This summer, I developed a great habit that doesn’t include the time I gave up Diet Coke or was too distracted to check Facebook for a weekend: I started using the treadmill for an hour a day. Every day. No excuses.
It was easier than I thought because I set a low bar. In the past, I pushed myself hard when I had treadmill time, which meant I came to dread the treadmill. This time, I vowed to take it slow. I didn’t want to aggravate an old injury or turn this into a hateful experience, so I started to walk and tried to stop myself from jacking up the speed before I was ready. For seven weeks, I never missed a day. This meant that on days I traveled, I got up early or stayed up late to get on the treadmill. It was nonnegotiable.
Everything went great until it didn’t. After about 5.5 weeks, my foot started to hurt. I had plantar fasciitis before, so I always wear stability shoes and inserts, plus I stretch. I kept going, but the pain grew worse. I slowed down on the speed, but it got worse. Ice and Advil didn’t help, and while my foot would loosen up while walking, it was intense anytime I wasn’t, which was the other 23 hours each day. I pulled out my old foot brace to wear while sleeping. Nothing was helping until it was clear I was going to need a day or two off.
The day or two off turned into 13 days off and the plantar fasciitis is going strong, still. I’m doing everything I should be to treat it, but it remains. If I sit for more than a few minutes, it’s awful to stand up and take a few steps. In this time off, not only has my foot not improved, but everything took a slide, too. All of the good that came from my daily treadmill time was gone, too. Plus, I forgot where I was in Orange is the New Black. It’s been so long, Chapman’s probably been released from jail by now. Seven weeks of work was all gone in days.
My habit was dead.
Last weekend, I decided I couldn’t wait on my foot any longer. I got back on the treadmill for the slowest 30 minute walk in my life. I could have beat this speed immediately after I had a c-section. I didn’t even walk a mile in that time, but I walked and my foot felt okay. I did it again today, going slightly farther, but still at a snail’s pace, and I will do it again tomorrow. I’m still icing my foot, sleeping with a boot, and doing my stretches, yet my foot continues to ache. I can’t let this habit go, and stopping for a prolonged period will do just that. I hope I’m not making things worse for my foot, but stopping this all together seems worse in the long run. Hopefully my foot will forgive me.