October was a rough month. I always say plantar fasciitis is the devil and I guess it’s the devil’s favorite time of year. But after a few truly miserable weeks of not running, lots of foot pain, and way too many medical appointments, maybe things are starting to turn around. I’m trying a new treatment called Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT) which is basically shock waves to heal your feet. Is it working? Read on to find out. Three weeks all together here because life has been crazy and also because training logs with no running are not a lot of fun to write, y’all.
10/8 – 10/14
Monday, 10/8, Morning Crew – Swim 2300, Frank workout
I did Frank again in the pool so Snarky Girl had a chance to try him out. Bigger news by far was the appointment with the new podiatrist. He sold me new orthotics (ka-ching), gave me a prescription for oral steroids, and recommended a sound wave treatment called EPAT that costs an arm and a leg to heal your foot (ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching). Not covered by insurance. Yikes. I am trying the new orthotics plus steroids.
Tuesday, 10/9, Early Morning Crew – 20 miles on the YMCA video bike as 20 min WU; 20 min tempo effort; 20 min CD (60 min total)
Today was pretty horrible. Work kept me on my feet all day and by the end of the day, the plantar fasciitis was killing me. Also feeling rather mentally wretched. I’m leaning very hard on my Inner Circles right now, but luckily they are up to the task. I did make friends with the woman at the front desk of the YMCA, a bright spot on a dark day.
Wednesday, 10/10, Morning Crew – 10 miles easy on the bike (30 min) plus weights
Back with Tough Guy Trainer for a solid weights workout. Foot was better today.
Thursday, 10/11, Early Morning Crew – 20 miles on the video bike as 15 min WU; 4x6min hard/2 min easy; 13 min CD
Tried to pretend I was running 1200s. Sort of worked.
Friday, 10/12, Early Morning Crew – Swim 2250, Easy/Hard workout
This was a good swim with Snarky Girl and Mr. Snarky Girl but another dark day. Injury is just the pits. It already feels like this has been going on forever. I went to see the Maestro hoping that some dry needling would make the foot feel better, but instead the needles made it feel much worse.
Saturday, 10/13, Early Morning Crew – 13 miles / 40 min easy on the bike, plus weights
Race day in Hartford! I was supposed to be running the Hartford Half and perhaps bringing home a shiny new PR. Instead I drove into Hartford early to work out at the Hartford YMCA before spectating the race. Blech. However, the Retiree ran an absolutely massive PR for his half marathon and I had so much fun cheering for friends that I pretty much forgot about my poor foot.
Sunday, 10/14, Early Morning Crew – 3 mile run, easy
I did a short test run in my neighborhood to see how the foot feels after a full two weeks off from running. Answer? Not good. Shit. A bright spot in the day was going to Fleet Feet with some women from the running group I started at my church. They both got new shoes and they are eager to try them out! The flyer for EPAT was out at the store so I asked more questions and found a different doctor who does the same treatment for less money.
Total: 3 miles running; 4550 yards swimming; 63 miles biking
10/15 – 10/21
This week was also pretty terrible, not gonna lie. My foot hurt a lot, basically every step, pretty much until Friday. I was also mentally ready to throw in the towel or jump off a cliff, whichever or maybe both. Just a whole lot of awfulness. It’s weeks like this when “living by the clock” becomes paramount to me. If it says in Final Surge that I am swimming, you can bet I will be at the pool. Sometimes that is how I hold my shit together as it threatens to fly apart.
Monday, 10/15, Early Morning Crew – Swim 2650, Fabian workout
I told Coach Cupcake I needed to be working harder in the pool and she came through with these new workouts. Fabian is hard and satisfying. Good man! I mean, good swim! The foot situation has become downright terrible. Almost every step hurts.
Tuesday, 10/16, Early Morning Crew – 20 miles on the YMCA video bike as 3 miles WU; then progression ride at 8-9-10-6 for resistance, repeat four times, 3 miles CD (60 min total)
I’ve done that progression ride on the bike lots of times and I really like it. It’s a lot of work and involves lots of changes so it’s less boring than it might be. I also saw a new podiatrist today (this is number 6, if you count the four I met during my last go-round with PF). He also recommends EPAT – the expensive shock wave therapy. But he is charging less than anyone else I’ve found and I like him better as a doctor. He answered all my questions, including my follow-up email questions, and he’s not pretending to have a miracle cure. But he does say EPAT has an 80% cure rate. As Coach Mick put it, “cure” is a word with a lot of power.
Wednesday, 10/17, Morning Crew – 20 miles / 45 min easy on the bike, plus weights
I basically told Tough Guy Trainer I needed to get hella strong so we should get after it in the gym. Back to big girl lifts like barbell squats and chest presses with heavy dumbbells. I love those. I also saw the Maestro for physical therapy with the only goal of getting the foot to please stop hurting. He had only limited success and by evening, I was pretty much falling apart. Fed the kids, bitched to my Inner Circles, went to bed.
Thursday, 10/18, Early Morning Crew – 17 miles on the video bike as 15 min WU; 20 min tempo; 15 min CD (50 min)
Doing a little better mentally today, thank goodness. Foot now only hurting when walking, not all the time, which definitely helps. New podiatrist responded very quickly to yet another follow-up email and I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for EPAT next week.
Friday, 10/19, Early Morning Crew – Swim 2350, Frank workout, weights later in the day
Swim was fine, weights were fine. Much more important – I went back to PT to have them tape my foot and that finally got me some relief from the pain. It feels like I can think again. I have so much sympathy for people who live with chronic pain. It’s terrible.
Saturday, 10/20, Early Morning Crew – 10K rowing, 15 minutes WU and CD plus 10x200m hard/easy
I like to row and today my foot is not hurting. Thank you tape.
Sunday, 10/21, Early Morning Crew – 24 miles on YMCA video bike as 15 min WU then 10 x 4 min intervals w/1 min recovery, up and down the ladder, 15 min CD
Coach Mick and I designed this workout together looking for something harder and longer for the bike. Well, we did it! I could not finish this workout as planned. The longer, harder intervals were too much. I’m actually pleased as punch about this because now I’ve got a goal on the video bike: complete crazy ladder workout as written. Foot is still hurting less, thank goodness. Flew to Washington DC for work.
Total: 0 miles running; 5000 yards swimming; 81 miles biking; 10K rowing, 1 podiatrist and 2 physical therapy appointments
10/22 – 10/29
This week was an emotional roller coaster. I had my first EPAT treatment and I really think it might be working. It’s the first solid strand of hope in a quite awhile. At the same time, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and there’s a ton of terribleness in the world, so my highs were high and my lows were low this week. But for a running log – the main event is the EPAT and some actual running.
Monday, 10/22, Afternoon Crew – 13 bike miles
I’m in Washington DC to give a talk for work. Of course, I would have loved to be running near the monuments in the October sunshine. Instead I was exiled to the bike in the hotel gym. Cardio iz cardio. I love you Arthur Lydiard. Whatever. Sometimes you just go do it and this was one of those times.
Tuesday, 10/23, Early Morning Crew – 16 miles on hotel gym bike as 15 min WU; 5×3 min hard w/2 min recovery; 15 min CD. 55 minutes total. First EPAT treatment. PLUS 3.1 MILE RUN!!!
Today was insane. After working out at the hotel, I flew home and went to my first EPAT treatment. I’ll do a whole post about this at some point, but EPAT is shock wave therapy, designed to break up scar tissue. It’s supposed to give my poor feet a whole new lease on life! Immediately post-treatment, there’s a few hours when your feet are basically numb and therefore don’t hurt. My doc said it was fine to run so after I picked up Rose and got her home, I went out for a dark and drizzly 3-miler. My feet felt very weird, like they had been turned into marshmallows, BUT – they didn’t hurt! The PF spot loosened up after 5 minutes or so and the pain did not return! WOOT! It was totally amazing to be able to run.
Wednesday, 10/24, Morning Crew – 13 miles / 30 min easy on the bike, plus weights
The usual Wednesday at Innovative Fitness and Wellness. Supposedly the day after EPAT, your feet might be quite sore, like they had done a serious workout. Mine felt fine. Let me note that again. The day after a run, my feet felt fine. That hasn’t happened since the Erie marathon. Fingers crossed.
Thursday, 10/25, Early Morning Crew – 3.78 miles RUNNING (32 min, 8:39 pace)
I ran again! Same story as Tuesday. I felt the PF but it loosened up and didn’t come back. Could EPAT be a miracle?
Friday, 10/26, Early Morning Crew – Swim 2400, Frank workout
Good swim and foot is another notch better today. Wow.
Saturday, 10/27, Morning Crew – 5 miles running plus weights
We got a lovely fall Nor’easter so I ran on the treadmill at the gym before lifting. Then had an extended brunch with Squirrel, who has had to DNS her fall marathon. Yuck. The combination of running followed by sitting should have made for a full-on foot disaster, but it was fine. Really feeling hopeful. Also made Hallowe’en cookies with Rose.
Sunday, 10/28, Early Morning Crew – 5 miles WITH FRIENDS
I tried a second consecutive day of running and it was FINE. I got to run with my friends for our usual Sunday “long” run and it was GLORIOUS! I’ve got enough experience with PF that I know this might still end in pain and tears so I am trying to hope while also guarding my heart. A tricky balancing act.
Total: 16.88 miles running; 2400 yards swimming; 42 miles biking; 1 podiatrist appointment (EPAT)