Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Foot Shy

I've had problems with my heel. Sometimes it has felt like I had pins and needles in it. Other times it felt like I was walking on broken glass. I've written previously about the Plantar Fasciiotis self diagnosis. It has since been confirmed by a massage therapist, a podiatrist and a physiotherapist.

If you are asking why no GP or Osteo or other knife wielding MD...two words: refer all. Besides, my GP, who I really do respect was all about referring me to the professionals I sought out and found myself.

I have also undergone a number of treatments most of which were interesting and intriguing, none of which have done anything but make me feel like I'm doing something useful.

I may as well be warming blankets and boiling water. Or perhaps adding a few eyes of newt to my favourite morning beverage. It has been very discouraging. Further, it has reaffirmed my reluctance to seek professional help for something that is not broken, bleeding or requiring a biopsy.

Now don't misunderstand. I've had a lot of successes from RMTs - one person that I consider a good friend is an RMT. In fact, it was an RMT, who was also licensed as a chiropractor who got my neck working the day before my most recent Ironman Canada.

The physio pointed out some very cogent errors/inadequacies of my stride (which I'm working on by the way). The chiro pointed out how I need to relax my shoulders when I run - and told me how to do it.

The podiatrist showed me how to tape my foot and got me a good night splint to use.

All of these professionals are athletes themselves and understand what I have gone through. None of these professionals have really helped address my issue: the condition and the pain.

I have determined that this is stemming from my calf tightness - and partially because of how I run. (Thanks to the physio).

So I've tried a number of different remedies, some less orthodox than others. And although I feel somewhat disillusioned and mostly defeated, I remain eternally hopeful that one day I'll get out of bed and not hurt.

One unfortunate side effect of this constant heel pain has been the fact that I see to have become run shy. Much like trying to relax and "let go" in the company of others, I've found that I'm reluctant to create opportunities to go out and run. Every time a little obstacle presents itself - cold, wind, dirty laundry, making supper, re-run of Biggest Loser - I have used it as an excuse to not run. Further, I have also avoided running with others -- in fear of slowing them down.

This is completely new to me. Previously, I reveled in running in -30c. I bragged about pushing through a windy morning run, I hoarded newspapers that I could use to stuff into my soaked runners.

Now? Not so much.

Keep in mind that I hurt...but not when I run. The crackerjacks (borrowing a word for medical people from the Cranky Princess) have all suggested that I should run. My own empirical evidence (taking two weeks off from running) demonstrated no tangible difference to the exquisite quality and quantity of pain.

Being a forefoot runner, I have no pain when I run. When I walk however, I look like a constipated John Wayne swaggering up to the bar, Pilgrim.

Being run shy has spilled over, as it were, to my other athletic pursuits. It has now become easier to avoid swimming: I'm too busy at lunch. Or swimming the distance I need to swim: I only have 30 minutes.

I've also not done the biking that I should be doing: it is too wet/windy/wicked out there.

With a Half Ironman one calendar month away, it really is time to move it into gear. I've toyed with the idea of just abandoning that race...and the Regina Beach Olympic distance Triathlon that is one week later...but then what? Do I also let go of the Marathon I'm hoping to run in September...where does it end?

Will taking time off heal me, or will it just heel me like a dog on a leash?

No. It is time. I know I have said this before. Time to get my shit together and start behaving like I actually enjoy this activity.

I have to force myself out of the support van/sag wagon and try to make June the month that I figure where or not I'm doing this, or whether I have to step back and try another strategy...or find another sport.

One of the implications of being run shy is that I have also been reluctant to write and spend time thinking about mytriangle.

So not only have I not missed out of the benefits of my endurance training, I have also not had the outlet I normally have of musing and writing about what I see hear and feel. This too will change.

How can it not change? I'm growing tired of this path of restless false starts and the barren landscape of the DNS lifestyle.


  1. Best of luck to you friend. It's very difficult when you're injured. I have never had plantar fasciitis, but have been plagued by other chronic pain issues that, of all places, has given me the answers. : ) Youtube is currently my podiatrist and my physical therapist.

  2. Thanks Lauren. I've found out more from the interwebs than from some of the professionals I've seen. We all get through this...or we quit...and I can't imagine doing that.


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