Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I have to pull out of the Bristol half marathon.  My right hip can't handle the mileage or the pain at this point.  I realized this Sunday after running only 2 miles.  I stopped, looked at Mike and started to cry.  My frustrations crept up as I could feel my pace getting better and my stride becoming stronger, but my hip just gave up.  I stretched and started again, this time only lasting another 10 minutes before my run turned into a jog and then a pathetic limp.

It was then it hit me in the face that I have 5 weeks left and have only completed a 4 miler for a long run - that just won't cut it for the 13 mile event.  So I have to drop out and start again.

I'm waiting for the referral to a physio by the doctor I saw and need to go in and get x-rays done tomorrow of my right hip and lower back.  But I've been down this route before and know what I really need is another MRI, a full back X-ray and someone to readjust my hips and rehab my back.  That takes money I don't have and time I am loosing so I'll just have to make due and use my remedy of cutting the fat off my body, strengthening my core and stretching like crazy.  However I do need some professional help so I need this damn referral to get here sooner rather than later.

Honestly, it hurts a bit.  I had it in my mind to run this race and now that it is gone I am a little depressed.  I still plan to run Rome marathon next March and will start a 6 month progression program for that in September.  I am hoping by then to be in a rehab program that will work well with the training and have my shoulder in good enough shape to begin yoga once again (seems as if I tore something there but the doctor ignored it so I need to go back and have them look at that again - don't ask me how I did it cause I really don't know but it hurts like a bitch to raise my arm and I can't put weight on the damn thing).

Overall I am a little lost.  The writing is overwhelming - trying to balance it and working is hard at best. The running gave me some balance but now I need to cut down the mileage so I am turning to spinning as an alternative and hitting the trails when I can to keep the pressure of the road off my hip.  But it really doesn't feel the same as a long run on a Saturday morning...

I miss having close friends around and sometimes I go through periods of feeling utterly alone and hopeless.  I want my mom which is strange since I have been on my own for over 10 years, but I guess every girl wants their mom at some point in their life no matter how fucked up or strange that relationshop.  I try and go out but I get annoyed as I'm not drinking and I'm tired of people trying to push a drink down my throat or asking me the same boring ass questions week after week-  "Where are you from?  How long have you been here?  Do you like it here?  What do you study?"  I've learned to never ask those questions to others as just trying to spit out those words makes my skin crawl.

Ok, so I am in an annoyed mood that may pass - don't know when but it will pass...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dissertation Writing

I began to outline my dissertation today. I opened up my little folder entitled "dissertation information", clicked on the sub-folder that holds the Graduate School's detailed formatting instructions for the dissertation, and began to make files for the title page, table of contents, acknowledgements, and abstract.  Now I am outlining chapter 1 and will begin to work on chapter 2 - due August 28th in the inbox of my advisor in preparation for our phone meeting August 31st. I will repeat this process for each chapter until the end of January.  By February 7, 2011 I will have a completed first draft of the entire dissertation ready to submit to the full committee for their review.

As I began to type up the title page a warm feeling of satisfaction and disbelief permeated throughout my body.  It's almost surreal...in less than a year I will done.  I'm finishing the 12 year run I started since I left high school and the Southside of Chicago in 1999.  Although this blog is about the new adventures I am taking I can't help but add this into the new journeys I am embarking on.  I don't know if I every really imagined being done and now that I can see and taste the end all I want to do is fast forward to next May, walk across that stage, get my diploma, and start a new chapter in my life.

But we all know life doesn't operate in that fashion and I have to go through the ups and downs inherent within the writing and developing process of dissertation writing and job applying.  I've already been turned down for one lecturer positon in the UK - but that was ok, I at least applied.  The next application will be off to Oxford University for a 5 year post-doc position that would help me jump start my career.  That also is a long shot but if I don't go for it then I will never know.

So now I get back to more writing before a training session latter on today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

6 weeks

I have 6 weeks left of training before my half marathon September 5th in Bristol.  The problem is I haven't  gone longer than a 5 miler due to the hip and foot problems I've been having lately.  My first appointment with a GP (or doctor) is this Friday and hopefully the lady will refer me to a specialist in lower back/hip pain or to a sport doctor who has dealt with these issues in runners. 

There is no option to quit or just not do the race.  It's in my mind and once there it's hard to erase.  So, in the meantime I have decided to up the cross training big time.  Spinning three times a week on top of 2 lifting sessions and if i am luck 2-3 runs with one long run on Sunday's is the plan of action.  As long as I can hit a 10 miler before the half and keep my endurance up I know mentally I can do because the first half of the race is run on pure adrenaline and the second half of wanting to finish and have a beer (or at least this is how I run these things).

Anyone who has run a half or full marathon or done any other distance racing will tell you the worst part is the training.  Period. I mean who wants to go to bed at a decent time on the weekends just so you can get up on a Saturday or Sunday morning to go for a "quick 10-12 miler" before starting your day?  Drinking is curb dramatically as running hungover is not a pleasant experience.   Once I get into the marathon training, which happens right after I finish my half, I will be working up to 10 milers during the week with 18-20 mile long runs on the weekend. That shit doesn't sound like fun to me.  But the rewards outweigh the pain and to get my body into a shape that I can complete the training makes the actual race day a hell of a lot easier on my mind and body.  

But first things first - I'll see what this NHS business is all about and try and get my hip sorted.  I need rehab - I know that much but I don't want to keep guessing what kind and paying for things I just don't really like (pilates) or going to people who say I just shouldn't run (like the osteopath) or to plain dumbasses (like the physio).   Yoga would be good but I can't put pressure on my right shoulder anymore (pain in the ass really).  So, off to the doctor I go... I'll let you know what happens next.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yesterday I made my way after work to one of the local running stores I frequent for running gear in order to see one of their physiotherapist that comes in twice a week.  I thought since the physio was affiliated with a well know and reputable running store that it would be a good idea to go and get my hips and ankles checked out.

 I am now 8 weeks from the Bristol half marathon and have only managed to get in a 4miler as my long run due to intense pain in my right hip, knee, and ankle.  Sleeping is becoming a bigger problem as lying on my back is a no-go due to my back injury.  After 15 seconds on my back my right leg begins to tingle and by 1 minute it's on fire.  This forces me to sleep on my side but sciatica makes sleeping on either hip for more than 30 minutes uncomfortable.  Now my left hip begins to scream in pain the longer I sleep on it making me toss and turn all night.  Last night I had to literally sit up in bed at 4 am and wait till the pain subsided before I did the toss dance once more until 8am.  So needless to say I am tired of being in pain and just plan old tired from not getting a full night sleep.  Topped with a job that is a little demanding and writing a dissertation I am one transcript away from bashing my own face into the floor, or at least from booking another short vacation where I can maybe take a breath before plunging back into the hell they call PhD writing.

Trying to think logically I decided on this physio. Now normally I am anal retentive and check out the history and performance of the people I am paying to see about my back/hips/knees.  I have been in pain since 2002 and so far I have seen a number of general doctors, sport doctors, osteopaths, neurologists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, yoga instructors, personal trainers and one pilates instructor.  For the most part I might feel less pain for a little but then over time another area gets infected and the pain comes back double time.  I refuse to have surgery as the idea of fusing my back is a little to extreme.  All I want is a program or routine that I can do to calm down the pain and allow me to sit, run, and sleep in minimum discomfort.  So the idea of a physio who treats runners sounds great to me.  I didn't do any other checks on this guy, I just signed up online for a 45 minute initial consultation and took my happy ass down to the store.

First, the physio was 50 minutes last in seeing me because he had another client.  Far enough - I can wait as I imagined some lean running physio who knows what they are talking about and can relate to someone who loves and needs to run.  When he finally came upstairs he was short, balding and had a belly.  Ok, ok - my imagination was shattered but I still had faith.  That was until we finally got down into the physio room and for 1 hour - that's 60 minutes - he  like talked at me and was more concerned about seeing me sit in front of a computer screen then looking at my stance or getting a full history.  I sat there and tried to recite to him my full medical history from the time of my back break to  the present.  I've only done this shit over 40 times in the past few years so know how to get the information out in a concise manner so that we can get down to treatment.  BUT NO...he kept talking about himself and how running 9 minutes was a big deal for him and about me getting a better desk and computer and how he was hoping to get me running again.

That was when I had enough and said - NO, I am ALEADY running and TRAINING for my SECOND HALF MARATHON and came here to see if you can HELP ME be in LESS PAIN while I train.  Then I explained I did a previous half last March in Prague and plan to do the Rome Marathon March 20 of next year.  I gave him my time for Prague and he had the cheek to comment on how slow that was!  THEN he proceded to make the comment that with the injuries and pain I have he was surprised that 1) I was still in a PhD program (don't ask cause I am still confused by this) and 2) that I was rather ambitious and very focus to be trying for these events.

Oh...but it doesn't stop there.  Then he kept asking me how I was funded as someone studying for this high of a degree from the States must be either 1) very bright or 2) well funded.  Which was I?  I looked at him and said "Well both."  By this time I want to gouge his eyes out.  But I didn't. I just waited until he was done.  Pissed that I had to pay him £45 for this shit he called a session he then said he would be with me all the way and that for the first few weeks we need to see each other twice a week for 45 minutes if not an hour depending on my finances. I looked at him and said I don't know, let me think about it and then walked outside into the fresh sunshine.

Pissed I found Mike up the street, ordered myself a Chai Latte (I wanted a damn shot but I am not drinking for a while - I'll write on that later), got into the car, had a nice rant, and then went home.

What now? I don't have a fuckin clue. All I can do is keep up with my workouts and incorporate more of a run/walk technique so that I finish a little faster but in less pain.  Some may ask - why run if it hurts?  I say it hurts more not to run.  It hurts more not to be in shape and not to the weight less.  It hurts more physically, mentally, and emotionally when I see my body loose its shape and hardness and turn into a pudgy hot mess.  I run to keep my fitness but also my sanity as I once again take on to many things.  I have to finish this PhD by next May and I want to. I want to being my 30s out of school  - it's like a fresh start for me really.  So I keep running and I'll keep searching for the doctor/osteo/physio that will work for me.  Until then I'll just be a slightly cranky bitch...