I may need to cry uncle. As many of you know, I’ve been training for a half marathon. I enjoy running 3 or 4 miles a few times a week, but it takes a certain mental stamina to run longer distances, and to run them often. I thought that was going to be my major challenge in this endeavor, but as it turns out, it is my 41-year-old body that is crying out in protest.
I’ve been fighting an annoying pain in my right heel for almost a year, now. At first it was manageable. It would only be sore first thing in the morning, so I just worked through it. I think I took a few days off here and there to allow it to heal, but it never really went away. Over the winter, I started having pains in the ball of my left foot. Finally I went to my doctor and got an x-ray and confirmed that it was indeed plantar fasciitis tormenting both feet.
There’s not much you can do about plantar fasciitis, as it turns out. You have to treat it with therapies, stretching, proper shoes, sometimes orthotics, and occasionally steroid injections are recommended. There is a lot of conflicting opinion about what works and what doesn’t and doctors don’t really seem to know what causes it. It’s a very common ailment among runners and other athletes but some non-athletes suffer from it as well.
At the recommendation of my trainer, I decided to consult a chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries. He is an athlete and understands my need to continue running if at all possible, and he seemed confident that he could help me while I continue my half marathon training.
But after countless visits, painful massages and manipulations, ice and electrical stimulation treatments and physical therapy (a lot of stretching, mostly) I am still not seeing much improvement. Well, that’s not entirely true. My left foot is 90% better, but my right heel is not improving much at all. If anything, it is getting worse as I start to add on miles in my training program.
I’ve tried to do everything I can to take care of my feet. I have taken to wearing shoes every waking hour, and not just any shoes — they have to be sneakers or supportive sandals. I stretch my calves several times a day in addition to my therapies at the chiro and stretch thoroughly after every run.
Despite all my complaints, I thought it was still manageable until Sunday when I went out to run and my calf cramped up on me about 3.5 miles into my 5 mile run. It had been feeling stiff for a few days (this is the same calf as the heel that is bothering me; I realize that those muscles and tendons are all connected.) Then after I increased my speed for a few minutes, it suddenly it started cramping, and I had to walk the rest of the way back. It’s been sore and stiff ever since.
I skipped my run yesterday morning and went to see my friendly chiropractor, hoping that she could work on it and help loosen it up and get me back to running. She pushed and prodded and ran some nasty metal instrument along my calf to try to loosen up the muscles — did I really sign up for this?? Finally she sent me out to the therapy room for ice and stim.
AND she advised me to lay off the running for a while.
Now, she is not my regular chiro, and he might not have told me this. She even admitted after talking to me, once she felt my calf, that it didn’t seem to be as bad as she was expecting it to. And my trainer said I can run but with no speed. So I’m tempted to try it out and see how it feels.
A cooperative patient, I am not. You should have seen me when they tried to put me on bed rest with my 2nd pregnancy. My friends had to practically tie me to the couch.
Funny thing, in this heat and humidity, I’m not exactly enjoying my runs, but the second someone tells me to stop, I am itching to get out there — even if it’s just a slow, easy 3 miles — I just need to do SOME thing.
It’s not even the half marathon training that I mind missing, it’s the need to MOVE and get my energy out and SWEAT. Yes, I just said I feel the need to sweat. It’s amazing how addicted you can get to sweating!
I also need those calories! Ever since I started tracking my food and exercise on MyFitnessPal, I WANT to get out there and run every day because that means more calories I get to eat! And you know how I love my food.
So we’ll see how it goes. I haven’t cried uncle just yet, but I’m not sure my body is going to hold out for the half marathon in September. I am supposed to do 6 miles this morning but I know that ain’t happening. I might do 2 or 3 reaaaaally slowly just to get the blood flowing. I’m hoping that if I lay off the miles and baby my leg this week, the calf pain will go away at least, and I can complete my long run this weekend with some walk breaks.
For now I’m going to be doing a lot of icing, stretching and babying of my leg. And praying! Because I really wanna run!