Category Archives: Training

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Chronicles of a MRI arthrogram

I have run two marathons.

But this, I was scared.

I kicked serious butt in the birthing room.

But this, I was scared.

I quit a successful career and went back to school at 36.

But this, I was scared.

I have lived with type-1 diabetes nearly my whole life.

But this, I was scared.

Yesterday I had a MRI arthrogram to try and sleuth what the hell is wrong with my groin. I had been told ahead of time this would be a most unpleasant experience, that the dye injection would be inserted into my hip, and that various movements would be employed to purposely initiate pain in the area. I was told I would not be released without someone there with me, but not told why. I was told I would be transported via wheelchair from radiology to the MRI clinic, but again, not fully explained why.

I googled MRI arthrogram.

Big mistake.

Lots of horror stories.

I was scared.

Honestly, I had nothing to be scared of.

170501MRI1

Except maybe the poo-coloured pants they made me wear!

The freezing agent that was injected into my leg wasn’t the greatest feeling, but it didn’t hurt, nor did it burn as the radiologist indicated it would. It just felt like a lot of pressure. I didn’t enjoy it, but I was more wigged out than anything. Same with the contrast dye injection. I could feel that there was something there, and I knew they were doing stuff, and my eyes were squinted shut, and my nails were digging into my hands, and my left foot (the opposite side they were working on) kept vigorously flexing back and forth – but there was no pain.

Big Ring described it perfectly: it was the same feeling I get and actions I do when in the dentist’s chair. I know they’re doing stuff, and I know there should be pain, and I’m waiting for that pain, but that pain never comes. Just a whole lot of wigging out for nothing.

Mental pain.

The MRI, however, was a test of strength. I do have slight claustrophobia, although I kept telling them I didn’t when they asked, almost as though I was trying to will it away. They gave me earplugs and headphones with music to try and take my mind off the ridiculous loudness of the machine. As they were pushing me into the machine (full body), the guy suggested I close my eyes. Well, of course I now wanted to open my eyes. (Yes, I was that kid.) I took a peak…

I WAS IN A BLOODY COFFIN!!! And the walls were closing in on me! Holy freaking hell, I squeezed those eyes back shut as tight as they could go.

I had to keep perfectly still.

And suddenly all my nerves started twitching, and bones cracking, and muscles involuntarily spasming. Stop it!

After the first picture, they told me to remember to breathe lightly.

So naturally I start hyperventilating. Stop it! And I can’t swallow. Stop it! My body wants big gulps of air. Stop it! And I’m trying to sing Sunday Bloody Sunday to take my mind off of it all.

Finally 40 minutes passes. It feels like 400 hours.

I get the results in two weeks.

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Running reboot: injury be damned

This blog is lonnnnnng overdue. I started writing it back in January, but was sidelined (and subsequently pummeled) by integral calculus, which took pretty much all my focus. The post was pushed to the side, only to be revisited today – four months after I started my official running reboot, and three days out from getting an arthrogram MRI to see what the heck has plagued my groin for the past nine months.

Let’s go back in time, shall we.

Bloop-bloop-bloop…

Jan. 15, 2017: It wasn’t a blip in the pan. It wasn’t fly by the night. It was real.

I went for a run. I did not know what to expect on this run. I was still injured. I still am injured. My leg feels sharp stabs of pain daily. The groin ache is still there. At this point, I don’t know if it will ever go away. What I do know: when I run it’s not there.

I am a runner. Injury be damned.

The significance of this is huge.

I have not run since October 5, 2015. First taken out by a foot injury; later by the attack of the femur.

Let me do the math for you:

That is more than 15 months – a total of 441 days of no wearing out running shoes; no soaking up technical shirts; no squeezing into sports bras; no searching for Garmin-controlled satellites; no dodging puddles; no squinting through the blinding sun; no speed-induced power thoughts; no hill climbing stress relief. Nothing.

And it was killing me.

Not even pregnancy could keep me out of the sneakers that long.

I have gone to multiple physiotherapists; I have done the muscle-firing IMS; I have done the less invasive acupuncture. Nothing has helped. My current physio suggested it is either femoracetabular impingment or a labrel tear in the groin. Scary words.

The x-rays came back negative. I was put in the cue for a MRI arthrogram.

I tried resting it. The groin injury presented itself last July; that is solid resting. I iced. I heated. I did ibuprofen. I did heavy duty Nsaids. None of it worked.

So last week I straight up asked the sports med physician what the harm would be if I started running. I told him this semester was full of math. I told him I could not survive this semester without running relief. I told him I was ready to chop the bloody leg off and get a prosthetic if that meant I could run.

I also told him that while squatting and sitting and stretching all caused pain, my brief sprints to catch the morning bus did not.

He gave me a thumbs up, but with the clear warning of take it easy, go slow, do not overdo it.

I followed doctors orders. I started out real slow, real tentative. I listened to every moan or groan my body made. The first run was 10 and 1s, running 1 minute, walking 1 minute, plus a 10-minute dynamic warmup and cool-down. It was a happy, happy day.

Bloop-bloop-bloop…

April 28, 2017: I am still not at the level of running I would like to be. The furthest distance I’ve reached is just shy of 7 km, my pace is sometimes slow as mud, and my stamina is lacking. I feel the need for walk breaks. I don’t know if it’s in my head or real. It’s discouraging at times.

But, I’m running.

It’s been a learning curve: again figuring out my diabetes with the level of running I’m at; figuring out what to eat; what to set my temporary basal rates at during the run and post run; how much to reduce my breakfast bolus by if I’m running in the morning. I don’t always succeed. It’s frustrating at times.

But, I’m running.

The pain, well, it seems running has loosened it – significantly. I no longer have the feeling of debilitating shards of glass cutting through my thigh multiple times a day. I no longer uncomfortably ache during exams. I sleep at night, pain free. That all began with running. The pain is still there, but it is no longer an ugly force, just a weak reminder there’s still something wrong. I don’t have the flexibility I used to. Squats and sitting cross legged are still challenging.

But, running was the near cure.

170430runningreboot

Running reflection.

Lonely in Cycleville

We were about 2.5 hours into a nearly 3.5 hour ride when we entered the trail head. Big Ring had been chatting about this path for the last 20 minutes or so, a look of mischief on his face the entire time. I didn’t know what I was in for; I’d never ridden trails before, and knowing my husband, I was picturing crazy, straight-up, steep, dirt climbs coming my way. We were near my recent running grounds, I knew this because there was a huge sign we’d passed announcing Burnaby Lake, and as soon as we came upon the path, Big Ring asked if I’d run here before. Without pondering it over, I right away said No, the road we’d just come off didn’t look familiar at all. But then, a few pedals in I thought, Hey, maybe, nah, could it be, maybe, no, yes, yes I think it is – yes, it is! YES! Seriously, I was saying all that out loud, and mostly to myself. A huge smile on my face when I realized it was the Central Valley Greenway that pretty much I’ve been doing speed intervals on every Thursday for the past year!

I run here. I ride here.

I run here. I ride here.

I wish I could say that smile held true for the entire ride.

I can run for hours and feel confident with nearly every stride I take (well, maybe not these days with this dang injury) . But get me on a bike and my confidence shoots out the window.

Last week was my first ride upon Holly Go-Quickly in 2 years. I was nervous as heck. You know how they always relate things to It’s like riding a bike, well, for me, like riding a bike is almost like mastering bloody chemistry. If I’m not doing it, I forget it. So the night before the intended first ride (with a friend, not Big Ring) I was incessantly grilling Big Ring about shifting gears – How do I know it’s in the big ring? how do I get it back down to the little ring? is there a clutch? Yes folks, I did ask if there was a clutch.

His response, with a smirk in his eyes, was: You’ll be fine; it’s like… riding a bike.

Oh crud.

Please clouds, give me cycling strength.

Please clouds, give me cycling strength.

I got on Holly Go-Quickly, I clipped into her pedals, and I rode, oh did I ride. For like all of one minute. Living in New West we face hills every which way we go, and so the first hill, two seconds into the ride, I tried gearing down into the little ring, but instead beefed up to a harder gear – right at the bloody tip of the ascent!!! – and my legs got all weak and shaky, and my brain all wigged out. Out popped my right foot, down to the ground it went, and a waddle bike walk up the hill we went.

Well that was a cruddy start!

I don’t remember it being this difficult before. I remember wanting to climb hills, cursing them in the moment, but feeling immense pride at conquering them in the end. I remember loving the wind whipping my face with every descent. I remember enjoying the chase of Big Ring, who always rode ahead, and loving the thrill of those few times I actually passed him (regardless of whether he let me or not). I remember at times feeling frustrated with my lack of speed when my legs grew tired, but more over I remember loving nearly every moment of every ride, even the bloody hard ones – hello Horseshoe Bay!

But the last two rides for me were, well, they weren’t exactly love. I liked them, I liked them a lot, but I struggled. Wow, did I struggle. I struggled to keep up, I struggled to feel comfortable and at ease with Holly Go-Quickly’s swiftness, I struggled to push hard, I struggled with my confidence.

Lonely cyclist alert.

Lonely cyclist alert.

Last week I discovered my neighbour chick just bought a new Cannondale, hers the more muscular version of mine. I’d contemplated sticking a note to her door, welcoming her to the world of Cannondale love, and signing off with a friendly Hey, we should ride together.

Now, I’m not so sure.

It wasn't all unhappies :)

It wasn’t all unhappies 🙂

YESTERDAY’S 2nd RIDE in 2 years:
10:30 a.m. BG before: 8.8
Temp. basal: -100% (4 hours)
Time: 3:24:34
Distance: 51:68 km
BG: @60 min: 6.6 (1/2 box raisins) @90 min: 9.1 (lunch: Granville Island sandwich and Chocolate Arts ice cream bar) @140 min: 4.0 (Larabar)
3 p.m. BG after: 5.6
Temp. basal: +100% (1 hour)

Yep, that is chocolate in my teeth – worth every tasty bite!

Yep, that is chocolate in my teeth – worth every tasty bite!

Weird aside: Following my aqua jog session the other day my hands and arms felt like they were moving through a mass of thick cobwebs. Seriously, every time I moved them, I could feel the hairs moving. I thought my blood sugars were low, you know that tingly feeling, but nope, they were perfectly awesome. It was the creepiest thing ever!

T-minus 29 days until Global Heroes Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile. I will conquer this.

Direction by committee

(Note: I am seriously behind on blog posts; this one should have been posted Sunday or Monday. Please send all your complaints to the Douglas College chemistry department.)

You say tomato, I say tomAto.

This is the map of the route we were supposed to run Sunday.

012115supposedroute

This is the map of the route we actually ran Sunday.

013115Sunday run

Pretty much totally the same.

Yes folks, the lost runner in me struck again. But hey, a few added hills never hurt anyone right… right? As one of my favourite running chicks noted, we weren’t lost, we were exploring.

Two hours in the trails – just look at this beauty!

Next time, we do planks!

Next time, we do planks!

And with a water station on route, we were totally set – lost or not!

Riddle me this: How many running chicks does it take to wash a dropped shot block?

How many running chicks does it take to wash a dropped shot block?

SUNDAY RUN DAY:
8:45 a.m. BG before: 6.7
Carbs: banana + dried apricots 30 min b/f and 15 min b/f (no bolus)
Temp. basal: -50 per cent; – 70 per cent; -30 per cent
Workout: 2 hours: alternating 30′ easy with 10′ at half marathon pace
Distance: 19.28 km
Average pace: 6:13 min/km
BG: @25′ 5.7; @45′ 5.1; @70′ 8.0; @100′ 10.1
Fuel: shot blocks and sports drink – continuous
BG after: 15.7 😦

Seems I had the opposite blood sugar problem this time around compared to the last few Sundays. For this run, I pre-programmed a basal setting on my pump that was about half the reduction from my normal settings and then I started out with a 50 per cent reduction on top of that, upped it to -70 per cent at the 25′ mark, and then when I saw they were rising about an hour into the run, lowered it to -30 per cent. I was also taking in fuel right from the get-go – I did not want to be dealing with lows on this run. Apparently, it wasn’t the proper math all around. See above.

Blargh! One of these days I will figure this bloody thing out!

Glutes on fire

I’m not sure doing hill repeats 34 hours before speed intervals was the smartest idea I’ve ever had; in fact, my glutes, who I’m thinking are probably still very much annoyed with me, were screaming and cursing at me for hours after. But my mind felt as though it was freed from the negativity of the last few days, and that, my friends, was well worth the gluteus maximus scolding I endured.

Happiness is my sneakers.  (Don't mind the crazy eyes; we were all a little possessed last night :) )

Happiness is my sneakers.
(Don’t mind the crazy eyes; we were all a little possessed last night 🙂 )

Oh. And my stats, they have me feeling like a bit of a rockstar!

Here’s the breakdown of the intervals: :30; 1:00; 1:30; 2:00; 2:30; 2:30; 2:00; 1:30; 1:00; :30 at 3 km goal pace with a 1:30 walk break in between each. For me, my 3 km goal pace is approximately 4:50 min/km. You will see below just how intensely I annihilated that projected pace. Yes, I am totally gloating!

I screwed up the timing for the first 30 second interval, but check out

I screwed up the timing for the first 30 second interval, but check out intervals 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19. Not too shabby!

YESTERDAY’S SPEED INTERVALS:
5:50 p.m. BG before: 9.1
Temp. basal: -30 per cent
Carbs: none
Time: 49 minutes
Distance: 7.3 km
Average interval pace: 4.34 min/km
7:30 p.m. BG after: 12.1

Thank you all for your warm wishes and kind thoughts during this tough time for my family and I. It meant an incredible amount. Thank you.

Hill repeats: in the moment

Running chick @IamSamandIrun on Instagram had the right idea with this visual description of this week's hills.

Running chick @IamSamandIrun [Instagram] had the right idea with her pic following this week’s hills.

I want to puke.

What was I thinking?

Why am I doing this?

I’m not even halfway through.

Ohmygawd. I can feel it. I am so going to puke.

Stop! says my legs.

Stop! yells my my lungs.

Are you freaking kidding me?

How the hell am I going to get through another one and three quarters of these?

I’m not.

That’s it.

I can’t do it.

I should just give up.

Call it quits.

The loft is just over there…

NO!

Eff you hills.

Eff you lungs.

Eff you legs.

Eff you brain.

Keep going.

Don’t you dare quit on me.

Push.

Dig.

Harder.

Faster.

You can do this.

You’re not a quitter.

One more.

Go.

Go.

Effing freaking GO.

And done!

YESTERDAY’S HILLS:
8:30 a.m. BG before: 9.6
Temp. basal: none
Carbs: Breakfast 2 hours earlier
Hill repeats: 3 x 75/60/45 seconds
Time: 40 minutes
Distance: 5.41 km
Average hill pace: 5:04 min/km
9:30 a.m. BG after: 3.9

Pretty sure I found my near puke threshold in that 75 second one. But man did I ever need that release, and man did I ever feel pretty freaking awesome for not quitting at the top of the second set like I so desperately wanted to.

Thank you hills.

The Pitchfork and the Punching Bag

Running in the darkness of night can seriously mess with your head. You can start to see things, start to think thoughts, start to wonder who might possibly be lurking around  corners, behind trees, under benches.

I’ve been here before. Mostly when running solo in the early morning hours before dawn. But tonight, for hill repeats, that imaginative mind of mine went full boar ahead, even with my new group of running chicks all around me.

It all started on the downhill, when out of the corner of my eye I saw an older fellow walking down a driveway towards us. I didn’t really think much of it at first, but that mind, oh, her wheels started turning, and fast.

This hill, while decently lit, was still fairly dark, but not so much a black dark, more like a spooky midnight blue dark with traces of foggy lighting interspersed here and there. Long driveways. Giant trees all around. And the one driveway that isn’t long is equipped with a well-used punching bag in the open garage. It’s the kind of setting you’d see in a b-rated horror flick right before the big breasted blonde gets speared by a pitchfork…

Oh freak! Wait a second! He’s carrying a pitchfork! For real. The old dude, who’s more like a monster, he’s walking down towards us, we’re heading right into his line of aim, I’m the closest to the pitchfork, he’s Hitchcock hunched. Holy freak, I’m going to die!

THIS is what I saw!

THIS is what I saw!

Good thing it was all or nothing hill repeats… pretty sure I made it up that hill in record time. Too fast for the pitchfork!

And when we turned back around for our next repeat, that old dude, now near the bottom of the hill, was sauntering with a swagger into the blue as though he’d achieved what he had set out to do.

Freak the begonias right out of me!

TONIGHT’S HILLS
5:50 p.m. BG before: 9.5
Carbs: none
Basal: -50 per cent (1 hour)
Distance: 8.52 km 30′ easy, 10×20 second hill repeats, 10′ cool down
Time: 1:02:05
7:30 p.m. BG after: 8.9
Basal: +80 per cent (1 hour)