Sunday, March 24, 2013

Plantar Fasciitis... It's not as fun as it sounds

This is what sexy 50k training looks like most night at my house.

I was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis about six years ago. It was before I ever even thought of running my first step. Plantar Fasciitis hurts. In my case I let it get to the point that when I would walk in the front door after work I would literally crawl around my house because it hurt too badly to walk on my feet for another minute. When I finally gave in and went to a podiatrist, he gave me this splint, put me on a steroid pack, and sent me to physical therapy. Physical therapy was torture!!! If you have ever had Graston preformed on you, it's awful. On the bottom of your foot it looks like this
It was miserable, but it worked. And towards the end of my physical therapy, I started dabbling in running. So it was worth every second.

Since then the old Plantar Faciitis demon rears it's head off and on, but bringing out the brace at nights and some ice packs normally clear things up. It's just kind of a thing I deal with.

As you might have guessed, it reared its ugly head big time a few weeks ago.... but I couldn't get it to go away. That's when the panic set it. You know how there are 7 stages of mourning? I think I went through about three stages of possible 50k training injury freak out:

1) PANIC!!! OMG what if I can't do the race? I've been thinking about this race for a year! I want to do this race so badly. What if it's ruptured? What if it's tearing? Screw this race... what if I'm crippled? What if I can never run again? What if they cut my foot off (seriously, things get dramatic fast in my brain)?

2) Calming self-talk - It's not like the race doesn't happen every year. I could do it next year. I mean sheesh, it's not worth having a hissy fit. I could even volunteer. They do treat their volunteers well..

3) Logic - Why don't I just call the podiatrist that diagnosed me and have him check it out... duh.

So I went to the doc. And he said that yeah, it's inflamed. BUT... with some ice packs on a regular basis, my dear old night splint, and some steroids (not the good Lance Armstrong kind, the kind that make you retain water and eat a lot) I should be good to go! YEAH!!!

I now return to training cautiously optimistic!!! AND Shalene Flanagan tweeted something about struggling with Plantar Faciits too. SOOOOoooo.... since we both struggle with Plantar Faciitis, we're kind of exactly the same, right? RIGHT! I'm EXACTLY like an Olympic marathoner!!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Call in the Pinch Hitter.... Genius

Ahh... the long run. I write a lot of entries about my long runs because frankly, I have a lot of time to think during them. So here's another one.

This morning I had planned to meet a few friends for some trail running. I needed a 16 mile run and on the trail we were running that meant two six mile loops and a four. Piece of cake right? Oh sure, it's always a piece of cake on paper... enter real life.

Real life is that with this heart rate training I never know how long trail runs will take me. Depending on the trail, the humidity, the temp, the alignment of the stars, blah blah blah. I kind of knew that the gals I was meeting wouldn't be running with me. But it's nice to say hi. And it's nice to know that someone is out there with you. Even if "with you" means two miles ahead or behind you.

This particular day I had made plans with a friend for lunch. A built in recovery meal. YEAH! Stress about when to plan the meal. Boo. But we came up with a plan early in the week and I was excited!Then half way through the week she emailed me and asked if it would be crazy for her to run with me. She's been recovering from a big injury. Of course I said, YES PLEASE RUN WITH ME! I gave my current disclaimer for all runs: what I do is hardly running and the longer I go the more I walk. Thankfully, she was still interested so yeah!

The run started. Beautiful warmish temps and a sunrise. The trails seemed greener and everything was good times. And then.... heart rate monitor started getting wonky. Weird readings. I tried all the "tricks" I could think of. But all I really accomplished was me getting frustrated. So after the first six mile loop I gave up on the heart rate monitor and tried to run smart. This caused me all kinds of stress. I've run hooked into that thing for two months now. It seemed like I didn't remember how to run without it.

Finally got my 12th mile done and was so ready to be done.... and then.... fresh faced friend! The pinch hitter!!! We picked up the other runner who had started with me and all three of us headed out for the last four miles. And it was FANTASTIC! Our new company told us stories and caught us up on her life and she was full of fun and yeah and magic rainbows! Before I knew it we were on the final turn and I couldn't believe that the last four miles of a 16 mile run had gone by so quickly!

So, what did I learn? That calling in a pinch hitter for the end of the run can be a game changer. What had become a frustrating run ended on a "that was awesome" note! Definitely a win!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

7 Miles out 7 Miles Back... no sweat

I had a lovely 14 mile run today on trails I don't know well. It was like I was exploring! Thankfully the trails were well marked and the weather was beautiful. With this heart rate training I don't really get tired so much as it just takes for freaking ever to get my long runs in! Today was my longest heart rate training yet. My times seem to be improving a bit, but realistically... new trail... unknown elevation... longer miles.... who knows how long this is going to take me?

I'm not kidding. I can't make plans on long run day anymore because I feel like I literally could be running for 300 hours at a time. But, I had nowhere to be and started as early as possible. Early because I LOVE to watch the sunrise and early because my lord I need all the time I can get. Not even two miles into the run I'm stopping to take pictures (that will never show how pretty it actually was), and I say to myself, "Erin you need to stop messing around if you want to get this run done before sunset". Hmpf... good point.

And I was off. Just so ya know, my current running often leads to this song playing in my head

You know, just kind of chugging along. Looking at the scenery, going nowhere fast.... What a wonderful soundtrack! Well, minus the crash at the end that is.

Seven miles out and seven miles back seemed like no sweat when I looked at it on paper. Yeah, they always seem easy on paper don't they? Just seven miles! I run seven miles in my sleep! Welp, it wasn't as easy as the paper led me to believe. Shocking I know. Because I am constantly looking at my Garmin to find my heart rate I am constantly seeing how SLOWLY the miles are going by. Ai yi yi. I started making deals with myself... I won't look until my alarm goes off. Well that doesn't work! My alarm is going off all the time!

Eventually I came to accept the fact that if I wanted a 14 mile run I was just going to have to let it happen the way it needs to. Which means slowly. I was finally able to turn around. YEAH. And the first mile after the turn around flew by. I thought man this is magic beans I'm living the dream! The other 6 miles were a mix of living the dream and wishing the dream was a little better.

But I got lots of thinking, saw 5 deer and only two humans. A whole morning with only two humans and I was wearing a short sleeve shirt by the end! If you can't be happy about a run like that... then maybe you need to rethink your happy.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Yes, I am slow... BUT I CAN COUNT!

I ran a race this weekend. I didn't race it ( I rarely do RACE races), I didn't intend to. I'm commited to this stupid heart rate training and I was commited to not getting caught up and going off of my plan. So today was among other things... a long run. A long run, different location, fun day with runner friend, finishing a race I started last year. Dang, this post could get long. Bear with me....

Race I started last year - Last year I attempted this race as a half marathon. I was new to trail running and excited to try an actual trail race. The course of this race is a 3 mile loop. Sounds lame, but it's not too bad, except the 23,000 water crossings... I'll get to that later. So, last year I was all hopped up on first trail race go juice and I twisted the livingg snot out of my ankle on the first loop. But, this is a pretty flat course and I thought I could stumble along. By the second loop my ankle would not stop rolling, so I threw in the towel and dropped at 10k. This year I was back to finish the race. Thirteen point one miles later... mission accomplished!

A long run in a different location - Mission accomplished... with some stories... of course. Where to start. Well, it was cold out. Not freeze your water cold, but cold. About 22 with the windchill. Add in water crossings and mud, a lot of both. I found that after you dunk both feet the first time, you surrender to the cold and wet and you move on. I also found that if you are heart rate training, your heart rate tends to jump up EVERY TIME you dunk your feet. Ugh... that'll slow down progress. But I had a race to finish. Onward!

One lap, two laps, three laps.... finishing up lap three and off to lap four when a race official starts ma'am-ing me (yelling ma'am at me). I turn around and he asks me if I am sure I still have a lap to run... Why yes sir, I may be slow but I do know how to count!!!! I understand that he's just doing his job, trying to account for all runners. I get that, but maybe next time, "One more lap to go? Good work!" For some reason this took the wind out of my sails. I knew I was in last place, but maybe having someone point it out was a little much. I wallowed for a minute or two. Then I said to myself, ok I'm not gonna let that f******* mess up my training run. So how can I make this better? How can I take away this wallowing?

Hmm.... First let me mention that when you're the last one on the course outloud conversations with yourself are completely acceptable and encouraged as far as I'm concerned. I thought things like, "you came back and your'e going to finish this race! And this will be a magical show of stick-to-it" blah blah blah postive B.S. and I knew it was B.S. It sounded like a script to a sucky Lifetime movie that I wouldn't even read the plot description of. So, Lifetime movie ending is out, what else you got? Something positive...

- I aced my outfit today. Not too warm, not too cold. Good work there! (this got the ball rolling)

-I feel amazing! My feet are cold but this heart rate training doesn't wear me out. I'm barely even tired!

-The perfect 1/8 inch layer of snow on every branch and leaf does look beautiful. I mean, I'm ready for Winter to be done, but that's pretty stuff.

-After I ran through a water crossing... GOOD THING I won't have to run through that one again!

All these stupid thoughts (and statements made outloud) had me smiling again. Not in a Lifetime movie way. But in a real way where I found the good stuff that was surrounding me and didn't get tricked into running in a way I didn't want to. It was good. Not I saved the world good, not I grew as a person good. But, good that I found my smile good.

Race was done, had two friends waiting for high fives at the finish line. I barely felt tired (yeah heart rate training!) Had a nice ride home with lots of nice conversations and coffee. Things aren't so bad.

Maybe the early weeks of heart rate training and small trail races don't mix. But I got in a 13.1 mile training run and got a finisher's hat. I'll call it a win.

And I killed my old pair of trail shoes. We had a good year together shoes...