Monday, August 31, 2009


I am injured.

One week ago, I felt like part of my running shoe was rubbing against the outside of my right foot. It didn't hurt, but it did feel awkward. I forgot about it completely until later that evening when I went down a flight of stairs in flip flops. The same part of my foot started to hurt.

The next day, I went out for a 10 mile run, including speedwork. I wore a different pair of running shoes (a pair that has more cushion and bounce) and I couldn't feel the twinge in my foot at all. I successfully completed the speedwork, and I averaged a 7:35 pace for 39 minutes. I was so excited about this because it was humid and in the upper 60's, which meant I would be even faster in better conditions. After the run, when I took my shoes off, I felt my foot walking around my house. It wasn't painful, but I definitely felt something as I was walking around. I called my physical therapist, who is typically booked up at least one week in advance, and she was able to get me in the next day-- Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I had been experiencing some tightness in my left medial calf, so I decided to get a sports massage on Tuesday night. This was the most painful massage I had ever experienced! She spent 20 minutes on just my calf and said there was a huge knot there. When I went to see my physical therapist the next morning, she was much more concerned with my calf than my foot. She said that there was some mild Peroneal Tendonitis, but that my calf was in bad shape. It was swollen and bruised from the massage and she said that it had probably been just a few days away from tearing. She told me not to run again until my calf felt better.

I took Wednesday and Thursday off as rest days and my calf felt better on Friday morning. Meanwhile, my foot was barely an issue. I decided to run six easy miles on the treadmill. At mile 3.5, I suddenly felt a pain on the outside of my foot. It was much worse than it had been last time. I kept running in the hopes that it would go away, but it didn't, so I stopped after five miles instead of the planned six. I limped my way off of the treadmill, and my foot has been hurting ever since.

I called my coach and she told me how to take care of it. She recommended ice massage, stretching, and foam rolling the Peroneal tendons. I even found a web site that showed me how to stabilize the ankle with taping to prevent lateral motion that would irritate the area. My coach said this was a minor setback--not an injury-- and she thought that I would be able to do my last long run (20 miles) the following weekend. She also thought I would be able to do some light running on Sunday, but given the fact that I was still limping, I didn't attempt to run.

So now it's Monday and it still hurts to walk on my foot. I've been swimming and using the elliptical machine (neither seem to irritate it) but that is no substitution for running. I just want to maintain what I have. At this point, I am not looking to gain more fitness. I just don't want the past 8 weeks of hard training to come undone. I can't predict when it will get better-- all I can do is keep resting my foot and taking care of it. I'll go back to my PT on Friday.

I cried a lot on Saturday. It hurt to walk on my foot, so every step was a reminder that I was injured. I couldn't put it out of my head. My boyfriend actually carried me a few blocks in D.C. on our way to dinner because it hurt with every step, and I could only walk slowly. Maybe it's not meant to be. Maybe I am not meant to qualify for Boston. I always come so close, and then something comes along at the last minute to ruin it. A year ago, I was in the home stretch for the Hartford marathon but I caught a virus and was sick for five weeks. I couldn't run a fall marathon so I attempted Arizona in January. There was an unexpected heat wave, so I bonked at mile 14-- not having been acclimated to the heat. Then, at the New Jersey marathon in April, I was on target for a sub-3:40 based on my recent half marathon. But it was cold and pouring rain, so I ended up in the medical tent with hypothermia. It never works for me, and it's always a matter of bad luck. I do everything in my power to train smart but the "stars" haven't aligned for me. I have been working toward this BQ goal for over a year, and something always gets in my way.

My boyfriend Greg says that if there weren't obstacles then it wouldn't be worth attaining. That's what makes it all the sweeter-- having to overcome obstacles and fight for it. I agree with this but I also feel like I have faced more than my fair share of obstacles. And I see so many people train for one season, run the marathon and get the time they deserve. Heck, I used to do that. My first six marathons were all PRs. And then the injury/illness/weather demons started to show their faces at every marathon.

As of now, I don't really have a "plan of action". I just have to wait. And wait. And wait. I have no idea when my foot will feel better, but I am not going to run on it until I can walk on it. And even then, it will be very easy running. My patellar tendonitis that I had in the spring of 2008 took three months to completely recover from. My biggest fear is that I will have to wait three months to resume normal training, and I will have lost everything I have worked so hard for.


  1. I too have been dealing with a bit on an injury. Smart to take the time now. I have a very tight calf and roll on a baseball instead of a foam roller.
    And LOOSE THE FLIPFLOPS. For good. They cause SO MUCH TROUBLE for feet and legs.

  2. Thanks, Audra. I am sorry to hear you are dealing with an injury too. :-(

    My coach said the exact same thing about the flip flops. I stopped wearing them after that first night with the pain.

    Thanks for the tip about the baseball-- I assume a tennis ball might acccomplish the same thing?

  3. I was using a tennis ball, but my PT told me to use a baseball since it's harder

  4. (((HUGS))) I'm so sorry that you are injured. Your BF is right about having to cross obstacles to make accomplishments sweeter. Please, please don't give up on that BQ goal. Lots of people work for lots of years to achieve certain times. You aren't done yet!!

  5. Sorry to hear of this development. Hang in there. Get healthy (hopefully sooner rather than later) and come up with the plan after you can run without hurting. I know it sucks now, but it will be that much more rewarding when things come together. Yes, I said when, not if. They will come together, it just may not be as soon as you hoped. Good luck!

  6. I am late in getting to people's blogs--still switching over from my old account. Anywho!

    I just wanted to say that I know exactly how you feel. I had similar struggles in trying to break 4 hours (in fact, you were one of my inspirations on RWOL for making that goal!). I had the same exact thoughts on my second or third try (maybe it was fourth!?)--maybe I'm just not cut out for marathons, maybe this is just not meant to be, etc. Gotta love marathons, right? We've certainly picked a frustrating pastime.

    Hope you doing good today. Your bf sounds like a great guy. :)

  7. Hey everyone. Thanks for your comments. As it turns out, this injury is actually a stress reaction-- the precursor to a stress fracture. I have not run since Friday. I have a PT appointment tomorrow and she will hopefully allow me to run 2-3 easy miles on a track this weekend. I'm trying to maintain my fitness with the elliptical, but that puts a strain on an old knee injury, so my elliptical time is limited.

  8. Oh Elizabeth, my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine what you are feeling right now. You deserve this more then anyone I know. You work harder at running then anyone I know. I know I can't say anything to make you feel better but I AM thinking of you. Lots of love. Randi

  9. Sorry Elizabeth :) I will pray for a quick recovery.

  10. How's the foot feeling these days? I hope you're bouncing back and still plan to go after that BQ-you WILL get there.