Do I have to say that it is very hard for a runner to stop running?
A pain has to be monumental to stop a runner from running. A storm has to have lightning in it. A path has to have a grizzly bear on it, in attack mode.
In short little will stop a runner.
I have run through all kinds of craziness – heck when you run for as many hours as I do, you kind of enjoy a little adversity out on the running path. It gives you something to think about for the next few hours of running.
Last year a heel spur stopped me in my tracks. Literally.
It was a pain that could not be ignored. The Podiatrist I later saw told me that it was not the spur itself that was causing me pain, but that the spur was rubbing against the tendons in my foot, causing them to swell. The pain was in the bottom of my foot, the side of my foot, my heel, my Achilles, my calf – all the way to my back. The pain grounded me.
I rested the foot, I went slow with my miles. I iced, slept in a night splint, I massaged my foot, I sat out of all my races for 9 months.
Now I am facing similar pain in my other foot. The pain is not as extreme. I am happy that I caught it early. But I know the danger I face if I were to push myself on this foot. I would be completely grounded again.
The trouble with plantar fasciitis is that it causes foot pain, but you can still walk. You hobble like an eerie zombie for a bit when standing up after being off your feet for a bit, and may hobble for a while. Why?
I’ve torn the medial collateral ligament in my knee many times. With that injury, however, I moved with crutches. My knee was stabilized and I did not put weight on it for some time. I did a lot of muscle-building exercises to rebuild the damaged area. With moderate foot pain? You walk a little different, but you still walk. Plantar Fasciitis feet do not get the heal time they deserve. And as a runner, you feel pressed to go. You want to run! Little can stop this stubborn feeling.
I am still able to run, with my foot taped up and at a very slow pace. I do not feel pain at all. I stretch, I ice, I sleep with a night splint. If I go to fast, if I do not sleep with the splint, I feel pain and I stop immediately. My foot pain and I have given curt nods to each other. We have found a way to work together.
To give my foot more time off, I cross train. I walk, bike and lift weights. I do not have access to a pool, but would swim if I could. Still working to elevate my heart rate and give my foot some time off.
My inner runner says “RUN!” My foot says, “Well, kind of.” So I run a little. I cross train. And if my foot gets mad, I listen to it. Otherwise it will prove to me again, that its stubborn pain is greater than my stubbornness as a runner.