Girl Gone Loco

I got my custom orthotics the other day (Wednesday). I had meant to post just how excited I was to be getting them. Yes, you heard that right… EXCITED! Me. The girl totally against wearing orthotics. But, not running for 4 solid months can drive a person crazy and I think that is what has happened. I’ve gone loco.

The orthotics are half hard plastic, something you would think is totally uncomfortable to wear, and half soft.

hard plastic and extra cushion beneath small toes
hard plastic and extra cushion beneath small toes

But they are actually almost unnoticeable. With the exception of my left foot with the PF, there is a slight indication of their presence in my arch. This is because that poor little arch has been so unhappy and in pain for so long, that it is going to take up to six weeks to get used to feeling better. I don’t think it will take that long.

The right foot feels great. Mine are already a little broken in as you see. So far, the PF has not been bothering me. Also, notice that there is a thicker section of padding under the outer toes on my left troubled foot. This is to help me not get blisters from putting added pressure on the ball of my foot which always gets swollen when I run. I hope it works! There is also a hard plastic heel that is slightly raised with ridges on the bottom. I guess that is too keep them from sliding around when I run? I didn’t ask.

typical foam tops ~ can you see the heel?
typical foam tops ~ can you see the heel?

I will confess, I started running a little about 5 days before I got the orthotics. Just quarter mile jogs with walk breaks. I wore my old green Superfeet with a hole cut out for the ball of my foot. Those actually felt WORSE than the new orthotics. I am so happy to be starting back. Just that little bit of running makes me feel so much better!

Now for the real loco part…

The other exciting thing that happened to me on Wednesday was I got to pick up something I ordered a week and a half prior when I was down in La Jolla for a mini break with Tom. It wasn’t too crazy a purchase, as I have been looking at these things for over a year now. It was crazy in that I have opened myself up to other possibilities than just being a runner. Yes running… you have to move over now for some other activities.

Meet my new friend.

shiney bright red fuji ~ it was love at first sight!
shiny bright red fuji ~ it was love at first sight!

Isn’t she just B-E-A-UTIFUL! I knew the moment I saw her that she was going to be mine. I seriously haven’t been all that excited about a bike the whole last year looking at them. Funny, that old saying, what a difference a year makes! (I need to remind myself of that often I think.)

Tom was as excited as me, if not even more so, as now we will be able to ride together on occasion. I am really looking forward to spending that time together.

I have so much to learn about bikes. I am really a total newbie. In the bike shop the specialist there, William, fitted me to the bike. He was talking derailleurs, and cranks and hoods and well… he might as well have been speaking to me in Chinese. I just sat there pedaling along nodding my head for the most part acting as if I understood everything.

getting fitted, it was fun
getting fitted, it was fun, and yes, those reflectors had to go

I did understand the idea behind fitting me to the bike and that worked out well. Tom got me these awesome clips, that match the pretty red on my bike and my white shoes and a helmet I dubbed the batman helmet. He is the best!

We He set the bike up on my trainer (that I had previously rode a very old, flat tired mountain bike on-don’t ask) so I can practice clipping and unclipping. I rode it for about 30 mins the other night.

indoor use
indoor use

It is a really nice bike. It’s the Fuji Gran Fondo 2.3 carbon frame something or other. Yes, I have a lot to learn. I think Tom needs to make me a chart with all the fancy names a bike now has. What ever happened to seat, brakes, pedals and gears? Now it’s so complicated (and ESPEN$IVE!) I bet the folks back in the early 1800’s on the first bicycles made would fall off their bikes at the prices and think we were speaking Chinese too!

I just love the red color. I think I have a thing for Fuji’s. I am really into these red ones too.

the only apple i'll eat!
the only apple i’ll eat!

I’ve already bought a few cycling skorts to ride in. Super cute stuff I found at Team Estrogen. I’m not a huge fan of regular cycling shorts, but that is because I beat to a different drum. That’s not to say I will never wear them, I would rather wear the skort. Much more feminine. I like my running fashion, and I plan to be the same crazy fashionista on the bike. That’s half the fun!

Last night Tom took me over to the local high school football field to practice riding and clipping in and out. He said the soft surface is a good place to practice in case I fall over. I may have been a little smug in thinking that there is no way I am going to fall over. That theory lasted for the first few clip in and outs, which at least my feet clip out fairly easily. And then boom! I actually fell over one time. Just went PLOP! I couldn’t believe it. Just me and the bike laying together on the ground, still attached. Damn, I hate it when Tom is right. Hit my knee pretty good on the fake turf, and my entire left side was covered with the prickly green shreds, but overall, it was pretty frickin funny! I hope that doesn’t happen on the road. I did a few laps on the track, which felt great and practiced slow and fast stops. No more falls at least. Riding a bike is trickier than you’d think. As I’ve said… I have much to learn.

I decided that the best way for me to avoid the PF is to run 3 days a week and ride 3 days. I’ve already worked out how I will divide that time. Right now I’m waiting for the raining skies to clear so Tom and I can do my first real ride. I’m not sure that will happen today as the weather is not cooporating, but I am excited! I might even be up for a short spin in the drizzle… yes, I have gone loco and loco feels good!

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I Dream of Running

I dream of running
and of a day when,
I am running steadily again.

To feel my body
working hard,
like the incredible machine
that it is meant to be.

To feel strong and invincible
as only running makes me feel,
like I can conquer the world.

I dream about every mile,
and with each mile I tackle with purpose,
it makes the things in life
that seem so insurmountable,
small and insignificant.

Running frees my brain,
easing the day-to-day junk
that sometimes
can bog a person down.

Miles on the road,
breathing hard, but not excessive.
Footfalls, one after the other,
steady succession leading to accomplishment.

I dream about running again.
Of feeling like the superhero person
that being a runner turns me into.
The person I long to be.

Powerful, important,
indestructible,
as if I have a purpose
on this earth.

I run to find
that certain peace of mind,
that only running has been able
to give me.

I miss my running.
It’s a part of me,
the fundamental part that says,
you are really worthy.
I want that back.

Because I’m Happy…

Doc M to the Rescue
I went to a new “foot” specialist this past Wednesday. The previous week I had seen an orthopaedics and sports medicine specialist. I saw her a year ago, and although not too impressed with her then (I swear she keeps her office temp at 101 degrees), I did get the results I needed which was she referred me to another doc that gave me a cortisone shot. After that, it was all good from there on. I never went back. My PF got better and I went to see the wonderful Dr. Chappy, the chiropractor who helped, I am sure, in keeping me out on the road.

But then the Plantars came back and here I am today, not running for 12 weeks. Except for 3 days ago.

So why did I go to a new doctor? Simply put, this first Doctor, Kristin Wingfield, would not let me get another cortisone shot and suggested I get an MRI. She thinks I could have a tear. Then she told me to “go to the gym, work out your core, strengthen your legs and come back in 6 weeks.” I actually felt like she was making me feel like I don’t ever excercise. I felt insulted by her. It was a strange visit. I felt like she wasn’t even listening to me and I left frustrated and in tears on the drive home.  Plus, her office was so damn hot… I was sweating in there (again). I did not like this doctor, and I would never, never recommend her to anyone, EVER!

In my previous post, my friend Andrew taped my foot this past Sunday, as he has been doing for his PF and I got to run for the first time. I took it easy, I warmed up with a 1/4 mile walk (all on the treadmill here, I’m not trying to be a hero), then a 1/4 mile run. Pretty slow, 5 mph, but still running, and pain free. I continued this alternating pattern until I hit 3 miles total, making my run a 1.5 mile run.

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to run again. So I will let you hear it here, in this video of my favorite song right now (and a great run song.) It says it all:

My little run, it was PURE JOY! It was so wonderful, and I had forgotten just how much I love to do it. I’m sure some  people will think what a crazy lady… she wants to run… she loves to run. I’m sure it sounds like drudgery to some. That is what house cleaning sounds like to me—drudgery.

I won’t lie, although my foot didn’t hurt even a spec while I was running, it did hurt later. Which was ok, as I had my doctor appt. the next morning.

Enter Dr. M.
He was friendly, he listened to my entire tale of my PF, which spans over a year of time, trials, and woes. I told him how I get blisters on my feet, that I’m a toe runner, that I’ve broken the small bone (years ago) in the ball of my foot, etc. I told him of all the doctors I’ve seen, the therapies I’ve done and of course he never heard of the previous not-liked doctor. HA! He had heard of all the others I’ve seen including the one Andrew goes to.

He did some mobility tests. It was interesting. I could bend the normal foot fairly normally, but when it came to my left one, the PF Pain-in-the-butt foot, I could bend my toes abnormally way back and not a spec forward. Not so good. He said I am really tight.

He also told me I didn’t need an MRI and that if I had a tear, I would not have been able to run the day before and I would be in a lot more pain. He said that 98% of people with PF can cure it conventionally. And even before surgury for the other 2%, they can do this shock wave therapy, which is non-invasive.

I wish I had an awesome memory like my son does, but I don’t. I can’t share all the details with you. But what we concluded was this. I will get some custom orthotics insoles, which I have been so against, but enough is enough, and he promised they won’t be all that hard. And that they would help me not get blisters like I’ve been getting. Thanks to ObamaCrap ObamaCare, I have shitty insurance now with a company that used to give me great insurance, so I will likely be completely out of pocket for them. Way to go Barack!

OK… the best part. He said, ‘I’m giving you a cortisone shot today.’ Woot Woot… I didn’t even mention wanting one. He also said I should wear small heeled shoes the rest of the day… UM… do you know who you are talking to? I am the HEEL QUEEN! That was music to my ears! He said normally he doesn’t recommend his female clients to wear heels, but in this instance, it would help take the pressure off my heel. He said ‘doesn’t wearing heels feel better when you wear them?’… um yeah! He said, ‘but I bet the ball of your foot hurts too?’… um… yea, I said sheepishly. He told me to ice it at night the first few nights and to make sure I stretch my calves as I had done that run and would be tight.

Get a second opinion
I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with solving my PF problem. I even think that if the orthotics work how he was describing, than I will be able to run like the wind again. I am so excited. First, though, I need to let the cortisone do it’s job in making the pain go away, which so far has not happened. I can’t remember how long it took the last time to kick in. A week? I hope only that long. Next step: the new orthotics and then hopefully some awesome running and no more pain or blisters are in my near future!!! I CAN’T WAIT !!

Have a wonderful weekend. Run safe.

Wise Words From The Road

I was told yesterday by a wise individual, that in life, we can pretty much relate all situations to running. He had a great metaphor to running that related to something we were discussing. Damn if I can’t remember it precisely, but it was good and struck a cord with me. It got me to thinking… about what running has done for me and what it means to me. I don’t think everyone who runs feels this, but this person does, like I do… we see a correlation between running and, well… life.

When I started running, it filled a void in my life. It brought me back to life from the depths of despair and made me a stronger individual. It showed me who I am, and just what I am capable of, which turns out, is quite a lot-more than I ever thought. Running makes me a superhero version of myself. I read a quote somewhere that said something of that sort. There is also this great quote by George Lucas.

“The door to your cage is open. All you have to do is walk out… if you dare.”

How many of us are living in cages? I mean, it is scary out there right?

Being that it is still January and the New Year, I might as well tell you my new year’s resolutions. They are pretty simple, but I need to kinda repeat them to myself now and then. The first one is this:

1. Do the things that make ME happy.

This is something that I don’t always do. I tend to want to make others happy and forget about myself, which often tends to backfire, so I am being proactive about taking care of me–FIRST. Running is one of the things that makes me happy, and it’s something I haven’t been doing much of due to the PF. I am hoping that is going to change soon. That is another post. Another day. For now, I am walking, and that (even though I am still having pain) is making me happy. I also changed my hair recently, I’ve gone blonde, because I wanted a change (and I prepared myself for months for it) and that is making me happy. I love to travel and want to plan more escapes, so that is on my list… traveling sure makes me happy. So, you get it… do things to please yourself. They don’t all have to be big. Maybe try a new soap scent or something on a smaller scale.

sometimes change is good? you tell me...
sometimes change is good? you tell me…

The other resolution is:

2. Don’t be afraid of change.

Whew… that is a toughie. At least for me it is. But this year is going to be full of changes I’m afraid and I need to embrace them and not panic. I tend to like things that are familiar and easy. I don’t like surprises and I like having a plan. Sometimes you can’t always plan and I can roll with that, but in general, I live a much less stressed out existence by having a plan in place. I feel more in control, secure and that brings peace of mind. I think others can relate and I’m not alone in that kind of thinking. Geez, I hope I’m not.

Now and then, life throws you some zingers, and running usually is there to help even out the craziness. But when I’m not running, I can reflect back on what running has taught me in how I deal with certain ‘potholes’ if you will, in life. Sometimes you can’t side step them, avoiding them completely, and you have to run through them, head on. And yeah… you might get wet, or even muddy. But you will survive.

I guess this brings me back to PF (Plantar Fasciitis for those of you just tuning in) and not being afraid to get to the bottom of this ongoing pain. Which means, I guess I’m going to talk about it now. Hey, it’s run girl’s ramblings and I have the authority here to ramble.

Over the last month, I tried a few different things to fix my PF. I went to an acupuncturist, and was so hopeful he was going to heal my heel. He even said he has fixed hundreds of PF patients and claimed he could fix me in 2-3 visits. I wanted so badly for that to be true. But… unfortunately that didn’t work.

Then I saw the orthopedic doc I saw a year ago who referred me to get the cortisone shot, which now was what I wanted as if life depended on it. She said no, that I needed an MRI and if not that then to strengthen the rest of my body for the next 6 weeks and then see if my foot still hurts. That sure depressed me. And MRI is $$$ and my insurance isn’t the best. And wait another 6 weeks? No thanks. After a sleepless night, I decided to bite the bullet and get an MRI, after I get a new doctor and a second opinion.

Yesterday, a running buddy-the wise individual I mentioned at the beginning of this post-showed me his taping method for PF that he has been using. It’s top secret, so I can’t tell you at the moment how to do it, but I will say, it has certainly taken the bite off of the pain in my heel. I have worn it for over 24 hours now and I wore 4″+ heels to work today for 8 hours. I was certain my foot would hurt after sitting around during dinner and such, but oddly, it doesn’t. I also walked over 10 miles this past weekend, so you would think it would be sore from that. It was pretty sore, yesterday prior to my foot getting taped. I find this weird and fascinating all at once. Even more crazy is that for the first time in 12 weeks.. yes you read that right… 12 friggin’ weeks, I want to try running tomorrow. Crazy talk, I know. So, if I feel like this in the morning, I am going to do a walk / run on the treadmill and see how it feels. At this point, I don’t think I can do any more harm, and as a back up, I already have an appointment in play with a new foot doctor for the next day. I will get to the bottom of this. As Tom said to me last week (even though at the time I didn’t want to hear it or accept it, and when I was at a very low point with that doctor visit), he said… I need to tackle this foot issue as if I was tackling a marathon. Full throttle. I hate when he’s right. Which by the way is only 10% of the time, I’m right the other 90%. 😉

One thing I know, I am capable of getting through this low point, running has taught me that. That superhero version of me is waiting to fly again. So I will hold strong and work my way back down the road to running again, and solving life’s problems, one footfall at a time.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis. Two nasty words. PF. I think it really stands for: Pretty Fucked. That’s because I have it and it is a chronic pain for me.

I haven’t run in over 8 weeks. Not since the Tiburon Half Marathon.

it was pretty out
it was pretty out– this was the final mile at the half

I walked the same bike path as that marathon yesterday. Tom went for a run and I am reduced to walking, which let me tell you, doesn’t feel any better than if I had run, I think.

I thought about running. There were A TON of runners out there yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny day.

I was green with envy at all those runners. Ugly green. Hulk green. I wasn’t in a good mood to start the walk, and it seemed to get even cruddier. Jealously is not a good thing.

With each passing runner that stupid jealousy had me picturing myself pulling a Tanya Harding. I know… don’t get on me… I was just so envious. I took a deep breath instead. (((sigh)))

Patience. I remind myself.

What does Plantar Fasciitis feel like you say? Well, for me it feels like I intentionally put a small pebble under my heel in my shoe. So with every step, I feel this pain. It also feels like I pulled a tendon in my arch. Interestingly, both pains subside somewhat after I have walked for about 30 minutes. Of course the pain comes back later, after I’ve been sitting for a short time, upon my first steps. Ouch.

unknown source
source Elrofeet

This past weekend was the first time in the last 8 weeks that I have actually missed running. I think the Holidays were a nice distraction. Now… well, after a getaway this coming weekend, I will be antsy to be doing something again.

This is why I booked an appointment with an acupuncturist for this Wednesday. Dr. Ira. I’m at the end of my rope. I’ve exhausted all types of therapies. I’m now convinced that the only reason the plantar’s went away earlier last year is because I got a cortizone shot. And I may go for another one if Dr. Ira doesn’t fix me. He says he is highly successful in treating Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve heard good things about him, and frankly, I’ve got nothing to lose. Except a few more dollars.

Ice, stretching, compression, massage, foam roller, walking boot, night splint, heel cups, taping, insole inserts, new shoes, graston technique, electric stimulation, laser treatment, no high heel wearing, anti-inflamatories… they all worked for a split second (ok, maybe a day or two) but then pain comes right back.

I haven’t been super religious about all the above mentioned stuff. I get pretty let down when I don’t see results after a week or so. Plus, it’s exhausting. But I still do something EVERYDAY to help manage pain.

And no, I haven’t even been working out. Unless you count making and eating a lot of yummy foods. Does chewing burn many calories? I already know that answer.

It’s time for something to change. Because, although I haven’t even complained about not running (I’ve been very patient, ya know), I just don’t want to have pain. I honestly don’t care about running or working out.

I just don’t want pain.

I’d just like to do some basic walking.

I just want to stand up and not think “ouch”.

Just once.

My dad had PF. He had surgery years ago and it cured it. Now they don’t recommend it. But, I would do it, to make it better.

But first, Dr. Ira.

Fingers are crossed.

I’m hopeful.

Gobble Gobble, Turkey Wobble

A few weeks back I thought I would be running a turkey trot today. But those plans have changed. I haven’t run in 4 weeks. I haven’t run since the half marathon. This is where my foot has been living the last few days, in the dreaded walking boot.

good times
good times

For the most part, I’m ok with this. I want my PF to get better. It is starting to get there. Unfortunately, not running is starting to take it’s toll. On my mind. In my butt. You get it.

So, there will be no turkey trot, no calorie burn to offset the holiday consumption. Instead I will just enjoy the holiday festivities to the best of my abilities and relax, knowing that in time, I will be able to run, and not hobble around as I am right now. That is when I will get back in shape and feel more “normal.” I hope it’s before Christmas. Please be before Christmas. Please.

Till then, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving filled with yummy food, close family and much love. And yes, I am still going to eat these little birds I made.

sugar!! cookies
sugar!! cookies

The Party is Over

A little over two weeks ago I ran a half marathon. Since then, I have not run at all. I haven’t even worked out in any way, shape or form. On top of that, my plantar fasciitis (why do those sound like such dirty words?) has indeed flared up and I am patiently waiting for my foot to feel better. Not being able to run is never fun for me.

I’m not sure why I haven’t even worked out, but, I guess I needed a break. What’s most interesting, is that I haven’t even cared. In fact, I have been behaving badly in regards to keeping fit and healthy. I have been eating like crazy, as far as someone who typically watches everything she eats. Which usually isn’t too much. But, for some unknown reason, maybe a coping mechanism, I was like a freshman in college, away from home and letting loose, eating whatever I wanted. I should know better. Fortunately, my body likes to remind me pretty quickly that it does not condone to this type of behavior. So, here I am two weeks later, feeling a couple lb’s heavier (and not caring) and recovering from being sick the last two days from the overindulgence. The party is over girl!

With the PF still being a nag, I thought I’d ease back into this working out thing.

When getting motivated to work out, it’s always good to hook up with an old friend. In my case, that is Tony Horton. So, I finally popped his video into my Playstation (because all I have to play a DVD on is my son’s unused PS3. It does the job, if somewhat awkwardly, in the set up part.) Now, I didn’t go full throttle today. And I did not do the P90X program that Tom gave me earlier this year. I will… in a day or two… or three. I think. No, I decided not to go too crazy and just did a few of his Great Bodies 10 minute workouts. A few, would be two. The arms and ab routine. They are old favorites and after not lifting any weights for 5 months (yes, I’ve only been running) they were a nice way to start back up.

tony's ab routine is a gut buster!
tony’s ab routine is a gut buster!

Again, I’m not caring too much about all this at the moment. I know soon enough I will be back in over-doing-it workout mode, because that is how I roll. All in or not at all. Which is why the eating thing got out of control. I need to learn some balance. Some moderation. Then things wouldn’t get so squirrely. Maybe not doing 3 races in one month will equal no plantar fasciitis. Maybe eating a cookie or ice cream now and then will result in not bingeing. Interesting concepts for me to ponder as I struggle my way back to healthy runner girl. Will be tough given the holidays are right around the corner. Moderation… uh huh.

*on a side note, I am changing the look of my blog, yet again. It’s a work in progress, so it may change again. I’m hoping this motivates me to write more too.