“Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans” ~ John Lennon

Something BIG to look forward to = very good thing!

This quote came to mind yesterday following an out-of-the-blue pain in the arch-heel area of my right foot during an otherwise awesome run. About seven miles in is when I felt it, and I brushed it off as we runners do as just a little twinge, due to who knows what but certainly nothing serious. Shake it off, just keep going. I was cruising along, nailing my marathon goal pace and was feeling pretty great.

Mile 8. I’m nearing my house, having gone out on a familiar loop in my neighborhood, and I stop briefly to pick up my discarded jacket that I’d hid in the woods on the way out because I had heated up early on. When I start back up, I feel the pain again, not a shooting, sharp pain, but a gnawing one. By the time I get to mile 9, I decide the ache has captured my attention enough that I’d be wise to stop short of my planned 10 miles.

Back at my house, faced with a boatload of work, I sent off a quick text to Lisa to share how much I’m loving my new watch, a Timex Ironman, and that my foot was giving me some trouble. She suggested icing and no high heels for the day. Easy enough since I needed to plant myself in front of my computer for the afternoon.

Of course I had to Google “heel pain and running” – I wondered if what I was experiencing was plantar fasciitis but knew very little about it. As I scoured runner forums and read articles about this common runner injury, I felt a wave of déjà vu wash over me. Exactly two years ago I dealt with a foot injury, and though it was a different kind – Achilles tendinitis – the frustration and sadness is all the same.

So I’m trying not to freak out. I even debated not writing about this. Denial, denial, right? But I promised way back when that I’d share the good and the bad of my marathon training. And who knows just yet what exactly this pain will mean. I’m not out of the game. I’m just facing a bit of speed bump. I’m going to rest, I’m going to ice, I’m going to heed my coach’s advice – I’m thankful, once again, to have her and her expertise. I stopped into my local running store this afternoon and picked up a shoe insert — for my non-running shoes — that is giving me some extra arch support. While I was there, I chatted with two veteran runners and marathoners who shared their own been-there-done-that advice and lots of encouragement. You’ve just got to love that about fellow runners. We get one another.

And I’ve got you, my wonderful readers – however many of you are out there, I’m never quite sure ;) – who I know wouldn’t recommend I let this get me down for long. And please let me know if you’ve dealt with this yourself and share what worked or didn’t work for you…

Along with icing, resting and trying out the arch support in my non-running shoes throughout the day, I’m also going to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Motrin. I’m scheduled to run my first 20 this weekend, and Lisa has suggested at this point that I still plan for it, but I’m going to see how I feel over the next couple of days here. I may have PF, but I may not. Lisa tells me that PF generally comes on slowly, not abruptly as this pain I’m experiencing did. My training has, thankfully, gone so well overall and I feel confident about the plan and how I’ve stuck with it as well as I have.

Other common culprits of plantar fasciitis, I’ve learned today: increasing mileage too fast and worn-out shoes, both of which I can rule out since my mileage has gone up slowly, steadily, and I bought new shoes about a month ago. I may have only bruised my foot by unknowingly stepping on a rock, tree root or another kind of uneven surface — lately I’ve been taking advantage of the now-clear soft shoulders along paved roads and favorite wooded trails.

Or, as my sweet friend Kelle puts it: “Maybe your foot is just tired.” I can go with that.

In the spirit of counting your blessings when the going gets tough…a few things that are pretty fantastic despite this $^%& pain in my right foot:

  • I learned yesterday that my name was among those selected in the Nike Women’s Marathon lottery – yippee! This means I’ll be heading to San Francisco this October with two other friends – we signed up for the lottery as a group – to run 26.2 together and snag a Tiffany necklace at the finish line.
  • I’m having a lot of fun coaching third-, fourth- and fifth-graders through the Girls on the Run program at my kids’ school. I swear I end up learning as much from these beautiful young girls as they do by participating in this program.
  • I’ve completed THREE 18-milers over the past three weekends. I say this as a reminder to myself that while I may end up needing more time off from running than I’d like in the next couple of weeks, I’ve put in some seriously long runs. I feel stronger and fitter than ever before in my life, and that is a pretty amazing feeling. I’m determined to run this marathon May 28. I’m going to be smart, I’m going to do what I need to do to be at that start line, ready to rock this race.

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5 Responses to “Down (just a little), definitely not out”

  1. Rachel Peltier

    Oh Heather…I am feeling your pain!! I suffered an injury (acute in nature) w/my right foot (probably strained ligaments) and I feel like I am behind the eight-ball w/training. I have only one 16-miler under my belt and I stopped short of my goal by 3 miles last week. Slow and steady…keep listening to your coach and I hope to see you at the start!!

  2. michrg

    Rachel! I am sorry to hear about your injury! You’re right, slow and steady…we need to listen to our bodies. It’s hard! And the race is so close now…I was talking with a friend who also is struggling with an injury and we both agreed that it’s tough emotionally to be in the zone, feeling strong and prepared, but then to get derailed with an injury. Hang in there, I WILL see you at the start! :)

    • Rachel Peltier

      Sounds like you are progressing well again in your training! I ran a 15-miler w/o any pain or physical discomfort last weekend (emotionally I was a wreck for the first 4). I plan on running 18-miles this weekend and then due to schedules, I will have to be happy w/shorter long runs until the BIG day. I have learned quite a bit about myself during this training process and I truly appreciate that!! Good luck this weekend and I am looking forward to May 28th!

  3. michrg

    My foot is feeling better, thank goodness! Even so, Lisa modified my plan some to play it safe. So happy to hear that you ran a 15-miler pain-free! That’s awesome. Since you mentioned not feeling so great the first 4…I have to ask if anything in particular helped you move past it since it sounds like the rest of the run went well? Just curious since the head games get to me sometimes and I’m always curious to know how other runners get back into the right frame of mind — or avoid those “mind monkeys,” as I recently read on another running blog. Good luck this weekend with your 18-miler — let me know how it goes!

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