“Which direction do you want to go?” I asked him over my shoulder. The air was cold, and my breath condensed to fog on the air. My husband glanced along the road in front of our home before turning and pointing back to the front door. Our dog wiggled like he would explode, thinking the attention was back to him. I laughed hard, started the GPS, and led my husband across the street, past the lake, and uphill. He was not amused.
Two weeks from today I will (hopefully) be lining up at the start of my second 50k. I ran the race last year as my first venture into ultra running – and managed to snag a 3rd place overall finish. I have been putting in the speed work and hard workouts, hoping to have the energy to finish well and to finish faster than last year.
After a few days off, thinking I was over-trained, I started back up – running. I was stress running. Feeling fat from taking time off, stressed out of my mind from various things, and I was eating terribly…following cravings. I needed to run. So I did. Hard. Fast. I ran myself straight to an injury.
My husband decided he wanted to run again. He did the Flying Pig Marathon back in May and then pretty much stopped running entirely. It’s not his thing… running just for the heck of it. But he wants his cardio health back. So last Sunday we went out for an easy 30minute run. Later that night at work my foot exploded in pain.
One minute I was just sitting there, thinking about going home and getting some serious sleep (I was looking forward to the sleeping in part of my Monday – my schedule has Mondays as no running days…so I would catch up on sleep and ride my bike on the trainer a little bit before work). The next thing I know, the moment my foot hit the ground as I stood up everything was fire and lightning and pain…from the ball of my foot to the heel…especially the heel. I’m talking FIRE, people. I couldn’t walk.
I hobbled through the next six hours of work… stretching my calf, which was about all I could really do at the time. It was too late though. My plantar was at full-blown tendinitis.
I ended up icing the foot for two days. And I rode my bike for an hour at a time for four days straight. By day two it was epic boring… like running on a treadmill, really. I was also bumming out because the weather was perfect for running ! Temperature varied in the high 40s to mid 60s… My ideal running temps! No. I couldn’t walk…. running was completely out. It was beyond just too stiff and sore to walk in the mornings…that was part of it, but it lasted all day. I was stretching my calf, rolling the foot out on a rolling pin (which hurt immensely), and icing.
Riding my bike really made a difference. It helped so much. After the ride, I would roll it out on a golf ball, and roll my legs out with the foam roller. After all that, I could make it through the night at work without issues.
My running friends had all kinds of advice: “Change your shoes – you need more cushioning for the distances!” “Epson salt soaks!” “Ice baths are GOD!” “Take the red pill.”
Granted, some things that were recommended really did help (a calf and plantar strengthening move one friend told me to use has been working really well, actually), while others are obvious snake oil (epson salt, if you’re wondering, does nothing more than keep your skin from getting all prune-y while you’re soaking in water. It’s the warm soak that helps).
This is where a great running store comes in handy. The staff at my go-to store, Tri-State Running Company, are all brilliant runners and coaches. A quick chat and it was obvious that changing from my Brooks Ghost to a shoe with a zero-drop this close to race day was a bad idea. Instead, I was sat down and Chris went to work with one of the many injury recovery tools… this thing, actually:
Lemme tell you about this thing…
I hate this thing.
I do not like it.
I didn’t like it when Chris was using on me to show me how to use it properly.
I still bought it.
Because damn-it, after four days of just riding the bike and one whole day off everything – I felt fatter than jabba the hut. I felt like I was watching all of my running fitness disappear. And above all, I didn’t want to get 10k into my 50k, and be looking at a long, awful, slog as I hobbled myself to the finish and broke myself beyond repair.
This thing worked.
After a day of breaking up the scar tissue with this thing and I’m waking up without pain now! Walking is fine. Things feel a little tight still, near the ball of my foot and around the ankle and calf. But they’re better than they were.
Yesterday my Husband got up and ran with me for 12 minutes. Good enough for a little over a mile at his pace. I didn’t have any pain. Not at the start of the run, and not after. And not that evening. I’m keeping up on the injury treatment and rolling out everything now.
Which leads to this morning. And taking my Husband up the near-by hill for a 14 minute easy run. I’m sure he thought I was just being a jerk… but I wanted to see if my foot would handle the ascent and descent. (It did). And I wanted to be able to do a little more “my pace” and not loose my man too badly.
Things are looking good for me to be able to jump back into my training plan for the ultra…. I think. It’s week two of the three week taper, so the running isn’t as bulky as it was before this injury came up. I’m assured that I haven’t lost any of my running fitness, that I may be “a bit slower” on race day, but if I play it well, I shouldn’t suffer-fest the race. And that’s really all I want.