Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The F Word

Fasciitis, as in plantar fasciitis. I have it and it sucks. There is connective tissue at the bottom of your foot that runs from the ball to the heel (called the plantar fascia) and when it is overstretched it becomes inflamed. And that inflammation really really hurts. I was to the point that I couldn't walk without pain at every step, much less run, when I came to the realization that I should seek treatment. I'm slow that way. I could say that the PF caused me to stop running but the truth is that avoiding treatment is what has kept me from running.

And so, there is a new man in my life. He is just what I need, he treats me right and makes me feel soooo good. He is my physical therapist Barry Wong, AKA Barry with the Magic Hands. He dotes on me for 1 hour twice a week and doesn't ask for anything in return except my office copay. It's the perfect relationship.

After consulting with Guru Barry, it turns out I AM an overpronator. I've heard that word thrown around in the running world but for the life of me could not figure out what it meant (foot turns in? foot turns out? does mine do either one?). Barry says yes. And after further discussion--Barry LISTENS!--it would seem that the origination of my PF was the LA Marathon. To say I was severely underprepared for the marathon is putting it mildly and I had no business running 26.2 miles at my age when I hadn't trained properly. I probably haven't trained very seriously for any race I've been in, but running 5k, 10k or even a half marathon isn't as taxing on a body as the hours and mileage required for a full 26.2. I was in so much pain during the last couple of miles of the LA Marathon, like worse-than-childbirth type of pain, I was in tears crossing the finish line.

So the bad news is that I suck at training.  But the good news is that I at least had the mental fortitude to keep going to the end of that marathon even though my body was screaming at me to stop. Proves I truly can do anything I set my mind to. I think that's pretty good news.

I've read countless times in books, running mags, and these blogs the importance of getting a good warm up before starting your run. I always thought the warm up was pointless because don't we get warm as we go? and who wants to waste the energy?

Barry has explained it all to me in language that I can understand: Warm Up = Good. Got it. After my first date (session) with Barry, I went out and tried the warm up thing. I walked for an entire mile then jogged verrry slowly for another mile or so, then picked up the pace for the last bit. It was an A-HA moment. Finishing four miles in about an hour would have made me feel like a huge failure 8 weeks ago. But now, I am ecstatic to be finishing 4 miles at all and without hobbling afterwards.

And so now that I have wasted the last couple of months doing nothing but feeling sorry for the pain in my foot, I am now impatiently but with deliberate patience getting back into shape and back into running.

OH, why didn't I swim or spin or do elliptical to keep my fitness level up and the weight gain at bay? Major lesson learned and moving on.