Showing posts with label feet/legs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feet/legs. Show all posts

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My foot felt better during my run

My left foot felt better today than it did last Wednesday. I still had the weak feeling, but it wasn't very painful. I've been taking Ruta. Other than that, my training this week was the same as the last two weeks, and the reduction in soreness indicates my muscles are being strengthened.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Another nice hour rest run

I ran another hour on the Jordan River Parkway and enjoyed it. The run was uneventful, and except for mentioning that I picked up trash, there isn't much to say about the run other that I and my feet felt fine.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Homeopathy and my feet

In a previous post I described how I use homeopathy when I have a cold. I thought I'd describe how I use homeopathy for problems with my feet. This will also explain how I became introduced to homeopathy. If you're not interested in homeopathy, feel free to skip this post.

I lived in Massachusetts for 17 years, and I did a lot of hiking in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the 12 years that I was a Scoutmaster. New England has 48 peaks that are above 4000 feet elevation, and it is a tradition, known as peak bagging, among many hikers to climb those peaks. In my 17 years, I climbed two of them, the highest (Mt. Washington, 6288 feet) and the lowest (Mt. Tecumseh, 4003 feet). My two climbs of Washington were with my scout troop, and my climb of Tecumseh was with my family. On our way down Tecumseh, my kids ran down the trail, and my youngest daughter sprained her ankle. I did the traditional first-aid on her foot (RICE), but it took her about a month to recover from that sprain.

Not too long after my daughter's sprain, one of my scouts (Jeff) sprained his ankle, and a week later he was running around as if nothing had happened. I asked his mother why Jeff had such a quick recovery, and she introduced me to homeopathic remedies. She explained that she gave three remedies to Jeff. First was Arnica Montana, which should be given for any injury to help the body overcome shock. Next was Ruta Graveolens which helps the tendons heal. Third was Rhus Tox which helps the muscles heal. I was impressed with the difference in healing between my daughter and Jeff, especially since they were about the same age.

I was also interested in Rhus Tox, because I was leaving in a week for a week-long backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that would cover 50 miles of hiking and our first hike of Mt. Washington. This was during the time when, even though I was running, I was still having a lot of pain in my feet after several hours of Saturday yard work on my feet. That pain was peculiar, because it was reduced by movement. When I would first get up on Sunday morning, my feet would be very stiff and painful, but after walking around for a few minutes, the stiffness would go away and the pain was reduced. Jeff's mother suggested that I take Rhus Tox with me, because it is helpful when movement reduced stiffness and pain. I thought, "It's worth a try", and I put Rhus Tox in my backpack and took it during the week.

I had no problems at all with my feet during that week. I hiked 50 miles, climbed Mt. Washington 1 1/2 times (the half-climb was the evening before our full climb so I could check out the trail. The peak is 3500 feet [elevation change] above the trail head). No problems at all...until...until Saturday, the eighth and last day of our week. We were hiking 7 miles back to our cars and my feet began to hurt. I had run out of Rhus Tox on Thursday, and after two days of hiking without the remedy, my pain returned. After that trip, I was a confirmed believer in homeopathy. I've used Rhus Tox many times when I have stiff feet after several hours of being on my feet, and I believe it is helpful.

Ok, now back to my current problem of sore feet after 8 or so miles of running. I've explained that I believe the problem is due to my running fewer miles after stopping my marathon training while in Massachusetts, and my running even fewer miles per week after moving to Utah 14 years ago. For the past 2 1/2 years, after I recovered from my auto accident in August 2004, I've had an intense running program in which I started my post-accident running with 1/8 mile and two years later ran the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon. That running put a lot of stress on my 70+ year old body. That stress was increased by a double hernia operation, 10 big skin cancer surgeries (including several skin grafts, one with pig skin), and surgery to remove my gall bladder. Since that half marathon, I've been running 30-33 miles/per week, including fartleks and intervals and hill workouts. It has been a stressful 2 1/2 years, and apparently my foot muscles deteriorated during my years of reduced running and can't fully handle the intensity of my current training. My body needs more time to rebuild the muscles.

I still hope to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 21, but I won't be able to finish it very well if I continue to have the problem with my left foot. To give my feet time to begin healing, I'm planning on reducing the distances I run during the last two weeks of my training, and I will go through my normal two-week taper to the race. In addition, I'll be taking Arnica and Rhus Tox if I experience soreness again, and I'm taking daily dosages of Ruta between now and the race. I'm confident that my body will respond and strengthen the muscles in my feet, but I won't know for sure until race-day. As I've explained in the past, homeopathic remedies act as a catalyst to get my body to heal itself, and it all depends if I give my body enough rest and if my body does heal itself during the next four weeks.

This problem seems like a biggie right now, but in a few weeks when I look back on it, it will just be a small burp in my life.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My body feels strong

The Salt Lake City Half Marathon is four weeks from today on April 21. My body feels stronger now that it did four weeks before the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon last August. I've had good training during the past seven months since the GSL. My fastest tempo run before the GSL was 2:34. I did a 2:22 tempo run last fall (I haven't tried any tempo runs since then). I'm anxious to see if I can set a PB on April 21, and if so by how much. However, as I just explained in the post just before this one, I am concerned about my feet.

Why my feet are weak and sore

When I lived in Phoenix, I had a lot of trouble with my feet. I would do several hours of Saturday yard work, and my feet would be so stiff and painful that I literally would have to crawl into the bathroom on Sunday morning. It would be Tuesday before my feet felt normal. I knew that I had a very stiff skeleton, so I went to a bone specialist. He said that the problem was weak muscles, and that I should do whatever exercise I wanted to strengthen the muscles. I started running.

I ran for eight years before I ran my first marathon. By that time I was in Massachusetts. During that time, my feet muscles were strengthened, and I didn't have much trouble with my feet while running. I ran four marathons in two years, and then I stopped the marathons due to time constraints. I still continued to run during the next 10 years but not long distance. Around 20 miles/week with 5-7 mile runs.

Then I ran even less when I moved to Utah 14 years ago. Probably 10 miles/week and short 1-2 mile runs. It was about four years ago that I decided to get serious with my running. By the time I started this blog in January 2004, I was up to 3-4 mile runs.

I've had no problems with my feet during the past four years as I worked my distance up to 15 and then back to 13 mile long runs and 30-33 mile weeks. My feet felt fine when I ran the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon in August 2006, but I started feeling a slight weakness in my left foot during the fall of 2006. It was the same type of weakness that I'd felt in my feet back when I first started running. No pain, just a weak feeling as if my feet couldn't support my weight. During last fall and this winter, the weak feeling slowly became a bit more pronounced, but I ignored it. It finally reached the point last week and this week such that after eight miles, I could feel some pain in the foot. It was exactly the same feeling that I'd felt 30-40 years ago before I started running and during the first few years of my running.

As I thought about it this week, after my 10-mile run on Thursday, I realized that after I stopped running marathons and reduced my mileage, especially after moving to Utah, my muscles in my feet had become weaker, and my old problem was returning. I realized that I had moved up in mileage too fast and that I needed to give my body more time to adjust to the stress of running. The reason I didn't run my first marathon until after eight years of running is that I ran about 20-24 miles per week for five or six years, and that allowed my muscles to become strong. This time, however, I went up to 33 miles/week and ran a half marathon after only two years of running after my auto accident in August 2004 in which I started running with 1/8 mile for my first run after the accident. So, I'm pretty sure that my problem is just that I've rushed too fast into distance running.

The big question is what do I do in the future? I still hope to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 21 if my feet can handle that distance. I have two weeks of training plus my scheduled two-week taper, and during those four weeks, I will keep my mileage to 8 miles or less. I hopefully won't have a problem with that lower distance, and I will start the half marathon. Whether I finish the race, time will tell :) Whether I run the World Senior Games in October will depend on how my feet do during the summer. At least now I understand my problem and the need for more time to build up my feet. I'm hoping that my feet will make a pretty fast recovery since they should be stronger than they were when I first started running. I look back on all of this and realize that I've been blessed; it could have turned out to be much worse.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My left foot is feeling "weaker" and is becoming painful

In past posts, I've mentioned that my left foot felt "weak" after long runs. That condition is getting worse. The "weak" feeling starts at about 8 miles, and by 10 miles, my foot is starting to feel sore. As soon as I stop running, the pain stops. Right now, it has been about three hours since I finished my two-hour run, and my foot feels fine.

I don't think my foot is injured, because the "weak" feeling is like the feeling I used to have in my feet after several hours of yard work. In fact, that "weak" feeling and soreness was the reason I started running. I think the problem is due to the fact that it has only been a year and a quarter since I went past 10 miles and on to 15 and then back to 13 miles. During that time, I've done a lot of fast runs and speed training. I think my body just needs more time to build strength.

I am concerned about the half-marathon on April 21, because if my two-hour runs last week and today are indicators, I would have a hard time finishing the race. I'm going to wear an Ace bandage on my foot for the long runs between now and the race (including the race). After the race, I will need a month for recovery, and during that time I will just run comfortable runs with no speed work. Then I'll just have to run the summer and fall by "ear" so to speak.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A great 2 1/4 hour run with no muscle cramps!

During my run on the Parkway, I focused on my legs, and they felt pretty good. As a check, before I left home I felt both hams, and they felt the same. I was thus hopeful that I would have a nice run. It was a good run! I've been sleeping well, and my wakeup HR this week has been 48-50.

The temperature during my run was about 40 (F), and there was a 5-7 mph tailwind going out and headwind coming back. I felt fine going out with one layer, a long-sleeve T-shirt, but coming back, with the headwind, I felt cold and put on my nylon wind breaker that I had tied around my waist. I wore shorts, but with the wind I wish I'd worn my long pants.

I only saw a 3 or 4 people on the Parkway. I guess the rest of the "regulars" were home enjoying their warm houses.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A nice 3-mile rest run

Just before sundown, I ran for 40 minutes (3 miles) on the Jordan River Parkway. During the run, I was focused on the condition of my right ham and my legs in general. I could tell that there was a slight feeling of tightness in the right ham, but after a mile of running, the tightness disappeared, and my legs felt normal for the rest of the run. I took 30-second walking breaks every half mile, and the slight tightness in my right ham disappeared as I walked during the first break and then returned as I went back to my rest pace. I did a lot of stretching of my hams during the day, and before I left home and again before I started the run, I felt both hams, and they both felt about the same. I was thus hopeful that I would have a good run, and I did! My hams have felt fine during the two hours that I've been home.

Monday, February 26, 2007

One-hour rest run replaced by half-mile walk

Not long before sundown, I left home for an one-hour rest run. I ran two steps and realized that my right ham was still tight from my Saturday workout. I stopped and walked for half a mile to loosen up, and then I drove home. I take tight muscles seriously, because they are a precursor to injury.

I explained in my Saturday post that my right ham tightened up while I was running intervals. I also explained that the tightness seemed to go away during the evening, and I thought the problem was resolved. There was no pain connected with the tight ham, and I could walk, and did walk a lot on Sunday during my normal activities, with no feeling of tightness of the ham. However, today after two steps into my run, I could feel that the ham was still tight.

After I was home from the aborted run, I felt both hams. The left ham was soft and pliable. The right ham, though, was hard. I had done a lot of stretching of my hams on Sunday and today, but I hadn't felt the hams and thus didn't realize that the right ham was still tight. Walking is a lot less stressful on my body than running, and the tight ham was able to handle walking but not running.

I'm not very worried about the ham. There is no pain with it, only a feeling of tightness and hardness. I aborted the longer run to avoid risk of injury, and I substituted a short walk to help loosen up the ham and my body in general.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Intervals: the world goes round and round

Today my running went round and round, around a track that is. I drove to a high school and ran intervals on the track. I ran 5 or 6 quarter-mile intervals followed by a quarter-mile jog/walk recovery. My intervals were around 9:30 minutes/mile and my recovery jogs were around 11:15 minutes/mile.

I had planned on doing one more interval after the one I was doing, when my right ham cramped. I immediately stopped and walked a short distance to a bleacher and stretched the ham. That helped but the ham was still tight, and it felt hard to my touch. I rubbed it for a minute and stretched it some more, but it was still hard. I walked the rest of the way around the track, stretched the ham some more, and then drove home. The ham wasn't sore and had no pain -- just a muscle cramp. I've been home for an hour, and the ham is still slightly hard but not nearly as much as it was when it first cramped.

I wanted to wear my wife's heart-rate monitor during the intervals, but I forgot to take it. I'll use it next week. I don't want my HR to go past 119 (80% of my maximum which is approximately 149). I'd like my recovery HR to be about 89 (60%).

Later: My ham feels fine now. After the hardness went away, my buttock was sore. I did a few buttock stretches and it immediately felt fine.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A "just made it" long run

I did my weekly 2 1/2 hour long run this morning. The temperature was 40 when I left home. The headwind I had last week was gone, and it was a nice day to be out. I felt fine during the first half, but my feet were tired during the last half, and I walked the last two miles to avoid any possibility of an injury.

My wakeup HR was 49.

It's not the shoes

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my left foot felt weak -- no pain or soreness, just weak, as in not carrying my full weight. I mentioned then that I was going to wear a new pair of shoes to see if the problem was caused by my shoes which are nearing the end of their useful life. My feet felt fine last week, but on the last half of my run this morning, my left foot felt very weak, and my left leg was a little bit stiff.

I don't think the problem is my shoes. I think my feet are tired from all the miles I've been running the past three months since my half-marathon in August. Having weak feet is "normal" for me. Let me explain.

I was born with a stiff skeleton, actually a malfunctioning skeleton. I started running in the early 70s because I was having a lot of pain in my feet. Knowing I had stiff joints, I went to a bone doctor to see if my skeleton could be causing the pain. He said "no". He said my foot was stiff, the opposite of double joints. He also said my muscles were weak, and that I needed to do what ever I wanted to strengthen them. I had done a lot of walking in my childhood and during college--walking 5-10 miles was no problem at all. But, once I finished college, I had a car and drove most places, and my feet started to hurt due to my not walking as much. My feet didn't hurt during normal activities, just when I was on my feet for a long time, such as doing yard work on a Saturday. I've always enjoyed walking, and after visiting the bone doctor, I decided to run to strengthen my feet.

My running has helped my feet. I don't have the pain very often, but I do have the "weak" feeling in my feet. Also, when I sit down, my feet get stiff, and when I get up, I have to walk around a few minutes before they loosen up. I first felt a few weeks ago that my left foot felt weak. I didn't think much about it, because that is a "normal" feeling for my feet. However, when the weak feeling persisted, I began to worry about it and thought that maybe my shoes were causing it. During my run today, I realized that the problem is just that my feet are tired and need a rest.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My left foot felt fine today

I mentioned a few days ago that on my longer runs, my left foot felt weak -- no pain, no soreness, just weak as in not being able to support my weight. This feeling would come and go during my two longer runs. I said that I would be wearing a new pair of LOCO Mojo shoes this week to see if the problem was due to my other shoes reaching the end of their life and no longer giving adequate support.

My foot felt fine during my run today. So, I'll see how it feels during my 2 1/2 hour run on Saturday.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Trying out a new pair of LOCO Mojo shoes

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had a feeling of "weakness" in my left foot. No pain, no soreness, just a feeling of weakness as I run. It usually comes in during my two longer runs. I was thinking about it on Saturday during my long run, and the thought came to me that it might be my shoes. The shoes I'm wearing are the ones I used during the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon in August. They're getting close to 500 miles, and I've been planning on changing them at the end of the year. During most of the miles on those shoes, my left foot felt fine. It's just been the last month or so when I felt the "weakness" feeling.

So, I wore a new pair of shoes this morning. I'll wear them during each run this week and see if they have any effect on my left foot. My foot felt fine this morning.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My right quad was a little sore

I finished my run yesterday at 10:30 am, and I felt fine. During the day I was busy doing some things in my yard that kept me on my feet, and I felt fine. Then, I spent a couple of hours on my computer, and I noticed when I rose from my chair that my right quad was a little sore. My computer chair is too low, and that causes my quads to be stretched while I'm sitting down. I thought that stretching might have caused the soreness. Or, maybe it was a delayed effect from my run, although I ran a comfortable pace and didn't push myself in either distance or speed. When I awoke this morning, after a good 7 hours sleep, my quad was still sore and remained so during the morning and early afternoon. I returned home from church about 2:30 pm and prepared to take a nap. I did my groin, knee, and quad stretches and then slept for two hours. When I awoke, the soreness was gone, and I've felt fine during the evening. I'll probably never know for sure what caused the soreness, but it apparently wasn't serious.

Older people like me need more time to recover from stress, and we can't afford to over-stress our bodies.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My knees feel great

My wakeup HR has been 48 for the past two days, and my knees feel great! My concern on Wednesday about my left knee was unfounded.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's a wonderful day when you're running

My wakeup HR was 48 again. I felt good and enjoyed my two-hour run along the Jordan River Parkway, approximately a 10-mile run. I was only 112 seconds slower on the return than I was going out. That is pretty good consistency in pace for 10 miles (about 22 seconds per mile slower on the return half). The temperature was in the high 40s (F) when I left and in the mid 50s (F) when I returned.

During my first mile, I felt a strange feeling in my left knee. It wasn't a pain, just a low-level "feeling" that I can't describe. Not a scraping or a soreness, just a "feeling". It only lasted for a few seconds and then went away, but it came and went a few times during the first mile. I hadn't done my knee stretches before the run, so at the end of the mile, I sat on a grassy hill and did the exercises. I did have the "feeling" a few times during the next three miles, but only when I first started running after a walking break. I didn't feel it anymore after about four miles. I think the knee was reacting to the stress from yesterday's faster run. If it doesn't come back, I'll be in good shape.

I only carried 12 oz of water with me and drank a swallow or two during each walking break. However, when I returned my urine was darker than normal, so I do need more water for today's weather condition.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tired today

My wakeup HR was 50 this morning. I feel tired even though I had a good 7 hours sleep. I think I'm tired because I pushed for speed yesterday. If I had done LSD, I probably wouldn't be as tired this morning. My body is stronger, but it still needs a rest day after the long run.

Yesterday after the run, during the night, and this morning my feet feel fine. My wife commented yesterday afternoon that I wasn't hobbling around like I had in previous Saturdays. I've mentioned in past posts that my feet have some pain and stiffness after I'm on my feet a lot and after long runs. This pain was the original reason why I started running. I didn't feel any pain after long runs 24 years ago when I ran marathons, because my feet had developed strength due to the running. I haven't felt the pain since the run yesterday, and this is a good sign!

Training Graphs

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Month by month, I'm getting stronger!

My wakeup HR was 49 this morning. Last week, I got about 6 1/2 hours sleep each night, including Friday night before my long run yesterday. That sleep wasn't quite enough, and my wakeup HR was elevated a bit during the week to 50/51. However, I took an hour nap after yesterday's run and got a good 7 hours last night, and my wakeup HR this morning was back to its "normal" 49.

Last fall, while I was increasing my mileage from 7 miles to 10 miles, my pace would be 11-13 minutes, usually in the 12 minute range but frequently in the 11 minute range. After I reached 10 miles, my body couldn't handle the increased stress, and I had to drop back to 8 miles and slowly work back up to 10 and then on to 15 miles. I also had my gall bladder removed in November, and that increased the stress on my body. During the spring, my pace was usually 12 to 14 minutes. Yesterday, even though it was hot, I felt good during my run and felt a strength in my body that I hadn't felt since last fall before I got to 10 miles. My pace yesterday varied from 11 to 13 minutes, and I felt like I did last fall before I got to 10 miles.

Another way that I can tell that I'm getting stronger is how my feet react to the running. I started running when I was about 38 due to pain in my feet. I had always walked a lot during my earlier life, but when I finished college I got a car and began driving everywhere. Over time, my feet began to hurt when I would be on them for extended periods such as during yard work for several hours. I was told by a specialist that the muscles in my feet were weak and that I should do what ever I wanted to strengthen the muscles. I began running, a natural extension to all of the walking I had done in my younger life. Running really helped my feet. The threshold for the foot-pain was pushed out, although my feet would still hurt if I stayed on them for a really long time. During the two years that I ran marathons (3-4 years of marathon training), my feet felt fine after I did yard work or completed a long hike with my scouts (I was scoutmaster for 12 years in Massachusetts).

However, after I stopped marathon training and my mileage slowly came down to just a few miles per week, my feet started hurting after a few hours of yard work. The pain would come after periods of rest, not during the activity. This is a syndrome known as the "squeaky door" syndrome. My feet felt fine during activity but became stiff and painful during periods of rest, just as a rusted door is hard to open (no movement) and you have to push extra hard to get the door moving. Once the door begins to move, it moves more freely.

I've noticed during recent weeks, especially after I got my mileage past 10 miles, that my feet were stiff and painful the morning after my long run, even though they felt fine during the run. The pain was usually gone 24 hours later, but the stiffness after periods of rest remained during the week. At work, I sit at my desk and do computer programming. After two or three hours of sitting, if I get up to walk somewhere, my feet are stiff, and it takes a couple minutes of walking to loosen them up. I do my long runs on Saturday, and on Sunday morning, when I first get up, my feet are stiff and painful, but after a couple minutes of walking, the stiffness is gone and the pain is reduced to just a "tender" feeling in my feet. After 24 hours the "tender" feeling is gone, but the stiffness remains during the week. I look like a really old man when I get up and walk around :)

This morning was a pleasant surprise. When I first got out of bed, my feet had no pain and almost no stiffness. That is a good sign that my body and feet are getting stronger. It will be interesting to see if this "good sign" continues and improves in subsequent weeks.

Training Graphs

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two days in a row!

I usually run Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. This week, however, I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and hopefully Saturday. Yesterday I did my 4-mile rest run, and today I did my 9-mile medium run. My wakeup HR this morning was 50, and I felt pretty good. I had a good run, but as I approached my walking break at the 8-mile point, I could feel that my right calf was getting tight. I thus walked 0.2 miles for that break to relax the calf (I usually walk .06 mile for the break), and my calf felt fine during the last mile of the run. Going into the run I was concerned that I might not make it the full 9 miles since I had run yesterday. However, I did well, and this indicates that I'm getting stronger. I had tried two or three months ago, to run two days in a row and couldn't do it.

The temperature was in the mid 40s (F), and the sky was mostly cloudy on the way out and partly cloudy on the way back. A 8-10 mph head wind on the way out gave me a challenge, and I was looking forward to having that wind as a tail wind on the way back. But, as usually happens around here, the wind died down in mid morning, and I had only a 5 mph tail wind on the way back. I saw several sets of ducks in rain puddles in the canal. Usually I see one male paired with one female, but today I saw one male and two females--must be one of the Utah polygamists that you hear about :)

Training Graphs