Friday, May 24, 2013

X Rays, PT, and a Few Confessions


You are looking at an Xray of a perfectly unbroken left foot. Thank goodness it was unbroken. I admit, I never thought it was broken, but I was a little worried about possible bone spurs, thanks to Google.

I should probably back up a bit...

part 1
I really haven't ran much between the end of February and the beginning of May, due to a foot injury (which I took a week off for in November, but actually started in October), and a knee injury (taking place during the final miles of a very long run in February). A few weeks ago I finally made a appointment for a consultation with a physical therapist in Eugene.

I don't ordinarily see doctors. We have a thing against shelling out money for medical things...unless it's a vaccination or one of us is about to die. (That deserves it's own post, but I have too much to write about already!)..

Anyway, this appointment was for a "Free Injury Screening." I thought "free" sounded good, and expected that I might not get any real answers, but why not go for free?

The female therapist was nice and very professional. She poked around my foot, (my knee injury seemed to have healed, though I couldn't really tell without running on it). She asked me many questions, had me walk down the hall barefoot while she watched, tested and observed my balance and strength of legs/feet/ankles/hips. She took a lot of notes.

At the end of visit 1, the PT told me she would like to "rule out a stress fracture" before trying to treat the source of my knee and foot injuries. Evidently I am a good candidate for something called a "Jones Fracture" .

A few hours later I was in a place called "urgent care" having an Xray done...It does feel a little funny to get an Xray on a foot that you can still walk on. It didn't feel very "urgent", but you can get the pictures there without waiting a week - or two- so it worked out for me.

After the doctor came back from looking at the Xray, we talked "feet" a bit, and he let me know things looked "good" to him. That sounded good to me and I made my next appointment with the PT place.

part 2 
By the time the second PT visit came (only a few days after the first- getting in on a cancellation again), my foot was starting to feel really good. At this point I had 5 consecutive weeks off with no running (plus about 3 weeks off before that, with 2 weeks of a little running in the middle). It took some serious poking to even create any soreness, but my foot still would get stiff/sore after sitting any length of time.
This stuff really works (on knees) !

At this visit, the PT did an even more thorough evaluation. I got to run on the treadmill while she recorded at different angles. Back in the room she measured muscle strengths, leg lengths, and various flexibility. Then she went over her observations with me:
Very high arches in feet (I had a pretty good idea)
Supinator (I had no idea) 
Heel striker (Still.....I thought I was past that!) 
Should wear a cushioned neutral shoe 
Could improve ankle flexibility
 Strong hips and pelvis 
Could improve flex/push-off with hip flexor
Since the soreness has been at the plantar fascia insertion, the very bottom of the heel, and also the outside edge of my heel- leading up to the 5th metatarsal, she called it "A couple of things going on". I didn't get a fancy diagnosis; but, I did get several exercises that seem to be helping. Probably the most important exercise for my foot has been the standing calf stretch, held for ~1 minute, three times a day.

part 3
After that appointment, I decided that if I could run on a treadmill for 5 minutes, I could run outside.

I immediately left the office with my running clothes on and went to the Rexius trail for a short fix. The PT had told me that if I felt ready to run, to transition slowly...so I ran for about 20 minutes, easy. It was obvious I had lost a lot of speed and endurance during the time off. I was also a little nervous and paid close attention to my foot.

I thanked God while I was running, talking to Him trying to seek His will. And I thanked the Lord after the run. I desperately hope to have His blessing on my running. I very much would like Him to guide and heal me so I can run STRONG for Him (and me) again.

Since then I have been running every other day or so...or two days running, two days off. None of my runs have been over 4 miles. I don't want to push it.

I'm using my heart rate monitor to keep at an easy heart rate while rebuilding my base. My goal is to keep my heart rate under 140 BPM, which fits a formula from before my injury ( I really should get a new resting HR number).

About 3/4 of my runs have been on the treadmill, for multiple reasons: controlled terrain, kids are right with me and I can go any time of day. The first run I did on the treadmill was eye opening...

I turned on the treadmill, fully hooked up to the HRM and watched the numbers..climb. I turned down the knob on the lovely, rickety, belt-rubbing-against-the-edge, FREE treadmill (I am grateful!!) to the lowest setting on "Aerobic", then down to the "Fat Burn" setting.

My heart rate kept climbing....up and up. I was able to run at about 140 BPM , but my average pace that run was 11:15/mile for 3 miles. Six months ago I ran a 13.1 mile training run at less than 140 BPM at 7:50 pace.

Awesome.
haha.

I am still grateful...

and unworried about an 11:15 pace.

I'm still training under that same heart rate and the pace is starting to get a little faster. I am at about a 10:30 mile now on the treadmill, but managed 3 miles under a 9:45 pace outdoors yesterday. I'll take it!

I really have no idea what's in store for me with running for the rest of the year. This is where I admit, my only goals at the moment are to run without injury, steadily increase my base, and appreciate each moment I get to spend doing it.

Part 4 Faith stuff
There has been lots going on besides running with me. The boys and I have been spending much of our time "just us" lately while my Husband has been spending time with his grandma and family. There is a lot going on behind the scenes there, and the Lord is at work in many lives while she is in hospice.

I am so very proud of him for stepping up to take care of her. I know he feels torn because he is missing time with us, but he is setting an example for our boys that I hope they will always remember. A man keeps his promises. A man takes care of those who cannot care for themselves.

Our friends have stepped in and offered help to us. Tonight I am blogging because a few of them whisked my boys off to watch a small circus perform while I caught a break. Acts of service are what defines a life worthy of being called a Christian.

Often I feel like I am not doing the right things, or enough things...and then I read something like this blog post, which reminds me of God's top calling for me at this season in my life.  It really is not about how much one does, as it is the attitude it is done with.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.      Romans 12:1
I am glad to have had the time off of running. It has been a struggle for my spirit more than for my body.  

This might sound odd, but, in a way, I feel like I have spent some time in a cocoon. Now the cocoon is starting to crack. I'm kind of excited to see what's underneath. I don't know if these wings will be fast or slow, or shiny or rough. But this much is certain, they are ready to learn to fly again!

76 comments:

  1. Glad you are able to get back to running a bit. and that you don't have a fracture in your foot! I am on week 3 of no/little running. So frustrating! I am thinking of using the heartrate fomrula to come back with, seems like a lot of people are using it lately, might be worth a try.

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    1. Thank you, Christy. I hope you give heart rate training a try. It takes a lot of patience, but it has worked well for me as a recovery leash.

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  2. Even life needs a vacation. You are on the right path. Just think, this time next year you will be rockin' it!

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    1. Thank you. I so hope you are right!

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  3. That's a hopeful post. Didn't realise you'd had that much time off running. Hardly surprising your heart was working overtime on the first runs back. 7 minutes per k at the same HR is pretty slow! Anyway, I'm sure your fitness will return quickly. Also, I wouldn't worry about not being over heel-striking. There's nothing wrong with touching the ground first with the heel (plenty of elite runners do it!) - as long as you're not overstriding and/or slamming your heel into the ground.

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    1. I was amazed that i was that much slower. During the time I ran between breaks, I thought I had hit the bottom of my fitness-- running about a 10m/m. I stopped doing bike XT because my foot didn't seem to get better, and that was probably a mistake! But, I have returned from a similar pace before (post pregnancy) and aerobic fitness can be regained quickly. I will take my time though, because I am more concerned about tendons, ligaments and muscles.

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  4. Sometimes we get in the motions and take running for granted. Then an injury slams us with reality, and we quickly realize how much we need and appreciate our sport. I also think injuries/sicknesses/etc. are often put on us as a big sign that we DO need to reboot, either mentally or physically. It's difficult, yes, but worth it when your reap the rewards of a strong comeback.

    I'm SO glad nothing is broken. And you, Jon, and his family are in my prayers.

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    1. Agreed! We all need to reboot sometimes. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers! ♥

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  5. Happy to hear you are back to running a bit and it seems to be going well! I tend to avoid going to doctor's as well. I always get frustrated and think everyone is over-complicating issues that should just go away on their own!

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    1. Thanks Abbi.
      It does seem like everything should be cured with rest! 90% of my running problems have been solved that way- and it's the easiest and cheapest method. Too bad it is not always the case. I got desperate! ha.

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  6. I am glad you are back to running. Hopefully you can stay back!

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  7. It is good to hear you are running again

    I remember when my Uncle was very sick and my mom spent all her time helping her brother out. I didnt understand it at the time, I was very young. Dad took us boys over there and we did the yard and help clean the house and chores. Now that I am older, I understand why, it is what we do as a family.

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    1. Thanks for your words here. It doesn't seem like "fun" for young boys- but we learn that the point of life is not always to have fun. The rewards are often found in the not-fun. This has really brought us together as a family during the time we have together.

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  8. So nice to get an update to see how you're doing! It's really hard when you want to run, but can't. You're handling it well! What a beautiful heart shaped tree!

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  9. That slow build back, though can be frustrating at time, can be really amazing experience to watch the body adapt to the stress you put back on it...it's a long road, but with time and patience, it does work. If there's anyone on this planet who can make this work, it is you. Keep being strong, keep the HR in an aerobic zone for a few months, and you'll see big progress. :) So glad the injuries did't show something related and you're back out there doing what you love. :)

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    1. Thanks Jill. I have been following your amazing journey through the aerobic HR training, and am so happy you are running WELL again.

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  10. "unbroken" is good my Friend. Maybe that applies to your spirit as well? Glad you feel like you're coming out of your cocoon. I'm excited to see what God has in store for you. Hang in there. Praying for you as the Lord brings you to my mind! Much love... - Jodi

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    1. Thank you, Jodi. We are jars of clay, right? Your prayers are much appreciated!

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  11. No break is great news! I'm so glad you're back running, even a little. As you said, SO good for body and spirit! Thinking of you and your family.

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    1. Thanks for thinking of us, Marcia. Even "just a little" at "very slow pace" is a whole world of happiness better than not at all.

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  12. I am so happy that you don't have a broken foot. I know that it seems taxing to get back into the swing of training, but you are doing great. The most important thing is you are being smart about it. The TM is a great tool to use when you need a controlled environment. I have relied heavily on my TM over the last year. Probably a bit too much, but it has worked for me. Hang in the there sweet friend. Thinking of you and your family right now. Hugs.

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    1. Thanks a lot Tasha! I have often thought of you and this past year's injury and rebuilding. What an amazing journey you have had. Very inspiring.

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  13. Wow, that was a great post. It's funny, too. I have two close friends who are people of great faith, and both of them have a son with cancer. Both blog about it, one on Wordpress and one on Caring Bridge, and I am constantly touched and amazed by the grace with and of which they write. As I drove home before opening up your post, I was thinking about how really beautiful the faith-based blogs are that I read and wondering...is that bc God is speaking through them? Is that bc they spend so much more time in the Bible? And then I read yours and the post that you linked to and it was more of the same. There is so much more meaning in life than we attend to most of the time. So thank you for the reminder. :)

    I'm glad to hear your foot isn't broken and that you're running pain-free again! Here's to much, much more of that.

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    1. Thank you, Kate. I take that as a very high compliment.
      I am not in the word as much as I would like to be, but find pockets of time and...maybe more importantly, try to take my thoughts to Him in prayer throughout the day. If you feel like He is speaking to you through me, I am honored to be his tool.

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  14. Isn't it amazing how quickly we lose our fitness? A HR monitor doesn't lie, that's for sure, because I never would have guessed a 7:50 pace can turn into an 11:15 pace so quickly! The good news is that you an get it back just as fast. And in the meantime, you can just enjoy the slow buildup. :)

    Happy to hear you do not have a broken foot!!

    Your hubby sounds like such a good man.

    I'll be thinking of you and hoping you get some fun time on the trails soon. xoxo

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    1. Ha! It doesn't take long without XT!! (See my comment reply above to Ewen)

      Thank you so much for your kind words and I AM enjoying that slow buildup! xo

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  15. "I thanked God while I was running, talking to Him trying to seek His will. And I thanked the Lord after the run. I desperately hope to have His blessing on my running. I very much would like Him to guide and heal me so I can run STRONG for Him (and me) again."

    During the Fall/Winter I suffered a series of injuries which finally took me out of running for most of two months. When I started back this is exactly how I felt! I now make it a habit - every run - to thank God for the ability to run and pray that I do all for His glory! I never want to forget where this ability comes from or to take it for granted again.
    There is purpose in everything - every great run, every injury, every success, every disappointment. And I know that one day all of these experiences will lead me the place that I need to be to help someone else! As crazy and random as this whole running journey has been, I know it was no accident! It was planned by God and I need to continue to let him author it.

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    1. Thanks for this encouragement and for sharing your story. He IS amazing. And you speak the truth- all things work together for good - we just need to trust!

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  16. Very great post. Glad you aren't broken and that you're beginning to rebuild. It seems you are going about everything in a very smart and patient way, I'm sure it will all pay off down the road.

    If you ever feel the need to head over to the coast, we'd love to have you over to hang out and absolutely jump on the trampoline. :)

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    1. Also, any time I'm driving through your town I think about you and keep an eye out just in case I happen to see you coming out of a store or something.

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    2. Thank you, Laurie! We really should get together. This could be a fun summer! :)

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  17. Glad to hear you've had some decent running going on! I find it crazy how tiny little PT exercises can make such a difference (if we actually do them). :) I hope things go as well as they can for your husband's grandma. Never an easy thing to go through.

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    1. Great point! Actually doing the exercises is very important. They take so little time...but it's easy to put things off. Like everything else with running, it is about consistent, diligent work.
      Thanks for your thoughts, Lauren.

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  18. I'm glad you've been getting back into things and that the foot isn't broken (I had broken foot last year, not fun). I totally understand being ready to get back into things and see where you are at, I struggled a lot with that last year after foot injury. Just hold steady and you'll get there I promise!

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    1. Thanks Laura! I am glad too. I didn't realize you had broken your foot. :(...but you are full of speed now!!
      Steady as she goes... :)

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  19. Good luck with it all. It's tough working back from an injury. But great news that your foot isn't broken!

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  20. Hi Raina! Made it to your blog through the Running Bloggers site. I'm a small town runner myself, just in Ohio instead of Oregon. You seem to have a lot on your plate right now and I really admire your attitude about it all. Faith steps in when other things can't. Stay strong.

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    1. Thanks for finding my blog, Jessica! And thanks for your words!!
      I clicked on your OpenID and couldn't find a blog there. Do you have one also? Or a Facebook page?

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  21. Raina! So good to catch up on your life... First of all, I'm very glad that your foot is NOT broken. It sounds like your body needed some solid rest and you gave it that. You have a great plan to ease back into training. I was exactly where you are two years ago at this time. I spent the summer slowly easing back into shape (after my 3/31 stress fracture) and it was very humbling trying to build a healthy base. You can do it though and I have no doubt you will be running familiar paces again sometime soon. For now, enjoy just being out there and know that every run no matter how big or small is a run and it will help you get stronger.

    I also wanted to ask you about shoes. When the PT told you about wearing a cushioned neutral shoe. The Ravenna is a great cushioned neutral shoe if you wanted any suggestions... :-) (It's what I wear for all my training runs!)

    We learn so many things when we are forced to take a break from doing what we love. When I couldn't run I realized that there was so much more to me and life than running and I am very glad God reminded me of that!

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Tia. It's and amazing road you have been on.. college running, babies, stress fracture, and serious improvements! I always come away inspired after reading your blog.

      I have looked at the Ravennas, but have always steered away from them because Brooks classifies them as a guidance shoe, and I see something in the instep that looks like it might be designed to keep you from over pronating, when I could probably use a little (at least on the left foot!) I am in Ghosts and now Defyance, which are good cushioned shoes for neutrals/supinators, but I might have spent too much time training in the PureConnects last fall- not a lot of cushion there.
      It's good to hear that you like the Ravennas and that they are working out so well for you! They are a sharp looking shoe. :)

      Also, thanks for that last paragraph. God is good that way.

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  22. Given all that you've been through, I'm all the more appreciative of you coming out to cheer for me and other runners you know at the Eugene Marathon last month. Thank you! I wish I could have made it worth your while with a better performance. :^)

    New beginnings are always tough, but in a good way, I think. You are making the most of this, and the creature coming out of that cocoon will, no doubt, be a beautiful one. Welcome back to running!

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    1. Thanks Terzah! It was my pleasure to come to the race. I was so excited to be there- just wish I could have worked things out to be able to spend some sit-down time with you. Next time!

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  23. 3 years ago I had a Jones fracture myself as I too supinate a bit, Soo glad nothing's broken and you'll be surprised with consistent PT exercises how much better everything feels.

    I remember running a 10-11 min pace with a HR of like 160 when I first started back from my last injury. Believe it or not, it doesn't last too long in the grand scheme.

    Keep it up, run smart and enjoy:)

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    1. Aha! We are almost twins! I knew it ;) I need to meet you in RL.

      I sure would like to know what you were doing for your PT. Did you have recurring Jones SFX?

      There are many good years ahead. I am looking forward to them all.

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  24. I was very excited to see a post from you.

    Again, you show what an incredible woman and role model you are. I have told you this before, but when I started following you a long time ago was exactly because of that reason.

    I believe that we are constantly breaking and rebuilding ourselves... and it is when you can find power, and strength, and beauty in the broken you transform into something even more beautiful. That (even more) beautiful sole of yours is ready to shine through! Sending you positive running thoughts girl.

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    1. Thanks for your positive thoughts, Christie. I take that as a high compliment, seeing the woman of great value you are. I am very excited to see where things have been taking you. You are on the rise girl, on the RISE.
      Transformation can take shape on the inside or the outside. Never easy, but always worth it.

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  25. So glad that nothing is broken and that you are running again. Yay! And I love that your husband is there for his Grandmother and that you are supporting him in that - love and family and serving others is what life is all about. Big hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks Erin! I know you understand fully about FAMILY and taking care of each other. What you and Josh are doing is beautiful.

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  26. What a great post! It is good to get good news about your foot and to know that you can and want to run again! Prayers for you and your as you miss your husband/daddy, but know he is where he should be.

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    1. Thank you, Kortni :) Your prayers are being heard, and we appreciate them.

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  27. I hope this injury is finally behind you! Glad to hear you're running again!

    (I'm a supinator too!)

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    1. Another partner in crime!? yahoo!
      I hope it's behind me too, but taking it day by day.

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  28. Read this on my phone a while back, but only now got a chance to comment. So, so glad that there is nothing serious going on. And glad for no "fancy diagnoses". We have a similar foot; I have skinny feet with very high arches. However, when my feet get tired I overpronate slightly bc the ligaments in my feet have losened up with age (grr!). I think as we get older, strength becomes so important (including strength exercises for the feet!). So happy you are running and I KNOW you will be back to your pre injury speed soon enough. I always run without a watch for a bit after a break, so as to not see the pace. On the other hand, it is super nice to see yourself getting fitter. Glad to see you back blogging Raina:)

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    1. Thanks, AM. So good to hear from my skinny-footed high arched friend. I bet my feet dwarf yours :)
      You are always really good about running watchless, and I have always wanted to know- even before my GPS days. The data can either drive you crazy and make a person push too much for a certain pace, or- like you say- give you something to reinforce that you are doing things properly and provide some positive feedback. Personally, I bet my treadmill is off. I hope it is. haha. Man, do I hate that thing, but I am glad to have it.

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  29. Glad to hear there's no structural damage Raina. And thank you for the great words of encouragement you always speak. I also love the way you break down your running data. I'm a nerd and love reading other folks stats as they break them down. Glad things seem to be going well, even though slower than you would wish.

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    1. Thank you, Jim. I am glad too. And yes..I am a data nerd! The PT did call my training data "very detailed," ha. But, you might have me beat there.

      Slow will be fine for a while. Running is good. Any I can get in makes me smile right now.

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  30. So happy for you to be back running! It is such a gift! I hope you can continue to run pain-free!
    Love your perspective, thanks for sharing with us!

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  31. Raina, I am SO glad to hear that you can ease back into running again. It's hard to feel like ourselves fully when that piece is removed. And the cocoon analogy makes so much sense. Thank God you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! It's always great to hear your updates... hang in there!!

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    1. Thank you, Laura! Glad to be seeing the light too.

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  32. So happy to hear that this is just a temporary set back, and that you'll be up and running again soon! Here from Running Bloggers, and LOVE your blog. Great to know another small town runner!! Best wishes and blessings for a speedy healing and a summer of many great runs!!

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    1. Thank you so much for the wishes! I will hop over to check out your blog :)

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  33. Lovely post. It occurred to me that under the circumstances, I could actually run WITH you now. But not for long, I'm sure. :)

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    1. That would be FUN, Katy. But I could run recovery runs with you even when I am in top shape :)

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  34. Yea! This sounds like great news!! I bet you are back up to speed in a few weeks. I've been developing a few foot issues in my left foot over the last month or so and all signs point to tight calf muscles/Achilles. As a matter of fact I read that 90+% of issues in the feet are calf related.

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    1. I bet you are right about those percentages. So many things hinge on the calf/soleus.

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  35. I can't imagine what its been like with running being absent from your life for so long :( I am on day 3 of sick kids and I don't feel too great myself and I have missed 2 days and am climbing the walls. It did provide the motivation to take the plunge and buy a treadmill so in future, even with 3 sick kiddies at home I can get my runs in - that fills me with so much happiness.
    I am sorry you've been having all this trouble, I hope that this is an end to it and that you are back to full form and running happiness soon. I don't share your faith but, like you I am so very grateful to be able to run, I don't know how I survived 4 years of being a stay at home mum without it?! How can people NOT run?????? Off to the Dr's now with all the cherubs, we tend to only go when someone has a leg falling off or some such thing but I have caved - hoping for some 'magic medicine' to get this evil bug out of our house!

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    1. Eesh. I hope you are all feeling better soon. It's a real challenge to have energy to take care of little sick ones when you are sick too.
      It's crazy...I can hardly remember life before running. I think I got a lot more sleep though. That's the upside to time off and not doing XT- lots more sleep!

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  36. Full on goose bumps. Reading that last part made me like you even more! I'm glad you are back in the swing of things and taking everything slowly. Your husband.... applause! I know it must be hard for him but you don't run across many like him anymore. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Tayarra. He is old-school, but I am proud and excited to see the transformation the care-giving has made on him.

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  37. Looks like you have joined me in the PT phase. Glad that it seems like you are back at it, even if it is at a slow pace.

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  38. I just found your blog! I love that you have scriptures posted along with your faith. It's so encouraging to read along with a strong, Christian woman and be uplifted. Sometimes a good scripture is what gets me thru a run :) Can't wait to follow you some more!

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  39. God is our refuge and strength,
    A very present help in trouble.
    Therefore we will not fear.

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  40. I am also a supinator apparently.
    I thought I was a pronator.
    I have high arch as well
    that supination thing led to knee injury for me
    the orthodics are supposed to correct that
    I hope it is true
    I wear neutral shoes...same as yours I think :)
    I am happy to read that you are able to get some miles in ! I cannot wait to get just 1!!! patience patience....

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