Saturday, February 15, 2014

A valuable lesson I don't understand . . .

My foot is hurting again and I can't run right now.   Got to admit this is FRUSTRATING!!

Now don't misunderstand . . . I am NOT frustrated because my foot hurts . . . I am frustrated because I MADE it hurt and I didn't realize it at the time!  Let me explain.

My last post was about Wednesday's awesome run . . . my first run since surgery!  I was trying very hard to listen to my body (that is to say my foot!) to see how it was reacting.  I had promised my doctor (and more importantly myself!) that is I felt ANY pain whatsoever, I would stop running immediately.  And with 100% honestly I can say I never felt any pain.  None.  Zilch!

But I have to admit that during the run I did often question myself about how far I was actually running.  I wondered if maybe I should only start out at a mile or two.  But the doctor said the key was PAIN!  If it hurt I should stop.  So I didn't stop!  I ran 4.3 miles!  Never any pain.

The next day (Thursday) I did feel pain . . . but it was muscle pain!  My foot still didn't hurt.  I decided to take Thursday as a rest day so I didn't run at all.

Then Friday I went for a run.  My foot was slightly sore as were my muscles . . . but this really isn't unusual.   I started very slowly.  My foot burned.  It never eased off any.  So I quit at about 1/4 mile, turned around and walked home.  The rest of the day my foot hurt / burned and today the foot pain continues.

I don't believe I have done anything that has caused any serious damage.  But I do believe I did too much running and that inflamed my foot  So I'm taking a few days off again until the pain goes away and then I'll start back training.  But with much less mileage initially.  And I'll build up my miles fairly slowly.

But if pain can't be my guide to exercise intensity and duration . . . what can?  This is VERY frustrating!!  How can I know if I'm doing too much?  And just as importantly . . . how can I know when I'm NOT doing all I really can do?

Finding that "right" balance is critical and I'm honestly LOST if I can't use pain as my guide.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"I love it when a plan comes together . . ."

I'm so lucky!!  Okay . . . in an unlucky sort of way!  But lucky none the less!  Yesterday I went for my first run since surgery!  And it went perfectly!

The day before I had gone to my doctor for another post-surgery checkup.  My doctor was pleased and told me I could start walking some!!  Hahaha!!  I reminded him that the week before I had called and ask for their okay to walk and they had said it was okay as long as it didn't hurt.  He said, "Okay . . . well . . . just keep doing the same thing then.  And maybe you can start increasing your distance a tad."  I ask him what he meant and he suggested I maybe try to walk a half mile or so. 

I just started laughing!!!!  I then told him I was already walking 4 miles and was having no pain . . . just some swelling afterwards that was gone by the next day.  He just shook his head.  I reminded him THEY had said I could start walking as long as it didn't hurt and I was simply following what they said!!  Hahaha!!!

I told him my running gait wasn't like what he might think of as a "running gait."  Explained I had more of a shuffling sort of gait where I honestly didn't get "on my toes" at all.  I ask him why I couldn't try running some and see what happens.  He finally said "okay" but I had to promise to stop immediately if it started hurting at all and I agreed.

The lesson here for everyone is you sort of have to "push" your doctors!  Their normal instructions are always quite conservative . . . and that is okay.  But don't EVER just accept their first suggestions!  Negotiate!!  If they hold firm then do what they say . . . but push them!!

Okay . . . so yesterday I ran!  I was so excited because a snowstorm was suppose to hit about noon so my first run could be in the snow!!  Honestly . . . running in a snowstorm is my very favorite time to run . . . bar none!  So I waited until the roads were covered and then headed out!

I really was going to "be good!"  As I started running I was just focusing on how my toes were feeling.  Was there any pain at all?  No . . . none!  So I kept running . . . 1/4 mile . . . still no pain!  1/2 mile no pain!!!  So then I started thinking about how far I should go!

Before this last foot surgery I had really focused on going into surgery in really good physical condition.  I had worked quite hard the last few weeks to get my endurance up as far as I could.  Then, after surgery I stared exercising again within a few days!!  Even with my cast I found a way to plank!!  And once my cast came off I re-joined the YMCA and started using the stationary bike.  And as soon as I could I moved up to the ellipse machine and finally the AMT machine!

And last week when to doctor had told me I could start trying to walk normally (before this he wanted me to keep all my weight on my heel!) I added walking outside along with the ellipse workout.  And started off walking over 3 miles! 

So I had really maintained my aerobic capacity to a degree.

So yesterday I just kept running . . . maintaining an awareness of how my toes were feeling but more thinking about my pace and how far I could keep running.  And the answer was about 1 1/2 miles before I first had to walk!  Then it was a walk/run interval until I stopped . . . at 4.3 miles in about 58 minutes . . . not bad at all really!  And my toes never hurt!

It was an awesome run!  The roads were white . . . no cars . . . and only my tracks in the snow along with a few bird and squirrel tracks!  I love the silence . . . . sort of a loud silence plus some wind to blow the snow around some!! 

There is just nothing like running in a snowstorm!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Foot update #167

Well . . . I wish I could say I'm 100% well and running strong!  But I don't want to lie!

Actually the doctor hasn't told me I can even "walk normally" yet!  So it's way early.  But I'm anxious and want to see how everything is!

Honestly . . . a normal person would have delayed the surgery I had . . . maybe for months . . . maybe even longer.  But I was limited to 6-8 miles running and that just plain wasn't enough.  Plus . . . things were getting worse and worse . . . not better and better.  So I opted to go ahead ASAP and have the surgery.  It seemed worth the risk to me.

So I am hoping for some really great results!  I hope to have more 100 mile runs in my future!

So I'm trying to be patient.  Biding my time to give myself adequate time to heal up from the surgery.

And right now it feels like I still have healing to do!

I know I am supposed to be keeping all my weight on my heel but I've got to admit I haven't been perfect!  Forgive me . . . I have sinned!!!  And when I sin, it becomes clear to me I need more healing time.  I'm just not ready to use my toes to even walk yet . . . let alone run.

My first goal is to be ready to at least WALK the Virginia24 in April.  I really don't want to have to sit on the sidelines two years in a row!  And I'm thinking I just need to be patient.  I want to walk . . . and I want to run! 

But a few weeks really won't matter in the long term scheme of things!

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.