
2. Women who have taken the pill.
3. People who are on their feet for long periods of time.
Like, say, working in restaurants and bars for 16 years.

CHATTISH said that she would not tell me to stop running.  She said that if I can handle the pain, fine.  She suggested I wear compression socks, but I need to get a pair with slightly less compression than those I currently own.  Not sure why, exactly, but the last time I wore them it felt like wasps were stinging my big toes; hurt so badly that I couldn't stand it.  

Now, on to the training and races! (That exclamation point was a lie.  This part's pretty depressing, too.)

I'm not training for anything right now.  If I were, I would be doing a terrible job of it by only running single-digit miles each week.  If I decide to keep the marathon distance as my goal, and if the pain doesn't get any worse, and if I am able to keep from getting any other injuries, I will start training in early July for the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll full marathon on November 8.  It's the only race for which I'm actually registered (Thank you, Charming!) which is a pretty good feeling right now.  I started reading the second book by the +another mother runner duo, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, "Train Like a Mother."  It's practically impossible not to enjoy their writing.  
Buy it!
Their stories are so easy to relate to, funny, and inspiring, and I really like the book.  I'll admit, though, that I went into it expecting to be motivated to sign up for more races before finishing the first chapter.  Well, you know what they say about expectations.  Wait.  What do they say about expectations?  "Whatever you expect-------"  I don't remember.  Something, right?  Someone gimme a good quote.  I digress (as usual).  I've figured out that people don't always get their motivation from inspirational books.  Some people are motivated by strangers, and wanting to accomplish what so-and-so accomplished.  I know people who are motivated to register for races by the quality of the medals, shirts, goody bag.  Others, surely, are motivated by some inner drive to succeed.  Unfortunately, from where I sit (with my bulging veins and expanding waistline), all those things which used to be enough to motivate me to register and train for a race seem just to elicit sighs.  

I do have a plan, though.  +Runner's World Magazine tweeted the other day about their 40 day challenge.  Apparently, there are 40 days between Memorial Day and Independence Day (What, do these people all have calendars or something?) and the challenge is to run at least 1 mile on each of those days.  I'm not going to sign up for the challenge.  It was the timing and duration of the thing which inspired my plan.  Since I would need to start training for my third first marathon just after July 4th, and since Memorial Day occurs soon enough for me to keep it in focus, and since my last 40 day challenge (during which I abstained from Facebook) was so successful, it seems like a great time to evaluate.  I'm going to up my mileage and my cross training workouts, I'm going to eat more healthfully (Again. Still? Sometimes it's hard to tell.) and I'm going to make a decision about my near training/racing future.  If you want my advice, you'll also do some evaluating and decision making if you're in a sigh cycle like me.  Let me know how it goes!

For fun: what % of your underpants are "good"?

For the win: which toenail is hanging on by a thread?


  1. Have you already checked the internet for second opinion possibilities? Not instead of an actual doctor, just as a preview maybe.