Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flat Feet

The diagnosis is in...I have flat feet. On Tuesday, I had my feet scanned and the results showed that my arches have collapsed in my right foot, causing flat feet and pronation in my stride. Initially, this pronation saved my feet from the excessive pounding, but caused knee pain. Then, as the miles increased, my arches collapsed even further, reducing my foot's ability to support my body while running, causing the plantar fasciitis.

Bottom line is that if I want to run pain free, I need orthotics, which my dr ordered today. Here's hoping that my insurance covers at least most of it! They should be in next week, so my hope is that I can get back to real running soon. I was also given the order to go ahead and try running short distances. And I mean short...as in, run for 5 minutes and see if I can run pain free. So I'm hoping I can give that a try tomorrow, because honestly, I cannot stand to sit in another spinning class and hear the same music set over and over and over again. Spinning is fun and all, but when its the ONLY thing...not so much.

So on the "plan" for tomorrow - a 5 minute run. Maybe I should carbo load tonight?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yes I Foam Roll My Groin

Ok, so maybe groin wasn't the most "technical" term. All the way from my knee up to my groin-ish area on the inside of my leg. But it really is the area that is being rolled. Let me try again.

- Roll inner thigh for 1 minute

Is that any better?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Day in the Life of Rehab

As you know, I have been attempting to rehab my plantar fasciitis issues for the past 2 weeks now. First, I was doing it on my own, now I'm doing it with the guidance of a physical therapist. Surprisingly, the things I was doing were not far off from my prescribed exercises - its amazing what you can find by doing a little research on the Internet and knowing a little bit about your body.

Last year when I was recovering from my IT band injury, I would wake up and spend the first 20 minutes of my day doing knee strengthening exercises, icing, and stretching. Throughout the season, this became my schedule. It seemed to keep me healthy throughout the rest of the season. And throughout the first month and half of this season, I continued to do the same, with no knee issues. Then came along Mr. Foot and his problems, so that changed things a bit. However, I still use this time for strengthening exercises, icing, and stretching - just with my foot. Of course, I've now come to learn that these injuries have gone hand in hand, due to my slight difference in leg length. With my knee strengthened and able to absorb the shock from running, the next possible trouble spot was my foot. Well, we all know how that turned out.

Basically, my morning routine looks like this.

- Get out of bed (no snoozing!)

- Break out the evil foam roller

- Roll each quad for 1 minute

- Roll each hamstring for 1 minute

- Roll each IT band for 1 minute

- Roll each groin for 1 minute

- Roll each calf for 1 minute

- Break out the giant sized rubber band for 50 x push off foot extensions from each foot

- Lay towel down on floor and use toes to grab and pick up towel 20 times

- Ice/roll both feet for 2-3 minute per foot

- 3-5 minutes of stretching

In all, this takes about 25 minutes give or take. No really, it does! Its like a circuit training session and I move quickly from one station to another. After you get the routine down pat, it moves quickly.

So there you have it. Let's just hope it works!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekly Roundup

Even though it has only been 6 days, it feels like its been ages. Ages since I've run, ages since I've posted, and ages since I've felt "normal". As indicated in my last post, the whole running thing wasn't going so well. I had some plantar fascitis issues, which prompted me to see a doctor about it. Since Rebecca is already going to a doctor that seems to be fixing her knee pain, I figured I'd try to the same one. And that brings me to where I felt off from my last post.

A brief visit to the doctor and a few x-rays later, we discovered that my legs are slightly different in length and that my hips are out of alignment because of the length difference. Basically, with each step I take, due to my shorter right leg, my hips are rotating in and causing a great amount of pressure on my right leg, trying to overcompensate for the length difference. Long story short, long distance running has pushed my body past the point where the muscles and bones absorbing the extra shock can't handle it, translating into knee pain (last year) and plantar fascitis (this year).

The plan from here on out consists of physical therapy to further strengthen the muscles, heel lifts in my shoes to give my legs more stability for moving around, and orthotics in a few weeks after I get my foot scanned for the fit, which will allow me to start running again.

Though I've been running hard for more than 15 years, every time I've gone through physical therapy (this would be #5 in my esteemed history of athletics), I learn something new.

So stay tuned, as I hopefully recover in time for my 2nd assault on the National Marathon. At least the doctors think I should be good to go by then (albeit a little undertrained)...that's reassuring at least that they think I will be recovered enough to run by then though.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Fail

Last night, I went on my first run since discovering some pain in my foot.  The first 2-3 miles were fine, but then I felt a little of that pain again in the last stages of the run.  Once I stopped, the pain continued to get a little more intense, but I did a lot of stretching and icing in the hopes that it would help.  This morning, I got out of bed to go for another run, and my foot felt much better than last night, so I figured I was good to go.  I got all bundled up, started my run, and made it about 1/2 mile before turning around.  By the 1/2 mile point, I was already bargaining with myself as to whether or not I could deal with the pain.  Realizing that I am (currently) training for a marathon, being in pain 1/2 mile into a run is probably not a good thing.  So there goes my attempt at self recovery (and likely my plans to run the National Marathon).  I'm going to schedule a visit for the same doctor Rebecca is seeing of her rehab in the hopes of figuring out what the heck is going on with my foot.  Isn't this sad?  Rebecca and I are both injured, and unable to run.  Whatever happened to the concept of living the healthy lifestyle?  I know, I know...I will continue to do things that I can do in the meantime, like cycling and swimming.  Of course, that is until the dr says I can't.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Roundup

Its that time of the week again - time to recap what did, or in this case, did not happen this week.  Do you want the good news or the bad news first?  
  • The good - I put in about 5 hours worth of training this week
  • The bad - I spent only 35 minutes of it running
Let me explain.  Remember last week when I complained after my long run of some minor pain toward the outside of my foot?  No?  Well I did.  And after some more time on my Monday 4 mile easy run, I experienced some more pain.  However, pace and HR wise, it was much improved over my previous easy runs at the same HR.  I decided to do a little research about this type of pain.  Based on process of elimination, I more or less believe it to be plantar fasciitis.  So I did some more research and started doing some rehabbing - rolling cans under my foot, rolling iced under my foot, picking up towels off the floor with my toes, and lots of stretching.  I took 2 full days off from all exercise, with the exception of rehab.  Within a day, my foot was feeling better.  However, I decided it would be smart to just shut it down for the week, instead of just hurting it again by coming back too quickly.  I'm hoping this was the right move.  

So what did I do this week?  Well, aside from rehabbing, I went to spinning on Thursday and for a long ride of indoor spinning on Saturday.  Saturday morning's first class started at 7:30 am, so I got there about 15 minutes early to get a good bike and warm up.  That class was over by 8:30, but the next class didn't start till about 9:15.  So aside from refilling my water bottle, I stayed on the bike and rode straight through the next class, which left me for a total of about a 3:00 bike ride.  Despite not hitting the bike much since October, my legs were in pretty good shape for riding.
 
So back to the running...I took a gander at the schedule, played around with a few weeks further down the road, and will basically be doing a redo of this past week, this week.  So, its another recovery week in the hopes of not putting too much stress on my body too soon.  And if the pain comes back, so be it.  I'll just have to deal with it for as long as I can and see what happens.  I'll find out tomorrow when I go for my regular Monday easy run.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekend Roundup

Finally, the last week of holiday parties getting in the way of training is over.  This week's festivitity was obviously New Years.  A bunch of my coworkers rented out a private room in Old Town Alexandria, so we had a private party for ourselves and friends/family.  It was definately one of my best New Years memories.  No annoying jacka$$es in crowded bars, no long lines to get a drink, our own dj, bartender, and most importantly, bathroom.  Oh yea, and it was also cheap.  It worked out perfectly.  Rebecca, myself, and a bunch of our friends took a cab both ways, so we didn't have to worry about driving.  The only negative was that I did a little bit of drinking.  Turns out, when you have a lot of friends around, all celebrating and festive, and a private bar, it makes it easy to order drinks.  Those long lines in crowded bars that I was glad not to have more than likely would have kept people from drinking too much too quickly.  Well needless to say ,I did a lot of celebrating.  I felt moderately ok the day after, but the plan of running some hills was clearly thrown out the window.  There would be no running.  No biggie though, it wasn't like I missed a key workout.  

Speaking of workouts, here is how this week's runs went:

- Monday: 4 miles easy.  Felt good and loose, after Saturday's long run
- Tuesday: 7 mile tempo run.  Ended up averaging 7:34/mile pace.  I was pretty happy with that, since my first mile was a warm up, before pushing the pace.
- Wednesday: 4 miles easy.  Another easy run.  This was my first treadmill run of the season.  I HATE the treadmill, even though I was on one with a personal tv.  It is still boring and will never be fun.  Only reason I resorted to it was because of what was going on outside that day.  Just running the 1/4 mile to the gym was one of the worst experiences of running in my life.  I didn't want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary outside in that weather.  I also did some light weights for my legs.  I need to keep this up on a weekly basis to make sure my leg muscles are all strong and stable, since running is so hamstring dependent.
- Thursday: No run due to slight hangover from New Years.
- Saturday: 15 miles.  Since my body was feeling good after last week's long run and the training so far this week, I opted for progression, rather than a step back week.  I started the run right on my plan and cruised the first 8 or so miles, averaging around 8:30 or so pace.  Then, the group I was running with broke off to a different way to run a shorter course, and I was left to run Haines Point and the remaining 2 miles all to myself.  This amounted to the remaining 7 miles by myself.  Normally, this is not an issue, but I've decided that running Haines Point late in a run is the equivilent of determining whether you have the will to succeed or to fail.  It is so lonely, boring, and mind numingly flat that the only thoughts that ran through my head were the math games of how much longer I'd have to run till I got back to an enjoyable section of the course.  So, I did what any sane person would do in this situation: I sped up!  My mindset was that the only way to be done with this sooner was to run it faster.  And that is exactly what I did.  Once done with Haines Point, I cruised back to my starting point on Gravelly Point to finish the run with an average of about 8:15/mile.  I didn't mean to average that pace, as I'd like to stay injury free and not unnecessarily punish my body by running harder than I need to on my long runs, unlike last year, but I had no other choice.  As I sit here today and from walking around yesterday afternoon, I have some residual soreness on the outside of my right foot, possibly from the tightness or lack thereof on my shoe, but my legs feel fine, so that's a pretty good sign that I didn't push too hard.

This week is recovery week.  I still have some tough workouts planned, including more speedwork, but the long run steps back to 12 this week.
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