Two weeks of nothingness

I started running in 2009 and have never stopped running since that time for longer than just a few days, until now. I last ran two weeks ago and since then not a lace has been tied, not a piece of lycra has been stretched and not a sweat gland bothered. I’ve missed it, but the recuperation was essential.

When I left you last I was being troubled by an allergic reaction to Athlete’s Foot, known as ID. My left foot was badly swollen as a result, so badly swollen that I couldn’t actually bend my foot – so running was a bit of a joke. Having treated it with a spray called AF24 for a week the reaction and infection have now gone. My Plantar Fasciitis hasn’t completely gone, but it’s a hell of a lot better. I no longer have to wear the night splint and I’m no longer limping first thing in the morning. There are times when my heel aches, but that’s usually a sign that I should be sitting down!

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So today I restarted my running. I decided to start at the beginning with a 5k training plan which will be run mostly on the treadmill (out of necessity) but with long runs out on the road. As there’s a distinct possibility that overtraining could have caused my PF injury I’m just training to finish a 5k. Well, sort of. You know me. I can’t help but hope that at the end of the training I manage a slightly faster 5k than I can do at the moment.

Today’s run was a 10 minute treadmill one to start me off. Using Jeff Galloway’s 5k app set at 9 min/mile pace and 2:1 run:walk ratio I was running at 12.2 kph (quite fast for me of late) and walking at 4.8. The result was a 1.68 km (1.05 mile) run at 9:31 min/mile pace of which I am very pleased. It might not be far, but it was a good solid run.

Stretches and icing later I feel fine. And on Thursday morning I’ll be fine for another short run. I will.

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From bad to worse

Finally I seem to be getting to the end of my current battle with Plantar Fasciitis. The leg splint, cumbersome and unsightly as it is, has made the biggest difference and once I’d set the straps at their most comfortable position I hardly noticed that I was wearing the splint at night. Icing my foot for 15-20 minutes every evening has also helped. I still get pain when I first bear weight, but that soon wears off and eventually that too will go. I even managed a full day yesterday wandering around the NEC looking at classic cars and bikes without limping or taking more than a couple of ibuprofen. In short, it’s better.

However, as if my body was looking for an excuse to further curtail my running, I have developed a very aggressive form of Athlete’s Foot. Until last year I had never suffered from Athlete’s Foot. Now I’m making up for it. To show just how aggressive it is I have photographed my foot. Please look away if you have an aversion to feet!

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On Thursday night I felt an itch and so I dusted my toes with AF powder. By Friday night my foot looked like this – the little toe is so swollen it is solid and the swelling is spreading to the other toes. The entire front of my foot is similarly swollen, hot and itchy. In between my little toe and the next one is a blister which has slowly got bigger as time has passed. My internet diagnosis seems to point to an infection beyond just being Athlete’s Foot. It hurts to bend my foot, quite a lot – too much to even consider running with it which, considering I have been running despite Plantar Fasciitis, is saying a lot. Unfortunately as we’ve been away I haven’t been able to get a doctor’s reaction to the swelling. I have managed to buy some special foot spray and shoe spray from Boots the Chemist which I’ll start in a few hours when we get back and HONESTLY if it doesn’t quickly improve or if it gets any worse I’ll got to the doctor. Or even A&E. I’m far more worried about the rapid and painful swelling than I was with the PF.

Tomorrow is meant to be a long run day, but it won’t be. I’ve not run since last Monday as a way of protecting my other foot before we went to the NEC. I figured that resting it was the best form of protection. I certainly wasn’t expecting not to be running tomorrow. I do have the option of using my exercise bike which gets used very infrequently and I should make more use of it anyway. A few static miles on that won’t do me any harm at all.

I’m finding my body a bit perplexing at the moment. I feel great, but my feet are just rebelling against me. Whilst I’m not worried about my fitness level I am worried about how it keeps breaking down. None of the injuries are age related or even running related, anyone can get them, but they just seem to be coming one after the other.

Perhaps I need a spell. Does anyone know Harry Potter’s number?

EDIT: After one treatment of AF24 (review to follow) my symptoms have reduced. The swelling has lessened, but not subsided completely. At least it hasn’t got any worse!

I’ve done a bit of reading and apparently my reaction to Athlete’s Foot was an allergic one known as ID and it’s often the only way some people know that they have AF, which fits my symptoms. From nothing there appeared this blistering and swelling. The only way to treat ID is to first get rid of the AF, so I need to carry on with topical treatments. This is the same as what happened last time, although the reaction wasn’t so severe, and the blisters went after a few days. The type of AF I have is Acute Vesicular Athlete’s Foot, more commonly known as ‘Jungle Rot’.

If I’m going to do something I go the whole hog!

Just Four Easy Miles

So, my visit to the Nike Store went well for me and badly for hubbie’s pocket.

Meet my new Nike Air Span 7s.
Meet my new Nike Air Span 7s.

I can’t seem to get away from white shoes these days which is a really bad idea for someone who lives in the countryside and shares the road with tractors, 4x4s and a myriad of beasts. They won’t stay white for long.

The Air Span is a stability shoe with some good heel protection. They are certainly comfortable and I took them for their first road run today as the sun was starting to go down.

I’d been waiting for this morning’s rain to clear with promise of brighter, calmer weather this afternoon and, believe me, I had plenty of indoor chores to keep me busy until the sun appeared! When I was ready for my run it was already half past two, but I was only due for a 4 miler, so I wasn’t too worried about losing the light. I set my Jeff Galloway app for 2.5 min run: 1 min walk intervals as my heel still isn’t right and I really don’t want to have to stop running. As it was my easy run day I was expecting to have to maintain 11 min/mile pace which was fine. A nice easy run in the sunshine.

Unfortunately it had rained a fair bit in the night and parts of my route looked like this:

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I chose a careful path around each puddle; fortunately the grass wasn’t too soggy and my shoes remained reasonably white!

Although I could feel the pain in my foot throughout the entire run, it wasn’t a bad or sharp pain, just one of those dull, nagging ones. The adrenaline will no doubt wear off fairly quickly leaving me hobbling like a goblin.  Not that I’m at all sure that goblins hobble. They probably don’t and I’ve just been very racist. I shall never be allowed under the Misty Mountains again. Although that’s not a bad thing; goblins aren’t the friendliest of folk.

Aside from puddles and goblins the run was a delight. The weather was perfect and I finished my 4 miles in a steady 44 minutes, just under. I maintained a sub 11 min/mile average, which put a bigger smile on my face because it was easy running.

I’ll give my foot a rest again tonight. I’ve already applied ibuprofen gel and done my usual stretches. I need to massage and ice it now, although that will have to wait until after I’ve been shopping. I still haven’t sought the advice of a podiatrist and I know that I need to do that. I will. This week, I will.

On the starting line we have a short woman in a pink top…

This last weekend was New York marathon weekend and I must admit to having missed it all. In fact I seem to be missing all sorts of news lately, catching up on relationship break ups, illnesses and even deaths long after the fact. I don’t know why I seem to be so out of tune with the world at the moment. Perhaps, as I read in my stars, it’s the astrological effect of some planet or other? I will make an effort to catch up with people and the marathon!

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Perhaps my own woes have pushed everything out of my mind, insignificant as they are in comparison to other people’s problems. I’ve been focusing so hard on curing, or at least dealing with, injuries that I appear to be stuck in JulieLand. I’m glad then that, fingers crossed, touch wood, etc etc, things seem to be really and truly on the mend. I know that I’ve said this before and then sunk deeper into the hole that is Plantar Fasciitis, but honestly I think they are.

I’ve been very good. I’ve been run walking every run since I said I would. I’ve decreased the mileage and slowed things down. Last week I only did a 3 mile trail run and a 20 minute treadmill run with a day in between them. I’m massaging, icing and splinting daily. If things get sore I take an anti-inflammatory ibuprofen and ice some more. I’ve been very, very good.

Today I decided that with my next race in January being a 5k I’d try and knock a few seconds (and only a few seconds) off my 5k time the best of which is 30:32 on the road and 28:30 on the treadmill. By starting now and not pushing too hard, it should be achievable to maybe knock 15-30 seconds off each time, which would be amazing. In order to safely achieve this I have returned to my old pal, Jeff Galloway, and his Easy 5k iPhone app by LoLo.

Today I set the app to do Day 3, a long, slow run of 3 miles. Makes me smile that. I’m following the Improve your 5k programme which will entail some drills – I’ll see how I feel about those when the time comes. Anyway, today I set the app for 10 min/mile pace and 3:1 intervals. Nice and easy does it. I also turned the GPS on, but wore my Garmin for additional support (I have had more tech issues with running equipment than Mo Farah).

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It’s a perfect running day. Bright sunshine, clear blue skies and just a hint of a breeze. It is cold though and whilst I was waiting for my breakfast of boiled egg (fresh from my lovely wee hens) and (gluten free) soldiers to digest I took the opportunity to sort out my running apparel, putting all the short legged and short sleeved things in the “summer running” box.  Out came the full length running tights, the long sleeved tops, gloves, hats and long compression socks! When I set off it was 0ᴼC and there was still ice on the ground.

I had no actual route in mind, although I had said at the weekend that I would avoid using the coast road for long runs from now on because I don’t think it’s helping to improve my running – it’s too flat, too easy. As I ran out of the village I decided to run up towards Ruthwell and down the hill towards Ruthwell Cross. The 3:1 intervals were spot on. I was running quicker than I have done in a while, making my legs rotate a little bit faster than they’ve been used to, but I didn’t run out of puff as I have been doing lately. All was good.

I ran up Tattie Hill, at the top of which is Sam and Kate’s farm (Tattie Towers as Kate calls it as hubbie Sam grows potatoes and often her view is of nothing but potato crates stacked in the yard!), and down the other side back towards the main road, crossing it and heading down the Bankend Road. The views from the top of Tattie Hill were gorgeous, right across the Solway Firth to Cumbria. No wonder Kate moans when she can no longer see it for crates! Beautiful.

It's a long way up Tattie Hill!
It’s a long way up Tattie Hill!

By then I’d covered 2 miles and so only had a mile to do. By running into Ruthwell village and straight out again up the hill I would be able to finish the run by coming back into our village.

But the music kept playing and there was no sign of Jeff calling it quits as I ran into Clarencefield, where I live. I must have read the distance wrong, I thought, and kept on running.

By the time I reached Comlongon drive, the road down to the castle, I knew something was up. I’d covered over 3 and a half miles. I ran down the drive, through a lovely avenue of autumn leaved trees and eventually stopped to check the app.

The GPS hadn’t hooked up and my app said I’d done NO miles, not the 3.82 that my Garmin was saying! No wonder it was keeping on going – it thought I hadn’t started!! I stopped it there and walked the short distance home, happy enough to have been out on such a lovely day.

Having had a cup of tea and cooled down a bit I’m now ready for an early lunch and a shower before I sort out the rest of my day off. The dogs need a walk and the cupboards need restocking and I might just take a drive to the Nike Store…