Back in the Boot

I had a whole woe is me post written out and ready to post the other day, but something made me stop.  Maybe I didn’t want to sound like a whining 5 year old in a public forum…

Yes, I am back in the boot.

You know you're jealous of the pasty complexion and freckles

You know you’re jealous of the pasty complexion, freckles, and grubby sock

To say I’m frustrated is an understatement and I definitely had a pity party for myself earlier this week but I’m feeling ok now.  

This was completely my fault, and I know that. After two difficult runs back-to-back, I should have been much more diligent about my icing/stretching and…plain and simple, I wasn’t.  And, let’s be honest…that 9% grade wasn’t the best idea either.

Dumbass

Dumbass

My original post basically had me convinced that I wouldn’t be able to run this half, and that my spring race was already in jeopardy. Just a little dramatic, no?

Fast forward a few days, and I’ve been icing and booting (not sure if it’s a word, but if it wasn’t before it is now) and stretching and resting. I skipped my scheduled run on Tuesday and moved my Thursday evening run to this morning for 2 sloooow miles on the treadmill to test things out.

treadmill

 Luckily, the pain/tightness is almost completely gone and there was no discomfort running this morning. The big test will be tomorrow night – I’m going to shoot for 3 easy ones after work.  I’m also going to take my long run easy – no huge hills like last week and no looking at my watch.  THEN, when I get home? ICE, ICE BABY.  If  have to, I’ll take all of next week off and even though I hate skipping runs, I have to remember that I would rather miss out on a week’s worth of running now rather than 3 or 4 months down the road. I’m also incredibly frustrated because I was coming off a strong week and was hoping to keep up with that momentum and had to take a step back. Womp Womp.

This was a wake up call that I need to take seriously and make the time to recover properly. I am hoping that I can get ahead of this before it becomes a full blown case of tendonitis.

Injury Update (Hopefully the last!)

A while ago, I shared that I was having some major issues with what ended up being diagnosed as Achilles Tendonitis.

I was given this bad ass boot to wear at night, a prescription for physical therapy 3 times a week for a month, and a follow up appointment 4 weeks after my initial meeting with a foot doctor.

And now it’s time for me to share that I never went to PT, and never went to my follow up appointment. Oops. In all fairness I really wasn’t able to commit to that kind of time this past summer, had to cancel my follow up and was never able to reschedule it.

Having said all of that though, I’m relieved to say that I am finally pain free! WAHOO!

How did that happen?

I did a few things on my own that helped immensely, and I feel really helped me get back on track

(1) At home “physical therapy”

Basically, I Googled ‘PT for Achillies Tendonitis” and did what I could at home, on my own schedule. Super cheap (FREE!), and very easy. I use two main stretches to help keep things loose:

The Stairs:

I place the ball of my foot on the edge of the step (and hold onto the railings because I can’t balance to save my life) and push my heel towards the floor.

Doesn't look like much, but, man does it feel GOOD!

Doesn’t look like much, but, man does it feel GOOD!

stretch 2

Don’t laugh at my cankles!

Feels so.good.!! To make sure I get the most out of this, I stretch on each step going up and hold it for about 5-10 seconds per foot. By the time I get to the top, there is no lingering tightness (is that a word? If not, it is now)!

   Tennis Ball.

Love this one so much. Gets all of that “tightness” out of my arches and my tootsies feel like new when I’m done. LOVE!!!

You're welcome for keeping my socks on for these pictures, by the way. I can assure you, it's not pretty.

You’re welcome for keeping my socks on for these pictures, by the way. I can assure you, it’s not pretty.

The second, and my most favorite…

(2) Wearing high heels again!

Can I get an AMEN?! When my tendonitis started to act up (back in FEBRUARY!!), the first thing I did was ditch the heels and wear flats EVERY single day. I assumed, incorrectly, that the heels were a contributing factor to my problems. Every single article, blog, etc. that I read said that heels are terrible for runner and to burn them all. At my (only) doctor’s appointment, however, he told me to put those heels back on. I almost hugged him!! Honestly, I can’t remember the exact reason, but I think it’s because it takes some of the pressure off of the tendon. I could also be completely making that up, so don’t hold me to it.

So far, it seems that wedges work best for me and I’m now on the hunt for a pair of fall ankle booties that are sassy and stylish, and *hopefully* have a wedge as the heel! If you’ve seen any, point in the right direction mmmmkay? I still wear the flats, but never on running days. Anything to keep these legs happy!

(3) Taking time off.

When I made the decision to not run the Air Force Marathon, I really let up on my running schedule. Then, a week later, my stepfather passed away and running fell to the bottom of my priority list. For the entire month of August, I ran maybe 14 miles, and I was really happy with that. I was soo tempted to run the Montour Trail Half Marathon (my first ever half 2 years ago!) on the 6th , but I was feeling too good and didn’t want to rush back and risk having a full blown flare up again. I remembered my long term goals, and decided that there was no reason I needed to run that race. There was also no reason to rush back into an intense running schedule. I’ve been doing what I can, when I can and am A-Okay with that. Having said that, though, I am getting really excited to start a real training plan again and am really looking forward to running a race!

Taking that time off ,I think, is what really allowed me to heal.

I am so grateful to be back in “fighting shape”, and can’t wait to tackle training for the Nittany Valley Half in December! Hopefully you’ll still be following along 🙂 !

Injury Update

This is a tad overdue, but…better late than never!

So, last Monday I went to see a Foot and Ankle Specialist to try to get some answers about my legs.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and was worried that I may be put on a running hiatus – a week or two would have been bearable, but any more than that and I was going to have doubts about running a marathon. I’m just getting into the bulk of training, and now is not the time to start missing long runs.  I have a tendency to overreact, in case you haven’t noticed yet.

My doctor – Dr. Jessie – was awesome. He was very thorough, asked a bunch of question, watched how I walk, and looked at my running shoes to determine my stride (which he was said was ‘a good, normal stride’).  My initial diagnosis is a mild case of Achilles Tendonitis – not bad enough to stop running, but I was given an RX for Physical Therapy 3 times a week and a super sexy, sleek Night Splint to wear on alternating feet while I sleep each night.

Don't be jelous

Don’t be jealous! And don’t hate on my pasty, pale legs 🙂

Dr J. also added these little insert/lift things (no idea what they’re called) into my current shoes that seem to help.

Not sure what they are, but they're helping! I think.

Not sure what they are, but they’re helping! I think.

I’ve been wearing my splint religiously, even though it can be uncomfortable as hell, and The Tall One makes fun of me.  I find that it’s pretty hard to sleep with it on – I can fall asleep, but usually wake up a few hours later and need to take it off. I look it as 3 hours is better than 0 hours. I was able to sleep with it on all night Friday (I was exhausted and nothing was waking me up!), but had to take it off last night so I’m thinking that I’ll eventually get used to it. Since I know that I have a hard time keeping it on, I’ve been wearing it in the evening as well while I watch TV, eat dinner, etc. and so far it has really been helping! I used it for 4 days, and then was able to run almost completely pain free last Thursday. WOWZA!! I haven’t been able to schedule the PT yet, so I am really excited to see how much that will help.  I’m going to start gradually increasing my evening runs from 1/week to maybe 2/week for the rest of the month and then go from there.

We didn’t get too much into how I came down with this, but I know that this was a classic overuse/doing too much, too soon injury.  When I was coming off an extended illness back in late January/early February, I tried to jump right back into normal training instead of gradually easing my way into it. This was my own fault, and definitely not a mistake that I’ll be making again anytime soon!

Air Force Marathon Training – Week 4

Wow! 4 weeks in already? Those went by so quickly – I feel like I just started!

If you’ll recall, last week was pretty rough for me. I was hopeful that I could turn things around this week, and looking at things from an attitude standpoint – I did. I took Sunday off, and used that time to clear my head. It was seriously needed.

I was back on track this week – until this happened.  I stuck to my plan and took Friday off – used the extra time to stretch, ice, and use my new Tommy Copper Compression Socks. It worked, because I was able to get my long run in on Saturday and the pain didn’t get any worse, and has actually subsided. I’ll still be getting my Graston treatment Monday, and seeing the foot specialist the following Monday.

Here’s how it all went down:

Monday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 3 Miles 35:06 (11:41 pace). I usually run 3 on Mondays so I just assumed that this was another 3 mile day. Woops. Anyway, it was hot!!!

sweaty

I made sure to hit some good hills, and boy did that heat suck the life out of me.  I was relieved to not feel any pain during my run (which these days in unusual), but after I could feel the pain setting in. I iced as soon as I got in the door and hoped for the best.

Tuesday

Planned: Strength

Actual: Strength! Wahoo!  My legs were really tight, so I did my weights but took it easy on my legs so I wouldn’t aggravate them even more. Then it was more ice and compression after dinner.

Wednesday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 4 AM Miles 46:05 (11:31 pace).  I was hoping to make this a speed day, but I was trying to take it as easy as possible on my legs. They were very angry with me, but once I started running they didn’t hurt at all. I picked it up for the last mile and had no problems.  It was sticky, and humid and even though it slows me down I loved it! I was even super responsible and iced as soon as I came home.

Thursday

Planned: Strength

Actual: Strength! 2 in a row – I’m on a roll!! My legs were killing me.  I kept stretching, and icing, and hoping that it would magically disappear by morning. I knew that it wouldn’t so I decided not to run on Friday in the hopes that I could still get my long run in. If I have to miss a run, I’d rather it not be my long runs. And, not running meant that I could sleep in. 🙂

Friday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: Rest. Ice. Compression. Repeat.

Every time I ice my legs, Shooter is right there "helping".

Every time I ice my legs, Shooter is right there “helping”.

Saturday

Planned: 7 Mile long run

Actual: 7 miles 1:22 (11:49 pace). Overall, I was pretty happy with this run.  I think I’m still trying to get used to the heat/humidity (that, or I am just a major wimp). Just like last week, I felt like I had a really hard time getting myself to move. I think it’s finally time to start taking fuel/hydration with me. Normally, I don’t take anything with me if it’s under 10 or 11 miles but now that conditions are changing it’s time to be smart. My next long run is 10 miles, so I will definitely be packing some liquid and gels.

Even though I was happy with the day’s effort, I have to say I was a little bummed when I finished.  I usually don’t pass too many runners on my route – I don’t know if it’s because I start early, or it’s a tad dangerous (narrow road, fast cars, etc. ) but I can typically count on being out there alone. Not Saturday. I saw not one, but two other ladies out running. Awesome. Until they both blew past me like I wasn’t even moving (let’s be honest, I barely was), and I lost sight of them before it even registered that they passed me. Not going to lie, it was a little discouraging.  I felt like I was busting my ass and they both smoked me (on uphills, no less) like it was nothing and just kept cruising. Instead of being upset about that though, I know I need to use that as fuel; use that as motivation. One day, I WILL be able to cruise up those hills.

Overall, I’m happy with this week. I didn’t let outside factors have a negative effect (affect? I typed both and couldn’t decide which to use.) on my workouts and actually made a smart decision to skip a run by keeping in mind the bigger picture. Baby steps, you guys!

Dealing With a Setback

I was going to do a WIAW post, but, yesterday’s eats were pretty embarrassing. I knew that I was getting low on groceries, but I failed to realize how bad the situation was until I went to make breakfast/pack my lunch Wednesday morning.  I was out of just about everything. I made do with what I had, and The Tall One was nice enough to drop lunch off at the office for me.  As soon as I left work, though, I went right to Giant Eagle to restock.  Whew.

I was able to get my 4 miles in on Wednesday morning, and 3 in Monday afternoon (with minimal foot/calf pain), but by Wednesday night my legs were screaming at me.  My calf muscles are crazy tight, and I’ve been icing and compressing like crazy. I skipped the 4 miles this morning and as much as I haaaaaate skipping training runs, I decided that missing one day of running is better than missing 4 weeks worth of running.  Look at me being all responsible and stuff. The legs are feeling better today, so I’m going to try for my long run tomorrow (it’s my 4th week and a step back so it’s only 7 miles). If the pain/tightness starts to come back, I’m prepared to back off but hopefully I won’t have to. 

I’m getting a tad frustrated with the entire situation – running in the morning is no problem; running at night leaves me in pain and causes me to miss days (and sometimes weeks) worth of running. The first thing I’m going to do is go for a Graston treatment Monday evening. I’ve also decided to visit  Foot & Ankle Specialist in the hopes that they can give me some answers; whether it’s physical therapy to strengthen my feet and legs, custom orthotics, or something else (crossing my fingers that it won’t be an extended break from running). I’ve maintained for some time now that since it only happens at specific times, it must be something that I’m either doing or not doing…hopefully they will have some ideas for me. Or at least point me in the right direction.  In the meantime, as long as my legs don’t get worse, I’m going to continue with my running (AM only for now) until I’m told otherwise. I’m not calling this an injury (it feels to wimpy to call it that), so for now I’m just calling this a setback in my training.

How do you deal with “extended breaks”, “setback”, or…..injuries?

And, because I feel like this is a bit of a downer, here is a picture of my blog “editor”. She’s kind of awesome.

My editor. She takes her job very seriously.

My editor. She takes her job very seriously.