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Long Post – As Promised

Sorry it took me so long to get this posted. The week has been crazy, and with my little sister staying with me, it was hard to find the time to sit down and write.

I started this past week still high from last weekend’s recon ride in Wisconsin. This was not any sort of illegal high. I could lose my hard-earned license for that. This was the kind of high you get from spending time in the company of amazing people. Since I had managed to keep up with everybody on the ride and stayed motivated enough to throw in a 30 miler the next day, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

My training plan instructed me that this week was meant for recovery, so I was looking forward to fewer hours. I was also looking forward to giving my body a rest. You see, I’ve been having these small twinges of pain in my heels during and workouts for the past few weeks. I assumed that it was a little bit of tendonitis in my Achilles and that rest would be good for it. During my swim on Monday, the pain was much worse and was increasing. It actually worried me. It hurt every time I pushed off the wall, and eventually I made the executive decision that my 1 2/3 mile swim should be cut to 2/3. No use pushing it and risking further injury when the workout doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I took it easy Tuesday too because I was still having a lot of pain, even just standing and walking (which I do a lot of) at work. I went for a 7.5 mile run Wednesday and it felt OK, although it was a little painful. Thursday I did another 2/3 mile swim in the AM and then a 4.5 mile run in the PM with some pain, but it was manageable. I’ve been icing like a mad woman too. Friday after work, I decided to finally do a little more investigating. I typed “Achilles tendonitis” into Google and starting reading about. I read about the causes (lots of physical activity, increases in activity, hills) and figured I fit in that category. I also seemed to have some of the symptoms, but it didn’t quite fit. When I read the prognosis, though, my heart sank. Must stop immediately if worsens when exercise. Overworking the injured tendon may cause it to rupture. Months to years recovery time. This is not what I need right now. As my investigation continued, I kept seeing plantar fasciitis popping up as another cause for the pain. As I researched that, it seemed that I might have a new winner on the What the Heck is Making my Feet Hurt game show. After reading the symptoms, I realized there is a good chance that this is actually causing my pain. When I saw this picture, though, I knew I had a winner. The good news is that I think I’ve actually had the condition for a long time (think years). Every once in a while, I get pain in my heels that sort of feels like what I imagine bone spurs to feel like. Turns out this is classic plantar fasciitis. Huh. I always had assumed it was lack of support in my shoes. My current pain is also pretty typical for overuse– a little pain at the bottom of my heels and a lot of pain behind my ankle on the insides of my feet. More good news; it is rarely serious and usually goes away with icing, stretching, and antiinflammatories, although it may take a while. My translation: even if it hurts, I am not worsening it by working it. The bad news: it hurts like hell, even/especially when I’m not actually working out. I wear good shoes at work, but I cannot stay off my feet the whole day. Standing still aggravates it, and during rounds that is exactly what I have to do.

I’m feeling really defeated right now. By the end of last week, I was feeling like a rock star, like the title of Ironman was within my grasp. My workouts this week have been pretty slim, and even though it was supposed to be a recovery week, I’m feeling guilty about slacking off. With only 8 weeks to go, I cannot afford to miss that many hours of training. Since my last 4 weeks of training are basically recovery/taper, I’m starting to get anxious about the fact that my next 4 weeks mean everything in terms of my training. What if the pain gets much worse? What if I can’t do it? It’s not really something that I want to think about after investing all of this time and money, but I can’t say that it’s not in the back of my mind.

I’m also nervous about the half IM coming up in just two weeks. I’m nervous because I’ve never done that distance before. I am also nervous because it will take away a precious long ride on the bike. I’m starting to become very aware of the fact that my longest ride to date has been 72 miles. I’d like to get in a 90 miler next weekend. We’ll see how it goes.

OK… sorry for the pity party, but thanks for listening. I’m now moving on to a brighter note. Mr. SLS is a rock star. Unfortunately, the officials announced about 15 minutes before the start of the race that because of the heat, they were shortening the course. They shaved 3 miles off the bike and 3 miles off the run in an attempt to land fewer participants in the hospital this year (last year, they treated over 40 people in the medical tent). Thus, the Olympic distance race became a total of 6 miles shorter. The official times aren’t back yet, but he did fairly well in the swim (it’s not his strong leg), great in the bike, and he averaged around 7:30’s on the run!!! That guy is crazy. That’s like my normal 5K pace on a good day. I am so proud J I may have created a monster J He’s talking about signing up for the sprint distance race the day of my half IM.

More good news: I bought a new helmet. If you’ve seen the WIBA pictures, you may have noticed that my current helmet sits at the very top of my head, making my forehead look about a foot tall. It’s still functional, but it’s not the most comfortable. This weekend I hit a sale at the local bike shop and bought the most amazing helmet ever. It fits perfectly, is better ventilated, and looks totally hot on me! (well, as hot as a helmet can look anyway) I’m pretty sure that now my competition will all run away in fear when they see me on the bike.

The next 3 weeks will be my toughest training ever. More to come on that…

6 comments:

Steve S.

Ice that heel and you'll be ready to rock the half IM coming up!

xt4

Hey SLS - sorry you're experiencing some issues right now. My two cents: Remember that it's better to be 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained - pain is the body's way of telling you to stop, so let it do its thing. Maybe you can think about working in some water running or other non-impact work in place of some of your other workouts. Also, you can't cross the finish line if you don't arrive at the starting line healthy. That's my objective number 1 right now - arrive healthy. Even if you feel you're playing catch-up with the mileage on the bike, your fitness bank is filling up. Anyway, you're the doctor, but stay strong. Keep your head in the game and you'll be fine. Believe it!

TriSaraTops

I agree with the 2 gentlemen above. :) Had some plantar faciitis (sp?) before my 1st marathon and I know how painful it is...ugh. What helped me nip it in the bud was ice and LOTS of stretching. Like, I spent lots of my day stretching my calf and leaning against walls. I looked like a dumbass, but it worked. Stretch stretch stretch girl and you'll be fine.

Yeah, these next 2 weeks will be crazy huh? We'll make it somehow...! :)

Congrats to Mr. Pharmie on a great race!

E-Speed

I had plantar before Boston this year, it blows! Mine has gone away with the lighter run mileage I have put in doing HIM training.

Make sure to sleep with the sheets untucked from the end of the bed. And I always stretched my feet before stepping down from bed in the morning (because that was when it was most painful for me). I also tried to arrange my feet in the sheets so I wouldn't be able to point them at night. I bet if you can manage to go lighter on the running for a few weeks it will get better. Having to stand at the job can't be helping though. Can you wear running shoes at work? Heels make plantar worse too.

The pool running isn't a bad idea! You can keep the running fitness without the impact! Warning pool running isn't easy!

Be careful with those anti inflammatories, I always avoid them before the run, just in case you are doing more damage, its better to know it than mask it.

Okay I am starting to sound like a mom.

Hope it gets better because you are definitely ready to be an Ironman!

qcmier

Never had plantar fasciitis, but I had it in my calf of all places. If it hurts in the morning, Like e-speed said, try to make sure you don't point your foot at night. I actually have a night splint, but an ace bandage did okay too.

I was in the same position as you regarding the half IM and in my humble opinion that is a much better training day than just a long bike ride.

So where's the pic of you and the new helmet?

Hope the feet get better.

April

I definately feel bad for you right now! However, I still believe in you 100%. After all, you were my inspiration to complete my first marathon and to try my first tri. You're a smart cookie and you'll figure out what works for you and soon you'll be back in action.

To add to the list of things to do...I've heard somewhere something about using marbles for PF. I don't remember what you do with them (massage? pick them up with you toes?), but the person that told me about it said it did the trick. Maybe a little google search will pull something up.

Miss ya!