Recently I have been battling plantar fasciitis and some Achilles tendonitis. The pain started back in October after running my first 50k distance and longest trail distance to date. It started off pretty minor and more of a nuisance than anything else. I continued to add on the miles and run through the discomfort. Around Christmas time, I was no longer able to continue doing this. I started experiencing sharp, hot pain in my heel with each step I took. As a runner, or any athlete will probably attest to, it’s not easy to admit there is something wrong and a different course of action is necessary. I finally broke down and went to the doctor, who confirmed it was plantar fasciitis. He did not want to give me a cortisone shot but did recommend I see the PT, along with wearing only tennis shoes all day, every day. The PT reluctantly said I could continue running as pain permitted. Somewhere along the way in the past few years, my pain tolerance has become quite high, so of course I continued to run. I was in the thick part of training for what I hoped would be a PR race – the Rock-n-Roll New Orleans Marathon. It was the race I planned to overcome my 4-hour curse. The PT put me through a series of treatments, which included lots of stretching, dry needling, and strengthening. After a few weeks of very little improvement, he said those dreaded words – “Tracy, it’s time to stop running.” Running was delaying the healing process. He recommended aquatic therapy. Ha! This girl can’t swim worth a darn. I did give it the good old Girl Scout try though. About the fourth time in the pool, I started panicking. I struggle breathing in the deep end of the pool, even with the jogger belt on. In desperation to keep my cardiovascular fitness up and hanging on to hopes of a PR I took to the stair climber and rowing. I continued seeing the PT and I started seeing significant improvement. During this time, I had come to the realization and accepted that I would not be able to run the marathon as I had planned. I took a total of 10 days off from running all together. The PT gave me the green light to try a mile or two here and there to see how my foot responded. By the Thursday before the marathon, I had run a few times without any pain or impingement the next day.
Thursday morning hubby and I packed up early to board our plane to New Orleans, one of our most favorite vacation spots. We spent a few days enjoying lots of great food, walking around exploring new areas and shopping. This year we tried a few new things – we took a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and toured two of the local plantations. The cooking class was Saturday morning before we went to the race expo. If you ever have a chance to take one of their demo classes, I highly recommend it! We learned how to make jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding, and pralines. Our teacher was a retired mother of 5 with the best sense of humor. We would absolutely go back and recommend it to others!
After the cooking class we walked over to the race expo. The night before, my husband and I had a long discussion about whether or not I should consider running. I was feeling really good, not experiencing any pain, even with all of the walking about town we were doing. He was signed up to run the marathon, too. This would be his first! His training had been a run/walk program. We decided together that I would run/walk with him as far as I could, and if at any time I had ANY pain, I would exit the race and meet him at the finish. We both felt good about the decision without putting my health in jeopardy.
Race day we woke up to perfect running weather! Our hotel was close to the start so we were able to stay inside right up to the start time of the race. The race started in waves, and my husband was assigned corral 16 so we didn’t have to be there as early. We did however cut it a tad close for dropping off my drop bag. They were just about to close up the trucks when we got there. When the race started, I let my husband dictate our pace and run/walk intervals. The run was about him completing the race and I was just happy to be running, and running with him. The first half of the race went by pretty quickly as we ran down and back St. Charles Street lined with beautiful homes. We were both feeling pretty great!
Somewhere around mile 14 he started to hit a wall. Fueling for this distance is very new to him and he hadn’t had enough to eat that morning or the night before. We started walking more and more. I continued to stay with him – as he teased that he could tell I really wanted to take off. More importantly though, I wanted to do this with him. We ended up walking most of the second half of the marathon. We met some really great runners and enjoyed ourselves as we trotted through this great town.
We saw the finish line come into view and we clasped hands and ran it in together.
There is no PR that will ever come close to beating this memory that I have with him. I was so proud of him for completing this amazing feat and happy that I got to share the moment with him. I think the universe has a way of working it’s magic. I was where I needed to be at that moment in time.
Post race, I am feeling great! I’ve started to pick my miles back up and am really being diligent with my stretching and strength exercises. Operation 165 is underway – stay tuned for weekly training updates! And in case you missed it, I have a $25 gift card to HyVee for the next person who donates $100 to my MS Run the US fundraiser!
Have you been sidelined due to injury? How did you respond or change your workouts due to it?