Busted But Not Broken

On our drive home from Lakefield yesterday, I said to Marc in a  rather pained and regretful tone, “I really wish I hadn’t done this to myself. I put myself in this position.”

Marc’s response was, “I’ve been waiting for you to say this and realize what you did.”

So what did I do? Quite simply, I injured myself. I did it all by myself. I did it by ignoring rules and recommendations. I did it by believing that I would be just fine.  I did it by overlooking advice about training volume. I did it by jumping into shoes that everyone recommends I ease into. I did it by ignoring my stretching and mobility routine. I did it by skipping my strength routine. I did it by doing too much too soon.

Yes, this is most definitely my fault. I’d like to believe that this wicked case of plantar fasciitis (in both feet) came out-of-the-blue. But it didn’t. It came on as I gradually began to ignore all of the information out there that told me to take things slow and steady.

I was doing not badly but then I got greedy and wanted to run longer and more often. I ignored my trusty bicycle and instead laced up my running shoes to give my body another pounding in the woods. I love trail running – there is nothing like being out in the Gatineau Park surrounded by lush greenery with only the sound of your footfalls and breath to keep you company.

If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to get back to this by the end of July. Yes, that is a long time from now. I have to miss the race that I’d been training for with my super running pal. I have to miss out on our epic Saturday morning runs and chats at the coffee shop in Chelsea. I have to miss out on the Tuesday night trail runs with some many invigorating people. I have to miss out. Right now, I can’t even ride my bike.

Very frustrating. But please don’t read this as a tale of woe. Read this as a cautionary tale. You don’t want to be like me – missing out on the best of the summer because you did a number of silly and stupid things that culminated in an injury. So just as a reminder here is a don’t list for you:

  1. Don’t increase your running mileage by more than 15 minutes every two weeks. And this doesn’t mean that if you’re doing a two-hour long run on Saturdays that adding in an additional two-hour long run on Friday is okay.
  2. Don’t start running in zero drop shoes for every run. Transition into them. Follow the guidelines that come with the shoes. Don’t think that you won’t get injured. Because, you will.
  3. Don’t ignore your stretching and mobility routine. You’re not a spring chicken and your muscles, tendons, and joints need some love and care. If after driving home from the Gatineau Park after a Tuesday night run, you find it hard to get out of your car and untie your shoes – you’re likely tight and need to stretch.
  4. Don’t subscribe to the more is better approach. While I agree that more peanut butter and more chocolate are always better, this is not the case for running and especially for new runners.
  5. Don’t assume that a training system you used for bike racing will work for running. While back-to-back hard and long days worked on the bicycle and gave you lots of fitness, don’t assume this approach will work when running. Especially if you’ve got soft fragile feet that are used to being pampered in cycling shoes.

If like me, you make a mistake and do one or all of the above, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your life is not ruined and over. There are lots of other things you can do, such as: Yin yoga, kayaking, riding a bike with flat pedals, foam rolling, stretching. and remembering how lucky you truly are to even be in this position.

(A huge thanks to everyone who has emailed, called, texted, Tweeted, and commented on Facebook. I’m icing, seeing a physiotherapist, foam rolling, stretching, resting, and seeing a podiatrist – hopefully all of this will speed things along so I can get back outside and play.)

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