Sunday, September 16, 2012

Limping through the Plaza

Anyone who's seen me latel is probably wondering when I turned into an 80-year-old woman. I'm kind of wondering that myself. And, no, it's not all the white hairs I've been finding. Though, they, too, have me flipping out. Nope, it's the fact that I've been limping around like a little old lady in need of a walker. Yup, that was me that you saw with the constant wince on her face as she walked through Target.

It started out several weeks ago innocuously enough with a pain on the bottom of my right heel. It felt almost like a bruise. I thought maybe it was because I had walked all around the Legends in flip-flops while shopping for Molly's back-to-school clothes. So, I started wearing tennis shoes everywhere. This was quite the hardship for a flip-flop-lovin' girl like myself. But, the pain didn't really go away. In fact, sometimes it felt like it was getting worse.

After a couple weeks of not going away (My first line of defense is always to ignore and hope the problem resolves on its own. Perfectly healthy way of dealing with things, right?), I figured I probably had done something to it while I was running. I'd been icing and taking ibuprofen, and I finally asked my dad what he thought. He's a doctor, so it kind of counts as going to see one. He looked at it and said it was probably plantar faciitis.

I did not want it to be plantar faciitis because Sarah, one of my running idols from my favorite book and podcasts (Run Like a Mother and Another Mother Runner), had plantar faciitis and it took her out of running for months. I did not want this to happen to me. It can't happen to me.

My biggest problem is that it doesn't hurt when I run. I mean it stings for the first 30 seconds or so, but after that I'm home free. Until I step into the shower. And, then it hurts for the rest of the day. I mean, if I could just run all day long, I'd be good as gold. It's not particularly practical, but it is a solution.

Then, someone suggested that it was my new shoes that might be causing the problem. See, running shoes have recently been going through a transformation. Manufacturers have started making shoes with less of a heel-to-toe drop. What that means, essentially, is that running shoes are created to have the heels up higher with more cushioning than the front.

But, now, with this whole barefoot running thing taking hold, the manufacturers are decreasing the heel height, making it closer in height to the front of the shoe. I've run in the same style running shoe (Saucony ProGrid Ride) for years and years. The newest incarnation of the shoe has a 8mm heel-to-toe drop as opposed to the old 12mm drop.

Are all you non-runners tired of all that technical mumbo-jumbo, yet? Almost through.

I typically switch my running shoes each day. I have two pairs and rotate them. My old pair had the old 12mm drop. New pair: 8mm drop. Some fellow runners thought that might be the problem.
New shoes. Wowee. Aren't they cool looking?
So, I stopped rotating my shoes and started running exclusively in my new ones. Considering I'd run four of my last five half marathons in my racing Kinvaras (an even lighter shoe with only a 4mm heel drop), I couldn't imagine that the 8mm heel drop was the problem.

But, alas, the problem was still not going away. Next step, checking out the local running store for their tips. Several people (including my dad) had suggested getting shoe inserts. So, I talked with the lady there, who said she had plantar faciitis and swore by her inserts and her exercises. Oh yeah, did I tell you that I was supposed to be doing exercises? Yeah, that might be part of the problem. Ok, so I swear, I'll do my exercises. I promise.

But, in the meantime, I got some inserts.

Yup, I bought these handy dandy things. I was sure I would now be cured.
I was warned that I should only wear them for a couple hours each day for the first week to get used to them. Well, I lasted 45 minutes the first day. I was in so much pain, I ripped my shoe off my foot and immediately started icing it.

Now, I'm actually able to wear them for several hours without too much pain. As long as I don't walk a whole lot. I mean, it's not like I'm chasing after a 2-year-old all day or anything. I don't really need to do a lot of walking.

But, then, on top of my heel pain, I decided (incredibly stupidly) to get back on the strength training bandwagon by working out to a Jillian Michaels DVD on Friday.  I forgot just how sore I get when I haven't been doing those workouts. I could barely walk Saturday and wasn't much better on Sunday. It has not been a pretty sight. Looking like an 80-year-old was probably a little optimistic. I think I might've been closer to a 100-year-old.

So, all of this has been building to an actual reason for this blog post.

I ran the Plaza 10K this morning!

A friend of mine, Libby, had a baby a couple months ago and wanted three of us to sign up to run this Plaza 10K race as her first run back. I'm always up for a race, especially one with a guaranteed medal at the end. I was in. Turns out, getting back into running had been a lot harder for her than she had anticipated. The race would be her fourth run since having her baby. Fourth. That's all. Then, our other friend who was running it managed to get a cut on her eye and could barely open it. Then there's me, with my gimpy heel and screaming quads and hamstrings from that darn DVD.

There we all were. Just call us the walking wounded. But, we'd signed up, and by gosh, we were going to finish this race and get our medals.

Before the race. We weren't sure how this was going to go down.
Well, it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful morning for a run. We ran around the Plaza and there weren't many hills. It was a really well-run race. I stayed with Libby and Sarah for the first mile, but did leave after that. Luckily, I ran into another runner friend I know, Kelly, and glommed onto her for the rest of the race. I really like running with people, so I was very happy to find someone to run with. 

After the race, we found each other. I'm just proud of all of us for finishing.
And, check out that sweet medal!
Now, I didn't finish with a time that I'll be shouting from the rooftops, but I finished. And, I got a cool medal. And, really, if you know me, you know that's what I care about. 

Cory did come out with the girls to cheer us on. Unfortunately, the girls were both being horribly cranky. That is, until we ran into the Gibbs kids. Then, it was all smiles and laughter. Molly even went from saying, "I'm not running in the kids race, I've already told you that 20 times." To, upon hearing that Cole was running, "Yeah, I'm running. I love running races!" Thank God for other kids.

Molly running in the kids' race. We forgot our real camera, so phone pictures are all we have.

Cory running with Charlotte. C's the one behind the other kid's head.

Molly posing with Jensen and her medal.

Cole and Molly with their medals.

I tried to convince Charlotte that she wanted to be in a picture with her mommy. This is all I got.

At least Molly indulged me.

So, right now? I'm laying on the couch, icing my heel and stretching my aching legs. I'm really glad I did it, but I'll be really glad if I can get this heel pain worked out by my next race. Oh, when is that, you ask? In two weeks. Hmmm ... maybe I really should get on those exercises.

PS. If anyone says I need to stop running. It's not going to happen. Sorry.


  1. i had that plantar faciatis thing. Hurts like hell. Unfortunately it took about 3 months of not running and doing the stretches with the toe towards the heel everytime i had a chance. Not fun, but nice medal.

    1. Um, I'm not a fan of the not running for 3 months, but I will start the stretches. The medal was pretty darn awesome. If you're looking for something to do in October, they are having a Mustache Dash 5K here in KC. I'm trying to convince my dad to do it, but the finisher medals are shaped like mustaches. Too awesome! (

  2. I had it too and I tried this great stretching exercise that seriously had it cleared up in a couple days (with ibuprofin too!). Stand on a step with heels hanging off the edge. Go up on your toes and then down so that your heels are hanging below the level of the step. (I had to hang onto a wall to do this.) Repeat slowly ten times a few times a day.

    1. Ok, I've started doing this one now, Cheryl. It seems easy enough for me to be able to remember to do it when I go up the stairs. Thanks for the tip!

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