Monday, December 31, 2007

Catching Up and Current State

Ah, Christmas in So Cal :)

Sitting here midday in pajamas, life seems to be good. I'm really enjoying this time off from school (though a week from today I'll be in my new placement with no forseeable breaks until I graduate in July) and have taken up crocheting (though I still suck). However, one thing is missing from this break in a very big way- running.
As I mentioned briefly, I did finally see a doctor before the holiday, but with all the good stuff going on, I didn't really want to go into it, as I am not really any more knowledgable than I was before. According to the doctor, the problem is my sciatic nerve. That's what's making the tingling in my foot and why it my whole leg hurts, and also why any physical activity bothers it (swimming, unfortunately, is still aggravating for this, so doesn't get to be the miracle cross training workout that it usually is with injuries). Essentially, I need physical therapy but my insurance is such that if I have to get a new primary care physician up in Santa Cruz, and have him tell my I need physical therapy and make me an appointment, which probably will take a while. Since I've been home I've been running 3 or so miles at a time, and my leg is always in varying stages of bothering me. I just don't know what to do. I don't know if running makes it worse, but resting doesn't seem to be making it better, so I feel like I should just run some. I've been trying heat, icing, stretching, with limited success.

Christmas morning, about to open my foam roller while my sister looks at the package with leery eyes. My new tool to combat my leg sucking

I'm in a bind between trying to be optimisitic (and asking Santa for an entry to American River in April) and being smart, i.e. taking time off. I had so many plans for this year (namely Miwok 100k and possibly my first 100 next fall) but I think I need to back off. The biggest thing I'm trying to remember is that if I play it right, I have the rest of my life to do all these ultras. I have this fear that if I don't keep running them like I was last fall, that I'll lose the ability to do so. I've really relished this identity as a runner, and it's been so odd to not really feel that as much these last few months. I'd forgotten how much I depended on running to keep my moods constant and happy, and to keep me eating healthy. Things seem a lot harder without that. The best option right now is to pay out of pocket to see someone when I get back to school at least to get an idea of what I should be doing. Right now I'm just haphazardly trying to make things better myself, with no success. But, it is what it is, and I have the rest of my life to run. Hopefully soon I'll have an action plan to get better.

__end of negativity___

That said, I did go on a wonderful 'run' with my dad yesterday (yes the leg hurt, but...yeah...runs can still be great!). His ITB is being dumb so we're both in the low mileage little speed boat. He had discovered a short trail loop behind the fields where I used to play soccer that he had done once before, so we decided to go do that. It was beautiful! In those two miles, we had two stream crossings. The first we both made over on rocks, but the second was a bit trickier. After rearranging a stone, my dad made it across with some difficulty. Seeing as how I'm a good 7 or so inches shorter than him, my legs are not nearly as long, so taking his same path could be difficult. Added to that, I don't think I have the best sense of balance. Thinking that falling off a rock into the river and perhaps twisting something would be worse, I just stepped back and ran through :) It was great! We added a little extra spur to our loop to go to a great point to lookout over the creek below, where we also saw a murder of crows congregating in a tree (did you know a group of crows is called a murder? pretty spooky :D). It was beautiful and lovely to be outside on trails again! The temperatures were perfect and I kept thinking it was a summer evening and not a winter one. Southern California, for all the things that I think less than fondly of, have great winters :)

In the non-running realm of life (which seems to be increasingly documented on here) life has been great.

Ed came down the day after christmas, and we had fun taking some day trips around the area. We went to Balboa Park in San Diego, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are being shown at the natural history museum. This is one of the first showings of them outside of Israel, so it seemed like a great opportunity. It was amazing to see parts of the bible (or writings that were related to bible writings but were chosen to not go into the bible). Thousands of years old writings of Leviticus, Psalms, the Book of Enoch (bet that one doesn't seem familiar!) and others. As a history lover, it was just great. We also saw a movie on the waters of Baja California, and saw lots of cool skeletons of animals. Balboa park in itself is a beautiful and expansive place,
and walking around was wonderful.
We also visited the Botanical Gardens while we were there, which I enjoyed, especially since I (of course) had my camera :)

His last day, we went up to UCLA (his Alma Mater) so that he could show me around his favorite spots and then, that afternoon see a UCLA basketball game with my family. UCLA has a gorgeous campus, and it was fun to see it again. It was a beautiful, if stightly chilly, day.

New Years celebrations are looking to be wonderful, with the food emphasis that our family always has around the holidays. Tonight we're going out to a nice dinner and then a movie (I know, I'm such a crazy partier ;) ). Tomorrow we'll be having homemade waffles with yummy toppings and bacon. Appetizers will be two kinds of pate, olives, crackers, cheeses, and champagne. And dinner will be lobster (my first ever!) with white rice and a really good salad. For dessert I'll be making white chocolate gelato (I got an ice cream maker and a Williams and Sonoma recipe book for christmas)
All in all, a great way to ring in the new year.
Hope everyone has a great celebration!


miki said...

So sorry to hear that Addy. I am going through something very similar though I hope yours is not as bad as mine. I agree about physical therapy of some sort. Until your medical kicks in, I can recommend 2 other options if you're interested. My acupuncture school has a branch in Santa Cruz. Their teaching clinics are fairly inexpensive and there are some good doctors there. The sports doctor that I have worked with is Dr. Phu Tran. He is also a chiropractor. I could also probably scrounge around and send you some free teaching clinic coupons. I can mail them to you.

I can also recommend a tuina massage therapist who is also part of the school but has her own private practice too. Her name is Jennifer Minor. She is, for lack of a better word, incredible. I would be getting treatment from her for my back right now, but with our schedules and her being down in Capitola and me in the Bay Area, it's too difficult. I can give you her contact info too.

Let me know if you want more info. You can email me at Otherwise, please take care of yourself and be careful with the running until you can figure this out. Like you, I am also thinking of the future and hoping I can also nail my current injury so I can run well and forever into my old age. Best of luck Addy and cheers for a happy new year.

rick said...

Hey Addy,
Sorry to hear about the continuing problems with the leg. When i started running I was down a lot due to injuries. You'll make it through. You learn how to overcome and you become a smarter runner in the process. Yeah, no need to rush back. You're still a runner and once the problems are sorted out you'll be running ultra distances again. Mmm...foam rollers. Love mines.

Sarah said...

I think you're on the right track keeping things in perspective. It's hard to slow down, but you have many, many ultra running years ahead of you. Hopefully you'll get it worked out and be back running in 2008. You still are and always will be a runner! Happy New Year! : )

andyb said...

Injuries really suck, as you well know. Keep up the attitude you have, and sooner than you realize you'll be back out on the trails tearing it up, and as Rick said, you'll be a better runner for it.

Sounds like, despite the injuries, you are having a good time off with your family. That is great. Have a great New Year's celebration, and a fantastic and healthy 2008!

Abbie said...

foam rollers are ... fun... :) just remember, the more you use it, the easier it will be!

Bob Gentile said...

I have the rest of my life to do all these ultras.
Amen to that, Looks like Miki has some good contacts for you...

You will be back and better then ever just a little test to see how you will respond. Don't let it get u down. Keep that positive spirit up.

Happy New Year !!

Phil said...

Addy ... hope you get the leg under control soon; however, you have the right attitude. You've got the rest of your life to got to your first 100.

Thanks for sharing the UCLA pictures. I graduated in '77 and always enjoy the pictures.

Donald said...

Another UCLA guy here, too - I must have run up and down those steps hundreds of times while I was a student there. Thanks for the pics.

The leg will resolve itself eventually. You're young and strong and proactive. Just keep the longview in mind like you have been up to this point, and things will work out just fine.

Jean said...

Hang in there, Addy! You are young, and you have all kinds of time. I have no doubt that you will overcome and be back on the trails!

Gorgeous photos...and you must let us know what you thought of you first lobster! :)

Ernesto said...

I am sorry to know that your sciatic nerve is the source of your injury. You need to follow the advise of your doctor. It might take a few months to get back to all your potential.

Do not worry, relax and take time to study hard while you heal. You have plenty time ahead of you to resume your ultrarunning activities.

I wish you the best for the new year.


robtherunner said...

Happy New Year! You definitely have plenty of time to run ultras and better to play it safe for the sake of longevity. Have fun with that foam roller.

Sensationally Red said...

I think it's perfectly fine to be in the low distance, low speed boat while you get handle of your leg issues. Balance is the key. I'm thinking of you!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Ditto on getting through your frustrating sciatica. I hope you feel better before too long. Great pics as always.

Journey to a Centum said...


Happy New Year!

Many if not all of your comments contain good advice regarding your sciatic nerve problem. Someone should give you some horrible advice and I'm up for the job.

If your leg hurts during and after your runs you should drink heavily and take prescription painkillers before each run. I'd pack along a hand-held full of Crown Royal to use during the run. Bonking won't be a problem but you may find yourself falling down quite often. Smoking a couple of unfiltered Camels will help with your energy level. This can be done before, during, or after your run. As you develop a "I don't give a sh*t" attitude your sciatic nerve will develop same and stop hurting.

You will probably drive most of your current friends and family away with this behavior but you will find that you will appeal to a whole new group of folks.

I'd stop this therapy as soon as you start thinking about a rattlesnake tramp stamp tattoo, dumping Ed for a guy named Butch, and your leg somehow starts feeling better.

My job is done here ;-)

Addy said...

Thanks everyone (except Eric ;) ) for the sound advice and assurances :). Life's been chaotic with starting new student teaching and classes again and with the crazy storms we've been having anyways, so the leg is just a dull painful annoyance :)

Eric- That was fabulous!!! I have been drinking more wine since I'm not training.....does that help some? :D