>> Saturday, March 26, 2011
I ran the Securian Run Half Marathon on the 29th of January. I had logged PLENTY of miles, and the race was short by 1.5 miles, so I wasn't over-doing myself. Everything felt good post race. I did some light cross training 4 days later, and did my first run 5 days after the race. That was the first sign of something not being right with my heel. The pain wasn't up in my lower calf (which I'm used to sometimes), but instead the pain was right at the base of my heel, wrapping around the back of my heel. I stopped running right away.
I saw my ART Doc a few times in February, and I started sleeping in this night splint right away:
GETTING BACK AT IT:
- On March 9th (almost 6 weeks after the race, and about 5 weeks from my last run), I went for a SUCCESSFUL 3 mile easy treadmill run.
- Three days later, I did an easy 3.5 mile run with the "Run for Christchurch" gang. It felt OK.
- Three days after that, the wheels fell off. It was March 15th, and I tried going for another easy outdoor run (hopefully around 4 - 4.5 miles). I had pain right away, and I turned around after a mile while choking back tears. I wasn't in a ton of physical pain - I was just frustrated as hell. I had taken time off after the race (which I was properly trained for), and then I get injured. I rest and rest and rest, and I can't go 1 block without pain. I was pissed.
TAKING NEW ACTION:
I got in the house after that run, and immediately called a PT friend of Pharmie's who works in the same health care system in which our insurance is through. I made an appt with a recommended Sports Med Doc 2 days later.
Sitting in the exam room
Noting that my left heel is the culprit
X-Ray of my heel showing no stress fracture or anything else
My jacket and all the crap from my pockets pre-scan
Note the shaved (stubbly) back of my heel from the kinesio tape
It showed nothing. When I found that out (last Monday, the 21st), I took that as good and bad news. It was BAD NEWS because then what the hell is the ACTUAL problem?!? It was GOOD NEWS because my achillies wasn't detaching from my heel, and maybe I just needed a little more rest. The Sports Med Doc told me to try some running again.
I had an ART appt scheduled for this last Wednesday, so I figured I'd "test" the heel on Tuesday night. So I hit the treadmill. I ran 4.3 painless miles!! I really focused on NOT heel-striking and on being "smooth." The test wasn't only running 4.3 miles, but I added a LITTLE speed in there. I started at a 10:00 mile, then a 9:00, then a 8, and THEN A 7! I don't know how smart that was, but 7:00 / mile is still QUITE a bit slower than my half marathon pace, and I wanted a LITTLE test for my heel.
The next day, I felt FINE, and my ART doc actually said now's the time to stress the heel a bit to promote healing. He actually recommended RUNNING EVERY DAY, but I told him I never do that and that I'd be comfortable working up to running every-other day.
I ran 2 days later (this past Thursday), and I had an easy, mostly pain-free 3.5 miler on the treadmill! The MRI news now makes me feel better about a LITTLE pain - I know that I'm not about to detach my heel. But don't worry: I'm not going to "play through the pain" - I just know that a minor twinge here-or-there isn't the end of the world.
It's feeling a LOT better!! It aches a lot less throughout the day. My ART doc was right - it's ready to be "stressed" a bit to start heeling! I now feel better hitting the trainer too - I wasn't doing much of that because I didn't know if THAT was hurting anything. Here's (preggo) Pharmie, Matt, and I on the trainer after about an hour of Coach Troy's "Have Mercy" last night:
- wearing the splint at night
- foam rolling a few times a day to keep the calf / heel loose
- not pushing off hard with my left food while swimming
- wearing heel lifts in whatever pair of shoes I'm currently wearing
- running ONLY on the treadmill to have even and "safe" foot-strikes
- wearing kinesio tape for every run and about 70% of the rest of the time too
I'm hoping Matt and I can both do the Cannon Falls Duathlon in about 5 weeks, and that "Team Happy Pants" will be able to race the Oakdale Du and the Gear West Du! I'll take it easy as I'm starting back up, and we'll see what we can do with this year of races!....