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What a Pain in the….FOOT?

In running you are always warned about doing too much, too fast.  When a problem or injury occurs, it comes back to the reasoning that you did too much, too fast.  While I absolutely believe this reasoning – it’s true to many aspects of life – hearing these wise words while you are in throws of an injury is just ridiculous.  I’ve already done the damage, now what?  I don’t want to hear about what I should do in the future, I want to know what I can do right now to stop this pain.  And then, HOPEFULLY, I will remember the wise words as I ramp up training again (but, then again, I am a runner, so I might just forget them when I tie up my shoes for my next 10k training run).

So, you might wonder what my most recent rant is about, and what I abuse I have caused my body recently.  So…let’s start from the beginning….

In mid-Spring I decided I wanted lighter, faster running shoes.  I went to my local running store and talked to them about my gait, running preference, etc.  They watched me on the treadmill and came back with several suggestions.  I understand that finding the right shoe is extremely important in avoiding injuries in the future and that you need to find the right shoe for you because everyone is different.  I was up to the challenge to find my next dream shoes.  I diligently tried each of the suggested shoes.  Making repeated trips from the shoe area to the treadmill and running about a quarter mile with each new pair.  After about eight pairs and two miles on the treadmill I had narrowed down my choice to the Newton Motion V.  The shoes felt great and I was intrigued by Newton’s Action/Reaction Technology. There are lugs near that ball of your foot that, in Newton’s words, “creates a responsive, trampoline-like cushioning system that provides quicker bounce-back and loses less energy than a traditional foam-core running shoe.”   The sales person explained that this bar of lugs would improve my running form and help me to run on the balls of my feet inside of the back of the foot where I tended to run (but have deligiently been working on changing).   I admit the shoes felt pretty weird with this raised bar across the ball of my foot, but I was promised I would get used to.  I was super psyched to get out with my new shoes and I have to admit my first runs in the shoes I felt lighter and was clocking faster times.  So, I was a convert.  The Action/Reaction Technology still felt strange but I was ready to get used to it for the results I was getting.  After runs I did feel some tingling and numbness in my toes, but thought that was pretty normal and the feeling always went away, so it wasn’t causing me any concern.

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We are headed past the llamas to the top of the mountain at 15,000+ feet

Fast forward to June 2017.  My husband and I are taking our dream trip to Peru.  The plan was to fly in to Cusco, Peru, acclimate a little to the elevation and then do the Lares Trek and head to Machu Picchu.  The Lares Trek is an Inca Trail alternative that is less crowded and while it doesn’t take you directly to Machu Picchu, it takes you over a 15,000+ foot pass and takes you completely off the beaten path where you see stunning mountains, lakes and valleys and get to walk through villages and meet the people who live in the Lares Valley.  While I was most concerned about making it from 8,000 feet to 15,000 feet to the top of the pass that actually turned about to be the easier part of the trek.  (Yeah for no altitude sickness – living in Colorado really does pay off!)  The air was definitely thinner but I felt comfortable scaling the mountains to reach our pass.  The trip from 15,000 feet back to 8,000 feet is what took the toll on my body.  The trail was made up of loose rock and at times was pretty steep.  The constant pounding on the ball of my feet left me with the familiar numbness and tingling in my toes (just on my right foot).

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We came down from the top of that mountain, a 7,000 foot descent.

One the third day of our trek when we finally made it to Auguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu we were dirty and exhausted and so excited to turn in our hiking boots for flip flops.  After one of the best showers I had taken in my entire life I noticed that the numbness and tingling in my right foot was not getting any better.  I mentioned it to my better half and we decided that it was just the pounding I put on my foot as we descended 7,000 feet.   I didn’t really give it much more thought because we were in an amazing place getting ready to see a wonder of the world the next day.

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Beautiful Auguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu

Fast forward again to August 2017. It’s been almost two months since we got back from our amazing trip and we have settled back in to the dull drums of “regular” life.  Pretty much work, work, and more work.  Unfortunately, my toes were still feeling numb (just a few toes on my right foot) and I decided I needed to suck it up and find out what was going on, so I set up an appointment with my primary doctor.  My health insurance requires you always start with your primary doctor for any problem and they will refer you on to a specialist if necessary.  I completely understand the reseasoning behind this, but when it’s hard to find an hour to sneak away from work it’s even harder to find a couple hours on a couple different days to see a couple different doctors.  Anyways, I went to my primary doctor and she was a little stumped.  She sent me to go get x-rays to see if there was a stress fracture (there wasn’t) and then referred me to the orthopedic doctor.  A couple days later I found myself at the orthopedic doctor and he briefly looked at my foot and diagnosed me with metatarsalgia.  From my understanding, and the wise words of WebMD, metatarsalgia is a condition in which the ball of your foot becomes painful and inflamed and can be caused from running, jumping, or wear shoes that don’t fit right.  After my diagnoses, I decided to take it easy on my foot for a while.  I have cut down on the running and have been following the majority of the doctor’s suggestions, but I haven’t had any relief.  My toes are still numb and sometimes my foot feels like its cramping up.  Since my trip to the doctor was less then satisfactory I decided to do some of my own research on metatarsalgia and found quite a few articles about how switching from traditional running shoes to Newton’s can actually cause this problem.  While I thought it was from our hike in Peru, it turns out the problem had probably already started long before our hike and the 7,000 foot descent was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I found the following on Newton’s blog “Forefoot pain, also known as ‘Metatarsalgia,’ is a condition indicated by pain and inflammation under the ball of the foot. This is increasingly prevalent in runners who are making a change to minimal footwear, barefoot running and Newton Running Shoes. As with virtually all running injuries, forefoot pain is a result of doing too much, too fast, too soon.”  The blog then goes on to explain that I shouldn’t blame the shoes, but rather something I did, or something wrong with my foot that was there long before I switched to Newton’s.  This is kind of frustrating because they obviously know this is an issue, but no one at the running store who sold me the shoes said anything about it.  Yes, I should have done more research prior to my new shoe purchase but I was also hopefully that if this was an issue someone might have mentioned it to me.

Fast forward to today.  My toes are still numb.  I’m still trying to figure out how to make them better.  But, they are numb whether I run or not so I am going to lace up my good ‘ol, trusty Brooks (with new arch supports that will hopefully help), and get back out there in hopes I can salvage my training for the Lake Powell Half Marathon in October.

Has any one else has similar issues with their feet?  Any suggestions or words of wisdom you can share on what you did to make it better?

disclaimerDISCLAIMER:  This is not an anti-Newton’s story.  I honestly really liked mine and wish they worked for me – I just wanted to share my experience in case anyone was going through anything similar.  This experience has definitely opened my eyes to how shoes can have such a huge effect on our health and injuries and is going to change how I approach my next shoe purchase.  

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A Prisoner in My Own Home aka Snakes in the Mother F*!#ing Yard

DSC_0019I used to love my backyard.  It was my oasis, my getaway.  After a long day of work, I would love to hang out in the backyard with my better half and the pups.  Grilling and eating dinner on the patio, setting up the pool to cool off with the pups on a hot summer day, and lounging in the hammock and reading a good book.  This summer everything changed.  This summer I could count on my hands the number of times I’ve just hung out in the backyard.  That is because of the invasion of the Plains Garter Snake, scientifically referred to as, Thamnophis radix.

exclamation markIMPORTANT NOTE:  I almost passed out doing a little snake research to make sure I was telling you the exact type of snake that has been terrorizing me and now I feel the need to burn my computer just because of all the snake pictures I saw, but I did it all for you!

It started in early summer when my better half saw a garter snake near the foundation of our house while he was on the patio brewing beer.  He took a picture of it and that picture seriously gives me nightmares – I didn’t even see the live snake, the picture was enough!  From that day, I knew that there was at least one (possibly HUNDREDS) of snakes slithering around my house and yard and it gives me the serious Heebie-jeebies. 6957636  I seriously haven’t been able to go into our backyard very often.  I will briefly go out when I get home from work to let my better half know I am home and will venture outside if the dogs need my assistance, but other than that I has been a prisoner in my own home.  Just writing this post is causing me to break out in a cold sweat thinking about those little buggers hanging around my backyard.

Yesterday I was letting the dogs out and there he (she?) was…slowly slithering across the patio towards the grass…another garter snake!  I had worked for weeks to convince myself that the snake that was hanging around months earlier was long gone.  My better half, who was so kind as to chase the snake out of the yard so I could let the dogs out, let me know that while he was chasing the snake he saw another one (HORRORS!) and that it definitely wasn’t the same snake as before because it was much smaller.  Leading my mind to come to conclusion that it was the baby of the first snake and that again there were HUNDREDS (a garter snake can have 30-40 babies at a time with the record being 98 babies at one time…98)of snakes hanging out around my house.

From my short (and terrifying) research on the Plains Garter Snake I have found that they indeed live in Colorado and that they could potential terrorize me year round because Plains Garter Snakes do not hibernate, but instead partake in brumation (AWESOME!).  I did, however, some across a list of the Plains Gartner Snakes predators.  It appears that I am now in the market for some hawks, birds, skunks, raccoons, foxes, badgers, minks, bullfrogs, and a house cat.  Domesticated dogs were nowhere on the list of risks to garter snakes – thanks for nothing Paterno and Coaly.

So where did these little buggers come from? For almost five years I have found our backyard to be a safe haven to everything going on in the world and now it’s been taken over by a slithering enemy.  It appears we live in a prime snake area.  Garter snakes are commonly found living near water sources such as streams and ponds, but can also be found in urban areas and vacant lots.  This pretty much describes our current yard situation.  We live next a goat farm who has been flooding the irrigation ditch between our houses all summer and the vacant lot behind our house is currently being turned in to a Starbucks.  So, next time you see a cute goat or enjoy a nice beverage from Starbucks remember the terror they are causing me!

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Okay, so why I am sharing this really strange phobia with you?  Well, because my Year of Yes. This year I am going to be braver and I’m was going to try new things, but I have realized that there are certain places I have to draw the line when it comes to putting myself out there and snakes is one of them.  So, while I am still committed to saying yes more, I am still saying no to hanging with the garter snake in the backyard and I’m sure as hell saying no to ever stepping foot in to the snake house at the zoo.

question markSo, make me feel better – what’s your phobia that you are just going to live with?

 

 

 

 

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

00000-liarIn my last blog post (remember the one WEEKS ago when I said I would write more), I wrote “if you have time to complain about being too busy, you obviously have some free time.”  Apparently writing this simple little sentence made someone, somewhere, very angry and they decided to put me in my place.  I’ll start by admitting this one of the busiest times at work.  A new semester means wrapping up an old one and starting a new, all at the same time.  It means freaked out student who need career guidance NOW.  And it means that there is so much energy and excitement that you can get caught up in which may cause you to over extend a little.  Over the past week, I have gone in early, stayed late, and worked weekends.  I worked almost 60 last week and my endless to do list just keeps growing and growing.

I haven’t gone for a run, strength trained, or been to the gym in over a week.  I haven’t felt like cooking (this isn’t much of a surprise), going out after work, or even turning on my computer to even look at other people’s blogs in the evening.  I have become a couch potato who binge watches old ABC Family shows on Freeform and goes to bed before it gets completely dark outside.  Then, the next day I am up when the sun starts rising and I start the same routine all over again.

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In just under 9 weeks I have my third half marathon in Lake Powell.  I am woefully unprepared.  I know I need to train.  I spend time each week updating my training plan, erasing the previous week when I only finished maybe one training session.  As I plan out my new training plan I tell myself that Monday I will start and nothing is going to stop me from my plan.  I will get up early and run or workout before work.  I know it’s going to feel good, that it’s going to set the stage for the rest of the day, but when the alarm goes off I tell myself that the plan can wait another day, I’ll start tomorrow – today I will just enjoy another 25 minutes of sleep and then I’ll go in to work early.

When I sat down to write this I thought I was going to prove to myself that you can be too busy, you can complain about it, and you can prove you don’t have any time for anything else.  But, instead I just feel like a whiney twit who, if they can write this post, obviously has a little free time.  So, no more excuses.  No more do overs.  No more waiting until Monday to start again.  The writing will get more regular because I realized I have a lot to share.  I haven’t even started to tell you all about our amazing trip to Peru!   So, I leave you with a picture from a Peru and a promise to fill you in on the details of our trip.IMG_5987

My Year of Yes

This past summer I have been making a concerted effort to try new things and stop saying no to things that take me out of my comfort zone.  Overall, I feel like I have been pretty successful.  The start of my new philosophy started by backpacking through Peru (my second time backpacking in my entire life) and I have been trying to embrace the new idea since my return.

A week ago, I turned 38 (and to be honest, that was a little rough) and I decided I needed to commit even more to my new philosophy…so this is my year of yes.  I’m going to try new things and push myself throughout the year.  What exactly that means, I’m not 100% sure but I’ll excited to see as the year progresses. 20727830_10212032582227700_8240620203770065957_n

One thing that I have always wanted to do was be a writer.  I started writing as a small child (I remember my first book was called Mall Madness and was about some kids that got locked in the mall after hours…it won an award in a third-grade writing contest), continued writing for my high school and college newspapers, and even majored in Journalism in college.  But, as I went through school and learned more about the “news” business, writing became a chore rather than something I really enjoyed.  The reality of not be able to work in the field after graduation also soured my taste towards writing and I just stopped writing all together.  (As a Career Counselor now I am shocked that none of my instructors or advisors ever thought it might be a good idea to mention that written journalism was a dying industry and finding a job doing what we wanted, where we wanted, was going to be near impossible.)

I write occasionally for work and wrote a lot while working towards my Master’s degree, but rarely wrote for fun.  Several years ago, I started a blog thinking it would be a perfect outlet for my desire to write, but it seemed like a hundred things would get in the way of me sitting down and writing and posting.  But, during my year of yes there are no more excuses.  I need to just stop whining about how busy I am and just sit down and write (because really, if you have time to complain about being too busy, you obviously have some free time).  I want to get back to my writing roots and remember why I used to love sitting at my word processor (see, I really am 38) and cranking out stories.  So, my hopes are that my blog will be the outlet for my writing.  I am hoping to write as often as possible and post blogs much more regularly.  We’ll see how it goes…

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Writing is just the beginning.  I have so many more plans for my year of yes.  I WILL learn how to drive standard.  I WILL learn how to rock climb.  I WILL learn (for my husband’s sake) the difference between then and than.  And I WILL say yes to things that scare me, intimidate me, or just make me want to run and hide.

So, I invite you to come with me during my year of yes.  If you have any challenges of things I should try, please throw them out, I am open to all new ideas!