Back to the oval, the track!

As described in greater detail in this post: https://missonceuponamarathon.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/adverse-causes-of-plantar-fasciitis/  , I have had some very difficult injuries the past few years with running. It’s been frustrating to say the least, but it has also been sort of a “refreshing” break.

Members in my community certainly know me as a runner. I would never choose to receive an injury in running which requires surgery, much less two! But without these injuries, I would have missed out on a lot.

Things I have learned from bilateral foot injuries:

  1. getting into shape is HARD, running is no joke
  2. the heart grows fonder of something when it is away from that specific something – this is 100% TRUE
  3. small milestones are often times the best – running for the first time in over 7 months of inability to hardly walk was AMAZING
  4. always expect the unexpected – I was running slower pre-surgery than I am post-surgery due to decreased pain, and I thought I would lose the shape I was in! (although I have lost a great deal)
  5. Enjoy life’s simple pleasures every day, for you never know what the next day will bring
  6. crutches are hard work
  7. never judge a person unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes
  8. social support means the world for anything
  9. every limb in your body has a function; truly appreciate everything your body does for you
  10. And one final thing to keep in mind: “The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg.
    It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”

I’m happy to say that after attempting to get back into running two weeks ago post foot surgery, developing a tendonitis in my foot, taking two more weeks off, I am back to running! I’m equally amazed as I was from my first foot surgery, to just have the ability to walk again without pain. I couldn’t be more grateful.

What is the worst injury that you had in the past?

An “Egg-cellent” Pumpkin Pie

It’s really all about the eggs in a pumpkin pie. Well that is if you want your pumpkin pie to have the texture of a typical pumpkin pie. This type of pie is different from other pies. It’s almost a blend between a custard and a mousse. Light, but dense enough to hold it’s form. The texture of the pie contributes just as much pizzazz as the aroma from the spices and flaky, buttery crust. All are equal contributors into making the perfect pumpkin pie.

So how exactly does a pumpkin pie mixture transform from cinnamon and nutmeg pumpkin “soup” into this delicate pie? The trick is all in the eggs. As pumpkin pie cooks, eggs coagulate, or change to a solid state. The proteins in the eggs shrink as they continue to cook. Therefore, it is important to remove the pie when it is done cooking, or the pie will crack, and will not be as tender and moist.

This pie is a bit tricky to determine when it is done. The pie should still jiggle a small amount in the center. One way to ensure it doesn’t overcook is to immediately place the bottom of the pie pan in a cool tub of water for roughly 30 seconds. This process will stop the egg proteins from continuing to cook.

So there you have it. The eggs in a pumpkin pie recipe really are the stars of the show. Without them, we all might just end up with pumpkin soup!

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What is your favorite pie?

The Science Behind the Bird on Thanksgiving

Would you believe it if I said the sole reason your turkey smells so good is all due to a scientific reaction, called the maillard reaction? Well, it is true! This reaction is also termed the “browning reaction”, because well, it turns food brown!

So how does this reaction work? The reaction works by the reaction of specific simple sugars with amino acids, or proteins. These molecules rearrange, creating hundreds of different chemical structures, which yield a new aroma and flavor.

Baking, roasting, frying or grilling products involve a high heat source which dehydrates the surface of the product quickly. Boiling or steaming a product does not allow for dehydration of the surface of the product, due to the moisture of the water. This inhibits the maillard reaction from occurring. You also don’t smell the fantastic aromas from boiling something like a turkey breast versus grilling a turkey breast! Bring on the grill for me! I like flavorful foods.

Who would’ve thought there would be so much science involved on Thanksgiving! Now you have one extra thing to be thankful for on this day, the maillard reaction!

Adverse Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

In 2013 I had an odd case of plantar fasciitis that just wouldn’t heal. I tried everything – heel and arch support, new shoes, night splint, tennis/golf ball rolling, stretching, even acupuncture, the graston technique (OUCH) and the last resort of cortisone shot. It just did not respond to any treatment. Eventually it was determined that I had os trigonum syndrome as well as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Along with my plantar fascia pain, I also had pain under my medial malleolus. The pain would fluctuate between my heel and this area.

Two years later, I was diagnosed with another adverse cause of plantar fasciitis. A lipoma! This lipoma caused almost the same exact pain as my first foot problem. However, this lipoma was compressing a nerve in my foot as well as impinging my plantar fascia. I had that same “bone breaking” pain under my medial malleolus, and the more unusual presentation of plantar fasciitis. The initial morning pain was never a thing for me. And any plantar fasciitis treatments did not help and only exacerbated the problem.

In between these two foot injuries, I was blessed with one year free of injuries in which I was able to tackle the difficulties of getting back in shape. That process was extremely hard, as I had previously been out of running for nearly 1.5 years. It took me the entire year to get back in shape. I took many walking breaks, got more than my share of side stitches, and ran some of the slowest race times I ever have. I began that year running a 6:55 pace 10k, and ended the year with a huge 2 minute PR half marathon of 1:25:02 (6:29 pace). It was an incredibly challenging year and also amazing to see the massive improvement in running I experienced from just 1 year. I am thankful for the progress I had before this latest injury. I look forward to getting out there again in due time.

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lipoma

“Fresh Corn” – bread muffins

As per request of one of my readers, Bernie at Get Going, Get Running wanted me to create a healthy cornbread recipe.  Well, today I felt inspired by some of the fresh corn growing in my garden, and so I decided to create a recipe.  And yes, by the title of  my blog post, I used fresh corn in the recipe!

Unfortunately, I am not a HUGE cornbread fan, so it is difficult for me to assess this recipe.  To my taste, I think that it represents cornbread well.  It is certainly healthier, and has some functional ingredients in it, such as fiber.  I believe this bread would be really good with a pumpkin butter, apple butter, or jam of some kind!

To those of you who like cornbread, and feel daring to try my recipe, let me know what you think!

“Fresh Corn” – bread muffins

  • 3/4 c cornmeal
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast (this has a cheesy/buttery flavor that I felt would impart a good addition to the  cornbread)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 T baking soda
  • 1 T SPLENDA
  • 1 T imitation butter flavor
  • 1 c milk + 1 T white distilled vinegar (this makes a “buttermilk”)
  • 1 T ground chia seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ear of corn, corn kernels cut off
  1. Spray muffin tins with olive oil spray.  Heat pan in 450F oven, until batter is ready.
  2. Mix cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutritional yeast, and SPLENDA.
  3. Mix milk and vinegar and set aside.  Put egg and chia seeds in blender and blend for approximately 20 seconds, until egg is light in color.  Note – chia seeds may not grind up.  I was unable to grind them up completely in  my blender.
  4. Cut corn off of husk.
  5. Add milk+ vinegar mixture, and egg+chia seeds to the dry mix.  Stir just until blended, then fold in corn.
  6. Pull heated pan out of oven.  Pour batter, 3/4 full into muffin tins.
  7. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes.

Enjoy with some type of spread, cinnamon and sugar, or jam!

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I filled the muffin tins around 3/4 full. If you look closely, you can see some corn kernels!

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Finished cornbread muffins! And my attempt at fancy food photography!

Grilled Eggplant sandwich with tomato and fresh mozzarella

YUM!  I never dreamed this recipe idea would turn out so good, but it was delicious!

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HUGE eggplants at the store! The one I used for this recipe was not this big, because it was from my garden, but these would make a great sandwich!

Since I cannot exercise MUCH, and still have a terrible sweet tooth, I have to TRY to eat healthy, and control my dessert portions! AHH, it is incredibly hard.  But I am learning, and garnering some willpower in the process.

For dinner tonight, I grilled slices of eggplant with olive oil and an Italian type seasoning, then made it into a sandwich with tomato slices and fresh mozzarella. Both the eggplant and tomato were grown in my own garden!  Talk about being fresh off the plant!  The tomatoes looked weird, but had fantastic flavor.  They were called “yellow stuffer tomatoes”.

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slices of tomato which looks like a pepper, and fresh mozzarella slices

 

They had no seeds in them and were easy to slice. I would highly recommend them.  The eggplant acted as the “bun”, then the tomato and mozzarella were stuffed in between. eggplant sandwiches 2

Continued progress on my post-op plantar fasciitis/entrapped tendon recovery

Day 9:

  • I gained a lot of confidence from my PT session on day 8.  I decided to go for the gusto and put all of my weight on my foot with my walking boot.  I figured I essentially did it the day before in PT, so I  may as well give it a try! SUCCESS!
  • Used crutches for the majority of the day with the walking boot, but walked very short distances with only my walking boot🙂

Day 10:

  • Used crutches for part of the day as with day 9, and walking boot with no crutches for very short distances
  • Numbness has decreased greatly and is almost gone!
  • Continued to do PT exercises; slight improvements continue to be made

Day 11:

  • After a morning of being in the walking boot, I felt daring to try walking in a pair of thick, cushioned slippers.  I had SUCCESS!!!
  • inversion/eversion: good movement
  • ankle circles: this motion feels more comfortable, but I can feel the tightness in my achilles and calf area
  • No crutches, no walking boot, full weight on foot!
  • was able to achieve having foot at 90 degree angle in boot; previously I could not put my foot in the boot at this angle, and was forced to walk mostly on my toes while in the walking boot.

Day 12:

  • rode “bicycle” in the pool for a very short time; I sat on a noodle in the pool and moved my legs in a bicylce motion; I got stabbing pains in my foot  pretty soon after I attempted this so I stopped
  • inversion/eversion: great movement; my foot is still not as flexible as my right foot, but I am able to get a great deal of motion with this exercise
  • ankle circles: motion is very good; dorsiflexion direction is getting better as achilles area loosens up

Day 13:

  • Walked, very slowly, one mile on a flat gravel 1/2 mile oval
  • I continue to do all of my prescribed PT exercises
  • rode “bicycle” in the pool – I sat on a noodle and moved my legs as if I were riding a bicycle; I did this motion very slowly, and did not last long.  My foot got a few stabbing pains in it as I did this, so I stopped.
  • walking continues to progress; I bought two pairs of thick, cushioned slippers, which I am currently using to get around.
  • My calf and achilles area are very tight.  As I walk, I can feel my calf muscle pulling/stretching; I am continuing to work on the flexibility of this, by doing calf stretches.

It has been quite an exciting past week.  I never would have believed that today on Day 14, I would be walking in ALMOST normal shoes (slippers!).  My foot continues to get better each day, and I am beginning to really get antsy, which is bad!  Now that I am up and walking around, I want to just jump right in and do it all – go for a walk, go for a run, swim, etc.

But, I know that I can’t.  Yesterday I walked 1 mile on a gravel track, plus some extra.  Total I may have ended up walking around 2 miles…oops!  Well, my foot certainly told me that last night when I was TRYING to sleep, and this morning.  I had pain on both sides of my foot and it was no fun.  I have since been icing my foot, and trying to stay off of it.

It’s frustrating, because in some instances, my foot feels the same as it used to.  When I stand, my foot begins to hurt.  If I walk a touch too far, it hurts.  However, my side pain has not sprouted up at all, and I truly believe that piece of the puzzle is fixed.  I am hoping that with time, after the bruising goes away entirely, and the swelling goes away, my heel will stop hurting.  At this point, I am going to stick with the positive thinking and believe that my foot is hurting due to the injury that it sustained during surgery.  It certainly makes sense!  Right now, I am basically walking on a bruised foot, which sounds like it could certainly be a culprit for pain!

And to continue to stay positive with frustrating injuries, I will leave you with this quote I came across the other day.  I read it on someone’s blog, but I cannot recall which blog.

“Having an injury increases the amount of time that you can run in your later years”

Of course, this is entirely up to each individual’s body makeup, but for now, my cross training adventure will help me in my later years!  I certainly won’t be doing gobs of mileage every week like I did last Summer (60-70).  Mileage like this, is what I believe can decrease your chances of running long into your later years.  Running on a regular basis, though, should not impede this!