VMO – it’s the new ITB

Damn uptight VMO

Vastus medialis oblique. Nope, not a Harry Potter spell – it’s the part of your inside quad that’s just above and to the inside of the knee cap. Lucky me I have an “unusual” issue where my VMO is too tight. Usually runners get an ITB that’s too tight and pulls the knee cap to the outside of the knee. Not me. My uptight VMO is aiding and abetting the inflammation under my knee cap. Marc’s gone with an initial diagnosis fat pad impingement rather than patella tendonopathy. Copping a feel of my knee, he’s reasonably sure that there’s not a tendon issue going on. Rather, the fat pad behind my knee cap is getting pinched between my patella and femur head as the knee gets over loaded.

Contributors: fatigue and heel striking which cause my knee to slightly hyper extend and pinch that fat pad. It’s funny, I thought “Wtf Marc my knee doesn’t hyper extend when I run!” But then he straightened my knee and then pushed down on on it to mimic the action of the pressure on it when my foot strikes the ground and yeppo – there was a slight hyper extension AND THE PAIN. That last moment of movement and whammo…. pinched fat pad right there.

How to fix it: 

  1. Listen to Marc and do what he says.
  2. Continuous improvement on my glute and hip strength will help me engage those muscles while running.
  3. Tape my knee in the interim to help lift the patella and take it out of pinching range of my fat pad. It’s like separating siblings who are pinching each other. Big brother patella has been given a time out and is being physically restrained to give little sister fat pad time to pull herself together and stop being a whiny little bitch.
  4. Continue to work on my running technique. Marc has said this will make a huge difference as I am more aware of  not hyper extending my knee, landing more softly and easing up on loading my knees so badly.
  5. Don’t push the injury. Run as long as it doesn’t hurt.

So I’m allowed to do the 6 week Spring speed course with TRC that’s starting on 15 September – concentrating on 5km and 10km speed.

Suuuuure... I can totally replicate this taping....

Suuuuure… I can totally replicate this taping….

I have my knee taped right now and I have strict orders to run 5km today. Hot diggity damn I love it! However, I did ask if I could chance 10km? Marc said no. And if I do he said he will bench me for a week. Ouch ok I’m sorry, I won’t run more than 5km I promise! Also, Marc seems to have faith that I can tape my own knee… fucking hell I should have paid more attention while he was doing it. I took Nat’s advice and wrote down some notes, and drew myself a picture of the taping while Marc was watching and he said that was fine and was sure I couldn’t fuck it up and accidentally tape wrong and hurt myself.

Other noteworthy mentions from physio appointment – I asked Marc if I could settle into a stride that was comfortable however not technique perfect, but was pain free, was that ok to run longer distances like that. Marc said yes. He said to always work on better form, but if I find that sweet spot, it doesn’t matter if it’s not text book perfect because it will be my own perfect style as long as it is not causing pain or inflammation anywhere. That made me feel awesome. I cannot wait to do this 6 week course. Marc will do a brief handover to Raf who can keep an eye on how I’m going. I will make him watch me goddammit. Marc hilariously joked that during sprints it can be tempting to push yourself harder because you want to beat that person next to you. I actually laughed out loud and corrected the man. Marc buddy, I’m going to be the slowest in the group. There won’t be any striving to beat anyone because I’m always last over the line no matter how hard I try. Hahaha. I’m totally ok with that. And hey, turns out I’m saving myself from accidental “hero” injury. Yay for me. Marc also confirmed my suspicion that running at the WA Athletics Centre on the track actually makes you feel like an Olympic sprinter lol. Can’t fucking wait.

I. Love. Dry. Needling.

I. Love. Dry. Needling.

 

A quick recap of the past week’s activities – photo bloggy style:


Saturday 16th: Melbourne Albert Park parkrun with “therunningdad” aka Dan Sharples. FFFFFFFFreezing cold.

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Tuesday night: darkrun with my fav pacer Scott and the darkrun crew

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Wednesday night: Wine and roll night with Michelle and Nat!

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Friday afternoon: South Perth foreshore 3km run with focus on mid foot strike

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Saturday morning: Clay and I ran 5km to parkrun, then ran parkrun! I heart parkrun

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Monday afternoon: 6km mid foot strike training run. Engaged arse before starting. Seemed to help. Didn’t take a photo yesterday but did find this cute pic of the Bass at bookweek last week

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“Run light, run lazy & hit the ground running”

Finally! Today I went to see Marc See at The Running Centre to sort out my biomechanics. For all the physio strengthening exercises I’ve done with Steve, the last piece of the puzzle lay with Marc. He videoed me on a treadmill and then analysed the shit out of my biomechanics. I am retarded and cannot seem to post a video on here but I am savvy enough to get these freeze frames…. Check these out!

Didi 3 Didi 4 Didi 5 Didi 6 Didi 8 Didi 7 Didi 9While I did feel a bit overwhelmed by all the information and jargon, overall I consider the $195 very well spent. Marc identified an issue with my right leg collapsing inward now, even though the pain is in my left knee. That’s because I’m aware of my left knee and protect it when I run. My weak right glute and hip are the culprits. I wonder how that got uneven! Anyway, I have some exercises to do to strengthen my hips and glutes and Marc was positive that I’d be able to see progress. I have to work on lifting my knees higher (about 3cm) to give my foot more “hang time” so I can decide where to put it down. I have a moderate heel strike apparently (which is interesting because I always thought I had a mid foot strike). Marc said I thought that because it takes practice to get in tune with your body and know what’s happening and when. It was so fascinating today.

I did leave my appointment feeling a bit overwhelmed and emotional – for a little while I thought, oh fuck me I’ll never be able to fix this, it seems so difficult. My depression was not helped by the fact I gave a “high knee, mid foot strike” a go as I ran back to work and I nearly fell on my fucking face. Oh dear. I’m signing up for TRC’s speed course coming up in a few weeks so I can work on my technique and get some more tips from the experts. I have a sub 4 hour marathon in my sights for next year… yeow!!!

“Run light, run lazy & hit the ground running” was what Marc wrote on my exercise sheet. That’s his motto, and right now that’s what’s going to keep me going. I really rate my experience with Marc and look forward to seeing improvement next time I go.

 

10 “pain aware” kilometres

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No PB today but a totally solid effort

Today I discovered something wonderful about running.: running slowly can be just as great as running PB. I went out for a 5km run today – meant to be out 2.5km from my office and then back again. But I took a little detour and ended up further away from my work than I’d anticipated and accidentally did 10km. Ok, I accidentally ran 8km and thought fuck it, I’ll finish the distance. At the darkrun on Tuesday I was chatting to Scott who’d told me he likes to run marathons better than half marathons. I thought that was crazy! He said it’s because when you run a marathon, you don’t have to run it as fast so it’s easier. I filed that information away… until just now. I plodded along today sometimes at 7:10 pace. Jesus that’s slow. In fact, in myfitnesspal when you try and log that activity it doesn’t even recognise it in the running section, it makes you enter it in as walking. Jerk website. Anyway, what Scott said rang true today. Instead of busting a gut over 5km, I shuffled my way through 10km. I’m going to say I was “pain aware” rather than completely pain free. Basically I concentrated really, really hard at correcting my form (as best as I can without any proper guidance) and it paid off, just like at darkrun on Tuesday. My knee was fatigued, but did not hurt any more than other parts of my legs, which I couldn’t really say hurt, they were just getting tired. I can’t wait to see the physio on Tuesday to go over my gait because right now the form that’s working for me makes me feel like I’ve done a crap in my pants when I run.

I wore my Rogue shirt and trialed compression socks again. Pfffffft fuck them. They hurt my shins so badly I stopped at 1.5km and took the bastards off. The only thing they were good for from there was additional padding in my sports bra. Ha!

Sweaty McSweat Sweat

Sweaty McSweat Sweat

When I got back into the office I nearly cried – yep – that excited about the distance! And I smashed a huge milo and protein bar for the win. Felt pretty snazzy. In fact, I still do. And yes, I glorified myself all over FB to the delight of my fellow Rogues and adoring friends. You’re welcome.

Darkrun magic

Following on from my last post about being disgustingly depressed about my knee pain and not being able to run, I did manage to get down to the Canning darkrun session last night. I literally squealed the car tires pulling up to the house after work, dashed inside to squeeze my bum into a cute outfit, say “Hi” and “Bye” to my husband and 4 children (they didn’t even notice, they were watching tv) and dashed out the door to make it down to the park for 5:45pm. Made it!

I had in my mind that I’d do 5 x 1km intervals. I managed the first one in 4:45 (PB is 4:28) but 4:45 was pretty slow. The second one I looked down at my garmin and woweeee I was flying at a 5:25 pace lol. I canned the intervals at that point (1.8km total). Dude, I run parkrun faster than that – that weren’t no interval sprint time! Fuck!

wpid-20140805_200433.jpgSo I did a 2 minute plank and a 1 minute plank while I waited for the 5km run to start at 6:30pm. There were 22 of us down there last night! I love going to parkrun, and this group is made up of parkrunners from Saturday who want to get together and do intervals and an easy 5km at night, safety in numbers. Plus it’s an excellent excuse to buy and wear all sorts of flashy, shiny lights! I really appreciate the time Ben has taken to pull this together and give our community more opportunities to run in safety (particularly us girls) and to hang out and discuss all things running related. I have heard some great stories of endurance, injury, clothing failure etc. It’s really nice to get to know fellow runners a bit better. A slow 5km chatty jog is the perfect place! I ran with my fav pacer Scott and a lady whose name I did not catch. I was concentrating really, really fucking hard on turning my knees out a little bit (ie so they face the front not inwards) and not running like a hippo so heavy on my feet. That mental effort was extraordinary. The associated muscle pain was also extraordinary but delightfully dulled by the relentless conversation around me for which I was grateful.

Finished the 5km in 30 minutes. A respectable time. And guess what? All the mental grunting and groaning focussing on my form paid off – I had zero knee pain last night. Well fuck me. I’m keen to see my super physio next week to really get the 411 on how to maintain the right form. While running I honestly felt like I was running with a pillow between my knees, I felt a bit retarded. But it worked. I just have to make sure THAT style won’t give me other bloody injuries! That’s where the physio should help. Iced the knee when I got home. Cheers to Renee for the compression socks too! They’re super cute but will take a bit of getting used to as they squeeze my feet tight!

You put one foot in front of the other… then repeat… right?

Blerghhhh what an absolute cock and balls week it’s been for me. Short story: My knee still fucking hurts doing an easy 5km run. That’s pretty much the crux of it. Knee pain = no running. No running = one grumpy arse bitch over here. Endless googling, facebooking and chatting with friends has raised all sorts of answers ranging from “Just quit running” (from my  non-running friend) to “Go pay $800 for an MRI”. Oh come on! I fall off the wagon of life big time when I don’t run. If I’m not running I don’t eat well, as a result I don’t sleep well which makes me a tired, grumpy, unmotivated crank whore.

Goodbye sweet friend

Goodbye sweet friend

So. I called motivational buddy Sam this morning to virtually cry down the phone and ask why I’m such a whiny, pathetic, injured fucktard. Super supportive as always Sam encouraged me to just take this shit by the horns and go and see a running physio and be done with it. So this is what I have done. I have booked in to see legendary Marc See at The Running Centre. If this guy can’t fix me nobody can. Mostly due to the fact that he’s going to cost me $195 and I won’t be able to afford another physio any time soon. Also, several other “running” signs made themselves known in my life today:

  1. My order from Jaggad arrived!!! Super sexy running gear including a running jacket that is 50% mesh which apart from being great for perhaps a Cher costume, also bodes well for Sweaty McSweat Sweat here. I am a sweater. It’s not glamorous and it means you have to start freezing cold runs in a singlet until you warm up. Hopefully this mesh heaven will let me keep my arms warm during cold runs.
  2. I decided to break up with my under desk heater. As I sit with my knees bent all day surely hot air blowing directly onto my injury is not amazing for recovery. Goodbye my toasty friend. I will miss you.
  3. I have mentally committed to dark-running tonight. Since making that decision I have hauled arse to the shop to buy decent lunch, and have skipped the freddo and opted for more water and a yoghurt instead. Just the thought of running tonight has bouyed my sorry arse back up somewhere near normal.
  4. I have put the call out for fellow Rogue Runners to come down to the Melbourne parkrun in Albert Park on 16 August (take notes stalkers). I hope to get some club recognition spreading out to Melbourne to add to our few Rogues already out there.

Physio is next Tuesday peeps – better book in for a leg wax.

Le Tour de Gym

It’s a struggle to pull yourself out of a down in the dumps slump when you get a set back that requires slow and steady recovery. Recovery time is balls. I just want to run a goddamn half marathon in 3 weeks ffs. Pffffffffft. Gotta boost the core work. I managed to get to the gym twice this week to take on my new physio program. Actually it’s just my old one with added stuff like 2 minute planks and spin bike intervals. Tuesday I went for the first time in nearly 3 weeks.  Fuck spin bikes are hard when you boost them to the highest setting. Actually, I couldn’t ride at the highest setting because even with all my weight on one pedal (up off the seat) my 47kg self couldn’t get the fucking pedal to budge. Imagine seeing that at the gym. There you are concentrating on not falling off your elliptical that is furiously pumping your arms and legs back and forth against your will as you hold on for dear life and you look up and see teeny tiny Didi jumping up and down on one leg trying to get a fucking spin bike pedal to move… hilarious. I believe I am the light comic relief for numerous gym goers. I knocked the resistance down a bit and managed to get the wheel to spin. A top start to interval spin biking I’d say.

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Left: Tuesday Right: Friday

It’s a 3 minute warm up, 30 second hard slog, 30 second free spin – rinse and repeat 10 times, 3 minute cool down. Tuesday I managed a total of 5km in the 16 minutes. Having had my life taken over temporarily by Le Tour de France at the moment, it was not hard to tune into my own personal radio station inside my head and have Phil and Paul take me up and down my little stationary mountains. Ha! It was also not hard to conclude about 8 minutes into my ride that I would never, ever be a stage victor in the Tour. Like ever.

Anyway, I hauled arse back to the gym tonight and did the same spin bike interval session. This time I managed to ride a whole kilometre further in the same time! Yes! Also deadlifted 60kg 3 times for a PB. It was a struggle to get motivated to go to the gym alone. It’s easy to just drive past it and head home for a beer. I was battling with myself over what I wanted to do and I just thought oh fuck it I’ll just go and start dead lifting while I decide if I want to go or not. Dana  gave me some new protein bars to try so I wolfed one of those down afterwards – yummo! Thanks Dana!

My knee is not going to ever recover with rest. My core strength remains the issue, and always will. So, no point whining about it. If I want to run, I have to get strong. But it’s harrrrrrrrd. And it’s also early days and I just want to be strong now, not in like 3 months fucking time. Grrrrrrr….

Heading out to parkrun tomorrow where a whole bunch of Rogue Runners are going to get together which is totes exciting! Rogue domination!

I wish I could swim without getting wet

Swim buddy Michelle

Swim buddy Michelle

Monday night I agreed to go swimming with my friend Michelle. Remember her? The super fit, “I can run a sub 4hr marathon” Michelle. Jeeeeeeesus whyyyyy did I commit to that? Well, I did because I need some help hauling my arse off the couch and back into my recovery program which involves a small amount of running and a fuckload of core work. Anyone who knows me well knows I hate getting wet. I just don’t like it. But, I know that swimming is excellent for my knee’s recovery, plus I had a volunteer swim buddy so why the fuck not? The evening proceeded in a number of stages.
Stage 1: Swimming attire
I was going deep water running. What does one require for deep water running. I had bathers and goggles so far. Then what? Do I need to wear shorts? I obviously don’t need my runners, or my garmin… sooo…. oh, a towel, yes yes yes a towel… wait, do I even need goggles if my head’s not going under the water? Ok.. bathers, goggles (just in case), towel (def need that)… what about cute “over the bathers” outfit? It had to be something that I could put on afterwards without too much hassle because I just wanted to get back in the car afterwards. Trackies? Nah, too wet… shorts? I dunno… Ok fuck… I opted for 3/4 tights… and thongs… and a huge jacket because it was cold outside.

Stage 2: Arrival
Appropriately clad with suitable outfit I attended the front desk of the leisureplex and announced I would like to enter. It never ceases to amaze me that receptionists (whose job it is is to assist you entering) act surprised that you’re in front of them and what was that? You want to go in where? The pool fuckhead. The pool. Clearly by my large jacket, umbrella and thongs you can see I require entry to the swimming hole behind you. I grumbled about the $6.20 entry fee. For fuck sake that was a lot! Oh and $1 to hire a noodle. Yay.

Stage 3: Commence swimming
I located Michelle and dumped my stuff down. It was time to shed my large jacket and get into the damn pool. Fuck you Michelle for making me do this. Right. I stripped off and presented myself to the edge of the pool where Michelle had already done a few laps. Normally my entrance into water of this magnitude involves me getting yanked in by the wrists by my husband amid loud squeals interspersed with marital threats. With nobody to offer such encouragement today, I had to plunge in alone. Ok I was not alone, there were a heap of school kids swimming laps looking at me funny because I was just staring at the water instead of swimming in the water. Finally I did it.. blergghhhhhhh it was cold and wet. Damn water, it always is. Once in I felt ok, sporty even. I donned my goggles (hastily snatched from my 11 year old son) and took off for my first lap. The goggles are mirror goggles, yanno, like the ones Olympic swimmers wear? I definitely looked the part. I realised with dismay that Michelle had fins on. Oh. Goddammit. I missed the memo about being allowed to wear swimming aids. Of course! It’s not the fucking Olympics Didi, it’s just a few laps – fins are allowed. FML. Ima get me some.

First lap (up and back) I did ok. I’m not a strong swimmer. I did freestyle up and breaststroke (aka I am too fucked to swim freestyle) back. Phew! I made it! As I looked down the lane I realised I had no fucking idea how long the pool was. Was it 25m? or 50m? It looked long, it felt long, but fuck me, it could have been 25m for all I could tell. I felt like a fuckhead. Had I really just struggled to swim 2 x 25m? Ohhh mannn…. I had to ask Michelle. She laughed at me but confirmed that it was indeed a 50m pool. Hooray my swim distance (and feelings of self importance) had just doubled. I managed 2 more laps – for a total of 300m. At one end of the pool were a group of Masters swimmers. Hooray for me. I had an audience from 25m watching to see if I was going to make it. Watching my form loll all over the place. Watching me delicately inhale a mouthful of water because I was concentrating too much on stroke technique instead of the essential breathing technique. Dammit…

Then we did some deep water running. It’s hard with a noodle because apart from looking like a small, energetic child bobbing up and down, the noodle actually chafed a bit after a while, but I did feel like I was having a workout. If I ever do this again I’d like to wear a trendy belt like Michelle has. It’s hard swimming without contact lenses. My vision is something like this:

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Following the “running” we walked in the kiddy pool for a while. That was fun. Actually, the walking was not fun, hanging out with Michelle was fun. That’s the best thing about exercising with someone, it’s the hell excuse for a gasbag. I was sporting some serious pruney fingers by the time we called it quits. And I felt pretty good.

As we said seeya later I offered Michelle my umbrella to get to the car. She noted that it probably didn’t matter considering we were both considerably drenched already. Oh. Yeah.

Doing a white ninja from the pity party for one

Following my horrendous knee injuring run on Sunday my mental demise was akin to a small child curling up into the foetal position. I was beyond bummed out. This happened:

Pity party for one: sugar & tour de france

Pity party for one: sugar & tour de france

However, today is Wednesday. Today was the day I got in to see physio Andrew at the Body Genius Institute. Today is a damn good day. Andrew poked and bent my knee around and is satisfied that the problem continues to be a fatigue issue, not an awful “pulled the tendon off the bone” kind of issue. The range of movement through my ITB and hammies is really good, quads are a bit tight, and over all it’s ALL ABOUT THE CORE WORK. That part at least was predictable. So, the training program continues in earnest (pending any major flare ups with my knee) …. except for the long runs and ultimately the half marathon in August. The fatigue sets in about the 10km mark so until I can get my core strength up over the next few months, long distances over 10km are out. I can still do spew worthy intervals. I can still do 25 minute 5kms…  I am on a training schedule over the next 4 weeks that will help me build up my core muscles before I can slowly venture out for some longer distances again. I’m ok with that. I don’t really have a choice. It’s do this, or don’t run a marathon one day….

Helpfully physio Andrew also told me that I haven’t injured myself from over use on a foam roller – I asked him this because I rolled myself stupid on Monday night and can still feel it today fml! My muscles are sore because they’ve never been foam rolled before. He also showed me how to work a tennis ball into my glute muscles. I think this one may raise my husband’s eyebrows…

Also I asked him about the whole standing work desk idea which seems to have gained some airplay online recently and it’s a “thing” … you can lose your fitness by sitting on your arse all day behind a desk. Who knew! Physio Andrew liked the idea of a standing work desk, but in moderation – he liked the idea of these:

varidesk

so you can stand and sit at various intervals during the day. The thingy goes up and down whenever you want it to. It even comes with a computer program that tells you you’ve been sitting too long and to get up off your bum and move around. I wonder if my boss would spring for one of these in the interest of good employee health and fitness?

Endless frustration with patella tendono-fuck-opathy

Well if you thought my fucky fuck Mcfuck fuck post was entertaining, this one should be amazing.

My left knee is fucking shitballs. It is in serious denial about the rest of the body becoming a marathon runner. It will not co-operate. My left knee is a fucking jerk. Patella tendonopathy. Basically, my kneecap does not track properly so the tendon gets inflamed if pushed too hard or if fatigued. As in, whenever I want to run more than 5km. Fuck. This. Before today’s long run I actually gave my  knee 2.5km to warm up. I ran 2.5km before meeting up with Renee. I just wanted to SEE if it would sieze up like it did on Thursday night. Seemed ok. Seemed like the warmer I got the better it felt. Certainly no horrendous pain. I did feel a bit nervous though and thought perhaps there was a 50% chance I’d not make the full 14km. But I really wanted to run. I can see physio Andrew’s face now when I whine that at him “But I reaaaaaaly wanted to run”…. pfffft….

wpid-20140713_190955.jpgThe problem with running the bridges is that it’s a loop. So you can’t really bail after the halfway point. You gotta get home somehow. Although my knee felt a little shaky, I made 6km and felt good – 6:15 pace. A bit stiff maybe, but nothing to really write home about. The clinch came when we stopped at Barrack St for a drink from the fountain. I stopped. I had a drink. I took one step and WHAM my knee had had enough. It just locked up and hurt like a mother fucker. The issue is the knee bending. Straight leg is ok. Completely bent knee is ok. It’s the movement between the two that makes  a woman like me (who’s done childbirth drug free) have a mini pain panic and internal meltdown. I thought maybe if I could just get it moving again it would ease up. Nope. My knee was done. So there’s Renee and I in a situation where only Renee had her phone and we had no money. We tried my husband but he was not picking up. I was 5km from home. Fuck. Finally we decided that I’d catch the ferry across the river back to the car and Renee would keep running around the river and meet me on the other side. Problem was, I had no money. So it was time to figure out if I’d get Captain “I don’t give a fuck about your injury” or Captain “Here, take a seat love”. Happy to report not all Transperth captains are pricks – I got Captain “Here take a seat love”. Phew!

I limped off the ferry and Renee was with me within about 10 minutes. I’m yet to ask her what her splits over that 4km were! She got there pretty quick! I was mad at myself. I was mad that I’d ruined Renee’s long run. Sorry Renee. Nobody’s going to ever want to run with me ever again at this rate. First I bailed on Sam, now Renee. Fuck me just leave me behind.

Feeling pretty sorry for myself. I know it’s a fatigue issue. It’s an overuse issue. It’s ALWAYS a fucking core issue. And I also know that this kind of injury only makes me a better runner. Whether I like it or not, I am forced to listen to my body. I am forced to do more strength work, keep a focus on my flexibility and respect my body a bit more. I want to be a running machine. Mentally it’s all there right now, just my body can’t keep up. In my head it’s been over 9 months since I did this to my knee. I feel like it’s about fucking time it got back on track – literally. But in reality I’ve done maybe 2 months of solid work at the gym while at the same time increasing speed and distance rapidly. Too much, fucktard. Hindsight is amazing. Physio Andrew did encourage me to get out there today to see how it would go. Well. That’s that then physio Andrew isn’t it mate? Now we know where we’re at. Plus I have a nice ITB issue to add to the mix just to keep things interesting.

Must regroup. Getting a foam roller is a priority tomorrow.

Sitting down at dinner I almost cried into my plate I felt so bummed out. My husband is supportive, but he did tell me to get a grip. It’s going to be ok. *Sigh* I know it’s going to be ok. I know what I need to do. I hate waiting. It’s so fucking frustrating!!!! Balls and fuck.