Let’s Talk About Feet (again)

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Full disclosure-these are not my feet but I love this picture. Happy feet or what?!

I’ve talked about my feet so many times on this blog that I’m starting to feel they have more of a presence than I have on here. In fairness, their drama, trips, days out, dates and life in general has been far more exciting than my own of late…

For those who don’t know (and have been saved that pedi-saga) I injured both feet in the run-up to the Paris marathon 2016, in or about March last year, which has resulted in me being benched from running for nearly 10 months now. Since then, I’ve seen numerous physiotherapists, a GP, a chiropodist and two orthopaedic surgeons who specialise in feet – all of whom have given me a different diagnosis in terms of the source of the pain in my feet. The first physio told me it was soft tissue damage, “just a battering” from all the marathon training. The second physio (from the same clinic) told me it was NOT a soft tissue injury at all, rather it was more likely a rheumatological condition, possibly rheumatoid arthritis.

On foot of what physio no.2 said, I visited my GP who ran blood tests which confirmed no inflammatory markers in my bloods. So, she ruled out the possibility that the cause of my foot pain was rheumatoidal. She referred me on to an orthopaedic specialist who specialises in foot problems on the basis that the pain could be a result of a stress fracture. On inspection of my feet, this orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that indeed the source of my foot pain was most likely a result of a stress fracture – 90% sure it was a stress fracture in the 5th metatarsal – to be precise.

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Went for an MRI… went back to Mr. Ortho… no stress fracture, anywhere in my feet. He then promptly informed me that he could do nothing further for me given that the problem did not appear to be a bone problem nor could he offer any opinion on what was wrong with my feet.

At this point, I cried.

It had been 9 months of different experts, with wildly different views on what is wrong with my damn feet. And here I was, after spending a chunk of money on all these guys and having not been able to go for a run in so long standing in a car park outside a hospital thinking I’m never going to be able to run again…. and not one person can tell me what is wrong with me. So I cried. With my Dad (who had kindly come with me to the appointment) looking at me like I was crazytown.

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This week I went to see another orthopaedic (foot) surgeon for a second opinion, which if nothing else, was hilarious. What my mother calls a good old-fashioned surgeon- glasses, dicky bow, abrupt, utterly unsympathetic, impatient and entirely forthright and opinionated – I loved it. After examining my feet, he took the view that I have basically bad feet. I have splayed, wide feet, with bunions, swelling in the forefoot and collapsed arches – basically, all these factors combined mean that the mechanics of my feet is all off. He told me that the custom orthotics I had made many years ago were useless on their own and that they would not be effective without accompanying exercises to make them work.

So what did he decide should be the next step? A physio! No, but not just anyone, he specifically recommended a Dublin physio who has worked with Athletics Ireland specialising in sports injuries with good experience. Given that this glowing referral came from a man who strikes me as exceptionally hard to impress, I’m expecting great things. I’m honestly very excited and feeling more positive about this than I have in months.

I have an appointment in 2 weeks time and I can’t wait. In the meantime, I also have an appointment to see a rheumatologist to investigate my Reynaud’s and just to rule out any rheumatoidal cause of my foot pain.

For the moment, I am still cycling away at weekend and early mornings before work, when I can. The mornings are slowly getting brighter earlier and the days are starting to stretch out and I can’t wait for those long Summer days… I also just joined a gym to action my new year’s resolution to get stronger this year. Strength and conditioning is an area I’ve neglected for a long time and I’m hoping if I can work on it, it might help with my feet/ knee/other injuries going forward.

Injuries suck, no doubt. I miss running massively. Word. But for the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel like there’s hope that maybe some day in the near (ish) future, one of these experts will tell me it’s time to run again.

And what a wonderful day that will be. Happy running folks, enjoy!

Late Birthday Celebrations & Days Off

LATE BIRTHDAYCELEBRATIONS &DAYS OFF

I would be the first to confess to being overly strict when in training for a big event like a marathon or triathlon. Watching what I eat, being careful about the quality of the food going into my body and trying to keep my weight at a place where I feel comfortable running and cycling. You should know though, I’m not obsessive and I have no desires to be “skinny” – rather, I train and perform better when I feel comfortable in my own skin and for me that means feeling trim and strong.

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I’ve no elite toned body shape going on but for me this is as trim as it gets! Dont think it’s too bad for someone who used to carry an extra 2.5 stone.

I’ve come to believe though that it’s not good to be at that point all year round – to be at what some call your “racing weight”. Apart from the possibility that it might not actually be good for your body in the long run to keep your weight lower than is healthy, it also creates too much pressure and stress for your mind. It’s like trying to be perfect ALL of the time. Not sustainable and will make you go crazy.

So how do you balance these two competing issues? I’m no expert but in the last couple of years I’ve found that works for me is allowing myself to train hard and focus coming up to a big race and then celebrate and enjoy a more relaxed time for a while afterwards. That way, I feel ready to go again for the next training period.

What does that garble actually equate to in reality? It means I take a few days of doing no training except for maybe a gentle cycle or swim, lots of bubble baths and sitting around with my legs up. Then there’s all the food. Chinese takeaways, ice-cream, M&M’s, confectionery coming out my ears and a few nice lunches or dinners out with friends and family. Lots of crap, in other words. I’d generally stay away from this kind of food when I’m in training simply because while it tastes good going down, it makes my body feel gross. It’s not the type of food that makes me feel good from the inside and if I don’t feel good, I don’t perform good. Very simple.

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I eat fish at least 4 times a week, cuz yeah it’s good for me but I also just love it. Clean, environmentally friendly eating… are you loving all the goodness going on here yet?

A few days indulging in rubbish is kiddy-like fun but then I quickly have enough and find I want to get back to eating well and training again.

Ironman 70.3 Dublin last weekend was one such big event for me. The legs were useless for Monday and Tuesday and stairs were a non-runner (pardon the pun). It was also my birthday last weekend so this week was always going to be a chill-out week. A few easy cycles in the last few days helped to ease residual tightness and fatigue in my legs, readily aided by a few long bubble baths 😉

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Ironmanned and done, done, done.

Today I met my cousin and 4 year old godchild for lunch in Avoca along with my Mum and her friend. The food in Avoca is legendary and today’s offerings of confit duck salad with blood oranges, lentils, feta cheese and green beans finished with a lemon posset dessert was no exception. Scrumdiddly. I never pick confit of duck ordinarily but thought I’d live dangerously today and was so glad I did, it was very, very good.

I also picked up a few bits and bobs in the shop, as one cannot avoid doing when in Avoca…

Avocado Mix

Best Ever Granola from Avoca is something I’ve gotten really into lately. Apricots, big ass brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds all knockin around in there with an undertone of a funky orange oil… goes very well with some greek yogurt and berry compote, which has been my breakfast, supper and anytime snack really…

Cranberries, apricot, brazils, almonds, orangey goodness.

This Cake – look I honestly don’t know what it’s called but it was bloody wonderful. Maybe it’s because I eat cake all of probably twice a year that it tasted that good, but it was really very, very good. Think carrot cake meets bakewell tart. Cream cheese icing on top of a carrot cake middle, on top of a layer of jam on a pastry base. Fresh as a daisy and light as anything. C’est super.

No.1 cake spot goes to this lady here. #BeatThat
No.1 cake spot goes to this lady here. #BeatThat

White chocolate biscuit cake – Understand this is not all for me, I’m not that bad. I got this to give to other people but obviously had to taste it in the interests of reviewing it for you fine people 😉 This was disappointing to be honest. Very non-descript taste. I imagined it was going to have a strong white chocolate hit to it, given that it’s pretty much a solid lump of white chocolate with bits of biscuit, marshmallow and raspberries. Alas, it did not. Thumbs down from me.

So pretty...eh looks better than it tastes. 3/10
So pretty…eh looks better than it tastes. 3/10

Before you come to the conclusion (though I would understand if you had already gotten there!) that I am indeed a savage, I am saving the rest of my Avoca loot for another time. So you shall have to wait for my review of Avoca’s raw health food brownie and similarly raw and health foody caramel slice.

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Pancakes and Birthday Cake are on the menu for tonight’s supper, along with family time, the original Blair Witch Project, and the main event… cheering on Mo Farah in the Olympic final of the Men’s 5000m race.

On Monday, I’ll be drawing up a training plan for the next few months and cracking into good eating again. I love my down time and I love my up time. But as with any seesaw, the trick in it is not letting yourself go too far up or too far down.

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After all, you don’t wanna fall off.

Cycling v. Running Fuelling …Protein Bars: Comparison & Review

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Fuelling during exercise is something I’ve been experimenting more with lately since getting more into cycling. With not being able to run for the past couple of months, I’ve had more time to mess around with cycling. I love cycling – not as much as running, I must confess – but it’s a decent second.

Running delivers a much higher level of satisfaction and physical satiety – for me anyway. But then cycling has its own challenges and the more I cycle, the more I’m drawn into the sport, wanting to delve further and get better.

Fuelling for a run differs from fuelling for a cycle. I AM NOT AN EXPERT by any means but rather I’ve learned by doing and one thing I’ve had a lot of practice at is eating and running. Eating and triathlon, eating and swimming, eating and cycling. Basically eating and sport. The basic principles are the same – eat before to maximise your energise stores, during to replenish diminished energy stores and after to feed your body, refuel and recover from your exertions.

Where these sports differ when it comes to fuelling is about what kinds of fuel you can take, how much you can take on and the timings. I don’t need much before a swim but the last thing you want is to get hungry and energy sapped when you’re 1km out at sea, so it’s important to have something before you head out. Timing is very important however and you should allow at least an hour after eating before swimming. I usually head out early on Saturday mornings for a sea swim and a banana alongside a small granola bar is usually plenty.

If I’m racing in a triathlon, I’ll have a banana and sip on Lucozade sport beforehand and tape another banana to my bike, along with an energy bar and maybe some cut orange segments. I can eat while on the bike, which allows me to have something after the swim, to keep me going on the bike and to set me up for the run. Likewise if it’s just a cycle I’m doing, I’ll carry an energy bar and maybe a banana on the bike and eat at regular intervals.

How is this different to fuelling while running? Essentially, this boils down to how much my body can tolerate and solid v liquid fuel. I have a low tolerance when it comes to taking in solid foods while running. I’m generally better off with Lucozade and energy gels for long runs rather than for example, eating raisins or energy bars. I’m okay with shot blocks and a few jelly babies, but only so much. If I get it wrong, nasty side stitches, stomach cramps and digestive havoc are not shy to make themselves known.

But…on the bike, I’ve found I can more or less eat anything and there’s no issue. No cramps, no stomach discomfort or issues… nada. Both involve diverting blood flow demands away from the digestive system during activity to the working muscles so you would imagine the issues would be the same. Perhaps it’s because the upper body is largely static and not bouncing about, jarring your entire human middle about and rocking vibrations through it every second for 2 or more hours, like a long run does. Just a thought 🙂

The Point of All of This Nattering: I’ve been playing around with new energy bars on the bike. No one needs to know that I actually just love trying new bars and that cycling is just an excuse to eat more of them 😉

Bar 1: Fulfil Peanut and Caramel Vitamin and Protein Bar

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10.3g carbs (1.8g sugar) and 20g protein. I am not a peanut person. Don’t do PB, wouldn’t be tempted by a bowl of peanuts and up until a couple of years ago, would have enthusiastically drop-kicked a Snickers bar into the middle of the Sea of Tranquility. So this fella was a wildcard.

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And glad I went wild too. Way nicer than I was expecting it to be. A nice bit of chew and eating in this and I found it really quite filling. Like a Snickers but not as sweet and less chocolate. But it won me over. I’ve been buying one a week ever since.

Bar 2: Torq Snaq Dark Chocolate and Orange Zest

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I’m an out-and-out chocolate orange nut so generally speaking if something delivers on the chocolate-orange flavour promise, I’m sold. This lad also boasts its status as a “cold pressed”, fairtrade, gluten-free product made from raw ingredients. So very much trying to be part of the in-crowd… 34g carbs (23g sugar) and 3.9g protein. More of an energy bar then than a protein bar.

Good strong orange zest flavour and a nice chewy texture from the raw ingredients. There were also a few sesame seeds in the mix which was unusual, not unpleasant, just not really significant. Wouldn’t have missed them if they weren’t there and might have preferred some form of nut in there instead if you were going to go to trouble of adding something else in just for texture. Just saying. This wouldn’t put me off eating another one, having said that.

HOWEVER, if it’s a raw chocolate orange energy bar that you’re gagging for, the Irish made SMRT Orange Cocoa Bar is nicer. (Clink the link for a review) Better flavour and texture AND only 6 ingredients: dates, nuts, raisins, unsweetened cocoa, nori, orange essence. Can’t argue with that.

Perfect snack food for the bike.

Bar 3: Nutrend DELuxe Orange and Coconut Cake Protein Bar

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This is a newbie on the market and I was particularly excited (yep, I do get excited about these little things…and no I’m not sad, I’m joyous) These bars come in a variety of different flavours including chocolate brownie, panna cotta, cinnamon roll, strawberry cheesecake and the one I tried, orange and coconut cake. Also gluten-free, low sugar and high in fibre. 20g carbs (3g sugar) and 18g protein – so not a high carb bar but quite low in sugar.

The flavour was interesting and actually very nice for a change, as you get sick of the same flavours over and over again. What I didn’t like about this one was the ingredients list, which was full of a whole waft of unpronounceable chemicals and syrups. For that reason, I probably won’t be returning to this product.

Bar 4: Maxi Nutrition Promax Dark Chocolate Mint

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When I’m not eating chocolate orange or just chocolate… I veer towards mint-chocolate. I have a particular soft-spot in my soul for mint-choc chip ice-cream (in case you were wondering 😉 … so I was more than happy to give this one a whirl.

I had no issue with this protein bar. Decent chew and fill factor and flavour was okay. It did the job. But like the Nutrend range, the Maxi Nutrition folks don’t seem to go in for any of your raw, natural, gluten-free malarky. More of a simple mathematical equation of how to produce the most efficient product to deliver lean protein in a nice portable wrapper. 23g protein and 19g carbs (11.5g sugar – 3 times as much as the Nutrend bar). There isn’t as much shit in here as in the Nutrend bar to put me off and the inclusion of caffeine is a definite plus.

Bar 5: Fulfil Cookies and Cream Vitamin and Protein Bar

Okay, this is not cheating by including 2 bars from the same range but rather in the interests of a decent review, I thought it would be only fair to delve a little deeper into the Fulfil range a bit more. That, and I just wanted to try it because it had “cookies and cream” in the title.

20g protein and 11.5g carbs (3.7g sugar). Another low sugar option and like all Fulfil bars, it helpfully delivers 100% of your daily requirements of 9 vitamins. I always appreciate that little effort. Most helpful. Like the peanut flavour one, I liked this bar and it also left me feeling quite full. Like the others, I broke pieces off this as I cycled and ate it a regular intervals. Happy enough.

My only issue with this and all Fulfil bars is again, the list of unpronounceable ingredients and the amount of them. Like the products, like the wrapping and would like to return BUT your current ingredients will make me look elsewhere for alternative products and I will buy them ahead of these every time.

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The protein and energy bar market is rapidly growing and as it does so, I will happily be sampling more edible goods and sticking my reviews up here to read for you guys.

Have a great weekend 🙂

A Good Time to Open the Windows

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Some say that when one door closes, another one opens. Not one that I’ve always agreed with to be honest. Another door won’t open unless you make your way over to it and open it yourself and if you’re lost, befuddled, upset or confused or just spinning around in circles, it’s more likely that you wouldn’t even realise that there were other doors in the house to open.

Sometimes it takes a while to calm down, take a few deep breaths and look around you to see the doors, to open the windows and look at the possibilities.

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Can you see the wood from the trees?

One that I do live by is that problems are not stop signs, but challenges to be figured out.

End of cheesy sayings and whimsical wonderings now, I promise.Glending 6.JPG

Being currently footless, I’m sidling a wall, on one side of which I occasionally  crash-land. This side is one of panic in which all I can think of is the fact that I can’t run, cycle, walk or put any pressure at all on my feet without them hurting. Without any resolution of my ongoing foot pain and with recommendations from the physio that I may need to see a rheumatologist, my mind occasionally spirals in this horrible direction…

On the other side of the wall, a world of opportunity and undiscovered gems.

I’m swimming a lot more these days and have noticed my pace getting faster, which has been an unexpected bonus. So far today, I’ve taken the dog to Glending Forest for some quality us time 😉 , washed the car (inside and out!), visited my elderly neighbour who wanted to show me his new bathroom and watched Friday’s stage of the Giro. Later, I’ll be babysitting my 4 yr old godchild and when she goes to bed, I’m going to crack out the books and do some studying.

Much of what I’m doing is distraction from what I currently cannot do. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve struggled with this but I think I’m getting better at making the most of this downtime.

Because what I have got right now is a problem. And opportunity.

Opportunity to hang with the old girl.

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Bless her, she gave it socks this morning. Not bad for 16.

Opportunity to get stuck into work.

Opportunity to devour books.

Yeah, I know…another cycling book right? But this one is the best of the lot so far.

Opportunity  to read the newspaper from end to end. With copious amounts of coffee, duh.

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Opportunity to be more creative with cooking…

Re-discovering fried eggs… going on EVERYTHING. Accompanied by avocado on everything. Bit like representing the Irish flag on every plate of food.

Opportunity to go to the movies more.

Jack O’Connell is the best part of Money Monster, hands down. Love this guy.

And opportunity  to catch up on the Giro D’Italia and watch back recordings from the previous week.

What an incredible stage on Friday. Absolutely epic.

I’m not okay with being injured and not able to do the things that make me feel awesome and wonderful and alive. But while I’m working on figuring out that problem, I can at least enjoy the opportunities that I have now to discover and spend time doing other things.

Happy weekend all!

 

Finding My Feet

FindingMy Feet

I haven’t posted for a few days because with not being able to run for a never-ending lifetime the last few weeks, I started to feel like I had nothing to contribute to the running community.

Not true.

Most runners will have periods in their running lives when they can’t run, due to injury, life changes, medical reasons or otherwise. So not running is actually probably a big thing for runners. I know it certainly is for me.

Not being able to run is a bit like grief. You go through stages…

1. Disbelief / in shock

You guys have nooooo idea what you’re talking about. Ha, but you do amuse me.

2. Panic.

WWHHHHAATTTTT????????!!!!!

3. Non-acceptance / denial

Nah, it won’t take that long to heal. Sure, I’ll just take 2 weeks off running, roll it out a lot, do some stretches and employ lots of ice baths. I’ll be grand for all the races I’ve signed up to this summer. S’all fine.

4. Frustration. A combination of an unusual and rarely experienced surplus of energy buzzing around your body, combined with the horrifying prospect of not being able to return to running for an unknown time…as realisation of your injury starts to sink in.

Ay, all this worrying is making my head hurt…

5. Anger. At yourself for not being diligent and disciplined enough to stop running earlier when you first felt a niggle and treat it properly then. At the universe for not making my limbs stronger. At everyone who tells you it’s no big deal and sure you must be sick of running by now anyway. At life for being a big meanie and stripping me of the sole remaining positive, good thing I had left in my teeny world.

 

Grrrrrrr….

6. Uncertainty and Self-reassessment. When something that makes up a large part of your life or who you are changes, it forces you to stop and re-think things. You think about how you feel now, how it makes things different. Am I different now? Am I the same person? So much uncertainty…

Am I staying??? Am I going???? What is going on here?!?!

When I stopped running first, I was cool with it – I needed to allow time for my foot injuries to heal and this was just something I had to bite down on. Then I rapidly progressed into the above stages and in short, went a little batty.

It wasn’t helped by the realisation that cycling was not aiding the process, nor just being a benign companion alternative activity and had to be stopped immediately. All I was left with was swimming and while I like swimming, I’m finding that twice a week is really my limit. After that, I find I get a bit bored with it, it makes me sneeze a LOT for days afterwards and it’s expensive to pay the use the pool every time.

My week at the moment is 2-3 swims (2km -3.2km each), foot massages with a frozen golf ball, ice baths for the feet, anti-inflammatory gel and ibuprofen. I try to keep walking to a minimum and avoid putting any pressure on the sore parts of my foot whenever possible. I have a date with the physio on Wednesday and hoping for some kind of positive outcome or analysis.

Injury and rehabilitation are part of the running life and are therefore part of what makes a runner, a runner. So talking about this and including it on my blog are as important as writing up a weekly running report or telling you about the latest race I took part in. The feelings of loss and great uncertainty are massive. Far more than I ever would have thought they would be. I don’t know how long my foot will take to heal, I don’t even know if what I’m doing is helping or improving my condition and I have no idea how long it will be before I can start running again, or even cycling.

I am still me. I know this but yet I have that feeling that something is missing. Every day, I feel that there is something I’m not doing, that I’m leaving something out, that I’m forgetting something.

I miss running. I miss cycling. And right now, I’m missing my training cycle for the upcoming Women’s Mini Marathon 10km and for all the summer races I’ve signed up for. I’m working on accepting that I may not be able to run any of these but there’s a lot of resistance and I’m not very good at this awl acceptance malarky.

Alas, I’m still trying to find my feet.

Foot Fault

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Foot injuries in runners are among the most common running injuries encountered and unlike some of the others out there, they can be particularly debilitating. You might be able to tolerate (even though you shouldn’t) a strained calf muscle or sore knees, but you can’t run on an injured foot.

Feet are amazing.

Each foot takes the entire weight of your body and force of the running movement for every step you run, absorbing up to an estimated 110 tons of cumulative force per mile and then again just using one single foot at a time, transfers this force to the front of your foot, from where it pushes off again to propel you forward. A single step while running creates an impact force approximately two to three times your bodyweight. That’s a lot of weight, a lot of force and a lot of pressure on your feet.

It’s perhaps not surprising that overuse injuries in the foot represent a hazard for runners with poor form, who push off from or land on their feet in the wrong way. Correct running form can be an annoyance to those just wanting to get out there and run but its role in preventing injury is fundamental. It’s amazing how different people react to you when you talk about running form, depending on whether your audience are runners or non-runners – the latter will scoff and dismiss the topic, instantly judging you to be an obsessive, anal, running bore, while the former occupy the extreme other end of the seesaw, recognising the absolute importance of form.

Foot injuries among runners are either bone or muscular. Common muscular injuries include plantar fasciitis and tendinopathies of the midfoot and forefoot.

Then there’s your bone injuries caused by overuse, which might involve:

The metatarsal bones

The Navicular Bone:

 

Ignoring injuries is not to be recommended. I would be the first to put my hand up and own up to pretending that I did not feel something off in my foot during training for the last while, that that burning feeling along the outside of my left foot is “just a niggle” and “grand”. DO NOT DO THIS.

Denial.

I stuck my head in the clouds and left it firmly up there for the last two (ish…I wasn’t counting) months and hoped that the increasingly frequent burning pain along the outside and underneath of my left foot would just vamoose of its own divine accord.

Shockingly, it did not.

Delay.

I was at the peak of a marathon training block and had only 4 weeks left until race day. My thinking was that if I could just mind the foot with ice baths and lots of rest in between runs, I’d be able to manage the niggle and make it through to race day. In other words, I did that thing that everyone says not to do – put my desire to run a race ahead of my long-term physical health.

DO NOT DO THIS.

Yes, I “managed” the niggle by being able to do my runs at a not intolerable level of discomfort in the foot and yes, I did manage to run the marathon. But… the pain/ discomfort did grow increasingly more acute as the weeks progressed to the point where I could even feel it after walking only a short distance. I could hardly walk after the marathon and spent the next few days with a necessary limp.

Being a Dumbass.

I decided to rest completely from running for 4 weeks to give my foot a chance to heal. It has been 5 1/2 weeks since then and the injury is still here. I can feel it when I walk, I can feel it when I stand and I can even feel it when I’m sitting down and the foot is at rest. I let it get worse, ignored the symptoms and now I’m facing the prospect at not being able to run again for months.

Finally, copping on.

I visited a Podiatrist/ Chiropodist today, who was unable to offer a diagnose or advice, (but who did provide a wonderful service to my feet!). She noted some swelling in my feet and the areas of discomfort I described to her, suggesting that my orthotics might be in need of adjusting after so many years – and that they could be causing excessive strain to be placed on particular areas of my feet. She recommended a visit to the physiotherapist and perhaps an MRI.

I made the first appointment I could get to see the physiotherapist where I first got the orthotics made and where I have since gone for other running related niggles. Suddenly I feel the urgency to get this seen to properly.

Suddenly I feel a panic that this pain is not going away and that I may not be able to run for months.

Suddenly, I feel like I should have reacted more suddenly many months ago when I first noticed this “niggle”.

Suddenly, I don’t feel like a hardy, tough, badass, brave running heroine.

Suddenly, I feel like a fool.

Don’t you be a fool too. Please, if you feel a niggle, get it seen to. Because suddenly, a niggle won’t be a niggle any more.

To follow me on this injury diagnosis journey, come back soon where I’ll be giving a run down on my upcoming physiotherapy appointment and outcome…. For more detail about running injuries in the foot, this article is quite informative, as is this one.

 

Breaking Down

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Breaking down.

When things fall apart.

Losing my shit.

There were so many possible titles to this, it was hard to choose just one. Either way, it amounts to the same thing. Yesterday, I had a breakdown of sorts.

My intention is not to belittle or diminish in any way the experiences of those who suffer serious psychological or nervous breakdowns, or the gravity that such can have on people’s lives. I did not have such a breakdown.

But I did break down and I do feel broken.

Confession: I don’t like asking for help.

I’m a quiet person by nature. As a child, I was happy playing with my brothers and with my friends, but I was also happy to play on my own when no one was around – or even if they were. My friends have often described me as a good listener – more of a listener about their problems, their lives and what’s going on with them, rather than the one doing all the talking. I like being that person who is there for others and being someone others feel they can talk to about their stuff, but it also probably suits me because I’ve never been good at talking about myself or about what’s really going with me.

My Dad tells me I bottle stuff up.

I’m a lawyer. I deal with the problems in front of me, solve them and move on to the next one. I don’t believe in wasting time dwelling on things that cannot be changed – I like to be constructive and positively address situations. If you can’t do anything about something, then there’s no point spending time on it. Unfortunately, emotion & personal psychology don’t seem to work that way.

My Dad tells me I let things build up.

Self-pity pisses me off. It’s selfish, ungrateful and ultimately very destructive. But lately I feel like I’m drowning it and that pisses me off even more. I want to be better than that. I’m an optimist and being around so much negativity lately gets to me. Which is why I had a meltdown yesterday.

My Dad does not tell me to throw to shit around to make myself feel better.

I threw my bike pump, the foot pump AND my mini bike pump down the back garden yesterday.

A child. A spoiled, cranky, tired child would have had acted with more dignity and self-respect. I’ve been completely out of running action for 4 1/2 weeks with a suspected stress fracture in my foot so I’ve taken refuge on the bike in the meantime. I’ve since been in a constant state of consciousness about losing fitness, gaining weight, whether I should see a physiotherapist, whether I should see a chiropodist, whether I should have a bone scan or an MRI, whether I should be resting entirely or doing strength exercises, whether I should be doing anything? That’s one thing. Then there’s the whole life question – what happens when the whole career thing, the basket you placed all of your eggs in, doesn’t work out and you have to move back home to balance the books? When friends are suddenly all gone – moved to brighter, more exciting pastures? When you’re reaching a point in your life when you’re meant to have all your shit together and suddenly everything seems to be tearing apart at the seams?

I accidentally let all the air out of my front tyre.

And couldn’t re-inflate it.

My Dad is probably right. Wise man.

It was the straw and I broke.

I only wanted to go for a short spin on the bike, to get some fresh air, clear my head and stretch my legs. Front tyre was soft so I thought it would be a good idea to give it some juice. I accidentally knocked all the air out. I tried every which way to re-inflate the tyre but something was jamming the air flow and after 30 minutes of playing with bike pumps, tyres and tubes, I lost my shit, threw the bike pumps (though none of them are very good…), each in turn, all the way down the garden and I sat on the ground with my dog and had a good cry. Utterly embarrassing. Yet, sometimes a good cry with your very understanding dog is just what you need.

My problems are nothing compared to those of so many others around the world, which is why I hesitated to write this up on the blog. I am a very lucky person and I don’t know what it is to live a hard life. Getting outside your own head is something we all need to do and regularly. Being able to get outside your own head, however, is a difficult thing to do.

Later on, my Dad came home and I asked him to help me with the tyre, which, of, course, he was able to re-inflate.

Because sometimes, all you need is to ask for help.

Thanks for reading 🙂