Running

Time wounds all heels

I come from a long line of bad feet.

When other families get together, they talk about TV shows and current events; my kin talk about hammertoes and bunions. Suffice it to say that certain people in my bloodline consider “Let me show you my foot” a perfectly acceptable way to begin a conversation.

I was not one of them until recently, when karma reared up and viciously bit me in the left foot.

Admittedly, it was a long time coming.

I’ve been goading fate for years by occasionally giving a talk called “How to run pretty much forever without being injured.”

Might as well have opened a window and yelled “Bring your worst, plantar fasciitis,” because it did.

One summer day I was fine, the next I was limping. It’s been two months now. I’m not the nicest person to be around.

I’ve tried rest. I’ve tried ice. I’ve eaten Advil like candy. I’ve rolled my foot on a tennis ball, installed arch support and heel gel pads, and stretched until I looked like Gumby. The pain subsides, a little, for an hour or a day then slams back into me like one of those dogs on YouTube that hasn’t seen his serviceman owner for a couple of years. I’m now on prescription anti-inflammatories, which help nothing.

This means that the time I usually spend running I now spend looking at plantar fasciitis remedies on the internet.

On podiatrist websites, on Letsrun, on YouTube, there are good people and shysters promising that if I just try This One Thing, my heel will be fine within the week. I know so much about plantar fasciitis treatments I could open my own clinic, but for the fact that my success rate is currently zero.

A Spartan Beast world champion I interviewed last week said he had plantar fasciitis for a year, and rest didn’t heal it, so he resumed running and eventually it went away. I was encouraged until I thought about what these Spartan racers go through. How bad can heel pain be for someone who crawls under barbed wire in mud – for fun? Easy for him to run through it.

Not that I don’t have hope. There is, after all, the Charleston man who, a few years ago, decided he was tired of being in pain all the time and had his foot amputated so he could run again without pain. I’ve never understood this until now. Now it seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do, if the Republican health plan, if ever it comes, covers elective amputations.

Meanwhile I write this on the offhand chance that one of you is sticking voodoo pins in my foot for fun. If so, I beg you.  Have mercy.  Also, I’m entertaining all treatment options that don’t involve the words “I think you really need to consider not running anymore.” If you have an idea, please share.

Meanwhile, let me show you my foot. I have plantar fasciitis and a heel spur. But after two months of rest, my bunions are much better. Thank you for asking. heelspur

 

 

Fun things to do in cemeteries

True story:  When I was a child, my mother took me to do “grave rubbings” at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, S.C.    (Yes, yes, thank you, I know they have a wonderful organ there.)

A grave rubbing is a form of art, in which you place a piece of paper atop a gravestone, and then stroke the paper with chalk or wax to get an image of the inscription there. It’s art for the artistically challenged, like me.  To passers-by, however, the act can look alarmingly like vandalism, so please seek permission from the cemetery office before doing this with wild-eyed abandon.

Anyway, one of the graves we visited was that of the poet Henry Timrod.  And, amazingly enough, a few days later, the hosts of a morning radio show – I think it may have been Bill Benton and Gene McKay – asked a trivia question to which the answer was … wait for it …  the late, great Mr. Timrod.

Pulsing with excitement, I called in, anticipating fame, glory and fabulous prizes.  This transpired: (more…)