Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Self Diagnosis

Monday I announced my winter goals - add days to my running week, lose weight, and maintain fitness.   As part of this plan I am forcing myself out of bed when the alarm clock goes off in the morning to get in the 30-45 minutes of exercise I need.   So yesterday I did just that.   I awoke with the screeching of the ill-tempered alarm clock, and managed to shuffle my way out to the living room.   In the living room, I turned on the Wii and the TV, only to receive the blinding white of the Wii Fit game.   It was very hard to adjust the morning eyes to the total whiteness of the TV screen.  I use the Wii Fit as a scale, since we don't have a working scale in the house.

Now for those of you who don't have or have never used the Wii Fit, let me tell you a bit about it.   The balance board is just that, a 20" long by 12.5" wide board.   It is pretty neat.   Anyway, I get on, and select my avatar, a much shorter bobble head version of myself ready to get a weigh in done and head out for a run.  Once you get the board all warmed up it goes through standard stuff, like how heavy are the clothes you are wearing? Then it is ready to weigh you.   You stand on it for about 10 seconds, which gives you the weight, then it does a balance check to see if you are favoring one side over the other.   Two things to note during this time.   First, I am sitting at 203, which is a bit heavier than I was this summer, but not bad news as at least I am hovering around 200 pounds.   The second, that my balance was shifted to the right.   In my sleep filled fog yesterday I thought that this might mean something, usually that my lower back is misaligned, but I seem to be missing other signs and symptoms that go along with that.   This is the first instance of self-diagnosis, could my back be out?

Then I quickly grab the headlamp, the tights and a long sleeve tech shirt and head out for the morning run.   Let's get at least 4 in this morning and see how we feel, it has been a week since I last ran after all.   I am in my oldest set of shoes, but feeling pretty good as I start out in the sub-30 temps.   It was almost a mile and a half before I felt truly warmed up to the run, but there was something pleasant about the early AM run in the dark, being able to see my breath, it was relaxing.   I got the 4 miles in and felt pretty good about the whole thing, got cleaned up and went to work.

It wasn't until later at work that I noticed something was off. My left heel was killing me.   Every time I would get up from my desk my foot was sore, felt like needles stabbing the bottom of my foot.   So after lunch with my family, I decided to start doing some internet research on potential causes/problems.   I have felt for the longest time that I have a bit of Plantar Fasciitis.  Which is probably true, the heel is sore first thing in the morning, and gets better once I run on it and warm it up.   But I spent the better part of yesterday worrying that the issue might be more than just simple inflamed tissue on my foot.   What if it is a stress fracture, what if, what if, what if?

So needless to say, last night I went home, got a water bottle ice pack (a nifty cylindrical tube) out of the freezer and used it to roll my foot over repeatedly for a while.   I also spent some time doing stretches in hopes that I could work out any stiffness in the foot.   Needless to say, I sat around doing as little as possible with the foot hoping that the problem is the Plantar Fascia and that it would start to get better with stretching and ice.

That brings us to today.   I awoke, got ready quickly, and left for work so that I could get to training this morning.   It was about halfway from the car to the training building that I realized that my foot wasn't bothering me.   Now, being an engineer I felt it might be beneficial to run a test to see what the cause might be.   The best way to do that? Run.   So after training, I decide to use the extra time in my day to get home and get a quick 5 miles in.   There was nobody home, which alleviates the 'don't go for a run, stay with me daddy" that I usually get from my 3 year old.   I got to thinking that it might be the shoes I wore yesterday so I decide to switch over to my other set of Ghost 3s.  I set out for those 5 miles.   I am happy to report, that after 5 miles, I have no heel pain today.

From this I draw the following conclusions:   The lack of running last week may have been the cause of the pain.   The old shoes may be the cause, but I owe them another run to see if they are the problem (there are only 260 miles on them, so I bet it was the former).  Last, I probably do have a bit of Plantar Fascists, and the best way to go is to continue stretching (which I did after the run today) and icing (which I will do tonight after work) to help ease the inflamation.

So I feel like I am off to a good start with 9 great miles so far, I might actually do a bit of cross-training tomorrow.   Remember to have fun out there guys!

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