Friday, February 17, 2012

Finding a Silver Lining

Four days after Rocky Raccoon I met a couple of running buddies for an easy run around Bentonville. The idea was for me to go the first part of the half marathon course with them. The legs were a bit cranky getting started but after a couple of miles I was feeling OK, a little tired maybe, but OK. At mile 5 I felt a sharp pain in my right foot. It was on the outside portion of my midfoot. Several minutes later it was still there and I waved the white flag and turned back for the Square where I was parked. It was a slow 1.5 mile walk back. Whether walking or jogging or running the pain was there. As it was the rest of the day and the next morning. I iced it and then soaked it in a warm Epsom bath. Not much difference. I called Dr. Dan Fulmer down in Fayetteville to schedule an appointment for Tuesday morning. Dr. Dan is a nationally recognized expert in Podiatry and is the team foot doc for the University of Arkansas Track Team. In the meantime I did nothing. No running, walking, nothing. Period. I was thinking stress fracture because that it what it felt like but the location was wrong. Anyhow, I did not want to do anything to make it worse. 

I met Dr. Dan and relayed my recent exploits and described the problem. He took a look, poked, prodded and twisted said foot. His diagnosis was a relief to hear, not a stress fracture but a bad case of tendinitis. Specifically peroneal insertional tendinitis. There are two sets of three tendons that provide the bulk of stability for your foot. One set runs on the inside of the ankle and the other along the outside. These tendons connect to the ends of the metatarsals, run under the ankle and up into your calf muscle. My hot spot was at the head of the fifth metatarsal. If you run your finger along the outside edge of your foot from your heel towards your toes you will feel the end of the metatarsal just past your ankle. When he pressed on that I almost came unglued. 

Naturally I asked what he thought caused the inflammation. He stated that running 50 miles on uneven surfaces was the start. Contributing to the problem was my stellar case of Morton's foot. This is a "defect" in which the second toe is longer than the big toe. Or in my case, the second and third toes are longer. Call it Super Morton's foot. He explained that this "defect" creates a highly unstable foot resulting in excessive lateral movement. I asked about my choice of shoes for the race, explaining that I had used a more minimal type shoe that was very flexible (Brooks Pure Grit) for the first 33 miles. He felt that would have also contributed to the problem. Perhaps this is why switching to the Saucony Peregrine felt so good on that last loop as these are stiffer. He agreed. If you are in NW Arkansas and need a podiatrist, there is none better than Dr. Dan. If he is good enough to take care of Deena Kastor I think he is good enough for you. 

What about the treatment? He taped it up and said to leave it on for a few days. He also suggested contrast baths (ice, warm, ice) and a 7 day cycle of Celebrex to help ease the inflammation and reduce pain. He gave the OK for walking but suggested holding off on running for a full week. So that's where I am at right now. It feels better. Far from 100% but better. I had to back out of a cool local half marathon this weekend. It is the inaugural Pea Ridge Battlefield Commemorative Half Marathon and is limited to 25 runners. I am bummed about that. On the upside, my spot went to a solid local runner that I know and I'm sure she will represent, maybe even take first place. My plan now is to slowly ease back into running next week. I will keep it all on hardtop and use my Superfeet inserts for a while to help stabilize things. Hopefully this will allow me to go into the Bentonville Running Festival in decent shape at the end of March. Going for a new PR is likely out, I'll just keep my base and look to the Hobbs War Eagle 50k in June as my next focus event. 

So during my down week I came up with an idea since I was getting a bit stir crazy and I had a desire to make something positive out of being sidelined. A 30 day challenge for myself. After Rocky I more or less decided that I want to return next year with a goal of breaking 9 hours for the 50 miler. That's a full 65 minutes off of my time this year. I think I have a good chance at that if I get stronger. First, core and upper body work. The cardio is there already. I need to beef up my chassis though to achieve that goal. The challenge then was to devote 30 straight days to this end. I came up with a 20 minute core/strength routine largely based on info found at Strength Running. If I can make it a habit that will allow 90 days to test it out before Hobbs. Why Hobbs? Because it is our local 50k and I want to break 6 hours there this summer. I blew up last year and lost over an hour covering the final 3 miles. That won't happen this year. And for the record, I'm gunning for you Shannon McFarland. You better have your head on a swivel brother.

Update 02/21/2012: I tried running this past Saturday and shut it down after 1 mile of jogging. My foot was still quite sore. I have no plans to try again until Thursday. It is feeling better the last couple of days. I plan on a walk today and cycling tomorrow. I did miss a day of my 30 day challenge too due to being sick. I guess when it rains it pours sometimes. 

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