Saturday, July 28, 2007

Broken Spoke

Friday Bike Ride:

Nice ride on the trail along the railroad tracks going through Lake Woebegone, if a bit rough, but about halfway through the ride I discovered a broken spoke on the rear wheel. Turns out that my happy little bike actually NEEDS all of its spokes, and the rear wheel bent just enough to rub against the rear sprocket a little bit on each revolution, and probably on the brake pad as well. The bend became progressively worse as the ride went along, as did the rubbing of the tire, and I was happy to get back home after 52 minutes.

Also it turns out that I don’t know much about my bike. I bought a spoke and some cone wrenches, removed the rear wheel with no problem, but couldn’t figure out how to remove the Shimano hub. Another trip to the Gateway Cycle Shop and the mechanic there showed me how to replace the spoke; there is a special tool for removing that hub. It looked quite easy when he did it! They're out of that tool at the moment, but I'll buy one when they come in because do need to be able to replace spokes.

Saturday (today):

Rode to Northland Tennis Courts where the St Croix Valley Runners gather before and after their 5-mile run, then rode the grass trails in the park north of the county maintenance shed, buzzed the runners a few times, stopped to chat after their run, then rode home. Probably about 22 miles in all, a very enjoyable ride. On the long legs I apparently had average speed of about 14 mph. It seems that’s the best I can do with this bike right now. Some minor pain under the right kneecap in the second half of the ride. I guess that’s just going to be with me for a while. It goes away after a day off from riding, if not sooner.

Friend Doug was quite helpful with advice this morning after his run. He’s been an avid biker, even owns a bike stand for servicing bikes. He actually has two sets of wheels for his mountain bike, one for trail riding and another with smoother tires for road biking. The road tires are quieter, and can be inflated to a higher pressure for less road resistance. It’s still a heavy bike, of course, compared with a real road bike. He also mentioned that the most important place to reduce weight on the bike is the tires. I have to think about why that would be. I weighed my bike today after the ride: 37 pounds. Professional road bikes can weigh 20 pounds less! Does that really matter at all on the flat? Of course it matters on hills - it’s as if I weigh 20 pounds more than I do.

Oh man - I don’t want to get sucked into biking. I really do enjoy it though. One of the joys of running is the chance to see lots of countryside that I wouldn’t bother to drive past, but a bike can double that. On the other hand, a runner who keeps his eyes open and head clear isn’t at much risk of serious injury except from external forces like cars, but a biker can get into a lot of trouble all by himself. So far so good for me, but I’ve had some close calls, nearly tumbling into ditches and the like, and I've taken one tumble while trying to jump a low curb. As with all of life, experience will help as long as it doesn’t produce overconfidence.


The new custom orthotics (previous post) feel just fine. I wore them for almost six hours today, but during most of that time I was riding my bike or sitting, watching the Tour de France. I don’t know if that counts toward “break-in” time or not.

Yesterday was a very good day for eating:

Normal breakfast
Organic oatmeal, organic skim milk, mango, blueberries, organic strawberries, Brazil nuts. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5. This is a normal breakfast during fruit & berry season.

Superb lunch by Sunshine
No-hormone no-antibiotic pork loin roasted in peanut sauce (organic coconut milk, organic chunky peanut butter, ancho chili powder, organic lime, coriander), organic plum, kiwi, mango. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 7. Magnificent lunch by Sunshine; she exceeded herself. LOVE that peanut sauce, which was supposed to have creamy peanut butter according to the recipe, but is much better with chunky.

Chicken dinner with potatoes and pumpkin pie
Roasted free-range local chicken with vidalia onion, corn/spud dish with Jim's potatoes and onion, organic plum, and "pie" of organic pumpkin, a little honey and molasses, and pecans. The pie is not so sweet as to be dessert; it's a vegetable. :-) Estimated Weight Watcher points = 9.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Custom Orthotics

The custom orthotics arrived today. I had imagined something a bit harder, stiffer, but these are a lot like the over-the-counter orthotics that I already have, except they have more support in the arch. And the support feels like it is more in the middle of the arch, not so much in the inside as I had expected.Custom orthotics

Of course I still can't run, because I'm waiting for the plantar fasciitis to heal, but these feel like I certainly could run in them. They weigh six ounces total, three ounces per foot, so they do add to the weight of running shoes, but not an unacceptable amount. When I can run, I will certainly run in them. Except for races, perhaps, eventually.

The podiatrist (if a doctor is called "doc", what is a podiatrist called?) said I could try a little bit of running in ten days after the orthotics' "break-in" period. I think break-in means time for my feet to become accustomed to the orthotics, not for the orthotics to become fitted to my feet. They are made of cushioned rubber and don't feel like they will change any.

Meanwhile I can use the orthotics for one hour today (done), two hours tomorrow, and so forth for ten days. That's August 5. I will try running a very short distance on August 5. Marking the calendar ... aw heck I won't forget that date!

Organic romaine, avocado, Danish blue cheese, fresh mango, organic grape for color accent. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 3. Sunshine bought a crate of mangoes, so there will be lots more pictures with mango in them.

Salmon dinner:
Salmon dinner
Sweet Pea's wild caught Alaskan salmon dish with organic fat-free yogurt, dill, and paprika, plus organic beans, nasty corn chips, fresh mango. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 8.

Apricot oatmeal breakfast:
Apricot oatmeal
Organic oatmeal, organic fat-free milk, blueberries, organic apricot, Don's "gronch" consisting of dried sweetened cranberries, dried mango, dried, pineapple, and a few more things. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5.

Organic romaine, organic basil, fennel, mango, organic strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry vinegar. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 3.

Monday, July 23, 2007

County Park Permit

Yesterday’s bike ride was wonderful, energetic and very satisfying. After the Tour de France telecast was finished, I announced that I was going out for a bike ride. Sunshine suggested that we put all three bikes on the car and go to the Washington County park to ride there. Great idea, off we went. Though I have been in the park several times this year on foot and on the bike, this was the first visit by car, so we bought Washington County park stickers for both cars. Always a good investment - the parks are worthy of support.

We agreed to meet back at the cars in an hour, and I rode out of the park on a trail that I have not used in years, then explored the city to the west. Why have I never run or biked here before? Out to the county line, north to the railroad tracks, back on my favorite trail along the tracks, then an extra loop through the park and my hour was up.

Along the tracks a “train” of just three engines had stopped, diesels rumbling, with one man on the tracks checking a switch. As I rode by with a grin on my face, he waved and hollered “Have fun!” Further down I re-entered the park, on a dirt road, past a sign saying “Park Vehicles Only,” and past a police car stopped there, ready with engine idling. The officer waved as I rode past smiling and saluting. They don’t mind runners and bikers, as long as we behave ourselves.

This wasn’t as hilly as some recent rides, but it certainly was rough, especially the trail by the tracks, strewn with inch-sized rocks fallen down from the rail bed. Most of the ride was NOT in my hybrid bike’s highest gear. About 13.5 miles in 1:02. I’m quite pleased with my five-year-old $150 Eddie Bauer bicycle from Target; it took a lot of abuse.

And somehow I felt as if I had found a groove yesterday. I’ve learned a lot about the bike in past weeks: how and when to shift, how to maintain leg turnover, when to stand, when to sit, and how to use momentum. The ride felt very good, as if I could sustain this energy level for hours. I don’t WANT to like bike riding, because I’m a runner, but in truth I’m enjoying it more and more. The right “bike knee” hurt only slightly, even though I also rode hard just the day before. The knee is getting better. Life is good.

The plantar fasciitis doesn’t seem to change much. I can barely feel it, only once in a while, but am confident that it would reappear in full if I tried to run. Two months of “hammock therapy,” said the podiatrist, and I’ve only finished week three. Meanwhile I ride the bike.

Frannie is always hungry, even though she gets plenty to eat.
Did you say lunch?

Lunch for me, not Frannie:
Yummy lunch
Organic swiss chard, pistachios, organic raisins, organic red grape raisins, dried cranberies, leftover chicken/turkey hot dog, leftover lemon-grilled chicken, honeydew melon, organic nectarine. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 6.

Afternoon treat when I need calories:
Afternoon delight
Orange, organic apple, organic strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, organic fat-free yogurt, Dove dark chocolate. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 4. I take my time eating this treat, one little delight at a time, and eat the chocolate last, so that flavor is in my mouth for a while afterward.

Organic red grapes, organic plum, honeydew melon, organic strawberries, blueberries, organic fat-free yogurt. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 4. Take your time and enjoy this piece by piece for a half hour.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lumberjack Days in Stillwater

What a wonderful morning for a run! As always, the Stillwater Lumberjack Days 5k and 10-mile races were warm, but not nearly as hot and humid as in recent memory. Certainly not for me, as I did not run because of the plantar fasciitis. Scott

Results: 5k and 10 mi.
This is a major race each year for the St Croix Valley Runners, especially the ten-mile race. It's a measure of mid-summer race fitness for some of us.

Both races are downhill, and many runners make personal records. The pictures are of friends who ran, especially my two sweeties and another close friend. I wish I had pictures of more of the runners.
Three runners
I'm proud of all of them. And I had a great bike ride up to the start, a nice chat with several runners, and a ride back down to the finish, so I got in some good exercise.

The left foot (plantar fasciitis) did hurt a little in the past few days, triggered I think by the stairs exercise on Tuesday. No more of that I guess. But no pain in the foot today.

The right knee hurt just a little, but not bad. I think that will resolve if I don't push it too hard.

Leftover Dog
Wheat-free pasta curls (made of corn, quinoa, red bell pepper, spinach), organic garden veggie pasta sauce with added whole corn sliced right off a cob, organic uncured beef hot dogs, cantaloupe. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 7.

Lamb dinner, oh so good
Roast lamb, Rose's lime marmelade, organic strawberries, organic plum, spinach delight (organic spinach, broccoli, organic ricotta cheese, organic organic yogurt, onion, parmesan cheese). Estimated Weight Watchers points = 8.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hilly Bike Ride

Very hilly half-marathon (actually 13.3 mi) in 59 minutes in local neighborhoods. Good enough, I guess, considering the hills. It was a pleasant 70-degree morning, and an enjoyable ride. Right knee hurt a little but not enough to bother.

Sandwich lunch:
Roast beef sandwich
Whole-grain toast, cold roast no-hormone no-antibiotic beef, organic bread & butter pickles, organic yellow mustard, organic grapes, organic plum, organic kiwi. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 8. We had some of Jim's beans with this meal too, but they evaporated before I could shoot them!

Great lunch:
Bacon lunch
No-nitrite turkey bacon, wheat-free pasta curls (made of corn, quinoa, red bell pepper, spinach), organic garden veggie pasta sauce with added whole corn sliced right off a cob, organic strawberry, organic white nacho chips, organic yellow corn chips, homemade artichoke dip with Jim's fresh chives, parsley, dill, and thyme, plus garlic and more. Sunshine may publish the dip recipe on her blog. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 9.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


813 calories burned on the elliptical in 30+ minutes, finishing HR 130. No problem, plenty of sweat. Did I feel a twinge from the plantar fasciitis heel? Not sure, so I’ll ice it.

Kiwi oatmeal breakfast
Organic oatmeal, organic milk, blueberries, organic strawberries, organic nectarine, kiwi, Dove dark chocolate. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5.

Fruit snack
Watermelon, honeydew melon, organic seedless grapes, blackberries, sugared organic ginger. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 4.

Kiwi salad
Organic romaine lettuce, blueberries, organic strawberries, kiwi, pistachios, blue cheese, raspberry vinegar. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 3.


Organic whole-wheat spaghetti, grass-fed bison & spiced ground hormone- and antibiotic-free pork, organic spaghetti sauce, Jim's wonderful cabbage, organic nectarine. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 7.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stairs - Running Equivalence

Stairs for 50 minutes today, more than 200 trips (2800 steps) up and down at a little over four trips per minute, leg turnover at least 120 footfalls per minute, finishing heart rate 143. That heart rate corresponds to a running pace of about 8 minutes per mile. At that running pace I burn about 938 calories per hour (125 calories/mile * 60/8). Round down to 900. Today, if that rate of caloric burn is correct, I used up 750 calories in the 50 minutes. Divide 750 by 50 = 15 Weight Watcher points. That’s also 15 calories per minute. Is that math correct? Hope so.

Bottom line:

  • Stairs at 4 trips/min up & down = 900 cal/hr, 3.75 cal/trip.
  • Running at 8:00 min/mi = 938 cal/hr, 125 cal/mi.
I weigh 150 lb; these calorie values would be higher for a heavier person, less for lighter, roughly proportional to weight.

Good news is: NO HEEL PAIN. The last time I did stairs for cross-training, my left heel with plantar fasciitis began to ache after a while, but today it’s entirely quiet. Nevertheless I’ll ice it a bit. The bad news is my right knee does hurt a little, the same one that hurts when I bike, and in the same place. But I’m not as worried about that little pain because it doesn’t hurt at all when I run, though it’s about time for that pain to go away - it’s been hanging around since before Grandma’s Marathon, June 16.

Too many food pictures in the queue again, so here goes a day’s worth of meals:

Organic oatmeal, organic milk, blueberries, organic strawberries, organic apricot. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 3.

Cold roast free-range bison, 100% whole-grain bread, organic pickle relish, organic yellow mustard, organic nectarine, organic plum. Estimated Weight Watchers points = 8. Nice post-run recovery lunch.

Roast lamb, Jim's cabbage roasted with caraway, organic carrots with Jim's onion, roast organic sweet potato, Jim's beet roasted. Virtually eveything is local. Estimated Weight Watcher's points = 4. Cat in background is forever optimistic about a food accident.

Fruit-yogurt dessert:
Banana, organic red seedless grapes, blackberries, blueberries, organic plum, organic nectarine, organic fat-free yogurt. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5. While most treats are gone in five minutes, this big bowl can entertain for twenty or more.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Bike Ride

Every year Family Means in Stillwater organizes a garden tour, as a find-raiser. Family Means Garden Tour Slides Click on the photo to the right to go to a slide show of the pictures that we took on the tour Saturday and Sunday, then go to the bottom of that window to start the show.

This morning I biked a running route that I call “Lake Woebegone Boonies,” 13.9 miles in 62 minutes. Hmmm. Average about 13.5 mph, not as fast as I’d like, but it was a little hilly and windy, and I’ll probably get faster. Happily the knee pain was not bad today. Maybe I can try for a longer ride Wednesday.

Potroast dinner:
Potroast dinner
No-hormone beef, organic sweet potato, organic carrots, organic parsley, organic strawberry. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 6.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Foot Feels Good, But ...

No pain in the plantar fasciitis foot for days now. But I know that if I run on it, the injury will give way and set the healing back by weeks. More biking today.

First I measured the Lifetime Fitness Torchlight 5k for certification, which is more figuring and fussing than bike riding. It's exactly 5k! Later I rode a windy but enjoyable 8.2 miles in the neighborhood at a good pace.

Tonight's dinner:
Chicken and scrumptious salad
Grilled free-range antibiotic-free hormone-free chicken with organic lemon, salad with organic romaine, organic baby spinach, peas, Jim's green pepper, Jim's parsley & basil, avocado, Danish blue cheese, plus organic nectarine, Take n Bake organic honey whole grain bread. Estimated Weight Watchers points = 7.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pain-free Bike Ride

Almost. No knee pain until nearly the end of a vigorous hour of riding, so perhaps I'm riding through that problem. I’m a runner, but in danger of being seduced by the bike. And much to my surprise, I find trail biking the most alluring. Today I rode my favorite dirt trail for a short distance, heading toward a soft ride on sleepy neighborhood streets. But as I passed the county park, it sort of sucked me in, and I rode the mowed-grass bike/hike/horse trails there instead.

These are a hilly, bumpy trails, lots of gear shifting and standing on the pedals. NOT boring, and of course the park scenery is exquisite. There is one high vista from which one can see at least a half dozen of the nearby towns. The view demands a brief stop and dismount. From there it’s a fast downhill ride, speed limited only by one's courage over the bumps, back to the paved trails of the park and then home again. Haven’t had that much fun on a bike since I was twelve.

Bratwurst lunch
Chicken/feta/spinach bratwurst, whole wheat bread, Roquefort mustard, blackcurrant jam, organic plum. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 7.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Podiatrist Visit

Runner friend Cal heard who my podiatrist was, and said “He’ll put you in orthotics.” I replied that I was already using orthotics. “Yeah,” said Cal with a grin, “but these will be way more expensive!”

Cal was pretty much right. Doctor B, once a sub-3-hour marathoner himself, explained the facts of life regarding plantar fasciitis, after confirming that it wasn’t something else. He was quite patient, actually, taking his time, first explaining the structure of the plantar fascia and its diminished but still significant connection to the Achilles tendon at my age. He views the issue as one of arch support rather than an inherent problem in the heel. The fascia fails at the heel because the heel becomes the weakest point as we age, but the underlying cause is that the fascia is slightly too short. He also believes that the human foot was not really designed to land and go into tension 65,000 times per week on hard pavement (my personal numbers).

Then he described some treatment options:

  • Cortisone shot: He said it could sometimes jump-start the healing process, but went on to other things when I mentioned that I have already had one for this injury.
  • Two-month respite from running: Also, I suppose, all other activity that could cause re-injury. Not three weeks, as I heard from another doctor. He said that two months of “hammock therapy” nearly always fixes plantar fasciitis.
  • Orthotics: He was pleased that I was using the night splint (the Strassburg Sock), and for that reason didn’t at first recommend custom orthotics. But when I said I wanted to throw everything at the problem, he made the plaster casts.
Other things that he said about stretching:
  • The night splint is a very effective way to gradually increase the length of the fascia, providing a gentle tension for hours at a time. I got the impression that the amount of time is more important than the force applied.
  • In addition, the Achilles tendon should be stretched at least a few times per day, using a straight knee because that tendon actually connects all the way up into the hamstrings. I tried it, and it’s really different from what I have been doing.
  • He approved of rolling a tennis ball under the foot, but suggested a frozen-juice can instead so that the fascia can be cooled at the same time. When we questioned the wisdom of stretching a cold ligament, rather than a warm one, he said that in any case it’s more of a massage than a stretch. In this I disagree: It feels like a stretch, plus the injury to be cooled is at the heel rather than the arch where the tennis ball is, so I think I’ll do it only with a warm foot.
Cold, heat, and inflammation:
  • He likes cold, because it reduces inflammation. I understood that he likes to reduce inflammation because it reduces pain, though he also did say that some inflammation is necessary for healing. I have almost no pain unless I try to run, so in my opinion I don’t need cold for that purpose.
  • He seemed to approve when I said I use cold only when there is pain, otherwise warmth (I use a wool sock). In my non-medical opinion healing happens more quickly with heat, though it may not feel as pain-free at the time. But then, if I’m so smart, why isn’t it healed already? Maybe because I have never waited long enough?
Other tools, comments, and treatments:
  • Cal had the surgery, so I know that is a possibility and it works; he was back running in six weeks. Dr. B thought that was unlikely to be needed in my case.
  • He thought that an MRI would be of little value unless the heel bone was fractured, and he is pretty sure it is not. I am too.
  • He was of the opinion that the support to be found in running shoes does not compare with custom orthotics, so there is no reason for me to change shoes.
  • When I mentioned “Super Feet” inserts (actually suggested by a different podiatrist some time ago for a Lisfranc ligament problem), he said that the custom orthotics really do work much better.
  • Plantar fasciitis is apt to be a recurring problem - that's its signature.
The custom orthotics will arrive in 10 days or so, and then I will need to break them in over another 10 days. Huh - wouldn’t you think that for $400 they would come pre-broken-in? Maybe it’s really my arch that needs to get adjusted to the orthotic. I currently have 10 days since the latest re-injury, so it will be 30 days by the time the orthotics are broken in. Then, he said, maybe I could start running just a LITTLE, every other day, even though it certainly won’t be two months yet. If there is even a HINT of re-injury, I should stop immediately, don’t even walk home - call for a ride, and then ice it and wait another two weeks. Uff-da.

I wish I had asked:
  • If the real purpose of the orthotics is to gradually lengthen the fascia, should I really put them in my running shoes? It seems to me that running pulls briefly on the fascia at every toe-off, which should gradually lengthen the fascia.
  • But apparently it DOESN'T, so I should put them in my running shoes, but do I HAVE to use them even during races?
  • What if I can still feel the slight ache in the heel after 30 days? After 60?
  • More about inflammation.
  • What must I do to prevent the plantar fasciitis from recurring?

Stop whining, Don. Life is really pretty good, considering all, and the die is cast - no running for at LEAST 20 more days. Suck it up and do something else. There’s wood to be chopped, for goodness sake. Or, if I get out for a bike ride today, that will make it a masterpiece :-)


Aha - I did get out for a nice ride. Into the wind for 28 minutes, then back via the same route in less than 21 minutes. Equally hard work both ways, slight pain in the right knee but not bad. I’ll skip a day now before riding again. I sneaked up on a red fox on this ride. It was sitting in the dirt trail looking the other way, and because of the wind it couldn’t hear me, as I rode toward it full tilt. Just when I wondered if I should slow to avoid running it over, it finally heard me. Off it leaped, over the RR tracks and into the woods. This day is a masterpiece.

Too many blueberries on hand, gotta use them up
Organic oatmeal, organic milk, blueberries galore, organic strawberries, organic nectarine, pistachios. Estimated Weight Watchers points = 4.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Tour de France

Not exactly the Tour, but I did ride the bike this morning. Short ride out, then 15 hilly loops in a quiet residential area, then a short ride back. Total of 14.25 miles in almost exactly an hour. Gosh that seems slow. I’m watching the Tour de France right now and they are SO much faster! Uff-da. Average of 27 mph today for over 100 miles, on Belgian roads as flat as a pannekoeken.

Nevertheless my heart rate and breathing were at least as fast as they would be running 8:30 miles or so. This was a good workout. Best of all, NO knee trouble. Is that because this was a hilly ride, with a lot of pedaling while standing up? Or maybe my knee is just getting better. Also best of all, my sweeties were running on the same roads, so I gave and got a smile and a wave every few minutes.

I love this time of year when I can watch the Tour de France every day. In fact I just leave the TV on and watch it several times a day.

Foot doctor tomorrow. I'm learning to enjoy biking, but I'm really a runner and will return to training when the plantar fasciitis is resolved. Soon, please!

Oatmeal and banana
Organic oatmeal, organic milk, organic strawberries, organic nectarine, blueberries, banana, organic candied ginger. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Too Many Food Pix

Running is on hold because of plantar fasciitis. I'll see the sports-medicine podiatrist about that Tuesday.

I've been taking pictures of the meals that Sunshine makes for me, and posted about that recently. These are the real food that we actually eat. We probably don't eat perfectly, but Sunshine is pretty smart about foods that are good for all of us and which might also help me with my cancer.

Right now there are too many pictures in the "to be published" folder, so it's time to publish a couple of days worth. They get bigger if you click them.

Organic gluten-free pancake breakfast
Organic gluten-free pancakes (organic oats, organic corn, no-aluminum baking powder, sea salt, organic eggs, organic milk, walnut oil), organic nectarine, organic pecans, dark maple syrup. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 8. Good breakfast after a long run or the day before a marathon.

Salmon patty lunch
Spinach feta salmon patties from Whole Foods (Wild Alaska salmon, spinach, feta cheese, sea salt, black pepper, anise, fennel, garlic, parsley, paprika, canola oil, breadcrumbs), blackcurrant jam, organic strawberries. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 9.

Ham and vegetable dinner
Hormone- and nitrate-free ham, organic butternut squash with organic sweet potato, local organic carrot, vidalia onion, two kinds of organic cheese, organic beans, almonds. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 6.

Breakfast for a hungry Don
From the bottom: Organic oatmeal, organic milk, blueberries in season, organic nectarine, banana, organic strawberries, organic cashews. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 6. Life is good!

Lunch of leftovers
Smoked wild-caught Alaska salmon, no-hormone no-nitrite ham, broccoli, organic strawberries, organic black seedless grapes. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5.

Calling it 'chicken dinner' doesn't do it justice
Lemon-pepper free-range grilled chicken, broccoflower (honest!), organic "wild" lingonberry preserves, vinegar cucumbers. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 4. Broccoflower is really pretty good.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mountain Biking

What a wonderful, high-energy bike ride. I really want to get back to running, but this is an excellent substitute. Up the road a couple of miles, along the railroad tracks for a mile, then into the park, with miles and miles of hilly grass hike/bike/horse trails.

The ride is rough on my $150 hybrid bike, but quite enjoyable, switching constantly from high gears into the lowest gear and back again. I could take a lot more of that kind of punishment :-)

The “bike knee” problem surfaced again, but wasn’t bad. Perhaps I’m riding through it, I hope. I do the elliptical at the club, and could do water running at the beach, but this is much more enjoyable because the scenery changes all the time.

I'll see a sports-medicine podiatrist Tuesday regarding the chronic plantar fasciitis in the left foot.

Decadent brownie breakfast:
Decadent fat-free brownie
Organic oatmeal, organic milk, blueberries, succulent organic nectarine, leftover July 4 party brownie ("No Pudge" fat-free fudge brownie mix plus organic yogurt, Hershey's chocolate chips, vanilla extract). Estimated Weight Watchers points = 5.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Plantar Fasciitis Escalation

I feel so frustrated and impatient. The conservative approach to healing plantar fasciitis includes: (1) Not running, (2) Orthotics, (3) No bare feet, (4) Cold packs several times per day, (5) Calf stretches, (6) Towel stretches, (7) Night splints, and (8) Arch massage with a tennis ball under the foot. I've done all of those things, though I did run a short distance last Saturday, stopping when the heel started to ache. All in all, though, conservative treatment hasn't worked; the injury is still there.

I think about running through it, like I did in Grandma's Marathon. Just run in spite of the pain and keep up the other treatments, hoping that the problem will eventually resolve. But running with this level of pain is not enjoyable; I need to find another approach.

Two interesting-sounding treatments are suggested on some web sites:

Low Intensity Laser Therapy:

Infrared light at a low energy level is applied to the injury. In theory, the right wavelength of monochromatic light at the right intensity can somehow aid tissue regeneration. The treatment is repeated several times or until the pain resolves. A one-page article in Runner's World, August 2007, p. 46, details the successful treatment of one runner.

In an internet search, however, those who sing the praises of low intensity laser therapy (LITL) tend to be those who profit by its use. Disinterested reports are not so rosy. I was unable to find any high-quality studies that clearly demonstrated the benefits of LITL.

I did, however, find a 1998 study by Mayo Clinic concluding that LITL has no benefit for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Further, I found a 2004 PDF document by the state of Washington which referred to a 1995 study suggesting that a placebo was slightly better than LITL.

Maybe it works for some runners, maybe I missed some recent research, maybe not, but count me out for now.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy:

High-intensity ultrasound is applied to the injury. How does it work? Two theories: (1) The ultrasound creates microtrauma, permitting new blood flow to promote healing, and (2) The ultrasound somehow reminds the brain that this area needs attention, and the brain renews its forgotten attempts to heal the area. This treatment is actually FDA approved for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.

Unfortunately, again, I found no high-quality studies demonstrating any benefit. The Journal of Orthopedic Research and the British Medical Journal (reporting on a German study) both found no benefit for plantar fasciitis. Another German study, however, did find some benefit when treating calcific tendinitis of the shoulder.

Nevertheless, I won't seek out this treatment either, unless recommended by someone whose opinion I trust more than mine.

In that regard, I have an appointment with a sports-medicine podiatrist in Stillwater next Tuesday. Meanwhile I am changing my treatment protocol from ice to mostly heat, which (according to me) promotes healing. I will apply ice if I re-injure it, then later apply heat again.

Good Resources:

  • A rather complete reference for plantar fasciitis.
  • Describing an exercise plan which the author believes will relieve the underlying cause of plantar fasciitis. Much of this I have not tried.

Evening snack
Cantaloupe, organic yogurt, blueberries, blackberries, organic grapes, organic nectarine, on the picnic table. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 4.

Monday, July 02, 2007

160 Flights of Stairs

At 14 steps per flight, that’s 2,240 steps up and the same number down, in 40 minutes. Definitely not running, it’s actually only four round trips per minute. Nevertheless it got my heart rate up to 140, and breathing was similar to running 9-minute miles. For Weight Watcher purposes I calculate 12 points (600 calories) per hour, but that may be a bit low. I wore running shoes for cushioning and grip.P.F. Arch Brace

The left heel with plantar fasciitis ached a little; I’m icing it now and using the P.F. Arch Brace that Mary gave me. The jury is still out on the brace, though it does feel good; I'm still doing the stretches and wearing the Strassburg Sock. The right knee, which hurts under the kneecap when I ride the bike long enough, started to hurt early on but settled down.

Years ago I did stairs quite a lot, as cross-training, but stopped because it put too much pressure on the hip flexors when combined with running and other cross-training. More running worked better then. Now, though, since I’m not running at all, stairs are a very convenient aerobic exercise. All I really need are shoes and a sweatband, though modesty demands more.

Plum pistachio oatmeal breakfast
Bottom up: Organic oatmeal, organic milk, blueberries, blackberries, organic strawberries, organic plum, pistachios. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 5.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Food Pictures


I rode the bike again today, mostly on my beloved sandy-dirt road along the railroad track. Occasionally bumpy and rocky, it's inappropriate for a road bike, but my hybrid bike with wider tires and shock absorbers works fine. It's fun, in fact. Today, about an hour of mostly hard work.

The knee complained a little, but less than before. The plantar-fasciitis foot is still sore from yesterday's run but getting better. I'm trying Mary's "P.F. Arch Brace" today; we'll see if it helps.

Food Pictures:

As you see, I am currently into publication of food pictures. Mostly high-quality food that is very good for me, and which also can be arranged to look appetizing in a photo. In truth, it's the food that we normally eat, not prepared specially for the camera, maybe just arranged a little.

My Sunshine does the cooking, bless her heart; I couldn't do it. I arrange the food on a plate or in a bowl, perhaps adding fruit, berries, or nuts. Then I take my prospective meal out to the picnic table, if possible, and shoot it in sunlight with a decent digital camera. Or inside with poorer light or flash if necessary. The photography delays my enjoyment of the meal by perhaps two minutes, not more.

This happens once or twice a day. It might be a fruit-laden breakfast, a delicious salad, a dinner plate, or even a dessert bowl. In every case, it is eaten and enjoyed within seconds after the photo is taken. By me.

Later the photo is downloaded and processed so that it becomes roughly full screen (max 800 x 600) if you click on it, and so that it downloads quickly. I save the original higher-resolution JPG for some photos, but for most the internet copy is all that remains.

I usually also provide my estimate of Weight Watcher points, as I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and active in the "flex" program. Most of the foods (except for nuts) are also Weight Watcher "core" foods.

So far I've had favorable comments on the pictures; thank you for those. I like the whole process: arrangement of the food, photography, enjoyment, and publication. The pictures will keep coming for a while. I'll probably tire of it when the most-picturesque foods become less available in the winter.

Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece! Guilt-free fruit dessert:
Fruit dessert
Organic nectarine, organic strawberries, blueberries, organic red seedless grapes, slight drizzle of local honey. Estimated Weight Watcher points = 3.