Monday, September 7, 2009

Haunted By the Ghost of Fitness Past

Have you heard the saying History repeats? Well it's true and on August 27th I was able to relive June of 2005 all over again. Back in 05 after prompting from my wife I had a physical and discovered I had a number of health risks. Which frankly did not surprise me. I was overweight(244lbs)with high cholesterol and even at risk of developing diabetes. Now I'm the kind of guy that hates the idea of taking medicine. My doctor made a deal with me back then. He gave me three months to lose some weight through exercise and a better diet. By October I had literally walked myself fit and lost 30lb. A few months later I was down to 200lbs.

Fitness wise this past year has been a bust on many levels. My problems started last October following the Des Moines half marathon. At 210lbs my weight was slightly up but otherwise I was in good shape and had been logging consistent miles going into the event. Earlier in the year I had completed the Dam to Dam 20K in 2:04 and I finish my first half marathon with a 2:22 finish. Things were looking good going into marathon weekend at WDW.

But something unexpected happened the day after the Des Moines half. I awoke with severe pain in my left foot. I had developed Plantar Fasciitis and suddenly I was worried about Disney. Here I was only a few short months away and I could barely stand up. I looked up some treatment ideas on the internet and decided to look into some inserts for my shoes. I ended up at Red Wing and bought some supports that are firm and really hug my foot well. I made certain that I put the supports in whatever shoes I was wearing and within 2 months I was feeling good enough to begin jogging.

The exercise I missed really showed itself at Disney. I recall purposely not weighing myself before the trip. I simply did not want that on my mind. (Post trip I weighed in at 235lbs. Wow that was a shocker.) The run was loads of fun but I had begun running out of steam around mile 8. From that point on it was a wog to a 2:49 finish. I had lost 30 minutes due to injury and limited training. With that realization in mind I accepted my time and did not allow it to bother me.

What followed Disney is inexcusable. I have a tendency to view these races as achievements that once completed its OK to kick back and take a break. In truth, I was missing the big picture without realizing it. I think it was February before I decided I needed a goal and registered for Dam 09. My training was not what it should have been and because I was familiar with the course I had a false sense of how this run should go. On race day I did something really dumb. I tried out a new insert for my shoes. I had only done short distances in them and felt they should do fine, I was wrong. I won't recap all the DAM details. You can go back to my report from earlier in the year to read that. All I will say here is that at mile 9 problems began in my calves and I finished just under 3 hours. I had given up nearly a full hour from my best ever long distance run only one year earlier. After the run I was sore but other wise I felt fine. It was when I returned home and stepped out of my car that I knew I was in trouble. This time it was my right foot and I was in pain. Once again it has taken two months to recover and even now I still have some discomfort after short runs. No pain, just inflammation.

Once more I was not exercising and I began gaining weigh again. I decided that after 4 years I needed to have another physical and I wanted to discuss my feet. The repeated history I mentioned earlier in the post comes in at this point. My weight was 245. One pound heavier that I was four years earlier. And after the blood work came back I have all the earlier health risks again. I have to say that in my mind I expected this, and that expectation almost kept me from making the appointment in the first place. So once more my doctor is giving me three months to turn myself around. There are some differences this time though. He knows that in the past I was able to make the changes I needed to and he wants to do all he can to make sure I get back on my feet regularly.

He ordered a series of xrays of my feet and it turns out that I have bone spurs on both heels. This was caused by the Plantar Fasciitis. I have no discomfort in my left foot and would not have that guessed anything was still wrong with it. He said I do not have to avoid using my foot. He told me to exercise to the point at which I can tolerate any discomfort but not to go beyond that. I am also taking Ibuprofen and icing my foot after exercising. Also I discussed the numbness I sometimes get in my outer toes. He suggested that after having looked at my feet I definitely need a bigger toe box on my shoe and should consider moving up to a 4E.

So I went out two days ago and purchased some new balance shoes. I have completed a 3 mile wog on the YMCA treadmill. This was the first time I used the new machines there and the running decks have far to much bounce to them. I am going out this morning and hitting the pavement with them.

Now that one history has repeated itself I need to repeat the second half of that history and get in shape. Looks like the sun is rising. Time to lace up...


[rich] said...

Thanks for the post - and sorry to hear about the ills and the steps backwards. Sure now you are focussed it will work out for you :-D

Chris said...

Started out commenting, but too long for this forum, I'll send an e-mail :-)

Long story short, we're here for you! How can we help?

Rae! said...

I can relate.
So what is the plan with the spurs??
Try the Newtons they get you off your heels.

MikeF. said...

Wow bone spurs.
Just remember we are all here for bud.

Matt said...

Sorry to hear about all of this, but you can pull yourself out of this rut. We're all here for you.

Craig Wheeler said...

Glad you're not afraid to jump back in the saddle. You know you can do it. Here's to your health -- both the feet and the whole package.

Amanda said...

Boy Jeff - I can so relate to this. It's where I am right now. I'm so mad at myself for allowing it, but I can't seem to straighten out.

We'll both get there!