Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Return to Running
I'm not sure how or why, but my blog was just featured as #46 in:
The post? Ironically, "100 Best Running Blogs" in spite of the fact that I have not run one mile in longer than I care to admit; it has been at least a few months. And I don't even have a valid excuse. I have a super-nice jogging stroller that glides along effortlessly. My almost 10 month old baby sleeps 10-12 hours a night, naps and always falls asleep early. I have a very supportive husband who rarely, if ever, goes out so that's not it either.
So why haven't I logged any miles? I have had a pain in my left hip post-run ever since my friend Delia peer-pressured me into my first (and only) ultra-marathon: The North Face Endurance Challenge, back in 2011. It actually was an incredible experience that you can read about here. After that race, I took a break for two whole months, and was all set to start training for the Ragnar Relay. When I did, the pain was still there. I kept running anyway, but had to back off the distance and sell my entry into the race to a friend.
Then, I was out of commission while undergoing fertility treatments (a few IUIs and 2 IVFs) and during my entire pregnancy. I don't believe that running is unhealthy during pregnancy, and always thought I would continue. However, because I was going through the IVF process, my doctors would not allow me to, and I wasn't about to go against their recommendations.
After my c-section, I couldn't run for over two months. My doctor even chided me for walking too far during that time. I was doing three miles, twice a day, which he said was too much. When I was finally cleared to run, I was so excited to get out there, but it was infrequent because we did not have the right attachment to put her car seat in the jogging stroller. She needed to wait until she had good neck stability, and was over 6 months old. I went for a run here or there, but hated being apart from her.
After waiting all that time, I was ready to get back into it. Finally old enough to go in the stroller, I headed out for a few 3 mile runs which were extremely difficult. Not only was I heavier than pre-pregnancy, but it seemed as if all my cardio was gone...as if I had never run before. When you're used to going on 10+ mile runs and then finding yourself not able to run 1 mile without a walk-break (or two!), it is mentally and physically defeating.
And then the hip pain came back. It was slightly different, on the side instead of the front, but still my left hip.
It was so bad after one 1.5 mile run with my husband (3 laps around the block) that I was limping the next day. Wondering if I was doing more harm than good, I resolved to hold off on running until my doctor could determine what was wrong. I went in for an appointment, and he didn't really do anything other than recommend physical therapy which is too far from my house. A few days later, I called and asked for an MRI. I wanted to know if this was just something fixable (such as ligaments, alignment, muscle imbalance) or if it was possibly an early arthritis or bone issue. I started to wonder if I should be running at all. When he (through speaking to his nurses) would not order an MRI without seeing me again, out of frustration I said "Please let him know that I'm going to switch doctors."
I switched to my new doctor, who ordered a hip x-ray (precursor to an MRI). I was all set to do that when I was given the diagnosis of melanoma, which turned out to be incorrect. While we still thought I had melanoma, I had a wide-excision on my back and two lymph nodes removed. This was almost a month ago and I just now am starting to not be in pain. For the first time in my life, I was going through something emotionally difficult and draining and I was not able to run to make it seem smaller.
Which brings us to today. Having my blog featured in this was a bit of a wake-up call. I still need to get my hip pain checked out, but now that I was just given an (unnecessary) dose of radiation with my PET-CT scan, I'm not sure I want to add an MRI to that. I also have to switch doctors and find a new primary care physician who won't tell me I have cancer when I don't. In the mean time, I don't want to (literally) sit around! My goal is to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight by her first birthday, which is only two months away. Running is my go-to activity for weight loss, and also for helping me feel amazing mentally.
So as soon as I finish this, I'm headed out the door for a run. It won't be far, and it won't be easy, but I'm going to do it and commit to running 3 miles at least three times every week until her party.
Posted by Megan Swanek