In the process of achieving my PDR, I found myself experiencing some of my very first aches and pains of marathon training. While running some shorter distances in the weeks prior, I had felt a occasional twinge of pain. Nothing big, but enough for me to take notice. No way did I want to be sidelined with an injury so close to Chicago. So I did what any nursey gal would do: RICE. For non-nurseys, this acronym stands for:
I also threw an Aleve in the mix every now and then. Up until my 18 miler, the hooves didn’t give me much trouble.
That is, until PDR day.
Around mile 12 is when I started to feel it. The nagging, achy discomfort in the posterolateral region of my left foot. While it didn’t hurt too terribly bad while running, it reared its ugly head the second I started to walk. The entire rest of the weekend I found myself limping around trying to avoid any heel striking, which only worsened the pain. Welp, I thought, it’s finally happened. I’m injured.
Plantar fasciitis (aka PF). Probably one of the most common running injuries. It is commonly caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, or inappropriate running shoes. These scenarios can overload the plantar fascia, or the connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes (source). For me, I felt (and still feel) that my shoes were the culprit. I had changed from my faithful Mizunos to the Saucony Kinvaras back in the winter while training for the National Half Marathon.
I have LOVED these shoes. They’re lightweight and more of a minimalist shoe. I have had very few aches and pains and have achieved many a PR in them. The pinkies above are my second pair as a matter of fact. However, over the past month or so, I have felt as though my feet have been striking the ground much harder than they used to. It doesn’t necessarily have everything to do with my shoes. It could be because I’ve been a bit of a slacker in the core/ strength training department. In any event, I haven’t exactly felt like I’ve been running on clouds.
Back to “injury day.” Luckily I had to wear heels all weekend for the wedding I stood up in, giving my heels a bit of a break. But I immediately knew after that run that a break would be mandatory. According to my running sources, there are a high number of injuries at this time in marathon training. The runs are getting longer. Bodies are becoming more and more depleted. Surprised was I? Not really. Bummed? Absolutely.
I took 7 days off from running. Those days included a lot of RICE therapy. I’ve formed a relationship with my frozen water bottle, which I roll underneath my feet while watching tv. Tennis and golf balls are lying around the house (more than normal) so I can stretch out my plantar fascia every chance I get. Esp while drying my hair in the morning. I’ve also avoided wearing flats for the past 2 weeks at work (which is usually all I wear). Oh, and I’ve been eating Aleve like candy. All of these strategies have made a huge difference. My first day back on the road was last Saturday, and I made sure to take it slow, churning out just under 4 miles. It’s amazing how sluggish the body feels after such a long hiatus. But the most important thing I noted after that run was: I had no more foot pain!
This week, I made a special trip down to Indy to get fitted for some new running shoes. I had been looking at Newtons, whose creaters pride themselves on promoting a more natural running experience. However, my shoe-fitter at The Runners Forum steered me away as they take a long time to break in. With only 5 weeks left til the marathon, I was terrified of losing everything I had built til now. So I looked at other brands. I needed more support. After a long time trying out different shoes, I found myself going right back to my old faithfuls.
I also picked up one of these.
I love the new kicks. I’ve ran 5 + 5 + 3.1 miles so far this week and haven’t had any residual pains. I’ve continued to wear heels at work, just cause I’m nervous about doing too much flat footed walking. But next week it’s back to my flats.
Tomorrow, I run the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon, which will be my first long run since “injury day.” I don’t plan to race, I just plan to run. And enjoy. I even have a few Perfect Strangers to keep me company. I’m just so unbelievably relieved that my patience has paid off. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
So, hey. PF. Pfffffffffffftttt