Three Things

Thursday is here and I’m starting to see the end of the work-week tunnel!

We all experience set-backs in life, and lately I feel like I’ve experienced set-back after set-back. I hurt my foot a few weeks ago after spending a whole weekend painting. I stressed over my injury and forced myself to rest and not run, which for a runner, is a very stressful experience. I’m not a good injured person. I get frustrated, angry, and antsier than a two-year old in church. But it seemed to pay off, because I returned to running last Friday and haven’t looked back. I’ve experienced no pain during the run, after the run, and my foot usually feels better in the hours after I’m finished. I do experience a LITTLE tightness in the morning, but after walking around for a few minutes, it disappears. Yay! Looks like I’ll definitely be able to run the 5k this weekend!

After running a couple of times this past weekend, I decided to take it to the streets on Tuesday. I geared up, compression sleeves and all – I felt legit, I felt strong, I felt psyched.

Then my Garmin couldn’t get a signal. Seriously Garmin? I know it’s been a while since I’ve used you, but COME ON! After giving up with my useless technology, I said screw it and just kept going. Everything was great, but then around mile two, I had another incident; one even more annoying than the first. I’m going to spare you the details, but let’s just say my intestines hated me. I’ve had GI issues before while running, and it’s a pretty common experience that most runners have at some point in their running career. After cutting out a lot of dairy (specifically milk) from my diet, the problem was diminished drastically. But on this day, during this run, it decided to make an appearance. I ended up walking a mile home and spent the rest of the night back and forth between the bathroom. Not fun.

I felt so defeated. Why was my body acting this way? What did I eat that day that made me feel this way? Why can’t my mind and my body sync up?

Flash forward to last night. It was a new day – I was going to try this again!

I suited up, and made my way out. I waited for my Garmin to crap out on me again, but it didn’t! Signal was reached and I was on my way. It was the best 4.5 miles I’ve run in recent memory. I wanted to go slow and strong and I did! No speed intervals. No tempo or threshold run. Just plain running. I finished at a 9:12 mi/mil pace and didn’t have any GI issues! Success all around!

I can’t get down about these frustrations. In the grand scheme of life and my running career, a couple bonked runs are not a big deal. Two weeks of rest because of a funky foot is not a big deal. There are much worst things in life, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I was made ever more aware of that yesterday morning after finding out that they found the body of the missing BC student, Franco Garcia, floating in the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I run around that Reservoir all the time. I’ve seen his family handing out flyers. I’ve seen the ‘Missing Student’ signs all over light posts. It breaks my heart to know that his family is going through something like this. In the days and weeks moving forward we’ll find out what happened to him, but for now, I’m thankful that everyone in my life is safe and sound. His family is in my thoughts, and I wish that you include him and his family in yours.

So on that note – today, I am thankful for many things, but three in particular are:

  1. Healed foot = 5K is a go on Sunday!
  2. I got to Skype chat yesterday with one of my best friends and old roommate from college, Gabby. She’s in Rome, Italy right now working on her Master’s in Architecture. I miss her dearly, so it was awesome to get to talk to her for a little while.
  3. The health and safety of my family and friends. Anything can happen anywhere and it’s been made more and more apparent to me lately with what happened. Hug your loved ones!

I miss you, Gabby!

Have you ever experienced GI problems on a run? Any tips for combating them? Foods to cut out? How do you deal with frustrating and disappointing runs?

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Feeling the Pressure

After my half marathon, I seemed to recover much more quickly than I ever thought I would. I wore compression shorts immediately after and overnight in the days after the marathon. Two days after the marathon I had zero soreness, which I tie to the compression.

It’s been almost two weeks since the race. I’ve been running, but not a ton. I’ve been mostly doing lower impact workouts in the time since. Weight training has returned and I’m actually enjoying it. However, while Bernie and I were painting his house past Saturday, I noticed a very sharp pain in my right foot. All of a sudden, I went from feeling fine to having a super tough pain radiating from my foot, up my ankle, and into my calf.  Oh. Shit.

I immediately didn’t know what it was. I thought to myself, “Maybe it’s from standing on my feet all day and painting. Maybe it’s from lifting heavy cans of paint. Maybe it’s from standing on the super scary rickety wooden ladder.” As the night went on, it continued to hurt. I went to sleep somewhat worried, but chalked it up to overexerting myself.

The next day, I woke up to the same pain. I changed my shoes from my Nike Free’s (little support) to my Brooks running shoes (more support) and it seemed to help. I had on and off pain the whole day while painting. Again, I hoped and prayed it was nothing serious.

So this leaves us to now. I’ve been having a pain in the outside/bottom/top of my foot (it keeps changing). I also noticed that the calf on that leg was SUPER tight, especially along the outside. So I rolled it one night and was left with a really sore lower leg, but a somewhat better foot. I’ve dealt with ankle/calf injuries before when I had peroneal tendonitis. I used to get really bad ankle/calf pain when I rode horses and my orthopedist at the time told me to get a foam roller for my calves. Within a week, the pain was gone forever.

So right now, I think it might be one of two things:

  1. The peroneal tendonitis is back since I have pretty tight calves from all the training I did.
  2. I strained a tendon in the bottom of my foot from walking around in very unsupportive Nike’s while painting all weekend (lifting heavy cans, standing on my tippy toes a lot, standing on a rickety wooden ladder).

At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

I know that the best thing to do is rest, so I’m taking 5 days off from any exercise and waiting to see how I feel on Monday. That would be 9 days after the pain started. I know if I go to an orthopedist, that’s going to be their suggestion. I don’t believe it’s a stress fracture, because I don’t have any tender spots on bony parts of my foot. I don’t think it’s planter fasciitis, because my heel doesn’t hurt (at least that’s what I’m hoping – PF is scary for runners). I am worried, but I’m trying to focus on resting, icing, stretching my feet and calves, and foam rolling. I’d like to not be sidelined from running for longer than two weeks if I can help it. I have a 5k in a little over 2 weeks! If I’m still in pain by Monday, I’m going to make an appointment with an orthopedist.

Please ignore my scary toes. They're getting a pedicure this weekend - promise!

Since I’ve had multiple issues with my calves, I decided to finally make another investment in compression gear – compression calf sleeves. After researching different brands, I headed to City Sports and picked up the CEP Sports Compression Sleeves. After foam rolling, I slipped them on and they felt super comfy. I’m excited to start using them for runs. After walking around in them for a little while, I noticed the bottom of my foot didn’t hurt quite as much anymore. Good sign? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

For now, I’ve been rocking these at night and will most likely be wearing them under my pants during the day. Shhhh – it can be our little secret ;).

Readers: Have you ever had calf muscle issues? Ever try compression gear? Do you think they make a difference? Ever had arch pain? How do you deal with annoying injuries?