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:

  1. You have a heel spur
  2. REST

(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, 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:

  • Penetrex
  • 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!

Advertisements