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!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

De-Progress

It's valentines day weekend. Last year Bill and I went to Myrtle Beach and I ran a PR in the half marathon. This year, I'm hanging out alone with Butterfly, my sweet little kitty and dealing with PF. No romantic trips, no PRs on my agenda. I needed some serious endorphins!!! Sometimes running is the only thing that makes sense.

Best Valentine ever :D
It was 12 degrees on Saturday. But it was sunny!!!! I don't have a gym membership - part of my decision to buy my own spin bike was that I wouldn't join a gym, I'd either run outside or bike inside if the weather was heinous. Somehow 12 degrees didn't seem that heinous (besides I feel like doing speed work on the TM contributed greatly to the PF). I put on about 8 layers of clothing and headed out. 6.2 miles last Saturday felt fine, so I went for 7 this week.

Not fine.

My foot hurt during the run (as is normal) and especially after. Ice, massage, stretch, roll, repeat. It still hurts. Sigh

The weather certainly didn't help any. Did I mention it was 12 degrees? I wore multiple layers of warm clothing, but my muscles never warmed up, and my feet felt like frozen blocks. It was a mess and I feel like I'm back at square one with the PF :(

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Progress

Resting wasn't helping the PF improve at all.

The other alternative was to try every possible remedy and eventually something would work. I think in business terms, this is known as "keep throwing ideas at the wall until something sticks."

I ran 18+ miles last week, perhaps a bit much for my first week "back," but the individual runs were all short. On Saturday I bumped it up to 6 miles (ok 6.2 because I like race distances). It felt ok, not perfect, my foot was taped to within an inch of losing circulation, and I was aware of it every step of the run. I finished though and didn't feel any worse after.

I did all my maintenance methods, woke up Sunday and felt significantly better. Monday I didn't even notice my foot!!!!! As quickly as the PF came on, it disappeared!!!! (Shout out to Bitly compression socks, which I've been wearing around the clock, even in place of the boot!)

Now I rebuild and get serious about the Flying Pig. Speed work and tempo runs are still off the table for a few more weeks (my choice, not the Hansons'). I ran 4 days last week, I'll do 5 this week, then 6. Then I'll start increasing the distances to what the Hansons recommend. My lung capacity took a hit, but it's coming back quickly.

Everything is coming together!!!