I just ran another marathon a few weeks ago. Although this was my fourth time running the marathon, it was my first time running it with a heel spur. By mile 20 I was in a whole different kind of pain than I had ever experienced. But, with the marathon, the race is an endurance run for me, and I was able to pull through. I crossed the line and said to my family, “I think that is it for me and the marathon.”
So why the heck did I register for another one in a few months?
Because I love long distance running. I love to have a goal to work towards. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a marathon.
I want to finish the next one. I want to do better, or at least feel better, the next time. So, what worked for me before? What am I going to do again?
I should preface and say, I am the mother of 3 busy kids. I cannot do surgeries or procedures that are going to inhibit my day to day schedule. Here is the least invasive way I have to come to do what I love to do – RUN. With my new buddy, my heel spur.
REST – NOT MY KIND OF THING
UGH! YUCK! BLAH! I love long distance running! What is the worst thing the Dr. could’ve told me to do? REST. Barf. I don’t want to rest – I want to run!
So, I used to run 50+ miles a week religiously before the Dr. looked at my X-Ray and told me:
- You have a heel spur
(Well, the first thing he said was, “You are getting older now….” Then I gave him my mean squinty eye look. By the time he got to REST, I think I was shooting lasers out of my eyes).
So, on a regular week these days I try to run around 35 miles a week. When I get closer to the actual marathon in my marathon training, I will run more. But to just stay in a mental balance and to stay in a runners groove – I stick with about 35. That is my version of rest.
ORTHOTICS – NOT REALLY FOR ME
After the mean Dr. told me I was old, had a spur and needed to rest, he prescribed me orthotics. And sometimes they helped. He told me when I started to run again, to NOT wear them when I ran. And I saw why – they hurt! Even if I wore the orthotics too long during the day I would feel them pushing against my heel, and it hurt! So, l just stuck with my babies, my SHOES.
SHOES – ALWAYS FOR ME
My shoe choice was NOT what got me in this mess. Not stretching too well, did. I loved and lived by Saucony shoes in my running and my casual wear. I bought KURU shoes, just for plantar fasciitis and the heel spur once it was diagnosed. In the summer, I wear Oofos. After I developed the spur, I saw that ASICS were recommended and tried them. I was so surprised at their comfort. I had a previous pair of trail ASICS, and found them to be minimally supportive, and so I just crossed the whole brand off my list. But the Nimbus and the Cumulus are fantastic. In fact, I ran my last marathon in the Cumulus. I can’t believe I switched from the beloved Saucony! But, walk cautiously, walk nimbly and always, PROTECT YOUR FEET. I just love running that much. No pretty shoes for this girl. Sensible shoes, all the way.
STRETCHING – THE NEW ME
I know – shame on me! I was never really into the stretching thing. In high school I stretched – heck, that was social time! Stretch the calf and jabber. Pull the hammy and learn what your fellow runner did in science. Maybe this lack of interaction is to blame, but I just didn’t stretch. I’m sure that is what got me here. So guess what’s new? I STRETCH! And it really is worth it! I spend a lot of time on my claves now. When I am in marathon training, on a long distance run – heck whenever it starts to hurt – I stop and stretch. I am that girl bent over on the trail when there is nothing to push on, digging deep into a calf stretch. I swear it allows me to go farther and in less pain. STRETCH!
Ice, Ice and more ice.
A NEW STRIDE
I can’t land on my heel anymore, so I have to strike mid-foot. And that took me awhile to learn. I was so tired after having run a mile when I first started this stride. Such an unrewarding tired too. But I learned it, it works okay. But it makes my Achilles tendon sore and the outside back of my foot. SO – Ice, ice baby!
THE BOOT – THE NEW ME
Yes, I tried in desperation every OTC remedy out there to help alleviate the pain and allow me to run far again.
So here is what didn’t work for me:
- This Futuro Foot wrap (It never stayed on for me)
- The Plantar Fasciitis sock – Foot Angel, As Seen ON TV (It was just too tight)
- OTC orthotics – yes, I bought some. I thought the Dr. might be onto something since I did get some relief from the orthotics he gave me. NO, Dr. Scholl’s brand wasn’t any better. I tried Superfeet – they were okay, but I am on my feet all day, and if I wore any orthotic all day, my feet were more sore than if I went solo.
- Soaking my foot vinegar.
WHAT DID WORK? This boot. The Plantar Fasciitis Posterior Night Splint. I don’t like to wear it. I feel like a dog with a lampshade on. Some mornings I wake up and it is off. But when I wear it through the night, my run that morning is the most normal and pain free.
It’s getting into summer now. Getting hot and humid – my LEAST favorite time to run. I will proceed with my 35 miles per week schedule. My kind of rest. The hotter it gets, the more likely these miles will be treadmill miles. I will stretch. I will love my feet with my shoes. And I will wear the lampshade boot.
My marathon is 5 months away. I do not race a marathon, I look at a marathon as an endurance run. My goal is to finish the first half in under 2 hours and then just cruise the rest. Just finish the run. So far, I have always met my goal. I have a half marathon in 3 months. I race those but by no means am I and elite runner. I’m your average Jo-sephine. All I want to do is meet my own personal goals. My half marathon time has ranged from 1:46 – 1:55. I ran with a fresh heel spur last year and hobbled in with a 2:10. But I showed up, and I did it. I hope that the pain will never be that bad again, I will do what works for me and get out there and run another marathon!