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.

 

Red Soles

Image

I always knew I was destined to wear red soles Of course I`d a pair of Louboutins in mind. Not these uber swish orthotics.

Yep,I`ve joined the Orthotic Club. No, it`s not quite in the same bracket as the Warfarin club. Or the poor men in the Prostate Club. But still, it sure feels like a dreaded Age Issue.

Health practioners won`t get rich on me. But my feet have been sounding a few warning bells ever since my last Long Slow Run.(LSR) They practically sprouted mega sirens when I dragged myself through the last two miles of a twenty mile run. Same story in the marathon. Only the collapse came at the twelve mile point.

Time to pay attention.

Oh I`m fond of the self healing option. Like listening to what my body tells me it needs. Often, a good rest does the trick. Or really stretching out properly, or enjoying a relaxing swim

But my feet have always been telling darker tales. I get hard skin really regularly.(Warning:This blog post can only get less pretty so stop here if you must). That demands the kind of scraping only a good podiatrist can do. Callouses, corns. All those ugly horrible words for ugly horrible conditions. Yep, have them.Katy whips out her magic wand aka callous file and zap! they`re gone!

My toes are very squished together too. And I get the odd twinge from my Achilles and less occasionally, shin splints.Like my feet can`t cushion my legs properly.

The cause of those conditions( in my case, and in Katy`s expert opinion) is foot hypermobility.

Yay, at last. A foot condition that actually sounds good!

My toes are very flexible. So are the joints in my feet. Seems my tendons and muscles have a job holding all that flexibility together and so wham, sometimes they plain give up and my feet go splat.

On the plus side, the rest of me is very flexitle too. I always loved stretching, yoga, gymnastics. And now I know why. Because I`m hypermobile! Of course I didn`t know that term until today. But it really helped to make sense on why I need all that bendy stretchy exercise stuff in my life

Solution for my uber flexible feet? €100 for super sexy orthotics. I can stick them in any pair of shoes provided of course, it has enough depth to hold them in place. After a couple of weeks my legs/feet will have adapted to them and my feet will readjust to a more comfortable position.

That`s the theory. I`m giving it my best shot.

Throwing in specific foot exercises as well and, as you can see,I`ve hauled out my yoga mat too.It`s going to play an important role in my rejigged training plan.

.Of course there`s the little niggle of whether this hypermobility will come between me and my desire to run faster.Off to research that one now.

Meanwhile I have to be happy with the fact that I`m one super flexbile girl with great red soles…