Monday, February 28, 2011

The Heel from Hell, Part 25,849

Notice anything different with my right foot?  That's my new friend, her name is Boot.

Clever and original - that's me!

So....what's been going on since I wrote over a week ago?

Well, first off, I have to tell you about the 3rd, and thankfully FINAL, Chilly Cheeks Duathlon on Saturday.  I know you are not going to believe this, I'm still a little in shock myself, but I WON my age group for the whole series.  Like in Number UNO!!!  I know, crazy huh? 
My winnings: A Road ID gift certificate, a $25 off entry to a slew of upcoming races
(Mostly du and triatlons - of course) and some Tagalons -
Anyone ever won Girl Scout cookies in a race before?
I think half were gone before I even got my bike on the
car rack to go home!
I'm not sure how I squeaked that out (and granted there were only 7 of us in the 40-49 mountain bike division - but who's counting!?!) - my heel hurt a LOT and the 50-mph winds were atrocious, but hey I'll take it.  My run pace soared to something in the snail-ish 9:00 range (wth???) but my bike pace dropped about 10 minutes from the first race back in December, and considering gale-force winds were in my face and I felt like I was moving backwards, this is pretty remarkable.

I'm thinking a small, short triathlon is in my future - heel permitting!

There she is: studly biker woman with her mountain bike in a duathlon!

Yep, that even looks like a heel-hurting, pathetic 9 min/mile pace!

 Cow-Print-Speedo-Man from race #2 showered us
with his presence, and part of his ass, in #3. 
And no race would be complete without sharing something I learned, so here's the list:
- I still suck on a bike and I still don't enjoy it.  But I am improving, slightly.
- I miss racing.  A LOT!!!!!
- My girl-bits are getting tougher (tougher??), I don't think I whined about them hurting on that damn bike seat until about mile 8.  Let's recap race #1: they hurt at mile .01.
- NEVER wear a high-up ponytail when you wear a bike helmet; the helmet thus becomes too tight to accommodate a clump of hair on the back of your head and then you end up with a headache, and massive indentation on your forehead.  That hurt way more than the girl-bits from race #1.  Ok, maybe not but it STILL hurts if you touch my forehead where the bike helmet was crammed into it.
- The uber-competitive freak I am, loves winning - even if it is riding a 4000 lb. mountain bike!

Ok, moving probably really want to know more about my new best friend, Boot, who btw, I'm already sick of after knowing for a mere 5-hours.

I'll try to sum this stupid, multiple personality disorder heel since I last left you....

The Plantar Faciitis dude at Regis University was nothing but nice and helpful and just simply put: wonderful.  He spent a little over 2-hours with me testing my foot, trying this heel insert and that heel cup, asking lots of questions.  I left with two quasi-customized inserts and told to test them out.  He was going to give me a list of "small recommendations to do at home" (whatever that was) but he was late for class and had to rush off and I forget to get them from him.  Anyway, he couldn't have been more nice and I was just so touched by all this free service.....but he told me, after I asked him if I was dealing with strictly plantar faciitis, "You are anything BUT classic text book plantar faciitis.  Yes, you do have some going on but you also have Achilles Tendinitis and a wicked case of a heel contusion with most likely a heel periosteum." 

I think that deserves some sort of award or something!!!

So I decided I wasn't running at all last week because my heel was being bitchier than normal.  I won't apologize for the word, it's the best description I can come up with.  I knew I had that race on Saturday and wanted it in a much happier state so thought staying off it was my best bet.

Well, not so much.  The heel hurt immediately off my bike.  But it was manageable for 4 miles (and let's not forget in ridiculous headwind!!).

The next day, Sunday, I couldn't walk.  Literally, if I wanted to move from point A to B, I had to do so on the outside of my toes.  This pain now decided to move to the INSIDE of my foot - I mean, why not, it's never been there before and about the only place I haven't had pain before - so seems about right it was time for it to occur there.

I decided to go for a run anyway.  Cuz that's just how illogical my mind works when it wants to run badly.


This morning (Monday), I woke up thinking all would be fine, as usually the pain from the previous day's run has subsided.  Um, not so much.  Exact same piercing, stabbing pain on the inside of my heel.  Oh yay.  There was no way I could stand at work all day listening to kids complain about whatever minor ache they had that day.  I laid in bed and called in "sick" and called the podiatrist.

He fit me in this morning, and his first sentence when I saw him was, "It's time to attack this thing more aggressively."  AGREED!!! 

He's not sure what's going on for certain but is pretty much convinced it's still a severe case of plantar faciitis because, he claims, if the facia is torn then it wouldn't hurt.  Which I don't get but I'm not the expert (though I've read enough about this stupid thing that I feel I could probably teach heel pain 101 AND 102 at school!).  I asked about a heel contusion, like the guy from Regis suggested, but he thought I'd be jumping out of my chair when he squeezed on my Achilles (it hurt, but not excruciating).

So here's the scoop:  I GET to be friends with Boot for two weeks.  I'm pretty sure I'll be ready kick her to the curb by tomorrow, but I will be a good girl and keep her through our entire 2-week bonding (walking with this thing on SUCKS!  It's definitely a workout though, the only plus!).  I GET to go have some diagnostic testing done tomorrow, which should give us more answers.  I CAN ride my bike and I CAN swim and I CAN weight train.  I should NOT, however, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's or a bag of Cheetos (which I may, or may not, have listened to).

Oh, and can I just say that my doctor dreamy podiatrist has been so extremely understanding with my whole insurance fiasco (aka: I have none due to my lovely doctor screwing up my charts, labeling my dehydration "cancer" two years ago) and is not charging me for office visits plus I got my friend, Boot, at cost.  I swear, just when you think the world is really failing you (the heel, the insurance, the retarded doctor who freaked out when I was dehydrated and labeled me cancerous, the job....) you find yourself walking out of the podiatrist's office, limping down the road in a freaking stupid boot, almost in tears because there ARE some good people in this world who truly care!  Dr. Dreamy and Mr. Regis, both of these guys, I have been very lucky, and BLESSED, to have on my side.

I'm not even going to share the possibilities of a barrage of solutions for this skitsofrantic heel until I know what it is exactly were dealing with and what the doctor suggests. 

And I'll be honest, I'm not even going to go there myself.  I actually feel a sense of relief, believe it or not.  I'm so ready to start healing and if this miserable boot, a slew of diagnostic tests I can't afford, taking a few months off - whatever it is I need - I am so ready for it!!! 

Bring it on!  Let's get this heel healed so I can get back on the road.  Running!

As for Skyline to Sea?  Well, it's pretty obvious to me....but when I said something to Dr. Dreamy, he said, "It doesn't look promising, but you never know."  Hum.

In the meantime, I'll be hanging out a lot on this guy, who is planted smack in my living room (a year ago I would have been appalled at a bike trainer and bike in my living room.  Well, I am SO over that now!).

After all, I have my duathon title to defend next year.  I'll be ready!!

(and for all your cyclist out there, be forewarned: I'm going to have a trillion questions to ask in the next few weeks.  Thanks in advance).

Oh and yes, I am in the middle of changing up the blog a little.  The above header picture is a reminder of happier running times when I was training to run up Mt. Evans (elevation 14,051').  I want to look at it awhile to remind me I need to do whatever it takes to get back.  And I will.  No doubt!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Crazy Floridain's 100/My Heel (imagine!)/Go Andrew!

I know, 3 posts from me this week - what's the world coming to.  I hope I don't get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!  But this will be short.  No laughing at that last sentence.

I am so excited and had to share: My friend, Adam (Crazy Floridian), is about to embark on his first 100-miler.  Adam and I met a little over a year ago and he is one of the most genuine, sincere, and compassionate people I've ever met.  Please wish him well, he has no pacer and his crew members include his wife and young son only so I know he'd love to have some well wishes and support from the blog world!  If you have time, please click on the "Crazy Floridian" and let give him a virtual good luck!  Here is his race link:

Other quick heel news:
Working in a high school certainly has it's advantages, such as the fact I get a lot of days off work, such as next Monday and Tuesday, for instance.  Yes, it's great...but I make a fraction of what the rest of the population makes so don't go thinking you're gonna all want to get your teaching degree.  But another cool thing working here is that I work with a cross country coach who is a big ultra runner AND we have an athletic trainer.  Both have been tremendous aids in many aches and pains over the past 4 years I have been here, especially with the heel. 

Well, the heel's still being testy and I sought out the advice of an ex-athletic trainer here at school, who is also a physical therapist and truly one of the smartest people I have ever spoken to in the field.  She recently went to a seminar on "Plantar Faciitis and Plantar Faciosis" given by a professor and head of the physical therapy department here at Regis University.  This man apparently is an "expert" in the field of PF and I couldn't wait to get to the phone fast enough to call him.  So I did.

And he called me back.

And he couldn't be any nicer.

I am not a student at Regis University and technically he is not suppose to be treating me, and technically he isn't going to, but he spent about 45 minutes with me on the phone getting my 35+ year history of running, the history of my heel problems, and told me, amongst other insightful tidbits, "Stopping running and progressing back into it is not necessarily the ticket to beating this thing...."  One thing that has really bothered me with this entire heel fiasco is vast array of opinions, both online and from every soul you encounter - and even doctors, on what is "best" for my heel.  Seems there's about a 70-80% consensus to stop running, and that will make it all go away.  My podiatrist and this apparent expert in the field both disagreed 100% with that.  So that was a relief, in some sort of twisted way.

Anyway, I am rambling, as I tend to do (and noted I wouldn't above - ha, who's laughing now!) but here's the cool thing....he is going to see me next week to do an analysis of my running (I will show you all my show wear pattern next will be SHOCKED to see how much I heel strike my right (aka: bad heel) foot.  This guy told me point-blank that what I have may NEVER be a distant memory, that it is most likely here to stay (no guarantees one way or another) but he could help me manage it better and hopefully make my running more enjoyable.

I am SO excited, I can't even express in words how good I felt when I got off the phone a couple days ago with him.  I go in next week, I am going to take tons of notes, and I'll be certain to share!!!!  I don't even care if this heel pain is never going to go away - at least I'm going to have some skills to help manage it and that gives me hope that yes, I can still run that 50 this fall, amongst other things.

Having a 4-day weekend, I'm off for a little adventure in the mountains - yay!  Having a few too many anxiety attacks this past week and so I think some fresh mountain air is going to really help.  Also revamping the blog a little and WILL have my coaching website done so lots of things to share with you next week, stay tuned!

Go get 'em Adam.  And also to Andrew, who will be running his first 8-miler race!  So excited for him, too.  You're going to do great buddy!

Happy weekend, friends.  Run strong!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boston Cha Cha Chaaanges...

Curious on your thoughts!!!  I'll tell you mine, next post. :)

BAA announces new procedures for marathon registration, qualifying

The Boston Athletic Association announced new qualifying times and new registration procedures for the Boston Marathon this morning. Both go into effect for the 2012 and 2013 marathons. In 2012, the BAA will institute rolling admission for qualifiers with the fastest runners being allowed to enter first. The field will be filled with the fastest of all qualifiers.

Then, in 2013, the BAA will make it more difficult to qualify by lowering time standards by five minutes across all age groups and both genders. The rolling admission process also will remain in place for 2013 and future marathons, continuing to allow the fastest runners to enter first.

The new qualifying times and registration procedures come in response to the 2011 Boston Marathon selling out in a record 8 hours and 3 minutes in October. With the race filling so quickly, thousands of qualifiers were unable to register. After the record sellout, the BAA began reviewing its registration process and researching options to make race entry more fair in the future, not just a sprint to the online registration page. The BAA
believes its new formula is the fairest option that best serves the running community and stays true to the marathon’s history as a race for qualifiers.

BAA leaders said they considered two fundamental values in revising the
registration process and qualifying standards: preserving the race's elite
status and maintaining fairness in the entry process.

"We feel very, very confident that we have satisfied the objectives we
set for ourselves after Oct. 18," race director Dave McGillivray said.
"We feel this registration process will be met with great favor,
especially by all the runners who have told us the main thing is to
maintain the credibility, integrity, and competitive excellence" of the

The BAA does not expect to significantly increase the field size.

"Unfortunately, the same amount of people may not be able to get into the
race in 2012," McGillivray said. "We just don't have the space. The whole
reason for tightening the standards is to minimize the disappointment in
2013 and beyond."

2012 rolling registration dates:

- Day 1 (Sept. 12) - Qualifiers who have met their age and gender qualifying standard (3 hours, 10 minutes for men aged 18-34 and 3 hours, 40 minutes for women 18-34) by a margin of 20 minutes or faster may apply for the marathon.

- Day 3 (Sept. 14) - Qualifiers who have met the standard set for their age/gender by a margin of 10 minutes or faster may apply.

- Day 5 (Sept. 16) - Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying time by a margin of 5 minutes or faster may apply.

- Day 8 (Sept. 19) - Open to all qualifiers to register.

- Day 12 (Sept. 23) - Registration closes for qualified applicants. Registered qualifiers will be notified of their acceptance by Sept. 28.

For 2013, there are new qualifying times
Age GroupMenWomen

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Velvet Adventures

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

I have a little race coming up in a mere 8 weeks, a trail marathon to be exact.  I'm not in any sort of shape to run it (nor will I be after another heel set-back this week *sigh*), and the interesting fact is that I knew this when I signed up.  For once in my life, I didn't sign up for a race because I'd be ready to run hard and run fast and to hope for an amazing finish line time.

I signed up because of this whole heel nightmare - the stress, the tension, the pain - all of it - I just wanted to step outside of my little crazed road running world and seek a new adventure.  Something fun.  Something different.  Something new.  I had my eye on the Skyline to Sea race since about October, when my running was really tanking and all sort of speed I had worked my tail off to achieve was quickly slipping out of my hands.  I needed something to look forward to, outside of my norm, so I picked this trail race as a new adventure. 

The fact I have 8-hours to run it certainly helped the decision, too.

And the fact some blogger friends decided to venture with me was definitely a huge boost.

I am one lucky girl.  I get to run a trail marathon with some of the most amazing friends out there in some of the most gorgeous, scenic country.

Adventure describes exactly what it is that I need to dream about, or work towards.  It is the thing that I want to have inscribed on my calendar, a page I can flip to on an ordinary day and dream about.  Something I can look forward to.  Not defined so much as a race, but an experience ahead that reminds me that I have it in me.  That the possibility exists within me that I can and will bust out of my comfort zone and push myself to see, do and be something new. 

After months of one frustrating run after another, I am forced to look at my running these days with a different lens.  Yes, I am frustrated.  Yes, I am sad.  Yes, I am angry.  And yes I am pretty emotional at times.

But I have something to look forward to in 7 weeks: a new adventure with some of my favorite blog friends.  I am so excited, I don't even mind that I may be walking most of it.  With a cast on my foot, perhaps.  Crutches?  Whatever - I have an adventure waiting for me and I can't wait.

We live our lives, love our people, and do our work.  We can get into a fairly absolute pattern with these items, forgetting that we were designed to need adventure too.   We need the new experiences that stretch us and call us higher.  When we ignore this need, it's easy for our passions to get clogged and erupt, or morph in ways that are harmful.  We were not designed to thrive under restlessness or complacency. 

This is going to be a great little experiment and I am trying my hardest to not let the heel bring me down.  Sometimes when the heel drags me down, as it did today, and I need a little lift, I'll visit that happy place.....we all have them.....

As I was sitting here thinking about a happy memory to go visit for a few minutes, I remembered Valentine's Day and something my mom did for me when I was a little girl growing up in Iowa. I can't say my childhood was all sunshine and happy days, quite the opposite actually, but I remember my mom, who has been gone for the past 23 years of my life, used to love to bake.  And she was really good at it, unlike her only daughter who has issues with the oven, the stove and any utensil which belongs in the kitchen.  Let's recall the carrot cake I tried to make for the daughter's boyfriend last summer, which set my oven ablaze:(  But I'll never forget the red velvet cupcakes my mom used to make me on Valentine's was always a special treat, something I look forward to tasting when I returned home from school; something she'd make and mail to me while I was in college.  A reminder that love surrounded me, even when times were maybe not so bright. 

These little cupcakes also brought me to mile 23 of the Boston Marathon last year when Katie A and I were in tears over our miserable bodies failing us and how I made Katie promise me we'd go to Mike's Pastry for my birthday.  She was a good sport, despite telling me if I mentioned one more time it was my birthday she was going to scream, and the next day her and her husband took me over to the famous bakery and I got myself a red velvet cupcake (well, only to lose it somewhere between bakery and the airport.  How sad is that?  Still...I got to go and that was half the fun).  Ah, they love me!  That wonderful day always brings me a smile.

Happy Valentine's Day, people…whether your heart is full or healing, may we all experience a fresh and abiding awareness of the love in our lives.  As for me, I'll be making heart-shaped pizzas with my kids and drinking red Gookinaid.  And I'm going to make myself a nice little red velvet cupcake.  Just like my mom made.  Only not as good.  What an adventure it'll be.  I can't wait!

(my mileage comes straight out of my running log, you get all my lovely comments, too, as I just cut and paste :))
Week 5:Miles run: 46.6
Total 2011 run miles: 178.68
Swim: 1350 yds
Weights: 1 time (ugh)
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 17.1 miles on TM, pace uber slow, last 4 miles progressively faster
Wednesday: full body weights; 1350yds swimThursday: 8.5 miles total on TM, 7x800 @ 7:19 pace (slow...but that's how I roll these days)
Friday: Off (podiatrist appt, super sick to my stomach, grateful I didn't puke on him)
Saturday: 11 miles on trails in snow.  In shorts.
Sunday: 10 miles total in two runs.  First run 6.5 miles total with 4 @ MP, 3.5 miles later watching Blacked-Eyed Pea's lame Superbowl halftime show.

Week 6:
Miles Run: 33
Total 2011 run miles: 211.68
Weights: 2
Swim: 1800 yds
Monday: 1 mi wu full body wts1 mi cd
Tuesday: 4 miles on TM, 4x1 miles @ MP
Wednesday: 8 miles, middle for SICs.
Thursday: 7 miles on TM.Lots of heel pain.  :(  upper body weights
Friday: Off.  Podiastrist.  Cortisone shot.  Again.
Saturday: Swim 1 mile
Sunday: 12 miles, heel not happy.  At all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

She's Up and She's Down

I love to run with my iPod; there is nothing that will get my legs moving better than a really fast tempo'd, upbeat song.  I know music-infested runs aren't the choice by many of you, and that's fine - to each our own; but I need something to distract the task at had sometimes, not always but most times... and my iPod works. 

Most of the time.

My daughter is appalled that I download  individual songs I like and not the entire album which contains that favorite song.  Whatever.  My daughter also pretty much shakes her head at my wardrobe, too, amongst other embarrassing things I do around's so nice to have a 20-year old live-in critic of all my life's failures.

Moving on....

So I download songs that move me and Katy P. and I have so much in common that I can't help but capture a few of her feisty's okay, you can laugh, but you know you really do love her and really, we're so similar it's scary:
She: Sings well
Me: Cannot sing.  At all
She: Has gorgeous sleek, black hair
Me: Has dirty blonde hair which usually hides in a ponytail
She: Has massive cleavage
Me: Not even close
She: Can be quite annoying
Me: Never!
Yep, we're pretty closely matched, her and I - I bet we'd even be great friends if she lived next door, but some of her songs just resonate emotionally with me, whether it's the lyrics or the beat, and on Sunday's "long run" she popped into my ears... right at the wrong time.

Where I was UP last week, flying high in an overdose of running endorphins post-podiatrist "ok to run", Sunday brought a HUGE down.  I had a horrible chest cold and where I probably should have stayed in bed and rested, I instead set out to tackle 16 miles.  A quarter mile in when I had to stop and cough up part of my throat, I should have taken that as a sign things were going to eventually go sour and turned around.  But no one said I am always rational, so on I went.  At mile 9, when I was about 3.5 miles from my car, my fatigued body gave up and to give my exploding throat pain a little company, my heel decided to start screaming. 

"You're hot and your cold.....You're up and your down....."

Grrrr!  Katy, I really despise you right now. 

I limped home the last 3ish miles and just felt totally down all day.

I took Monday off from everything - mostly because I felt like crap, and also because Denver was pelted with this Arctic blast of cold air and I just hate cold weather and didn't want to venture outdoors in -13 degrees to the germ-infested gym.  So Tuesday rolls around and I gotta run.  Except it's -16 when I wake, and that's real temperature, not that fake wind chill stuff - school was even called off and we got a "cold day" (and no school today either because it's just too dang cold for those little feet to walk to school!  It's ok, you can be jealous all you's not like I'm sitting on the beach in Maui or anything, but at least I'm not encased in that cinder block school!) so it's the basement treadmill I go.

I truly believe sometimes the more I want something to work, the more it does not.  For instance, the more I obsess over my watch for a stellar race time, the more I crash and burn.  So I made the conscience decision I'd step on the treadmill with zero expectations other than it'd be really nice if I could somehow get in those 16 I missed on Sunday.  But if I only made 4, that's ok - it's not like I was feeling even close to 100% yet so I had no idea what the lungs and legs could do. 

I started off feeling blahish but set the treadmill to molasses pace and soon that feeling a fatigue and malice finally subsided.  I blared my iPod, watched some horrible crap tv (is there anything good on at 11:00 in the morning?) and ...

  ... 17.1 miles later I stopped.

I know!!!  What the heck!?!  I even progression ran the last 5 miles!
Honestly I think I could have pulled off that 50-miler off today - I felt amazing!  Really!!  Heel? A little annoying the last few miles but nothing paralyzing.  And you know what song just happened to be playing during the last mile???

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
drifting through the wind
wanting to start again?
  yes, Katy, I felt like that for the past 11 months!
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
like a house of cards,
one blow from caving in?
Um, not running for 11 months left me less than paper-thin, Katy, but I'm slowly chipping away at that

Do you ever feel already buried deep? Almost daily!
6 feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing  YES!
Do you know that there's still a chance for you There is?
'Cause there's a spark in you  Yes, I think I felt it today....17.1 miles will do that to you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine

I'm ready....bring it!

Ok, Katy, we are definitely friends again!
I have no doubt I'm going to have really bad down days ahead, but nothing can beat a 17.1 mile high right now.....I can feel the light and it feels warm; I'll remember this day when things are down and know that at the end of the light, there is always a way up!

I cannot close without saying a quick shout-out to my pal, Chris K., as he goes to Surf City this weekend and WILL walk away with his much sought after BQ.  I know I can give him an occasional much-deserved hard time but as I sit here and roll out my PF, as I do daily, with the Rubz ball he sent me a couple months ago, I can't help but be pretty emotional about his race Sunday. Chris, bring home the gold baby!! (and please feel free to send more gifts, anytime)

Week 4:
Miles run: 43.08
Total 2011 miles: 132.08

Monday: 10.5 miles on my basement TM
Tuesday: Swim 1000 yds
Wednesday:10.18 miles on the state park trails
Thursday:7.5 miles, 8x400Upper body weights
Friday:3 miles wu core and leg weights
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 12.3 miserabe miles

Run strong, Friends!