Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dr. (Self) Diagnosis

It all started yesterday. In my scheduled dedicated  training for the impending half marathon (May 6, eek!), I started to notice that my body may not be the temple that I once imagined it was.

It started first, with my hamstring. Friday was a hectic day; I was on campus in the morning, home in the afternoon packing for my girls weekend in DC, and knew I had to get one more run in before leaving for 2 days of what I knew would become an eating and drinking binge (understatement of the year). My dehydrated self (who realized only after her awful run, that she had only ingested coffee and diet coke that day) felt like crap after my 10 6 4 miles and had to hop in the shower immediately to catch the bus and get moving. Meaning, I did not follow my own golden rule; I didn’t stretch! Some people can get away without a post-run stretch (I’m looking at you boyfriend), however, I do it religiously to avoid feeling all knotted up and tight the next day.  And what do you know. The next day, which included copious amounts of walking in my less than supportive $5 Old Navy flip flops, my hamstring was allllll sorts of messed up. Tight. Sore. Inflamed. I kept stretching and pulling and relaxing, to no avail. Immediately, I self diagnosed myself; I’ve torn, pulled, ruptured (insert scary word), my hammy. Bye bye half marathon. 

Upon returning home on Sunday I iced, I elevated, I rested, Ibuprofen-ed, made my boyfriend throw me a pity party. And by Tuesday, I was back to normal. Imagine…

Cut to Tuesday. I’d been entertaining as part of my internship, showing a reporter around the city all day. Art Museum. Walking tour. Here, there, everywhere.  I put on my best walking shoes and was ready to take on the day. About halfway through our trip my TOES were killing me. My shoes had plenty of room, were flat and comfortable; now what? The only way I can explain it, is my third and fourth toe felt like one was on top of the other. Have you ever not cut your toenail once, and the sharp edge dug into your other toe in too tight shoes? Kind of a sharp, sting? No? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Well that was EXACTLY it. Except my perfectly manicured toes were the picture of perfection. No sharp outliers. Nothing. As the pain persisted through the day, I did something you should never do. I began Web MDing. By the time I arrived home, I walked through the door and told my boyfriend:

“I have bad news…I have Morton’s Neuroma..”

Yes folks, I’d Googled myself into a self diagnosis. Morton’s Neuroma. I then continued to spout off the following, to a rolling set of eyes, my voice inserting an “OMG this is so me” to every symptom I was experiencing:

(Ahem) "Patients with this problem frequently say they feel like they want to take off their shoes and rub their foot. This pain may occur in the middle of a run or at the end of a long run. If your shoes are quite tight or the neuroma is very large, the pain may be present even when walking."

While the pain is quite annoying, especially when one is trying to train for a long race, it got me thinking; was it Neuroma or just (my) neurosis?

There was the time I was convinced my shortness of breath was some sort of heart problem at age 23, my sore leg must be the result of a blood clot, and my previously explained overreaction that my slightly worn hamstring would in fact require amputation.

Only time, open toed shoes, and a few Google suggested remedies, will tell.  In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions about my Neuroma…or neurosis.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Will-ing and Won't-ing

I have been in a major slump. To think, I thought a whole month without a new post was bad (cue April 1), but when I realized I was approaching two months, I had to put an end to it.
These last two months have been wilder and crazier than even I imagined they could be. Remember my last post, where I vowed to become a morning runner, commit to my training schedule, and kick this half marathon’s ass in May? Well, much hasn’t changed.
I am, however, slowly gaining the confidence in myself that I knew was in there somewhere. When you go through the motions for so long, school, work, running, etc., it’s just one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. Left, right, left, right. But some days, you step out of line. You upset the ebb and flow of the routine that’s holding you together, and you panic. Everything becomes questionable. What happens if one foot just won’t move in front of the other? What if there really just aren’t enough hours in the day. To finish the work? To find a job? To cross the finish line? *Insert panic attack*
As illogical as it sounds (illogical, me?) there have been moments in the last 8 weeks where all of my fears, all of my insecurities, were very real. I was won’t-ing more than I was will-ing, experiencing a very real physical reaction to the weight of all my won’ts. Down and out, suffocated by my worrying, my stressing…my won’t-ing.
In the last week, however, I experienced something very uncommon for me; a moment of Zen. A confidence boost. An “everything will be ok” moment.  And I can’t put my finger on what exactly triggered it.
Maybe it was my weekend with my family. The carefree stress of seeing my beautiful nieces, my brothers and sister, and knowing I could have a beer at 4:30 p.m. and eat as many meatballs as I wanted, if even just for two days.   
Maybe it was relaxing with my best friends, who know me better than anyone, and who constantly prove to me that this hard work pays off.
Maybe it was finally listening to my boyfriend, who kept reminding me I was weeks from never having to do this again.
And as simple as it sounds, I began will-ing. I just realized that I will, because I never wouldn’t. I would never not finish.  
I will finish my work because I will graduate.
I will become employed because I will find a job.
I will finish the race because I will follow through.

And just like that, all the anxiety and stress has flat-lined. Turns out I just had to be willing to stop won’t-ing.