Sunday, August 12, 2018

Injury Saga 2017 - The Full Story

I completely have disappeared from this blog as I have been relying mostly on social media (Instagram and Facebook) for updates; however, this one might be a little long for Instagram so I will post it here to ensure I cover everything. 

For those following me on social media would have recently read I admitted to being injured or as I worded it "STILL" injured from November last year. I admitted to the fact that when this latest injury fully took me down in June, I was worried that it was yet ANOTHER injury in such a short time and ultimately it began my slow spiral into a depressive isolated state. I pulled away from family, friends and social media and in a sense with MIA. Texts, e-mails, and calls were put off and I procrastinated many things. 

Some people have said "it's just an injury, you'll be back. No need to panic and get so low. Think positive and concentrate on other things and enjoy the break etc." Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate and agree with those thoughts but what I would like to explain is WHY I went to low because I don't think people fully understand the situation (which is my fault for being so silent). What some don't understand is that essentially for the last 2 years, I have been fighting my way back into the running scene and it just seems it has been one thing after another. It's been one step forward, two steps backward. So here, let me enlighten you on the injury saga of 2017. Grab a coffee, get comfortable and sit back and relax because you are in for quite the ride. 

Let's start back at 2016, where the injury saga kind of begins (as my last good race was Rotterdam in April 2016). This is where I tore my hamstring after trying to return to racing too fast post marathon. Following that, due to life changes and stress, I was sick with the flu and toe infection for my fall marathon which resulted in a DNF. From there, in early 2017 I essentially spent sick with random late night vomiting that highly impacted my training and sent me into a depression. I fought out of that and trained hard only to underperform at my return race (Victoria 8k) in the fall. 

From there, I started to experience familiar aches and pains in my glute/pelvis (I'll remind you I did have 2 pelvic stress fractures in June 2014 and April 2015) so I stopped training and contacted my doctor who requested a bone scan. I spent 3 weeks cross training before I had the bone scan and then was told "clear" so my doctor assured me that it must be muscular and that he didn't see a problem with me running. So upon hearing that, I started to see a physio along with my chiro and kept on training through what I was told was "glute" plan and that through strengthening, all would sort itself out.

Only it didn't. I had months of glute aches/pains in which I'd be required to sometimes take unscheduled days off before I'd get back to running. I ran races and while they went alright, I could only seem to get so far. I had done comebacks before, with longer periods of time off, but this time around my training only progressed so far and it wasn't progressing at a normal rate of pace (I put it down to me being older so maybe the process was now slower). 

I kept on pushing through until in June, I pulled my right calf near the end of a workout. I was disappointed, frustrated and thought "another effing injury??!! UGH!!" but made the best of it and cross trained my butt off in the pool for a week. Once my calf was good, I tried to return only to find my glute issue came back. I figured it was just aggravated from the pool but the rest of my body wasn't happy. I only had one week of cross training but I felt my energy levels were low as can be and I felt so out of shape. My pelvis felt "stuck" per say so I saw a chiro (not my usual because it was the weekend) and I had an adjustment and it seemed to help a little. Not long after those, the aches and stuck feeling returned. I saw another chiro (again not mine as he wasn't available) and had many adjustments. Later that evening I uttered the words "I literally feel broken now" so I stopped running and I saw my doctor and he ordered me a X-Ray, bone scan and CT scan (radiology then changed my CT to MRI due to my age and location of the CT scan with relation to radiation).

While waiting for imaging, I set a plan in motion. I needed a gait analysis. Something is biomechanically wrong with my pelvis as I am clearly right leg dominate and my left side has been my injury prone side and weakness. So the plan was for a 3D gait analysis at Fortius Center in Vancouver which I set for Aug 2nd once I received my bone scan appointment. I received that bone scan a few weeks ago on July 31st and lucked out with a cancellation MRI on August 1st. A few hours after the MRI, my chiro checked the images and said to cancel the gait analysis and that I was looking at a stress fracture of my superior pubic ramus. Queue the tears, wtf?! Another injury and a stress fracture at that when I had been so good with nutrition and strength etc. I was devastated in the moment but it doesn't stop there.

A few hours after that my doctor leaves me a voicemail to tell me the bone scan read "clear" but the MRI the following day indicated a stress fracture. My doctor then said "but because the bone scan didn't catch it, I assume it's not a stress fracture, but let me confirm with radiology." Then I received a 2nd voicemail stating that radiology re-looked at my image and maybe they saw something but it looked more like an old injury and that they decided we needed an answer so he would re-submit the CT scan as that will tell me for sure. Okay, now my mind was spinning and then I got thinking about how they originally told me my July 31st scan was "CLEAR" only to change their mind upon looking again. Then it got me thinking back to my December bone scan that they told me was "CLEAR" and it got me thinking that back in May 2015 I was told that bone scan was also "CLEAR" and then they called me again in Sept 2015 only days before I went to Flagstaff Arizona for altitude training before my debut marathon only to say "oops, we were doing a case study and it appears your scan was misread and it was in fact a stress fracture." 

So...... consider the following. 

May 2015, bone scan report said "CLEAR" but it was NOT. 
July 2018, bone scan report said "CLEAR" but was NOT.
Dec 2017, bone scan report said "CLEAR" but..... ??? 

I will tell you that the symptoms I was feeling in June/July were the exact same symptoms I felt in Nov-April off and on and also the SAME symptoms with my 2 previous stress fractures (pain in the sit bone/tail bone area and pelvis feeling stuck). So you know what?! EFF YOU BONE SCANS! What a waste of money and time as clearly they are not meant to pick up my injuries anyways. 

So here I am, CT not booked until Sept 28th and the doctor sees no rush in that. Good news is that I've been off long enough that I'm closer to returning to running than not. The other good news that that all of my struggles since November finally make sense. If I was in fact running with somewhat of a stress fracture, no wonder I had periods I had to take off (inflamed) and that I'd get little relief after time off before it returned. It explains why my training and racing only went so far/fast because I didn't have full power on my left side. 

Yes I admit I got really down, but as you can see I felt like these were all separate injuries, not related to just one. Every time I took one step forward and two back, I was struggling mentally going "what the eff, why can't I just catch a break" but I was in fact dealing with ONE injury that was misdiagnosed and never rehabbed properly. FINALLY it all makes sense. 

I have a plan going forward that will address biomechanics because clearly I run in a way that my pelvis takes the brunt of my stress. I am just annoyed at the medical system and how I trusted the system and was let down. The misdiagnosis has affected my entire year and while that sucks for me, it doesn't just affect my running, it has affected my relationships with family and friends and it also has HUGE opportunity to affect my sponsorships going forward. I have been unable to get those performances needed to hold onto sponsorships/gym memberships etc and that is the part that sucks. But I have learned to always trust my gut going forward vs any scans or doctors. I will get this addressed and I will be back out running stronger than before. You haven't seen the last of me I promise! 

Since posting my truth about being injured the other day on both Instagram and Facebook, I have received nothing but support and positive comments such as "it's just an injury, you'll be back stronger. Don't fret. No need to panic and get so low. Think positive and concentrate on other things and enjoy the break etc." Let me ensure you that I am 100% thankful for each and every person who took the time to remind me there is more to life and that I will be okay, but I now want to take the time to explain WHY my injury sent me so low and into a tailspin for a bit. I want to tell you all this because I don't think people fully understand the situation (which is my fault for being so silent). What some don't understand is that essentially for the last 2 years, I have been fighting my way back into the running scene and it just seems it has been one thing after another. It's been one step forward, two steps backward. So here, let me enlighten you on the injury saga of 2017. Grab a coffee, get comfortable and sit back and relax because you are in for quite the ride.

April 2016- Finished Rotterdam in 2:37:48 with massive blisters after 15k that caused me to adjust my running style
May 2016- Torn Hamstring from trying to come back too soon
Oct 2016- Significant life changes and stress meant sick, flu, infected toe and DNF in Toronto Marathon.
Jan-June 2017- Life stress, random sickness, no energy, depression kept me from training/performing optimally
Nov 2017- Injury, what I thought was a stress fracture, bone scan said clear
Nov 2017-March 2018- struggled with so called "glute injury"
June 2018- Torn calf into current injury

Now this is just the short version, Instagram unfortunately limits the rest, so please visit my profile and click on the link to my blog where you can read the FULL story. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sayonara 2017

***My laptop is currently busted and has to be sent off for repair so this is done via my phone. Hopefully it turns out alright!***

Ouch. I began the title of this blog in December with a great plan of recapping my 2017; however, clearly you can see that never happened.

How I felt about 2017

To be honest, there is little to recap about 2017. I ran a few races early in the year, Houston half where the humidity killed me, rebounded at the Cobble Hill 10k a week later to prove I was fitter than what Houston showed, headed to Guadalajara for a weekend full of sickness and what turned into be a nice run/walk of the actual race. I then dealt with sickness which made me pull out of the Rotterdam Marathon and my attempt to get a faster time leading into Worlds Qualification. A continuing battle with sickness, left little to no energy to run which led to some situational depression. Ultimately I ended up being one spot off the world team and that small part of me wonders what would have been had I been able to run Rotterdam. One can't live in the "what if" world though.

Cobble Hill overall men and women's winner

Guadalajara Half

Thankfully over the summer things started to pick up. The running I was forcing myself to do became less forced, the sickness improved and the depression got better. I stepped back on the line in Oct 2017 for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria 8k and ran a decent rust buster for 5th female. Initially I was super disappointed due to me being a hard a$$ on myself but I had to realize that I had not raced between February and October and that all of March was taken off.

 📷:Jason Calvin (below)

Training continued to go great until early November when my left glute started to act up in what would turn into a 2.5-3 month long battle with my glute and lower back. Not running didn't work. Cross training didn't work. Physio didn't seem to be working. It became a day to day battle between good days and no so good days.

Ultimately I believe I was running in the wrong shoes because once I changed shoes and stayed with them, things have improved. I have now been running near issue free for the last 3 weeks. Some mini workouts have been completely with success so I look forward to getting back to full training and racing again!

Not only was my health (not a physically injury) most of the battle in 2017 but without much warning and partially (I think) sure to post Olympic budget cuts many athletes were left without sponsorship and I found myself to be in that list with regards to my shoes and apparel. 

While it definitely sucked, it did give me the opportunity to try different shoes and to wear whatever my heart pleased. I pulled out my old Saucony gear that I had kicking around and bought some Nike gear for the first time in ages (thanks to the Nike outlet deals) so it wasn't all bad even if some of the shoes I chose might have planned into my "bummed" glute.

So here we are in 2018 and I'm excited to get back to a start line (tbd). I want to thank my sponsors of last year. Simon from Stoked Oats for his understanding of my health battles, Mason at Nuun Hydration for keeping those electrolytes in me during the bouts of sickness, Cam at Popeyes Nanaimo for joining the team during my struggles and helping me with supplements (not chicken you Americans lol) and to Abe from Island Optimal for his continuous treatments and mental reminders not to give up. I appreciate all if you.

Thank you to my partner in crime Warren for sticking with me. This year has been an extremely stressful year for us in a variety of ways and it hasn't been easy by any means. I look forward to the future as great things are to come.

To his beautiful girls, V and J, for believing in me and always being excited about my races no matter how they go.


To my family, it hasn't been picture perfect but I hope one day it will be. Have faith!

 Dad gets the photo honor this year as it's the most current pic!

To my nieces K and A, I know I haven't been around as much as I would've liked and for that I'm sorry. I miss you and hope to see you soon.

To my coach, thanks for sticking through that instability. We will do great things again.

To my friends, competitors, social media acquaintances and everyone else, thank you for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself. I'm a work in progress with regards to that but I appreciate you pulling me off the ground on numerous occasions.

So after that depressing recap let's look forward to 2018! I'm absolutely thrilled to announce I have joined that 2018 Skechers Performamce Team! Looking forward to a spectacular year with my feet looked after!

Some more pictures from the year