Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PF hurts; gravel can help?

Wow. I'd been thinking I'd already hit a low point and here I am, falling lower still.

Forget taking the "road less traveled." I am now headed to the "roads more graveled."

The warning signs have been there. And I've paid attention. Shortly after the Luray Triathlon in August, I started feeling some "soreness" in my feet. Then, as the Savageman Half Iron Man approached in September, there was some occasional "stretching." I sacrificed that race to the plantar fasciitis gods hoping that, if I walked that race instead of running, that my feet would be spared. And I thought they had been. I got up the day after that 13.1-mile walk/run at Savageman, put my feet on the floor, and felt . . . fine.

Training continued and I've stayed tuned in and focused, listening for cues from my body. I've done everything I was supposed to. I took the time to heal. I changed my shoes, changed the way I ran. I religiously stretched my feet and iced them after every run, even the 3-milers.

On Saturday, I ran 12-miles. During the run, I felt some "tightness" in my arches and stopped to stretch them every 3 miles or so, but I felt great after the run. That night, there was an ache. And when I rubbed the soles of my feet, I could feel the little pebble-like knots under my heels; lumps of knotted, injured tissue. I've felt them before. And my heart sank.

While cycling on Sunday, I could "feel" my heels. No pain, just awareness. Aware of a "stretched" sensation. When your feet feel fine, you don't notice them.

A deep foot massage on Monday and my heels felt the tiniest bit better.

Then came today. I had rested my feet for two days. The run was only supposed to be 38-minutes long. Easy-peasy. The first five minutes were fine. I thought, "no worries." Then, 10 minutes in and a knife of pain sliced down the left side of my foot and lodged in my heel. I stopped, stretched, walked, hoped . . . and tried again. Two more minute in and zap! Fireworks going off in my heel. Pain stinging my feet, tears stinging my eyes.

Frustrated, discouraged, defeated, I grabbed my things from my locker at the Y and bolted. Walking hurt by then. I didn't want to stand on my feet long enough to shower so I beelined for home, and for my friend's gravel driveway.

I've done everything I'm supposed to do. I've tried everything to keep this monster away and yet here it is. It took me 2 years to heal from this before. How am I supposed to rest and heal and still be ready to run 26-miles in just two months?

The only thing I've never tried is walking on gravel. In Danny Dreyer's book, Chi Running, he lists all the things to do to prevent PF (been there) and all the things to do to treat it (done that) and I've done them all; except walk on gravel. Barefoot. For 10 minutes a day until symptoms disappear. In Dreyer's words: " . . . those of you with plantar fasciitis will 'love' this one. It hurts, but it gets rid of PF faster than anything else I've ever tried."

Danny, you had me at gravel. Or maybe it was faster.

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