Hi there.

How are you? I watched the Boston Marathon yesterday while working and couldn’t help but tear up watching Meb cross the finish line at his final competitive Boston Marathon. He’s an amazing athlete but more than that he displays such grace and is an inspiration to so many. meb-final-boston

Watching the marathon also made me teary eyed because it reminded me how lost I feel without running and especially the structure of training for races. I’m working really hard at keeping myself positive and keeping things in perspective especially this week….tomorrow will mark 18 years since I lost my husband to cancer. I always get very reflective during this time of the year.

18 1/2 years since this photo. I can only smile but still feel sadness when I think of all the things he never got to do in life having it end so early.

18 1/2 years since this photo. I can only smile at the memories but still feel sadness when I think of all the things he never got to do in his short life.

And I can’t help but to think about the journey my life took from April 19, 1999 to today. I had 2 choices when going through such a traumatic experience. I could let it swallow me and withdraw from life or I could work really hard every day to do my “grief work” to help myself heal. I chose the latter and while I had plenty of pity parties along the way I truly made an effort each and every day to live fully.

So in the midst of this toe injury I’m starting to connect those dots (again!). I have 2 choices right? Well I want to do whatever I can each day to help myself heal.

I was feeling a lot of improvement with the toe last week and then this weekend I had a setback and it felt more achy and uncomfortable but today it’s starting to bounce back a little. Another reminder that the healing process isn’t linear. There will be ups and downs but if I continue to do the work and rest and ice and massage and strengthen I’m on the right path.

I have that tendency to spiral when I don’t see progress fast enough and this injury is just another opportunity to build mental toughness and to get better at handling this kind of stuff. Really, if you look at it from the perspective that any setback or bad time in your life is an opportunity to build mental toughness your ahead of the game. Like looking at a glass half full right?

I rode my bike again this weekend while Mr. SOTSS ran and it was awesome. bike-daffodils12 miles for me and 10 for him. teamsternwellWhile I don’t feel like biking replaces how running makes me feel it definitely helps. And knowing that I’m making an effort to be active rather than sitting on the sofa all day sulking means I’m doing my “work”.bike-imposter

We drove out to Long Island to his Dad’s for Easter this weekend and spent some time at the beach with the dogs before the festivities began. smile-sallyboy-dogIt almost didn’t happen because Mr. SOTSS had some really bad poison ivy and after a few days of some major discomfort we decided to go to an urgent care facility to see if he could get some stronger meds. Unfortunately since it was Easter Sunday, they were the only location open around town making them so crowded that we bailed. Mr. SOTSS didn’t want to sacrifice the time slot we had set aside to take the dogs to the beach and decided he’d just suck it up and deal with the poison ivy discomfort for now. I don’t know if I could have done the same. sternwell eastbeach

Good catch Chester!

Good catch Chester!

What opportunities do you use to build mental toughness?

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full kind of person?

Anyone else dealing with an injury or other setback?

Since the anti climactic MRI results at the beginning of the week I’ve been lucky to be super busy with work and not really dwelling too much on all that I was missing out on. OK well, missing another hike sucked and seeing other runners enjoying our great Spring weather sucked too but I I’ve been riding my bike whenever I can to get some physical exercise and mental health benefits as well.IMG_9110

I enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the marina for 11 miles on Tueday. Yesterday was a not-so-enjoyable 8 miler around the neighborhood. And today I tried out a new greenway near my house that actually worked out well. I like riding where there aren’t any traffic lights and car traffic and this greenway is almost completely free of that. Just 1 traffic light. 7DED65E2-01BB-4E17-8889-8EF967A8779FIt’s about 2.5 miles I did 2 out and backs for a total of 10 miles. And tomorrow Mr. SOTSS will be running 10 miles so I’ll most likely bike along for the same mileage. I got a great tip from a commenter on another blog I commented on. She said to attach my step counter watch to my sneaker to track steps while on the bike. It worked! YAY!

So when Mr. SOTSS and I first met in 2014 we only really got together every other weekend. We realized after a couple of months that we wanted to spend more time together so we decided to get together every Thursday evening. It’s been “Date Night” ever since. And while mostly it involves just walking the dogs and watching some tv and catching up on how each other’s week has been I’ve always felt it important to put on a little makeup and do my hair as if it were a real date.

A little eyeliner and some tinted lip balm. Just the basics...

A little eyeliner and some tinted lip balm. Just the basics…

So last night when we were deciding what to do he suggested walking up the block to the local pub for a drink and a bite to eat. I loved that idea. It’s only a mile away so I was fine to walk (oh and my toe is improving….more on that in the next paragraph!). It was really nice. Just to mix things up a bit.

I'm hooked on Ace Pear Cider

I’m hooked on Ace Pear Cider

So today while biking up a hill I felt a pain under the toe and at first got worried that I further injured it but in fact I think just the opposite happened because after I was done riding I noticed I was limping less and feeling more confident to put weight on that foot. Maybe this is a sign that I’m close to being healed. (27 days and counting since the limp began). I wonder if scar tissue had built up or if my toe was just stiff from lack of use and maybe the movement helped.

Cautiously optimistic!

Have a great weekend.

The tortise and the hare!

The tortise and the hare!

Happy Easter if you celebrate!

 

I’ve been so busy with work yesterday and today I’m just getting a chance to check in about my #ToeWoes.

So I went to my podiatrist yesterday to go over the MRI. We both agreed that the “small neuroma” that was found by the MRI is NOT the cause of my toe pain. I actually knew I had the potential of a neuroma in that toe about 15 years ago. I had been under the care of a podiatrist then but she didn’t do any diagnostic tests. She just made me some metatarsal pads and fitted me for custom orthotics. This was way before my running days. I was wearing boots/shoes way more than sneakers a lot and apparently they were too narrow. I was also in my kickboxing phase (where you are literally on the balls of your feet the entire class). And the pain built up over 6 months to a year. Anyway that hasn’t been an issue at all since.

So it was nice to see that the MRI showed it because that means I’ve been doing a great job of keeping it under control. That’s probably because I wear sneakers with lots of cushioning and a wide toe box about 80 percent of the time these days.

The MRI also confirmed there was some mild swelling (edema) which makes sense. It ruled out, stress fracture, plantar plate tear, bursitis and capsulitis. Joints were all good. Bones were all good.

Doc said he still feels strongly that because the lump had that bluish hue that this was most likely an injury to a vein or a tendon near a vein. He said it’s healing on it’s own and I definitely feel improvement with each day so he said let’s just keep waiting a few more weeks (AH that feels like forever!). But he feels pretty confident that time will heal whatever this is. So whatever it is and however long it causes me to be on the running sidelines is really not 100% clear.

I will definitely categorize this in the oddest injury I’ve ever had. And I’m going to assume that kicking that toe back in January started the trauma that led to the final injury when I wore my new sneakers for 2 runs back to back. PSA: Always lace up your new shoes to what’s comfortable for you and don’t leave them laced as they came. Funny how I ran feeling tingling and numbness but didn’t stop to adjust those laces.

After Saturday’s ride while Mr. SOTSS ran we both went for a ride on Sunday and then stopped for root beer floats on the way home. That was truly the perfect way to close out such a great weekend.

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Speaking of biking, I’m going to head out shortly to get some fresh air and get some blood flowing.

In other news Duncan got groomed

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Have a great week!

 

So let’s see…

Last post I was having a freak out about the possible outcomes of this toe situation. Thanks for your comments. I always appreciate knowing people understand the struggles of an injured runner :) I saw this posted somewhere and thought it was appropriate and a beautiful notion as well…

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It’s officially Spring as the April Showers and tree blossoms have emergedIMG_8980

I patiently waited until Friday morning to call to see if my MRI results were in. Duncan was a good distraction for the 48 hours I waited.

Sleeping with his Squirrel

Sleeping with his squirrel and clearly not worried about my MRI results

When I called, the receptionist found my folder and said “yes, it says neuroma 2nd interspace….ok let’s make an appointment for you to come in and discuss treatment options”. So I made the appointment for tomorrow morning. So from what the receptionist said the MRI showed a neuroma. Of course I’ve done a ton of research online (clearly everything online is accurate no?) and kept ruling out neuroma for a few reasons: 1. I’ve read it’s not very common in the 2nd toe and usually found between 3rd and 4th toes. 2. Lumps are usually not present with neuromas and I have a lump. 3. I never felt pain in the ball of my foot by the metatarsals which is where neuromas tend to cause pain. It was always much further up the toe. 4. MRIs are not known to be good at showing them. Hmm. Hopefully there will be more details when I meet with the doctor tomorrow.

Simultaneous to getting the results I started to feel a lot less pain under the toe while trying to walk the last few days which I’m assuming is just because I’ve been so good at resting my foot that nature has been taking it’s course allowing things to settle and the acute pain has subsided. I still limp but it’s more out of fear I think, for rolling off the bad foot. This has been a huge mood booster though. I even vacuumed my house.

Also, yesterday I found a post on this running forum where a guy said he put cotton balls between his toes and it helped relieve the pain. So I tried it and AMAZINGLY it helped so much! I guess it reduces any compression of the nerve by the other toes.

GENIUS!

GENIUS!

I’m hoping the doctor will be able to convince me that the MRI results are accurate. And I’m hoping that a cortisone shot might just be all that I need to calm this nerve down completely. I’ve got 3 weeks until the NJ Half and also my friend Barbara is getting married the night before the race so I’ll hopefully be able to wear heals as well.

So far my weekend has been awesome! Yesterday Mr. SOTSS  ran 9 miles and I biked 10. Teamwork!

He said he ran faster knowing i was ahead of him and I enjoyed biking a little more knowing he was behind me

He said he ran faster knowing i was ahead of him and I enjoyed biking a little more knowing he was behind me

Happy non-runner!

Happy non-runner!

After that we were able to walk the dogs around the neighborhood for 2 full miles! I haven’t been able to walk this far since the toe injury. I was so happy. And so were the pups.

Perfect Spring day

Perfect Spring day

And then we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for burritos.

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Followed by a little latte and lounging life at Starbucks

IMG_9010And we topped off the night with some Louis CK and my favorite jelly beans.

IMG_9016Today, after taking the dogs for another walk (maybe I’ll make it 2 1/2 miles?) we’re going to go for a bike ride and make a stop at Stewarts for some root beer floats!

How has your weekend been going?

What’s new?

Have you ever discovered a life hack or remedy online that was genius?