Monday, November 21, 2011

A Sore Subject

OK, I still need work on the restraint. I cracked yesterday and did a 3-mile loop outside. After all, how many more times before winter sets in am I going to be able to run in a t-shirt and shorts?
Three miles never felt so long as when I was worrying about my foot the whole way! And then I started worrying that I would make it worse by worrying…the whole thing is just a vicious cycle. But luckily there didn’t seem to be any lasting consequences to my foot. I was a little bit sore for maybe an hour afterward, but again I was probably hyper-analyzing every little muscle movement in my foot. In the end, I decided that my toes (on both feet) actually protested more than the arch.

Today, about the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt is my foot. My thighs—back and front—won’t let me straighten my legs out the whole way, until I gradually stretch them. I practically need a forklift to drag me up off the floor. Even my arms are sore.

But it’s a good sore. So good that I couldn’t resist going out again today—and I made it 5 miles! I like to think I’ve learned my lesson about ignoring my protesting body, but in this case I knew the protests were simply those of weak muscles being used once again. I can deal with that. I will gladly walk like an old lady because it means I’m really on the way back.

I have never been so happy to be sore!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just Say No

For nearing the end of November, it was an absolutely beautiful day out today. It took all of my restraint not to do the three-mile loop that goes around our neighborhood. I promised myself yesterday that after three days in a row of running at least three miles (in fact, 4 on Thursday and 3.7 yesterday), I would take at least one day off. Especially before trying the great outdoors.

I was going to give it two days, but I’m not sure my resolve will hold that long. Which brings me to one of my fears that come with my newfound freedom: That I will get overenthusiastic and bring everything crashing back down around me.

I have a problem with overenthusiasm when it comes to working off excess energy. It’s part of the reason I’ve been dealing with plantar fasciitis for so long, but it’s not just with running. I got a little excited about the kicking while swimming one day and my ankle was a little sore that week. I even got a little too into it on the stationary bike and it bothered my knees. These were stupid little minor things, but they are still a reminder to pace myself.

The other scary part of freedom is just that: being free. I’m on my own now. I’m not leaning on advice from my therapist anymore, and that means I have sole responsibility for the well-being of my foot. It’s sort of a mixed blessing. I’ve been waiting for this so long, but now I have to make sure I don’t pile on the miles to quickly, too soon. When it comes to running or not running, it’s hard for me to err on the side of caution. I guess it’s just something I’ll have to learn with time. Hopefully now that I can swim and bike, it will be easier to take it slow with the running—and just say “no” if I’m not feeling one hundred percent.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Loving the Blisters

Today I had my LAST physical therapy session. At least, I hope. It’s my last unless I start gimping like a cripple having trouble again. But I’m going to try as hard as I can to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s encouraging that I’ve been consistently running (no longer shuffling!) slightly longer distances without any major disagreements from my foot, although it did raise objections about the elliptical a few weeks ago. But since I actually hate the elliptical, that’s not such a tragedy.

Anyway, back on track…. When my therapist asked how it was going, I proudly told him I had just run four miles on the treadmill. (Technically it was two and two, since there’s a 20-minute time limit on the treadmills at the gym and I had to stop and then restart after two miles.) He wrote it all down on my chart, and then I added, “…and I did three yesterday.”

That’s right! This is probably the biggest success for me—two days in a row of decent mileage. The only other time I ran two days straight recently was less than a mile outside and then 2.5 the next day on the treadmill. And I was a bit sore after that. Now…well, let’s just say I can tell I ran. I wouldn’t call it sore (there is some of that normal “good” soreness you get from exercise), but rather stiff. And there’s hardly any swelling, if any.

Aaannddd…[drumroll]…I have a blister! It’s the first one I’ve had since probably July or August. I used to get them all the time on the backs of my heels, and who would have thought that I’d actually miss them. But I’ll gladly take a few blisters if I can have my life back.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eggshells

This evening I went for my second “legal” outdoor run. It was only about .75 miles, but it still felt great to get outside. The thing I miss most is the smell. Everything is so fresh—I’m tired of wafting chlorine fumes behind me all day or getting disgustingly sweaty on the stationary bike (which is in the same room as the fireplace). At the same time, I feel like I’m running on eggshells—like I have to be really careful. I guess I’ll know when I’m really better when I can just go run without thinking about every step.

In the meantime, I’ve upped my treadmill miles. I did a 5k on Friday morning, although I had to break it up because of the 20-minute time limit on the gym equipment. My biggest breakthrough? 6 mph doesn’t feel like sprinting anymore.

All this running, and my foot hasn’t bothered me much. Running on the asphalt seems to annoy it more than the treadmill, even though I don’t go as far. And I’ve found that the elliptical raises objections. (This doesn’t really make sense to me, but I’ll take it since the running seems to be going okay—knock on wood.)

Despite the soreness from the elliptical, I’ve noticed (and my therapist did, too) that even when my foot hurts, it doesn’t swell. Which is really confusing since when I first started running again it would get all poofy and feel tight, but it didn’t hurt. (Yes, that’s how I described it one day at PT—“poofy.”) I almost prefer that, but on the other hand no swelling hopefully means the underlying problem is going away. The hard lump is, of course, still there. I think it’s just permanent, which is fine as long as it doesn’t bother me. I really don’t care what the bottom of my feet look like.

Hopefully this week I’ll work myself up to four miles, and maybe even a little more outdoor running. Fingers crossed!