Tag Archives: running

Smurfette Part 2: The Bone Scan

Ohhhh, the déjà vu.

2011: I was training for my second marathon, and struggling with a sore ankle every time I ran. I spent months in physiotherapy with no relief. Dear Physio was getting frustrated; I was beyond frustrated.

2016: I haven’t run in 9 months. I’ve suffered horrid pain that’s become more a dull ache in my left foot for 12 months. I’ve spent thousands (note the plural) on physio, chiro, acupuncture, essential oils, and more with no relief. Frustrated. Desperate. Moody. Sad and envious as bloody hell.

Both outcomes resulted in bone scans. In 2011, it turned out I had stress fractures in both ankles. In 2016, well, as I’m currently writing this post in the waiting area of nuclear medicine, I don’t yet know the results.

What I do know:

At 9 a.m. I was injected with a blue radioactive tracer containing phosphate and technetium. The phosphate is treated by the body as a building block; anything broken, stressed, out of alignment, not as it should be is a hot spot trigger for the phosphate and will glow brightly under the scanning camera. They took a few pictures right off the hop to see how the body reacted to the dye, if there were any blood irregularities, etc. These pics, which I could see forming on the screen, made my feet look like sparkly glass slippers.

Cinderella! Cinderella!

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From 2011: Injecting the blue dye

Then I waited… and waited… and waited. Waiting, pretty much an apt description of getting bone scans done. Because you’re injected with such a small amount of the radioactive tracer, and because it’s got to travel all the way down to the feet, you’ve got to give it sufficient time. The injection was at 9 a.m. and the scans didn’t start until 2:40 p.m.. In between, there was a whole lot of water drinking (to flush out the kidneys) and tea drinking (because, well, I love tea) and studying (same thing for 2011, except this time it’s for college chemistry and last time it was high school chemistry).

The scan itself was only about 20 minutes!

scan2016
From 2016: The masking tape chronicles

The fellow doing my scan was great. As soon as he saw my insulin pump, he started telling me about how all four of his sisters have type-2, and his brother-in-law in Finland has type-1 and takes daily pen injections. We talked about Canada’s medical system (which by no means is as free as many in our country and others believe it to be) vs. Finland’s. This came as a shocker to me given how great the country is with its educational system, but apparently in Finland, the cost of diabetes is based on a weigh scale; those overweight pay way more than those not. This man’s brother-in-law pays in the thousands (Canadian equivalent) every week!!!

“He likes his sweets,” the tech said.

Don’t we all!

He took three photos of both feet (to compare the two): one of the top of the foot, one of the bottom, and one of the side. The photos took five minutes each and you had to stay still for the full five minutes. I was good for the first two photos; I think because we were talking so much it took my mind off it (plus, for one of the photos, my feet were taped with masking tape). But the last photo, I don’t know. You know when you’re told to stay still, but try as you might, all your body wants to do is move. That’s how I was! The last two minutes of that last photo, I could feel my feet and knees starting to twitch, and I kept thinking no, no, no, be good, be perfect, follow the instructions, don’t you dare move, dammit, stop, stop, stop. I tried taking my mind off what was going on by looking at the skeleton feet forming on the screens and trying to figure out which ones belonged to which foot, and wondering if that glowing line was normal foot bones or Princess problems. When the musical ding finally rang, I nearly shouted Hallelujah!

Apparently my doc will have the results in a week’s time.

Hopefully there will be some answers, something that will get the recovery process on the right track. Because seriously, I just want to bloody fricken well run!

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The week of so-called “easy”

Easy schmeasy!

According to our running program, this week is classified “easy” week, but I think the designer of the program uses that term a little too freely.

On Tuesday, we had to run 40 minutes with 20 minutes at lactate threshold pace (for me: between 5:00 and 5:20 min/km) and the only way I can see that as being “easy” is that, unlike the previous week, we were allotted a 2-minute walk break to split the 20 minutes into two segments of 10. While I wasn’t anywhere near puking, and felt I could definitely keep the pace going, I was sucking back wind pretty good.

And then there was tonight’s “easy” run, where we ran 30 minutes with 10 intervals of 30 seconds each at 3 km goal pace (for me: between 4:30 and 4:50 min/km) with a 30 second walk between each. The goal for tonight was not to be Usain Bolt, but rather Chrissie Wellington, fast and steady for the duration. We were told fun was to be had, and that by the end we should feel good about our effort but still have enough juice to do more.

Not below. Not above. Right on target.

Not below. Not above. Right on target.

TODAY’S FAST FUN RUN:
• 6 p.m. BG before: 6.0
• Temp. basal: -50 per cent (1.5 hours)
• Carbs: 1/2 banana (15g no bolus)
• Run: 10′ warmup; 30 seconds at 3 km goal pace with 30 seconds walk between each; 10′ cool down.
• Distance: 4.95 km
• Time: 30:41
• Average interval pace: 4:27 min/km
• 7:30 p.m. BG after: 6.5
• Temp. basal: +70 per cent (1.5 hours)

Well! I’ve got to say, this run was hands-down harder than Tuesday’s. Not because I was feeling overly spent, not at all, I felt I could have gone faster, I wanted to go faster, Healthy Beacon was tempting me with her carrotress ways, but I kept forcing myself to reel it in, to stay on pace, to follow the program. Pretty sure, tonight, I built up some mental toughness by way of that restraint!

And yes folks, there was fun had!

How can this NOT be considered fun?

How can this NOT be considered fun?

So fast they're flying!

So fast they’re flying!

And then there were the outtakes: I especially like the decapitated head me and the praying to the higher powers me, and the knee dance ... oh hell, I loved them all :)

And then there were the outtakes: I especially like the decapitated head me and the praying to the higher powers me, and the knee dance … oh hell, I love them all 🙂

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)

A world of blank

I went for a run in the snow.

You wouldn’t know.

I went for a run in the buckets down pouring rain.

You wouldn’t know.

I did speed intervals in the pitch black darkness of the night.

You wouldn’t know.

I did hill repeats – charging past bright Christmas lights, over icy patches, huffing, puffing, icicles for sweat in my eyes, pushing the limits, not caving in to the devil on my shoulder, not giving up.

You wouldn’t know.

I ran. I ran with friends. I ran by myself. I ran in the day. I ran in the night.

You wouldn’t know.

Because, you see, I took pictures, a lot of pictures, I documented the pain, the determination, the joy, but, my friends, I am beyond irritated to report technology hates me. That devil on my shoulder got her revenge after all. The memory card, deleted. Don’t know how. Don’t know when. All I know is the past two weeks worth of photos, GONE.

No pictures.

No visual memories.

Just words…

Prepping the voodoo doll

“Holy frick! FRICK! FRICK! FRICK! What the hell is that?”

Words that exited my mouth not even 10 minutes into yesterday’s physiotherapy appointment.

I had visions of spiked clubs, electric shock and iron maidens with Dear Physio at the end of them filling my head with every body twisting stab of pain going through my left butt cheek. Had I seen that bendable needle, the length of practically my arm, before it was inserted, Dear Physio likely would have had bruised shins… Or worse.

As many of you know, I’ve sung the praises of Dear Physio for years. He is a miracle worker slash ailment curer. But oh man, yesterday, he was so close to having a voodoo doll, complete with torture pins of its own, made in his honour!

Voodoo_Doll

For more than a month I’ve been dealing with a niggling pain in my butt; I thought it would subside or right itself, but it didn’t. And with training efforts ramping up again, I figured it was high time to call in the big guns: Dear Physio.

This guy is like a physiotherapy celebrity – everyone wants to see him. His current wait list extends well into October! I could go to other physios, I have gone to other physios, but none – N.O.N.E – have produced the results of Dear Physio.

He is the most rounded physiotherapist I have ever been to, continually elevating his education, mastering different forms of therapy, making sure he has the knowledge necessary to adequately treat the problem, not just Band-aid it. It’s why I want to see him, why the whole town wants to see him, why top-notch athletes want him, and why practices are continually seeking him out. He’s that good. Which is why I drive 45 minutes to see him, and why I whole heartedly trust him. Pain and all.

Dear Physio did the usual once over as soon as he saw me, asked a few questions, checked this and that, mumbled a few technical terms to himself, and then told me everything he was about to do.

And I tried to listen and understand all that he was telling me, which I’m sure was in the most simplest manner, I really, really did. But the thing is, I’ve been going to Dear Physio for years, and every time he has fixed me lickety split. I. TRUST. HIM. And so, half of what he says is kinda sorta like a fuzzy cloud of happiness shooting through me.

I heard something about my pelvis being elevated on one side, slight misalignment, my glute muscles firing, two trigger points, happy cloud, happy cloud, happy…WHAT THE???

I didn’t know much about acupuncture before the appointment, but I sure as hell knew all I needed leaving the appointment. Holy fricking hell – pain! pain! pain!

A needle, practically the size of an elephant’s trunk, jabbed and twisted down into my butt cheek. One. Two. Three times!!! I tried Lamaze breathing only to be reminded I never actually learned how. I tried channelling my inner yogi, but I always balked at the calming breathing portion of it. DAMMIT!!! I scrunched up my face, squeezed my eyes shut, held my breath, and held, and held, and held. Holy. Freaking. Pain.

acupuncture_needle

Seriously, how the hell do people do this:

back_pain_acupuncture_dr_anne_hermann_tampa

OR THIS:

1

Or, are you freaking kidding me, what is wrong with you???

canstockphoto1109541_modified

I spent the rest of the day either submerged in a hot bath or sitting on a block of ice. I downed a handful of Advil, and kept rubbing my buttocks in the hopes that the gentle caressing would magically eliminate the butt’s bruised feelings.

All for the betterment of my running legs! Seriously, the torture I go through for those things, sheesh 😉

Guess we can add acupuncture to my LONG list of running injury therapies!

Waiting out the low

Last Friday, I hated Dear Diabetes, like really, really hated it. If I could, I most certainly would have kicked it in the teeth. Most certainly.

It all started minutes before I was to go on my long run. I always test my blood sugars before a run with the rule of thumb that any reading below 7.5 gets a dose of carbs, anything above I wait until my first walk break. But Friday morning, when my BG read 5.7, I did not feed it with carbs – all because I trusted BLOODY technology over my own knowledge of my own body.

I recently got myself a Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, which, for those of you not in the diabetes know, essentially shows the trend patterns of your blood sugars. And so, just before my run, after testing, I looked at the CGM and it showed a slanted upwards green arrow meaning my blood sugars were on the rise, and given that I’d already ate a couple figs an hour earlier, without insulin, I put my trust in CGM. I down dialed my basal rate 50 per cent and was on my way.

About 25 minutes in though I started to feel heavy, drowsy, unfocused, a sign that maybe my blood sugars were descending fast. But because I had done 1 km speed intervals the morning prior, I just cracked it up to tired legs. At 30 minutes, I checked my CGM: 4.0. I pulled out a couple figs, but before I could even finish the first bite, my insulin pump started incessantly vibrating and beeping the tone of death (the same you hear on Grey’s Anatomy when the patient’s heart stops) alerting me of my low. I pulled out my metre: 2.6. Oh freaking hell!!!

Two figs were not going to cure this. Into my mouth went a handful of sharkies and a chocolate bliss ball on top of those figs. And down onto the cemented curb of the Seawall went my butt. There was no way I could keep running at that point. I had to wait the low out.

140418run2
I even had to turn my basal off, which I’ve NEVER done prior on a run!

It took about 20 to 25 miserable minutes for my blood sugars to get back into a good zone. And by that time, thanks to the surge of sugar in me, I was now feeling nauseated as hell. I still had 1.5 hours to go. Frick.

Every walk break, and then some, I was testing my blood sugars making the breaks way longer than one minute and waning my motivation to continue. There were several times throughout the run where I contemplated bailing out, calling Big Ring asking him to meet me at a new locale, but I didn’t. I don’t know what kept me going, I felt like I was running slow as hell, every time I looked down at my Garmin, I cursed the numbers staring back up at me, my ankles were tightening up, I was stopping prematurely, sometimes doubled over with pukiness, but I did keep going.

140418seawall2
Common sights on the run: blood and figs.

And when I finally reached the meet-up point where Big Ring and Little Ring were waiting, I had two options: I could have been the glass empty or the glass full girl, and if I’d chosen empty, no one could have blamed me, I hated diabetes with everything in me, and yet, in spite of it, in spite of all those nasty obstacles it presented me, I finished that run. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful route. I didn’t get lost. And I had two of the bestest smiling faces waiting for me at the end… how could I not be smiling in return 😀

140418finish
It was most definitely a glass full finish.

But Dear Diabetes, you do that to me again, and oh man, you won’t know what hit you. Revenge goes both ways JERK FACE!

FRIDAY’S LONG RUN:

  • 9:50 a.m. BG before: 5.7
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (30 minutes) -100 per cent (1.5 hours)
  • Time: 1:53:26
  • Distance: 19.16 km
  • Average pace: 5:55 min/km
  • Average cadence: 88 spm
  • 1 p.m. BG after: 10.7
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (2 hours)

Call of the bad belly

Sometimes it’s cheese, but never yogurt.

Sometimes it’s bread, but never peanut butter.

Sometimes it’s chocolate ice cream, but never Swiss chocolate.

Sometimes it’s carrots, but never cucumbers.

Always, it’s frustration.

Last week, for five straight days, I had a belly the size of a thumb-sucking alien baby, and I had no idea why. What did I eat? What did I do? Was I stressed? Was it the healthy energy balls, or the homemade tea latté, or the mid-week lunch date, or was it the upcoming pre-calc test I’d been studying non-stop for?

This scenario was not a new one for me.

For years, I have struggled with bloating, with a belly that juts out to the size of a five-month pregnant chick the moment it takes in something it’s decided it doesn’t like, tormenting me with gaseous, explosive pains that roil about and kick beneath the skin’s surface.

140225belly
A cold might keep me off the pavement, but not a bad belly.

I remember constantly complaining about it in high school to the point people rolled their eyes when I said I didn’t feel well. I remember the first years of my career, like clock work, battling that volcano in my belly following every lunch hour I had. Running helped. Eating healthier helped. But sometimes, it still came.

Was it the food? Was it stress? Was it my broken body?

I’ve been tested for celiac more than one hand can count, all of which has come back negative. When I was a baby, they said I had an intolerance to dairy, but when I got diabetes, they backtracked on that one to ensure I got all the “healthy” food groups on the Canada Food Guide. (And to this day I still very much dislike milk (unless it’s flavoured) as a result!) I’m sure I still have a slight dairy allergy (I’m looking at you brie!) and maybe even a slight wheat allergy. But, unfortunately, I think more than any of that, I have a body that doesn’t like change or stress.

I’ve tried eliminating foods, but the thing is, I like food – a lot. And if I were to give up everything that I’ve suspected as a bloating culprit, I’d pretty much go hungry. And that, my friends, just would NOT be a fun life to live!

On the running front: I haven’t run in over a week 😦 I got a nasty cold last week that kept me off the road, then Big Ring got a nasty flu that also kept me off the road. My work week has been crazy busy which has meant no time for a lunch time run. And guess who’s got her first race of the season this weekend? I do! I do! Eek!

Mind you, in my registration deets, I apparently estimated my finishing time to be within 2 hours – for a 10k run!!! Ha!