Monday, October 10, 2016

The Long Road: Zero to Boston 2017 - Warm Up 1a

[Edit One: I realize I haven't yet posted about the injury itself and the reason I haven't run for five months. It was a sudden, acute, and as BFF Steve says, "rip roarin" case of plantar fasciitis. Eventually, it led to surgery in an effort to fix it. I could write a tome on the experience - and trust me, I am. That post will go up soon but I don't want to get behind in documenting my journey back, from the beginning.]

[Edit Two: I also realize that I haven't officially "announced" that I was accepted into Boston 2017. There will also be an entry on that whole experience at some point!]

This week, I decided that it was now or never when it comes to getting back to running. It has been four weeks since my surgery and by all accounts, I should have been able to do some run/walking by this point anyway. Two weeks ago, even the surgeon told me to give it a try but I was not ready - physically or mentally - to do it yet.

Since that appointment, things have been steadily improving for the most part. There have even been two days in the past week when my foot felt almost normal and pain free. The pain that is there is mostly centered on the flat bottom of my heel and shows up only when something hits the area - for example, when I wear my shower flip flops at the Y and the sole slaps onto the sole of my foot. Or sometimes when I stand for an extended period. It also hurts first thing in the morning but what hurts is the outer edge of my foot, no doubt from over correcting when I walk and seemingly not PF pain.

At this point, I've been told there is nothing I can do in terms of disrupting the healing from the surgery or "ruining" it. Either it worked or it didn't, and there is no way to truly find out except to go test it by running.

My plan is to start with a 30 minute session of run one minute/walk one  minute on the soft surface track at Munford or the Vita Course. I hope to be able to do this three times a week, plus one day of spin, one day of deep water running, one to two days of strength, and a return to yoga.

I keep vacillating between excitement and terror; at any given time the percentage that I'm excited versus the percentage that I'm terrified varies wildly. Last Friday, my foot hardly hurt at all during the work day and I was 75% excited, 25% terrified. On Saturday, it hurt all day for no given reason and thus I was 40% excited and 60% terrified.

On Sunday morning, I watched CBS Sunday Morning and the lead piece was on the placebo effect and how powerful it is. I immediately decided that what I need to put this injury out of my mind is a placebo. Truly, I do believe that most of the residual pain now is simply my brain refusing to believe that it will ever get better. That night, I decided that my placebo is going to be running. If I can convince myself that getting back to my normal activities will fix me, maybe it will work.

This morning (Monday), for the first time in months, I got out of bed before my alarm went off. I only do this when I'm meeting someone for a run. Otherwise, I have to draaaaaaaaaaaaag myself out of bed because I dread what's coming.

I put my feet into my shoes and tried to take a step.

Enter terror.

It hurt and I suddenly became very afraid of what was going to happen at the Munford track.

I kept moving though, hobbling to the bathroom and then getting dressed in my running clothes for the first time in what felt like forever. As I left the house and walked down the steps to my car, my stomach was in complete knots. What was I doing? Why on Earth did I think this was a good idea anyway? I'm not ready yet and maybe I'll never be ready.

And that's precisely why I had to do it anyway.

Kit, gracious as ever, had agreed to meet me at Munford for the maiden voyage of Left Foot 3.0. Why any able-bodied runner would voluntarily do 1 min run/walk intervals is beyond me, but I was grateful that he was there. If he hadn't been, I'm pretty sure I would have just given into my fear and gone back to bed.

He greeted me with an enthusiastic "Good morning!" I just said, "Kit, I'm scared. Really, really scared."

We walked to the track and I asked that we start by just walking a lap. As we neared the end of that lap, he offered to help me stall some more by stretching. I declined; I had already used my super duper stretching jobber at home and I couldn't just keep finding ways to avoid what I needed to do.

Off we went. The first minute of running was not pleasant. My foot wailed at me and I concentrated hard on not accommodating it, not compensating in my gait. As the intervals went on, it stopped wailing and toned down to a loud murmur. Other things woke up and protested - strangely, my right quad and glute were the most vocal. A bit more than half way through, I said I wanted to run a little longer, so we did two 90-second intervals. For the last run interval, I said I just wanted to run one lap the whole way - .25 miles.

One. Quarter. Mile.

As we ran that lap, I reminded myself that a month ago I could not take a single step. My husband was literally carrying me around the house, or I was crawling on my hands and knees. A quarter mile is nothing in distance running, but this morning it was everything.

When the 30 minutes were up, I had covered just under 3 miles.

It's a start.

At home, I stretched my calf and massaged the heck out of my foot before heading off to work. Despite that, I am paying for those three miles, though not nearly as much as I paid for it when I tried to run over the summer. After sitting at my desk for a while, my first few steps hurt but after 5 or 6 strides it became manageable with little favoring or limping. It's not any worse than it has been over the course of the last 4 weeks and most of the discomfort is in the bottom of my heel and not in my arch or the usual PF hot spot.

Hopefully with some ice and massaging tonight, it will be back to "new normal" by tomorrow morning and I can try again on Wednesday.


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