Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Stress Fracture, Just Bad PF

I'm not sure whether the news from the sports doctor was good or bad: I don't have a stress fracture, just a bad case of plantar fasciitis. If it were a light stress fracture, chances were I would have been out 6-8 weeks and then done with it. Now, I have to resume a battle with PF that previously wasn't going anywhere.

However, I did get a shot of cortisone injected into the inflamed ligament. The doc says this has about a 50/50 chance of working, which is consistent with what I've been hearing from others. It flat out cured my brother's PF a few years ago, so hopefully if it's in the genetic code, I might follow suit.

Worth noting that the doctor said he could feel the inflamed region of the plantar fascia right near the heel, and he suspects that I tore it at some point, which explains why the pain I had been feeling about a month and a half ago was a bit different than before (hence why I thought I might have had a stress fracture).

So, what's next is that I can run, but have to take it easy with nothing long or intense for the next two weeks while the cortisone runs its course. After that, I can begin to ramp up if I see fit. I can come back for another shot six weeks later if I feel this one has helped some, but I need another to help put it away.

Just for fun, I constructed a poll off to the right. Chime in, why don't you?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Appointment Made!

Second time is a charm? I was able to dig a little deeper with the phone call to my primary care doctor's office this time around, and got the referral I needed to see a sports doctor! Great news. And the appointment is for the day after I get back from Florida (heading down there for Christmas), so that worked out fantastic.

I'm going to Orthopedic Associates of Portland, the same folks who repaired my torn meniscus close to two years ago. They did great with that, so no reason to try a new place and I'll let my overinflated health insurance money go to them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Calcaneal Stress Fracture?

I've gotten a lot of advice and support from everyone the past few weeks and wanted to say a big thank you. I truly have the best real-life and blogger friends one could ask for and I sincerely appreciate everything you all have done.

I wanted to also give a big public thanks to two other individuals who have helped recently. Last week, Lisa got in touch with me with some tips on dealing with plantar fasciitis. She went out of her way with advice and also supplied me with the email of a sports doctor friend of hers who might offer some more tips, Dr. Christiane Gardner.

Long story short, thanks to Dr. Gardner I've realized that it's possible I could have a stress fracture in my heel, aka a calcaneus stress fracture. I'll stress right off the bat that I'm not fully jumping to any conclusions until I can get the x-rays or whatever else done, but it's good to be aware that this could be the problem. The symptoms all seem to better fit this than they do plantar fasciitis. For example, when I cup the heel and squeeze their is big pain coming from the sides of the heel, which is a possible tell-tale sign of a calcaneus stress fracture. I also feel increased pain when I put more weight directly on the heel.

I can't make an appointment with my sports doctor until I get a referral from my primary care doctor, the latter of which is on vacation until after the New Year and I can't get an appointment with another doctor at the same office unless it's an emergency (I just love this kind of bullcrap). I'll look into getting around that, but in the meantime, I think the smart thing to do is lay off the running for a bit more. I may get back into weightlifting in the interim if I'm going to be on the running DL for a while. I used to do that quite a bit, and part of me misses walking around knowing I can squish everyone like a little grape.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice Storm of 2008

Perhaps opting to take a few weeks off from running was good timing, as a pretty nasty ice storm hit southern Maine and knocked out power for 220,000 residents and businesses at its peak. Power is expected to be restored for everyone by tomorrow (or that's the goal, they say). Mine was back on last night, after four days of it being knocked out. Below are some pictures taken by my friend, Neighbor John.

Big thanks to Stephen and Neighbor Kate for the great company and help during the madness!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seeking the Silver Bullet

Not running this past week has meant a lot more time on my hands. When I've been on the disabled list before, I've given more attention to some of my other hobbies such as reading, fly fishing, and ham radio. All noble pursuits, in my opinion. I can't say the same for this time around though, as I'm hopelessly addicted to Runescape. They should seriously consider renaming it Crackscape.

At least the rest has been doing me a lot of good. The plantar fasciitis has calmed down dramatically, however it still lets me know that it's hanging around. My senses tell me that more rest might be a good idea before I try running again (perhaps Christmas?), and I'm still considering my next options (traditional sports doctor, active release therapy, massage therapy, chiropractor, to name a few).

The frustrating thing about PF is that if you talk to 20 different people who have experience with it, you'll get 20 different answers as to what is the best way to deal with it. To make it worse, some advice is in direct conflict with another piece of advice. Obviously, nobody is necessarily wrong... it's just a matter of finding what works best for each individual. Experiment of one.

For now, I'm going to get back to icing the living you-know-what out of my left foot, along with massaging and stretching. I also got a pair of Heel That Pain inserts in the mail yesterday, and am giving these a try. They came on the recommendation of a seasoned veteran and they worked for her. Hopefully they will for me as well.

Alright, time to get back to slaying level 42 moss giants... jeez, this has to stop.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Disabled List

I'll keep this short since I try to avoid public whining and I've exhausted my pictures of the world's smallest violins... but the plantar fasciitis has flared up again, this time in grand fashion. As a result of hobbling during my running and walking, the left calf has also become lightly strained. While that in itself is not a big deal, it's a sign that my gate has become affected and will likely only lead to more problems.

I'm going to my absolute last resort now which is also only logical at this point and that is to take some time off. I'd rather nix my plans for the marathon this February and try and heal up to be good to go for the Western States 100 rather than come into both races limping. Even then, there are no guarantees, but nothing else has worked so far, so why not?

I'll do some strength training in the meantime, and do some light and slow running when I see fit. However, healing up is now my top priority. Frustrating, yes... but things could be worse.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Brief post just to enter in the running stats as it's been a long day. But the PF has been acting up again and I might have to do some reevaluating here. It is what it is though...

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/154
Packed trails.
Mostly flat.
Lower 30s, clear skies.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Running the Day Away

With the Winter Solstice just a few weeks away, the sun is seeming to have a hard time climbing up into the sky. Even at the height of day, it hangs very low, seemingly anxious to get back to the other side of the earth. As a result, the length of day for my area today officially stands at 9 hours, 7 minutes, making every bit of sunlight precious.

The last few miles of today's 15-miler was a slow race against the fiery orb as we both began to call it a day. I was well prepared for the dark with a reflective vest and a headlamp. While I never used the headlamp, I have to give the victory to the sun as it was close to completely dark when I was finally done.

Good day, though I'm welcoming tomorrow's five mile recovery run.

Ran 15.0 miles @ 8:23/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/151
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid-40s to upper-30s, sunny.
Shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, refl. vest, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tough Start, Good Finish

Today the Pfitz plan had me doing ten miles with five miles at my 15k to half-marathon pace. Tough workout, at least for me, but it went well.

However, it didn't start so well. Felt a little off sync during the two mile warm-up, and then the first two miles of the speed workout were really tough and I was struggling. However, after that, the last three actually felt much easier as they went along and increased in speed as a result. Hit the speed portion splits in 6:57, 6:58, 6:54, 6:46, and 6:43.

Last three cool down miles were quite enjoyable, knowing I got in a good workout when I wasn't sure I was going to hold on. I think I just need to allow myself an extra mile or two to warm-up for these type of workouts.

Ran 10.0 miles @ 7:34/mile pace (includes five miles @ 6:52/mile pace).
AHR/MHR - 152/170
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid to lower 40s, mostly sunny, breezy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.