Plant Powered 5k Recap & My Next Half Marathon!

I had a great time at the Plant-Powered 5k on Saturday! It was a fundraiser for Farm Sanctuary, and the vegan social group I’m part of had the largest team and raised the most money.

It was great to be with the group for a good cause, and the Sofritas burritos, Munk packs, and Hippeas snacks at the end didn’t hurt!

I was not exactly prepared. Check out how much I ran all summer!

Ahh. Less than 20 miles in 3 months.

I used to run that in a week. I’m lucky I finished that 5k without walking, even at a cautious pace of 11 minutes per mile!

The more responsible thing would have been to do the 2.5k walk (which is what I’d tell you to do, and probably what I should have done), but I took it slow and it was fun, and it reminded me how much I enjoyed being a stronger runner.

So I gave myself a little incentive to ramp up for this spring.


Maine Coast Half Marathon here I come!

There won’t be a pig cheering me on and the founder of Purple Carrot won’t be there… but there is beer at the end so I think I’ll be motivated to go the distance anyway.

PS – Thanks for the birthday wishes!

I had a wonderful day on Friday, and a wonderful weekend. Time with Greg, time with friends, and *yikes*! We’re now a soccer family.


Back to running

I ran my first half marathon four years ago today! The nostalgia has been tough. A combination of plantar fasciitis this spring, focus on my New Year’s resolution, and training for Tri for a Cure (which I then had to drop out of thanks to the plantar fasciitis) prevented me from doing much running this spring and summer.

It feels weird not to be a runner.

I don’t like it.

So I headed out yesterday and ran just over three miles. I ran to the local track, did two laps at a harder pace, and then headed home. It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t easy, but it was short and sweet and my legs feel that wonderful, all over, “I did something” feeling that is so amazing after a run.

I had forgotten how efficient a cardio workout running is, too. No other workout I’ve done (except maybe a hard spin class) has me continuing to sweat after I get out of the shower.

My feet feel fine today so I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to stick with my running comeback this time. (Unlike when I tried to restart Couch to 5k before I got treatment for my plantar fasciitis and couldn’t continue.)

And it’s the best time of year for it… cool fall mornings are around the corner, kids are in school, it’ll be wonderful if I can keep this up!

I will close with this photo of a public water fountain from my run. May it make you feel pleasantly surprised and rejuvenated… as though you stumbled upon it on your own run ūüôā


Running after a hiatus


I went for a run again today.

It’s slow going after all the time off because of my plantar fascia issues.

I remember what it felt like to run a half marathon at 10 minute miles. It’s mentally surprising to find myself struggling to keep a 3 mile run under 12 minute pace.

So I don’t look at my watch.

I remember that my experience and effort can be the same, even if my results aren’t.

I can still go down to the beach and run for 40 minutes. Even if it’s a slow jog (and we can blame the sand) when I look down at myself in my running gear I feel like myself again.


It can be hard to struggle with the memory of being faster and having more endurance. In some ways, it’s harder than starting to become active the first time when every step was an improvement, most runs a PR.

But if we can remember how good it feels to be outside, or to come back from a run, or to stop after an interval with our hearts pounding… well those are things we can experience at a slower pace, even after a break.

I can no longer run 10 miles at the break of dawn, but I can enjoy running, and it makes me feel like me again.




Active Release Technique for Plantar Fasciitis

Please note – this is a description of my own experiences and is not intended to be medical advice! Please talk to your doctor so you can get the best medical advice and treatment plan for you.

I have good news and bad news about my plantar fasciitis.

Bad news: it’s the primary reason that I’ve decided to drop out of Tri For A Cure this year. My family lost one of my grandfathers to cancer in November, making it extra hard to drop out of the fundraiser. But I found myself unable to adequately prepare for the event. I’m disappointed not to participate after spending so many hours training, especially the time and effort I dedicated to swimming.

However, I am focusing on the additional time with my family, and am enjoying the flexibility in my schedule. This is the first summer since 2012 that I am not training for a half marathon or triathlon.


Good news:¬†I ran into an acquaintance who is an accomplished triathlete and she asked me how my training was going. I told her about my plantar fasciitis, how much I disliked wearing shoes around the house all day, and that I was about to make an appointment with a podiatrist to look into orthotics since the pain wasn’t getting better.

She told me I had to go see Dr. William Caddoo at Patient First Chiropractic in Waltham, MA.

I did.

Here’s how it went.

Go Barefoot – He recommended not wearing shoes all the time, which was music to my ears. According to Patient First’s¬†website description¬†of how they treat Plantar Fasciitis, wearing supportive footwear can prevent us from walking and running with a normal gait that includes our toes gripping the ground. When we wear supportive shoes constantly we risk muscle atrophy in certain muscles in our feet which can lead to additional strain on the plantar fasciia.¬†That strain leads to little tears, which result in a build up of scar tissue over time, which shortens the plantar fascia and compounds the problem.

I loved getting a green light to go barefoot regularly, especially with beach season on the horizon. The thought of wearing sneakers on sand all the time was making me shudder, but the pain I was experiencing was enough to make me do it.

Now to deal with that scar tissue…

Graston and A.R.T –¬†Dr. Caddoo is treating me using both¬†Graston and Active Release, two soft tissue mobilization techniques that break up the scar tissues along the fascia and calf muscles. Active Release looks a little like deep-tissue massage, but it’s much more than that. Boston Magazine does a better job of explaining it, so I’ll direct interested readers to their article, Ask the Expert: What is Active Release Technique?. Graston Technique incorporates a small metal instrument to assist with the break-up of scar tissue. (All externally.)

I’ve had two sessions so far (out of an estimated 3 or 4 based on my initial consultation and how the scar tissue feels) and while it’s unpleasant, the pain is very temporary and I’ve already felt less aching in the arch of my feet throughout the day.

Prevention is key.

Foot Strengthening Exercises – Once the scar tissue has been broken up, it’s important to prevent it from reforming. Going barefoot will help a little, but to really strengthen the foot muscles and prevent the plantar fascia from having to overcompensate specific exercises are a good idea. Dr. Caddoo printed out these additional resources for me:

Strengthening Exercises for the Foot from Sportsinjuryclinic

Stabilizing Your Foot Core from Runner’s World

Sidenote on running shoes –¬†Dr. Caddoo is a fan of more minimalist running shoes, but also of running on softer surfaces like trails. He told me the ideal shoe to allow for mobility and natural running gait is a shoe flexible enough to bend in half. At the same time, running in less cushioned shoes on hard surfaces isn’t great either. He emphasized the importance of working into a less cushioned or supportive shoe gradually to allow your muscles to strengthen as they meet the new demands of utilizing¬†more of your foot muscles to a greater degree. Anyone who has read Born to Run, the book that spurred the minimalist running shoe movement, may be familiar with these potential benefits of barefoot running.

Orthotics –¬†It looks like I’ve avoided these for now! Orthotics (or even wearing supportive shoes with gel inserts as my primary care recommended) can make a huge difference in reducing pain levels for people suffering from plantar fasciitis. But I was a good candidate for getting scar tissue removed and then working to strengthen the muscles in my feet to prevent future stress and tearing of the plantar fasciia. Orthotics manage the symptoms, whereas the hope is that removing the scar tissue and rebuilding the muscles will treat the underlying cause instead.

As an interesting sidenote, my feet didn’t really have the stereotypical inflamation asociated with plantar fasciitis. (The “itis” stands for inflammation.) But the scar tissue present indicated plantar fasciosis, a deterioration of the plantar fascia from repetitive stress.

I’ll need to be diligent about strengthening the muscles in my feet, but I’m thrilled to be barefoot around the house again and already experiencing less pain.

Dr. Caddoo thinks I may be running normally again by mid to late July. Not in time to train for Tri for a Cure, but after several months of foot pain, late July doesn’t seem so far away!

I’m thinking of repeating Couch to 5k

One of my neighbors recently told me she was starting Couch to 5k again, and that she often does after a long break from running.

What a brilliant idea.

I’ve been swimming and taking a few classes at the gym (maybe you’ve heard) but not running much.

I can still run 3 miles at my slowest half marathon pace without stopping, but what if Couch to 5k could be used not just to get me comfortable running 3 miles, but to work into running them back at my old 5k pace… or better?

Couch to 5k is a walk/run program designed to slowly ramp up a non-runner into being able to run a 5k. It’s a great program because it’s so incremental. The first day has you alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. That’s pretty doable.

I’m wondering what would happen if instead of jogging I ran my best 5k pace. Would I end the 8 week program able to maintain that pace for 3 miles?

More traditional training would be three quality running workouts a week, totaling between 10 and 15 miles the way I’ve done it in the past.

  • Track repeats
  • Tempo
  • Long run


But jumping into that type of training after a low mileage winter while recovering from plantar fasciitis sounds like a bad idea. It’d also make it harder to complete the swimming and biking workouts I need to ramp up for Tri for a Cure in July.

Couch to 5k takes 30 minutes, 3 days a week. It’s a cautious way to ramp up, yet I can make it more challenging by running faster intervals.

It’ll get me running 3 miles at a faster pace again, and it’ll be fun. You know¬†I’m going to let myself feel like a badass for nailing that first day even though it’s no more than 60 seconds of running at a time. Because why not? I set a goal and I nailed it and I’m going somewhere. I’ve seen the training plan.

It’s not fun when you start running again after a break. Mileage and speeds that you remember being easy are suddenly hard.

It’s demoralizing to consistently attempt something out of your reach, and a lot of us runners do this every spring because we don’t realize how strong we were in the fall after running three seasons outdoors.

What if we intentionally undershot for the first couple weeks of spring running? We could choose running goals we know are well within our ability to reach. We can give ourselves time to warm up, ramp up, ease in.

Those of us who are recreational runners can afford to take a little extra time to ramp into the season and keep things enjoyable. It’ll reduce our risk of injury and keep us from dreading our runs.

Hope you create goals that are the perfect balance of challenging but doable and have a very satisfying spring running season!

Me with the boys after completing Couch to 5k the first time in 2012. It was the beginning of a lifestyle transformation, but I had no idea at the time!

You can read my very first blog post about running describing my Couch to 5k experience in 2012 here: