Saturday, February 6, 2016

Finding answers and understanding the results.

I typically am a private person who doesn’t like to post about my personal problems, but this time I want to open up and share my story in hope that it helps others.

For the past month or so, I started noticing how easy paces were feeling like I was needing to put more effort in them. I also noticed my decease in ability to climb any hill, even the bunny slopes. I made excuses saying it was because of the snow on the paths, I was wearing more clothes, it was cold, etc. The trend continued to become worse. It was starting to wear on me mentally as to why I was struggling so much. I became stubborn and fought through it during training. Run after run was getting harder both physically and mentally. Finally, my body gave up and I strained a hamstring. I took time off right away and went to the gym to cross train.

Once I felt it was healed I started running again, only to notice my Achilles was feeling sore. It progressively got worse with each run. I put a heel cup in my shoe to help. I continued my stubbornness and ran through the pain. I was missing red flags left and right…being blinded by my own madness. Then the bottom fell out and I came down with a cold/flu. I was drained and couldn’t manage to function normally. When 9-10 hours of sleep wasn’t even making me feel rested I knew something was very wrong.

I continued to try and run, even though my body was fighting every step. I was so worried I would loose fitness going into Rocky Raccoon and that made me force runs when I should have been resting more. The weekend before Rocky I was allowing myself to do a couple test runs to see how my body was going to respond. Saturday I went out for an easy hour. The pain in the Achilles was there but, something I could ‘deal’ with. Then Sunday I went for my run, in hopes to have a solid 2 hours to really decide if I should race Rocky or not. I ran, but had excruciating pain at times that about dropped me to my knees. It felt like a knife was stabbing my Achilles. I continued to force the run.

That night the Achilles blew up and was painful to touch or even walk on. I was frustrated and still feeling under the weather with my cold/flu. I decided on Monday it was a make or break day. I planned to run and if it went well I was going to run Rocky if not I would have to sit out. From the first step to the last I had so much pain that I was in tears the whole way fighting. I don’t cry often, but when I do it means something. It was time to realize there was not going to be a race in my future and I needed to get into the doctor to see what’s wrong.

I saw the Orthopaedic doctor to find out that I had a severe case of Achilles tendonitis along with bursitis and a strained gastroc muscle. I had pitting edema in my ankle to the point it looked like a cankle. No contours. The doctor wanted me to be in a CAM-boot, but I said I wouldn’t run and would be very cautious. This definitely meant NO Rocky.

Then I went to see my Primary Doctor on Friday. I had developed sinus infection, so she put me on an antibiotic. Then she wanted to get blood tests done to see if there were any underlying issues. I just received my lab results today with confirmation of why I was feeling so terrible…I am anemic. My Hemoglobin is 9.4 (12-14), Hematocrit 30.9% (32-36%), and Ferritin is 7 (11-310). Normal values are in parenthesis and should all be at the higher end as an athlete for optimal performance.

So, this left me with answers as to why I felt like I was struggling during my runs, getting sick, and being injured with the inability to heal. It is a real problem for many endurance athletes. I just want to remind everyone to go in for blood tests regularly so that you don’t end up having my problems. They honestly can sneak up on you and then BAM…hit you in the face. My dream of running Rocky has been put to rest, but now I have fire to get healthy for the rest of the season. Don’t be stupid and stubborn like me. Learn from my mistakes.  

I will be getting healthy and keeping happy doing biking, lifting, any other activities that allow me to be active but not overtaxing and risking set backs. Please, don’t take your health for granted.  

Happy Trails!

Kaci xoxo

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

3 Strikes You’re OUT!

Much to my dismay, I will not be racing Rocky Raccoon 100 this year. In the past three weeks I have had insult to injury. It all started with a fall on the ice. I didn’t think much of it at the time, just had a bruised and swollen left knee and some other bumps and bruises. I continued training and without realizing it I was overcompensating for my knee. My patella had swelling around it causing my patella tendon to track wrong, and I was using my hamstrings and glutes more. This ended up causing me to strain my left hamstring. I did cross training for a few days and was happily back to running. No big deal, right…WRONG!

Once I was back to running, little did I know that I overcompensating again. This time my left gastroc-soleus was being over used. I continued to run even when it became very sore. I put a heel cup in my shoe to unload the Achilles (which did alleviate the pain). I kept training again only to have it become more painful with each run and soon during daily activities. I decided to take a few easy and rest days to see if I could get it better. This was just last week.

Then I came down with the flu. It knocked me out. I was drained. I tried to think of it as a forced taper for Rocky. I was starting to feel a little better over the weekend, but still couldn’t shake off the fatigue and congestion. Then on Monday I woke up to a left very painful cankle. My Achilles had inflamed with pitting edema around the malleolus. My heart sunk as I knew there was no way I was going to be healthy enough to run let alone race Rocky.

I had been looking forward to this race since last year, and now I will have to bow out. I understand the importance of health and being healthy at the start line. I had a good discussion with my Coach Jason Koop, and we both agreed that we will focus on me getting healthy and ready for the bigger goals ahead. So, even though I am really sad and down, I must remember that this too shall pass. Just like an ultra, you have to ‘Keep Moving Forward’. Keep positive and know that there is always a reason for everything. I will keep the faith and follow the path that is before me.

Happy Trails and I wish the best to those racing Rocky! I will be there in spirit!

~Pixie Ninja