I think we have all been there at some point, we go for a run and we feel a twinge in our foot or our leg. This past April, I ran FreeState 100K and after the run I felt a little rough but after a week of taking it relatively easy – it was time to get back to training.
A typical training week for me is 5 days of 5-6 miles and then one day of anywhere between 10-20 miles. Or at least that is what I aim for. I don’t care how early I have to get up to run, it happens regardless because I need it to happen. I also am not one of those runners who freaks out because something hurts (or at least I don’t think I am). I will run through pain because sometimes its all mental and you just need to get through the next mile or two. That at times can be my downfall. I have a high pain tolerance as long as there is no blood involved. I will run till my legs magically shut down no matter what the warning signs are.
Back to the lesson that I hope others can learn from – in the weeks after Free State I would notice a twinge in my big toe after I run. Nothing horrible or so it seemed. Enough to make me notice and nothing more. Then it started to bother me when I would be walking around but not running. It felt like I had a bruise at the base of my toe. Id take my shoe off and stare at my toe as if it was my worse enemy. Id examine it – looking for redness, swelling, any signs that might tell me what was wrong. Still my toe would not tell me.
As the days passed and the weeks progressed, nothing got better and it kept getting worse. I was beyond irritated and unsure what to do. To top it off I would skip a run feel horrible and make myself run even harder the next day. I was my own worse enemy in how I was looking at it. To add fuel to the fire, I have a very hard addiction to shoes. Not just any shoes but stilettos of all shapes and sizes and I wasnt even able to wear those with out toe pain. As the days progressed my frustration grew and grew, finally one morning it hurt to run and I barely got through 3 miles and by the next morning I could barely walk.
At that point I gave up and went to the doctor. After sitting in a waiting room and then an exam room I found the cause of my pain. I can not pin point when but apparently I had a stress fracture across the top of my left foot and from that I had developed metatarglia. I was crushed. Hospital Hill was 8 days away and that is my race I do every year. Instantly I was trying to figure out a way to compete but my husband said no. He exaplnined that I would not get better and all I would do is cause my foot to get worse and be down even longer. 1-2 years ago I would not have listened but this time I knew he was right. I was given an ugly blue shoe and told to stay off of it for 4-8 weeks.
I want to say the lesson learned is listen to the pain in your body. If it keeps increasing get it checked out before you can not walk without pain. Its never easy and its not that you are accepting defeat, its accepting a chance to heal and come back stronger than ever.
Ammanda Warren is a track club ambassador and a warrior out on the trails! You can run with her some Sunday mornings out in Independence.