Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recovery Week

Recovery has new meaning. 

Time is such an interesting thing really.  16 months of Cancer Treatment and Recovery, then suddenly I'm living life again, running, and having to recover from that.  Let me re-type...Getting.... to recover from that!  Running is something that I originally took up pretty much after Adaline was born as a stress reliever and a social outlet that could happen early in the morning.  (Adaline woke up at 5:50 a.m. without fail for about 3 years in a row so we were already conditioned for that.) After she was born, my exercise outlet/addiction started with Cycling.  Ironically, I switched over to running because it was LESS time consuming! :).

Well, here I am now, in a recovery week of my choice.  I had 2 high mileage weeks in a row including one 40 mile trail run, with little physical issue....UNTIL...the end of that 2 weeks.  No specific cause other than the cumulation of miles and of hill work.  I think that my body just reached it's maximum physical tolerance with what I currently have to work with, and it decided to rebel.  So here I am in recovery week, actuallly having to recover from a setback.  It started with a little ache in my foot then some (different) nerve tingling in my foot.  Now it is a variety of muscle spasms, cramps, and pains throughout the left leg and foot and some in my left hamstrings and piriformis.   I, of course completed my 20 mile run last Saturday knowing that the initial ache in the foot existed.  Some folks might say, well why would you go ahead and run the 20 miler and here's what i'll tell you....Some of it IS indeed due to the fact that there is a certain amount of obsessivity that goes along with being in an ultrarunning situation.  There is also a very strong focus on an end goal and a plan that gets you there.  The OTHER thing that some  might realize about me is that like many older people and probably many other athletes, I am actually constantly managing pains and spasms.  My feet and legs could be compared to a circus in many ways.  Managing the muscle spasms due to Multiple Sclerosis is like balancing on a high wire, and juggling balls at the same time.  A very careful balance of hydration, healthy fat intake, exercise, and stress and anxiety management (which unfortuntely must also be managed while minimizing alcohol intake). Believe it or not, sometimes the hardest of hill work outs actually relaxes the muscles at night allowing the best sleep.  An example of these spasms?  OK.  At night mostly, when I do finally sit down on the couch at around 8:00 with the family for snuggle time, I am mostly uncomfortable the whole time because my legs will not sit still. They are jumping and cramping. It is a bit like Restless Leg Syndrome, I imagine.  I have to posture myself in ways in order to keep them as settled as possible.  I often have to contort them and put pressure on them in specific areas so that they will not kick or jump.  This is often difficult to do when there is a 3 year old climbing on your head, but that is a different issue. It is not comfortable.  Sometimes these spasms can actually cause a slightly strained muscle.  If there is an actual muscle strain due to injury present...the spasms are all the much worse.  All of the muscles around the injury go into hyper mode.  I believe this is a normal proctecive mechanism that our bodies perform, however mine are in hyperdrive, or uncontrolled.

This all going on prior to cancer.  Enter chemotherapy, mastectomy and radiation and the 3rd ring of the circus is added.  Additional numbness in toes and fingers and a severely tight right upper quadrant are a bit like managing the constant threat of the tiger. One can never let the gaurd down on that or the tightness of the "beef jerky" muscles take on a life of their own.

The point of all this being that, in my defense, I'm so very accustomed to managing this kind of thing on a daily basis that it at makes it difficult for me to know when the full on cascade of pain spasm pain spasm.... will begin.  This is one of those times.  So here I am...blogging instead of running the 15 miles on my schedule....sitting on my couch for the first time on a Saturday morning that I can remember since?  at least sometime during radiation.

The good thing about this recovery week is that, while it does cause me some anxiety about the possible difficuly it could cause me during my "A" race, I still feel pretty happy.  It is currently 55 degrees out and raining.  A perfect day to NOT be out running.  And I'm getting to spend some quality time with the family....

And I'm having a few extra moments to think about what happens next.
I've decided NOT to remove the PORT until after the race.  
Funny things happen when one of your training partners happens to be a psychologist!

Was it meant to be that when I sat on the toilet this morning I looked down and saw the Lululemon Bag that that is covered in quotes (that my friend had given me a gift in) and I noticed the quote...

"Life is full of Setbacks.  Success is determined on how you handle setbacks. "


I will rest today and watch the rain.  I will feel good tomorrow  :)
14 days until 50 miler.


  1. Love your analysis of your internal leg muscular processes. I just thought mine still thought they were running. Allow me to reiterate, you are going to ROCK Nueces 50 mile. Also, it's a completely natural process to go completely bonkers during Taper.

  2. David is right on! I love the quote and know that you will handle this: I too will try to be smart and we will both get to Nueces better, rested and ready. Thinking we don't have max mental tolerance yet and this time chomping at the bit with "setbacks" will give us just that. Also, here we come aquajog!

  3. Bonus time with the kiddos watching the rain sounds like a fabulous recovery plan to me.