Thursday, July 5, 2012

Yet Another (failed) Attempt to Become Pain-Free

Runners love talking about their injuries – plain and simple. We spend so much time by ourselves running, that we notice every ache and pain and can describe these aforementioned injuries with great detail. It’s also possible that runners are a bit self-obsessed.

I try my best not to complain about my injuries too much because a) I am superstitious that  talking about an injury makes it worse b) It is really annoying. But give me this free pass so I can tell you a story. Pull up a chair, get comfortable.

I have been plagued by plantar fasciitis for over a year. Every morning when I wake up, I put my feet on the ground and wince in pain (worsened if I wore heels or really flat shoes the day before). Every evening, they hurt to some degree, sometimes so badly that I put them in an ice cold foot bath just to relieve some of the pain. For some strange reason, they don’t bother me while I run, which I do consider a sincere blessing.

I have gone to physical therapists and a podiatrist, but no one seems to be able to treat it. I ice and stretch my tight calves (which are usually the culprit for my non-fatal disease), but nothing really seems to help.

In the running world, being a heel-striker instead of a mid-foot striker (landing in the middle to ball of the foot as you would if you were running barefoot), is considered blasphemy. So as a pained heel-striker, my spirits were lifted when I read a recent article in Runner’s World. It was about a runner who also suffered from plantar fasciitis for a long time, but when he changed his stride to a mid-foot strike, he claimed that it fixed many of his injuries. Determined not to have my feet hurt forever, I decided to try and fix my stride.

On Tuesday, I bought a pair of Brooks PureFlow Sneakers, which are designed to help guide your feet to land on the midfoot. They felt great when I tried them on, and they are also purple.

PURPLE. Who's excited?

I was psyched to give them a go in celebration of our Nation’s birthday. I woke up earlier than I would have on a day off to beat the heat, laced up my new  kicks, and attempted this whole new stride-thing. Turns out, it’s really hard to change the way you run.

Though it doesn’t happen every time I take a spin around my neighborhood, I can usually reach a place of serenity on my runs. I take in the scenery, enjoy my iPod, and relish in the fact that I really do love to run. I had to be completely conscious of every step I was taking yesterday, and I had no clue whether I was doing it right and whether I looked like a complete fool (the answer to the latter is most likely a “hell yes”).

I was about four and a half miles into my run, and I was finally in somewhat of a groove. The balls of my feet were a little sore, but I thought I was getting the hang of it. I took a final loop of McCarren Park, which I have run many times, and noticed a slightly aggressive bum on the dirt path 50 feet in front of me. So I veered off back to the pavement, tripped, and completely wiped out. I mean a total and complete wipe out – Arms flailing, I skidded over the uneven pavement, scraped up my whole left leg, and got two big gashes on my hands.

I looked around, and was so confused as to what just happened. I was in a bit of pain, and I noticed that I had ripped the insulation sleeve on my brand new water bottle. Instead of being brave and shaking it off, I cried a little, limped back to the sidewalk, and had a pity party (if you're considering having a rumble or an intense game of flag football or something, you definitely want me on your team).

Since I was a half mile from home, covered in dirt from the pavement surrounding a bench that usually houses several homeless people, I mustered up some courage and ran home to wash up (and eventually stopped crying). I would show you a picture of my gashes, but even I don't want to look at them.

In an effort to relieve some pain from my feet, I got new injuries (in addition to my scrapes and bruises, I can barely move my left arm that supported my fall). The silver lining: this morning, the bottom of my feet did not hurt as much as they usually do. End rant on running injuries.

After I licked my wounds, I met up with Keith and Kyle, and we were ready for some 4th of July festivities. On a whim, we took the subway to Mets Stadium, hoping to watch some baseball and eat hot dogs.

Sweating and waiting for the subway.
We were a bit stressed as we approached the stadium, unsure whether the game was sold out, or if we could even get seats together. I walked up to a security guard at the gates, and asked him which way the box office was.

He pulled out of his pocket, four shiny baseball tickets, free of charge.

We were over the moon – we had seats on the first baseline, in the shade, on the 4th of July. AWESOME.

I also ran into Jillian (yay!) who got tickets with a bunch of her friends, and I was super jealous when I found out she had today and tomorrow off. After all the beer and fried food, I was less than excited to go to work this morning.

Mmm... Nathan's.
However tired, cranky, and hungover I felt this morning, it was totally worth it for the great time we had at the game. I was giddy the whole time, and after my epic fall, felt that my luck had changed its course.


  1. Zo, I have to read your blog to hear about a TKO? I would blame it on the aggressive bum who knocked you off your stride. You should tell Ba so she can understand she is not the only one who can fall. But at least there were some silver linings and what a day at the park! The gods were with you (at least that day!)

  2. BTW, forgot to mention great color for your "kicks"!

  3. Agreed!!! Loveeee the purple!!!

    And you be careful chickadee... Cause I would give both my legs for yours!!!