Monday I saw my podiatrist and received the diagnostic results of the MRI of my left foot:
- Acute on chronic plantar fasciitis with interstitial tearing and edema in the plantar calcaneal spur.
- Moderate tendinosis of the Achilles tendon in the watershed zone with grade 1 strain of the distal soles musculature at the myotendinous junction.
The detailed report is even more dense with medical terms, but the diagnosis is not terribly serious and my podiatrist gave me the go-ahead to continue running as long as I am not in any on-going pain (always go to a doctor who runs). Fortunately I’m not currently in pain. I do get some aching at times — especially after a long or hard run, but icing helps when that happens. I certainly don’t have the same pain I had this past fall!
Treatment involves continued Graston and Active Release Therapies with my chiropractor, a six-day dose-pack of prednisone to alleviate existing edema at the molecular level, and a new set of custom orthotics which will involved a fitting and sending a pair of shoes to have them set up properly. I currently have custom orthotics, but these will be a much higher grade and more finely tuned. And, of course, more expensive — but these orthotics should only need to be refurbished periodically rather than replaced every nine months like I’ve been doing.
My podiatrist also wants me to stick to running in Hokas which is fine by me, but I have a brand new pair of Asics Nimbus 15s that I have never worn. Anyone interested (size 11) before I turn to eBay or Craig’s List?
Finally, I plan to continue using run/walk intervals for all runs over 6 miles long. My current ratio of 3 minutes running followed by a 20 second walk break seems to work fine without cooling me down too much or losing my momentum. It is definitely keeping my heart rate down, too. My speed is not back yet, but it’s more important that I heal. As long as I can finish a race before the time limit, I’ll be happy.
Next up is the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT, on May 25. The time limit for that marathon is 6 hours which should not be a problem, and the critical spot is getting past mile 8.5 on pace which should definitely be an easy goal for me even with my run/walk intervals. After that I should be able to dial back my training for a bit which will also help. Then I just have the Media 5-Miler in June before my trip to Disneyland the end of August for the Dumbo Double Dare (10K on 8/30, then half marathon on 8/31) followed by the Ventura Marathon the following weekend. Seven weeks later is the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26. After last year (through January, 2014) this will be a really easy year for me!
After yesterday, I can say I’m ready for the B & A Trail Half Marathon. I wasn’t certain that would be the case at the beginning of the month after taking a break from running for nearly 7 weeks to heal my plantar faciitis (along with a little side trip to the ER for a broken elbow). I started running again on March 1 with a 3-mile run on the treadmill, then ran a total of 18 miles the next week including a 7-mile “long” run, and 25 miles the second week with a 9-mile long run. This past week I logged 30.5 miles with a 7-mile mid-week run and a 13-mile long run yesterday. It hasn’t been particularly pretty or fast, but I know I’ll be able to finish the half marathon next Sunday.
My body parts are cooperating for the most part. My elbow is healing nicely and doesn’t interfere with my running at all. My orthopedist “recommended” that I not run while it was healing, so I promised that I wouldn’t fall gain. My plantar faciitis is progressing. I can’t say it is completely better, but it definitely does not hurt to run. I do have some aching after a hard or long run that goes away by the next day at the latest. My chiropractor has suggested that I stick my foot in ice water as soon as possible after every run to keep the inflammation from returning. I did that yesterday, and it really did the trick. After the ice bath I had none of the previous aching, tightness, or soreness that I’ve had in the past. Tomorrow I see a podiatrist for an alternative consultation and to get ideas for prevention (other than stop running, of course).
I haven’t been able to do the cross-training I had hoped to because of my elbow — no yoga or strength training while the bone was healing. I see my orthopedist this coming week and, hopefully, will be given the OK to cross-train. I know I need to work on flexibility, balance, and strength to help avoid future injuries, and I’m looking forward to taking yoga and strength classes at the YMCA. I’ve modified my running schedule to 4 days per week to give me time to do this. Right now some of that time has been taken up with physical therapy for my elbow.
The last few days my right hip flexor has been reminding me that I need more stretching and cross training. It was definitely tight before I ran on Thursday and it wasn’t happy with me before I started my long run yesterday. Once I got home, after sitting in the car and driving for 20 minutes, it really hurt. Fortunately, some rest, Advil, and stretching has mostly eliminated the problem a day later. But I know I need to keep after this so it doesn’t cause more problems down the road.
Speaking of the road, I had the opportunity to run the Chester Valley Trail again — this time from Old Eagle School Road in Valley Forge back toward the section I had run previously from Wegmans and Target in Malvern. Now I just have to run the section from Malvern to Exton to complete the CVT. If you want a flat, straight macadam trail, this is it. Just look south for your view because looking north is Route 202 and/or the sound barriers. Yesterday, though, I saw a doe very close to the trail and she was totally unperturbed by my presence.
I thought I was going to run in nice, mild weather, but it was overcast and breezy and only 35 degrees when we started running. The temps climbed into the 60s but long after we had finished running!
Mon – 5.0 miles – 12:00 pace
Wed – 7.11 miles – 11:56 pace
Thu – 5.09 miles – 12:20 pace
Sat – 13.32 miles (including a 1-mile treadmill warmup) – 12:32 pace
Another mild Saturday and I got to run in one of my favorite places — Valley Forge National Historical Park. Today I ran the inner loop along with a couple of short out-and-backs along the Schuylkill River Trail and the River Trail on the Betzwood side of the park. The trail was completely clear of any snow, but there were lots of walkers and bikers enjoying the park on a mostly sunny day.
I used 3:00-minute/30-second run/walk intervals and still kept my overall pace under 12:00 minutes per mile. It felt very controlled and I wasn’t overly spent when I finished. I feel like I’m building back up at just about the right rate. I’ve been running four days per week doing 18 miles last week and 25 miles this week. But I’ve done intervals on the treadmill each week — 8 by 400s at 10-minute mile pace with 400 recovery last week and 4 by 800s at 10-minute mile with 200 recovery this week. And this past week I got out on the rolling hills of West Chester Pike along with the hills in VFP today.
Best of all, though, my plantar faciitis seems to be receding (knocking on wooden head while typing–please pardon any typos). Initially I was still getting an ache in my heel and under the inner ankle after running and once or twice a day otherwise. Enough that I felt the need to ice my ankle after last week’s long run. But this week even that has diminished. I am trying to remember to stretch immediately after running, and I am doing physical therapy for my plantar along with the therapy for my broken right radius (which is coming along quite well). I’m also continuing to wear the night splint at least 4 or 5 hours each night. I’m not willing to say my foot is back to normal yet, but it is definitely better and it isn’t interfering with my running at all at this point. (Now it is getting impossible to type with the fingers on both hands crossed.) I’ll take a very slow improvement from here — even if I have small periodic set-backs, I’m feeling more confident that the worst is behind me and I can look forward to a good year for running.
Sat 3/1 – 3.00 miles – 12:00 pace
Mon 3/3 – 3.00 miles – 11:56 pace
Tue 3/4 – 3.60 miles – 12:30 pace
Thu 3/6 – 4.25 miles – 11;45 pace (8×400 intervals)
Sat 3/8 – 7.12 miles – 11:19 pace (CVT)
Mon 3/10 – 5.16 miles – 12:08 pace
Tue 3/11 – 6.06 miles – 11:46 pace
Thu 3/13 – 5.00 miles – 11:06 pace (4×800 intervals)
Sat 3/15 – 9.21 miles – 11:50 pace (VFP)
I’ve now achieved the 6500 milestone — logging that many miles in less than 5 years of running in my 60s. So what’s next? What milestone should I shoot for? I should easily hit 7500 miles by the end of this year so that’s very ambitious of a goal. If I continue running as I have, even accounting for occasional injury breaks, I could get to 10,000 miles by the end of 2016 before I turn 68. Maybe I should go for something more audacious and aim for 15,000 miles by the time I’m 75. That’s an average of 850 miles per year over the next 10 years, and I’ve run over 1900 miles in each of the last two years. I should be able to bank enough miles in the next several years to easily make 15,000 by 75 as long as I can keep running. And I intend to do just that if I’m able. So there it is — 15,000 miles by age 75 — a 15-year odyssey!
And along the way, I’ll try to pick off as many states as possible to run a marathon in. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to get all 50. But, for now, that’s just an aspiration — not a firm goal… yet.
So, to celebrate my 6500, I’ve given my minion-me a Maniac make-over:
There may still be snow on the ground, but today’s weather was perfect for a run with highs in the 50s and bright sunshine most of the day. I took the opportunity to try out the Chester Valley Trail (CVT) from Wegmans and Target in Malvern east to Swedesford Road near Valley Forge. This was my first run outside since the Dopey Challenge in January because I was taking time off to heal my plantar faciitis. Last Saturday I started running again, but stayed inside on the treadmill because I fractured the head of my radius in my right arm about two weeks ago. Luckily I only had to be in a sling for a week and with physical therapy my range of motion and strength are beginning to return. But I didn’t want to risk falling again on icy roads or snow-covered trails. On the other hand, I plan to run the B & A Trail Half Marathon the end of the month and I need to start building up distance so I took advantage of the beautiful day and ran about 7 miles on the CVT. The first mile east from Target borders Matthews Road and Route 202 but after that it is a very pleasant trail and it was completely clear of snow — just some melted water running across the trail in places but not deep enough to be bothersome. All in all it was an excellent run, and I’ll definitely be back to run more of the CVT. I’m just hoping the weather keeps getting better so I can avoid the treadmill!
I managed to register for the Marine Corps 17.75K to be held on April 12 in Prince William Forest Park outside the Quantico Base in Virginia. Completing this 11.03 mile race will ensure me a spot in the 39th Marine Corps Marathon in October and allow me to bypass the registration lottery for this iconic marathon.
But I was lucky. Word got out. Registration was full in just 9 minutes!
I am looking forward to running this unusual distance — in between a 10-miler and a half marathon. Should be fun!
That’s what I’ve been doing — just fueling myself.
Since last March I’ve run 9 marathons, 3 half marathons, an 8.5 midnight race, a 10K, a 5-miler, and 3 5Ks. I usually averaged 40 to 50 miles per week, and if I hadn’t developed plantar faciitis, I would have easily logged over 2000 miles for the year.
In spite of all that running — or maybe because of it — I stopped paying attention to what and how much I ate. And I gradually gained weight. The kicker was having to shut down my running when the plantar faciitis hit hard in early November. I missed at least two full weeks of training prior to the Philly Marathon, then lost another four weeks after doing a slow, painful 13 miles. The timing was awful for my running, but it was also terrible because it exacerbated the dreaded holiday weight gain.
I managed to get in three weeks of training during the end of December to ramp up for the Dopey Challenge in January, but the damage in terms of weight gain was already done. And now, post Dopey, I have not run for two weeks and probably will take at least another 2 or 3 weeks off running to hopefully get rid of all the PF pain.
But my appetite still thinks I’m running 40 to 50 miles per week. As if I should have been fueling myself like I did even then
The back of one of my RoadKill Bill shirts has this on it: “My Cross Training: Running the Other Direction”. When I was interviewed on the Marathon Show podcast last February I offered that quip when the topic of cross training came up. Not so funny now.
So, I’m going to work on my eating habits — primarily being more careful about what I eat as well as exercising portion control — and trying my best to eat a lot slower by chewing more and drinking more water in between bites. It’s tough to break bad habits ingrained over many years so I have my work cut out for me.
And I’ve joined the YMCA to start incorporating cross training in my regimen. This is a good time to get started since I’m not running right now and can easily carve out the time. I plan to try some deep aqua classes, spin classes, and some yoga classes as well as doing some weights and core work. Once I start running again, though, I want to try to still get to the Y at least two or three times a week. If I can do that I know it will help my running performance as well as help me avoid injuries.
It’s time to stop fueling myself indiscriminately.