and your tooth won’t hurt anymore,” my husband giggles. “We won’t even have to drill it. Imagine what they’ll say about this type of therapy in twenty years.” I see the humor. But I can’t giggle — I’m too frustrated.
I’ve just been telling him about needling, a technique I tried at physio today to help my plantar fasciitis, sore posterior tibialis, and struggling Achilles tendon. That was the explanation the physio gave me – that these structures are poor at inflaming themselves in response to injury, so by jabbing a needle into the right spot in my foot, it would induce healing inflammation. It certainly induced tears. She hadn’t said anything about wiggling the needle around once it was in my foot.
My husband was less than convinced.
Me? I’d try anything to be able to run pain-free at the moment.
In fact, I have. I ran in my old Asics that I ditched three years ago in pursuit of minimalist running. I managed 600 meters before I turned back to home, and got my Inov-s back on. This morning, I tried heel lifts in my minimalist shoes. The thinking goes something like, it will unload the underfoot and Achilles to lift the heel up a bit, so I can continue running while I heal. Heal. Heel. Hell.
I managed 2km with the heel lifts in, at which point I sat down on a bench alongside the Coastal Track, tore off my shoes, and left the heel lifts under a bush. The next eight kilometers were bliss. I could feel my feet working the way they want to work. The hip and knee pain, which came back nearly instantly upon lifting my heels, magically disappeared. My gluts fired up the hills, and my footstrike became lighter and quicker. My thinking: I don’t want to cause a different injury by changing my gait at this point.
What has been working nicely is taping. I’ve got a cool patterned tape that my kids say reminds them of Minecraft – it is a great conversation starter too. “Oh, Patricia…are you injured again? Poor thing…” (though I put in the subtext, “You idiot. You obviously are getting too old to run so far. Slow down. It’s your own stupid fault.”). Several times in the school-yard, I have the same conversation, which I usually finish by dashing off to complete another hobbling run.
I miss myself. I miss running pain-free, signing up for races with abandon. I miss walking around barefoot in my home without pain.
I remind myself that I had major surgery on 27 October last year, which is not even four months ago, and that I only began running again on 1 December. It’s now 17 February. Obviously I went out too fast. Though I tried so hard to be conservative. I expect the muscles in my feet and hips atrophied much quicker than I anticipated, and that’s the source of all this. I can feel things getting stronger and more stable as I lift my heavy weights again, and even though running hurts, it is helping.
I’ve been thinking lately of what will soothe me (me being the dragon that keeps breathing fire on my family). Playing piano works. Cleaning (strangely) does too. Letting my dog run free in the dog park helps.
And those very brief moments in my running where my body feels like it used to – those moments soothe me the most.
They are the moments I’m trying to string together to finally have a joyous 10k run again. In pursuit of this, I’ll let strangers stab needles in my feet. I’ll try (and discard) heel lifts and more structured shoes. I’ll do eccentric Achilles training and endless clam-shells.
And I will learn the lesson that this experience has come to teach me: going slowly is okay. Healing takes time. There is no magic answer. There will always be another race.
And most importantly: I want to be healthy and strong again, and this is the goal I am going to pursue for 2015.