#optoutside Friday

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It was a chilly,  bright blue day on the trail. Mt Baker always stuns me with it’s beauty and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel this, even after living out here for 21 years.

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Since yesterday was running, today was hiking. Unfortunately, my hike was impeded by my fear of bears. I was hiking alone, on a trail that I’d only seen 2 other hikers on (with their’s being the only other car at the trailhead),  and I’d already seen a bear on the drive up the road to the trailhead. If I hadn’t seen the cute, furry monster, I’d have thought they were all hibernating and not given a second thought. But I did see him…. Even backed my car down the road to get a second look before he ran into the bushes. I also saw eagles and trumpeter swans on the trip up but I didn’t become edgy with anxiety thinking they were stalking me on the trail.
About a mile down the trail,  after crossing some beautiful bridges…..

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And a less than stellar one….

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My mind started to play games with me and I heard a rumbling noise. I remembered to make my presence known and decided to play music on my phone. Now I just needed to figure out what kind of music bears wouldn’t like. After I decided I probably wouldn’t like it either if they didn’t, I settled on someone new I’ve been listening to, as he’s a bit confusing and might warn and befuddled the monters: Benjamin Clementine.
My foot is hurting at this point, a  mile and a half in,  and I’m not relaxing….. I’m not freaked out, I’m just not relaxing. Now that I think about it, the pain was feeding my insecurity (now I figure it out). Oh well,  I turned around in my discomfort and wandered back to the trailhead: foot not hurting as much, more relaxed on the hike out. Hmmm… It would see that my brain won this round.

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Then I heard rumbling again…. Damn it! It was my own stomach!

Gratitude to the offending foot

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You have taken me on a ride this year, yes, you certainly have. Our first half marathon where we learned the impact of running in elevation and that walking some while your heart is pounding is just fine. Our second half, 3 weeks later, back at sea level where  you discovered that you could run your half 18 minutes faster than previously thought! Long runs preparing for a full marathon, learning about the power of the mind and importance of not eating crap the night before. We also learned that some long runs require peeing in a ditch. Then the marathon brought the lesson of not giving up. Just don’t give up. It was alright to announce that I was beat at mile 16 or 17, to call for a ride home, to walk a bit, as long as I didn’t actually stop until mile 26.2. We learned that runners are some of the nicest and most supportive people around.

The hard lesson for my foot and I, was learning to cope with injury. The lesson was how truly important running had become in my life and how to move forward even when life felt adrift, lost at sea. Who was I if not a runner? I do not believe that I actually fully knew this answer before I began running a few months short of my 47th birthday.  While I learned much about myself while beginning running and while training for distance, I did not understand the true significance until I could not run. You, dear offending foot, sidelined me for 4 and a half months. You made me pay attention to my being in a way I hadn’t before. You forced me back onto the couch; a place I do not want to live out my life. Running has helped to define me as a strong woman. It has silenced the body loathing that lived in me for decades.  I say has, but it really is “had”, as the loss of running saw to it the the demons in my mind came roaring back to life. Time on the therapy couch is improving this but, damn, what a battle!

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On this Thanksgiving  I am expressing gratitude to my offending left foot. Without you, without this time off from running, I would not have seen the dark side of me, the side that still needs care and that needs love from the core of my being in order to find a full and true healing. Today I brought my body out to the trail and ran along the lakeside, calm and soothing. I challenged this body to run a bit farther, slower; forcing myself to walk the first 5 minutes of the run to warm up my plantar and peroneal tendons, caring more that my foot continues to heel, more than the number of miles or minutes I run. I worked on lovingly taking in the sensation of fatigue, and returning to the battle of the brain without giving in.

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Knock on wood 

It was a dark, cold, and windy morning. 5:45 am found me unhooking from my morning dose of light therapy, strapping on my Ghosts, and heading out to test 3 miles on the neighborhood sidewalks. The glory of being able to still run 3 non stop miles, feeling the definate body fatigue from loss of conditioning, and still move forward one clunky step at a time = great happiness. 

I’ve come to accept that my left foot may never be fully without aches and pains. It will not kill me, although it may impede distance and occasionally make me whiney. When it hurts more, as it does at this moment, I  remind myself that I am healthy and strong, readjust my stance and walk on. The visual of being brought down by this, becoming weak, living on the sofa in front of the tv, in a green hooded bathrobe, and eating my life away, just doesn’t work for me. 

So, yes, stand up straight, readjust my stride, tell the foot to shut up, and run Damn it, because that is living! 

Back on the trail 

I woke up excited this morning; I get to run with my running partner! I can see through my bedroom window that the sky is blue, the temperature is sitting at freezing, and the Northshore Trail is calling. R and I haven’t been able to run together since the week before the marathon in June. She supported me through marathon training, always running the first 13 miles of my long runs with me, and encouraging me to keep going. After injury, also post marathon, we went thru a period where she wasn’t even telling me of her weekend runs because I was so envious. Even though I was in pain every day just walking the hallway at work, I wanted to run, I wanted my source of power and strength back. Who ever thought I’d become this runner!? Being unable to run even sent me back to therapy; I was lost. Being in the quiet of my mind, unable to distract/focus myself with training was a tough place to be. I’m actively becoming unlost now, finding myself in my running shoes on the trail once again.

Recovery and switch to WordPress

Well I’m up to 3 x 8 minutes with a 2 minute walk = 30 minutes. I’m keeping it at every other day as the offending foot  is a bit pissy still and seems to need the recovery day. I’m finding it curious that my heel doesn’t hurt for approximately 4 or 5 hours post run? Then it will be a bit bothersome, in that I get hyper focused on it and will it be the end of my running, for 4 or 5 hours.

I might start this new blog with a brief explanation: I’m shifting over to WordPress from Tumblr due to their loss of replies/comments. I have a great running community over there, but it now feels as if all I do is spy on others posts rather than having the ability to be interactive.  I am recovering from training for and running a marathon 5 months ago, yesterday, to be exact. I gained plantar fasciitis  and tendonosis in my peroneal tendons, causing all kinds of heel pain. This pain is greatly reduced, although still mildly present. The orthopedic surgeon (no surgery if I can avoid it) said that it was all due to pes cavus, high arches. I’ve had about 3 and half months of PT, iontophoresis for the peroneal tendons, and orthotics made. I have hope but this has been a far longer journey to healing than expected (well, not the ortho – he is fairly sure we will end up in surgery – poo on that).

I was walking down the hallway at work the other day, heel burning a bit, and saw one of my coworkers who has a significant limp  walking  out to get a client. I thought to myself “I do not want to spend the rest of my life  hurting and limping. This will not happen to me.” I readjusted my step and pain went away. I’m recognizing the psychological connection to my injury. The strength of the body requires strength of the mind.

I’ve done upper body weights and cardio workout this morning, thank you daily burn, and now on to the bike trainer. Tomorrow I run.

I’ve been released from PT….. We think? The treatments have helped a great deal with the peroneal tendon burning, and the orthotics have helped with PF. Today was my first baby run of 8min walk, 2min run x 3. Over 2 weeks I get to progress to 1min walk, 9min run x 3. Cross fingers. Of course, after 4 months injured, 3 months in PT, I’m hopeful but feeling very trepidatious. I’m on track with Daily Burn workouts and cycling on the trainer and other than jumping jacks, the foot is doing well. Jumping jacks are a no-no.
The combination of PF and the peroneal tendon issues has been an absolute bitch. Weight has been gained; I’ve had a lot of couch time and when bored I eat like a complete asshole. I’m back in control of food, dropped refined sugar and the ass went back into her cave. I’m grateful that recovery is happening and (cross fingers again) nearly complete.