Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December hates me

One year ago today, I was wallowing in self-pity, sporting a boot and wondering when I'd be able to run again. Today, I find myself in a similar situation. A little less self-pity and no boot. Oddly enough, this latest injury didn't manifest itself while I was running. I felt the first twinges of it when I was standing at a bar in the Flatiron district, drinking a Guinness with my buddies Brian and Camissa. Out of nowhere, there was a dull pain in my left heel. I walked home that night thinking maybe it was simply time for a new pair of loafers.

The next day, I woke up with the same pain. Since I am not training for any races and just running leisurely, I was not yet to the point of freaking out when I set out for an easy 8-9 miles in the park before work. The pain went away after about one mile. "Ok, this is nothing," I said to myself. The following day, the heel pain was again present in the morning. Again, it went away during my run, but this time was replaced by pain in my right hip and glute. I finished the run, then using the powers of deduction and Google, diagnosed myself with plantar fascitis. The hip and glute pain was obviously a result of compensation.

I traded the run for the stationary bike on Sunday, hoping to nip this in the bud. It was no big deal since as I said, this is supposed to be my down time, and I had some episodes of "This American Life" to catch up on anyways. When I met with my coach Jerry the following day, he told me to go see a sports chiropractor immediately. Within two hours, the folks at Duke Sports Clinic were doing Graston, active release, stim and ultrasound on my foot. They did an hour-and-a-half of work and assured me I could run through this with the proper treatment.

My excitement over that news turned into skepticism when Tuesday's run brought on the same pains. Tonight's run was a repeat. In fact, just more than five miles in, I feared my gait was changing and I stopped and walked the mile back from the park to the gym. I don't think I should run through this. On that walk, I decided I am not going to run for the next three to four days. Bike and water-running will have to do. Hopefully this injury is fresh enough to be fixed with a few days of rest and careful treatment.

I am being aggressive and diligent. I spent the entire day at work today with either a frozen water bottle or a golf ball (for massaging) under my foot. It should be noted that this is by far, the most use I have ever gotten out of a golf ball. However, while I think my foot is where the pain is reaching the surface, I am under the belief that the real problem is in my calf. There is a trigger point in the soleus muscle that has a direct connection to the plantar. For the past three nights, I have massaged it with the Tiger Tail, the foam roller and a lacrosse ball to the point of tears. I am sleeping with a Strassburg sock (actually, I go to bed with it and then in an annoyed state of semi-consciousness, I tear it off about halfway through the night).

I have to wonder if there is a bigger problem here. Three injuries in two years and all on my left side. I know it's my weaker side, but is it the imbalance that is leading to problems this drastic?

Fortunately, there are 18 weeks until Boston. This injury forces me to do what doesn't come naturally, and rest for the remainder of December. This year, the holidays are once again, about healing.

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