Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breaking Free

Happy Halloween! And even better, when I think about trick-or-treating…all that walking on pavement, through uneven grass, and in our case snow (yes, snow already…) it doesn’t make me cringe. In fact, I seem to have had some sort of breakthrough that coincided with the week my physical therapist went out of town. I think he needs to go away more often. :)

Anyway, last week it felt so good that I ventured out of my shuffling pace and even ran a 10-minute mile (6 mph) on the treadmill last Wednesday (I’m trying NOT to compare myself to the 7-8 minute pace I had before…it just depresses me). My therapist mentioned starting to run again, a couple minutes at a time—whence I (somewhat sheepishly) told him about doing “some” running on the treadmill, “not very fast.” Well, it wasn’t that fast….

Anyway, I now officially have permission. This past Wednesday I did another 10 minutes at 6 mph. And then on Friday the stationary bike crapped out on me, so down to the basement and the treadmill! After a bit of warm up I ran TWO miles at 6 mph and then slowed it down to 5.5 for another 10 minutes. It only took me about 35 minutes to go just over three miles. Who care about the time? I haven’t even gone three miles for months now!

I’m contemplating braving the great outdoors this afternoon. There are rules, of course. I can’t go as far. No concrete, but asphalt is okay. A track is better, but we’re trying to be practical here and sometimes that just isn’t possible. I’ll admit I’m a little afraid to try. But I got the impression that my therapist wanted me to do the treadmill and outside. Plus, I don’t want to be stuck on a treadmill the rest of my life. Talk about boring!

I’ve always thought that about 90% of running is mental. It’s not hard to run long distances. What’s hard is thinking you can do it and making yourself keep putting one foot in front of the other. And I think to a certain extent this injury has been a mental challenge for me, too. I’ve been paranoid about my feet ever since I started physical therapy. Thinking about them all the time made them hurt all by itself. If I ran a bit because I was late, I’d be waiting for the pain to get worse…and it would. But now that I’ve successfully put in a few miles without dire consequences, I’m losing some of the fear. I’m realizing that this isn’t going to last forever. And it’s great to finally remember how it feels to walk pain-free!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Finally, an Update!

Wow, I hadn’t meant to let it go so long between posts…now I can hardly remember what’s happened since my last update! I tend to get this way with blogs. They’re fun and exciting for a while and then they become just one more thing I need to do when I’m already busy. But here I am!

Basically I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. Two weeks ago the swelling was way down. It was still painful to walk on most of the time, but every once in a while—usually in the early afternoon, walking to the pool after class—I could get in a mostly pain-free walk. I’ve kept up the treadmill running. I make sure I walk for a bit before, though—I think it helps get me warmed up.

I’ve been experimenting with the length of time I can endure. Not until I feel pain—I never go that far! I’m talking next-day/later-that-night walking down the hall soreness. Or burning pain. Or whatever it decides to manifest itself as this time. Pebble, bruise, knife, match, heel, side, under the ankle, in the arch. It varies so much I get dizzy just thinking about it.

Anyway, the day before my last physical therapy session (Monday) I ran on the treadmill and was a bit sore and swollen. My therapist is really confused because he doesn’t see swelling with plantar fasciitis, so he was going to talk with my regular doctor about possible causes. I’m almost wondering if the hard lump isn’t scar tissue, because…well, it’s hard. But the swelling is definitely there. When I’m running in the pool the water feels different passing over that area, and my shoes feel different because more of my foot/arch touches the bottom of the left one. In fact I was a little puffy on the side of my foot, under the ankle. Only a very little bit, though.

So I’ve been Googling. That’s what I do when things don’t make sense. And I’ve found that there are so many other possible causes of swelling in that area that I’m no closer to finding an answer. It could be tendinitis. Or an abductor hallucis strain. Or a combination. I just don’t know.

But here’s the weird part. I ran again on Wednesday—6 minutes. The next day I could my foot just felt puffy. In fact, I have been walking almost pain free since Thursday. I’m not sure that makes any sense, but for some reason my foot has decided to behave—for now. And today and yesterday the swelling almost disappeared. It’s even hard to feel that hard bump right now. Of course, if I walked around the block I could probably have it back. But I won’t try too hard.