Sunday, March 25, 2012
It's Sunday, and time to reflect on progress in healing my injured foot. There is progress, though never as fast as I'd like.
Monday, I broke 8K steps for the first time in quite a while. The foot was feeling good enough that I could walk to get around normally, and I stretched out lunch walks of over a mile Monday through Friday. Wednesday was the highlight of the week, when I tested running with a tenth of a mile in the evening.
Thursday morning, the foot had regressed a bit. It hadn't got enough worse to keep me from breaking 9K steps on Thursday and Friday, with lunch walks of about a mile and a third; but it kept me from running. Saturday evening, I started out on an intentional walk and the foot convinced me that wasn't a good idea. So I finished the day yesterday with only 6659 steps.
Today is Sunday. Sunday has always been a tough day to get steps in, and an easy day to rest the foot. With under 4K steps in the late afternoon, the foot felt pretty good. I went for a longer walk, that mapped out to 1.90 miles in 27 minutes. Yeah, that's fast for a walk; I ran some short segments to test how things felt. There was an odd feeling in my right ankle, of all places; and while I could run a bit on the foot, it didn't seem like a good idea to stretch the short running segments into real running distance. By the end of the walk, I felt the need to ice down the foot again.
Progress, but not yet time to train for a half marathon.
On the bright side, I'm not having to tape the foot all the time any more, and the foot isn't always reminding me to reload on ibuprofen. I think I'm in the period of working up to normal walking distance, and it will be a while yet before I'm ready to work on getting some decent running distance.
On the "caution" side, I'm not yet willing to go to work without taking my tape and ice bag. I might not need them on any given day; but then again, I might.
Progress, but not there yet. We'll see what the next week brings.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Today's walk at lunch was just over a mile, in 17 minutes. I could have gone further, physically; but workload and meeting time constraints didn't give me that option today.
Work was hectic, and I got to my volunteer job almost an hour late because paid work didn't want to let go. Fortunately, it wasn't insanely busy at the VITA site; I got out of there on time. Finished up with the Spark web routine, and decided to do a trifecta (pyramid of body weight squat, Australian pullup, and pushup as a bit of activity before bed. Put on my running shoes to go downstairs for the trifecta, and they felt so good that I went out for a bit of a run afterwards.
"A bit" was really not much. It was about a tenth of a mile, and not enough minutes to work up a good sweat or count as cardio; but it was a successful run that didn't bother the bad foot. This is encouraging. Being able to do *something* sure beats sitting around waiting for the foot to hurt less!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
It's almost bedtime, and my pedometer reads 8728 steps. Yesterday I logged 8234 steps. The last time I broke 8000 steps in a day was February 9, when I really aggravated my hurt foot and had to start taking resting the foot seriously.
Right now, the foot feels as good as it did Sunday evening. This is after walking over a mile continually on my lunch hour both yesterday and today. Today I was able to jog up and down my hallway for a minute and a half.
The irritation of the tape on my right foot is becoming more annoying than the soreness. I take this to be progress. I'm beginning to think about having some full walks on the lunch hour, and maybe a short run later this week.
I'll still need to feel my way through coming back slowly. The last thing I want is to re-injure the foot and take another solid 6 weeks off from running. And it's unreasonable to think I can train to run a full 13 miles by April 29. But the prospect of doing 13 miles in a run-walk or pure walking mode by then seems possible. Not certain, but possible.
In other news, this morning I actually felt like exercising. I probably would have got it in even without the entrenched habit of exercising when the steel cut oats simmer.
It may be too soon to say I've totally weathered the storm, but right now this feels pretty good. I want to try to build on it, gently and slowly, while my paid work sucks up more hours between now and July.
With luck, by the time work gets really frantic running will be a good stress relief again. Just have to remember that "stress relief" doesn't have to mean "running further and faster than ever before."
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The standard advice of only weighing yourself once a week doesn't work for me. I need to weight myself daily and see those small changes, so I know when a current day's weight is an anomaly.
But the philosophy of only looking once a week is beginning to make sense to me with recovery from injury. Yes, that same troublesome foot I've been whining about since early February is still less than 100%. Progress is slow.
Reviewing my last blog from a week ago, I see that I tested the foot with a walk of 0.47 miles two weeks ago, and that was too soon. Last week I managed two 10 minute walks on my lunch hours Tuesday and Wednesday, for distances of more than half a mile each. Then Thursday and Friday it felt inadvisable to walk that far. But I was able to get short intentional walks in.
This morning I was able to do some light barefoot running up and down my hall for 30 seconds. It's clear that the foot is not yet ready for real running, but it's better than it was a week ago. This afternoon I gave it a test of walking "around the block," which is an odd shape where I live. That's 0.86 miles, which I covered in 13 minutes for a 15:11 pace per mile. I could feel the foot, but it didn't keep me from walking normally, at a pace about as fast as a normal walk was before I started running.
Tomorrow I'll see whether those 13 minutes were too intense. I don't think it will be a major setback, but it's possible that I won't be able to do as much tomorrow. I want to work up to walking for real again, but I don't want to find out how much is too much the hard way. That's a puzzle, but no more of a puzzle than maintenance in general.
I think every day this past week, I didn't feel like getting my morning exercise in. I got it in every day anyway, and was always glad afterward. Habit, and the stupid motivational trick of Spark Points are working in my favor there. The current routine includes pushups on the ball, kettlebell Turkish get-up/windmill combinations, KB snatches, deadbugs (as described by EMMANYC), and KB dead clean/squat combinations. I'm working with a 45 lb. kettlebell, and usually treat the deadbugs as a rest between the snatches and the dead clean/squat combos.
On another forum, I read about a Trifecta promoted by Al Kavadlo:
This is suppose to be a body weight exercise of squat, pullup, pushup. Start with one rep, pyramid up by adding a rep each set till failure, then pyramid back down. The pullups make it a non-starter for me, both because I can barely do three pullups under optimum conditions, and because I have no good place to put a pullup bar; but the alternative of Australian pullups looks possible for me. I can use an Olympic bar set on my weight rack at the appropriate height. I haven't done this yet, but I think I'll give it at try this coming week some time. The squats and Australian pullups wouldn't bother the foot, and I've already tested and found the foot is good enough for pushups.
On the weight front, the trend was sideways for most of the week. It dipped down for the weekend, but it's too soon to see whether this is a random fluctuation or a need to add calories back. I don't think I've burned all that many more calories in exercise this week.
Outlook for the half marathon on April 29: Unclear. A week ago, I thought it was a no go. Now, it seems possible that I might be able to walk it. Just have to live through the time between now and then and see what is possible to do with an acceptable level of risk.
Edited to add: Tried the trifecta this evening. I reached failure at 8 reps on the Australian pullups, then was close to failure on the downside until I got down to 3 reps. The hard part is that the rest time between pullups got shorter as the reps declined. I wasn't able to work up to enough reps to be challenging on body weight squats or pushups, but it's an interesting format to work towards being able to do real pullups.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
From the outside, this must look like a loss of focus and/or motivation. There certainly is some truth to that; but as is typical of life, there are a lot of moving pieces.
Work is crazy. When this happens, one of my natural inclinations is to take whatever free time I have as down time, not organized into doing anything productive. Hence, no blogs and few comments on other folks' blogs.
Progress on the eternal foot injury has slowed to where I don't notice it getting better each day. The bad foot is just kind of there. Thursday it felt enough better that I tested it with a walk. Went 0.47 miles in 8 minutes, and that was enough to convince me that this was too soon. The foot got worse, and it's only now about back to where it was before that.
I was getting discouraged with the lack of progress on the foot. It's only 7 weeks till my half marathon, and at this rate I'll just get my expensive technical shirt and not even line up at the starting line. Bummer. So, how bad is it? It's about time to look at some quantifiable stuff.
I donated blood last Monday. Blood pressure was 98/58, and pulse was 44. That's just about the same as last time, so far not affected by taking a month off from running. I wonder how long that can last?
Tonight I tested some light running up and down my hallway, with the tape still on my foot but otherwise barefoot. I could do 2 circuits without significant discomfort, which is better than the last time I tested. However, it's still not time to get out and train for running. :(
Okay, how about pushups? The last time I tested real pushups (as opposed to the pushups on the ball I'm doing each morning), I had to quit at 26 because the bad foot wouldn't support the pushup position. Did a test just now, and got 70 pushups in; and I quit because of upper body strength exhaustion rather than the foot. That's good news.
I also notice that I'm not remembering to ice down the foot or take ibuprofen regularly. That might be slowing the recovery, but it also means the foot isn't constantly reminding me how bad it's hurt. Perhaps that's a progress indicator of sorts.
So I guess it's going OK. I adjusted my calories up and appear to have stopped the weight loss; it remains to be seen whether the next adjustment will be an increase due to more activity or a decrease because of loss of fitness while I can't run or walk distances. But at least controlling the food is something I can do even with a bad foot.
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