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


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: