Rice

There was a time when the word Rice conjured up associated terms such as curry, fried, arborio. But nowadays when I think Rice, I think Injured.

Yes, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. That has been my happy fate for a couple of weeks.

Happy? Well, you’ll have to read on for that one. But first, I must get the whiny part out of the way.

My rambles in search of the Asgard and other future bloggable material, left me hobbled. It is one of the ironies of this life that I can run six miles in reasonable comfort and yet, when I walk a mere two, my feet want to curl up and die.

True, I’d been running well that week. I’d started Week One of Hal Higdon’s Marathon Plan. But my city ramble put paid to the long run at the end of that week.

And all because I’d forgotten to insert my shoe ortotics.

Next morning, I was hobbled from my ortotic-free ramble. Literally had pain at every footstep. So yes, RICE kicked into play. Or, at least RCE.

Rest

As life must go on in the Chook House, the rest part consisted of committing to not running for the next couple of days, but otherwise attending to Mother Hen duties.

Ice
I skipped the Ice bit. Honestly, balancing a pack of frozen peas on my feet is just too much of an ahem, feat for me. And anyway, the Teens are always a little concerned that they might see said peas on their dinner plates the following week. And they could be right.

Compression

Whatever it is about ortotics, they cushion my feet from arch pain. The price of running the marathon in 2012 is that I am still very prone to feeling every tendon and ligament in my foot screaming from the effort of keeping muscle and bone together. The cure- for me at any rate-is orthotics and compression socks.

The compression socks are my own discovery. And I hasten to add, at this point, that none of my recovery methods may suit you.

For what they are=two toeless tightish socks-they are, at €37 hideously expensive. But I have a lot less foot pain as a result of wearing these little wonders, both during and after my runs.

Elevate

The elevate bit? Well, I just love that. This is one of the reasons being injury can mean being happy. Despite being a hen, I am not particularly good at laying about the place. I need a reason and also something to do. Well, injury is a great reason and DVD boxed sets pass the time beautifully. So, in the past fortnight I’ve elevated my feet through Season One of The Borgias.

Fortnight?

Luckily the feet improved sufficiently to allow for a relaunch of my training programme last week. And so, I tentatively worked my way through the first three days of it. But, by the third day a slight knee issue was beginning to assert itself. And, by Day Four I was limping into the pharmacy for a knee compression bandage.

My fears about being mummified in compression bandages may yet come to pass.

Of course, all this coincided with my being sidelined for a local 8km race. Oh, I didn’t mind one bit. These days, I think I feel more like a runner with my tales of injury than actual manifestations of speed and agility.

But this week I am showing some hopeful signs of return to pre-injury form. As the week draws to a close I have fulfilled my training programme’s requirements for Week One and a long slow run this weekend seems like a distinct possibility.

The alternative, of course, is a little more pleasant:Season Two of The Borgias with a long slow RICE.

And, tempting though that is, I know if I get sidelined too often, I will very swiftly land back to that time when Rice will once again, be synonymous with curry, fried,arborio.

Whinefest

If I were you, I’d pass on and not read this post at all. I can guarantee you it will be 100% whinefest from start to finish. I can barely contain myself. I just want to scream “Injured!” out there to the whole wide world. I don’t even care if they listen. So pass on. You’ve been warned.

But, if you insist on staying…

It’s my feet, right? Kinda essential to this whole running lark.

They clash with my determination, somewhat. Feet scream “Stop!” Determination says “No F*cking Way” (Determination has a limited range of vocabulary). And so the ugly cycle has been running(or not) for the past year and more.

So, waaaayyy back, a million years ago in 2012 when I was training for my first and only marathon, Feet fell apart a couple of times. And Determination kept on going. Almost literally fell apart. I’m not kidding. Like the whole sensation was of my feet spreading. They didn’t look any different when I ripped off my runners and socks (oh boy, the relief of that!) but each step after that was A-G-O-N-Y. That was one of the pre marathon Long Slow Runs. And, dress rehearsal that the LSR is, I was well prepped when the same thing happened to me on the actual marathon. Just well prepped enough to rip off the socks, pop the runners back on and let Determination take me through thirteen more miles of AGONY.

Of course my feet were in bits after that. I was, to all intents and purposes, hobbled.

Went to a podiatrist two weeks after the marathon. She told me my joints were hypermobile. That explained a childhood with easily sprained ankles, tons of flexibility, a love of gymnastics and a predisposition to fall over easily.

Not the best condition for running. But Determination is a lousy listener.

Somehow, with swimming and biking as two alternatives for maintaining fitness. I managed to keep the fitness going and stay on my feet to some degree.

I wore the orthotics that the podiatrist had prescribed. Bloody dear things, in my opinion. Not ones moulded specially to my foot but mass produced rigid ones for around the heel and halfway along the sole. €100 a pair. How could two heel inserts be that expensive..

Mind you,they certainly stopped my falling over on a couple of occasions-I could actually feel the grip in the heel. But, my feet still ached after-and often, during- a run.

This has had an adverse effect on my mileage. When I’m out there the skin and tendons in my feet hurt. But more especially after a run. And especially when I get up first thing in the morning. I put my foot on the floor and gah! I almost crumble from the achiness in my feet.

It was something I really wanted to sort out this week. So I changed orthotics. Bought a Scholl Sports Orthotics in the local chemists. Unlike my prevous orthotic, this runs under my troubled sole (sorry, couldn’t resist!) as well. And I bought a foot and ankle that purports to help “fallen arches”.

I’ll get to the more technical part of ‘Fallen arches’ in some other post. Or maybe I won`t. But for now, it`s enough to know that I am a fallen woman with a troubled sole.

Anyway…

The test run wouldn’t be a run at all. But a walk. See, walking is something that bugs my poor feet even more than running. I’d do my damnedest to walk around a place only to feel that foot achiness striking up even sooner than on a run. And the worst bit was resting immediately afterwards-say, on the bus journey home and then I’d feel like screaming “_________(Insert your choice cuss words)” as soon as I’d set foot on the ground.

I’d swear our national bus company, Bus Éireann would hand me out a free bus pass just from analysing my gait at the end of a bus journey. (And I’d take it now too, thanks very much cos it sure won’t be there when I hit 65.)

But, happy days! Last week, I slipped those new orthos into my boots, whipped on the ankles supports and walked all around Dublin and down to the Patrick Scott exhibition in the IMMA.(Yes, blog post to follow, but don’t wait for it, just go to the exhbitions yourself.) And No Pain! No Discomfort! Determination didn’t know what to do with herself( Yeah, ‘course Determination is female.)

I even failed the Does She Need a Bus Pass test at the end of the bus journey. Not that my feet were totally ache free mind, but boy, there was a difference.

All good, I thought. And ran five miles Saturday and another three yesterday.

But yesterday`s three miler was telling, though. This time the achiness came back in my ankles, not in the soles or arch area. Just like the pain had shifted most of its focus somewhere else. And last night, when I hauled myself off the sofa, well darn, I could’ve passed the Bus Pass Test again. Totally hobbled.

In all of this, of course, you won’t hear me mention going to any experts anywhere. beyond that initial visit to the podiatrist. See, I still think, eighteen months on, I can resolve this injury myself. That Stubborness came with the package marked Determination (and possibly Cynicism and Parsimony). It also probably more than a smidgeon of Stupidity in there. But self acceptance is everything, right?

I’m heartened by this week’s results. Obviously doing the five mile and three mile back to back isn’t the wisest thing for my feet right now. Gotta take my time with this. Even though the package marked Determination rarely has room for Patience.

The new orthotics are helping a lot. So are the ankle supports.

This is just going to take a little more time. And Determination.

Now my only problem is that the day job is taking me on yet another secret mission this week. This time, to Italy. And most of that mission involves a serious amount of walking.

I bagged myself a restful day today. After that, its all up to my top secret weapons: my new orthotics and ankle supports.

Well, you’be been brill to get this far. I will reward you with a follow up report on my return. I may even get brave enough and try a quick post from my smartphone while I`m rambling around ancient Roman ruins.

However and whenever I post though, I promise it will be more winefest than whinefest.

Looking for my Mojo with the Bishop`s Triangles

Bishop`s Triangles

 

I am hunting for my running mojo. Three days in a row without running! So far, I am having a pretty tough time getting into the groove for 2014.

Janathon helped. At least got me out there most days.

Losing a loved one, while it brought lots of blessings, probably didn`t help too much on the running front.

The fact that my feet still hurt, especially when I walk. is concerning. I did three four mile runs last week but two days of walking either side of it and boy, did my feet hurt after those walks.

But at least I`ve got my garmin back. Yay! for all those Garmin people.They don`t repair the item but, for a fee, will actually replace it, so I`m good to go again on that front.

And I have a couple of days off this week with which I will address the foot issue with new orthotics and a foot exercise regime. I am staving off visits to the experts for another while only because I am pretty convinced by Dr Google(yes, I know, I know) that I will be taking down the merry path of conflicting advice when really, I am best placed to know what works for me.

Meanwhile, I am putting the carrot in place again. I have lovely plate of shortbread ready for my afternoon coffee.  But first of all, I’m going to hit the trail and take my fully charged up and spanking new Garmin off on its first outing.

And I`ll leave the plate of deliciousness for you.

This is a shortbread type of recipe. It`s from one of my most favourite cookbooks Mary Berry`s Baking Bible.

Mary Berry bakes it in a square tin, hence she cuts it into fingers or rectangles. Since I only had a circular tin available this morning, mine is in triangles,

But I’ve no idea what any of it has to do with the bishop!

Mary Berry`s Bishop`s Fingers

Ingredients:

  • 100 g plain flour
  • 25 g ground almonds
  • 25 g semolina
  • 100 g butter
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 3-4 drops almond extract
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • A little caster sugar, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 7″ square tin.
  2. Mix together the flour, ground almonds and semolina in a bowl or food processor. Add the butter, sugar and almond extract and rub together with your fingers until the mixture is just beginning to bind together. Knead lightly until smooth. Press the dough into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a metal spoon or a palette knife. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30-50 minutes or until very pale golden brown. Mark the shortbread into 12 fingers with a knife. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool in a tin. When completely cold, cut into fingers, lift out carefully and store in an airtight tin.

 

New Shoes

New Runners

New Runners

This is my first time to order runners online. Must say, I am very happy with the results.

My feet have given me huge trouble since I ran the marathon last October. Around the thirteen mile section, I had the sensation of them falling apart. I ripped off my socks at that point; it just seemed like my feet were screaming for more room. And hobbled home in pure agony. I just couldn`t pull out.

Oh, I am sure that compounded my feet problems. But that`s marathon for you. It becomes a form of madness that outweighs common sense.

For the next few weeks I could barely walk.

A visit to my podiatrist revealed the problem. As I understand it, my joints are extremely flexible so my ligaments and tendons struggle to keep the range of motion that my joints allow. And so, during the marathon the ligaments (and tendons? I am not sure.) became overstretched. Hence the pain. And hence, the long recovery.

I got orthotics at that time. They`re meant to keep my feet more rigid. But honestly, they made no difference to the pain back then. I just needed months and months to recover.

The good news is, I think, twelve months on, I`ve rounded that corner.

These new runners don`t have the same support as my older ones had. They`re what`s called a neutral fit.

I`d had a gait analysis done in a sports`shop and was told that I overpronate because I have flat feet. Yes gait analyses are  controversial enough: my podiatrist thinks they`re a load of ballyhoo. But she agrees that I do indeed have flat feet and my arch does need supporting.

But when I`d insert the orthotic into my supportive shoe, I felt like I was running on big beach cobbles. It`s only now, with the neutral shoe, that the orthotic finally works.

The new runners are Nike Dual Fusion. They`re light. They`ve a squared off toe box, which I love. I also love the colour. And adore the price. At €55 they`re less than half the price that I paid for my previous pairs of Brooks Adrenaline.

Prompted by a commenter on a previous post, I did investigate Nike and sweatshops. I am not fully reassured. But the other runners  which I saw in my two local sports shops are also made in China and Vietnam i.e Reebok, New Balance, and Adidas.

I`ve been running on these Nikes for the past two weeks. Fifteen-twenty miles per week. And finally, I can say, that my foot pain is gone. Gone! I don`t wake up, put my feet on the ground and start hobbling. I don`t even have that old back twinge anymore that scuppered by last half marathon attempt.

Okay, early days, early days. But I am optimistic. After a summer of trying to build my speed right back to the good old days when I could run nine minute miles, I hitting a little bit faster than that right now. Who knows? Maybe I can get even better.

The best bit is, that I get to keep the gifts that hypermobility bestows.  I can touch my toes without bending my knees. I can get my thumb to touch my inner arm. I can bend my fingers back to ninety degrees.

Yep, it`s debateable if any of these skills are of any use whatsoever.

But hey, its nice to have something to brag about.

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