Jelly donuts

I’ve been quiet lately. After my second failure to launch (DNS) 50k at the end of May, I just really needed a break both physically and mentally. I took some time off from fitness entirely. Sometime during that month off I decided that I wasn’t going to spend this summer training again. I’ve put in a lot of hard work in the past 3 summers, suffered through some disappointing setbacks, and I’m just tired. I’m tired of trying to fit in the miles during the week, tired of spending an entire day of my weekend training, tired of missing birthday parties, and other such events. I miss my friends. I miss being invited to things. I’m really over talking about training or my injuries and realizing as I am speaking that I am the most annoying and boring person on the planet when I talk about these things (and only these things). Anywho, I debated writing this blog, but I know that future Brandi is going to be pissed if I don’t. So here I am.

I got an MRI on my lower back on Friday and today I got the results.

L4-L5 and L5-S1 broad based central disc protrusions, moderate degenerative changes in associated facet joints, mild stenosis and decreased disc space.

Translation: The jelly donuts in my spine are a little squishy and about to spill their filling. The impending doom is compressing some of my nerves which could and probably does explain some if not all of the nerve issues in my feet.

So I have mixed emotions. I want to be so angry with myself for not getting an MRI back in the winter of 2015 when all this started. Who knows what kind of damage I have done with continuing to train for two 50ks. Who knows how much sooner I could have been recovered from this damn jelly donut situation had I only had a clear picture from the start. But the past is not something I can change so now I’ve said it and I’m not going to focus on it. It’s time to just move forward.

I’m also kinda bummed that this isn’t something that will heal. Like ever. While it is true I may be able to get strong enough to be asymptomatic, my donuts are forever screwed. They will be looming like that one grey cloud off the coast during your beach day. But we can’t let that grey cloud control us, right? Right. So we continue to barbecue and hope it doesn’t rain. As a Florida girl from a family of southerners, I do love me the beach and some barbecue.

But the good far outweighs those potentially minor negatives. As I mentioned, I am tired of training. I want to spend my summer with friends and not feeling pressured about getting out the door before it feels like I am running on the sun. I’ve started with a new trainer that I really like and am establishing good trust with and am really enjoying getting stronger and learning how to lift. He is also working with my awesome chiropractic doctor on my strength protocol. (I feel so super blessed to have such amazing, smart, and caring people taking care of me, btw.) I went back to the rock climbing gym last week and got to spend time doing something I love that I haven’t done in many years with a friend that I haven’t gotten consistent quality time with since before she moved to Berlin for a year. I’ve also been working with a nutritionist–also my chiropractor and voice of reason in big training decisions for over a year–to help me safely reduce my body fat and get me back down to a more reasonable weight. (I know weight can be controversial, but I have my own personal reasons based on health and injury prevention.)

The thought of spending the next few months getting stronger and leaner, lifting, and bouldering sounds like an amazing vacation to me. I think that when and if I go back to endurance running, my approach will be much different. And I’m really excited to take all that I am learning from my focus on nutrition and strength back to my athletes. I would love to run another a marathon some day and would love to tackle that 50k distance, but for the first time probably ever in my life I feel patient. Like Granddaddies says, “Time, patience, and perseverance conquers all things.” I’ve always struggled with the patience part, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

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