5k AG win!
I am not sure when exactly my injury started, but I have photos of my foot brace for it from October 2010, so I am pretty sure I had it for a few months prior. Plantar Fasciitis is not always 100% debilitating and I ran on it for months and months. I ran a PR marathon, I ran a PR trail marathon, I ran a PR 50k, and I finished my first 100 miler all while dealing with the heal pain that would creep in somewhere after 15 miles or so, and require gait adjustment, pain creams, Aleve, and shoe changes to accomodate. At some point after the 100 miler, I just had had enough, and though I tried all the stretches, night splints, icing the foot, rolling it on a ball, and a frozen water bottle I wasn’t getting the relief I needed to progress or even maintain.
I had been seeing the doctor but when relief didn’t come, he suggested it was time for a cortisone shot. I agreed. I had heard very good things about this and thought it could help me turn the corner. The cortisone shot to the heel summed up all the pain I had experienced in the previous 6 months and delivered it in a second or two to that heel. HOLY crap batman did that hurt! I promised ole doc to abstain from running for 3 days and then go by feel on my return. As it turns out I didn’t feel like running on it for most of a week, and then it was getting a little better and I had a free entry to a 10k so it was time. I ran the 10k (oh yeah, PR'd that too) with only minor discomfort and took a bag of ice to my car for the drive home. For the next week I had difficulty WALKING, let alone running. So back to ole doc. I was going to DEMAND an MRI. Didn’t have to, he suggested it first.
MRI showed that the front of my heel bone was taking on fluid and was weakened by the process, so he put me into a boot to immobilize things for two weeks (17 days it ended up.) By the end of that I was feeling optimistic and coming out of the boot they put me back in physical therapy and allowed me to start walking for a week or so, then some elliptical (I hate those) and then a slow return to running. I have been pretty faithful to that and am now released to go on feel and have been trying to be smart. Whenever the running brings on the first tenderness I back off and take a day or two.
Last week I finally had some consistent running and did two 10 mile runs with no pain, and then this Sunday it was time to test out a “race.” I went down to the Greenswell Wellness in the Woods 5k at Scioto Audubon Metro Park and signed up. I did a warmup half mile or so, and I knew it wasn’t going to be a great day to race because the humidity made it hard to breathe even on the warmup. The race starts and I am coughing and hacking for air by the first half mile, but the legs feel great. No heel pain. Normally at a race I am running on the edge of what I feel my legs can handle and call that the edge. Due to the humidity, and perhaps being out of shape, this day I was running on the edge of oxygen starvation. I just kept the needle at the “I can breathe, just barely” setting on the dial and did the best I could.
This race included a 2 mile option and at the one mile sign only one teen girl was making the turn back for the 2 mile race. I had a 30 yard argument with myself about making that turn and chasing her down to try to win my first ever race, but resigned myself to the race I entered and kept motoring out on the 5k course. To cut it short, I hacked and wheezed all the way to the finish, pushing that edge, but not really kicking much. I finished in 24:41 which is just off my 24:13 5k PR and to my surprise I ended up winning my age group which must have been pretty weak this day. 22nd out of 89 runners for about a 25 percentile finish, which is also high for me. So all in all, not too bad of a result in my first race back. Time to either better that in a 5k, or find a 10k and start working my way back to marathons and ultras. YUTC, and URINEO are calling to me!