Saturday, January 30, 2016

Solving the riddle

The two most commonly used words for PF seem to be "nagging" and "frustrating." Yes, on both accounts. It's been over a month and I've tried numerous "remedies." Some work better than others, but it's just managing the symptoms; the nagging pain persists.

Dr. King is willing to do steroid injections, but I'm really leery of them. I would absolutely be able to run again because it would mask the pain, but the problem would still be present, and while I could get through the Pig on injections, we would stop them eventually, and presumably I'd be in much worse shape than I am now.

Then I read Zachary's comment of thinking of it as a cramp or sore muscle, and that really spoke to me. I can run through cramps and soreness. Resting wasn't fixing anything, so it was time to try again.

I ran 3 miles on Friday and 4 on Saturday. None of them were painless, but I could deal with it and could have run further. I'm keeping the miles limited at this point for 2 reasons: (1) I don't want to immediately zoom up the miles only to be hit with stress fractures, and (2) my lungs are ridiculously out of shape :(

Here is what has helped me run: (Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on tv)
1. Tape foot with athletic tape. Make an X pattern stretching from the ball across the arch to the heel, then wrap up securely with horizontal tapes. Duct tape works too, but doesn't hold up as well against sweat and it irritates my skin more than the athletic tape.
2. Wear a compression sleeve that reaches from my knee to my toes, but doesn't cover the toes.
3. Wear a thick knee sock.
4. Use PowerStep orthotics in my shoes.
5. Do an easy 5-minute bike warm-up.
6. Stretch calves, quads and hamstrings immediately after I'm done.
7. Ice as soon as I get home.

Is it an inconvenience? Absolutely, but it has me running. I can deal with all of the above for the foreseeable future.

On a daily basis, I use the following maintenance methods:
1. Sleep with the boot, even though I have woken up every single night, with the singular thought of Get this off of me!!!! I experimentally didn't use it one night, and the next morning was noticeable.
2. Stretch my heel before I get out of bed. Yes, even when the alarm is at 2:45, those 2-3 minutes make a big difference.
3. Wear Crocs in the shower.
4. Walk barefoot around the house ("barefoot" I wear fuzzy socks)
5. Every day or two I do a deep tissue massage on my arch, pushing from the heel to the ball, to break up the scar tissue.
6. I got a ball thingie at Meijer. It's the size of a golf ball, but with hard rubber teeth. I carry it in my purse and roll frequently - at work, at school, in the car.... I like it better than a regular golf ball.
7. Roll my quads, ITs, hamstrings and calves every day or so after a bike ride.
8. No heels - that goes without say!
9. Yoga at least once a week.
10. I'm working on a shorter stride. Not sure how well that's going.

I basically lost a month of training, and February won't be the 150+ miles the Hansons recommend, both of which have caused me to re-think all my 2016 running goals. At least I didn't lose 2 months :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Trial Run

I haven't run since January 4 and I've been crawling the walls while my weight and resting heart rate both steadily climb. It was sunny and 36 degrees on Sunday. It felt like the day to try a run. Resting and serious home treatment have made minor improvements to my left foot, but the nagging feeling is still there. I know people can and do run with PF, so I figured I'd try. I don't want to waste any more time.

By the time I was ready to run, the sun had gone away, and it was cooler, but that was no problem. I rolled my calves and BioFreezed the sole of my foot. I knew I had to start small. At first I thought perhaps 1 mile run/walk, but it felt so good I went to 2.05, the extra nibble only to get back to my car. Even with the walking, it was around 11-minute mile pace.

98% of my body felt amazing. My left heel didn't. It wasn't unbearable, but I was aware of it on every step.

When I got home I immediately stretched it and iced it. I slept with the boot, I stretched before I got out of bed. It feels so-so. The nagging spot is about the size of a quarter. If I could surgically remove the whole thing, I would. I'm so frustrated and annoyed :(

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Meet Sully

My parents each gave me a few dollars for Christmas. What else do you give your adult child who doesn't need or want anything? At first I was saving it for the Chicago marathon entry fee, then my foot got in the way of running, and I thought "hmmm I should get a spin bike." Then I thought, "nah, I'd never use it." And why not??? I enjoy biking, but I don't have my street bike here because I live in the ghetto and don't have a car carrier to take it anywhere. I rarely stationary bike either because the gym is 10-15 minutes each way and it's not worth it for a 30-minute ride.

I like biking though, and spin bikes are a lot cheaper than I expected, so I perused Amazon, read the reviews, read the questions and answers and clicked "check out." Bikes were available for $100 less, but I'm not exactly petite or dainty, and the smaller frame might have been too small. This was a purchase that wasn't going back unless it was defective, so I got the larger frame, which was a good decision.

There's no display screen, which is fine. It's one less thing to break. I don't really care about the cadence or miles or anything, I've been using YouTube videos or tracking by time. I can use my gps watch if I want to monitor my heart rate.

Shipping would have been $46, but I opted for free shipping, obviously, even though it could take up to a week to arrive. It arrived in two days. Nice :) The box was 112 pounds. The UPS man delivers to my neighborhood between 5-5:30 pm, so I planned to be home and ask him to bring the box right in the house.

Why did Amazon text me at 11:15 am that my package had been delivered??? Sigh, he put it behind the bench on the porch, but it was on me to get it inside. I thought about asking my neighbor to bring it in, then I flexed my muscles and got it in through tilting and a little dragging. I couldn't pick up a bulky 112 box!

I have a tendency to name things that need not be named. Meet Sully, a good solid name for someone who's going to whip me into shape :)

It's good to be the adult of the house - Sully is in the front room, right next to the couch. If I look slightly right, I can watch my computer, slightly left is the tv. Why would I banish myself to the basement???

It's not the same as running, not even close, but I can get a little cardio and a few endorphins. So far I've watched TriJake on YouTube, which is a good start.

Now instead of going to the gym and being irritated at someone who's riding "my" bike, I can stay home and think, "Yep, that's MY bike." Always available, always the right settings. Merry Christmas to my health :D

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chicago lottery 2016 - the good, the bad

Chicago announced their entry plans for 2016. The lottery is basically the same as the past two years - entry opens in mid-March and closes in mid-April, then the drawing is held. Looking at the their dates, it closes on the 12th and entry is a week later. That means the 19th, right? That happens to be my birthday - best birthday present????? (They haven't announced the actual date of the drawing yet, just that it's a week later.)

Then I kept reading and found this little nugget: This entry opportunity [guaranteed entry for legacy runners] is only available during the 2016 application window. Following the 2016 application window, it will no longer be an option to apply as a legacy finisher.

Boooooo!!!!!!!! So frustrating!!!! I'm already 60% there, and had 7 years to finish twice more. Looking at the odds, I was all but guaranteed to secure my status. So disappointing!

I have a plan B though, if Chicago doesn't pick me - the Air Force marathon in September and the Queen Bee half marathon in Cincinnati the day before Chicago. The Flying Pig folks put on the QB and they do excellent races. I've never been able to do the QB though because I've been in Chicago.

Plan B is good, but Chicago is still plan A, even if it doesn't move me up to 80% legacy status :(

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dealing with it now

I had a great run on December 26 - 7.25 "easy" miles that felt amazing. My left foot has been bothering me ever since. Running didn't really make it worse, and resting made it only marginally better. I managed short distances, but the Hansons program is looming.

A woman I know from work was side-lined over a year with plantar fascitis. The principal at the same school has been out four months and counting. Please let it not be that!!! Yet at the same time, if it is, let me treat it right away and not let it get any worse.

Two weeks of home treatments didn't make any significant improvement, so I actually went and saw a doctor. I typically treat just about everything at home, but once it interferes with running for so long - time for help!!!

I saw Dr. Susan King at The Foot Institute in Belleville and she was wonderful!!! Yes, it's the dreaded PF, but she never once discouraged me from running the Piggie. She said we'd find a way to make it pain free for me. Basically I've been doing everything right - cut down on miles, no speed work, stretch, ice. She suggested stronger orthotics. Evidently they wear out after a year or so, so the pair I got in 2012 is essentially worthless. I picked them up after work and have been wearing ever since. Neither job cares if I wear gym shoes every day, so one of my new pairs of Mizunos has become my everyday shoes. I had previously decided no heels until after the race - they tighten the calves and it's not worth it! The guy at the running store advised next time I buy shoes to get a design with a firmer arch support built in, seems reasonable.

If it isn't better in 3-4 weeks, Dr. King and I will talk about more serious treatment options, for example steroid injections. Since it's a progressive condition, it was good that I'm addressing it before it gets super bad.

Years ago, I dated a guy who called me a pretty pretty princess. I thought it was hilarious. The whole time I was at the office, I felt every bit the princess, seeking medical help for something that most people would ignore. If it only hurts when you run.... First world problems... Yet it was interfering with my daily life, and would start affecting my mental health pretty soon! At no point did the doctor or her staff make fun of me for getting help with a minor pain. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 2 at most, typically a 1, but it was preventing normal running!!!! and I just can't have that!

She cleared me to run sensibly once it stops hurting. Start short and slow, don't push through agonizing pain, listen to my body. You know, all the things runners never do! haha

The weather has been wretched the past several days, so I'm not devastated to not be outside running. I figure if I can maintain my muscle mass (? that doesn't seem like the right word) and my cardiovascular capability, as long as I'm running consistently by the first of March, I can finish the Pig. It's a good thing it's not my first rodeo!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Terrific Tuesday!

Tuesday was cold cold cold! Like, bone chilling, avoid being outside cold! Then, eventually after work, it crept up to 24 degrees. It was SUN SUN SUNNY, so it didn't feel anywhere near that cold. At least until the wind whipped across the fields with a wind chill around 11 degrees. Everything logical said to go home, put on my pjs and have some quality downtime with kitty napping on my legs.

When has running ever been logical though?

It was sunny and the ground wasn't covered with snow - I can dress for the cold. Besides, cold and sunny trumps the treadmill any day of the week.

I went back to the high school, still on the assumption that the softer track would bother my foot less than the sidewalk/street would. I had survived 3.1 miles on Sunday, so I figured I'd shoot for 4 on Tuesday. (See above note about running not being logical. My foot hurt - why was I still running??? (cuz I love it!!!))

Round and round and round I went. I tend to find a good amount of coins while I run, but never anything at the track. Yet just as I was thinking that, I looked down from lane 8, and there, halfway trapped under the fence, a $5 bill!!! Yay!!!!

Later on, a man who was maybe in his 50s was out riding his bike. He was on the paved track around the park, biked close to the track and said "That's a nice pace you're maintaining there."

"Thanks!!" I said. Was that the right response? I did an 11+ first mile warm-up (run/walk), then 10:19, 10:17, 10:01. I wasn't trying for any specific pace, set it and forget it!

I ran some more. Between the sun and the $$ it was an all-around great day! 4.25 miles felt great! Plus I wore a new pair of socks from RunnerSanta - light pink with unicorns, robots and cupcakes climbing my legs :D

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a pain

Last Saturday I had an amazing 7.25 mile run. It hurt a little - when does it ever feel like rainbows to run 7+ miles....? Nothing worse than normal, no pain per se, just the feeling of my body working hard. It was a tiny bit longer than most of my runs had been, but jumping from 5 or 6 to 7 isn't anything note-worthy.

When I woke up on Sunday, though, my left foot didn't want to hold any weight. I had to hop and shuffle to the bathroom then to the table for work. I did a few stair stretches and eventually it felt so-so.

Then the sun came out for 10 minutes, so of course I ran! Duh, who wouldn't??? My foot was a tad bit sore at the start, but I ran through it, and it never got worse.

Monday morning, my left foot didn't want to hold any weight. I had to hop and shuffle to the bathroom then to the table for work. I did a few stair stretches and eventually it felt so-so.

At that point I started to think about resting it a tiny bit. A tiny bit eventually became the longest 5 days of the year. I was obviously resting it, I also tried ice, heat, stair stretches, rolling it on a baseball, the foam roller, a frozen ice bottle. I tried massage, ibuprofen, and a vibrating massager (which despite what BuzzFeed might say, it's for muscles. Don't be vulgar!)

Unfortunately Dr. Google has no consistent advice. I don't think it's plantar fascitis (pinch your Achilles, if you're screaming in agony, it's pf. I was fine). I don't think it's a heel spur (dig your thumb into the center of the heel, if you're screaming in agony, it's a spur). The advice is completely contradictory (wear flats, don't wear complete flats. Wear five finger shoes, wear sturdy shoes, do stair stretches, don't stair stretches. Wth Dr. Google?), but the one thing everyone agreed on was use orthotics. When I saw the DMC sports doctor about my hip, he recommended trying them, so I have a pair kicking around that I've been using.

Several years ago one of my feet was bothering me similarly and I asked my yoga teacher / chiropractor to give me some good stretches. She diagnosed it that my arch was falling due to age and there wasn't really anything I could do. I'm thinking it's the same thing. The pain is in the arch and where the arch meets the heel. I'm also thinking perhaps I should see a podiatrist. I'd love to be "cured" and "fixed," but in truth I'm more looking for a professional to say "You're fine to run." Isn't that always the goal :D

By Saturday I was climbing the walls. Then this small orb appeared in the sky, and all the people looked up in amazement. Was it martians??? The war of the world??? No, we figured it out later - it was SUN!!!!!!!! (I really really really hate winter in Michigan).

Late afternoon I bundled up and took myself to the track. Resting wasn't fixing anything and every day I felt a little worse knowing I was losing my lung capacity, knowing my resting heart rate was creeping up. I couldn't handle another day of rest, when it wasn't accomplishing anything! I thought the track might be easier because it's softer than the street. Plus, no dogs, and if it got dark, that's ok too. Bill and I ran there in the dark one night with head lamps haha It's boring, but boring > nothing.

The first mile I did:
lap 1 - walk 100, run 100, walk 100, run 100
lap 2 - walk 100, run 200, walk 100
lap 3 - run 300, walk 100
lap 4 - run 300, walk 100

Then I ran a second mile.

It felt ok, not great, no better or worse after. I iced it immediately.

I woke up Sunday and feel ok. Not screaming in agony, able to walk. We'll see. Might call up a foot dr. Monday morning. I squirrel away money into my HSA every payday then never use it, so it's not like I'd pay anything out of pocket. I just want to be running here, people!