...or the five stages of grief...
This could get a little lengthy...you are forewarned.
I'm not really sure where or how to start this post, but it's probably a good idea for me to get it out there.
Let's rewind to March, well, if I'm truly honest with myself maybe mid/November (but we will go back to September/October 2013 at the beginning of marathon training).
Last September I got invited to run Hana Relay with a kick ass group of ladies and it was super fun. That race ignited the beginnings of my like/growing to love of running. After Hana, my focus was building up to the Honolulu Marathon in December.
I was running more and was more focused in this build up than I ever had been before and I was loving it. I was still swimming and biking, but my focus was definitely more on the running aspect of swimbikerun. After some of my longer or more intense runs, I would sometimes have a little niggle in my heel and then getting out of bed and taking those first couple steps in the morning never felt very good, but as they day went on the niggle went away and I was back to normal. Nothing too be concerned about (at least that's what I kept telling myself...mistake #1). I wasn't icing, I wasn't stretching and generally I wasn't really taking care of my feet. It's not that I didn't have the time, knowledge or resources to put to use, I was just ignoring and deciding that this wasn't an issue. It hurt a little, but it always went away and I was still able to run (and I was running pretty well). I was ignoring it, pushing through, being "tough" and not wanting to draw any attention to a potential set-back or make any excuses (mistake #2). This went on through the marathon and I actually had a great marathon (which didn't help with my not dealing with a potential problem). (Stage 1-Shock and Denial)
I biked a ton in December and January. I was running, but I wasn't running hard or a lot, so there was very little if not no pain in the foot/heel area. Enter February/March and the beginnings of triathlon season/training. Time to start running more again and balancing out/loading more swimbikerun to get ready for the season.
March brought about one of the first races of the year, Lavaman over on the Big Island. At this race, the last two miles or so is on lava rock and sand. Not a race you, well I, should wear racing flats. I'm just not suited to run on lava rock in racing flats (hard lesson learned). During the end of the run, I landed just right, well, actually, wrong on a piece of lava rock and it hit my heel right in the money spot. Ouch, but it was a race and I kept plugging on, finished with a great result and my little mishap with a piece of lava was long forgotten (mistake #3). We had a great long weekend of riding bikes and swimming on the Big Island.
A week or so later after a hard Thursday night speed workout with the BOCA Honu training group, I woke up Friday morning and could barley walk. I could put zero weight on my foot. (Stage 2-Pain and Guilt). I cried, I didn't know what to do or why this happened (really Lectie, you didn't know why after months of ignoring something it finally got to the point where you were forced accept that something was wrong, that I wasn't bulletproof, that I needed to do something?! Oh boy, if I could go back now and deal with it in December, well probably September or maybe even earlier, if I'm honest with myself, I would..live and learn, there's nothing I can do right now to change what I didn't do months ago), I was upset, scared, nervous, and angry. (Stage 3-Anger and Bargaining with a little bit of Stage 4-Depression/Sadness).
I went to Saturday workout which happened to be a killer double brick and I couldn't run, I could barely walk. How am I going to race Honu in 2 months when I can't even walk right now?!). I made myself a deal, I'll go to the doctor, get some exercises, do them, ice, aqua jog like crazy, take care of my foot and not run for 2-3 weeks, do everything the doctor says, even get some Hokas to run in when I can start running again, and then in 3 weeks I'll be good to go and ready to get back at it for Honu training (probably should have done this a looooong time ago). Three weeks with no running, being diligent about stretching and exercises to strengthen and help heal my foot, taping and icing will cure me. Plan instated and I was good-to-go, or so I convinced myself again.
Seeing Dr. Zen at the Zen Center Hawaii was the turning point for me. First and foremost, he is an athlete, he understands what we do to our bodies, but he also knows how to take care of them and he is committed to keeping us on the road doing what we love. We, as athletes, need to listen to our bodies, be diligent and not deny and ignore problems because that will only make things worse. Dr. Zen is the most knowledgeable doctor I have ever have the pleasure of working with. He took close to two hours for my initial assessment and was confident that we could get through the next two months and have a strong race at Honu. Initially, I was less than confident (I could still barely walk), but at this point truly trusted him because he came highly recommended and was not just your in and out kind of doctor that pushes through patients to make the money. I could tell he was committed after just seeing my that first time. I went to see him once a week for the weeks leading up to Honu and slowly, I was progressing. The pain was still there, but I was able to run pain free, it was just sore afterwards and in the mornings. I wasn't cured, but I was moving in the right direction.
Honu came and went, I had a great race and wasn't debilitated afterwards. However, my pesky little problem was still hanging on. I now had 4+ months before Kona and needed to get this problem solved. Dr. Zen recommended I go to a podiatrist since what we were doing wasn't "curing" me. I did that, was diagnosed with Planar Fasciitis (joy joy joy!), got a cortisone shot, didn't run for 3 weeks afterwards, and my foot felt great, well 90% great.
My work with Dr. Zen continued and continues to this day, his modalities allow me to be active and continue doing what I love. It's preventative and overall good practice to continue with him and I will.
Truly, the only real fix to my problem would be to stop running, for I'm not quite sure how long it would take, let my foot 100%, really 100% heal and build up again from there. After the shot and my 3-5 weeks off from running, I began again...slowly...and I'm able to "run" again. It is taking time to get my run fitness back up to where I want it to be and I realize the process is going to be a slow one, but I'd rather it be slow and not completely trash my foot again than to ramp up too quickly and not be able to walk. I'm definitely still not 100%, but I'm leaps and bounds better than I was before Honu and I'm being a good little patient doing all my exercises, stretches, icing, running on softer surfaces, and slowly increasing my mileage. It's not great, but it's better and I will continue to slowly increase the mileage in my build to Kona (Stage 5-Acceptance and Hope).
That's my foot story...To Be Continued...post Kona
Anyone have an AlterG treadmill? :-)