Weight lifting

Making the best of the situation

First of all, a BIG thanks for your heartwarming comments on my last post. You’re all amazing and I really appreciate your words of support.

This week has been much better. My foot even started showing signs of improving. Slowly, but still, any step in the right direction is good. From Wednesday I’ve had much less of the cramping pain and swelling, the foot started feeling more normal, although the soreness around the 3rd metatarsal comes and goes. But there are some signs of improvement.

Another very positive thing was that I found a blog post by an ultra runner who has had the exact same injury that I think I have, and she also had to wait a long time to get a diagnosis. Reading her story helped me settle down because she described so much of what I’m experiencing and I realised many of my symtoms that I find quite worrying, can in fact be normal. I’ll have to write a post about my own experience afterwards, perhaps it can help someone else!

Monday – another “interesting” day

So I went to have some blood tests taken (I’m very interested in calcium, vitamin D etc!) and in this place they take your blood pressure as well when you’re there. It turned out mine was high. Now, my blood pressure has been on the lower side all my life! I walked out from there with a 24h blood pressure monitor. Totally NOT what I needed right now! It was an eye-opener for sure. Do I need to do more lifestyle changes? Perhaps I’m more stressed than I think and need to do more to wind down, relax from work, worry less, be more compassionate with myself and so on. But honestly, I think my pressure was up because I had just hobbled in there on crutches. Walking on crutches is quite hard work! I haven’t heard anything since so I assume it was nothing too bad. I’ll check next week when I go to see my doc. If it wasn’t for the effing foot I’d feel great!

Tuesday – gym day

My trainer/PT needs to learn more in detail about my injury before he can help with that. But what he can do is to give me a brilliant lifting program for upper body and functional parts of the legs. We started with lying leg raises, then seated leg lifts over a dumbbell. This is a great exercise for the hip flexors and it worked a lot on the quads too. Anything that works on the legs is very welcome!

I continued with the usual work for chest and triceps, and was very happy with my bench presses. I worried a bit about them because my triceps (they are not happy about the crutches) and the left wrist have been fussy lately but I think this was my best bench press performance in a while. I’m realising that with bench press, it’s a lot about attitude and focus.

I had hoped he would get creative with seated exercises. He had me lie face down on an inclined bench, to do dumbbell rows without having to lean on a foot – very similar to this seal row here. It was a bit tricky to find a good position but once in place, it was a wonderful exercise. After this I did the Cuban press which is a tough one for my problematic rotator cuffs. I can still only do a few of them but I think I managed a bit better today than before. Today’s session was a total massacre of the shoulders, but I sure need it.


A very low profile day as usual. Work and Italian class. But this was the day I felt something was happening with the foot. During the afternoon I realised it felt so… normal. Still sore in the usual place, but otherwise it felt normal, in the sense that it didn’t feel like a swollen blob anymore.


I started the day with some hip mobility, donkey kicks and back extensions. All these moves are more important than ever to keep my lower back happy when I can’t be as active as usual.

Well, I threw in some push-ups too. My shoulder and tricep area has been very unhappy and they need some other movement than keeping crutches in place.

Friday – gym day

I had another brilliant lifting session, with flyes, bench press, tricep pullovers with a bar, back extensions, and also side leg lifts with resistance band, and to sit against a wall – it works with the foot if I only put it down with the heel – most weight is against the wall, and some on the right foot. And they made my quads burn nicely. Yes and amen to not losing more muscle mass than I have to! I’d say this works quite a bit on core muscles too.

You remember Kim’s suggestion to do exercises you normally do standing up, but kneeling instead? I didn’t need to ask. Today I did both lateral raises and front raises with the left knee on a bench, while the other foot was on the floor. It worked perfectly!


Today I decided to not put the compression sleeve on the foot. It’s given pain relief, but now I want to know how bad it is, to know when it gets better. Every little sign of improvement means the world to me.

And it’s a lot better. The sore area over my 3rd metatarsal is much less sore and mostly I don’t feel anything at all. Sometimes if I’ve been around a lot, I can get some cramping pain but it settles down after a while. Of course I don’t even try to put any weight on it yet. I’ll continue what I’m doing until the MRI and then after knowing the results we can discuss new decisions. For now I’m happy enough knowing that it’s getting better.


This is a busy day! Later this evening we’re having friends over for dinner. But since I can’t do much (they’ll have to deal with this anything but perfect home), I’m not so busy after all. As usual I took time to do some strength and mobility training. I find it hard to do proper side planks right now because I need both feet to keep balance, and doing them from the knees is too easy. So now I mainly do hip mobility, some glute work, leg raises, side leg raises from kneeled side plank position (this is some good core work too) and push-ups. I also tried these lying windshield wipers that felt quite good.

Today I decided to try to do some more proper strength work at home on Sundays. We have a set of dumbbells that you can load with more weight when you need to. I finished my session with seated reverse flyes aka bent-over raise, and felt great.

Lifting is good for the soul!

And yes, I know it’s odd to have your gym in the same room as the whisk(e)y shelves (we’re whiskey geeks so yes, we have a room dedicated to it). But our house is tiny and I have to do it somewhere, right?! Likely in a quite near future, this room will be gym only.

This has been a good week when I’ve mostly been positive and able to move on and make the best of the situation. I’m able to kick **** in the gym and will continue doing that. The foot status is up and down but the downs are much better than they used to be. And the weather is better! We have lovely sunshine and around 20C (68F) as we speak. Definitely what we need after months of rain and fog.

This is my contribution to the Weekly Rundown link-up hosted by Kim and Deborah. I hope you’re doing well and that you had a good week. Do you have any ideas of good core exercises that are not kneeled planks (they are too easy) and that can be done without using feet? I’m all ears!


32 responses to “Making the best of the situation”

  1. Deborah Brooks avatar

    Yay I am so glad that you have had a much better week. Feeling like you can do more physically is so uplifting. A great gym routine can do wonders.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, a good gym routine and feeling I can do much of it almost like normal, means a lot!

  2. Jenny avatar

    Well, I’m glad your foot is feeling better! I would be interested to know about this blog post where the ultra runner talked about her foot issue. Could you share the link? I’m always interested in foot problems (and solutions.)
    Sounds like you had a pretty great week! I’m glad you’re able to do the strength training you want, and that it’s making you feel good. I did a core workout this week that was all dead bugs, and I liked it!
    My sister recently had a similar experience to you- she usually has low blood pressure but when she had it checked prior to a medical procedure, it was high! I think she was stressed about the procedure and that may have caused it- but we don’t know. Anyway, I hope you get that figured out.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Jenny, the blog post only talks about her stress fracture experience but here’s the link: https://liveslowrunfar.com/blog/everything-i-wish-i-knew-my-stress-fracture-story/. And of course that’s useful for anyone in case something similar would happen! Which I certainly hope it won’t. I nearly choked on my coffee when you talked about top-of-foot pain during race week!
      Many people talk about “white coat anxiety” and things like that. I’m normally not nervous for such things but who knows, I could be tense without being aware. I blame my crutches a lot for it though.

  3. Jessie avatar

    I often have elevated blood pressure when I’m at the doctor; I bought at home test and it would be fine at home. I think its anxiety of being at the doctor!

    Living in Ireland you probably have access to lots of interesting whiskies! My husband likes trying/learning about whiskey. Might that be something to do in Dublin or Galway!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Absolutely yes about the whiskey! Ireland has had a revival in the whiskey industry the last 10-ish years so there’s lots interesting happening. Dublin is THE place for exploring whiskey, as well as history. Galway isn’t bad either. I can send you an e-mail with more info if that’s ok?

  4. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    So happy to read that things are better. I hope they continue to improve…

    Sunshine does help… we have rain in the forecast for days….

    My blood pressure is always high at the doctor… but normal at home… being at the dr makes me anxious. Period.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Sunshine certainly lifts the mood and gives some extra energy! And now we have decent temperatures too.
      I’m hopeful the foot will continue getting better. It remains quite good now with some temporary pain peaks (that are still mild).

  5. Michelle avatar

    Great to hear that you had a much better week! And it sounds like you’re killing it in the gym 🙂

    Other core exercises? I like woodchoppers (you can do them kneeling) and deadbugs with weights.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Michelle! I hadn’t heard about woodchoppers! I’ll check them out now. And several of you have mentioned dead bugs. I’ve seen them especially in the lower back pain context but haven’t tried them yet.

  6. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    This is such great news, Susanne! I’m glad your foot is feeling better and that your spirits have been lifted. I noticed all the whiskey bottles, so it was interesting to hear the reason 😉 Here’s wishing this next week goes even better!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Kim! Yes, this tiny house is a constant struggle, although in reality it’s big enough for the two of us. The problem is we have so many different interests that each needs some space. But we’ll figure it out eventually. The house is always in progress!

  7. San avatar

    I have been catching up on blog posts from the last three weeks (because I was traveling) and I am so glad to read this week that you had a better week than the two weeks before. I can understand how frustrated you must have been – not only because you couldn’t work out as usual, but also because you’re waiting for a proper diagnosis.
    I hope things continue to go in the right direction!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, the month of April really sucked. At least now with seeing some steps in the right direction I have hope I’ll get out of this eventually. But I probably will focus on strength, flexibility and walking rather than going back to running when this is over.

  8. Lindsay avatar

    Crutches are no joke! So happy you’re feeling better and able to do more. Doing things always makes me feel better! For core, maybe dead bugs? You can do them with weights if they’re too easy. Or hollow holds?

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’ll be so happy when I can put the crutches in the shed. Everything is so troublesome with them. Thanks for the dead bug suggestion! I’ll start doing them now! I also found the windshield wipers were quite powerful!

  9. Wendy avatar

    I’m so glad to hear that your foot is feeling better! My strength coach has me do a lot of those exercises your PT had you do. They aren’t big, flashy moves but they are effective!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, those seemingly “small” exercises can be very powerful! And I found that my windshield wipers were a quite decent alternative to the side planks, or at least I have nice sore obliques today. 🙂

  10. Marcia avatar

    I’m so glad you had a better week and your spirits are improving. It’s so important to find the “work-arounds” so kudos for doing that. I could not agree more about crutches being a major drag. I suspect you’re right about the correlation between crutches and high BP. I was wondering about that whiskey backdrop! Haha!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Haha, yes, I guess not the most common backdrop for a gym!
      Can’t wait to be able to walk again. I’ll have a party the day I can put these crutches in the shed! Everything is awkward and difficult. But at least I can get around.

  11. Renée avatar

    So glad you had a better week and felt some improvement! I think being injured and dealing with it/ worrying about it actually can cause your blood pressure to rise. The last time I had mine checked it was also high and it’s always been on the low side of normal!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I think you have a good point about the BP and dealing with injury. I had left most stress behind, and was generally very happy with life when this happened. Now all my energy has been spent on finding info, worrying, trying to get help, finding ways to get on with life and keep spirits up, etc.

  12. Kim G avatar

    So happy to hear that you had a much better week – that’s fantastic!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Kim, I’m doing my best!

  13. Coco avatar

    It sounds like you are making progress and finding good alternative exercises. Those seated leg lifts are tough — I should do them myself. For side planks, have you tried raising your top leg? I find that challenging even with the bottom knee down.

    I hope this week is even better!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, the leg lift is very effective. I actually have an exercise like you describe, a side plank with knee instead of foot in the ground, and then the top leg first forward and then raising it. These are quite tough and very much needed.

  14. Jenn avatar

    I’m glad you’re feeling more positive. You’re in a tough situation and sometimes it’s hard to make the lemonade out of those lemons.

    I finally went to the doctor, and while I always had low BP, it showed “normal” at the appointment, which made me feel ok, because I straight up panic when I have to see a doctor. Of course, we barely eat any sodium anymore because of my husband’s health restrictions, so I imagine it may drop more. Hopefully lol.

    Hang in there. You are working hard and really finding your way around your current situation. <3

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks so much, Jenn. Yes, finding workarounds and making life as normal as possible is the only way I’ll survive this mentally. Also, staying active (but different active) and looking for alternative solutions helps me stay focused on something else and something more positive too. I hope your blood pressure stays normal or below!

  15. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    I second the idea of dead bug exercises! My PT has added those to my routine and I enjoy them. But make sure you push your spine down to the floor and don’t arch (… is what my PT tells me 😉). Sounds like some positive direction on the injury this week. That’s great! My husband is in a medical study right now and he got an arm band for his blood pressure. I don’t think he realized it was as high as it is! So he’s been working hard on making changes, like reducing salt. He has lowered his blood pressure in just a few weeks now but still needs more improvement. I’m glad it has been brought to his attention!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’ll have to try this famous dead bug!
      Yes, it’s good to be made aware of important issues like high blood pressure. I hope your husband continue do improve with it. It turned out my 24h monitor showed a very good and healthy blood pressure so at least something is working in this old body! And my doc agreed with me that the high BP when I was in last week probably was injury/crutch-related.

  16. Anne avatar

    So sorry about the crutches, but so glad to read a positive report! Your trainer sounds awesome – and you are doing so much on your own to help yourself. Your upper body strength is going to be out of this world after dealing with this. I do hope that the MRI brings you some answers – it’s so frustrating not knowing what’s going on in one’s body.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, the upper body strength is coming along nicely… although shoulders and triceps remain some problem areas. But it’s just to keep training them.
      I’m very curious what the MRI will show. My symptoms are all over the place. Some would be classic for stress injuries, some not. Honestly right now anything that would make it ok to ditch crutches would be welcome.

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