Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lucky #4

When I was selected in the 2014 Chicago Marathon lottery, I got my email at 12:20. In 2015 they made me wait until minutes before 5pm.

When I got to work this morning and refreshed my email, this gem was waiting for me, sent at 7:13 am:

Driving into work on lottery day 2014, I heard Best Day of my Life. Today I heard Happy. My radio knows stuff! :)

Bf had asked a few weeks ago if I'd rather spend so much on something I've already done three times, or if I'd rather use that money to visit somewhere I've never been. Chicago!!!!!! At least right now, I won't be able to do marathons forever, and it wasn't even a consideration in 2016. Happy happy happy!

I've entered the lottery three times and been selected all three. Everything is going right with this system :) See you at the finish line!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pigmoji!!!

Cincinnati's overall theme is always The Flying Pig, but year to year there is a different mini-theme. So far I've done:
2013 - The hero lies in all of us (Mr. Pig was a superhero)
2014 - Pigcasso
2015 - We've got 26.2 reasons you're an all-star
2016 - 18 Years Running Strong (yeah, I don't get it either)

They finally announced 2017's theme: Pigmoji!!!! As an emoji I love love love it. As a race theme, it'll grow on me :) It's cute enough that I'd consider buying an "in training" shirt, but it's white and I already have 28 long sleeve tech shirts. Must exercise some self control here! lol

Monday, December 5, 2016

Running Funny

I KNOW that when I run I should be landing on the balls of my feet. Every good runner knows this. To be honest, I thought I was... Many months ago I met with Marie of PR Fitness in Ann Arbor, she video taped me running and we watched it frame by frame. There was some definite heel striking still going on. Not every step, perhaps, but a lot. Did that cause the PF? It certainly didn't help.

8 months later, my foot felt basically fine. I knew without any doubt though that if I was going to run again with any seriousness, the heel striking was an essential problem to solve. But it felt so easy and natural to heel strike!

The way to solve it would be to run barefoot, but not wanting gangrene or to step on glass, rusty nails, etc., I dug out the Vibram FiveFingers and wore them every single run. It felt really funny. I felt like I must have looked like a prancing horse to be lifting my foot so high then delicately placing it down. It felt like when I did ballet and we had to run, always with the toes pointing forward. It was like walking in stilettos. It was all sorts of awkward. I had to keep trying. The Vibrams are lousy for longer distances, so a few times a week, I was out for 2 miles at a time working on technique.

Eventually it started to feel less awkward.

It feels routine now. Every so often, if I'm reaching for a curb or something I still heel strike and that feels great, but the forefoot landing is my new normal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

You gotta get up and try

My foot is basically fine, I'm having motivation problems and apathy. The best remedy for that is obviously The Chicago Marathon!!!!!! It's expensive and I don't know if I want to commit to another full after Cincinnati, yet I gotta try! I was planning to enter the Marine Corps lottery and then play Chicago if the Marines didn't pick me, but Chicago moved their lottery way early to December. No time for fence sitting. If Chicago picks me, it's a super great experience. If they don't pick me, I save $500 in entry fee, hotel and travel. I can't lose :)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Columbia City - The 5th time

The sun was sooooo bright!!!!
I registered for Columbia City's half marathon way back on January 1. For that day only, it was $40. No brainer, right? 11 months later....

My foot is basically ok, my training has been a wreck because I'm having trouble with motivation, especially as it gets colder and dark so early.

It was cold, I finished. My time was abysmal, but I finished, that's what matters. Half marathon #17? 16? Somehow I remember everything about the fulls, but the halfs are a blur of half memories.

Shirt was the same Brooks design as last year, but orange this time, medal is always the same, we got Brooks socks this time around :) Nice little trip. See you next year!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Martians emailed

This is new. The Martians included a pic of the shirt and the medals with the announcement that registration is now open. They've always shown the goodies before the race, but usually not until the spring. I was going to do it either way. The "Milky Way 26k" for me again this time. I doubt I'll ever do their full again, and if I'm doing a half, what's another 5k??? The shirt is nice, medals are always good, my only gripe is that they're green again - we just had green in 2013. First world problems... It's curious, the shirt and medal have always been the same color in the 5 years I've done this race. I really like the turquoise though.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Heroes on Hines redux

I ran the Heroes on Hines half in its inaugural year, 2013. It was ok, I neither loved nor hated it. The  next few years I skipped it to prioritize Chicago the following week. Obviously Chicago wasn't in the cards this year. Heroes on Hines was never on my radar.

Then Randy from Running Fit sent this in an email. Enough said.

I was feeling optimistic when I registered. My foot is more stable, and less likely to cause me to hobble and cry in pain. I did a lousy job with training though, and wasn't ready in any way, shape or form. I ran it anyway. Something nice about doing it for the second time was that I knew the pickup was small and close to the start. Ample free parking helped too. I didn't need to go out on Friday to get my stuff - 5 minutes on Saturday was more than enough time. When my requested size was enormous, they immediately swapped it for a small. The red cup was a nice surprise :)

It was in the mid 60s and drizzly. Thankfully we were on the western non-flooded side of Hines... It was so hard to get out of the car and wait, but once we got started, it was pretty much perfect weather.

I got through it. The early miles felt good. Then my knee hurt and I couldn't pop it. Then my hip hurt. It was just pain from not using the muscles and not doing any long runs.

I just wanted to finish. Not my best, not by a long shot. My whole goal was to finish. If I could do so under 2:30, that would be great. I got close. Ah well. I'll do better next time!

Monday, September 26, 2016

I had such great intentions

I'm good at making plans. In July I mapped out the rest of my running schedule for the year. It seemed perfectly reasonable to be able to run 6 miles by the end of August, and do a few 10-milers in September in preparation for my fall halfs. Instead I went on another vacation, I relaxed a lot, I enjoyed my free time, and now it's almost October.

Getting back in running shape is sooooooo hard. A big part of me wants to throw in the towel and say my running life was a lot of fun and I have a ton of great memories, and move on to the next chapter. Then I look at my Piggie medals and try to convince myself that it's worth it, that somehow I WANT to run six days a week, that I WANT to be tied to a calendar, that I WANT all my free time devoted to running above all else. It's a hard sell. For what? So I can run upstairs with a basketful of laundry and not be out of breath? For a few t-shirts and medals? I'm not convinced it's worth it anymore.

I've already registered for and paid for a half this Saturday and another in November. This first one is going to be miserable. My foot has FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY stopped screaming with every step I take on it. (My calves are teetering on the edge of charlie horses though....) I'm slow, it's not fun right now. I'm wishing I hadn't registered for this one. First world problems.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Goals for the second half of 2016

The foot ailment sure threw a monkey wrench in the middle of my plans for the year. I'm FINALLY able to run short, smart distances, with zero consideration for speed whatsoever. I'm glad I got the bike and used it regularly, but golly am I out of shape!!! Bike shape and running shape are completely different! Although to be fair, I jumped right into hot weather running and it's typically easier with my schedule to run in the day than it would be to run in the evening, or especially in the morning (lol yeah right! me??? hahaha)

Here are the new plans for the rest of the year:

* I had planned to keep July runs under 3 miles each, but forgot that and accidentally ran 3.33 today. Oops ;)
* Run the Electric Bolt 5k virtual option this weekend. I've finished in 2nd place both times I've done it, but due to previous plans I can't make it to the actual run, not to mention I have slow legs this year. I like the people who run it, so I'm happy to support them again. They also organize the Twinkie Run.
* Increase my mileage in August so I can manage 6 miles. Build slowly, add 1 mile per week, still not running consecutive days.
* September increase to a few 10-mile runs.
* October - the Heroes on Hines half. I did it the first year and didn't love it. Running Fit is offering a bonus medal this year to runners who do both the Martian half and this half. Works for me. Besides, I'm not doing Chicago the next weekend as was the case in previous years. Almost certainly not doing the Queen Bee half in Cincinnati, even though Iris puts on exceptional races and this is the first year I'd be able to do it (always the day before Chicago). Can't justify the cost, not knowing how my foot will fare. I don't have a streak to maintain there, so no reason to drive and push it.
* November - Veterans half marathon in Columbia City, Indiana. I registered on New Year's Day for $40, even with my foot screaming angrily the whole time. Hate the course, like the people, like the town.
* December - start thinking about the Flying Pig marathon :D

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Piggie bling

Mr. Pig always has nice goodies for us. Here's the 2016 offering:

Marathon #22
1 mile shirt, 10k shirt, 5k shirt, tote bag
marathon shirt, 4-way finisher shirt, medals, plaque
There was a poster too
1 mile, 5k, 10k, marathon, 4-way, extra charm for doing the "5-way"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July

I dragged myself through the Flying Pig marathon. Hell yeah it was a bad idea!!!! But my entire goal was to finish without medical intervention and despite the 85 degree heat and sun, Pam from Dallas and I finished together.

Then I stopped running.

May....

June....

My foot feels so-so. Some days are better than others. It's never 100%, but I'm sick of biking and feeling my abs get squishy is a terrible sensation.

I had to try!!! Something!!!

One Sunday morning, I went out and ran 1 mile. No watch, no music, just a slow test run. It felt ok. No ok as in "this is fantastic, as good as new." But ok as in "I can deal with this."

The real test would be the next morning. Previously, even a 1-miler would have me aching and hobbling for two days afterward.

Monday morning felt no worse than usual. So I took the day off, and the next, which seems to be my new pattern: a short run, then two days rest. I ran 1.25, 2.0, 2.5 and it's manageable. That's the best I can hope for at this point. I'm deliberately keeping it under 3 miles the whole month, lest I give myself shin splints...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A guest post

While I can't run, here are some fun questions and answers.

If you could create your own fitness event, what would you include to make it stand out? (e.g. theme, music, location, cause) 

I see this as related to "What makes you pick one event over another?" What makes events stand out to me depends on the race. In Chicago, it's the 1.7 million spectators and the flat course. In Cincinnati, it's the great communication from the race, entertainment (and food) along the course, and the sheer amount of nice stuff I bring home (great value for the cost).

When considering half marathons, the primary thing is that it's close to home. Alternatively, if I'm on vacation and there happens to be a half nearby, I'll take whatever is offered :)

For 5Ks, I want a small race that I can feasibly place in the top 3 if I have a great run. I also want it to be cheap (under $30) and pretty close to home. Alternatively, I want a super different, fun theme, like the Pi run.

For 1-mile races, I've only done the Little Kings in Cincinnati because I'm already there, and the Ann Arbor 1-mile because it's a night race and it's close to home. If considering another, I'd want it cheap ($20-$25), flat and officially timed.

A lot of races raise funds for charities, many are committed to "sustainable practices" for the environment, none of that matters to me. Other events are more fun based, like color runs, or glow runs. Again, not my cup of tea. I look for a more serious event with winners and official times. I also prefer races from established companies that have a ton of experience staging races.

Sites to find events:
Eventbrite
Running in the USA
RunMichigan

What was your most memorable/worst moment at a race?

Most memorable - too many to count. Some of my favorites:
  • Hitting mile 25 of my first and realizing I was actually going to finish
  • Breaking 5 hours at Columbia City on a ridiculously hard course
  • Running a PR at the 2014 Chicago marathon
  • Finishing the 2015 Flying Pig with a huge PR, after running PRs in the 1-mile and 10k earlier in the weekend
  • Finishing the 2016 Flying Pig with an injured foot and zero training.
The worst:
  • 2014 Martian marathon - the course was flooded and we had to run the emergency route on a 2-loop course, weather was drizzly and low 30s. Yuck!
  • 2014 Indianapolis Monumental with the flu. Then my iPod died. Then it started cold raining!
What are some of your top training tips to prepare for a race or marathon?

Consistency is everything. I don't think for a second that I know how to prepare for a race, so I've always relied on Hal Higdon or the Hansons and let them do my thinking and planning for me. Then stick with it. Day after day after day. Consistency is the most important factor. On race day, don't try anything new. Stick with clothing, food, fuel and hydration strategies that worked successfully on the long runs. Above all else - have fun!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Frustrating Day

This is funny. I started this post on Thursday then got interrupted earlier than expected. Ah well, it's just as true today as it was then.

Today is frustrating.

It's in the upper 60s and sunny.

My foot feels great!! Well, not great, but better than it has in a long time.

I want to go run!!!!!!!

I'm still in the middle of the solid month post-race break. Not only am I waiting the arbitrary month, I'm waiting until my foot feels 100%. Most days it feels pretty good, a tiny bit stiff first thing in the morning, but good most of the day. Come on, little foot! Heal yourself!!!

A woman at work today said "I could never run like you do," Yes she could. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that... Yes you can!!!! Can you walk? Then you can run. Suck it up buttercup and push through the discomfort. Anything worth having takes a little work. I hated hated hated running the first two years, now I'm climbing the walls without it.

Waah, first world problems :D

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Oops I did it again...

Oops I registered for the 2017 Piggie. Did anyone really doubt that I would??? May as well save $ and do it early!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Moving On

Miraculously, I basically feel fine a week after the 36.5-mile Pigstravagana. Oh sure, I got my normal post-race cold, when my white blood cells were trying to repair the damage to my legs, leaving my lungs susceptible to every germ the kids brought with them. Burning the candle at both ends certainly didn't help any, but like always, I'll survive this one, too. And while the Piggie weekend was a terrible idea, I'm thankful I pushed myself through it, the pain of skipping it would have been infinitely worse than the physical pain. (race review coming soon)

Now what...? I want to go run! My foot essentially feels fine. I'm trying a new approach though to my post-race plan - No running within the week following the race!!!! I'm actually taking the entire month of May off from running, let my body heal itself, give my foot time. Absolutely nothing I did or tried helped it feel better, so I'm resigned to time. Besides, I've been saying for years I need to take one season off for deep healing and to recharge. My body told me in no uncertain terms that it's time. In good news, wearing cute shoes doesn't seem to irritate my foot, so I'm done with wearing the Mizunos around the clock.

Come June 1, if my foot has felt 100% for a while, I'll start with a sad little 1-mile run. If that hurts, give it a few more weeks. If it feels great, try it again the next day and build sloooooowly. Maybe I'll go back to the "couch potato to 5k" program just because it's a gentle way to ease into running. I'm being smart this time. Next year's Piggie is May 7, which gives me 53 weeks to heal and train. I have nothing but time to do it right.

Besides, I can always bike. That's the same, right...? :(

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's over

It's only appropriate that the first song I heard en route to Cincinnati was "It's the end of the world as we know it." Indeed. I was bound and determined and crazy stupid stubborn driven to finish the Flying Pig. After that, however, I don't know. For months now I haven't been able to see past May 1. I'd have to say I'm a retired runner, at least for the foreseeable future. It's sad. My body has been screaming at me since Christmas that we need a break. I abused it one last time, but it's time to slow down and see what else life is all about without running. According to my bucket list, I want to learn to dance the flamenco, to play the piano (again), to speak Russian. Maybe it's time to pick up one of those endeavors.

Ironically, my PF foot is the least of my pains today. My quads are beat and I picked up a blister on my right pinkie toe, both of which are significantly more painful than the arch. Nothing makes sense. I tried a different approach to healing the aches and pains, which seems to have worked dramatically better than anything I tried the first 21 times.

It's sad, and the gloomy weather doesn't help any. I don't want to retire. Even with beat up quads and a blood blister, I still want to go run today :(

Oh look! Here's a picture of me with a flying pig...

They emailed today - register for 2017 in the next two weeks for $150. It was $165 this year at the lowest rate. Why must you tempt me Mr. Pig? 2017 would be my 5th year, at which time I'm part of the "squadron" and could collect an additional 5-year finisher medal. I don't want to talk about it lol

Monday, April 25, 2016

Toledo - Meeting expectations

I've done the Toledo marathon three times. It's close enough, it's fairly cheap, and the course is good and flat. I've scaled back on doing full marathons on consecutive weekends though, and I love Cincinnati so much more, so I registered for the Toledo half this year, way back before my foot betrayed me.

Like the Martian, I had no business running it, but it's close, it was already paid for, and I haven't skipped a race yet that I had registered for. Besides, my foot hurts whether I'm running or doing nothing. It was all about having reasonable expectations. Way back when, I envisioned running with the 1:50 pace team. That became hoping to finish under 2:30.

I was woefully unprepared for the race, obviously, so it made no difference what I did short term. I wound up having a glass of wine and staying up until midnight on Saturday, then waking before my alarm, which gave me a big 4 hours of sleep. Then I realized I didn't really have anything to eat. I ate half a bran muffin, foregoing the calories (energy) in the other half, not wanting a bathroom stop mid-race.

Always wear a Chicago shirt!!!
It was 40s and full sun - perfect!!!! The start and finish lines were different this year due to construction at the stadium on the University of Toledo campus. No biggie. In past years the half runners went into the nature park, then turned left on the path. This year we turned before the park. It wasn't a fabulous course, nor was it terrible. Along the way I passed a lot of "Happy Birthday Michelle B." signs that were obviously meant for me :)

The first 8 miles felt great, then everything started hurting and I had ZERO energy. Oh well. I finished in 2:25:35. Could I have made it under 2:25? Yes. I had wanted to stay under 2:30, so it was ok.

I finished 186/286 in my age group and 1067/1645 among women. Not terrible considering the absolute lack of training. Although the winner of the men's marathon finished before me. That sure has a way of humbling me :D

When they shared a photo of the medals online months ago, I wasn't impressed. Then I saw a few finishers wearing theirs around mile 12. Holy red sparkles, Batman! It's HUGE!!!! Seriously! I measured it when I got home - 4" diameter. It's even bigger than my Disney medal. You know what would have been better though? Make it out of glass (or at least fill in the numbers with glass) seeing as Toledo is the glass city!!!! (The full medal was a diamond with a spinning circle in the center and the names of all the previous winners engraved on the pack. Ironically it was smaller than the half medal.)

The food in Toledo is the best at any marathon I've done. Pizza, mostacoli, garlic bread, yum! Beer in our pretty finisher mugs :D
Had I been able to change the name on my bib, it would have been F*ck PF

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I swear I lived

I've heard the song I Lived by One Direction countless times on the radio. I thought it had a nice chorus, then YouTube suggested it today, so I listened again. It began with a guy speaking to the camera about living with cystic fibrosis and I thought it was an ad, so I hopped over to the computer to skip it, only to realize it was the start of the video and within a minute I was in tears. If the words aren't a good enough message, the video is cut between the guy talking about his life, and scenes of living that are so wonderfully mundane that most of us take them for granted - ice skating, a birthday party, riding a bike, jumping into a swimming pool.

Hope when you take that jump, you don't fear the fall
Hope when the water rises, you built a wall
Hope when the crowd screams out, they're screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay
Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad
The only way you can know is give it all you have
And I hope that you don't suffer but take the pain
Hope when the moment comes, you'll say
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up
And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup
Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes, I'll say
I, I did it all
I, I did it all

Such has become my approach to life recently. I want to see everything, do everything, enjoy everything. Finishing the half tomorrow will hurt, but that's no reason to not do it. I feel like I've attained the clarity that comes with old age or inevitable dying, yet I've never felt more alive. Early in the year when I started to realize the running isn't going to happen this year, I decided to take a different approach and say yes to everything. And I'm having so much fun!!! Lunch with teachers I rarely see, live music on a Wednesday night, an 8-bit Nintendo competition, a 2+hour phone call when I desperately needed a nap. I'll run again when it's time. Unfortunately I can't force it to be on my time, but "God has a way of solving problems and we have great faith in the future."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today is/is not the best day of my life

Driving in to work on the day of the 2014 Chicago marathon lottery, the last song I heard was The Best Day of my Life and I just knew I would be picked. It became my theme song for the race.

Today is 2016 lottery day and with the foot, I didn't even enter. I heard the song after work and momentarily felt a tiny bit sad because I love the race so much. Then I reminded myself that a break from crazy mileage running is the ultimate first world problem.

I flipped to the next station, which was Andy Grammar's Good to be Alive. Amen! I feel like I have a lot of big things up in the air right now, looking for a new job, moving at some point, if a child happens, it'll have to be sooner rather than later. The big things are all in a state of flux, but they're going to start falling in place and everything is going to be amazing. It will all work out exactly how it's meant to.

Another song that says it all is by Sixx AM, Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful. See?! I'm not all angry hateful swearing cardio music :D


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fighting Gravity

Apologies to my male runners, this is another post about bras. See ya next time! :)

In the very pit of my heart, I hold a grudge against UnderArmour for discontinuing the Endure sports bra. I bought my first one in 2008 and repeatedly bought at least 2 a year until they changed the model for their high impact bra. I then found one on Amazon for about $40, then one final one on eBay for $29. It was white and sold as "damaged" because it had a small pen stain, and a makeup stain on the back, tags still attached. I can wash off the makeup, and just don't care about the ink. I haven't been able to find any more :(

Eventually I had to find something different, but all the bras nowadays seem to be a lot lower cut. Are we wearing them to support the girls or to look "sexy"? Pfft! Give me a sports bra that comes up to my collarbone!

Seriously. What is the point of this little knobby stitch???
REI is where I found the Endure in the first place, but they now sell MovingComfort. I bought Fiona style. It's ok, a total pain to get on because it has eye hooks in the back, so you pull it over the head, adjust the hooks, then tighten the velcro on the shoulders. The weirdest thing was a small stitch right in the center that has no purpose. I suppose it's to make it "nicer looking." Just. Don't. Care. I want my sports bras to fit like a straitjacket. The first time I wore it, the stitch rubbed a sore on my breastbone, so I immediately cut the stitch and smoothed out the neckline. Overall rating: 6/10. It basically works. It's expensive ($66) and a total pain to get on.

A few weeks ago I was at Meijer and browsed through the fitness clothing. For shirts, they're about 1/3 the price of Athleta. Not that I ever buy running shirts, I just felt like looking. I saw their version of a high impact sports bra, looked at it, tugged on the tightness of the band and finally tried it on. The RBX maximum support bra is a zip-up design, which I don't love, but it sells for $26, and this week they were sold buy 1, get 1 half off. Two bras for $42 :D It's not the most flattering looking bra, but again, just don't care! Support and comfort wise, it's equivalent to the big name companies. Overall rating: 8/10. It works and it's cheap. Only available in black or gray, but things like that don't matter to me.

For what it's worth, the UnderArmour Endure rating was a 10+/10. I should have bought them in bulk :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Let it go

The Chicago marathon lottery window closed yesterday. With the kind of year I've had, they would pick me, then I would be in this same situation all summer - too injured to train, stressed about the race, the entry fee, the lack of training. The smart thing (and I'm not always smart when it comes to running) was to just not enter. I had trouble falling asleep last night, told my bestie I felt unsettled, but I couldn't identify the source. It was the marathon, duh! I still had 3 hours to enter, then 2 hours, then I finally fell asleep and the lottery went on without me :(

Of course I could still enter on a charity spot.... :D Not this year!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Martian - Best day of 2016

Saturday was the Martian marathon. I had no business attempting it with my complete lack of training. Yet, they offered a new event this year, the "Milky Way 26k" 5k and half marathon combination. I had registered way back in October.

It's close to home.

I've never not done a race I had registered for.

I could certainly hack my way through a 5k.

Nothing was making my foot better, so why not see? I stopped running so as to be able to run the races. It was race day, so if not then, when??? Besides, if I didn't try, what else would I do? Sleep? Netflix with my cat?

The forecast was COLD! (Windchill of 12 degrees....) The actual temperature was every bit what they predicted. Sometimes I dress too warm or not warm enough, but I nailed it on Saturday - Athleta pants, thick SmartWool socks, cutesy knee socks, Chicago marathon jacket, gloves.

Then I ran into the problem of which shoes to wear. The Hokas are more comfortable, but they've been rubbing a blister the past few runs, which the Mizunos have never done, so despite them being less comfortable, it was a Mizuno day. A fresh blister at mile 2 of 16 would be a day-ender.

Really nice for a 5k, about average for a half
The 5k started at 8:00. I let people pass me, no big deal. I ran the entire way without stopping or walking for anything. (No Twinkies to distract us...) My final time was 29:37, which was exactly one minute faster than the Twinkie run. So I was pleased with that. Far from a PR, but better than I expected.

Looking at my statistics makes it even better. I didn't train, I wasn't trying and still managed pretty decent placements:

25/124 (age group)
146/902 (women)
390/1515 (overall)

The half would start at 8:45, which gave me 15 minutes to cross the parking lot, drink a little water and eat 2 cookies.

The half...

It started really snowing and the wind picked up to the point that we had white-out conditions. Don't think, don't wimp out. Grit, girl! You're tougher than snow!! I made it to the halfway turnaround point where a race volunteer was directing half runners to turn. I had been looking at every runner on their way back, looking for Nita. I thought about telling the volunteer "Tell Anita H----------- that Michelle made the turn!" Then I realized how crazy that sounded. I didn't know where she was, didn't know what she was wearing, didn't know her race number hah I knew she'd pass me at some point on the way back.

I kept going. My heart and lungs felt great. My foot was KT taped and 3 NSAIDs were happily swimming in my bloodstream. The pain was from the complete and utter lack of training. My glutes hurt, my groin hurt. Around mile 8 I thought "I can walk the rest of the way...." Then I asked myself Are we athletes, or are we bitches???

Just keep going. I knew it was going to be an ugly race, and it was, yet it was the best day of my year. I was so thrilled to be running!!!!

There is a super steep hill around mile 11. Every year I attack it with the mantra Make this hill your bitch! (Sorry, my runner self is a potty mouth...) Every other runner was walking up the hill. Injured girl, comin' on through!!! :D

Mile 12+ on Brady, a man was pacing his friend, pushing him to the finish. I shut off the music and listened to him instead. Are we athletes or are we bitches? Don't stop, keep going. It was hurting either way, so power through the last steps and be done that much faster.

I finished.

My goal was to finish without medical evacuation. Whatever time I got was what I got. In the end I managed a 2:32:09. I'm doin the best that I can. It was a good 30+ minutes faster than Disney, my only trail half was a 2:29, so I was in the ballpark. It wasn't a terrible time given the conditions. I just can't think about the 1:58 I ran on the same course last year.

I grabbed a handful of cookies (they're soooooo good), and my immediate thought was How in H E double hockey sticks am I ever going to do the Pig? I HAVE to switch to the 3-way. (5k, 10k, half)

My quads were beat, as bad as they are after a full, yet two days later, my foot is back to how it was. Certainly no better, but no worse either. For now I'm going to let it ride before I decide about Toledo and Cincy. (Oh hell, I'm totally doing them unless a major catastrophe flares. We all know I am. I'm crazy stupid stubborn. Then NO fulls in the fall. Not. Even. Chicago. My soul cries to type that.)

Was 16.2 miles on zero training a good idea? NO! Would I recommend it to anyone? Never! Am I glad I did it? Absolutely!!! The pain will fade eventually and I'll be left with the memories and these pretty little martian friends.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Twinkie pics

I shoulda worn the StormTrooper onesie... :)
Why yes, I WOULD like a Twinkie mid-run... :D

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What worked, what didn't

My wretched PF has been with me over 3 months at this point. I still notice it, but the intensity is way down, to the point that it's a nagging annoyance more than a serious injury. I tried pretty much everything short of dry needling. Here is what worked and what didn't:

Definitely helped
time/rest :(
Prescription strength NSAIDs
KT tape (helped with pain management, didn't cure anything)
different gait when running

Probably helped
Different shoes

Didn't make a difference either way
heat
ice
massage
athletic tape
rolling (it's good for mobility though, so everyone should do it)
reflexology (although it felt good)
OTC NSAIDs
orthotics
stretching
menthol rub, any topical cream
night boot

Made it worse
cortisone
foot strengthening exercises (I might try them again once the pain is fully gone)

I still haven't decided about my spring races. In the "dealing with it" process (known as the grieving process for serious issues, of which this is not...), I'm still deeply enmeshed in DENIAL :D

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Guess who's back, back again

April 1 is always the date of the Twinkie Run in Ann Arbor. It's run by Ann Arbor Active against ALS, a smaller organization that also sponsors the Electric Bolt run in the summer. I've done it the past 2 years, and it's just fun, completely irreverent. Eat a Twinkie, then start running? I don't even like Twinkies and it's still fun and funny.

It's a cheap race - $17 ahead of time, $22 last minute. The weather was good, and I just wanted to do it. I had low low low expectations. I wanted to finish and I wanted to have fun. Obviously I wore my tutu... It was cool, so I wore the rainbow striped tights as well, and received compliments the whole time on my outfit lol Several people asked if they could post my photo on their facebook pages, so I might have a picture to add here at some point. Had I thought about it, I probably would have worn my StormTrooper onesie. I swear one of these days, it's getting worn in a race!!!!

I didn't start right at the front of the line, I went a moderate pace and watched runner after runner pass me. That's ok. It was my first event post-injury and I just wanted to finish. For what it's worth, I did eat the second Twinkie mid-way. You gotta eat the Twinkies!!! Otherwise, it's just another 5k, which are a dime a dozen.

My final time was 30:37, which was faster than I had expected. When they posted the results, I thought a realistic placement would be 10th-12th. I was 10th in my age group, out of 44. It's my worst placement at this particular race, and that's ok. I felt good about the race and about my foot. Although I met someone for dinner an hour after I finished running who immediately asked "Why are you limping?" I wasn't!!!!! Denial is my coping mechanism :D

The one problem was that I wore the Hokas with thick socks and the right foot still rubbed a blister in the same spot! I need to experiment with Vaseline or BodyGlide on the next few runs.
No pint glass for me this time (top 3)
I didn't buy a shirt - orange isn't my color

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bad Combination

Wednesday. My foot wasn't super painful, the weather was good, short runs on Saturday and Monday didn't make things any worse. I had to try again, yes? You gotta get up and try and try and try.

Clown shoes...
The weather was great - upper 50s and partly sunny. It was too hot for pants, but too cool for a skirt, perfect to wear the tri-shorts. Likewise, it wasn't warm enough for bare legs, so I wore knee socks. Plus I love the look of shorts and knee socks :D

RunnerSanta brought me a super cute pair of socks with "cameow" designs. They're from Sock it to Me, which makes super cute socks, although they're thinner than the cushy SmartWool I usually buy. I've certainly worn them plenty of times though without any problems.

Marie said to wear the Hokas until I can run pain free.

I've been taping my arch to provide extra support. I was out of athletic tape, so I used Hello Kitty duct tape, which I've done numerous times without any problems.

It felt so amazing! I took it slow so I could enjoy it longer :) I was thrilled to realize my cardiovascular capacity was still there. Granted I wasn't going super fast and hitting anaerobic training, but a steady pace felt good, felt great for my joints, felt great for my heart and lungs, felt amazing for my mental health :D

At mile 2.8 though, my feet started feeling rubbed. Wth??? I was over a mile from the car and it was a little uncomfortable, but I finished.

Got home, took off the shoes to ice my left foot and there was a huge cut! Dang!!!! It's where the tape bordered the foot, so perhaps I taped too tight? Although the right foot, which was untaped, was tender and rubbed in the same spot. This is gross, but I put the flap of skin back in place and covered it with a bandage, hoping it'll reseal itself.

Lesson learned: Hokas require thicker socks. If I want the cutesy socks, they need sturdy SmartWool footies underneath. The Mizunos seem fine with thin socks. The one positive was that I made this discovery on a short run, not 2 miles into a half!

BTW, I'm looking for a job. I have experience in education, professional training and news analysis. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Seriously, if anyone knows of anything, let me know!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Who are you? Do do, Do do

My teaching job is weird. I work in 5-8 different schools every week, so the relationships I have with the others teachers are superficial and one-dimensional. It seems that those I regularly see and work with, I only know one trait. Likewise, they only know me as the crazy runner they always see around the school after hours and in the summer. If I had a dollar for every time someone said "I saw you running near..." I was perfectly happy with that. What else is there to know about me??? Seriously.

Then PF reared its ugly head and my whole world was shaken up. I would have so much preferred to stay on cruise control. Work, work, run, Jeopardy!, early bed, bf on the weekends. Same schedule, same training program, same races. Homeostasis baby. Humans like things to stay the same, we like continuity and predictability.

One of my runner friends reminded me "Running is something you do. It's not who you are." Except it was. Since 2009, running has been how I identified myself. I'm not anyone's wife, not anyone's mother, not an important employee, I was a runner! It was my means to control my weight, my time for deep thinking, planning, problem solving, the source of most of my goals.

Then it was ripped away. Despite my many pronouncements, I never ever ever wanted to retire. I started spinning and questioning everything in my life. I broke up with the boyfriend, started looking and applying for a new job, and pondered how do I fill my time when I can't run??? I've seen a few friends that got pushed by the wayside, I reconnected with people I used to know, I've been studying for hours every day for Jeopardy! (They have to call at some point, right?) It's not the same. Change is never easy, even when it's necessary.

Then on a day when nothing makes sense, my brother shared this on facebook. It's nothing we haven't heard before, but always a great reminder just the same.
Not me in the pic! Saved this from PostSecret

It has been said, "Wherever you find yourself... at some point in time you made an appointment to be there." If this is true in your case, own it. Face it. Get real with yourself. Do not stay in what you know is wrong because you did not listen to the warnings or to your own intuition. Things could have worked out. But they didn't. Do not allow fear or embarrassment of looking stupid to discourage you from doing what you need to do. Be ready to admit that you were wrong or that you made a mistake. Face it and move on. Do not beat yourself up. You did not listen to your first mind or trust your intuition. None of us is perfect.
Get some help to clear your thinking and carve out a new life for yourself. Contrary to popular belief, just because you made a mistake, you do not have to live with it for the rest of your life. You can decide to change it. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Stand up for yourself. Do not waste another day living a life that is not you. It may be a job, a business, a relationship, or a decision that you made. Cut your losses. Life and time are too precious to continue to live a lie. You deserve better and you can do better when you get the courage to do what you know you must. You have something special. You have GREATNESS within you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bucket List #29 - Field of Dreams

A few months ago I realized school was closed last Friday. Then I looked at the map of where the presidents are buried. Two are fairly close to eastern Iowa. It meant only one thing - road trip!!!!!












Thursday, March 24, 2016

Shhhh

People keep asking me about my foot. Shhh, no comment, lest I jinx it.

NSAIDs take a while to kick in (for me at least)
Zero miles in a solid month (flu, travel)

One of my runner friends thinks it's a no-brainer that I should defer Cincinnati, that I should have done it already. It's an irrevocable decision though, so I'm perfectly content to let it ride a few more weeks. Friend accused me of not deciding yet based on ego. Perhaps. I'm crazy about keeping my streak alive. They don't process the deferrals until the summer anyway, so I have nothing but time.

Drugs, rolling, stretching, ice, time. We'll see.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Untenable Relief

Over the weekend I went on a crazy stupid long road-trip to Iowa then home by way of Springfield, Illinois. I spent all weekend sitting in the car. Why was my foot pain excruciating by Sunday afternoon? It made NO sense whatsoever!! Rest while wearing the Mizunos = agony? I don't get it.

I had 3 last Salsalate pills (NSAIDs) so I took all three, to no relief. A few hours later I met an old friend for burgers and a beer. We sat and chatted for two hours, then when I stood up to leave, I paused a second to fully register the moment - my foot didn't hurt!!!!!!!!! There was no feeling of a small knife being wedged in the heel, so sensation of a deep purple bruise on the top. I walked to the door, still no pain. I walked to my car - no pain!!!!! Whee!!!! Meanwhile my liver was screaming for mercy... (For what it's worth, I had switched to the Hokas by this point because the Mizunos smelled like sweaty feet ewww)

This morning it feels alright. Not cured, but not agony either. Hmmm Drink a beer then run the Pig??? This is ponderous man, really ponderous.... (It's no worse than my current idea of having someone KT tape me at the expo and carrying a bottle of numbing spray, stopping every few miles to reapply)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I Miss the Misery

It's Tuesday (historically no-exercise Tuesday). It's 48 degrees and we haven't seen the sun since Saturday. Obviously everything about this scenario makes me so desperate to go run!!!!! The worst thing is that I CAN run, I just know it'll hurt tomorrow and eradicate any gains I created (or didn't). It's entirely possible I won't run again until the Martian half on April 9. I'm so bored with biking. I need endorphins. Nita posted about the amount of thinking that gets done on a run, and I totally agree. Even having the same time, quiet time, whatever, quality thinking doesn't happen like it does on a run.

Some thoughts from my "retirement song" to reflect my attitude about running today. (Note, it's all completely out of context, helps if you personify running)

I miss the bad things
The way you hate me
I miss the screaming
And the things you do to me

I love the way that it hurts

I don't miss you, I miss the misery
I'd rather fight than just fake it 

I miss the feeling of pains in my chest

I like the kick in the face
I've tried but I just can't take it
Leaves me a mess
I miss the misery

NEVER AGAIN will I say I HAVE to run, because I don't. I CHOOSE to, and until December 27, I'd been blessed with the ability to do so whenever I wanted. My body would have run forever, it was my wimpy brain limiting the possibilities. Sad. Cranky. I miss the misery :(

Monday, March 14, 2016

Meeting Marie

I've been saying for years that I need a running coach, that I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know how to improve. I kept finishing though, then I switched to the Hansons program and my times starting falling across all my distances, and a coach became one more thing pushed back to my wish list for when I have a million dollars.

Then my foot ruined 2016. Coincidentally Bill is friends with Rob and Marie, owners of PR Fitness so I asked him to introduce me to them. I didn't need coaching per se because I'm not running. The best description I could come up with was a new client orientation. I wanted to meet with either of them, and look at my shoes, my feet, my legs, my run, then tell me what to do. I figure a running coach has seen or had every ailment, especially one as common as PF.

I met with Marie after work on Tuesday. She looked at all my shoes and confirmed they're the right shoes for my feet. She watched me run and offered a few suggestions:

- Wear the Mizunos with orthotics around the clock. The insert fits in a pair of slippers I have - wear them to bed.

- Add in leg strengthening exercises. On alternate days, work the calves and the hip flexors.

- Add in balancing exercises ie stand on one leg while I do dumbbell exercises for my arms.

- To get more downward force when rolling my calves, cross the other leg on top of the one being worked.

The big recommendation was to change my gait. She said I heel strike way too much and a more fore-foot strike would help immensely. Why didn't she just tell me to become left handed...? A friend agreed that it sounds mentally exhausting. Physically it's not a huge change, but I'll have to be cognizant of every step. I tried it on a Saturday walk, jogging about 20 paces. It didn't feel terrible, certainly better than anything I'd been doing.

Something else I tried is a more holistic approach. Maybe the problem isn't in my foot, maybe it's inflammation in my hip or just general inflammation? I have a half bottle of Salflex in the medicine cabinet from a few years ago. It said "take as needed." I didn't need it then, I do now. Previously it took 12 days to kick in. I've been using it a week now and my foot feels better. Not healed, but improved. Is it the drugs? Is it almost complete rest from being sick? Is it following Marie's advice? Has enough time elapsed since the PF flared? I can't answer why I've been enjoying a brief respite, but I can take drugs until May 1 if that's what it takes. I've been drinking tart cherry juice as well and trying to avoid dairy and sugar (daily attempt, daily struggle).

She asked an important question after asking about my race plans and determining I'm obsessed with keeping my Piggie streak alive. They make a huge deal about "streakers" and I've done every 4-way challenge they've had. She asked When is it going to end? Perfectly reasonable question. If I'm this obsessed after 3 years, what am I going to be like after 9 years? After 24 years??? I said It'll stop when I get pregnant. Unless I can time it to get pregnant immediately after the race, or perhaps right before and be in the first month or two at race day. Hah stupid Piggie streakers! I'm putting way too much pressure on myself to keep it going.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The fastest, worst weight loss

I woke up at 9:30 Tuesday night with a dire need to hit the bathroom. So it continued all night with the flu. I finally took my pillow into the bathroom and laid on the floor because I couldn't handle walking back and forth to bed. With getting up every half hour to eliminate more toxins, I never really slept, went through cycles of sweating and chills.

Now it's Friday and I still don't feel great. If anything, I feel worse than I did on Thursday. I'm dizzy and the room is intermittently spinning. I feel hungry, but the thought of any food or drink makes me queasy. Even so, I choked down half a bowl of oatmeal and 30 oz of water. I've been sleeping 10+ hours a night and still exhausted. I don't feel this tired after a marathon! Not even Goofy had me this wiped out :(

As of this morning, I'm down 6 pounds. I can't afford to be losing weight, I'm already struggling to keep the muscle weight on with not running. I wish I could give myself an iv with fluids and nutrients. I'm such a mess.

Monday, March 7, 2016

More Monday

I haven't done anything to "fix" my foot all weekend. I wore sturdy shoes to work, doc marten types, not gym shoes, not heels, just a solid shoe. My foot has felt ok. Not great, but I get the occasional first few steps where it doesn't hurt, then I'm reminded, oh yeah, there's the pain :( It's weird because the heel isn't bothering me so much now, it seems to have moved to the top of my foot, Dr. Google says possible tendinitis there too. Maybe my shoes are laced too tight, perhaps doing foot strengthening exercises while wearing shoes wasn't a great strategy. I'm a mess.

Then it was 67 and sunny and the weather was just taunting me. I'd rather it be cold and snowing now if I can't be outside to enjoy it.

After work the weather was still soooooo nice. I got out the menthol rub and massaged my foot then my calf. There is a knot in my left calf that I worked for a good while with massage and rolling. I can't fuss with it forever though, so I had to let it be. It's hard to roll the calf because I can't get enough weight on that part of my body. The quads are easier for example, because I can balance the majority of my body weight there and exert a ton of pressure. Not so much with the calves.

I went out for a sad little run/walk. My heel felt so so. The top of my foot was discomfortable the entire time. I tried taking smaller steps, it didn't make a difference.

100 crunches after. A stronger core can only help with the running.

I see Marie the running coach tomorrow for a new runner consultation. I already have 5 pairs of shoes packed for her to evaluate. Just tell me what to do!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sleepy Saturday

I've been wearing the Vibrams a lot at home. I had been doing foot strengthening exercises for a few days, then the top of my foot started hurting. Today I tried something radical - nothing!!!! I had a relaxing day with Butterfly and just let my foot be. I didn't try to fix anything, because I'm probably making things worse by constantly irritating it. I stretched once before I got out of bed, but that's it. No massage, no rolling, just let it be. It doesn't feel any worse. I'm so irritated. And sad. I just want to run!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Misdiagnosis Monday?

The students I teach are in the midst of a big testing window. I get them started, then just monitor them and I don't have a ton of actual work to do right now. So I read.

In the course of Monday's reading, I all but confirmed something I suspected weeks ago - I don't think I actually have plantar fasciitis. I now have a name for what I think is really ailing me - plantar fasciosis, a degenerative wear condition caused from repeated stress. I'd say 5000+ miles on concrete constitutes repeated stress. The gorgeous blue Mizunos weren't really helping either - too much of a toe raise, too high of a drop from the heel to the forefoot.

Plantar fasciosis is the body's attempt to prevent further damage by producing scar tissue. I probably already had fasciitis, never realized it, and this is how my body tried to protect itself. It explains why the cortisone had zero effect, why the fasciitis methods worked for a quick minute, then never again - there's no inflammation!!!! Why have we been treating something that doesn't exist?

I guess that's good news. The bad - there's no real cure. Use heat to increase blood flow, do foot strengthening exercises. I found a few really good holistic foot care sites that recommend "toe spacers" to align the feet in their proper shape without being compressed by shoes. They're available online for $60, or this girl went to the $1 store and bought a pedicure set just for the toe spacers. On Tuesday I wore my Vibrams around the house all night - zero arch support, and my feet feel better than they have all week. Although they felt great last week when I wore dress shoes with heels. These holistic doctors argue against orthotics, that they weaken the arches by constantly propping them up, and not allowing the arch to do its own job. That makes sense. They weren't helping me in any discernible way.

Bill reached out to one of his BQ runner friends who owns a run coaching business. I want to meet with her for a new client consultation. I want her to look at my feet, look at my legs, look at the 5 pairs of shoes I bring, watch me walk, watch me run, measure my legs to make sure they're the same length, then design a program specific to me. Dr. King will write me a prescription for physical therapy - does Marie think it would help? If so, can she just show me the exercises they would recommend? I probably should have done this in 2009 before my first marathon, but at the time, I never ever ever would have predicted running would become such a huge part of my life.

Here are the links I found most helpful:
https://cdn.nwfootankle.com/editor/files/130/Ingram___McClanahan_-_Treatment_of_Plantar_Fasciosis__sm_.pdf

http://naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17915320-top-exercises-for-feet-toes

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sullen sunday

It's 64 degrees and sunny.

I can't run.

Need I say any more?

I did a pathetic 2-mile walk at the track because my cat said I had to leave the house. Wore the Hokas and concentrated on keeping my big toes flat against the soles, not letting them raise and accentuate the arch with every step. Slow jogged the last 100 meters and immediately my foot felt like hell. Soaking it in a bucket of ice and water. Nothing is helping. Why do I keep bothering? I thought for sure I'd be training by March 1. That will be Tuesday and I feel no better than I did in December. So angry and defeated. FML.

I'm just DONE. NOTHING is helping it, so I'm DONE! No more stretching, no more heat and massage, no more soaking in ice until my foot is blue, no more rolling, no more menthol rub, no more biofreeze, no more liniment cream, no more compression socks, no more night splint, no more being consumed by what shoes I'm wearing. I'm just DONE!

I increasingly find myself feeling infuriated with people who CAN run, just choose not to. Do they have ANY idea what I would give to be able to run?????

Saturday, February 27, 2016

2016 Goals

At the end of last year, I figured out my goals / plans for 2016. Sadly, I think it was during the December 26 run that ignited the PF that I had time and really thought about what I wanted to accomplish. I don't call them resolutions, but plans because I fully intend to complete them.

1. Run a half PR in Toledo (awesome flat course, pacing teams)
2. PR the 1 mile, 10k and full in Cincinnati (audacious, yes, but I did it in 2015)
3. Run a 5k under 26 minutes off the treadmill
4. Run 1500+ miles throughout the year.
5. Run 200 miles in a month.

Then the PF flared up and everything changed.

The new goal, there's only one:

Finish every race I've already entered without requiring medical evacuation off the course.

I haven't registered for anything new since the PF started haunting me. There's a 5k in Ann Arbor in a few weeks that I'd like to do, but I can't see paying $35 to have fun, knowing full well a PR isn't in the cards right now. Besides, I have more than enough race shirts. Grown-up Michelle says buying 3 shares of Ford stock is a better use of that $35. Dang, being responsible can be so lame!!!! haha

At this point, I don't even know if I'll enter the Chicago lottery. Legacy status is no longer a thing, so I'm not sure I want to invest the money, not sure if I'll be able to train this summer. I have until April 12 to decide.

One of my long long long term plans is to run 5 marathons in 5 states in 5 days. Maybe 2017, maybe after my hypothetical child grows up and stops sucking my time and money. Assuming I ever tame this PF, I've been thinking about doing back to back marathons in the fall (back to back days, not weekends, been there, done that). It's all about expectation management - neither would be a PR. Maybe a 50k. I've always sworn up and down I hate trail running, but street running isn't good for the PF and I don't want to be on the track forever. Maybe I become a trail runner out of necessity. I don't like uncertainty, I like seeing the steps all laid out ahead of me then following the steps I've designed :D

Btw, I'm still with Nita's crunch challenge - does it ever end...? At first I hated it. Now I mildly tolerate it. It got easier, and seeing results is a huge motivator. I do 100 or more crunches, with some variety for boredom, ie, move out one foot, then the other, cross one leg over the other knee, then raise leg straight up. My goal is 100, sometimes I lose count and do more. After that, I typically do a "Pilates 100" although today was about 400. The absolute best song for that is Moves Like Jagger. It's 128 beats per minute with a steady constant beat. I don't even count reps, just hit every beat. Now I need to slow down the snacking and really see these abs!!!! :D

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Willful Wednesday

My foot was back to its old game this morning. I stretched and massaged it before getting out of bed, but it still didn't want to bear weight comfortably. While I worked I wore good shoes, stretched it, massaged it, rolled it, heat, ice blah blah blah In the moment everything feels good, but only lasts until I walk a single step.

I added in a new part to the regimen today - calf rolling. There is no definitive cause for PF and therefore no known cure, aside from time. Tight calves may or may not be a contributing factor. The foam roller was too big, golf ball and baseball much too hard, and tennis ball too soft. Time for the ghetto massage tools - grandma's rolling pin covered with 1/8" foam wrap lol It hurt a little, then I soaked it in Epsom salt. Wore the hideous Hokas to work.

After work I had a GroupOn for a reflexology session. I had never gone before and Sandra was wonderful. It was super relaxing and didn't hurt or tickle. She loosened a huge pop in the mid foot area. She sees and works on feet all day and thought mine might be on the back side (nearing it's end). I sure hope so! I don't really adhere to the ideas of chakras and voodoo healing, but at the same time, it can't hurt. If nothing else, it was an amazing 40-minute foot and calf massage. I'll go back :)

My foot feels irritated again, like always, but I'm just going to leave it alone for the rest of the night. I tend to be of the mindset that if stretching and massaging once or twice a day is good, 17 times must be better, yes? Maybe I'm irritating the spot by constantly fussing with it. I'll leave it alone tonight, break up the scar tissue once tomorrow, then see how it feels on Friday.

The new plan that I hate, yet I can deal with is to do a hard cardio bike session with hottie TriJake 5x a week, then on the 6th day try a sad little 5k run to see how my foot is feeling. When I do it right, biking is cardiovascularly harder than easy runs. Plus, Nick / Zach at the running store said once the pain subsides, I'll regain my miles quickly and easily. Something else hopeful he said was that as quickly and suddenly as I felt the PF, it'll just stop. I trust lifelong runners on such matters more than anyone else.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday

I've been wearing well structured heels almost around the clock since Sunday and my foot has legitimately been feeling better, no pain to speak of, just the annoyance and inconvenience of maintaining it. My feet have been maintained in their natural position, not free to widen and flop, heels keep my stride length shorter and everything is good.

I stopped by Ann Arbor Running Company with my old Mizuno18s and my really old 13s to show Zachary / Nick how I wear out my running shoes (always a great idea when buying new running shoes). I knew what I was looking for, but Mizuno hasn't made the gray Rider 13 in many years. Aside from that, I wanted a shoe with more stability through the sole, and a smaller, more constrained toe box.

 I came home with some particularly hideous purple Hokas that can be returned within a week or so if they don't work. It's Tuesday, historically no exercise Tuesday, but it was 37 and sunny!!! Allegedly there's a "major winter storm" coming, although plenty of forecasts dismiss that. Regardless, sun + new shoes = running!!

I went to the track for the softer surface. For the first lap I was simultaneously laughing, hollering and crying - IT DIDNT HURT!!!! Soon enough I started to feel a cramp in the arch, so I stopped after a sensible 3.10 miles. By the time I got home, it was really cramped. Ice soak before a shower, then heat, massage, stretch, roll. It's getting so tedious!

There was a group of 20+ high school kids at the track running 200 meters, then walking the rest of the lap. Every fiber in my legs and heart and lungs was dying to pull up alongside them and race them (of course it's a race! You're running next to me on the track? We're racing!) but I was sensible and mature and responsible and stayed in lane 8 slowly motoring along. There's no speed work on my agenda for a long long time. I'm trying to run through this, not tear anything or strain it beyond repair. Being an adult can be such a drag sometimes :(

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I don't know anything

I ran 3.1 at the track yesterday. The pain during and after were consistent with my shorter runs. This morning I didn't really feel any worse, but I sure didn't feel any better.

I had to work this morning - from home. While waiting for the project manager to sign off on my newsletter, I searched "acupuncture plantar fasciitis" because I'm beyond the point of conventional ideas, yes?

An average first visit costs over $100 and it can take months to work. If it takes months, I can just rest for free. Or I can see my yoga teacher (chiropractor) for $35 a visit if I want to explore alternative health.

I came across an article on The Huffington Post, in which one doctor in England recommended to one patient that she wear heels for PF. Flats weren't working for me, so why not? I wore my beautiful blue heels - 2" - to church and it felt pretty good. I know it's not a long term solution because heels shift the weight from the heel to the forefoot, but that's exactly what I wanted today - get the weight off my heel! More problematically, heels tighten and shrink the calf muscles, so really, I can't do this forever! I know this! In the meantime, heels force a shorter stride length, so there's no possible over striding.

My foot felt maybe a tiny better after church, certainly not worse, so I did the smart thing and biked. Why strain it again for a few piddly miles?

Then I read another article (I'm obsessed, ok?) which recommended men with PF wear sturdy oxford type shoes. And I started to wonder.

OMG! Light bulb! Neon sign! Eureka!!!!

DID MY RUNNING SHOES CAUSE THE PF??? ARE THEY WORSENING IT?!?!?

They have a nice mesh top that breathes and allows sweat to wick off. The trade off is that my toes have a ton of wiggle room. Yes, including room to wiggle up and down. Am I running with my toes arched up???

This could be a foot changing realization!! Never mind the four brand new pairs of Mizunos that collectively have less than 20 miles on them, would different shoes fix this???

Road trip to Ann Arbor Running Company after work on Tuesday!!!

Until then - sturdy heels! So what if I'm 6'3" all week? I want heels to alleviate the Achilles, and the sturdiest ones I have that don't bend anywhere in the sole. Yet, no more than 2" tall. Yes, I have a ton of options to meet this criteria. Good thing I collected shoes for so many years lol :D

Another little factoid that got into my brain years ago from something I read is that ladies really shouldn't wear gym shoes or flip flops because they allow our feet to widen and flatten. Why have I been wearing running shoes exclusively since Christmas??? Ladies should wear well structured dress shoes to keep their feet properly shaped! (and arches where they belong! Not falling down like melted ice cream!)

This is so exciting! Did I really and truly figure it out????

The cruel irony is that walking on my heel and arch was so unbelievably painful after last week's 7-miler that I subconsciously walked on the outside of my foot, so that hurts now too, right underneath the pinky toe. I might get a 30-minute deep-tissue massage this week for my calf and foot. Just ignore the crying and gasping and whimpering sounds....

My foot has been in a bucket of ice water (colder than straight ice) for 14 minutes here and I'm about to jump out of my skin! Worst pain of the day. Come on baby, make it hurt so good!

Update: Monday morning. Wore the heels until bedtime, put them on first thing. Working from home in sweat pants, white socks and blue heels - that's a look!!!! Still stretching, rolling, massaging. Foot hasn't felt this good since December!!!! Hope!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

79 Hours

Aside from the brief flare up on Tuesday afternoon, I'd never know I had a cortisone shot. It hasn't done anything!!! NOTHING!!! Every morning, regardless of how early it is, or how much I need to use the restroom, I take 2-3 minutes to stretch my heel and put on my running shoes before I get out of bed. Every time I optimistically think "It has to be better, right? Today's the day I feel the drugs."

Than I take one step on my left foot and the whole day is downhill from there. I play act when I'm out in the world, but oftentimes at home I'm either enraged and screaming, or I'm crying.

Then I remind myself that people have real problems, and I'm in agony because I can't run comfortably? If it were anyone else, I'd tell my bestie "waaaah, boo ^&ing hoo, poor baby can't run?? Poor thing!!!!" (that's not nice of me. God and pastor's wife (friend) wouldn't approve). First world problem if I ever heard of one. Then I feel even worse about being so upset. In the grand scheme, I have a really good life, but a huge part of said life has been ripped away from me, and it's affecting my mental and physical health.

My 60-year old gf who never minces words said matter of factly that Dr. King didn't do it right. Either it was the wrong spot or she didn't go deep enough or she didn't give me enough drug. I called the office to find out what we do now. Can I have another? Is there a different shot? How do we fix this bc obv it didn't work, and I'm not going to pay my bill and pretend everything is fine. Allegedly they're open until 4, but I left a message before 2 that was never returned. Will call again tomorrow, they're open on Saturdays.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

45 hours later

I had the cortisone injection 45 hours ago. I'M STILL WAITING FOR IT TO KICK IN!!!! To say I'm frustrated and annoyed is like saying a hurricane is a "slight wind storm." Stretching, icing, rolling, massaging. NOTHING IS WORKING and it's supposed to be 50 and sunny on Saturday. FML.
....
It's now been 53 hours. Still not working.

The only other time I had a pain injection was when I broke my finger on my 15th birthday (tripped over a hurdle at track meet - oops). It was dislocated in all three knuckles. I told the doctor to just relocate it, but he gave me 4 injections. I felt every bit of the relocation, then after my dad finished the insurance paperwork, got the car and we were halfway home, only then did my hand go numb. Maybe I just have an extremely delayed reaction to pain shots??

Why do people keep telling me "when I had one, it kicked in immediately." Or "when my husband had one, he felt better instantly." Gee thanks...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The immediate effect

I saw Dr. King this morning. We reviewed everything I've been doing, and she confirmed that I've been doing everything right. It's not working though, so we agreed to go ahead with the cortisone injection. She said it usually lasts a few months and she'll do another before the Flying Pig if it helps but is fading by them, yet I can't become dependent on them and she limits how many a person can have. Reading between the lines - "I'll drug you through May 1, but no further." I have the same basic mentality, get me through the Piggie then I don't know. Hopefully I'm one of these people who only needs a single injection and it will have improved before I need another.

I like to think I have a high pain tolerance. I had 2 fillings removed and redone without any novocaine (or anything), I once home-surgery removed a broken needle from inside my foot. Heck, I've run 21 marathons. I'm stronger than pain, yes? Yes!!! I'm a woman, aren't I????

Omg it HURT!!!!!!! It's the most painful thing I've ever had done!!! She hit the injection site with a cold spray to numb it, and said I would feel a slight pinch when the needle went in. The "slight pinch" wasn't terrible, but it felt like the needle was in my foot forever and I could feel the cortisone going in drip by drip. Aaaaaaach!!!!!! It was awful!!!!

Somehow I kept my left foot relaxed, but my right foot was squenched up in a tight ball, my hands were gripping the arm rests and I think I was grinding my teeth, with my eyes squeezed tight - I never watch injections. It was horrible!!! 

She said there's a numbing agent in the syringe along with the cortisone and many people feel better immediately. Not this girl! It didn't feel any different. I drove home and took a little nap with kitty.

Still not better.

Getting worse.

She cautioned me, as did Dr. Google, that some people experience a "flare," where the injection site feels worse for 24-48 hours. Yes, that's me. The injection site is a little puffy and extremely tender. Now I wait it out.

She said I can run 3 miles tomorrow if it feels better and slowly build from there. She said I can bike tonight, but I don't think that's the best idea. Rest and ice are all my foot want right now.

I'm super impatient because this HAS to work. It was my last resort and if it doesn't work, I have be realistic with myself about the spring, and accept that my races probably won't happen. It HAS to work!!!!! I've never not done a race I entered and I can't start now! Yet I can't run 36 miles in Cincy if only 7 destroyed my foot and had me hobbling. I'm supposed to run the 4-way for the 4th time! I need to keep that streak going! (Cincinnati makes a huge to-do about "streakers." Besides, it's an incredibly fun weekend!!!!)

(If by chance it doesn't work, she said some people benefit from physical therapy. My former yoga teacher said she's done chiropractic manipulations and helped it, that it can stem from a pelvic imbalance. Dr. King wasn't a huge advocate of either approach - they might work, might not. I can pursue if I want. I can't afford either.)

Will my religious readers pray for me? Light a candle, talk to the saints, whatever you do.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Biting the Bullet

I've resisted steroid injections on my PF. My thought was that it would enable me to run in the short term, but could / would make the long term cure take much longer, obv being healthy and able to run long term is more important than running short term.

But...

I'm not getting any better. If anything, it's getting worse. 7 miles on Saturday destroyed my foot and eradicated any gains I had made over 7 long weeks of treatment since it first flared up.

I can't run further than 3 miles without being sidelined for multiple days.

Home treatment isn't working.

I feel like a big part of not injecting was so I would be able to run Chicago (long term). Yet, that's based on two huge assumptions. Nothing in the world says I'll be picked in the lottery. Just because I won the past two years doesn't mean anything this year. Furthermore, there's no guarantee my foot would heal naturally by then. I keep reading and hearing horror stories of people struggling with PF for years.

The thing that makes me happy is preventing me from doing the thing that makes me happy.

If I could feel better tomorrow.... why wouldn't I???

So I called Dr. King and I see her Tuesday morning. I know the injections aren't a cure, that the problem is still present, they're only masking it. I'll still have to do my rolling, stretching, icing, everything, but I can run while doing it!!!! And yes, I know to build the mileage slowly, no jumping back into the full Hansons program! No 15-milers this weekend! But someday! Sooner than later!!!