Tag Archives: Damian

The Carnival of the Grotesque

I am back from my follow-up appointment with the sports medicine doctor. The good news is that I do not have a stress fracture. The bad news is that my feet are severely deformed, grotesque even. Small children shrink in horror and although I wish that this was merely an allegorical reference to the state of today’s politics, sadly the deformity of my feet is neither a satirical literary trope nor is it a reference to an extravagant style of Ancient Roman decorative art. (Etymology kinda turns me on.)

Good news: I do not need to be booted and resting my feet is not necessary for healing.

Bad news: My feet make Wesley’s threats to Prince Humperdinck seem angelic in comparison.

What this means for me: immediate amputation, followed by isolation to protect innocents from the sight of my twisted, misshapen feet.

Dramatic rendering of my right foot.

Real Talk

My feet are weirdly shaped. I’ve known this for ages. My toes do not lay flat, and instead curl up. I have a small tailor’s bunion on my left foot. The one on my right foot was NOT small and was removed in October 2010. That same surgery involved breaking my fifth metatarsal and putting pins in to straighten out the hammer toe issue.  ALL my toes are messed up. The curled up toes are creating an excess amount of pressure on the joints which has been exacerbated by running on hard surfaces (this issue only popped up when I started running lots of miles on asphalt and sidewalks) and has caused fluid to pool in the joints.

Oooh - I have metal in my feet. I'm practically the bionic woman.

Oooh – I have metal in my feet. I’m practically the bionic woman.

My official diagnosis: bilateral hammertoes with right sided metatarsalgia.

Treatment for now: custom orthotics. Also? I’m a gonna have to get rid of most of my shoes. No more heels (I’m assuming special occasions will continue to be okay). If the orthotics do not produce good results in 4-6 weeks, I am to get some kind of witchcraft done to my feet (some kind of electrodes and cortisone concoction).

Also, ice every night, anti-inflammatories twice a day, and not pushing through the pain. There are no restrictions on what I do, as long as it doesn’t hurt. So, if I can get to a place where walking doesn’t hurt anymore, I can start running again. However, the good doctor thinks that there are a few things I can do to minimize the likelihood of a recurrence.

  1. Move away from the minimalistic running shoes.
  2. As mentioned, high heels for daily wear are out.
  3. Choose softer running surfaces (trails and tracks)
  4. Be sensible about mileage increases

In addition, something I think will help is losing the rest of the excess weight I’m carrying about. I’d like to get back to this:


I know HOW to lose weight. I’ve done it before. I lost 70 lbs between early 2003 & mid 2008. (40 in 2003, and the remaining 30 slowly disappeared over the next 3 years.) I lost all fifty of the pounds I gained while pregnant over the course of about 18 months.  (Most of it pretty quickly, what with the actual having of the baby.)

3 weeks pre-Bean Day after gaining 53 lbs in six months.

3 weeks pre-Bean Day after gaining 53 lbs in six months.

So, what’s remaining is a niggling 25 lbs that slowly crept up between my marathon and getting pregnant. It happened when I stopped running because of my foot injury, and then I stopped caring as much (and although correlation ? causation, it was also during this time period that I discovered a deep and abiding love an appreciation for IPA).

It comes in pints!

It comes in pints!

I am not going to blog incessantly about weight loss, because I don’t want a number on a scale to be my end all and be all goal, and I don’t want to obsess over it. But, I do want to be healthy and I do want to run again.

Also, I am a planner, and so I am going to make a foot health plan.

  1. Make appointment for custom orthotics (done! It’s August 18).
  2. Get rid of all shoes that are size 6.
  3. Get rid of all athletic shoes that are size 6.5.
  4. Get rid of all but two pairs of heels that are size 6.5.
  5. Find two pairs of cute flattish shoes that will offer adequate support to my deformed limbs but will not shame me in public or cause my sartorially gifted friends to shun me.
  6. Go to nutritionist (appointment is August 5) and follow all advice.
  7. Walk as much as I’m able, swim 2x/week; recumbent bike 2-3x/week; weights 2-3x/week. And every bit of sweat counts. It doesn’t have to be an hour.


  1. Painless trail running by Thanksgiving.
  2. Achieving a fit and happy body.
  3. Developing a positive and balanced attitude about food and exercise.
  4. Being a great role model for this guy:
Sand is not part of a well-balanced diet, Bean!

Sand is not part of a well-balanced diet, Bean!


PS – Any help in cute, supportive flat finding would be most welcome.



Shoesday – Kind of

I have a confession to make, but before we get into the revealing tell-all portion of this post, I want to show you a picture. Of shoes, of course.


Those are my sweet, kick-ass bike shoes. I love them. First of all, they are pretty cute for bike shoes. Second of all, I got them on super-duper-wicked clearance for $20 at REI. Go ahead & look at how much bike shoes cost at regular price. I’ll wait.

Expensive, right? And although I don’t mind dropping $100 for a pair of running shoes, $100+ for bike shoes seems steep (I don’t know why, but it does). So $20 bike shoes = win, right?

A few weeks ago, I had a pain in my left big toe joint region. I got X-Rays, thinking stress fracture. I blogged about it. I got referred to physical therapy. The pain went away almost immediately.

During the triathlon, it came back. During the bike portion. Which seemed weird.

I talked to my PT about it last week, and she has a theory. My toes are not flat. If I am standing, there is an arch in my toes so that the balls of my feet & tips of my toes touch the ground. This puts (apparently) a lot of pressure on the heads of my metatarsals (I am totally picturing foot bones with faces now, are you?).

So, if for instance, one had worn high heels, or pointy toed shoes, or done a lot of down-hill running, or, I don’t know, squeezed their feet into a pair of bike shoes that were approximately at least an entire size too small for them, that could exacerbate the problem.

My bike shoes are a size 5. My feet go in them. They are tight, but whatevs, I’m not running, right?

Apparently, I can squeeze my feet into too small shoes because my toes just curl up even more, causing more pressure.

The first time the badness happened, I had done a track workout 2 days before, and had gardened & biked the day before. A lot of foot time in too small shoes. During my 10 miler, there was a little pain in both feet, in that exact spot. During the triathlon – it happened during 12 miles in too-small shoes.

I may have to go buy new shoes, because apparently spending a little extra for shoes that fit is worth it. And I’ll need those shoes! I have another triathlon the end of July AND, the architect has challenged me! If I ride 1000 miles in 2011, I get a new road bike! One that might not vibrate violently at moderate speeds! (Only 866.7 miles to go! In 6.5 months. That’s 133 miles/month average. Dammit. I CAN DO IT, right?)


I am just over 6 months out of my boot, almost 8 months post surgery, and 4.5 months pre-marathon.

So – “how are things with the foot,” you ask anxiously (I imagine).

I’m so glad you asked!

October 19, I was here:

ewwwww, right?

November 16, I was here:


Last Monday, I was here:

Tight bike shoes fit without pain!

(It’s been over a year since I could wear my bike shoes without pain.)

And then, last Wednesday and Thursday, I was here:

Yes – you are seeing right. I was able to wear my favorite pair of wedge sandals ALL DAY for two days in a row. That is awesome, right?

Even better?

Saturday, I was here:

Clevery Staged Photo - not in my office at ALL! ha!

The feet are feeling pretty good. Not super, but not too bad. I can wear a lot more shoes than I could even a month ago, and I have very little discomfort at the incision site anymore. Also, except for the weird not-broken toe thing a couple weeks ago, I’ve not had any issues. All the feeling has returned to the right foot, and my toenails have started growing again (although they are NASTY looking, since they hadn’t really grown for about 6 months…I’m almost ashamed to go in for a much needed pedicure.)

I ran 10 miles last week, and 7 a couple weeks prior.

The most noticeable difference now is that I can no longer wear size 6 shoes. *sob* Which means that my largish collection of size 6 stilettos is nearly useless. *double sob*

However, never let it be said that I’m not a silver-lining kind of girl – this means that I have to go buy a brand new collection of size 6.5 stilettos! Yay!

Happy shoesday, ya’ll!


So, in lieu of a book review (I am behind in my reading/reviewing due to an influx of school reading – booo! and trash reading – yay!), I am going to present to you my training epiphany.

Sunday morning, I skipped my trail run with the neighbor and just had brunch with her instead. While we were eating & chatting, I had a revelation about my training.

Part of this revelation started last week, when I was bemoaning my ability to get back into a regular workout schedule and suddenly realized that maybe it’s because I’d been a year without a regular workout schedule….

The rest of this epiphany was this:

It has been over a year since I have been able to run long distances regularly and without pain. It has been over a year since I’ve been able to put on my bike shoes and go for a ride without having to worry about foot pain. It has been over a year since I’ve been able to practice yoga without worry about foot pain and balance issues. It has been a year since I’ve run an official race, and over a year since I was in training for a race.

All of my PRs in 2009 were awesome, but why am I disappointed about not having a PR two years later when I haven’t trained for over a year?

Why am I trying to hard to come back so fast? I ran for two years before ever doing my first half marathon, and I ran for over three years before my first marathon. Yeah, I’m not a novice runner anymore, but I shouldn’t feel pressured to recover from foot surgery and immediately be able to run 10 miles again. I haven’t run anything over six since March 2010. It makes sense that it’s taking a while to build up.

Oh – and that shin pain last week? Maybe that’s what I get for trying to ramp up too fast.

My current plan had been – push, push, push – OW! Take a week off. Rinse. Repeat.

My new plan that I started this week – just a little push. Only the one. Do what I can. Keep all distances between 3-6 miles until I can comfortably and easily run 6 miles. Then, increase. All runs between 5-8. Then 7-10. Then, when I can go out and run 10 miles without wanting to die, I will schedule that half marathon.

This is not a race! Yeah, the doctor said I would be able to comfortably do a half marathon six months post surgery, but obviously he was a crack smoker.

Maybe I’m not pushing myself as hard as I could. Maybe I should be up to 10 miles by now, but I’m not. And I’m not interested in re-injuring myself.

So – my goals for April are to get myself back into the habit of regular training. Run three times/week, but not more than 6 miles for a couple of weeks. Once I can run five miles in a row without stopping and without pain (the next day), then I can increase my mileage.

In the meantime, I’ll just try to enjoy my time out on the trails, and not worry about how far or how fast I’m going…



Shoesday! All About Me Edition…

Hello shoe lovers!

Today will feature only two pairs of shoes. This is because a) I’m inadequately prepared for today’s shoesday and b) today is a very special day for this gazelle.

Do you know WHY this is a special day?

Today marks exactly six months since my Damian-extraction.

I was told that the swelling would be gone and I’d be back to normal six months post surgery.

So, today I am unswollen and back to normal, right? RIGHT?

Well…..not so much. Many months ago, I had planned to wear heels to work on 4/5/11 to celebrate my newly normal foot. This morning, I looked at my rows of heels, all lines up patiently, just waiting to be worn, and I put on a pair of flat, not even really that work appropriate shoes.

If it had been warmer & not threatening rain, I might have grabbed my wedge sandals & worn those, but I didn’t want my poor toes to get cold.

The foot – it is still swollen. I am not ready for my half marathon in 4.5 weeks. I cannot wear dress shoes for any length of time if I want to actually use the foot the next day.

I do not know how much longer this will last. This foot madness. I am trying to be all Zen about it. At this point, there is nothing I can do about it. I cannot make it unswell faster. I cannot force it to like running lots of miles and then go out in consequence-free stilettos. (I also cannot EVER spell stilettos right the first time.)

I am taking this one day at a time. And, since my cute shoes are just going to have to wait a little bit longer for me than anticipated, I needed something to tide me over.

So – I bought these:

Jambu Cascade

Please note the fun little flowers on the heel. Also please note that there is a heel. These are nice and stretchy to fit my swollen foot, don’t stand out with my work clothes, and have flowers! Also, they have a great traction, so just in case my whole “learning to stand up straight” doesn’t make me more graceful, my shoes can keep me upright.


In addition to those shoes, I got a new pair of trail shoes. Mine were a couple of years old, had nearly 400 miles on them, and (most importantly) were making my toes sad.

I went in to get fitted, and my new trail shoes are size 7! (I’m typically a size 6 shoe person.) The new shoes are just like the old except, well, cleaner & bigger & the newer version.

New Balance 101

Mine are also not purple (they are a turquoise blue color instead). Aren’t they pretty? I’m taking them out for their first spin today! I hope that my toes and shins feel better with the new kicks!



Happy Shoesday!