Monday, August 14, 2017

Feet (or rather heel) don't fail me now

Tanglewood on a beautiful day 
After fear of relapse and fear of death, the thing I fear most is return of the dreaded heel pain, plantar fasciitis.

It practically crippled me for months that I had it years ago, and it was a pain to get rid of, cured finally by the soft orthotics that I got from physical therapist Ken Holt out in Montague. I complained bitterly (a favorite word of my father's) about it, while not complaining at all about leukemia. So the twinges that I have had lately have set off alarm bells. I do not want to go back to the period when I couldn't even walk down my driveway without piercing pain.

It might have started from walking barefoot more than I used to; a friend doesn't allow shoes in the house, and I walked barefoot until I could find the appropriate footwear to put on in place of the slippers offered. The slippers were almost the same as going barefoot because they were flat, plus, they were ugly! I repurposed a pair of old sandals by cleaning them. Opinion varies on whether going barefoot is good or bad for plantar fasciitis; in my case it is bed because I need the support.

Then I exacerbated it on an otherwise lovely day at Tanglewood with the Boston University Alumni Association and guests last week. (Some people were confused by my FB posting saying I was with the BU group because they thought I went to Vassar. I got my undergrad from Vassar and my master's in journalism from BU.) I have been to Tanglewood many times but never took an official walking tour like I did last week. Learning about the history was interesting on the beautiful day, but I did it in shoes not made for walking. Hence by the end of the day my feet really killed.

It didn't detract from enjoying the music while sitting in the Shed, a totally different experience from sitting on the lawn, on the day of Yo Yo Ma's "Little Carlito" entreaty. Such a pleasure to hear a star speak like a "real" person, even giving the number of the Stockbridge and Lenox police departments should anyone find the conductor's lost dog. If you read this story, you will discover the happy denouement.

I agree with my friend Ken Ross, who said of Yo Yo Ma in his review on Masslive, "One thing I will say about Ma that really makes him stand out - he always looks so happy to be performing on stage. Some artists might look like tortured souls. In contrast, Ma often has a genuine smile on his face when he's playing. And today was no exception. Other things I noticed about Ma today during his performance of Schumann's Cello Concerto - his effortless transitions, his crystal clear tone, his lighter-than-air touch and his superb sense of rhythm."

Meanwhile, back to my feet...I  stretched and iced a lot during the week and began to feel reassured that the twinges would stay at just that. Though you never can be sure because it can sneak up on you.

Race volunteer
On Friday I was a volunteer at the T-shirt handout for the Bridge of Flowers 10-K in Shelburne Falls, held on Saturday. I was with others from Northampton's Cancer Connection, which, among other non-profits, benefits from the proceeds. We worked at the Shelburne-Buckland Elementary School for a couple of hours, with a break for a spaghetti supper and ice cream. When chatting with some of the runners while in line, I told them I was a runner who wasn't running...much. I told them I was playing a lot of tennis and the running was taking a back seat. Still, I had a twinge of envy as I gave out the T-shirts.

Afterwards, I drove to the Bridge of Flowers, walked across and back, and lingered for a while. In the twilight, it was so beautiful that it was hard to leave.

Bridge of Flowers at dusk
Yesterday when I woke up early enough to go for a run and with no tennis planned, I said to myself that if I was still a real runner and not a so-called one, I would take advantage of the cooler morning to go out and do it. With tennis usually taking precedence, I last ran about a week and a half ago.

So I laced up and stretched and out I went. My mind was its usual chatterbox, but by the time I got into it a little, it had quieted down. I got a taste of why I like it so much as I got into a little bit of a groove. I tried my best to pick it up a little between certain markers and felt pretty good.

When I checked my mileage on my phone after, I was surprised to see that I had gone 3.7 miles. Nothing hurt. Still, today, I got a few more twinges. I better pay attention to them. In many ways when you get to a certain age, running is not good for the body. But it is definitely good for the soul.

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