Time to celebrate! I've made it 30 days off the pills and I'm almost convinced that THIS IS THE REAL DEAL NOW! The key is to strictly limit sugar consumption to almost none. Would I have needed the pills if I had completely abstained from the very beginning of the treatment? The answer to that question is YES. However, I do believe that I could have been freed within 4 years instead of 6 and would have been spared at least some of the instability.
From now on, I feel that I no longer need to be quite so strict. If I have one beer per week, I will probably be fine. I may get away with more on rare occasions but if I do it too often, I will surely be in trouble. Same way with the fruit smoothies. I will limit it to only special occasions and most weeks will be free from any cheating. NO soda, NO sweet tea, NO energy drinks!
Unfortunately, the elation of my freedom has been tempered a bit by continued traces of foot pain that has been bothering me off and on for about 3 weeks. Plantar fasciitis affects the very best of runners, including Ryan Hall and the causes of it can vary from person to person. As for me, there is no need to panic just yet. The pain is very mild. I would not even call it discomfort, just a little funny feeling mostly in the arch and middle of the foot, not so much in the heel. Is it hurting my running? Maybe a little but I don't believe it's a significant ill-effect. I initially believed that worn shoes and worn orthotics were to blame and they may have played some role. However, it has become clear that the major culprit is toe running. The only time that I can really feel any pain is when I get up on my toes and sprint very hard. It does not bother me at all on long runs. Still, this issue cannot be ignored much longer. I've got to do something different. I've heard horror stories of runners who lost up to a year with this condition then were able to come back only as casual recreational runners. I've been there before and it's a fate that I am determined to avoid.
I've been stretching and have tried a night split, which put too much pressure on my calf and may have interfered with my sleep so that's out. These options are not mutually exclusive
1. Cut out the sprint workouts
2. Shift back to half marathon mode and jack the mileage back up.
3. Choose shoes more carefully
4. Custom made orthotics
#1- I have little choice other than to accept this option at least for the time being. I do want an honest fresh attempt at 400 before I do so. When I get on my toes and run at 4:00 mile pace, it puts tremendous pressure on the calves and plantar fascia. There's a chance that it will eventually go away on its own if I simply avoid short intervals. I'm not happy about this at all. Cutting out this key workout pretty much means that I concede failure on the 59.9 goal and if I can't do it before age 33, I don't want to say it's impossible thereafter but it becomes a real long shot. It may also hurt me in my quest for a sub-5:15 Mile.
#2- I was already planning to do this anyway come September. Mileage may not be as high as last year but I do want to maintain 45-50 MPW building up for Detroit. I can still do tempo runs and even long intervals without discomfort. Short intervals don't serve much of a purpose in HM training.
#3- I have a high arch that easily collapses along with a narrow foot but am a normal pronator. I am a big time forefoot striker and wear out shoes heavily in that one area but the heel still looks new at the end of the shoe's life. I must avoid motion control and stability shoes. Neutral shoes with cushioning in midfoot are better options for me. I've done well with Newton Gravity, Brooks Pure Cadence and Saucony Kinvara. However, none of those 3 will accommodate OTC orthotics. If that's a route that I feel I need to take, an Asics Gel shoe in the neutral line should do me fine.
#4- This one is not a very attractive option. It will cost me well over $200 and I will have to replace them every year and have to stick with the same shoe. However, custom made orthotics did control tarsal tunnel syndrome and though it may not cure PF, it likely will keep me on the road.
#5- I had hoped to avoid this option but I'm warming up to it. It's probably a one time series of injections at least if it's treated early. The treatment has healed my groin, knee and Achilles issues. I can resume sprint training and continue to strive for 59.9. If an when I break that barrier, I'll retire from the 400. That means as a Master's runner, I expect to focus on only 4 distances (Mile, 5K, 10K, Half Mary)