Plantar Fasciitis, Jacked Back, and Pain Management

Plantar Fasciitis, Jacked Back, and Pain Management

Apr 15

How quickly things can change.  Coming off of my race at Oceanside I was feeling great and super optimistic about the training weeks to come. After finally conquering the triathlon run demons, my plan was to take it easy for a week then jump right into a hardcore running cycle to build on what I had done at Ironman California 70.3.  I want to run a sub 4 hour marathon at IM NYC, and its going to take some serious work to get that done (my marathon PR currently stands at 4:30).

I kept the workouts light, went to practice last Saturday and did an intense but short circuit style workout with the team, and then when I got home after our team picnic I stepped out of my ride and knew something was wrong the moment my feet touched the asphalt.  A sharp, stinging pain shot straight thru my heal, and I knew immediately that I’d just been hit with plantar fasciitis.  I’ve had it once before, a lifetime ago in college.  I remember two things about it……it sucks, and its super difficult to get rid of.  In fact, the only way I was able to get rid of it in college was to stop running altogether.

I was hoping that it was just a fluke, but when I woke up on Sunday I could barely walk when I got out of bed.  My run plan was already blown up, and I hadn’t even started it yet.

I immediately hit up my friend and fellow runner Tavia in New York who has been fighting the good fight with her own case of PF to get the lowdown on how to go about battling this, and she gave me a list of exercises and stretches to try and keep this in check before it gets out of hand. (THANKS TK!)

I decided to shut down running for a few days and focus on my swim instead.  Over the next few days it progressively got better, and by Thursday I felt comfortable enough to give running a shot……I should have gone with my instincts and just taken the entire week off, as the pain was creeping back as the run progressed and had me practically walking by the end.   I knew right then and there that the run portion of our team’s ‘Powerbrick’ scheduled for Saturday (69 mile ride followed by a 10 mile run) was out.

Speaking of the Powerbrick, my back pain has also made a triumphant return……Saturdays’ ride was absolutely brutal.  We were battling winds unlike any I’ve been up against so far, and I’ve come to realize that wind is my biggest enemy on the bike.  The tension in my body required to keep the bike from getting pushed of the side of the road just completely destroys my back.  After a 5.5 mile climb up Encinal, we made a 20 mile push up towards Las Posas, heading straight into the wind.  By the time I got to Las Posas I was practically in tears from the searing pain shooting up the base of my spine.  I was about ready to shut the ride down, but I knew we had a tail wind on the way back which at least was enough to get me back to Zuma.  I wasn’t able to finish the 69 miles on the schedule, as I had to pick my boys up early, but coming off of a race I think I’m ok with it.

However, the back issues have me very concerned….I haven’t ridden over 60 miles at a time since Vineman, and each of the 50+ mile rides I’ve done so far have been riddled with back issues. We have a 80 mile ride to San Diego on the schedule next weekend, which should be an interesting test.

I woke up this morning grumpy, in pain, and in a super bad mood from not feeling well.  Instead of moping and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make a plan to get myself straightened out.  In what is encouraging news, I bought what is called a Strassburg Sock and it seems to really be helping with the PF.  Its a sock that you wear at night when you are sleeping, it stretches your foot as you rest.  The first night I tried it I couldn’t stand it and ripped it off after about 10 minutes.  The next night I was super exhausted, so I put the sock on before bed hoping that I’d fall asleep before it annoyed me too much.  I slept with it on the entire night, and my foot felt surprisingly better Saturday morning.  I wore it again last night and my foot feels even better today. I’m also rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle multiple times a day and massaging it on a foot torture device that I’ve had for quite some time but never really used.

I’ve also started foam rolling my IT Bands.  This should hopefully serve two purposes.  My massage therapist has told me to start foam rolling to ease the pull on my back.  It should also help in the foot department from what I understand.

I am going to take another day or two off from running and will see where I’m at next Tuesday.

To tackle the back issues, I’m taking a stab at Foundation Training.  I’ve had several friends swear by the exercises in this book, and I’ve made a commitment to myself to do them every day.  It can’t hurt, and doing nothing is only going to make things worse.  I’ll devote an entire blog post to this at some point.

Pain Management is a huge pain in the ass.  But I need to commit and AM committing to devoting at least 30 minutes a day to it.  The way I woke up this morning is not how I want to live my life.  While I’d much rather spend 30 minutes doing just about ANYTHING else than PM, I suppose its just a fact of life at this point. If it means feeling great (or at least better), then it will all be worth it.