I have never made it through a complete marathon training cycle without getting hurt, and/or sick, at least once. Never.
When I’m lucky, I get what I call a minjury, or minimal injury – you ladies feel free to spell this “menjury.” When I’m unlucky, I get a full-blown, straight-up injury – this has happened to me several times as evidenced by a stack of what I’ve dubbed “my $100 t-shirts” from marathons that I started training for and instead got injured, never making it to the starting line. (Aside – screw that “I’ll never wear a t-shirt for a race I didn’t run” business. I doled out a wad of cash for those tees – I’m gonna wear ‘em.)
Here we go again. Chin-deep in the training plan for the 2014 Santa Rosa marathon, I found myself afflicted with minjury. Laura and I had just finished running a tough workout and I felt great, overflowing with confidence. I had nailed it – I crushed my goal split times and felt strong doing it. The workout felt relatively easy, and when you consider conditions, 90+ degrees and high humidity, things were looking up for a good showing in Santa Rosa. 2015 Boston here I come – if I can crush it in the South in the high humidity and crazy hot temps, running in the dry, cool air of California should be a piece of cake. Somebody book my hotel in Boston.
Who was I kidding? We all know I’m not that lucky.
After the workout, Laura and I, in a rush to make it to W2’s (nickname for Laura’s youngest) birthday party, toweled off in the parking lot at McAlpine and put on street clothes, which for me meant dry shorts, a t-shirt, and some flip-flops.
Not an hour later, walking around at the party, I felt a searing pain in my left foot, bad enough that I gasped. I instantly shifted weight to my right foot and then sat down. It felt like somebody had just driven a stake through the bottom of my foot. “Don’t panic”, I told myself, “…probably just one of those weird anomalies. You’ll be fine.” I stood up, gingerly put weight on my left foot, and it seemed fine. Whew. Then I took a step and BAM!, there it was again. Uh-oh.
This happened another four or five times over the next day, but for the most part, I could walk around without pain. The next night, at our Triple C run, I decided I’d try to run again. I didn’t make it a quarter of a mile before the pain struck again – I stopped and walked. When Adam saw me walking, he asked me what the problem was. When I told him, Dr. Mayes diagnosed it as a case of “pussitis”, which made me laugh but really didn’t do much in the way of helping my foot.
I did what I always do in these situations – I emailed Coach Stanford for advice. And as always, the former 120-miles-per-week runner, who has at one time or another experienced virtually every running minjury known to mankind, provided sage advice, including multiple PT videos like this one, “athletes don’t wear flip-flops.“
After another failed attempt at running on Friday, I desperately resorted to the elliptical on Saturday and Sunday. While not exactly running, I guess it’s better than lying in bed and eating Oreos. Barely.
Following Coach Standford’s advice, I sticked/foam rolled/stretched my calves. I iced the affected area. I spent hours rolling my foot over a lacrosse ball. By Tuesday, I was ready to try to lace up the ol’ running shoes again. And while there were a few slight twinges of pain in the affected area, I never experienced the “spike through the foot” pain during the run. I was back.
But here’s what I find so maddening. My evil arch enemies over at Stache and Dash never seem to encounter such issues. They can literally run up and down the sides of mountains without incident, while I break something walking across the street. Case in point:
This is why I have a feeling of euphoria whenever I’m standing, injury-free, at the starting line of my goal marathon.
Now Laura has me going to Mike Danenberg to work out the kinks. I saw him last week and had a nice, relatively normal week of running.
On August 24th, assuming I survive all the minjuries, Laura and I will toe the line in Santa Rosa. I have no doubt she’ll qualify for Boston with time to spare. Me? My window is much tighter. If I qualify by one second (whatever it takes to actually get in), I’ll be ecstatic. Wish me luck!