Back on the couch

Finally, I was starting to feel “normal” again for the first time since February. Normal in the sense of getting myself back on track with the workouts, that is. After I decided to put on a show at The Diamond restaurant and then spend 3 lovely days at the five-star resort otherwise known as Carolinas Medical Center, things had been – off – for the subsequent months. But I was finally back on track, and in training for my third marathon.

And I was sporting a new pair of barefoot running shoes, Merrell pace glove. I was being smart, running my long runs in my light stability Asics, and my short runs in the pace gloves (I’d been practicing barefoot running for a few months in my Vibrams, so this wasn’t new to me).

The first few weeks of training were going fairly well. I was getting re-adjusted to the high humidity of the Southeast by about week 3; I’d been visiting out West for the first week or so of training and that had been wonderful (no hills, lots of heat but little humidity, and sidewalks as far as my eyes could see.) But, I was looking forward to the cooler weather coming our way as my mileage was to increase.

Then one Thursday about two weeks ago, I woke up with a slight soreness in my foot. “Hmm, maybe I should skip my run today,” I thought, but then the soreness went away. I only had 3 miles to run anyway, so late morning I set out for my run. The first mile was great. So great, in fact, that I almost wondered if I should run home, change my shoes to the distance ones, and go ahead and do my 10-mile run for the week. (It was scheduled for Saturday, the same day I was traveling to Topsail Island, so I was worried about combining a 10-mile run with a 5-hour road trip – I kinda figured the run would be difficult to squeeze in at that point.)

I decided to just stick with the 3 miles. I had a lot to do to get ready for my trip, and I figured running 10 miles on the beach would just be … awesome. Little did I know that I was about to have a problem.

After mile 1, my foot started hurting. With every step it got worse and worse. I kept running, hoping it would work itself out. Finally at mile 1.8, I decided to take a small walk break to see if I could get it to feel better. And it was then I knew I was really hurt – even walking was making it worse. I hobbled home (2.5 miles in total), and started the regiment of ice/elevation/Advil.

The next day wasn’t better. Sharp, shooting pain in my foot and toes, and my foot was swollen so badly it wouldn’t even fit in my shoes. The next week was just as bad, and I was devastated as my beach trip ticked away with not even a single run along the water.

Running at the beach is one of my all-time favorite places to run. I ran a 16-mile run at the Outer Banks a couple of years ago (on sidewalks and running trails), that I still remember every moment of. And I ran 6 miles barefoot at Snead’s Ferry last year. My feet were blistered for a couple of days after that one, but it was worth it because I got to see dolphins. And this year I had my barefoot shoes. But I didn’t get to use them.

What I did do was make a doctor’s appointment. And I went yesterday. X-rays didn’t show the stress fracture, but he’s pretty confident it’s there. So I have an appointment with the ortho doctor on Monday and I’ve been given the advice no runner ever wants to hear: No running for a month. Even if it feels better.

So, there we have it. I have Oct. 19 mentally marked on my calendar as the day I can resume. And my hope is that I’ll still be able to continue training and run the marathon on Dec. 11. In the meantime,  I need to figure out some workouts I can do that don’t involve my foot. Doctor said I can swim as much as I want, and depending on how the pressure works with my foot, I can try bike riding (if it hurts, don’t do it, he said). But no running. No walking (no festivals, no going to the mall, etc.) I’ve already thought of crunches and knee pushups. Pullups. What else can I do? Help me before I go stir crazy!