Sunday, September 22, 2013

P.F Injury Postmortem: Part 1, Descent

My running year in 2013 has been heavily impacted by a foot injury that settled in in March and persisted as a major limiting factor until at least the end of August. I was more or less completely exiled from running from June 4th to July 20th, in which time I probably ran no more than 50 miles (and those probably unwisely). This is a summary of how I got myself into trouble, and then how I eventually climbed back out again.

Log Excerpts, March--June (Descent)
3-10: "12 into Hale, muddy mess, w/ 1.5 mile progression."  No pain mentioned, but I remember this run, in all its sloppy, early spring glory, with the trails muddy streams and the north face of Noanet Hill still covered in snow. The soles of both my feet hurt by the end of it. Nothing unusual about that following a long run coming out of a winter slump. I ignored it.

3-23/24: "14 w/2 mile progression, 7.5 feet hurt/tired". I ramped up my weekly mileage to 52, continuing to ignore pain following long runs.

3-29: "14 w/ stops @ 4 and 6 to rest feet (soles very sore)". An obvious pattern should have materialized to me at this point--needless to say the fact that my feet hurt intensely after long runs, particularly my left foot, did not seem to register.

4-13: "15 into Hale. Started Progression @ mile 13, but PF pain intense after 3/4 mile. Iced carefully on return, but worried foot isn't steady-state". I remember that moment feet had been hurting moderately, nothing unusual for a long run with a heavy pavement component. I went to accelerate into the progression, and...twang! ow, ow, ow! That was probably the moment I went from mild inflammation and weakness to full-on injury.

I had by this time self-identified the problem in my left foot as plantar fasciitis. All the classic symptoms were there, the pain right under the heel, the sharp, screwdriver-stab when stepping on the foot for the first time each morning. At this point I was about 7 weeks out from my goal Half Marathon in early June. I did not have time to be injured, damn it!

5-4/5: "16 in Blue Hills, all the way into Quincy. Does not get any prettier. Left foot hurt a lot by end, but totally worth it. 8.5 foot surprisingly improved!"  Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

5-11/12: "16, rest. PF is spoiling the pleasure of running, particularly long. I'm going to see if rest fixes it. 6 days mandatory off." This close to my half marathon, this was a miserable decision to make, but I had a desperate hope that I could 'reset' my foot by giving it some time to heal and then come back with minimal loss of conditioning.

5-18: After making it through five days of rest, I wrote: "PF feels better, but not cured. Only minor dull pain in morning w/ rare sharp stabs. Out of patience, back to running." sigh. Rest really did seem to help. It was easy to pretend that I had ameliorated things.

5-21/22/23/24: "7.5 (10x400 in ....) foot hurts again., rest, rest, rest."  No escaping reality now.

on June 2nd I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in Simsbury. I had lost a lot of training time due to the PF, and my confidence in having a good day was basically zero. I seriously considered a DNS, but I had DNS'd the same race last year. Come on! I was determined to run, hurt foot or not, and then worry about rehabbing it afterwards. This might not have been the smartest thing, but I'm not sorry I did it--I actually finally had a hot-weather race where I felt reasonably in-control of my own thermoregulation. If I had been totally healthy, I think I probably would have plunged out at suicide pace and blown up in spectacular fashion. Silver linings.

I had by now also made the difficult decision to DNS on what I hoped would be my second appearance at the Highland Sky Ultra. I was majorly bummed about that, but the thought of starting a 40 with a hurt foot (a hurt that gets worse the longer you run on it), was too scary. My only priority after Ironhorse was to rehab my foot.

Part 2: Getting Through the Injury, and Part 3: Recovery, coming soon!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ladder workout, 400-1200

Ladder workout, 400-1200 and back down again:

400:     73
600:   2:02
800:   2:43
1000: 3:30
1200: 4:12
1200: 4:14
1000: 3:30
800:   2:46
600:   1:58 (!)
400:    75

Gorgeous day to be on the track; slight breeze increasing during second half of workout, but I can't really blame slowing intervals on that. Happy about that 2nd 600--that's the kind of interval that makes me think I could break 16:30 in the 5K under the right conditions.