Power in My Step

Non-disclaimer: This starts to sound like an advertisement for Powersteps, but it is not–I am just sharing my excitement to have found something that works for me. ¬†I was not compensated in any way, but I wouldn’t say no to a Powersteps sponsorship… ūüėČ

My life continues to be busy. ¬†There’s nothing exciting going on that I can share regarding that. ¬†However, I do want to give an update on the state of my feet. ¬†They are… getting there. ¬†Improving slowly. ¬†Of course, never as fast as I would like.

I took a walk before my exam last night and had some fun.

I took a walk before my exam last night and had some fun.

Beautiful :)

Beautiful ūüôā

My physical therapist and I made the decision today not to schedule any more appointments. ¬†I am supposed to continue doing my stretches and exercises at home. ¬†If I feel I am getting worse or stop improving, the plan is to go back to the doctor to get another PT referral, but we don’t anticipate that will be the case. ūüôā

Last year, I was really stubborn about not wanting to wear supports in my shoes. ¬†I was convinced that if I worked on strengthening my arches, that would be enough to run injury free. ¬†Obviously, strengthening my arches and associated alignment muscles (think calves, butt, hips) is still something to¬†work¬†on. ¬†I even have exercises from PT to work on those things. ¬†However, everyone’s bone structure and alignment is slightly different and some people are just more prone to issues. ¬†So, after a year of on-and-off injuries, I realized it was probably time to get off my anti-support high horse and actually listen when I was advised, once again, to purchase arch supports.

I did have custom orthotics in my preteen years as a competitive figure skater and they completely resolved the knee issues I was having back then, so I’m not sure why I was so resistant to the idea ten years later, but hey. ¬†I came around. ¬†When I first started going to PT in September for this injury, it was recommended that I get some Powerstep inserts, so I headed to the running store immediately after that first appointment and picked up some Powerstep Pulse orthotics. ¬†They felt great and those alone were already a huge¬†help.

This morning, at what will hopefully be my last appointment for a long time, we realized that when I lift my arch, my big toe comes off the ground, too. ¬†This means I’m not pushing off my big toe to walk, nor am I using it to stabilize myself when I stand. ¬†The only way I can push off my big toe is to consciously roll my foot inwards, which puts strain on, you guessed it, my painful tendon. ¬†Or fascia. ¬†Not sure which. ¬†The painful foot place. ¬†My physical therapist told me this rotation is called forefoot varus. ¬†She made some wedges to place near the balls of my feet to help support my big toes so I can use them the way they are meant to be used, instead of trying to get power from the¬†smaller, weaker muscles in my smaller, weaker toes.

Unfortunately, most over-the-counter orthotics only correct for varus in the heel, even though forefoot varus is relatively common. ¬†I actually have a pretty neutral heel and don’t benefit from heel support, so it turns out that a neutral shoe like the Kinvara (which I love) works great with a customized (i.e. added¬†wedges) Powerstep orthotic, since the Powersteps have a neutral heel cup with no heel correction. ¬†After adding the wedges, my feet feel instantly better. ¬†Not 100% better and not healed, but I would honestly say it cut my pain in half this morning. ¬†I’m sure it helped that she worked to loosen up my right foot a little bit, but both feet feel significantly better and I can already tell I am finally able to use my big toes again!

This probably sounds like an advertisement for Powersteps. ¬†It’s not. ¬†I’m just really excited that I finally may have found a combination of footwear and supports that works for me. ¬†And when these wear out, I will probably drop the $300-$400 it costs to get custom orthotics made just for me so I won’t need the taped-on wedges anymore.

Here’s hoping I’ll be out there running again soon! ¬†That is, more than the ten minutes at a time I have been doing twice a week. ¬†At the very least, I hope the ten minutes will leave me less sore in the arch area than it has been. ¬†Baby steps!

Why I’ve Been MIA and Shutting Down

I am working on a blog-related project and I had intended not to blog until the project was ready for release. ¬†I made that decision when it was almost done, but then classes started and I haven’t been working on it because I am suddenly a lot more busy. ¬†Every time I have wanted to blog over the last couple weeks, I have decided that I can’t because my project isn’t ready yet. ¬†I think it’s been three weeks now and I don’t want to rush completion, so I’m just going to return to blogging until it is done. ūüôā

This is going to have to not be a running blog for a while because I am not running for a while. ¬†I have a piriformus injury that is almost gone, but I also have persistent tendinitis in the arches of both feet. ¬†I have had the latter on and off for almost a year at this point. ¬†Running with tendon pain is just not worth it to me anymore. ¬†I am restarting physical therapy on the 26th for my hip, and I have been much more diligent about doing prescribed at-home exercises and icing my feet. ¬†I have been wearing inserts in my shoes, and if my physical therapist suggests custom orthotics as she has in the past, instead of saying “no thanks,” I am going to ask, “How much and when can we make them?”

Lately, I have been wishing that I could just erase my last year or two of running.  Through mostly mistakes of my own, I have been plagued with injury after injury.  Sure, I ran my fastest half marathon in May 2013, but I also got a stress fracture and peroneal tendonitis during the way-too-aggressive build-up.  If I could, I would give up that PR to not have begun the vicious injury cycle back then.

Hindsight is 20/20 and there is no point to living in regret.  I may have had an unproductive, mostly injured 18 months of training, but I can learn from that.  I can learn to be patient, to be cautious, and not to try to keep up with far more experienced runners (in terms of pace, mileage, and what workouts they do).  I may not be the most patient person on the whole, but patience is all I have right now when it comes to running.

I am only 21 years old. ¬†There are people who start running at this age or later and end up running very well into their thirties and beyond. ¬†The other night as I was lying in bed, I thought, “I wish I could just start over.” ¬†And you know what? ¬†I can. ¬†If I am very patient and heal completely instead of going back to running as soon as I think I feel better, I can start over. ¬†If I do not think of it¬†as a return to running, I can start over. ¬†I’m not going to think about things I used to be able to do and my goal will not be to get back to that level of fitness. ¬†I don’t want to go back. ¬†I want to move forward. ¬†I’m¬†going to start fresh. ¬†A clean slate. ¬†A healthy body. ¬†Unknown potential.

I’m hoping for a January 1, 2015 start date. ¬†Not a return date, but a start date. ¬†If I am not healthy by then, I will not run. ¬†If I am healthy before then, I will enjoy extra time off and start in the new year. ¬†I am done running for this year. ¬†This has been a long, painful learning process that I am ready to leave behind.

Just to be clear, the blog is¬†not going anywhere. ¬†I will keep writing here, and hopefully soon my project will be ready to unveil. ūüôā

I Didn’t Listen to My Body and I Don’t Even Care

Hi. My feet hurt. My feet have hurt for the last several weeks and I have kept running on them feeling them get worse and worse and knowing I was running myself into an injury. Yet for some reason, I didn’t care. And honestly, I still don’t care. I haven’t run since Wednesday, which is only five days ago. For the last week and a half of running, I have been seriously considering quitting altogether. While running 12 miles around the lake two weekends ago, I was thinking about how I didn’t even really like running long anymore and how I would be much happier just running however much I feel like whenever I feel¬†like it.

I don’t want to train for things anymore. ¬†Or at the very least, I want a break from training for things. ¬†I don’t want the pressure of a deadline and I don’t want to feel like I have to run through discomfort if I don’t want to. ¬†That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do races for fun if I feel like it. ¬†I have a ten-mile race toward the end of August that I am doing because Matt does it every year and he wanted me to do it with him. ¬†It will be fun. ¬†It also¬†doesn’t mean I’m going to stop running longish. ¬†I like being in shape to drop in on things like running the 8 miles around Mackinac Island if I make a trip up there and feel like running around the island.

But I’m not going to force myself to run when I don’t want to. ¬†I’m sick of that and it makes me sick of running. ¬†I walked to work this morning (two miles) and I was just as happy as if I had run before work. ¬†I’m not going to run through pain just because I think I am “supposed” to be running, which is what I had been doing the last few weeks. ¬†Nooo thank you.

Last week, I made plans to go to a social run tomorrow night, and I really want to go to that, but it happens every week and I’m not going to grit my teeth and run with painful feet just because I’m impatient and want to go to the social run this week instead of next. ¬†I’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to bring pain-free feet.

Oh, and I finally deleted my running club Google doc.

Resting training 5/12-5/18/14

After re-tweaking my hip on Tuesday, I ended up taking the rest of the week really easy trying to sort it out.  No more running and as little walking as possible until it was feeling better.  I was able to go for a walk Sunday night without pain, but running still feels out of the question.  I still want to play it super safe to make sure I make it to the starting line (and the finish!) of Bayshore on Saturday.

I walked to work this morning (Monday), which is about 2 miles, and I felt probably just as good as my walk Sunday night, but my hip still feels weak and volatile.  Once the pain is completely gone, I want to work on strengthening it with some bodyweight work.  I have some PT exercises I have been neglecting.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 6mi run during which I messed up my hip again (didn’t notice till that night)

Wednesday: yoga before bed

Thursday: rest

Friday: at-home strength workout, mostly core and a bit of arms

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Walked a little less than 4 miles with Matt

Total running: 6 miles, but it’s fine. ūüôā

I Forgot to be Careful and Hip Twinges

Yesterday I wrote about being careful and adding a little more mileage this week.  Yesterday I was not careful and now I am worried.

Yesterday, the morning was beautiful so I decided to run one of my favorite loops.  Two days before yesterday I had run 10 miles for my long run, and my daily runs have been 2.5-4 miles, with a 5 here and there.  Yesterday, I was reckless and ran 6 miles.  I knew entering the park that doing the whole loop would be too much, but I ran past the turnaround that would make it 3ish and kept going anyway.  I knew as soon as I got home that I had done too much.

Last night, my hip was twinging. ¬†I don’t want to say painful, but it was worrisome. ¬†This morning, it is not better. ¬†I want to hope that it is just tight muscles. ¬†Some aggressive foam rolling this morning offered temporary relief, and the first couple steps when I stand up from my desk hurt before it loosens up as I keep walking.

I wouldn’t have ran today anyway, but I’m doubtful that this will be gone by tomorrow. ¬†Tonight, I plan to do yoga and foam roll, which I really really hope will help. ¬†I’m worried and I hate being worried. :/ ¬†Plus, stress does not help the body heal.

I’m trying not to regret yesterday’s run because regret doesn’t do anyone any good. ¬†I just need to learn from the mistake. ¬†At least I realized that it was too much, which is more than I have been able to do in the past, although next time I need to actually act when I realize that.

And now, the only words I have left are “uuuuggggggghhhh.”