Adventures In Running

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Post Surgery Followup and Plans

I had my Plantar Fasciotomy on November 21st.  I think I hold a record or something because people are amazed that I voluntarily had surgery on my birthday.  My feelings were: What else do I do for excitement at my age? and I get four days off from my primary job with pay that I can use to recuperate because of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Surgery went well and my sister drove me home to start the recuperation.  I was placed in a surgical boot and basically climbed into my bedroom to hide the next couple of days, only emerging to show up to Thanksgiving dinner for an hour on Thursday.

Not a lot of pain - for which I was grateful.  Just one really nasty bout of nausea the first night - which led to the joys of cleaning up my carpeting because I couldn't crawl quite fast enough to my garbage can.

I tried to stay off the foot as much as I could the rest of the week and used crutches or a crutch to help keep the pressure off.  I did work a lot on my second job starting on Friday - but actually took two full days to relax and rest.  I even got bored enough to go through my Amazon Kindle account and delete 150+ books that I had already read and wouldn't reread or didn't plan to read.

Fast forward to today.  I had my post surgical follow-up with Dr. Royall.  I did chew him out for not giving me any post surgical instructions and he admitted he messed up there. Luckily - this was foot surgery number 3 on the left foot and I was a pro at knowing most of the routines.

Dr. R removed the stitches and showed me that there was good "squishiness" in the Plantar Fasciia - which is a good sign.  Normally he only uses the needle in a surgery between 1 minute 45 seconds and 2 minutes 30 seconds and he had to work on me for 3 minutes 30 seconds because my Plantar Fasciia was pretty solid from scarring.

We discussed my theory that trying to switch this year from a heel striker to a midfoot striker probably aggravated underlying conditions and caused this injury.  I'm going to go back to being a heel striker and proud of it. It worked for me for 7 years.  I shouldn't have messed with it.

Next Steps

Dr. R seems to know I need to be told specifically what I can and cannot do.  Here is the plan for the next little bit:

  • Wear the boot for 2.5 more weeks.  I can start wearing a shoe with my orthotic on December 17th.  Still not supposed to walk more than necessary (yeah - life is really cooperating with that).
  • Starting on December 17th, I can slowly walk one mile a day. No running and not much more than that.
  • Starting next Wednesday I can swim as much as I want as long as I don't push off with the left foot.  I think I'll throw pool running in.
  • I can ride a recumbant bike as much as I want - but not on heavy settings.
  • I can start doing core and upper body weight lifting - just can't do any that require standing or putting stress on the foot.
  • I did get permission to go to the New Year's Revolution Run - but am limited to two hours of easy walking and no running.
Time to start eating healthy and use the month plus off to get off the extra weight, so running will be easier when I can start up.

More Stress

Of course, after being told to stay off my foot as much as I could, my son called in the afternoon in serious pain thinking he tore his rotator cuff as he pulled off his shirt.  With his dad out of town, I rushed up to Woods Cross and got him to a doctor.  Lots of praying on the way up there - we really didn't need another surgery on top of mine.  I was so relieved when he came out with a sling on and said it looks like a serious sprain.  

I decided I needed to get a few groceries. I'd been hoping earlier in the day my son could help me - but he was in worse shape than me and I dropped him off at his house to rest. 

Naturally - the motorized cart I picked had a dead battery and some woman who was walking really well grabbed the other one.  Had to hop around Smith's with my foot on a grocery cart - that didn't make me happy and I only got a few groceries to carry me through.

Need an Easy Button

Just kidding.  A friend of mine wrote a blog post yesterday on how so many people want things easy in life.  Check it out here at ireaderreview.

I wonder if some of the issues with my foot this year have been a result of my taking things too easy.  Four years ago I was in about as good of shape as I can recall. Heck, I was working 2 days after a hystericalectomy and running after two weeks.  But then I got lazy and quit spending time making sure I ate healthy and regained all the weight I had lost.  I don't organize menus and I don't cook healthy meals.  I'm not going to let myself be lazy in 2013 - I can't wait to see the changes. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Plantar Fasciotomy anyone

I saw my podiatrist on Thursday and he asked how the foot was feeling from wearing the pressure pad on the orthotic as much as I could.  I told him that the foot still ached most of the time and that I could feel it tearing a lot. It had improved, but not as much as we had hoped.

We talked over options and the plans are for me to undergo a plantar fasciotomy with F.A.S.T. technique on my birthday. (I like to party in style on my birthday and drugs seem reasonable).

This is different than the release technique where they cut the fascia.  Basically, they take a long, hollow needle and poke a bunch of holes in the plantar fascia to get rid of the scar tissue and flush all the bad crap out.  Then - two weeks in a boot and two weeks in a stable shoe with my orthotic and I will be allowed to start running and walking again.

DNF at Fort Bliss Marathon

On November 10th, I participated in the first ever Fort Bliss Marathon.  It seemed like a great idea at the time.  I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law at their new duty station in El Paso, Texas and the marathon occurred during my visit.  When else will I be able to get in a marathon for only $45.

My son-in-law took me over to the base gym for the start of the race.  It should have been a clue that at the race meeting, there were less than 200 people listening for the marathon, half marathon and 5-K.

The marathon and half-marathon started at 7:30 a.m.   I was joking with the only other female marathoner that I saw that we might be in competition for overall winner.

This marathon covered a lot of the base.  Pretty soon, the other female and her husband and I were playing leap frog during run/walk breaks.  No one else in sight.  The roads were not closed, there were no sidewalks and the race was on concrete.  Also - no shade (although one water tower at mile 17 provided an entire 60 seconds of shaded bliss).

The first five miles or so were pretty nice.  It was still relatively cool out - although I dropped my long shirt and gloves at mile 1 because I was already getting warm.  We ran towards the mountains and had the sun at our back, so the view was fairly nice - although I was already getting tired of red sand, cactus, weeks and rocks - about all you could see except for barracks, buildings, and lots of army vehicles.

Around mile 6 we went under the freeway and I was a bit concerned when I went through the aid station because it was the first aid station with gatorade and they were out of cups.  I was desperate enough to drink out of the drizzle from the cooler.  Luckily - this was a solitary incident.

This was a flat course.  The only hills were up and down on overpasses over and under the freeway.  The concrete was brutal.  I had taped my foot well (or my daughter had), so I was not in pain, but I could feel the pounding.  At 11.5 miles the half marathoners headed back to the gym and finish line and the marathoners continued on to the other side of the base.

I had passed Erica and her husband at mile 6 and did not see them again until an out and back section at mile 16.  At that point I could see she was struggling and almost a mile behind me.  Turns out she dropped at that aid station.

About mile 14 one of the volunteers told me that I was the third woman.  I was kind of excited to actually have a chance to place in a marathon.  That didn't last for long.  Jenn and Jeremy caught up to me at mile 18 and started to leap frog each mile to the aid station.  About the time they caught up to me, the idea of taking third place was not very exciting any more.  About mile 19 - the idea of continuing on lost all enjoyment.  I was not having fun and the thought of pounding out two more hours on trashed legs no longer had any appeal.

At the medic tent at 19.5, I sat down, told them I was DNF'ing and called in my ride.

J&J took me to the finish where I got a nice rubdown and stretching from the massage team as they were shutting down.

I think there were less than 30 participants in the marathon and quite a few dropped.  It was brutal.  I was going to be in last place within a minute of dropping and there were only about 6 people left on the course at all.

My first DNF in a marathon - but no regrets, no tears, just tired and shaky legs.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Running Buddies Rock at the St. George Marathon 2012

Going into St. George this year, I knew I was not in the condition I wanted to be - so plans to PR went totally out the door.  Instead I was willing to hang with several friends at the back and motivate them. 

Marcia and I drove down on Friday afternoon.  We ended up eating dinner with my nephew Jon, Janilee and Olivia Miles - my nephew and his family.  Visited with my former neighbors, Vic and Judy Mason for a while.  I sure miss them. 

After dinner we hit the expo and I picked up some Brooks shoes and a couple of pairs of cheap sunglasses.  (Good thing they were cheap because I have already left one pair on a plane).

Saturday morning, Marcia dropped me off at the finish and I met my friend, Leslie Peterson, and we rode the bus up.  Leslie ended up being the only runner that I hung with - and we had a great time (even though the stupid timing chips said she never made it past 10K).

It wasn't too cold up at Central that early in the morning, but colder than the previous years - so temperatures should be better.  We saw Smooth (Suzanna Lew) right before the start and visited with her until we all wandered across the start line (10 minutes after the race began).

I had my Gym Boss set for run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Leslie hadn't done anything over 13.1 miles since last April - so we expected the day to be a challenge for her.  Good thing I love talking to her for hours on end since we were joined at the hip all day.

I always love the start of this race since you can often see runners spread out for miles.  We ended up both wearing pink bike shirts and became known to those around us as the pink pair.  Since we had no time expectations, we just enjoyed ourselves through aid stations, taking pictures, etc.

One thing new on the route this year - some unthinking cheer groups had painted encouragement signs on the road instead of just using signs on the side of the road.  This made me mad - because I knew that was semi-permanent and was going to be the responsibility of the race crew to clean it up. 

Marcia was waiting in Veyo with a sign and cheered us on.  She is always so good to come out and support me in races when she can. 

I don't know why it was - but I swear they put more uphills into the race this year.  I kept saying, "Yep. St. George is a downhill course."  It does have a lot of downhill - but there is also a lot more uphill than people who have not run it are aware of.

At mile 9 my left foot started hurting.  I thought I had bruised my heel a month earlier and figured the bruising was coming back.  This would hurt me the rest of the race.  Painful, but something I could handle.  It did slow me down some.

Then, at mile 14 - just when the race gets really beautiful and the serious downhill sections start up, the left IT Band began to flare up.  I was so annoyed with myself for not bringing an IT strap or KT taping it.  I knew I had to manage it or it would take me out of the race.  At mile 15 they found some tape and put as much pressure on the IT band as they could.  I also started running the downhills with a straight leg, which took pressure off the IT Band, but put more pressure on the sore heel.  No winning whichever way I looked at it.  I would occasionally feel the left knee starting to give on downhills which also concerned me.

The first half of the race, I was there to support Leslie and keep her moving.  The second half of the race, she kept me going.  I had to avoid thinking DNF several times and Leslie and I both slowed down significantly.

The race committee and citizens of St. George were much more prepared for heat after the previous two years.  We loved the ice water and ice in the last 6 miles. 

I saw Marcia a couple more times and Leslie's husband rode alongside us for several miles on his bike.  The slogfest continued and we finally finished at around 6 hours 20 minutes.  Leslie and I cracked me up because we would be debating if we should start running at the end. We finally agreed we would run after we got into the corral.  Luckily - they had taken down half of the finish chute - so we had to run even less.

St. George Marathon number 6 and marathon 20 were in the bag.  My second worst marathon ever (worst was my first SGM).

Pacing Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

On September 22, 2012 I had the privilege of pacing the 3 hour group at the inaugural Big Cottonwood Half Marathon.  This was an exceptionally great pacing experience and one of the reasons I opted to pace.

Met my pacing partner, Molly Bitton at the buses and got to know her. She is a kick and I had a great time pacing with her - a very positive person to be around.  (Luckily - most pacers are positive).

My initial impression of this race was that it was very organized for a first year run - and this was before it even started.  Bus loading and parking went well.  You could see they had race banners already designed - instead of something cheap for the first year.  When we got dropped at the starting line - they even had space blankets so we could pretend to be burritos and keep warm (wish St. George would consider this).

This race is basically downhill for 11+ miles, then two miles on paved trails to the finish.  We had two runners hang with us most of the race.  Amanda Bjarnson and Liz Wolfgramm.  Amanda is/was four months pregnant and running her second half marathon.  Liz is in her 60's and had never done over 6 miles.  They were celebrating the one year anniversary of her husband recovering from serious heart issues.

We actually had to hold our pace back because of the downhill.  This was probably good for Liz because she knew it was going to be a struggle - but she gamely held on without complaints.  Aid stations were well run.  People did get a bit confused because we had marathon pacers passing us and they weren't sure if our pace time was for the half or full.  Beautiful colors in the canyon. Gorgeous day. Fun runners around us.  Helping people out.

It was a joy to help Liz and Amanda finish the race.  Liz was so thrilled to actually accomplish this major undertaking.  I wish I could have seen her face later when she got news that she actually won her age division.

I was very impressed with this race.  I'm thinking next year it would be a great race to try and PR at and maybe even break 2 hours in the half.

Race pacing is so fun.  And a great way to give back to the running community.

The dilemma of Sandy and the NYC Marathon

I am not a political creature - and I usually keep my opinions to myself.  However, there is one article in the news that is really annoying me.

With so much of the East coast being devastated by the effects of Sandy - I cannot believe that the city of New York and the race directors for the New York City Marathon are even considering trying to put on the marathon this Sunday.

Let's see - people are dead or missing, homes are destroyed, electricity and water are not fully restored, airports are still reopening, subways are not fully running, people are battling over gas, Staten Island is being ignored - and the concern is centered around the marathon? 

C'mon people - get realistic.  Yes, losing money is a pain for either the race or the runners.  Training for an event to not occur is frustrating.  What if you broke your foot today?  You would whine, but you would not run.  I cannot believe this is being considered.

The time being spent by the city of New York, the consideration of using the police, fire and medical support to work on a marathon when the city is in crisis...ridiculous. 

What are your thoughts?

Plantar Fasciosis

This has been a frustrating year for me with a lot of foot pain. I started experiencing Plantar Fasciitis in the left foot earlier this year, then the right foot.  Right foot no longer bothers me.  The left foot got a little better.

While running the Wasatch Crest with Leslie one day in September, I thought I had a bruise on the instep of my foot - near the heel.  Every once in a while, I would run over a rock that hit right on that spot and it would hurt for a little bit.  I picked up a pair of Hoka Stinson Evos for the extra cushioning hoping that would help.

Then came the St. George Marathon (blog post to follow later today).  Starting at mile nine, my left heel hurt at every step. I just figured the bruising was getting worse and hoped it wasn't a stress fracture.  Painful 17 miles - but I was able to finish.

I cut down on running for a couple of weeks and at the urging of Davy Crockett, went in to make sure I didn't have a stress fracture. 

Diagnosis - the Plantar Fasciitis was now a more annoying Plantar Fasciosis.  The podiatrist built up my left orthotic to put pressure on the Plantar Fascia and has me massaging with BioFreeze and icing the foot.  Hopefully this will help. 

I try not to whine, but it has been frustrating.  I can no longer wear my Vibram FiveFingers (an entire summer without them) and can't walk around barefoot any more.

I'm hoping by wearing the orthotics and losing weight this winter that I can get this into remission and run without pain again.