Posts tagged motivation

A year's worth of foot injury, orthotics, shoes, inserts, splints, wraps, etc.

Don’t call it a comeback.


Or, do. Far be it from be to dictate the contents of your vocabulary. Call it a Prussian revolution, if you wish. I don’t judge.

I hesitate to call it anything, frankly. I got so sick of writing about being injured that I quit (obviously). I think I may be beginning to start to show signs of getting better. Maybe. Possibly. But I’m not jumping to conclusions because I may be wrong. Please excuse me while I knock on everything within my reach that is made of wood.

The cost of a year.

It’s not the greatest photo ever, but it gets the general point across. Everything in the picture is something I bought specifically because of my foot injury. Shoes, shoe inserts, a night splint, a metal plate insert, ice packs, wraps, athletic tape, Kinesio tape, even a cheap rowing machine. Not pictured are dozens more rolls of tape, several more ice packs, bottles of ibuprofen, three doctors, two physical therapists, two orthopedic specialists, two x-rays, an MRI, a chiropractor, and a couple other shoe inserts and one more metal plate that I can’t find.  It’s been a long effin’ year.

The final verdict (hopefully).

So what exactly is wrong with my foot? Here, let me illustrate with this helpful and informative diagram that I made just for you:

Not that I’m a doctor, mind you. But what the doctors think, when you add it all up (as far as I can tell), is that it’s a combination of tendonitis in the flexor digitorum longus (the tendon that runs from the bottom of your big toe all the way to your calf), plantar fasciitis (the ever-popular source of heel pain in the masses), and sesamoiditis (that little half-circle of bone that’s circled is a sesamoid. When it gets inflamed, it causes pain in the ball of the foot). The biggest problem is that the treatment for plantar fasciitis and the treatment for sesamoiditis are almost mutually exclusive. If I treat one, I am likely to aggravate the other, and that seems to be part of why it was so hard to diagnose – my pain didn’t present like any one diagnosis, and no treatment made much headway on my pain, it just moved it around.

All of the various injuries are overuse injuries, probably aggravated by the fact that I was working my foot out hard in kickboxing after taking a few months off, and because the after-school tkd program I was teaching was in a gym with a hard tile floor. I was doing everything barefoot, and the combination and intensity pushed my foot over the edge. That’s my best guess anyway.

At least now that I feel like I know what’s wrong, and the treatments are actually working in the expected way, I am starting to have both progress and hope, although healing not a fast process by any means. I still need to be on my foot to function, and staying off of it completely would actually make things worse, not better. So I still have to try to find a balance between enough moving around to keep things from locking up, and not doing so much that I cause more inflammation. The see-saw between the ball of the foot problem and the heel of the foot problem is the hardest.

I am able to work out a very little bit now, although by ‘work out’ I mostly mean ‘stand on my foot and move around a little for about an hour.’ But it’s more that nothing, and a lot more than I’ve been able to do in a long time. It makes a difference in my mood and motivation if nothing else.

Speaker Q & A Session

Big Omaha 2011

Speaker Q & A Session

Speaker Q & A Session, Day 1*

I spent two amazing days last week at Big Omaha, and I’m still trying to process it all… It’s year three for me and it’s still as overwhelmingly inspiring as ever. It’s impossible to condense everything that is Big Omaha into words, and it’s hard to know how to describe it at all…there’s a part of me that just wants to say: you just have to be there.

It’s a conference that’s part entrepreneurship, part business, part technology, part inspiration, part philanthropy, part philosophy. There’s as much talk of responsibility and work/life balance as there is about landing venture capitol or choosing a co-founder. And above all, everyone is happy to be there. There’s an air of excitement that I’ve never run into anywhere else, and a feeling that anything is possible if you add enough passion and work. It’s a booster shot of motivation like nothing else.

I should add to this a disclaimer: I am biased. Not because I live in Lincoln, and Omaha is practically in my backyard. Not because I’ve spend hard-earned cash to get in for three years running and I need to justify my dollars. No, I’m biased because Big Omaha literally changed my life. Well…Big Omaha, plus a little Gary V.

New Perspective

Gary + You = brain asplosion

Gary + You = brain asplosion

It went like this: One day in 2008, see a random link to Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2008 keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. Mind asplodes, as the internet would say. Despite the fact that I was working at the time in a job that I loved, with people that I loved, and I couldn’t really imagine wanting to leave my job, I was set on fire by what he was saying. It was a way of looking at the world that was different than anything I’d come across before. I had an idea of how life would go, work would go, and the way the world was, and suddenly it was possible to look at it differently.

To save you a long and tiring story, I shall condense: Because Gary was going to be there, I heard of and went to Big Omaha. And without Big Omaha and Gary, I would not have invested in building a personal site that, at the time, seemed uneccessary. I would not have had my eyes open to opportunities outside of my job, and I would not have spent any time thinking and preparing for freelancing.

Big Omaha...People seem to like it

Big Omaha...People seem to like it

Because of Big Omaha, I had options when I needed them. I had the inspiration and the courage to get out of a bad situation and start freelancing full time, and I had the contacts to make it happen. Because of Big Omaha, I made it though a year of freelancing and didn’t starve. Because of Big Omaha, I am not trying to figure out why I hate what I do every day, and I am not trying to convince myself to go to work every morning anyway.

Because of Big Omaha, my entire life is different. That’s not something you usually say about a conference.

Inspiration is universal

Each year I have come to Big Omaha from a different situation, and this year I’m on a very different career track, but it has never made it any less life-changing. This year I feel much more at home with where I am and where I’m headed than I ever have; I think that let me absorb things and apply them to what I’m already planning, whereas in years past, I used the energy from Big Omaha to drive me to change my plans and the rut I was stuck in.

Millions of $ to fund a cat picture web site? Why not.

Millions of $ to fund a cat picture web site? Why not.

But that’s the beauty of Big Omaha: it doesn’t matter that much where you are, what project you’re working on, or what industry you’re in. Whoever you are, the lessons all transfer, and the conversations are still relevant. Inspiration and entrepreneurship are universal. There is no industry that doesn’t need new ideas and innovation, and no business that is not about building relationships with people (that’s right, B to B people, you are still selling to people. I have yet to see a building pull out a checkbook). So anyone can come to Big Omaha and learn – although the jokes will be a lot funnier if you know what an LOLcat is.

Oh, and for those of you following my medical saga: my foot survived. I defied my better judgement and my physical therapist and wore heels (only once), danced (twice), and generally spent too much time on my feet (did I mention that I spent the day after Big Omaha at the zoo?), but I didn’t come out too badly. I used half a roll of athletic tape, I was pretty sore and there was plenty of ice involved, but it’s actually feeling better than it did before I left! Please do not take this as license to ignore your physical therapist, if you have one. They are very smart people and you should listen to them. But sometimes the party’s too loud for talking and you just give up and dance.

*All photos by the spectacular, amazing, incomparable Malone & Co., courtesy Silicon Prairie News.


The first day, in two fun-loving flavors


Last week, while sitting on the rowing machine for the second day and feeling slight kinks and protests work out of my back, I was thanking my younger self for teaching me to take it easy on my first day.

First Day: Resistance/Weights

Back when I was in college (the first time around), I knew a lot less about the limits of my body than I do now. I decided to try out rowing one day, so I jumped on the machine and found that it was easy! Great! So I stayed there for about three times longer than I’d been planning. And then the next day came…Pain. So much pain. I was sore, and not in a good way – I was sore in the ‘it hurts to even think about moving’ way. It was a couple weeks before I could get back on the rowing machine and start working my way up again.

It was painful, but instructional. I learned after that experience that sometimes you have to quit while you’re ahead. In almost any resistance exercise that I do – weights, rowing, even biking – I know that until my body adjusts, I have to force myself to stop long before I’m tired.

First Day: Cardio/Aerobics

This is a different animal. There’s less I can do to control it, but still, it was the same story when starting kickboxing, running, swimming, or any other cardio-heavy workout I’ve done. When I started kickboxing I was fairly out of shape, but I’d been running a little so I didn’t think it would be that terrible (I never do). Within 15 minutes, I was dying. Wheezing, gasping for air, wondering why I let myself get so out of shape. But it always happens this way with cardio. It’s the exact opposite of when I start resistance – instead of my body telling me it can keep going, it wants to stop, curl up in a ball, and be done. And the first day is so, so much worse than any other day. After the first day, I can muddle through. After the first week, I’m pretty much fine. Oh, every change to the routine will throw me a little, a minor version of the first day, but nothing is like the real first day. And it’s a lot easier to push through the really crappy days when I know they’re going to be really temporary.

Better Knowledge = Better System

Maybe this pattern is just me, but I’ve run into it over and over, and I like knowing what’s coming. When I knew less, I would quit cardio workouts because they were too hard, and overreach on weights, and neither way was encouraging my attempts to get healthy. And because learning the hard way sucks, I offer my pain for your benefit. What’s true for me may not be true for you, but if you recognize these patterns in your experience, at least know you’re not the only one. It’s nothing complicated, just something I see that I find interesting. But anyway, I don’t go in for Profound Complex Life-Changing Fitness Rules, because I think that sometimes the simple things are the most helpful. What do you think?



The things I have learned/changed so far in P90X:


Due to my arch injury, I’ve gone through the gamut of modifications and possible solutions. Jerry-rigged arch supports, modified workouts, swapping in Insanity, you name it. Finally I bit the bullet and decided to stay away from anything that involves jumping, lunging, downward dogging, and the like. So the final verdict is:

  • Replaced all the cardio workouts (Plyo, Yoga, and Kenpo) with low-impact alternatives; i.e. biking and swimming.
  • Replaced Legs & Back with either biking or swimming, may do a modified or different alternative workout in the future.
  • Better Supports: Got some faux-orthotics, which so far are working out well. As long as I’m not jumping or doing fast direction changes they stay put without tape (hooray!), and they make all my non-running shoes useable again (epic party!)

I know that the swimming I’m doing is not as intense as a P90x cardio workout, but obviously I can’t jump in and do an insane amount of swimming right out of the gate. Endurance will come with time – I’m content for now that I’m doing something, and it’s not taking the healing process backwards.


This has been the harder part, but I think I’m finally hitting equilibrium. Things that are working:

  • Eating more, earlier. Unfortunately I can go most of the day without eating much (either intentionally or because I’m busy or forget), but then I tend to eat way too much late. Not good. Reminding myself to eat large meals earlier has solved a lot of my problems.
  • Keeping easy protein sources handy at all times. I have to plan for my lazy days. Nuts, trail mix, protien bars, etc.
  • Breakfast. This goes along with eating earlier, but having easy breakfast stuff has helped. I made a batch of healthy breakfast burritos and threw them in the freezer, because I am never going to have the motivation or time to cook that early.
  • Pre-making as much as I can/having canned meat on hand. Easy protein = good.
  • Finding easy, healthy go-to recipes. I get too ambitious sometimes, which is fine for weekends, bad for busy days.
  • Whole wheat. In an effort to stick to the nutrition guide, and eat things that are better for me, I stocked up on whole wheat tortillas, pasta, and rice – so when I do eat carbs, they’re actually healthy, and I have less temptation to eat the ever-feared white food.

Doing all this, I’ve managed not to binge/eat anything ridiculous all week. I still have to be mindful, but spreading my calories over the entire day instead of binging at night has helped a lot. If I can actually get all the P90x workouts in this week (the few left in my schedule), and make it to the rec to swim/bike, I should be back on track – and hopefully in an actually sustainable way.

Today’s workout: 30mins Swimming

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