Monday, February 23, 2009

My Feet Hurt

I dont usually cross post to both my blogs, but Id like the most people possible to see this:

My feet hurt. This has been going on for awhile, but it seems to have gotten worse over the last few months. I have a hard time describing the pain, but Ill try. Im hoping someone else has had something similar or maybe heard of this and can tell me what it might be or give me some idea where to look. I dont even know what kind of doctor would deal with this.

First, if I am sitting or laying down (sleeping), there is only pain if I flex my feet outward. The pain is on the outside/top. Otherwise, they feel fine. But when I get up and stand on them, it is quite painful for the first few minutes the pain diminishes over time as I move around. The pain runs from just below my ankle, maybe a little in front to before my small toe. It is mostly a dull achy sort of pain, but when I first wake up or get up from sitting, it is quite sharp but the sharpness may be my surprise that my feet hurt.

The pain doesnt seem to increase or decrease in relation to what sort of shoes I wear (mostly I wear flip flops except to run). I havent done systematic research, but I think it might be somewhat worse if I run without the Amfit orthotics I usually wear. (I know this seemed to be true once or twice here in Buala, although I dont think it was true when I ran without them in Honiara the difference? Buala is rough, rocky trails, Honiara is roads.)

I dont think the length of my runs makes any difference, but Im not totally sure about that. I ran a nice 9 miles yesterday, out to Guguha Community High School. The feet never heart while Im running, nor while Im walking. But afterwards they can.

If anyone has any advice, tips or resources, Id surely appreciate it. This is really starting to bother me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Back in the saddle, again

Last week, I went for what I wanted to be a 9-10 mile long run on Sunday morning. But at about 3 miles, I got totally fed up with the mud and I was really feeling tired. Worn out. So I turned around.

The funny thing was later in the day, my right hip started hurting bad. If I externally rotated it, it was okay, but lifting my leg hurt like the devil. After watching it for a day or so, it was pretty clear to me that it was either or both my psoas and piriformis muscles. So I didnt run for a few days and did a bunch of yoga. The yoga was difficult at times because I could move directly into the most painful motion.

Simultaneously, there is a RAMSI Police Advisor here from New Zealand who is also a Hypnotherapist and he is teaching me self-hypnosis. One day when I was practicing, I succeeded in putting myself in a hypnotic state and hated to waste the opportunity, so I just gave myself some messages to relax my hip and have it align. Well, wouldn’t you know, it worked! There was some residual pain, but mostly it was gone and I had much greater mobility. Went for a run on Thursday morning and that was just fine.

Didnt get out to run again until Sunday (mostly not very motivated, keep thinking of the mud, ugh!). I was a bit wary, so although I wore my Camelback, making it possible to run 9-10 miles, I told myself it was most important just to get out and do anything. When I was struggling through the first couple of miles, which are the hilliest, rockiest and mudiest, I kept thinking about the place beyond. . . Well, that worked. And I found myself at 2 ½ miles past all the really bad mud, past the killer hills, on the flat part and this time, I thought,  enjoy this, this is what you were looking forward to, this is why you just went through all that! This helped and I kept going until I hit 4 miles. Even though, guess what? It was pouring rain. It had been a little sprinkle here and there at first, but by about 3 miles it was pouring buckets. Somehow when it is pouring rain, I didnt care about the mud so much.

After turning around, I felt so good about actually getting a good run in that I didnt mind the rain. I had a visor on, so it wasnt hitting my face (which annoys me), I was soaked by either rain or sweat, didnt matter, life was good! After the last river, my shoes were all nice and spanking clean, which was nice. I like to look down and see them all shiny.

Its nice to be back in the saddle, as they say.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Guguha Community High School

We had one heck of a rainstorm on Saturday. It rained in the night for awhile and when I awoke to go running, I was feeling unmotivated because I knew the route would be a muddy mess. So, I was dawdling and thinking of rescheduling for Sunday am when whoosh! came the downpour. And it continued for hours and hours. I hunkered down in comfy clothes with my computer and decided to write some papers I needed to write instead. Had a nice cup of coffee (thank you Peets) and some peanut butter on a banana and was happy that I didnt push myself to do my long run. Although the rain did stop at some point, and then started again later, in the end, I didnt leave the house all day. Every now and again, you need a cozy day like that.

So Sunday morning I thought Id really better get out and run. This would only be the third run of the week and I knew if I went more than 2 days without a run I start to get depressed. In my mind (and on the schedule) I wanted to run 9 miles, but since Ive been so unmotivated recently I told myself I could just do 7 and see how I was feeling. (In truth, this is a decision I have to make at 3.5 mi since its out and back, but I knew that.)

I strapped on my handy dandy Amphipod water bottle belt (brought to me by my friend Linda when she came to visit after Christmas). I like this belt because the bottles are small and stay out of my way. I have a Camelback for longer runs (10 mi or more) but for shorter runs, thats overkill. However, its hot enough here that I cant get away with bringing nothing (which I usually did in Bamenda I could easily run 1.5-2 hours there without carrying water oh, but thats also because there are public water taps in town, so in the last 30 minutes I could get water). But, I have to say it annoys the heck out of me because no matter what I do (at least what Ive figured out to do so far), it rides up on me and then starts moving around. For some reason, it mostly does this when the bottles are full and the more I drink, the less of a problem it is. Seems like it should work the other way around, but there you go.

Anyway, my butt was dragging and it took forever for my Garmin 405 to pick up the satellite signals, so it was a darn good thing it was heavily overcast (probably what was blocking the satellites). I didnt actually get going until nearly 8am. I usually run around 6 or 6:30am.

It was a muddy mess, particularly up the first hill (before Kubalota) and on the downside of the second hill (after Kubolota). And after I crossed the first river, there were two very muddy patches, one of which I took the wrong route through and nearly lost my shoes. Uggh. I was feeling okay after the 3rd river crossing which was the farthest Id gone in the past and decided to go ahead to 4.5 miles (making it 9 mi roundtrip). As I went further along, I saw what looked like a village up ahead thatched roofs in the distance. As I approached the village, however, I thought to myself hmm, that doesnt look much like a village. It looks like a school. And I was right. This was Guguha Community High School, which Id heard about and knew I must have gotten close to, but this was the first time I reached it. Why did I think it looked like a school and not a village? Because all the huts were the same size and every hut, and both the long buildings were covered in drying clothes. People in a village get into patterns, but at least around here, they dont ALL wash their clothes on the same day. And they wouldnt hang their clothes on a school or church (a long building is always a school or church).

The other interesting, and quite beautiful, thing, was that right across from the school was this grove of enormously tall coconut trees. They were all lined up in rows and there was only short undergrowth below them, so they really stood out. Quite lovely.

As I was running home, I stopped at the top of the last hill to rest a bit and catch the view. While standing there, someone came up behind me it was a young man running. In his bare feet. And he was really sweaty like I get so I had the definite impression that he was running seriously. I started to run again and we ran together, so we talked. I told him I was from America, but living in Buala now and working with the Provincial Government. He told me his name was Joseph and he was coming from Guguha (same as me!) and he was going to his village, which is Tiratanga. Wow! Tiratanga is, as they say, in the highlands its an hour walk from Jejevo, straight uphill. He left me when I turned off to go to my house and he still had quite a way to go. Good for him!

Thats the first real runner Ive seen here. And it only took 4 months.