Custom orthotics

Hey guys!  This will be a quickie—lots to do! 

This morning I went to go get fitted for my custom orthotics.  I was a little alarmed when I went in the room and there was some sort of casted limb on the table.  Also, the only reading material in the whole office was AARP magazine…I’m pretty sure I was the youngest patient there.

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I was also happy to hear that my insurance pre-approved me for 100% payment.  Whee!

Anyway, the orthotics…guy (do they have a title?) came in and I gave him the whole saga of Blistersquatch and his minions.  He looked at my feet with a somewhat horrified expression.  Then I told him that I was also on my way to possibly losing two toenails, and he looked even more disgusted.  Poor guy.

Anyway, he didn’t immediately have any “oh, duh, of course you need THIS kind of orthotic” moments.  He was more along the lines of, “well, this is really weird, I’m kind of stumped, but, I’ll do some research and see what I can come up with.”  I stepped in these foamy-like blocks that made an impression of my feet.  Shockingly, they look totally normal in foam. 

I think his idea is that I’m going to need a wee bit of arch support AND a wide-width shoe, which, given my blistering pattern, makes sense.  He’s going to do a soft orthotic (made out of cork, and some kind of foam) rather than a hard one because I run, and will adjust it if it’s not working.  I may have to go back to my friends at the shoe store for a new pair to accommodate the orthotic.   I think I am starting to figure out what I want in a shoe—wide toe box, moderate arch support, lots of cushioning, and probably a larger size than I think I need.    It feels good to be trying new things.

I got to work late and immediately did this:

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My work corkboard, with new bib and now A MEDAL!   Super duper exciting.  I can’t wait to run my next one.  I’m thinking about a four miler in two weeks…but we’ll see.  I’m a little bit busy these days!

Anyway, Tim has been in St. Louis at the Cardinals home opener today (LUCKY!), but he should be home late tonight.  Tomorrow, I’m going to work in the morning, and in the afternoon, I’m flying out to VEGAS!  I’ve never been and I am really, really excited.  Yeah, yeah, there will be some work involved, but it should be pretty laid-back and I’m excited to get a chance to see it all.

Off to pack!

What do you always forget to pack?  For me, it’s my cell phone charger!

Low.

Happy fake Monday, dudes.  It wasn’t a great one.  I stayed up late last night writing thank you notes, and didn’t take a minute to myself from the time I got home to the time I went to bed.  I had a particularly vivid nightmare about being chased by Captain Hook and Mr. Smee that made me wake up in a cold sweat.

This, however, was good:

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Cantaloupe!  Is it in season now?  Because I was inspired to buy one yesterday, and that was a good decision.  It’s one of those fruits that I used to not like but now I do.  Maybe I’ll come around to honeydew soon!

It was supposed to be a morning snack, but I wasn’t really hungry for one, so I waited until lunchtime.  My lunch also included:   0330 002

A hunk of pretzel bread and a Wee Brie cheese.  (Not going to lie, I bought it largely because of the name.)

And a yogurt mess.

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Totally for the sake of the wedding, I finished things off with a caramel.  These are samples for our wedding favors!  They are delicious.  I think the guests will like them. 0330 004

Around 4 o’clock, I snacked on a Kind bar.  It was good, but tasted like a handful of mixed nuts, and mixed nuts are cheaper.  Oh well.  0330 005

Heh.  Nut Delight.  Giggle snort.

Anyway.  My plan was to try to get 5 miles in today.  Mentally, I wasn’t feeling it.  I just wanted a relaxing night at home with Tim and the zoo, but since I can’t work out tomorrow (another dress fitting!) and Thursday (podiatrist!) I went anyway.

I ran 1.25 miles.  And I quit because the pain was so bad.

What pain?  Well, let me preface this by saying I switched from the cushiony insoles from the running store to my regular shoe sockliner because my left knee and hips were complaining after last week’s long run disaster.  I figured the sockliner would make me blister, but at least my joints would be okay. 

Wrong.

Here is what hurt.  A LOT.

  • Left knee.  Less hurty than it was clicky and kind of loose and unstable feeling.
  • Left outside-of-the-shin muscle from my knee down to my ankle. 
  • Top of my left foot.
  • Blister on my right big toe from god knows what.
  • Right inside-of-the-shin muscle.

I haven’t run since Thursday, so my body has had four days off.  And everything from my knees down was just awful feeling.  My head knew that stopping was the smart thing to do.

I left the gym.  I walked to my car and I cried in the gym parking lot.

Oh, hell, I cried most of the way home, too, and when I saw Tim.

I did what Hal said.  But I have serious doubts about my ability to finish this half marathon, and I hate it.  I have given up so much time to training.   It’s days like today that make me want to throw in the towel and sit on the couch and get fat again.

Of course, the first thing I did when I stopped running was fat talk.

You ate so much crap this weekend.  No wonder your body is breaking down, it can’t carry all the weight.”

Who do you think you are trying to run a marathon?  You’re just the fat little kid in gym class.”

You’re not a runner.  You’re too fat to be a runner.  You never will be.  Runners are thin.”

And so on, and so on. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do right now.  I am so glad I have an appointment with a podiatrist on Thursday.  I hope I can get some answers, because I know the root of all these problems is in my feet.  Everything I have tried to make this better has just made it worse.

And so I’m feeling low.  Two weeks ago, I was 100% sure I would be able to finish.  Now I’m not so sure at all.

Foot help is on the way!

Happy Monday!  I usually feel pretty cheery and well-rested on Mondays.  It’s Wednesday and Thursday I find it hard to get going!

Anyway.  Went to work.  Lunch:

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Whole wheat bagel with 1 T. natural peanut butter, peach Chobani, strawberries, and granola.  And I forgot my Camelbak bottle today, so I had to buy a bottle of water at work!  And I (gasp) refilled it!  Hopefully I’ll live.

Anyway, my lunch break was significant because…long story short, I’m going to a podiatrist on April 1st!  I spent the hour calling around and checking my insurance benefits, and they will cover everything except for a $25 copay and orthotics over $1000.  I figured I might as well schedule it now, because I thought it would take a long time to get in, but not so!  Next Thursday, I might have some answers!  Holy cow!

The poor secretary asked what my problem was.  I was like, “Well, I’m a runner, and I have these giant blisters all over my feet, and now I have a huge knot/bruise above my right arch, oh and I have a black toenail too…” and her response was “You’re a mess!”  Yes, indeed I am.  At least in the foot area.

I also scheduled my annual pap smear.  It’s important, ladies.  Get it done!

Anyway, I tried the cushiony new orthotics in my running shoes today.

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They felt pretty good.  I like that they have less arch support than the regular sockliner.

Anyway, I ran 5 miles in 46:45!  This is pretty epic for me.  I am really enjoying running faster lately.  I think less, and it’s over faster.  Yup.

Hey, look what came today!  A passport…and an assport.  0322 003

Heh.  So, folks, we’re all paid up and ready to take a honeymoon!  I can’t wait.  I’ll be doing a lot of traveling the next few months—in the next 3 months, I have trips to Vegas, Napa Valley, New Orleans/Mexico, and south Florida planned.  Whee!

Here’s what roasted chicken does on the second day at our house:

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Whole grain white tortillas (they were out of wheat) with garlic & herb Laughing Cow cheese and leftover roasted chicken.   Delish.

Anyway, I’m in a great mood—three workdays left until I’m on a plane to Chicago, a great run, and foot answers are on the horizon!  Hoorah!

I’m currently watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on Hulu.  It’s definitely interesting. 

Anyone else watch?  What did you think?

Irish eyes are smiling

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I have not celebrated in any way at all today, which makes me a little sad.  I didn’t have the foresight to pack green clothing, unfortunately.  However, I am indeed Irish—75%.  (The other 25% is northern Italian.)  My mom’s maiden name begins with O’ and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name starts with Mc.   I have pale skin, freckles on my shoulders, and enjoy beer more than I should.  I think that qualifies me, no?  Growing up, we would always have corned beef, boiled potatoes and cabbage and soda bread today.  Last year I made soda bread, but this year I’ve been lame and forgotten altogether.  Fail.

Anyway.   Woke up in a hotel room.  My room service breakfast order showed up shortly thereafter.  On the menu today?  More food than I’d intended.  The card I filled out was for eggs and toast and coffee only, but much to my surprise, I got scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, orange juice, and coffee.

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The eggs were terrible.  So was the bacon.  So, I had toast, potatoes, orange juice and coffee for breakfast.  Not the healthiest, but such is life.

I did my work thang in the morning and got on the road back to Kansas City around noon.  It was a four hour drive.  After the coffee debacle, I decided to grab lunch BEFORE I got on the road.

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It was a long, foggy, boring drive.  Thank goodness for Dan Savage podcasts.

Somewhere along the way, I decided I might as well do my long run today.  I’d be back at the office at 3, meaning I could be at the gym by 3:30, do the run, and be home before 6.  If I waited to do it tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to start until 5 and wouldn’t be home until 7:30 or 8!  Plus, I got a lot of sleep last night and was sitting on my bum all day.

I changed and walked over to the gym.  I wasn’t sure if I’d want two gels or one, so I brought two just in case.  I also brought some Gatorade powder because I remember craving it during my run last week. 

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And…the running commenced.  Today marked the start of double-digits for me with my first 10 miler!  I broke it into two 5 mile segments.  I took the Tri-Berry Gu at mile 5, and refilled my water bottle and added some of the Gatorade powder.

The first five miles weren’t bad, and I definitely felt a nice energy rush after the Gu.  But at about mile 7.5, my energy started to wane.  Fine.  I can push through low energy.  But at mile 9, I realized I probably a) should have saved the gatorade for post run and b) probably should have incorporated both gels into the run.  My stomach started feeling kind of barfy and sloshy.  Nonetheless, I pushed through, literally counting down the seconds until the 10 miles were done!

All in all, 10 miles in 1:40:00—I stuck the treadmill at 6.0 and left it there.  (I took maybe 1 minute to reset the treadmill and fill my bottle, but whatever.)  It wasn’t a bad run, but I think that I learned that 9 miles and over requires two Gus—maybe at mile 4 and 8 or something.  I also forgot a stick of gum, which helps with dry mouth, so I drank too much water which I think contributed to the stomach issues.

My right foot is also a hot mess.  It kind of reminds me of raw ground turkey.  And the toenail just keeps getting blacker.  Sigh. 

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In other news, remember the awful yellow flowered capris Victoria’s Secret sent me instead of my rehearsal dinner dress?  Well, the actual rehearsal dress showed up yesterday.

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I need to wear it with Spanx to smooth everything out, because it’s a little clingy, but I do like it and the price/casualness level was perfect.  I think I’ll wear it with some kind of sandal, maybe.  It’ll also be good to take on the honeymoon. 

So, that’s that.  10 miles, in the books, and I lived to tell the tale.  Just tack a 5K onto that and I’ve got a half marathon!  Eep!

Are you Irish? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Running Merit Badge #1

Hey, look!  My rehearsal dinner dress came!

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Or, you know, not.  The invoice described this as a “white eyelet dress” from Victoria’s Secret…but yeah, it’s not.  This is what I ordered:

dress

Decidedly different.  Hmm.  Methinks I’ll be on the phone with Ms. Victoria tomorrow.

Anyway, I was a bad blogger and forgot to take pictures pretty much all day.  It was really busy at work—I’m going on an overnight quick trip tomorrow and had a bunch of stuff to finish up today.  I had a green monster, some Annie’s Bernie-O’s, and one of Susan’s homemade protein bars at various intervals throughout the day!

After work, I went to run.  Good lord, was it hot in the gym!  I have to say, I enjoyed it not being pitch black before and after my workout—it was nice to walk out to my car in sunshine.  Anyway, today I did 5 miles, like so:

  • 1 mile at 6.0 mph
  • 1 mile at 6.1 mph
  • 1 mile at 6.2 mph
  • 1 mile at 6.3 mph
  • 1 mile at 6.4 mph

For a grand total of 5 miles in about 48:15.  I was really working hard at the end but it felt good to sweat.  My glutes, hamstrings, and inner thighs (what’s that muscle called?) have also been quite sore from Saturday’s random lifting circuit, and it was nice to get the blood pumping and get them moving again.

Okay, you guys.  I have to announce something.  I think I’ve earned my first proverbial running merit badge:

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A black toenail!  The black part is getting darker and larger every time I run.  It felt funny for awhile a few weeks ago, but doesn’t hurt anymore and is just getting uglier and uglier.

Is it weird that I am kind of feeling particularly badass about this?  I know, I know, I should want pretty toenails for my wedding…but…this is so much cooler.  I have kind of a morbid fascination with various athletic injuries and the general weird shit running does to our bodies, and this is my own mark of honor.

Anyway.  1 yes RSVP, 3 nos.

The human body and the things sports do to it: cool or gross?  Discuss.

Eight is Great!

Today I traveled for work.  It was about a 2.5 hour drive each way, so I left home around 7:15 and got there around 9:45.  I did my thang there until 1.  We were served (ta-da!) a standard corporate box lunch:0225 001

I got all excited when I saw they’d put the veggies on the side, but I picked up the wrapped turkey croissant and it was, surprise surprise, dripping in mayo.  Yick.  So, I ate the apple and the brownie.  I had prepared for something like this, though and on my way home, I ate a PB and raspberry preserves sandwich on an Arnold’s Thin:0225 003

And a Clif Mojo Mountain Mix Bar!0225 004

Since I was going to be done with work earlier than usual today, and I know tomorrow’s going to be really hectic at work, I decided to make today my long run day!  My Zensah compression sleeves felt so good last night today I wore them under my dress pants with my heels and knee-highs!  Classy, huh?

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Getting to the gym, though, was a comedy of errors.  I was in the middle of super-rural Missouri, and the main road I needed to use was closed, so I went way out of my way for about 15 miles, and then ended up literally driving on gravel roads to get where I needed to go.  Not cool.

After 3 hours in the  car, I made it to the gym and changed.  Except…where were my socks?  They were nowhere to be found.  I had to walk back to my car and tear the whole thing up from top to bottom to find them.  (They’d fallen in between the door and the seat.)

So, I got a later start than I’d anticipated, but still earlier than on a regular workday.  Today’s fuel of choice?  A strawberry Clif Shot Energy Gel.

0225 005I split the run into two 4 mile runs, since the treadmill will only run for an hour before it stops.  I took the first 4 miles easy at about 10:10/mile pace for most of the time and finished it in 40:30.  I reset the treadmill, took the Clif Shot, drank some water, and set off for the second four.

Honestly, this run would have been perfect if not for my feet.  My calves and shins felt great thanks to the calf sleeves (I didn’t wear them while I ran, but all day before), but my feet…oh, my stupid feet.  Apparently, I’m working on Blistersquatch v. 2.0 on my left foot instead of my right this time.

It’s not a great picture, but that red part is all blister.

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Anyway, aside from my feet, I felt great.  I think my lungs and cardiovascular system are getting on board with this running thing, so that’s good.  But yeah, the feet…I think I may need to go talk to the running store people again.  I can’t afford new shoes, but I think a cushionier sock might help.  I really pushed a little harder in the second half, and finished that in 39:50, so, in total, I finished 8 miles (for a new PDR!) in 1:20:30 even. 

Including warm-up and cool-down:

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Post-run impressions: I was SALTY.  Like, put me in a pan with some butter and I’d be delicious.  My skin, especially on my face and upper arms was CRUSTY.  Any of you seasoned runners know what’s up with that?  Also, I’m feeling barfy and nauseous.  I think I really didn’t eat enough today—before the run, all day, I’d had a breakfast cookie, an apple, a brownie, a small PB&J, and a Mojo bar…so not a lot.   Also, my buttcheeks chafed again.  I think I will need to get a dedicated butt stick of Body Glide, because I’d prefer not to put the same stick in my asscrack and on my feet.  (TMI, but hey, running’s not glamorous.)

Dinner was plain pasta with a little salt and butter.  Nothing else sounded remotely appetizing, but I knew I needed to eat.   Blech.

I did, however, come home to some fun surprises!  From Tim:

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Oh, hell yes.  Two red velvet with cream cheese frosting, two chocolate with peanut butter frosting.  Just because!  Isn’t he great?  I think later we’ll split two so we can each try both flavors once my stomach feels better.  (Running-induced nausea usually goes away within a few hours for me.)

And the rest of the flower girl/ring bearer gifts:

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These are SO cute in person, right down to the zipper pulls, good quality, and shipped to me with personalization in less than a week.  I highly recommend Etsy seller Deerpath Designs—I think these will make great gifts!

We also got a wedding invite for a wedding on May 22nd in the mail!  Eeek.  I guess we should get ours out ASAP since we’re the 8th.  Good thing we planned to do it Saturday anyway!

Anyway, I’m off to recuperate.  Any advice about blisters, saltiness, buttcheek chafing or running nausea?  Bonus round: what’s your favorite cupcake flavor?

New shoes

Today I slept until 11:30 a.m.  Saturdays are for sleeping in!  I needed it.  I felt so great when I got up (finally).

Today’s mission: solve the Blistersquatch problem.  I found another running store on Google so I decided to give them a try.  I wasn’t totally thrilled with the last running store I went to–I kind of felt like they told me, “Well, if these shoes don’t work, there’s nothing we can do for you.”

Anyway.  It looked promising from the outside.


One thing I loved right away about the store is that everyone working there has a background and degree in athletic training.  I feel like a lot of running stores are staffed by runners, which is great, but their experience is largely personal and less scientific.

Immediately two women came over to help me.  I explained what was going on, and showed them the ‘squatch, and they were really concerned and helpful from the very beginning.  They both helped me the entire time, which was INCREDIBLE–they were really great about working together, AND they were both women who’d run marathons.  And maybe this was silly, but they looked like regular people–not super-elite athletes–which put me at ease.

The first women measured both of my feet, length AND width-wise.  My right foot came in at a size 8.5, width D (meaning I have a wide foot on that side–B is normal).  My left foot was an 8 exactly, and was between a B and D width.  I’d never had the width of my feet measured before,  so I’d had no idea that they were wider than average!

Then they did a video gait analysis.  The three gait analyses I’ve had before have consisted of me walking in my shoes while someone watched.  This was different–I ran in my socks only on a treadmill and they videotaped me and we watched the tape back, both in real time and in slow-mo.  I took a video for you guys!

The slow-mo revealed that I pronate and my arch collapses, especially in my left foot. My right foot and ankle remains pretty straight, but my left foot rolls around a LOT.

My previous shoes that brought on Blistersquatch, Saucony Progrid Rides, are a neutral shoe, and I had the regular, B width. The trainers at the store immediately suggested I try a wide stability shoe instead.

When I tried these shoes on…they felt wonderful. I always was under the impression that my foot shouldn’t move in the shoe when I run–that they should be basically locked into position. However, they explained to me that a shoe should feel GOOD when I put it on. My previous running shoes have always felt kind of stiff and heavy and tight on my foot. This pair felt like slippers. They were light and I didn’t feel like anything was being “pushed on,” for lack of a better phrase. I’ve always felt a lot of pressure in my arches from the neutral shoes I’ve tried, but the wider width feels like my foot is comfortable. I didn’t want to take them off!

Before I left, the first trainer asked the second trainer to explain to me the best way to avoid and treat blisters. (LOVE.) She said I was already doing the right thing by wearing moisture wicking socks, but she also suggested lots of Body Glide. She said that from talking to me about how much my feet sweat and the like, it sounds like my feet swell some when I run and that would help with any friction. (The swelling would also explain the blistering–a wide foot that swells in a regular shoe=rubbing and blistering.) She also told me that feet will callus and that’s just one of the things runners have to deal with, but it should NEVER have to get as bad as mine did.

So, without further ado, meet my new (violently pink) running shoes and Body Glide.

They are New Balance 769s, part of their Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure line. I’m cautiously reserving judgment, but I feel good about a total change in what I’ve been wearing on my feet. I’ll keep you posted! I’ve been through various pairs of Adidas, Asics, Sauconys, and now New Balances…maybe one day I’ll find “the one.” 😉

Do you love your running shoes, or are you constantly looking for a better fit?