Thursday, June 22, 2017

*tap tap* Is this Thing On?

Hi guys.

Well, it's been awhile. This tends to happen to me during the summer; given the time to truly isolate myself, I turn off notifications, ignore texts, and step away from my blog and social media a bit. This tendency was completely exacerbated by my frustration and sadness over my injury.

I am a naturally cynical person. I work hard to force myself to think positively, and to come across as positive on my blog. I simply didn't have the energy for that kind of thing over the last four weeks, so I took some time off. Let's call it a mental health month. I'm not sure I'm back, necessarily, but I needed to update with the latest on my calves, for my sake if for nothing else.

After returning from DC in May, I stopped running. This means I took about two weeks off before I realized I needed to have symptoms for my pressure test. I ran every day the week before the test, purposely pounding my feet and doing some bridge repetitions to feel some tightness.

By Monday, I was at a pain level of 4 or 5; I had been experiencing 8-9. I was worried this wouldn't be good enough for my pressure test, but didn't want to reschedule it. (I think this was a dumb decision; I should I pushed it back until my symptoms were fully there.)

On Tuesday morning Matt and I drove down to my doctor where the PA, Mark, would do my test. The worst part was the lidocaine injections to numb my calves. Talk about burning!

After that, Mark initially tested two compartments on each calf: the anterior and superficial posterior. He recorded the initial readings. I could feel pressure against my skin and a little "pop" when the needle went in, then another kind of pop when the needle came out. I didn't have any pain or discomfort, but there was definitely blood.
You can see where I was marked for injections and the holes where the pressure needle went in. Matt said it looked like Mark tried to insert the lidocaine needle and the pressure needle into the same holes each time; he was very careful and had awesome bedside manner, always telling me which leg he was working on and when to expect pressure, etc.
(Matt told me later that, even though he is not squeamish and was awake for his wisdom teeth removal, he could not have had this test done. The needle is a pretty wide gauge and he said he could see me skin denting and pushing in before the needle finally popped through the skin.)

After the initial readings (which sounded low to me, although one compartment was already at the 15mgm reading) I ran on the treadmill. I made the mistake of cranking up the speed and the incline, so I was tired out by the time 20 minutes rolled around and called it quits even though my legs didn't necessarily hurt...they were just tired.
What is this face I'm giving Matt?
I mean, maybe they hurt? It was hard to tell with the numbing agent and the incline; I felt like I didn't even know where my body should be at this point, or how much pain they would need to get a good reading. I would say I was at about a 4 after 20 minutes.

Mark inserted the pressure needle back into each compartment twice more, once after a minute of rest and again after four more minutes. He used the same entry-hole each time, so I wouldn't have a bunch.
The readings weren't very high, from what I could tell. (I think the highest at this point was 17mgm, and we were looking for 20-30). I never heard "Holy crap!" or anything, and he wanted me to go back on the treadmill so he could test one more compartment on each leg.

He gave me more lidocaine so he could test the deep posterior compartment, then put me back on the treadmill for ten more minutes. By this time, my lower legs felt numb. It was really hard to tell if I was having pain and tightness or not.

He tested the last compartment on each leg. The left deep posterior read very high, but it was jumping around a lot (26-36). Mark removed the needle to recalibrate it to 0, then inserted it again. I'm not sure if the final reading was high or not. By this time I was feeling too despondent to ask; I was sure the results weren't going to be conclusive.

Mark and his assistant got me cleaned me up, and told me Dr. Guerra would review the results and get back to me when he returned from vacation. And that was it!
For reference, on the left leg, you can see where all three pressures were taken.
My legs are pretty sore now, especially in the deep posterior area, but I haven't even needed Advil or ice. I'm a good healer.

The whole thing took a few hours, including waiting-room time, and went smoothly, but I am absolutely sure the results won't be conclusive. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to do this test again due to cost...but I am hoping they will still consider treating me based on other factors.

So, that's that for now. Hopefully I'll hear back soon with the next step in the plan. In the meantime, I'm sorry for my absence, and I hope you all have been doing well. I've tried to keep up with many of you on Instagram and Facebook; my heart just can't take running blogs at the moment.

ABK

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What the Heck are Flatties?

When I wrote about my friend Christine taking a flattie-Ali along for a half marathon, a couple people were unfamiliar with this practice. I forget sometimes that my virtual running community on Facebook does some weird things...even for runners.
The best pictures for flatties are running photos, of course. The more fun and festive the picture, the better.
Flatties first started (for me, at least) with the Runner's World Festival in 2014. Dozens of Sub-30 members were attending the event, and those of us who were sad to miss out were hoping to somehow still participate. Someone cam up with the idea to send a laminated photo of ourselves to someone who would be at the event. That way, we could "tag along" during the races and enjoy the festivities.
Jennifer's comment says it all! When I actually got to meet her at Gasparilla this year, it was like we'd already run a race together!
I'm sure you've heard of people writing names on their arms and "running for" someone else...this is just a more tangible way of doing that.

As you guys saw on the post with Christine, bringing flatties along can be a means of keeping injured runners "running" and emotionally supported. Sometimes runners bring the flatties with them during a hard race for their own motivation and mental strength. I remember one time, we sent flatties by the dozens to a friend who was having knee surgery, so he wouldn't be alone.
There are lots of good ways to carry flatties. They have caught on in our group and now it's not uncommon to see someone with half a dozen or more pinned on.
Running belts and Camelbaks are a great way to carry multiple flatties at once!
Flatties also get to join the post-race party. They travel to new places and indulge in post-race meals. It really does make you feel like you're part of the fun!
Buckling in for a flight, staying hydrated before the race, and enjoying sightseeing and post-race snacks.
I talk about the Sub-30 Club pretty frequently here, and this is just another part of what makes this running group so wonderful. I didn't even realize this might be a strange or unique practice because it's pretty usual for the kind of fun and love Sub-30 is all about.

ABK

Monday, May 29, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 5/22-5/28

The last week of school is HERE! This week always means lots of late evenings and exhaustion, and despite good intentions, this week was totally a bust. I was at work late every day and slept a ridiculous amount over the weekend. But I think I just needed it.

I need to find my motivation as summer begins. The truth is, I've been feeling unmotivated and dejected this week. Even though I know answers are close at hand, I am just in a funk. I miss running. I'm bored of all other workouts. I'm physically and mentally tired. I haven't even had the energy or interest to watch my junk TV, let alone watch it while on the max trainer!

I hope taking a break will help my mind get back on track.

Monday 5/22: Rest. I think I was up for a workout but just...lost track of time? I had my appointment with Dr. Guerra so that contributed to my laziness.

Tuesday 5/23: Two Blogilates videos with Elizabeth before the Sports Awards banquet.
The second video is one of my favorites!

Wednesday 5/24: 8th grade graduation. I wore heels. Big mistake. My calves were not happy!

Thursday 5/25: Rest.

Friday 5/26: Student teams vs. faculty volleyball game on the last day of school. This was a fun, active 75 minutes in the Florida sun!
We played three sets. Faculty won the first, kids won the second, and then they won the third 28-26. It was really fun!
Saturday & Sunday: Rest.

Here's to more energy and a better mindset this week.

ABK

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Calf Update - Hopeful News!

This past Monday, I saw my new doctor for my calves and the experience was exactly what I'd been hoping for!

When I first arrived, the parking lot was overflowing and the waiting room was packed. I immediately felt that I'd picked a doctor in high demand, and that's always a good sign. They also charged me up front, so I don't have to stress about getting a ridiculous bill unexpectedly in the mail. I appreciate that.

First, I had x-rays done on both calves. The technician was friendly and super competent. Then, he took me into an exam room and an assistant took my history. As she finished up, Dr. Guerra came in. I was never left alone to wait in the exam room. (Hence, no pictures!)

I trusted Dr. Guerra on the spot. He sat across from me and listened earnestly to my symptoms, asked good questions, and then examined my calves. I felt listened to and taken seriously.
He has worked with the NHL, MLB, and universities, too. I think I found a good one!
He told me I'm describing classic symptoms of chronic exertional compartment syndrome and that my X-rays were clear. He feels certain CECS is the right diagnosis. He told me about the tests he wants to do: we'll be testing the posterior compartments of both calves and the anterior compartment of my right leg as well.
My gait gets very clompy when the tightness comes on and I get to the point where I can't push through it. On my last run, I noticed definite swelling in my calves and right ankle. 
He plans to do the test three times, once at rest, once a minute after finishing a treadmill run and developing symptoms, and then again five minutes post-run. He told me running on the treadmill means the symptoms might take longer to show up, and suggested I find one to practice on so I get an idea of how long I'll need to run for the test. 
I'm sure they're not measuring PSI but I'm not sure what exactly they call it. I just know they're looking for numbers above 15 (resting) or between 20 and 30 after running.
He then explained how the surgery would work.

You know how the first doctor was all, "The scars will horrify you!"? Dr. Guerra was the opposite of alarmist. He said, "You've probably seen photos online and that is NOT what your scars will look like. We do a two-inch incision and release the fascia along the entire length of the compartment through that. It takes about an hour."
These are my Sub-30 friend Kristin's scars from her CECS surgery. One healed well and one didn't. But they don't look like Google images at ALL, and these are scars I could happily live with if it means I can run.
He plans to do one leg at a time to make sure I respond well to it, but I am hoping I'll be able to convince him to do both at once so I can recover faster. I am a good healer!

I am waiting for an exact date because the test needs to be scheduled in coordination with the adjoined physical therapy office, but it looks like it will be done June 5th or 7th, so hopefully that means surgery could happen by early July.

I am so relieved to have found a doctor who wants to move forward and really help me. I wish I hadn't wasted precious time and money on the first guy! But it'll all be worth it in the end if this finally gets figured out.

I'm looking at a few more months before I'm "fixed" at this rate, but in the grand scheme of things, that's nothing. It means my dreams of running into my 90s are still viable, and that's priceless and absolutely worth the wait.

Thank you guys SO MUCH for being so supportive throughout this ordeal. It's been wonderful to have people to talk to who get it.

ABK

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Integrity Means Teaching the Truth

Alternatively Titled: This Country was Built on the Backs of Slaves

Bear with me while I climb up on my soapbox for a minute here.

There are many things I love about our annual class trip to Washington, DC: the symbolism of the monuments, the architecture, the gorgeous photographs in the Museum of Natural History, the naive idealism that used to be politics, evident in the video presentation preceding the tour of the Capitol Building...

But in the last couple years, I've been more and more bothered by the conspicuous absence of any worthwhile discussion of the real "founding" of America.
There is brief talk of slavery when we visit Mount Vernon and explore the slave quarters, but it does not come up again on the trip. I don't know how to explain what I'm feeling here...Slavery is covered so superficially and in such a way that the reputation of the Founding Fathers is protected. I don't want our 13-year-old students to hear graphic details of slave auctions and rape and abuse but I wish they could hear some objective truth to clarify that these men were flawed human beings, not omniscient gods, not mythical, untouchable legends, and we should take care not to idolize people.

But it seems that any sort of criticism makes one unpatriotic...and apparently that is the worst thing you could be.

There is a profound discomfort as our guide tells us to look left and right at various buildings as we drive by but remains silent as we pass the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, drawing no attention to it.

There is no mention at all of the genocide that had to be orchestrated to allow us to live in this country today. Portraits and statues suggest that Indigenous peoples were eager to give up their land and their homes for the sake of white colonialism. 
Our guides overuse "these men died for your freedom" at memorials until it loses all meaning. I want to experience a tour that doesn't glorify the darkest parts of American history while whitewashing them at the same time.

All of this makes me incredibly uncomfortable. The reverence for the Founding Fathers borders on fanatical at times, and their shortcomings are dismissed because "well, that was normal for the time period." It is not normal for us, and giving them a pass normalizes racism and sexism, as if there was once an acceptable time to curtail rights and own human beings. 

I wish our tours were more honest about our history. I wish we had a chance to see diverse monuments that pay homage to the people who toiled against their will so we could live here as we do.

America did not spring up in a vacuum. It was not manifest destiny. People were murdered to secure our place on this land. The country was built through slave labor in the most literal sense of the phrase. And here we are, reaping the benefits, and barely sparing a moment to acknowledge from whence we came.

This is "our country". We feel that we own it. We take pride in it. (Sometimes.) We feel patriotic toward it. (Maybe.) But this blinkered nationalism...It has always made my skin crawl, and it seems to get worse every year.

I think this trip is valuable, but I just can't help but feel we're missing an opportunity to deepen the lesson and explore crucial complexities that would help our students develop compassion alongside national pride. Would it kill us to inject a little honesty into our history lessons?

ABK

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 5/15-5/21 (DC Edition)

Monday 5/15: Rest.

Tuesday 5/16: Rest. I was supposed to work out but had to pack for DC and lost time.

Wednesday 5/17: Our first day in DC! I never plan to workout on our first day, and this was no different. We got some solid walking in, though.
How many steps are supposed to make a mile? My steps and mileage were drastically different from others' the whole trip.
Thursday 5/18: I did some ab exercises when I woke up and watched my steps throughout the day, but there was no time for the gym or a solid workout.
All that time standing was tough on my feet!
Friday 5/19: I couldn't sleep and woke up before my "go to the gym" alarm (which was set for 5:07am) so I got to the gym early. I asked Stacey if she wanted to join and she said she didn't think so, so I left without her. I did about a mile on the treadmill (if my Apple watch can be believed) and literally cheered a few minutes later when the door opened and Stacey came in!
After the run I did some weighted squats, presses, bicep curls, and planks.

We flew home that evening after a weather-delayed flight. I was home and asleep around 11pm.

Saturday 5/20: I literally slept until 12:30pm and then napped from 3:30-5pm. Major rest day!

Sunday 5/21: Rest. I needed a day of housekeeping after travel!

This week was almost a total loss as far as structured workouts go, but sometimes that happens! This week is the last week of school, and I know it'll be exhausting but I'm planning to get some good workouts in!

ABK

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Five: My Favorite Poems

Last week, our 7th grade math teacher and I were talking about our new math schedule for next year. We're adding geometry for our advanced 8th grade students. We were discussing which of the math teachers would teach it, and who would keep algebra, and she said something I found funny.

"Mrs. B really loves algebra, so she'll probably want to teach that."

Not she loves teaching algebra but she loves algebra. I thought it was funny/odd and then I realized, you know, I love teaching English but I love English itself, too, and many of its various components, like reading, symbolism, and poetry.
So, I thought I'd share five of my favorite poems with you guys for this Friday Five.*

1. La Muerta [The Dead Woman]

2. Cien Sonetos de Amor: XVII [One Hundred Love Sonnets XVII]
I am kind of a fan.
The first two poems are by Pablo Neruda, who is far-and-away my favorite poet. I wish I could read his work in the original Spanish; I have read many translations of his poems but my favorite translator of the first poem is Donald Walsh because of his use of "untamable" in the last stanza, which speaks to me so strongly. Other translations just don't compare.

That being said, it's an interesting practice to read the same poem by many different translators. They each bring a different perspective to the piece.

I am drawn to the visceral and emotionally-charged language of Neruda's political poems, like the first, and his simple, relatable, genuine language in his love poems really resonates with me.

3. the lesson of the moth

The next poem on my list is written from the point of view of Don Marquis's character Archy...so there is no capitalization or punctuation and it's a little stream-of-conscious. I had to read it a couple times to get the idea of who was speaking and what was being said.
I think most people want to be the moth but are actually the roach, including myself.
The act of figuring out speakers and opinions in this poem made the lesson, when I finally got it, that much more poignant. And I find myself wondering...am I the moth, or am I Archy?

4. Home (Bonus poem: do yourself a favor and click for the next poem when you get the bottom.)
Warsan Shire's poem Home came to my attention during the peak of the Syrian refugee crisis last year, as it probably did for many of you. The imagery is staggering and its honesty is brutal. This poem is proves that poems can be beautiful without being pretty.

5. Stone

After Home, it seems apropos to finish with a poem by author Charles Simic, who experienced displacement as a result of war. There is more to us than meets the eye, and sometimes we contain multitudes. Stone illustrates that beautifully. The subject, like the poem, should not be underestimated.

We can be hard, strong, calm, and dark while also being full of fire, light, and resilience.

Speaking of resilience, I'm adding a bonus poem because...why not?!

6. Maya Angelou's Still I Rise is an iconic, unapologetic rallying cry for Black women. I think parts of it can speak to the female experience in general, too. You can watch her recite it below, or search it up in YouTube. There are dozens to choose from, and each variation is powerful and moving.
I love poetry because it puts to words the feelings and experiences that often defy explanation. I love teaching poetry because it can give students that same invaluable skill.

Do you like poetry?
Share a poem that you love from school or your childhood!
What is a line from a song or poem that resonates with you?
Are you Archy or the moth?

ABK

*I'm in DC with my students so if this doesn't link, oops! Also, I would not be surprised if most of you skipped this post because, ugh, poetry, right? What is this, school?! Still, the English teacher in me can't help but wheedle: at least try one. Look at my commentary and pick the one you think you'll like. Try something new!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Earworm Wednesday

I'm currently (or will soon be) on a flight to DC with my 8th graders. We have a 45 minute layover during which we are not allowed to get off the plane. We board at 7am and arrive after 1pm. Pray for me.

Here are three songs I will probably be listening to on the plane to drown out the 90 students on this trip. This week's theme is loud, energized, and good-mood-inducing music!

Bleachers - Don't Take the Money. Just good ol' fun, upbeat music. There's a little bit of an '80s vibe that I dig, too.

STRFKR - Tape Machine. Electronic, groovy goodness.

Capital Cities - Vowels. ASL, impressive dancing, awesome beat...I love this song and video! After looking up the video to link here, I watched it three times.
What music do you like to listen to when you travel or need a pick-me-up?

ABK

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 5/8-5/14

Wow...it's the last month of the school-year! This year has flown by!

This is my last full week of workouts before the craziness that is the 8th grade Washington, DC trip, so I wanted to make it count.

The previous Saturday I experienced some of the worst pain I've had since resuming running. A friend in the Sub-30 Women's Club reached out:
This will be relevant later in this post.
Monday 5/8: 30 solid minutes on the max trainer. I didn't take any breathers and played with the intensity throughout the workout to get some good HIIT benefits. I'm finally catching up on Real Housewives because I finally had time to watch them! (I've been saving episodes for this workout.)
I accidentally deleted the original picture so here's a grainy screenshot from Instagram. 
Tuesday 5/9: We had our school's Art and Tech Expo night, which meant we were at work until after 7pm. Between 3:30 and 4:30 we fit in a solid circuit focused on upper-body.
As usual, complete each exercise for 30-60 seconds and rest for 60-120 seconds between sets.
Wednesday 5/10: Elizabeth met me for two miles before one of Matt's art nights. (His night went well but I was out much later than I wanted. I'm glad we were able to fit in the run.)
My calves were screaming by mile one, but we persevered. It was nice to run with Elizabeth again and she was a good distraction from my pain, but I realized I've really been enjoying the solitude of solo runs lately since all my other workouts throughout the week are done with my buddies. It felt good to be running together again, though.

Thursday 5/11: Rest. My body and head just did not feel like working out after my late night Wednesday.

Friday 5/12: Two Blogilates videos. One thing I really like about these videos is that Cassey looks strong and fit; she doesn't look underfed or so cut you know she's counting macros and diet-obsessed. I just feel like she's a really body-positive "trainer" to follow.
I was in the mood for squats, so we did a pretty easy ab video to warm up and then this plie challenge, which is no joke. I was trembling by the end of it.

Saturday: 30 minutes on the max trainer. I was feeling depressed Saturday as I saw friends' 5k posts coming across Facebook and Instagram. I'm just so jealous. I can barely run two miles these days, and a 5k used to be my favorite way to bust out some major speed.
This week on our episode of True Life: I'm a Blogger, I experiment with angsty photos to capture my injured-runner-feels.
Then I got this message from Christine and felt a little better:

Sunday: My flattie accompanied Christine during her half marathon, but the real me rested, had lunch with Matt and Carole,  and spent Mother's Day with my mom.
Christine gave me the full half marathon experience. It's a little weird how happy this made me!
Thank you so much, Christine! I love my Sub 30 family!

ABK

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Five: Pros and Cons

For today's Friday Five with Fairytales and Fitness, I bring you the Pros and Cons of running again...with some news at the end!
1. Pro: Having control and variety back in my workouts! Circuits get so redundant, and I hate having my choice of workout limited by injury. The freedom to choose what I want to do to get my sweat on, and the chance to change my daily workout pattern, has been wonderful.

2. Con: My pain is coming back. For the first week or two I barely had any. Then I started noticing it around 1.5 miles into my runs. This week it was really bad before I was even a mile in. But on the bright side of that, it means when I go to get my next round of tests, I know my symptoms will be present and that means the tests won't be in vain.
Nature, I missed you!
3. Pro: I missed being outside! Even though it's officially HOT (we're seeing high humidity and temps in the 90s already) I'm really enjoying getting some fresh air with my exercise. I missed it. That being said...

4. Con: I forgot that timing kind of sucks for running at the end of the school year. It's often too hot and sunny to run right after work, and by the time it's nice out - usually about 30 minutes before sunset, around 7:30pm - I've spent a couple hours lounging around and it's kind of hard to peel myself up off the couch.
I knew the hardest part of starting up again would be the summer temperatures...
5. Pro: My head feels so clear and awesome these days. Even though my body is struggling, I am benefiting mentally from being back to running. I just feel so much happier and more stable. I'm sleeping better. I just all-around feel more at ease.

A friend in one of my running groups posed a question about body image, and the conversation that got going led me to this realization: because running changed how I feel about my body, it also helped change how I literally see it. Running was a major tool in overcoming a variety of unhealthy habits, and I hadn't noticed how generally down I was feeling while I took time off.
I'm sure Matt and my friends have noticed!

So, the good news to end this post! I called my insurance company to check on whether a real pressure test for CECS would be covered (it will be, but it'll go toward my deductible) and I set up an appointment for May 22nd with a doctor who does the full test and whose website literally says:
I'm feeling hopeful! It definitely seems like "just stop running" isn't going to be this doctor's first suggestion.

What are your pros and cons of running?

ABK

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Living with Celiac

Recently, I heard that there is research coming out about the development of a series of vaccines to treat Celiac. I signed up for updates and information - and to maybe take part in a trial - through Beyond Celiac. Now, I get interesting updates in my email every week.

This week's email struck a little nerve. They sent the infographic below:
Apparently May is Celiac Awareness Month. Who knew? Actually, it's ironic that I didn't know because I was just about to write, "I've lived with Celiac in my family my entire life and I've lived with it personally for 20 years, so there's not much I don't know."
Eating pizza like a normal kid back before I was diagnosed.
My sister was diagnosed when she was 18 months old. This was back in the early '90s when Celiac was pretty unheard of. About eight years later, research came out about the heredity of the disease, and our entire family got tested.
Snacking on some naturally gluten free goodness!
My blood test came back positive (no surprise - I was really underweight and had stomachaches all the time) and we confirmed it with an endoscopy.
I'm pretty sure this photo was taken after I'd gone to the hospital for what they thought was appendicitis but which turned out to be just a really terrible stomachache, probably from gluten. (Before diagnosis)
But this post is not about my diagnosis story or how I adjusted or any of that. I wanted to talk about how I relate to these "I wish people knew" stories.

Even though I've had Celiac my entire adult life, I can see how I have to live differently than others in ways people often take for granted. The truth is, I don't consciously often think about my life with Celiac, even though I think about Celiac almost daily.

If we're going to try a new restaurant, I look up the menu online to see if I can eat anything there. I avoid certain types of food - like Chinese takeout - entirely. I eat before events - like friends' weddings or the Triumph event I was invited to speak at in March - because I never know if I'll be able to have what's served.
Delicious-looking flan-style mousse at the Triumph event...safe to eat, or nah?
I am not shy about asking if I'll be able to eat what's on the menu, but I do feel badly asking for something special to be made, so I just pack a snack.

My purse is always full of snacks for that reason!

I never feel like I can be spontaneous and go to a non-English speaking country because I'm too afraid I'll end up eating food I can't have. When I chose to study abroad in college, there were two main factors in my country of choice: can I speak the language and therefore eat safely, and were people I knew going.
Scotland was the right choice because they had gluten free options all over the place...and kilts!
I am not "healthier" for eating gluten free in the sense that I absolutely love junk food and sugar. I'd prefer to eat like a 5-year-old at a birthday party daily. The only reason I'm "healthier" for eating gluten free is that, for me, gluten is damaging.

I will say, though, that Celiac is not all-consuming. It does not "invade" every aspect of my life. That's a sad way to live. Yes, reading labels and asking about ingredients is second-nature to me, and Celiac itself comes up almost-daily in conversation with my family...
"Anchor down for Italian restaurants with over 15 gluten free options for my friends who are physically unable to consume gluten!!!"
And of course, anytime I'm going to eat, it becomes a factor. But I do not spend hours of my life thinking about Celiac and how it affects me. I hope the person who sent in that note is a new diagnosee and can find balance and peace, because their life sounds exhausting!

These days I know lots of people who have Celiac, but growing up it was just me and my sister. It's kind of fun to be able to trade expertise with friends now...back in the day, tasting GF food was expensive and often disgusting.
It's honestly amazing to me how many GF baking options we can find at the normal grocery store these days.
My mom baked bread for Stephanie and me. We ordered food from Canada (Kinnikinnik was our first foray into gluten free donuts) and it was a big deal when a shipment arrived. I remember looking at the catalogue and circling things with Steph as we decided what looked worth trying out. We're both in the habit of sending each other photos of new GF foods we find in the grocery store because the novelty hasn't worn off.

Anyway, the best thing Celiac has done for me is make me an adventurous eater. If I can eat something, I will try it at least once.

I wracked my brain for my own "what I wish people knew about Celiac" and I think it's this:
I am living a happy, full life with Celiac, and as far as autoimmune diseases go, Celiac isn't really that bad. It's not too hard to avoid gluten and thereby live a healthy life. I don't mean to be dismissive of it, though; adjusting to the diet can be tough and the symptoms can be awful and dangerous; I'm just at the point in my life where it's all second nature.

The gluten free fad has been a double-edged sword, and I just wish people were more aware that the condescension for people who eat gluten free can be harmful for those of us who need to be able to trust ingredient lists and labels when shopping and servers and chefs when we eat out.

ABK

Monday, May 8, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 5/1-5/7

Monday 5/1: Rest. I did a few squats and stretches, but no real workout.

Tuesday 5/2: A little run using 4/:45 intervals. My legs felt pretty "clompy" and uncoordinated the entire time; it was really hot and humid out, so it could have been that. Or it could've been something else. Who knows at this point?!
2 miles, 4/:45 run/walk, 10:23 pace.
Wednesday 5/3: Two Blogilates videos with Stacey. Elizabeth was out but we used her classroom because it's the only one with enough space to work out in!
During these videos, especially the arms, we always talk to Cassey like we know her. "Okay Cassey, c'mon, start counting down...you're killing me Cassey!"

Thursday 5/4: Full-body mini-circuit followed by two miles. This was the first run that was virtually pain-free. I took a slightly different route, too.
I've been sticking to the golf course because it's easy to just hop out there when the mood strikes, and I'm nervous to actually drive to one of my usual running routes these days, so taking a new route on the course was a nice change.

Friday 5/5: I made a stretch-and-recovery circuit because I was really feeling Wednesday's workout! While I did that, Elizabeth did some various Blogilates videos. I like that sometimes we work out together but focus on what we each need individually.
That evening, Elizabeth ran the two miles to my house (with her husband and daughter, who scooted the entire way), stopped to have some water and chat, and then ran home. I jokingly told her, "I love that you ran over here because it proves you like running!" and she denied denied denied...but I think she missed it more than she's saying!

Saturday 5/6: 2.3 miles...and the pain was definitely back this time. I felt it about a mile in, and around mile 1.5 I had to stop my run interval to stretch it out. I'd put the pain at a 7/10. I'll keep attempting to run this week to make sure this wasn't a fluke.
I got the bill for that first set of tests and I am feeling pretty dejected at the moment. I get to pay an arm and a leg to have learned nothing, and I still will need to get more definitive tests before I can have surgery. So...yeah. Injuries suck.

Sunday 5/7: Rest.

ABK

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Five: My Plan

I realized this week that working running back into my routine has confused some people. Am I better? Am I back? I thought I'd use today's Friday Five to clarify what's going on.
I haven't run since February. That means my calves haven't been hurting, because they only hurt when I run. It also means whatever injury I have (or had) is back into a kind of dormant stage. Right now, I am trying to wake it back up so it can be properly diagnosed.

Step 1: Resume running. Carefully analyze every run for symptoms. The goal here is twofold: to identify pain and also to try to recreate my original issues.
Resume running: check.
Step 2: If no issues arise, keep running and pretend none of this ever happened and go on enjoying life.

Step 3: If symptoms come back, go see a new doctor and request an actual test for compartment syndrome.

Step 4: If that test is positive, talk about treatment (that is, plan surgery for this summer).
Pro tip: Do not look up actual photos of this surgery because they are terrifying.
Step 5: If the test is negative, seek out other explanations.

The thing is, compartment syndrome athletes only manifests when the muscles are too swollen for their compartments, and with CECS (chronic exertion compartment syndrome, as opposed to acute) that really only happens during a run. So they can't test for it if you're not in the midst of experiencing it.

All my resting between February and April gave my legs time to temporarily recover, and it could be awhile before I'm feeling the kind of pain I had back then. Or, I could start experiencing it next week. Or never. There's no perfect timeline for this.
Right now my discomfort during runs is about a level 3. In February my pain was at an 8...bad enough that I had to stop and walk. However, on these runs I've been using run/walk and so far I've avoided that level of pain.
But the bottom line is that I need to be able to experience the pain at the time I get the test done, so I need to keep running in order to trigger symptoms.

So I'm hesitant to say I'm "back" to running. That suggests an end to the process and I'm not there yet. Right now my runs are all about data-gathering. I am trying to recreate the discomfort I had during winter while still kind of hoping that the discomfort doesn't return at all.

Still, my mind, body, and spirit feel lifted, and it feels good to run at all.

I appreciate the excitement you're all feeling for me! It does feel good to be out there, even if being "back" comes with fine print at this point.

ABK