Friday, February 15, 2013

Road Bump to Boston

In the interest of remaining positive, I’ll start by saying, “it could be worse.”   And it could.  My foot could be broken along with my dreams of running fast at Boston.  Instead it’s just filled with a bunch of conditions that end in “-itis”.  Tendinitis.  Bursitis.  There’s also impaction, all things that my podiatrist says should clear up in 5-7 days as long as I don’t run outside. 

I think I can trace its origins to a particularly cold, particularly long run in Newark late last month.  I ran 20 miles on severely cambered roads on a morning where the temperature only climbed as high as nine degrees.  When I returned to my parent’s house there was more than just a feeling of accomplishment, there was a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.  I was sore all over, more so than usual.  The next day’s run was a true slog.  I could barely move my legs and it seemed to take forever to recover.  Back in New York City, the aches turned into a slight pain in the left side of my foot that would come and go during the course of some runs.  While it was cause for some concern, I was successfully completing key workouts:  600s, a 22 miler, a 6 mile tempo.  I ran three back to back 90 mile weeks.  So, I iced it, stretched it and little more.
Pardy Smith Road in Newark was covered in snow when  I did my 20 mile run.

It all came to a head last Sunday.  I had 18 miles on the calendar with 12 of them at marathon pace.  I nailed the workout, but the run was tough and at the end my foot reminded me of its frailty.  The cool down digressed from a jog to a limp and I knew it was time to make fixing the pain my top priority.  Anyone who knows my history with even the mere threat of injury can probably guess what happened next.  Panic mode this time included physical therapy, the podiatrist, XRay, and finally an MRI.  The results of the MRI were bittersweet.  No breaks, but a lot of problems that could derail the train if I don’t address them immediately. 

With eight weeks until the race, now is the time to be conservative and not lose a lot, if any fitness.  This week, which was scheduled as a down week, has been re-purposed as pure recovery.  Next week, things were supposed to ramp back up again, but it looks like I will have to delay that by a couple of days.  Since I can’t run outside, I have been doing all of my runs on the Alter G treadmill at 75% of my body weight.  I have a love/hate relationship with this device.  I love it because most runners aren’t fortunate enough to have access to one, and I have one I can use every day except for Sunday thanks to the fine folks at Finish Line Physical Therapy in Chelsea. I hate it because it’s not exactly the most comfortable ride.  Imagine running with a wedgie for 10 miles.   Now imagine that same pull in the front.  It can be unpleasant.  Plus, since there aren’t a whole lot of Alter G’s in New York City (they cost $30,000-$40,000), I can’t spend all day on it.  When my time is up, it’s up.  That’s only fair.

If things aren’t better by midway through next week, I’ll try a shot of cortisone, but it’s a last resort.  Right now, I am not even taking NSAIDs as they tend to slow the healing process, just letting nature run its course.  At this point, my foot still hurts.  I had ice on both sides of it as I wrote this blog, but I remain optimistic that this a small bump on the road to Boston, one that I might actually benefit from as this rest lets more than just my foot, but the rest of my battered body, restore.

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