Monday, December 22, 2014

The Blessing Of Getting PF - Did I Just Say That?

On Nov. 15, I signed up for my first ultra - a 50K on Jan. 3.

On Nov. 16, I experienced sharp pain going from my foot up through my ankle during my run, turning the planned- 8-, 9-miler into 4.5 miles.

Spent next 48 hours icing and resting my foot. Said foot felt better. Attempted a 7-mile run on a treadmill, which was going well until I hit the 1-hour mark. Pain returned, and my suspicions were confirmed.

I had plantar fasciitis. The dreaded PF.

Training for a 50K which was less than 7 weeks away instantly got interesting. And to be able to complete the 50K, I knew I was going to have to act fast and to replace running with some other cardio activities.

Fortunately, I had a few things working in my favor. First, I was coming off a marathon, which gave me a good mileage base. Secondly, I had began working with a coach.

Having a coach during this injury has been invaluable. On my own, I am not sure how much work I would've gotten in during my downtime from running. Sure, I would've used a bike but only for 30 minutes to an hour. My coach had me using the bike up to 5 days/week at a minimum of an hour, 15 minutes and up to an hour, 45 minutes.

In addition, my coach got me working on my strength training and added in yoga.

With all the variety of workouts I was getting in and being put through, I do not feel I missed anything by not being able to run. My body was being prepped for the grueling, long run a 50K presents. My legs were feeling stronger, while my foot was slowly healing.

After 20 days of no running, I took to the roads again on Dec. 8, and I've ran a total of 8 times since for a total of 62 miles. Foot has had only slight discomfort, but overall, it's at 90-95% right now.

This is truly a long process to overcome PF, and I know my speed has suffered because of it. Who knows when or if I'll get whatever speed I had back. But honestly, I'm not too worried or concerned about that because PF has given me something even better.

Because of PF, I have found my love for running once more.

For much of 2014, I was in a rut. I had a great spring marathon, posting a 9+ minute PR on a tough, hilly course at Knoxville. But it seemed I never recovered from it.

As time passed from spring to summer to beginning training for my fall marathon, running seemed like work. I never seemed to have my mojo or ever felt like I was in a good groove.

I had glimpses here and there of getting it back, but for the most part, running either felt like a chore.

But being sidelined for 3 weeks with PF gave me a new appreciation for running.

Running isn't something I have to do. It's something I get to do. It's something I want to do.

So, thank you, PF. Thank you for giving me a great appreciation for running.

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