Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Update


Going on 4 weeks ago I was amidst a marathon training push to get ready for Cape Cod in October.  I had been ramping up the miles while not really doing all the other things that go along with smart training (like stretching, icing, etc).  Needless to say a breakdown was inevitable and that's exactly what happened.  I was out on a seemingly harmless 5 mile easy run with Kevin on the snowmobile trails behind Walmart in Conway when disaster struck.  I landed on my left foot as I normally do and immediately felt a sharp, shooting pain all over my foot.  Enough where it stopped me in my tracks.  I stopped, took my shoe off immediately, and tried to massage it because it kind of felt like a cramp I had a couple of years ago when I was up in VT running with the Keenyans.  But this time it was much worse.  I was able to hobble back very carefully to the car (about a mile) while barely landing on my foot.  From there, it is going on a month and probably more (by the time it's all done) without running.  

It didn't get any better after a couple of weeks of doing next to nothing.  I had Doc. Brown come look at it and I went to see a local massage and cold laser therapist here in the valley and had some work done.  It is progressively getting better, but slowly.  I still can't run on it and this past weekend, I hiked Chocorua with Kristin's dad and it was bothering me the whole time.  The big problem for me hasn't been the sharp, shooting pain that is seemingly all over my foot and tends to move to a different spot each time it acts up.  The problem for me has been the mental aspect of thinking it is going to possibly hurt again with my next step. The pain is so bad that it actually scares me to even take a normal WALKING step/stride, let alone a running one.  Sometimes I go days without any 'pain' but know as soon as I push off with the ball of my foot, I'll be in for one of the worst pains I can remember.  I've been consciously thinking about the pain EVERY SINGLE STEP I've taken since the day it happened.  I sometimes feel as though I'll never be able to run again because of it.  But I know that will pass.  I hope it will pass.

The weird thing is that the pain is not localized to any one area.  I can't find any part of my foot that hurts when I poke, prod, twist, squeeze, massage, etc.  It's fine.  But every once in a while I'll get a searing pain just sitting here.  Then I'll be able to walk around no problem, but as soon as I push off or lean to a side or walk on an uneven surface, disaster strikes again and I'm back to square one.  Because it doesn't hurt ALL the time, I have been told through some medical professionals and a podiatrist that it's most likely not a stress fracture.  It could be a nerve thing or most likely just a deep bone bruise.  I could go get an xray, as enough time has passed now where they could determine whether it was/is a stress fracture, but I kind of don't give a sh*t.  I guess it has just soured my whole taste for running right now.  I almost just don't want to deal with it, hang it up, and just go on w/ my life in other aspects (I 've got some big life changes coming anyways).  Regardless, it has sucked to have to miss all this running, miss really cool races like the Kennett HS XC Challenge, The Millen Mile, Pisgah, UROC, etc.  I had to miss a Seacoast race and now am in danger of actually losing that series if I can't compete in at least one of the two remaining 5ks in October (Great Bay seems to be my only chance).  I also shelved any hopes of running a fall marathon.  Now I am staring at snowshoe season in the face soon and just want to be able to compete (at any level).

I've been able to ride my mountain bike and have been doing some cool loops here locally in the woods around Madison/Freedom. I've done some road biking too but not much.  Kevin just got a road bike so we'll ride a little more now, but I really just want to get back out on the trails and run again.  I did manage to get 2 small runs in last week (Mon and Tues) but quickly went back on the DL.  I ran last Monday after thinking I was over the hump.  Kevin and I did 3.2 miles (a short out and back on Town Hall Rd. in Jackson) and it started to go on me on the way back.  The day after, Darin and NIck Brown and I did a 4+ mile loop from his house, up Daniel Ward Rd and down Goe Hill back.  I felt OK on the entire run, but after standing around talking to Darin after, I turned to walk to my car and it went on me again.  It's a sudden sharp stabbing pain that takes over my whole foot in an instant.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone.  It has completely ruined running for me and just thinking of running and watching people run, train, and race even online, makes me cringe. I look at how they land on their feet and just feel uneasy (like someone scratching their nails on a chalkboard). It sucks.  Darin prescribed some topical anti-inflammatory I have been using and I think it's getting better, but I still don't know and really just don't dare to test it out just yet.

In the meantime, I've been focusing on work, projects around the house, and getting ready to be a dad.  Yes, a dad.  For those who aren't friends w/ me on Facebook, I am expecting to be a dad around the 9th of Jan. or so.  It is a little girl.  We're excited. It's about time.  Puts things in perspective.  Starting to realize what the most important things are in life and it's made this whole injury a little easier to deal with.  

i'll try to update the blog still, even if I'm not running.  If I have any interesting hiking, biking, etc. related happenings that I think are blog-worthy, I'll share.  I've just not been motivated lately. Hopefully as I climb the ladder again with training and eventually racing, I'll get back into the running blog.  I haven't even been following many other blogs since going down.  It's funny how that happens.  One thing for certain is when I come back, I'll be making some changes.  Changes in my racing, my involvement w/ certain things, my training regimen, etc. I am not going to be as obsessed w/ numbers as I once was.  Compared to some others, I wasn't too too crazy about high miles or my training pace, but I still focused too much on the less important things and really didn't know or realize what works best for me.  More miles (for me) does not equate to better performance.  It actually breaks me down.  I look at a guy like a Pat Moulton, who runs a very simple training plan that keeps his mileage respectable but not outrageous and he's able to race at a very high level all the time.  I now know I don't need 100+ miles per week to get into a nice rhythm so I can race 5ks to 50ks.  I just need to get back to basics.  I'm also going to mix things up a bit in order to try to inject some excitement and change in my running and racing. I've been on fumes for a year now.  Since going down with an injury in the Netherlands last year in August, then really getting hurt a month later in late September, I've had a horrible time with my day-to-day running.  I managed to run OK in the late spring/early summer but have gotten hurt yet again and it's made me realize that if I want to get back to where I was in mid 2011, I need to make a lot of changes.  Let's see how that goes.

Below, the most recent photo of me from last Sunday at the Jim Liberty Cabin on the Liberty Trail in Albany, NH.  I'm not THAT fat yet...



8 comments:

Dan said...

Hey Jim

Sorry to hear about your foot pain. I have very similar symptoms in my right foot (starting last November) and I was told by a podiatrist it was caused by the doral nerve in the foot. Not sure if you've been icing but it seemed to help a little. I still get some pain and numbness but it has gotten better. At least your much younger than me so you should heal up a faster than me. At least I hope so. Good Luck!

GZ said...

Foot ... this will pass.

I saw the FB post and wanted to extend my congratulations to you and Kristin. Parenthood! Awesome. Unlike the foot, it does not pass. It keeps going and is amazing. Congrats!

Dan said...

Opps! should be "dorsal" nerve. Can't type.

Jeff Valliere said...

Wow, so sorry to hear this about your foot. My first thought was a stress fracture (I had one in 2009), but the fact that the pain is not localized has me second guessing that. Hmmmm... As painful as it may be (both physiologically and psychologically), it will heal and be a distant memory before you know it.

If you can bike without much pain (spin low gears), this should keep you in pretty good shape once the foot heals and your transition will be pretty quick.

Congrats on expecting a daughter in January, that is awesome news. If you were closer, I have a bunch of girl clothes I could offer up (I have 2 year old twin daughters).

Anyways, good luck.

Jeff Valliere

(born/raised in NH but now living in Co., good friend and running partner of GZ, frequent viewer of your videos of my old stomping grounds, met Kevin Tilton at Pikes)

Mark Miller said...

Keep your chin up Jim!

Eric said...

Sorry to hear that man. I am definitely a strong believer of the nitty gritty that prevents injury (icing and foam rolling for me). I am notorious for getting greedy with mileage and forgetting about what keeps me healthy week after week. Stay strong and don't worry, you'll be back!

Greg said...

Congratulations on the news of expecting a little girl! Good luck with your foot. I know you'll be back!

Josh Katzman said...

Jim,

Get well soon - I think you're right that the psychological suffering is the hardest part of recovery. Sending good vibes from MA.