Plant What?

Okay, okay.  My blog is no longer about preparing for my 1st marathon. Now it’s just a blog, somewhat related to the experience of running – the ups, downs, starts and…stops.

You may recall that my first blog entry last summer was pretty lame. I went on and on about the marathon registration as a surrender to the peer pressure of my very fit and persuasive friends, Janet and Margaret.  I said that I had never even really enjoyed running, and how I just did it to stay in shape as time allowed, that I had no shame in being slow, and that I had no burning desire to get faster. At the time, I just wanted to finish the marathon.

As I was packing in the mileage and suffering the  heat of China, the long weekend runs, the ice baths, the sore feet and ankles, the hunger, the fatigue, I was also amazing myself with what my body could do.

When the marathon was over, I kept running – lightly. At first I said it was to keep from getting stiff. Then I said it was to keep the fitness I had gained.

As it turns out, I LIKE RUNNING.  After all that work, I’m fit enough to put on my kicks and pound out a 5-8 miler without feeling wrecked for the rest of the day. I like the fresh air. I like the exercise. I like the alone time and I like the company of my running friends when I can join them.  I like the goals I put in place each time I set out.

I embraced this revelation and  signed up for a February 10 mile race with Janet.

And now… I am sidelined completely.   Keep in mind, I made it through 4 months of training without any major injury. Sure, I had tendonitis, my feet hurt, I endured some seriously nasty physical therapy. But I walked away from the finish line right into an ice bath and then right back to my regular life. No injuries.

Now… I have a very painful condition common to runners. (Insert sound of thunder here) – PLANTAR FASCIITIS – (Close with thunder claps.)   My right heel hurt so much that it kept me up at night, I couldn’t walk, sit, or stand comfortably. I was downing Advil tabs like they were Sweet Tarts.

These pictures show what is wrong: plantar photo 2 plantar photo

I went to see Dusty. A big a hello from him, a high five for my marathon, and then… a sad slow shake of the head as he dealt with my foot.  Plantar fasciitis is a beast. A mean, gripping inflammation of the tight fascia from heel to toe. The treatment? REST.  Ice,heat, tape.  And REST.  The arc trainer and elliptical are out – they still strain fascia. Swimming is allowed, but I don’t swim. ( I can swim. As in, I can stay alive if I fall in the water, but I am not a swimmer.)

So I hit the rowing machine. In the gym, I ran into a friend who last saw me before the marathon. He asked me how I was doing but before I answered, he said, “Well,you must be injured because nobody rows unless they have to.”  J

Fortunately,  the machine has a game mode where every pull of the “oar” throws an electronic  dart at target on the screen in front me… if I have good form, I get a bulls-eye and 50 points. So, at least I have something to concentrate on as I row to nowhere in the basement of the gym.

Here is a picture of what the game looks like: dart game

But it’s not outside, It’s not with my friends. And it’s not… running.

I am in San Diego, CA for meetings. Right now, Maine, (where I live) is in the grips of an astonishing deep freeze, the Polar Vortex. We haven’t been able to get warm for weeks.  I knew this trip was on the calendar and I was dreaming of putting on shorts, my shoes, and running in 70 degrees.

I’m not at all complaining about being in California. Not at all. I am just sorry that I can’t even enjoy outdoor exercise that doesn’t require 35 layers of frostbite protection.  This is the bike path outside my hotel room – 65 degrees and calling for me.


But, the treatment plans for plantar fasciitis are pretty consistent –  and they all focus on rest.  (Trust me, I’ve Googled it, looking for some study somewhere that would justify light running during recovery. There isn’t one like that.)

Now that I know I like this activity, I will be good about what it takes to get better. I’ll have to miss the 10 miler, and probably the 20 miler that Janet is determined to get me to do in May. But, I will get back out on the road at some point. In the meantime, I’ll focus on what’s allowed.

3 thoughts on “Plant What?

  1. Oh No!! This is not good! Patrick has struggled with this as well. As did my friend Julia – she spent 5 months running in the pool I think (upside she totally recovered & killed it at the Maine marathon). And this winter has been lousy for running – it’s a good time for recovery!

  2. DEAR Whitney,

    What a sad situation you have, and both Charlie and I are members of your plantar fasciitis club. I am copying him as he will commiserate with you. There are stretching exercises and a brace if you continue to be miserable. When it was really terrible, I had two cortisone shots and they were like a miracle until I overdid and the problem recurred. I just revisited the top foot doc in Phila and he told me to continue doing the exercises forever – nothing you want to hear right now, but it will avoid a recurrence. Geordie will be interested to hear about your use of the erg. He was hardly off one for six years. Didn’t hear about the target on his machine so they must have added that as a diversion. Take heart, you will get better. Riding should cause you to stretch your heel down, so might be great for you.

    With love and sympathy,

    Aunt Nancy

  3. Oh Whit…no fun at all to be dealing with this, but you do sound like you know what has to done to heal. I hope that in the near future it is all just a blur and that you are talking about it as a thing of the past. Sending healing thoughts your way!

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