Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another runner with RA

Another runner with RA.

Click and look at the picture of her toes. This serves to remind me that I will run again. Just like Jeri.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More elliptical

Saturday I did almost an hour (7 miles) on the elliptical. Dare I say it? It was kind of fun. It is as close as I can get to running these days, and I miss it!! I turned up the iPod and watched my reflection in the TV on the machine and went pretty hard! I want to make a comparison to running...like, normally in an hour I might have once run 7 miles, but now (ankle aside) could probably only do 6. So should I set the elliptical so that that the effort is the same? Maybe it doesn't matter and I should go by heartrate. Or really, maybe who the hell cares since I can't run and I should just do what makes me happy. But seriously, anyone with elliptical experience want to share how you set it up?? I'm curious. I also lifted, if nothing else at least I can keep my upper body looking good!

Ordered Dansko clogs, should be here tomorrow. Hopefully will make the limp less noticeable. Kids at school have asked, and I don't want it to become that noticeable. Also found a good resource at www.liftmelevel.com for anyone with RA foot issues, they (for a steep price, but worth it if it works) can modify your existing shoes by putting on a rocker bottom or a flat steel rod to stiffen the sole. I will be bringing this info to my podiatrist appointment in a couple weeks. If the orthotics don't work, they need to help me find another solution. I get annoyed that I have to find all this stuff myself, it's the doctors' job to help. But...I know I also need to be my own advocate, because honestly, if you haven't had this disease, you can't really understand what it feels like. It's one thing to know what a talonavicular joint is and does, but it's another thing to know what it feels like when it doesn't work. For me it seems to be the toe push off that gets me. I do this rotation from my hip on the left side to avoid the push off. Hence the limp. But I also want the podiatrist to watch me walk. Seriously, I don't understand (in retrospect) how he could have ordered orthotics without doing that. Yes, they took a mold of my feet, but...wouldn't watching me walk/limp tell them more??? I need to write all this down before the March 10 appointment.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rocker sole talonavicular arthritis

From now on, every time I do a Google search and come up empty I am going to post it in my title so the next person looking for what I am looking for at least knows they are not crazy. ARGH.

I was spinning on Monday night, and as I was walking from the locker room to the spin room in my cycling shoes, I realized that I could walk in those things without a limp. Now, most of you know that walking in cycling shoes is not exactly normal, those things are clearly not designed for walking. BUT nonetheless, they so prevent a real toe push off, and as such, prevent a certain ankle motion that I find painful! So I've been Googling and the best I can find is that a rocker bottom sole MIGHT work better than these custom orthotics (that my insurance may or may not be paying for...) which appear to do...NOTHING. I did go try on Dansko clogs today (somewhat better, actually) as well as some really ugly Sketcher shoes with the really ugly rocker bottom (not as good, probably because the soles are not as stiff). I did find some places online that will modify your existing shoes by replacing the soles with rocker bottoms, and I've emailed to find out more. My local shoe repair shop basically said no, impossible. OK. And I USED to have this pair of clogs I LOVED (husband hated them) that had WOODEN ROCKER SOLES, but I got rid of them after they spent one too many humid summers in the basement and got pretty moldy. I am SO wishing I had just kept them to see if they would work now. Except, really, I want a pair of shoes I can go for long walks with this summer pushing the BOB. I have sort of given up on the running for the time being.

But I really want to be able to walk without a limp.

Oh, and for anyone who cares, that post where I thought I tool a minute off my 500 swim time? Yeah, turns out my 11:34 time was 500 meters, and my 10:35 time was 500 yards. FUCK.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mass starts (and my friend's daughter arrived from Haiti!)

At swimming tonight we practiced mass starts. Well, if 11 swimmers counts as a "mass." (See video of the Tuesday group doing this here.) It was actually a super good workout for me. They took out a couple of the lane lines and we all pretended to tread water (the pool is 3.5 feet deep) and went on "go." We did some different distances, 200, 400, 150, 100, 200, 50, maybe one or two others but it was about 1200 meters total (found out this pool is meters not yards). We'd all start and at the other end have to swim under the lane line and go back. There was plenty of hitting and kicking and swimming over people and gulping water and feeling crowded and panicky. It was really good for me! Also because I had to swim much harder than I normally do to keep up. I was NEVER last, and I was in the middle of the pack for all the 100s and shorter (I love sprints in any sport, my endurance totally needs work though), especially in the one 100 we did with pull buoys. So tonight did tons for my confidence in surviving a swim, even if I am still going to be slow.

Now, I just need my ankle to stabilize enough so I can actually DO a triathlon this year! Or if not, I need to find an aquabike race! Or I suppose I could just DNF at a triathlon, that might actually be what I have to do.

ALSO...my friend Nikki met her daughter TODAY! After a rollercoaster I wouldn't believe if I hadn't seen her go through it, Aliette finally got out of Haiti and they met in Miami today. You've got to go see the pictures, and she has the whole story on her blog too if you want to know what she went through!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Does almost still count??

Got Andra to bed and when Fred came home from his meeting at 8:05 I left for the pool. When I got there at 8:15 I stopped just to check that the swim team would be out by 8:30. DAMN. Thursday's they are there til 9! And the pool closes at 9:45. I was not going to sit around for 45 minutes to feel like I had to rush to get in a 45 minute swim. Of course I had no other workout clothes, just my swimsuit. So I came home. And all day I've been try not to let myself wimp out, I really don't like going to the pool so late. I like 6pm, even 7pm workouts, but 9??? Forget it. Luckily I'm off next week and can swim at noon a couple days.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Yay elliptical! (Not really.)

Went to the gym after school with high hopes of running! Felt like I could all day. Had that nervous energy you get when something exciting is going to happen! I lasted about 30 seconds. Moved to elliptical machine #1 (Precor) which caused too much ankle movement and crunching. Moved downstairs (the Y has two levels of cardio machines, I am a 2nd floor regular) to the other kind and it worked. I didn't love it, but I can adapt. Only did 20 minutes, then lifted (some kettlebell stuff, abs, legs). Have to just be patient and wait out this crunchy phase. Not going to lie, not being able to run mentally SUCKS. But I do have other goals to take its place, swimming and cycling.

Fred and I have officially signed up for the CCC and have started the long road to raising $6000 by October. See the link to the right if you want to donate to the Arthritis Foundation! Anyone who has RA that reads and has your own blog, I would love it if you mentioned my ride and posted this link http://cccsocal.kintera.org/clare to your blog! I may try to get creative ala Lil Runner and raise money through blog giveaways or something, but not yet. Anyone have any tips for fundraising??

Friday, February 05, 2010

Minus :59

I went to the pool tonight (I was the ONLY one there for a while, I am SOSOSO dedicated huh?) and swam a mile, and retested my 500. I paid much more attention to my breathing, and for most of it I managed to breathe every other stroke instead of my usual every stroke. There were a few times I thought I might die, but mostly, at least the first 400, I didn't panic. The result? 10:35. Still not anything, but a :59 improvement! Thanks for the comments, the advice, and the reminders that swimming really is hard! I hope by the end of this 10 week session to feel comfortable swimming this "new" way.

As for the 500 time...11:34 was my first ever attempt, so I really had no idea how to pace myself, etc. I think 10:35 is more indicative of my level, as a one minute improvement in 9 days isn't exactly real. I'll chalk that minute up to experience and mental issues, and use 10:35 as my benchmark. We retest in 3 weeks and again at the end, in 6 weeks. I hope to have a time of 9:30, which is 1:54/100. That doesn't sound too ambitious, it sounds pretty attainable to me IF I work at it. So, I will rededicate myself to 2 pool sessions a week on my own. Unfortunately, Friday nights will probably be one of them, and either Sunday afternoon or Monday nights for the other. That sucks, but there's no way to do it in the morning what with school starting at 7:30, and the pool not being open for lap swimming in the afternoons. I know I'll look back on this time in a year and feel proud of being dedicated to something that is inconvenient and not nearly as fun as running, so that's keeping me going.

Andra LOVES swimming. We went today, and she is now a HUGE fan of sitting on the side of the pool and jumping in. She is still, at 14 months almost, an ankle- and wrist-twirler, and when I sit her up there, she gets the biggest, goofiest grin, twirls away, and then lunges into the water. She tries to swim away from me once she's in, but when I almost let go, she almost sinks, so we're not quite there yet.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Why swimming is hard

I keep trying, and I will continue to do so, but this is not getting easier. Maybe it didn't help that this week I didn't make it to the pool on my own at all. But even so....UGH. Tonight was 2700 yards. I managed to do 2600 before the pool closed and they kicked us out, so I only missed the 100 cool down. And I wasn't the only one who didn't quite finish, plus there was a Tuesday guy in my lane (yes, the slow lane) who only was doing 2100. At one point I thought I was doing ok, and the coach said to me, you've almost got it, but for the next 2 laps have your hands touch every stroke. We've done this, and IT SUCKS. I went from being ok (meaning heart rate under control and not panicking about lack of air) to tensing up, feeling like I was stopping dead in the water after every stroke, and having my shoulders and lower back get so tired from trying not to sink (because I felt like I was stopped dead in the water), and gasping for air. Then we had to do some 25s all out, and I loved those, because when I go fast, for sch a short distance, it all comes together. But when I have to do a longer set, I have to slow way down to make it, and feel like I'm working way harder than if I just swam my own way. I guess it just will take more time. The very last 300, it actually did come together, but it's so fleeting!

The ankle doesn't do well being in the same pointed position for so long, and at the end of a set when I rest it takes a while to even put weight on that foot. Looked ridiculous when I got out of the pool, could not walk without a hugely noticeable limp. But I did get my orthotics today. Will take a week or so to break them in. I don't expect to be able to run for a few months, that's just the way the RA is, but it would be nice to walk without pain. Hopefully it will stabilize soon, or I may decide to go for the cortisone shot by June. At any rate, Fred and I signed up for the California Coast Classic so I'll be focusing on riding soon.

Monday, February 01, 2010

I've been walking around NORMALLY today. I caught myself NOT limping and, it was weird! Still hurts but not enough to limp.