Battle plan

I had my podiatrist appointment last week, and it went way better than I expected it to. I had a bunch of x-rays, and nothing is broken or out of place, which is a big relief.

I had to give this guy my life story of the past 8 months: how it happened, what I’ve tried, which doctors I’ve been to, how it used to feel, how it feels now, what I’ve been doing exercise-wise, where I got my orthotics, the whole nine yards. When I described how the piano came flying toward me and crushed my ankle against a concrete step, he was horrified. When I told him I ran a marathon on it, he was incredulous, but pleased in the sense of “well, if you could do that, it can’t be that bad.”

There’s noΒ name for what’s going on with my foot and ankle, with is annoying because it makes it cumbersome to describe. It’s not like “runner’s knee” or “IT band syndrome” or anything like that. Basically, that piano bashed the ever-loving hell out of some ligaments that tried to heal themselves and became knotted up with scar tissue and adhesions, which are stiff and inflamed, which prevents my foot from having a proper range of motion, which my foot adapted to because it’s lazy, which causes more swelling, which irritates some nerve in my foot, which makes it tingly and achy.

Solution: deep tissue “massage” and intense “stretching,” AKA torture. Basically, they are going to squeeze and smash the scar tissue out of me with assorted torture devices. I’m set to go to therapy twice a week for three weeks, then then see where I’m at.

While I was there, I also had him look at the custom shoe inserts I had made over the summer, and he was somewhat baffled. They cast the molds correctly and they fit my feet fine, but apparently they used a much stiffer material for the bottom half than what is common. Typically, they use a softer cork so there’s a bit more give when your foot hits the ground, but mine is really dense and stiff. He made a few adjustments and they’re fitting much better, but he said he’d like to replace the cork on the bottom with something more appropriate, so I’ll probably look into that after I see how therapy is going.

I ran 1 mile on the treadmill after going to the doctor Thursday, then Dan and I walked about 7 miles on Sunday. I don’t think my ankle is quite ready to pound the pavement just yet, and I’m definitely not comfortable dropping any money on race registrations, but I’m feeling much more positive about the situation and closer to running “for real” again.

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Unfinished business

I’ve only run a handful of miles since my marathon all the way back in mid-October. It total. It doesn’t feel good. My foot and ankle actually feel worse somehow, like my arch has fallen and I have no support through it.

Ever since I got back into running after a hiatus in college, I’ve noticed a trend: I pick a race, train for it like crazy, have some minor issue that I don’t take time off for, race and am disappointed with the results, then get sidelined because the minor issue becomes major. It sucks. I have wasted so much time the past three or four years recovering from stupid injuries when I could be building on my fitness levels to get faster and stronger. As a runner, it’s in my nature to be a hard-headed idiot, but it’s time for me to learn some lessons and get it together so I’m not constantly saying “if only.” “If only I hadn’t hurt myself. If only PT weren’t so expensive. If only I had a few more weeks to train.”

I’m ready for 2014 to be a PR year. As proud as I was after running my first marathon, hindsight and perspective have left me wanting more. I still haven’t attained my sub-2 half marathon goal, the one I set back in 2011. Why? I was so burnt out and sour after my first attempt that I stomped off in the other direction and did nothing for a while. Then Dan broke his leg, and I didn’t have the time, let alone the finances or energy, to sign up for something else and try again. Then inertia took hold, and I wimped out of really pushing myself toward that goal and settled for running races in distances I’d never done before. Automatic PR, right?

I’m Twitter friends with a lot of runners, and it’s driving me bonkers seeing all of the “I signed up for _____ as my spring marathon!” and “Just registered for ___!” posts. I’m freaking jealous! I want to feel like I’m achieving something quantifiable, something I can chart and compare and say to myself “this is better than last time.”

Now that the holidays are over and we don’t have any travel or excitement on the agenda, it’s time to tackle the scary questions: What in the hell is wrong with my foot, and what will I have to do to fix it? Will I ever be able to run pain-free? Will I ever be able to run long again? How much is this going to cost? I have an appointment with the podiatrist next week, so hopefully I’ll have some answers soon. Until then, my current race times will be burning in my brain, and my subconscious will be whispering “you can do better.”

Double dose: Weeks 6 & 7 recap

Sorry for the lack of updates! The past two weeks have been really busy at work and in life, and the last thing I felt like doing every day was writing about running…or anything, really.

Week 6 was pretty uneventful; I ditched on my long run for the week (7 miles). Maybe not my finest hour, but it did feel good to get some extra rest. I’m at the the point where both my body and mind are starting to fatigue from the grind of training and figuring out how to get everything done each week. It helps to just take my plan one day at a time, but my long runs are getting long enough now where I have to plan a bit more so I can get them done, be a responsible adult, and still have a life on the weekends.

Week 6

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: 3.5 on the treadmill
  • Wednesday: 5 on the ‘mill
  • Thursday: Easy 3
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Rest (should’ve done 7 miles)
  • Sunday: Rest

Totals: 11.5 miles in 1 hour, 48 minutes. Nothing worth writing home about. It was really hot all that week, and that definitely contributed to my lack of motivation.

Week 7

  • Monday: 3.3 @ 9:05 on the treadmill + strength work
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: 1.25 walk on my lunch break + 6.3 tough miles after work (outside, 10:09 pace).
    I was really excited for this 6 miles at the beginning of the day, because the weather was great! By the time it came time to do it, I was not in the mood and really struggled for motivation to put on my gear and get out the door. To make matters worse, I had steak and broccoli for lunch and it was just NOT a good meal to eat before a “longer” run. My stomach was upset from mile 4 on, and I had to take a few walking breaks, which I hate.
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: 2 mile walk to dinner and back
  • Saturday 13.1 miles @ 10:27
    Woke up Saturday morning feeling tired and not terribly excited to run, given that we celebrated Dan’s birthday the night before. The one thing that got me out of bed to meet up with my group was the great weather. It was fantastic. I felt pretty good once we started running, and I locked in with a group of 5 or 6 other people to get this run done. I had banana and a piece of toast for breakfast, plus an almond milk latte on the way there, fruit bites at 5.75 miles and another pack of bites at 10 miles. In the future, I’ll probably do my nutrition at 5 and 8 miles instead. The last 3 miles of this route were super hilly, and my legs were feeling it. I ran without any break until the 10-mile point, then took a few walk breaks over the last 3.1 (I think maybe 3 walk breaks in total). This is the longest run I’ve ever done! From here on, each long run will be a distance PR for me. Exciting stuff!
  • Sunday: All of the rest.
    I thought I would be more sore after Saturday’s run, but I didn’t feel too bad! My shins are a little tender (from all of the hills), and my hips are a bit tight, but nothing major.

Totals: 25.95 miles, 5 hours, 6 minutes

It’s time to kick off Week 8. I’m already feeling a little stressed out about it, because I a lot of work to do, my monthly freelance assignment to tackle, and friend/family obligations for my birthday. It will definitely be a balancing act trying to get it all done.