"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Friday, September 3, 2010

Taking nothing for granted + barefoot running! :)

Well, only two more full days here in NYC and then it's time to head back to AZ. I've been counting down the days and hours until I leave yet I'm very happy I put myself in this unfamiliar situation and I have successfully managed to run (and win) my races at pretty good paces. I've also met some super nice people along the way and I'm very grateful for that. Exploring a little bit more of NYC than usual was fun and running in new parks and in different areas of Central Park has been refreshing. I'm so happy I found some soft surfaces the past week! On Tuesday I forgot to mention that my cool down at the track was actually on the inside of the track on the artificial turf, BAREFOOT! I ran a mile and a half without ANY pain in either foot and it was really exciting. The last time I ran barefoot on the grass was in February and it hurt my foot the whole time. I have always done some sort of barefoot running (on grass only) since I was in high school. Whether it was strides or my cool down, my teammates and I did it and I definitely think it helps strengthen your feet and ankles; it's fun too!

During my run this morning I started to think about where I was a year ago. I couldn't even walk after runs because my heel/plantar fascia hurt so bad the minute I took my running shoes off. I tried so many things to get it better and here I am now with almost never any pain. This week has been a bit of a mental challenge for me in respect to my workouts and having the motivation to run really hard. I never really mind going for relaxing runs yet this week the hard days felt like elephants weighing on my shoulders. The biggest reason is probably because I want to be at home, back with everything and everyone that I love. I also don't have Samantha around me during the day to hang out and talk to, etc.= too much time for me to sit, think and over analyze dumb stuff! :) However this morning I tried to push any negative energy out of my head and truly appreciate where I am with my running, not beat myself up about little things and not take a pain-free run for granted! A few months ago I debated quitting the sport entirely because of the unbearable pain and I HATED the fact I couldn't go for a run and feel "normal".

I always put so much pressure on myself to achieve certain goals or dreams. I tend to do well under pressure yet managing it can be challenging; you can't let it affect you way before a big event! In college my coach always joked with me that I didn't ever live in the moment and focus on the season we were currently in. Instead I thought way down the road about future seasons and goals. Was it a way to relieve some pressure from my expectations I had for myself at that time? Or to distract myself from all the fear I had of "failing" and letting my team down? I talk about some of this stuff in the recent Running Times issue. My friend actually found it online for me so here is the link if you are interested: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=20503

With my hard workouts and races coming up, my goal is to focus on the current day I'm and not worry about way down the road. Extra stress and worries will likely hinder my performances. It's always good to think of future goals and to have some sort of direction and organization but I need to redirect myself sometimes. Most of all, I'm so happy to be running, injury free and pretty darn fit. I know all the hard work WILL pay off, just like it always has. Therefore as long as I get the training done, have fun, and prioritize well....I'll stand at any starting line knowing my fitness won't fail me and my mental toughness will get me through any rough patches I have :) Like one coach used to say "Sally, you're tough as NAILS!", haha :):)

Pic: From Oregano's Pizza Bistro...one of my fave restaurants in AZ that I can't wait to go to when I get home! :p

Quote for today: "May we never let the things we can’t have, or don’t have, or shouldn’t have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have. As we value our happiness let us not forget it, for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have." - Richard L. Evans


  1. Hey Sally. I've really enjoyed reading your blog lately. I have been struggling recently w/ plantar fascitis. I got an MRI about a month ago and it showed a partial rupture in my heel (right where it hurts) and then a bone bruise w/ significant fluid around it. I have been trying to ease back into running but I don't think I'm ready. I started on soft surfaces, made sure at least a day in between, and only a couple miles at a time. It doesn't really hurt while running anymore but it does afterwards. Did yours actually rupture and what did you do to take care of it? How long did you stop running? You are running so fast now and I'm happy for you that you are running pain free!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for reading and I'm happy you enjoy the blog! As far as your questions regarding PF, I have never had an MRI and my pain was very severe for over a year! It started in May 2009 and until just recently, it was ALWAYS there. I think I definitely probably had some sort of tear in it because it was so swollen back where it attached at my heel. I had an x-ray so I know I had/have a bone spur in there. However a bone spur sometimes doesn't cause any pain in people. For example my rehab place said I could have one in my left foot and it could just never bothers me.

    After over a year of my severe pain, I took 6 weeks OFF!! I had tried everything including stints of 2 weeks off, icing, strasburg sock, wearing running shoes any time I was not sleeping, getting physical therapy, etc. and it honestly NEVER got better for more than maybe one day? Once I started back running this past June 14th, after my 6 weeks off, I took it very gradual, with my first day only 2 miles, then 3, etc. and only ran 5 days a week at first, then 6 eventually. I still wear my strasburg sock every single night, and I think it helps keep my foot stretched. I also bought one of the blue Pro Stretch plastic calf stretcher thingies, lol. That helps too, because it really stretches the achilles and soleus that affect your PF if they are tight!

    I am going to be 100% honest...I think the number one thing that has helped and continues to help my foot is wearing Birkenstock sandals!! I got the cutest pair I could find, haha and I wear them ALL the time, even when I went out dancing in Cabo on vacation! :) I wear them around the house, etc. and the arch support they provide I think has completely taken the pressure and pulling off my arch/heel! For example, on one of my first days here in NYC, my mom, sister and I spent a day walking a TON and by the night time my foot hurt as bad as it ever had, and I had been in my running shoes the whole time! The next day I wore my Birkenstocks everywhere and have continued to since, and my foot has been great..see what I mean?

    Sorry for allll this writing but I hope it helps. IF you have ANY more ?'s feel free to ask..I understand your pain and I hope I can help you get rid of it!


  3. I always put WAYYYY too much pressure on myself. I think we will both need to work on focusing on the current day!

  4. I enjoyed reading your blog. I can relate to a lot of things you said like the mental challenge and the motivation to run really hard and the hard days feeling like elephants on your shoulders. I've also contemplated giving up competitive running altogether. Like you, I also put a lot of pressure on myself to work hard to reach my goals. It can be stressful at times. Sally, I think you're doing a terrific job managing not just the physical challenges of hard competitive training and racing, but also the mental challenges as well.

  5. Adam and Gabriel,

    Thanks for the support you guys! I hope you both work on putting less pressure on yourself about training and races and embrace it more as a fun challenge rather than a do or die situation :)


  6. Sally,

    Thanks for the long and thoughtful reply. I had already taken about 4 weeks off this summer but after I tried getting back into the past few weeks, I'm not ready. I am doing a lot of things you are doing. I used to wear Birkenstocks all the time in middle school but never realized they'd be good for rehab purposes. Maybe they make cuter ones now! I'm doing a lot of what you are doing now, I really think mine is the bone bruise. I've resigned myself to another 8 weeks, maybe it won't take that long. But there is no point in only being able to run a couple miles every other day b/c that is all I've been able to do. I would just like to be running b/f the holidays and get a good base in around that time. Thanks again for your response and best of luck to you in your training. Keep blogging for us!