Data can be a good thing

Last weekend I went out to do 9 miles.  9 miles should be easy.  Instead, at mile 5 I was ready to lay down and cry I was so exhausted.  “This is why I run loops,” I thought to myself.  See, with loops you have to finish you have no choice.

Something wasn’t right.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something definitely wasn’t right and I’ve been here before.  See, last year after my hypothermia episode the wheels came off the bus in an epic fashion.  I thought, maybe just maybe it was all in my head.  Maybe I was just having a bad day.  However, the scientist in me knew there was only one way to find out; data.  The good news is that I had lots of it between my Garmin, Strava and Beyond the White Board.  However, the bad news is that data doesn’t lie. Sound the alarm, GENERAL QUARTERS GENERAL QUARTERS!!

The sailor in me let out a blue streak a mile long.  Not this again.

I sat down with Sainted Mary and we had a frank conversation.  She was wondering if it was a diet deficiency.  OK, a dietary deficiency I could work with that.  She recommended that I have some specific blood panels done to see if that is, indeed, what we were working with.  I made an appointment with Dr. Roy for the follow day.

Dr. Roy and I spoke about what has been going on.  The bone crushing exhaustion.  My stubbornness (and love of food) which has kept me working out despite the fact that  I have absolutely no gas in the tank and all I want to do is sleep.  I showed him all the data I had and we spoke about last year.  He drew the blood for the labs that Sainted Mary wanted in addition to a few of his own.

Two days later we got the lab work back.  It wasn’t a dietary issue.  (Crap) Nope.  Apparently my pituitary gland was having to work WAY harder than it should.  What does the pituitary do?  I’m glad you asked.

My TSH levels were out of whack.  Huh, this explains a ton of other things that have been going on.  Of 14 classic symptoms, I was exhibiting (and quite frankly, dismissing) 9 of them.  It’s funny how it wasn’t until I wasn’t able to run like I wanted to that I suddenly said, ok there’s an issue.  (face palm)  Man I never learn.

It will take some time for the medicine he prescribed to take effect.  There are multiple pieces of good news.  First, soon I am not going to be bone crushingly exhausted any more.  Second, my desire to run and workout will come back instead of it being a tug of war and a lecture of my inner voice ordering me around.  Third, if we get my dosage right perhaps I won’t be walking around in a hat, jacket, and gloves at 50 degrees.  Snicker.  Hey a girl can dream.

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Trail Running: Inclusion

This past weekend I finally got some “mountain” time. I use the quotes because let’s face it 3300′ is not a mountain, but work with me here.  Yes, I fully admit I’ve become a mountain snob, but I digress.  I considered myself lucky as one of the ‘big kids’ from VHRTC wanted to log some slow miles and that’s my speciality.

I pulled into the parking lot and realized that I had two left shoes.  Not only did I have two left shoes I had two different models of left shoes. F*$K.  Lucky for me I had another pair of shoes in the trunk of the car.  Granted they weren’t trail shoes, but they would work, but I wouldn’t be nearly as fast as I could be.  I profusely apologized.  They were nonplussed.  Now, they could have said, “You’re a moron.  I’m going by myself.” Instead they were welcoming and warm because “we’ve all done it one time or another.”

As we were trucking along we got to chatting about why I love it out west so much.  I told them about the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers and the Sunday runs with Park City Running Company.  I told them about how every single run the fast kids take turns waiting at intersections to ensure that the new and/or slow never get lost.  I told them about my first Wednesday Wrangler trail run in Park City and how wonderful a specific Wrangler was to me saying in their thick southern accent, “I was a flatlander once too, don’t worry it will come.”  I told them about how I don’t feel welcomed at the group runs or events here because I am slow.  I told them how the group runs I actually come over prepared with maps (print and digital) because I know that I am going to be left to “fend for myself” and that I always wear my SPOT for that exact reason.  I think they were stunned hearing my perspective.

See, when you’re a fast kid you don’t think about these things.  When you were fast enough to keep up with the super experienced guys you just learned by osmosis.  When you are a slow kid you either stop trail running all together or you learn by making mistakes.  Sometimes those mistakes are extremely costly.

Then last night on one of the FB boards someone said some things that they shouldn’t have in a public forum about a local race.  Instead of not commenting at all, deleting it all together, or offering potential words of advice on how to improve the next time the group turned nasty.   I read all 187 comments this morning.  Every.  Single.  One.  What I saw were comments like “go back to road running.”  These are people I know who individually are wonderful, nice, caring people.  However, for some reason the mob mentality took over and it became a free for all.  Granted the original poster said some unkind things and should not have said anything in a public forum as trail runners we are supposed to be a supportive and inclusive family.  When we are out in the middle of nowhere we depend on each other to ensure that if something happens we aren’t abandoned and left to fend for ourselves.

I recently saw a thread on Twitter from the TAUR board that also said “go back to road running.”  They immediately deleted the comment.  Trail running is suppose to be inclusive.  It’s suppose to be welcoming. For many it is an escape from everything else going on.  I think we as a community need to take a step back and do an evaluation.  Welcome the new, the slow, the curious.  If we want to continue to have space, trails and a future we need new people.

14 days is a life time ago

14 days ago I was super excited because Lily was here. She was here to run the Marine Corps Marathon.  I was also going to get to see my friend Becks and her husband.  We ran at National Harbor, went to the expo, had lunch, and then I hooked Lily up with Em and they were going to run MCM together.  Sunday came and it was gorgeous, albeit hot, day for a race.  It was an amazing weekend.  Little did I know what was happening in another part of my life.

See, at the same time Lily and I were fast asleep dreaming of her MCM glory a friend of mine who is like my big brother was shot three times.  He survived multiple tours in other third world shit holes to be gunned down in his own home.  While I was blissfully taking over the InknBurn IG account and cheering on all of my friends he was fighting for his life.  I didn’t find out until Monday what happened.

This man is family to me.  When I was in the darkest place of my life after Shadow he opened up to me about his darkest place and we helped each other.  When either one of us was struggling with big decisions we would talk our way through them going meticulously through all the pros and cons to help make a decision.  He was on my ass about finishing my program.

The last 14 days have been completely surreal.  I’ve been helping his family with logistics.  I’ve been making phone calls to find out what VA benefits he qualifies for.  I’ve been keeping my shit together in front of his family only to come home and fall apart.  Every day was attempting to answer the question; will he live or will he die.

At day +5 I attempted a run.  I needed to get my own head space.  All I could see was what happened to him.  Every time my foot struck the ground a wave of emotion washed over me in a way that hasn’t happened since Shadow.  I ground out 3 miles and I was miserable the entire time.  Sadness, guilt, fear, anger all washed over me.  It was extremely counterproductive.

I reached out to Em and told her what happened.  As I told her what happened to him I couldn’t help but allow the emotion to leak out of the seemingly water tight box I had shoved it in.  She said that Sunday she would run with me, talk to me, just keep my legs turning over.   I warned her that I was a wreck and may not be in the best place and she said, “no problem.”  See that’s what good humans do.   When you are in need they say, “what can i do for you” not disappear, or worse, tell you that this isn’t worth throwing your career away over (true story).

This week has been another struggle.  I managed to keep my crap together long enough to defend my capstone project (because he was on my ass about “are you done yet?”), passed, and yet I don’t feel excited.  How can I be?  I’ve been balancing needs of work with a need to be at the hospital.  Granted, there is absolutely nothing I can do for him right now that’s in the hands of the trauma docs, but I can be there for his family.  I’m worried about them.

The last 14 days have been surreal and I’m still trying to process what happened.  It’s going to be a while before I’m able to run alone in the woods again.  Not because I’m afraid of the woods, but because I’m just not ready for the silence.  It will come, in time, but for right now I need the company.

Silence can be deafening

“Those who cannot sit in silence have dragons they are wrestling with.” -My Dad

When I was growing up my Dad and I spent a massive amount of time in the woods.  As a kid it was torture.  With bread bags on my feet between two-three pairs of socks we would hike, ski, and log firewood.  I didn’t understand then how it was that he was so happy out there.  Thile smile on his face as we pushed through pristine backcountry snow on cross country skis was almost perverse in my mind.  Was he enjoying torturing me?  As I grew older and wrestled my own dragons I began to realize the wisdom in his words.

IMG_7205I was in a Vetoga class recently that had a dedicated nidra meditation.  For those unfamiliar with it; basically, it’s a super deep guided meditation.  I went to this place in the mountains in my meditation not because I was purposefully going there, but because this was a place and time in those mountains where there was some healing that I had to do.  It happens like that when you meditate whether it be in yoga, running, or hiking.  You go to where the healing must happen.  Sometimes it sneaks up on you and sometimes it rolls through like a military jet flying low to the ground.

Last weekend before ECSUT #TeamCaboose, Batman and I went out to the Uintas.  We hiked up to Trial Lake.  The first real snow of the season had hit the ground.  If you’ve never been in a National Forest it’s quiet.  If you’ve never experienced snow it muffles all of the sounds.  Combine being in a National Forest and snow the silence is absolutely deafening.  It is the most quiet that you may ever experience in your entire lifetime.  If you aren’t comfortable in the silence it can be unsettling.

Now, however, I welcome the silence.  It’s like a warm pair of jammies straight from the dryer.  I call that progress.

 

#ECSUT the Dickens Novel

I finished.  Without Peter Thorne (bib#5040) I don’t know if I would have, though.

IMG_4735Yet again due to snow the course was altered.  The first 10k of the course went beautifully.  I felt good, I was running well (and was actually running).  The sun was partially out and while it was chilly it was great running weather . As I came down into the 1st aid station I saw the girls! Oh that made my heart light.   I dumped a wet shirt with my amazing friends and started humping it back up the mountain.

Somewhere around mile 13 I just burst into tears.  I was nauseous, I was having a hard time breathing, but most importantly I was getting cold.   I was scared. TeamCaboose grabbed my hand and walked with me for a bit.  I felt awful for holding her back so I pushed her on.  I pretty much cried all the way to the first entrance into the 5-Way aid station.  I didn’t want to drop, but my last experience in the cold was roaring in my brain.  I walked into 5-Way extremely nauseous. After almost throwing up, some amazing person gave me some ginger chews.  The volunteers gave me some amazing hot broth.  They offered up a heater, but I knew that if I sat in front of that it was only going to be worse when I left.  They asked if I wanted to drop.  Absolutely not.  The next few miles were downhill and I was able to get warm again.  I was still nauseous, but getting warmed helped.  Even better I stopped crying.

The Marsac aid station (#5) at mile 19.6 was out in the open.  Just the couple of minutes we were there filling up bladders was enough to make me cold again.  As we took off from the aid station I saw that the guy (I called him Zombie Runner in my head because that’s what was on his pack) that we had been following most of the course had a jacket tied around his waist and wasn’t using it.  “Hey! Can I borrow you jacket?” I was a cold and desperate runner and was not above asking strangers for clothes.  He graciously let me borrow it.  The nice thing was that because he was a big guy it fit over top of my layers and my hydration pack.  After a few minutes I started to get warm again.  I gave it back to him before we even hit the next aid station and profusely thanked him.

The folks at the King’s Road Aid Station told us that it was 3 miles back to 5-Way.  It was over 3 miles.  More importantly it was also all straight up hill.  There was a small human at the aid station so the string of profanities that I wanted to come out of my mouth were tempered by his presence.  TeamCaboose was long in front of me.  ZombieRunner and I were slogging our way up the hill stringing together profanities.  At this point it had also started snowing. Super, just (bleep) super.  When we rolled into 5-Way for a second time they were all enthusiastic that it was “only 4.7 miles to the finish and all downhill!!!” I glared at them. I wasn’t in the best place.

“I don’t believe a (bleep) thing you all say any more they told it was 3 miles to here.”

The guys laughed.  “It’s not 3 miles!”

“Duh, I know that NOW!”

I thanked them for being there, I mean, they were out in the cold all day too.  However, I was cold again.  The broth wasn’t warm, and I knew that I was less than 5 miles to the finish.  While I wasn’t nauseous any more but I knew that I was rapidly approaching a point where I was going to have to make a hard decision.  That’s when Zombie Runner came to my rescue.  Without me asking, he took his coat off of his pack and handed it to me.

“Here, I’ll get it from you at the finish.” He took off running down the mountain.

I pulled it on and started down the mountain.  As the elevation dropped the precipitation increased and switched to rain.  By the time I could see the finish line it was pouring.  I was wet, but warm.  I got to the fencing on the finish and out pops MountainGoat.  She and Randi and Kara had sat there all day in the rain and the snow.  They were there to see me finish.

She smacked me on the ass and said, “RUN!”

“I don’t know if I can.”

IMG_4748She smacked me on the ass again.  “RUN!” She commanded as she grabbed my hand and pulled me along, my legs begrudgingly following her.   She let go of my hand and I crossed the finish line and promptly burst into tears.  I hugged TeamCaboose who was standing there. I looked up and saw the girls huddled under the tent.  I cried some more.  These amazing, wonderful, strong women who I met and ran with this summer stood there all day in the craptastic weather.  I started to tell them that I needed to find the nice guy who let me us he coat.  He was looking right at me.  I laughed. “I only know you from behind! Thank you so much for letting me use this I wouldn’t have finished otherwise.”

Officially I was 150/155, 52/54 females, 7/7 for my age group, and finished in 10:05:30 with a pace of 18:59.   Not a stellar showing, but for an asthmatic runner from sea level I’ll take it.  I am a finisher.

IMG_4745

 

North Face 50k: Just Jump

When I was out to sea on the USCGC Mellon we were lucky enough to have a couple of swim calls.  That is when the ship stops and they let everyone jump overboard to have a good romp.  (It’s also a great way to get everyone smelling better when your water gets contaminated and you’re waiting for the tanks to refill, but that’s another story.) By the last swim call all of the girls in my berthing had jumped off the O-1 deck.  It’s higher than jumping off of the main deck and depending on when you catch the swell of the ocean it can be a LONG way down.

I was terrified of jumping, but all the other girls had done it, I knew it was safe and there was nothing holding me back but fear.  As I stood with my back against the O-1 bulkhead hatch staring at the open abyss to the ocean, my knees were shaking, my insides had an entire rugby team of dragons (not butterflies), and I was seriously considering just chickening out and facing the wrath of being the only girl who didn’t jump and the only Navy person who didn’t jump.  Instead, took a deep breath, and ran off the edge before I could talk myself out of it.  The Senior Chief who was standing shark duty said, “I knew it was you jumping.  You screamed, you ran out of air, you took another breath, and kept right on screaming until you hit the water.”  Well, duh, I mean holy crap balls that was scary.

I’m currently sitting on an airplane making my way west to Park City, Utah to (theoretically) run the North Face 50k.  I say theoretically because, well, Summit County has already gotten snow this year and they are predicting 4-7 inches more of the white powdery stuff tonight.  Yet, as I sit on this airplane watching the ground go by while waiting for biostatistics code to get spat out of SAS all I can think about is how I am feeling the exact same feeling as I did that particular day, scared.

Why? Why am I so terrified of this race?  Well, let’s start with the physical stuff.  I came home from my summer in Utah a little beaten up and it’s taken a couple of months of physical therapy to get me strong.  I’ve made leaps and bounds and the witchy one says that I will be fine, but there’s that shadow that lingers there.

Then let’s talk about the weather.  The last time I attempted to run in the cold and snow I got hypothermia.  So, yes, I’m terrified that that will happen again and this time I don’t have ShooterGirl close by to come and rescue me.

Finally, let’s talk about the mental aspect.  I crawled all over this particular mountain this summer, on purpose.  I spent multiple days a week learning her quirks.  All that said, I haven’t been at altitude for 6 weeks.  My boss didn’t help any when he said, “Oh man, you’re going to fry your lungs.”

So, yeah, I’m terrified.  I’m hopeful that there will BE a race to run.  I need to run this race.  I need to treat this like that jump off of the USCGC Mellon only without all the screaming.  I’m just afraid if I chicken out and don’t run I may never sign up for another 50k again.

VHRTC Women’s Half Marathon: If you give a mouse a cookie the BK edition

You know it’s weird you know random people in the middle of the woods, right?-ShooterGirl

It’s no secret I find all of my emotions in the woods. Whether it be joy, anger, sorrow, they all come out when you are in the middle of the woods.  It’s a place of raw beauty and emotion.

Back in March I dragged my friend Granite Ginger onto the trails of Fountainhead for her first trail run.  She is a veteran road runner, having completed two Marine Corps Marathons.  She knows how to run road.  I think I threw her for a loop running on dirt.  I knew, though, deep down she was a dirt girl like me.  The more time we spent on the dirt the more I knew it.  So for her birthday I bought her an entry to the VHRTC Women’s Half Marathon.  Why?  A. It’s with my VHRTC family so I knew the race experience would be a positive one.  Then there’s B.  I really wanted to drag her permanently over to the dark side with me.

Running dirt requires a certain amount of gumption, stubbornness, and determination, something I know that G has in spades.  I had ZERO doubt in my mind that she was going to knock it out of the park.  Her on the other hand……

What’s funny is that I know she’s an ultrarunner. Why?  She doesn’t get happy until like mile 15.  I mean COME ON if that isn’t the definition of an ultra runner I don’t know what is.  On Saturday the joke became that trail running is like the children’s book “If you give a mouse a cookie” only the BK edition.

First it was, hey, let’s go run 4 miles of trail.  Then it was, well since you did 4 let’s do 10. Once we did 10  we might as well do 20, for MCM training, of course.  Once we did 20, well, then there was NO reason not to do the trail half marathon, I mean, the hills will be good training……Oh and since you’re already doing MCM in October, why don’t we do MGM in December I mean it’s ONLY 6 more miles…..

G did amazing.  Just like I knew she would.  She had a rough bad for a few miles, but then there was Juanitas Cantina and that made everything better.  Although, I think all the extra hugs from Bob didn’t hurt either.  By the time we got back to the finish line her husband and little one were there cheering her in.

I knew she could do it.  Now she does too.  Wonder if it’s too soon to talk about that 50k…..

 

Summer: All the Feels

I opened up my Facebook feed this morning and was greeted with this article posted by a friend.  It talks about the fate of all the “summer dogs” in Greece and how they won’t survive the winter.  Most of them anyway.

As I looked up from the article I saw my own “throw away dog” from Afghanistan, Princess of Destruction of Kabul (aka Charlotte),  happily wrestling and playing with HRH I caught a major case of the feels.  Then she went into the bathroom and started drinking out of the toilet. Feelings over because, ew.

It got me thinking, though, about her life her and our summer adventures.  I almost left her with my trainer.  I almost didn’t take her with me.  However, even my trainer agreed with me that despite her being attacked on the trails twice and developing some quirks we are now dealing with her going with me was the absolute best thing that could have happened to her and to me.

See, as a formerly feral dog from a long line of feral dogs, her DNA doesn’t allow her to trust easily. In Afghanistan if a dog isn’t shot at for fun or shot at for food then they are put into a dog fighting ring.  Unless they are adopted by the military guys or an NGO worker life for dogs in Afghanistan is very short and very ugly.  Even if they are adopted most will leave them behind when they go making them just as forgotten as those beach dogs in Greece.  For all those reasons her fight/flight instinct is very very ingrained. It’s the only way that she was able to exist in the first place.  I didn’t even realize how ‘loud’ her instinct was until our first time camping and she bolted awake on high alert at every tiny noise in the middle of the night.

IMG_3790This summer, though, with all of our time together on the trails we were able to develop our relationship.  I’d almost say a bond, but with my cat-like dog the bond is only as strong as she is in the mood to let me have.   She was able to learn that she can count on me which is something that her little feral DNA doesn’t quite understand.  On what turned out to be hands down one of my absolute best days running ever she even allowed a man she never met before into “her” car and then promptly made googley eyes at him.

By our second camping trip with img_6736WindChime Charlotte was happily snuggled between “her” humans absorbing body heat trusting that “her” humans would keep her safe.  By the end of the summer, despite being attacked twice on the trails by dogs off leash, she had turned into an amazing little trail dog.  Granted, we have some quirks we are working through with the trainer because of those attacks, but even he agreed her going with me was the best thing that could have happened. “She’s started to trust you.”

On our way home as I crashed out at 1am in the parking lot of a random truck stop in Indiana she stood guard over me. While I only slept three hours it was three hours of exceptionally deep sleep because I knew that if anyone tried to come near “her” car she was going to tell them who was boss.  For the record, I was right.  She wound up waking me up with the deepest nastiest sound I’ve ever heard her make as she was telling some super creepy guys that were lingering around the car that she was there.  I hopped into the front seat without getting out of the car and left. Good girl, indeed!

When we returned home she knew where she was.  Her tailed wagged, a rare occurrence,  as we pulled into the driveway.  I was curious to see how her reintroduction to HRH was going to go.  We walked into the house, he immediately told her who was boss, and we were back to our normal pack dynamics.

My little Princess of Destruction of Kabul who will be turning two in February has already seen most states than most Americans (current total 21).  She’s ridden on a ski gondola.  She’s logged loads of trail miles.  She’s seen the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.  Sure, our relationship isn’t perfect and there are times I want to strangle her, but she’s still a puppy and I remind myself of that.  (Usually on days where she has decided to chew and/or destroy something.)  Most importantly, though, she has a life that she wouldn’t have had otherwise.  She’s allowing me to have the company and the confidence to go and do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise because I know that no matter what she has my back.  Even if she won’t cuddle with me.

 

Flying and inner peace

Over the years yoga has been in my life.  At my heaviest (200+ pounds) I did yoga. Granted I hid at the back of the class but I did yoga.  At the very beginning I remember how hard just going through Sun Salutation A was.  I huffed and I puffed.  Holding Downward Facing Dog was nearly impossible.  However, there was this feeling I had after every yoga class that I just couldn’t shake.  It’s magical.

Right before my divorce in 2005 I hit my first Sirsasana or headstand.  It was an early Sunday morning class in Annapolis.  We were given time to practice flying.  When I actually got up into it I squealed and then promptly hit the floor.  I remember it like it was yesterday that is how profound it was.   Balance and flying poses are always a tell.  The more out of emotional balance you are the more challenging (if not impossible) they are. I never hit another one.

Over the last year or so I found an organization called Vetoga.  They are an organization created by a former Marine who wanted to share yoga with the veteran community as a way  to deal with stress, PTSD, and other anxieties.   There is something profound about being in a room of people who regardless of service, age or gender are family even if you’ve never met them before.

IMG_3506Then this past summer during a WOD at CrossFit Park City they had us attempting headstands as a precursor to handstand pushups.  From the CrossFit perspective it’s simple: you use your core and you should be able to pop right up into a headstand.  Now as a practitioner of yoga I know better.  It is not as simple as core strength then pop up.  In order to obtain a headstand you have to have inner peace.  Sure, core strength is part of it, but without the inner peace, even momentarily, you will never fly.  Since 2005, I had tried headstand many times, often met with me slamming to the floor in the most ungraceful like thud.  With all of the mountains and clearing of my mind I had had over the summer I figured why not try a headstand.  This was as far as I got, but hey it was progress over the previous 12 years.  While it is not a true Sirsasana which is suppose to be done on forearms, it was still much closer.

A few days ago at Trident CrossFit I was feeling much less pressure.  My internship was over, the paper was almost complete, and a host of other things in my life had fallen into IMG_4218place.  There are still stressors, but I am mentally at peace with the major decisions I have made.  I decided to give it another try.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Sure, I could fall on my face, but I’ve done that plenty in my lifetime.  Then this happened.  Again, I’m not on my forearms, but I’m up and I held it.  This is the truest sign I can have that the path that I have chosen is the right path.

What path is that?  I have decided to go through the Vetoga teacher training.  I have wanted to go through teacher training for many years, but the time was just never right.  Despite being in grad school, despite the stresses from work, despite every reason in the world why I shouldn’t do this, this just feels like the right time.  I don’t handle change well (I know that this comes as a surprise) so the fact that I made this major decision and I am at peace with it means I am on the right path.

I’m very much looking forward to the learning process.  Most of all, though, I’m looking forward to helping others find their moment to fly.  It truly is glorious.

If you want to help me reach my goal, click here, and donate to my teacher training.

Persistence and expectations

“Do not sit still; start moving now. In the beginning, you may not go in the direction you want, but as long as you are moving, you are creating alternatives and possibilities.”

-R. Costa

I am not a fast runner.  Nor am I an agile runner.  I put one foot in front of the other.  Some days it may be faster than others, but all days it is about the meditative act of putting one foot in front of the other.  As an asthmatic runner who is subject to the whims of Mother Nature I don’t run for time.  I don’t run for PRs. If they happen, great, if they don’t, great.   Every run I go out with no expectations other than to finish.  I am a persistent runner.

Before I even left for Utah I was experiencing pain in my left adductor.  I saw Magic Man in May when I was in Montana and that seemed to take care of it.  Flash forward into June and I was running/hiking my tush off.  The pain started getting to be too much so I went and saw an acupuncturist in Park City who treated my back because they said that is where the pain was coming from (they weren’t necessarily wrong).

Then during the Kings Peak trip the pain in my leg on the way back out to the campsite was so bad it took my breath away.  Luckily WindChime brought Motrin with her otherwise I don’t know if I would have made it back in any decent amount of time.  The pain persisted for the rest of the time I was out in Park City.  Granted most folks would have stopped running, but my time in the mountains was coming to an end and I was not about the give up that time.  I thought it was just sore from all the miles, not actually something wrong.

When I returned I decided something had to change.  Obviously there was something bigger going on that wasn’t getting fixed.  I decided to see a PT instead.  We went through all my old injuries (which were extensive when you add in the number of times I was ejected off a horse) and we started doing mobility testing.  I could tell you all the things not working properly, but I’ll sum it up as this; train wreck.  Basically I have tendons acting like muscles because my physical structure is so twisted that the muscles can’t move the way they are suppose to.  When I told her of all of my exploits she was stunned that I was even able to do half of it.

“Persistence”, I said.

It’s amazing how when you receive small tweaks how all of a sudden things get really freaking hard. My tush has never hurt so much.  Even my abs hurt from one of the deceptively simple exercises she has me doing to active the deep pelvic muscles that stabilize my pelvis.  I may never do another crunch again.

“You’re a witch!” I proclaimed during our third session.  She laughed.

“I’ve been called many things, but I don’t think I’ve ever been called that.  I’ll take it!” she replied laughing as she moved my leg around in the socket.

We started talking about my goals and plans for the fall.  I told her about the 50k monkey I want to get off my back.  “Totally within the realm of possible”, she said.

She asked me about the training run I have planned this weekend  We spoke about the 20 mile loop I wanted to do.  She looked at the elevation profile and quickly nixed that.  “Too much right now.  I’m ok with the miles, but not the elevation change.  We need to get you stabilized first. When you do go out I don’t want you to have any expectations.”

I hung my head.  Dammit.  I said, “I always run with no expectations so that’s nothing new.  What about the C&O?”

“That’s perfect.”

Sigh.  I know she’s right.  I know I have to listen to her.  I want to be fixed for the long haul because oh my how much I enjoy the up and surprisingly, now, the down.

Seeing my sadness of loosing my mountain running this weekend she offered this; “Just think, if you were able to do everything you’ve done with only half of you working with all of you working it should be a piece of cake!”  Make mine gluten free, please.