“You Are An Idiot”
I have been pretty lucky during my running career. The injuries I have sustained have rarely been serious or long-winded. There was the time where I suffered from runner’s knee (an irritated tendon at the lateral side of my right knee) prior to Edinburgh marathon and which only resolved itself after a final, desperate solution featuring a cortisone injection. Another time was right after having completed the Forestman triathlon – and the intense training regime that preceded that particular Ironman – when a metatarsal bone in my left foot was aching horrendously, finally prompting me to x-ray the foot to make sure I hadn’t sustained a stress fracture (I hadn’t. The pain was due to training overload and only let up after six weeks of rest from running.) Oh, and of course both of us had our share of blisters and disintegrating toe nails in the desert, but those were minor ailments.
Right now, I am being thoroughly annoyed by my right heel. It started aching after my long runs in Italy last month. Thinking it was due to my old shoes, it took the drastic move of throwing away not only my racing shoes from New York (with which I broke my marathon PB in November), but also my lovely trail shoes from Alesia. Sob. I have never gotten rid of any running shoes before. Ever. It was a sentimental moment for me. Albeit a bit ruined by the missus’ joyful whooping when she realized what objects I was tearfully and tenderly placing in the garbage bin. Last week, the problem got acutely worse after a high-intensity trail run, the first proper trail run of the season. Despite landing on my forefoot, both up- and downhill, I had a sharp, stabbing pain under my heel for almost the entire run. My predicament took all of the fascination of seeing dirty patches of snow in deep, shady hollows in among the trees away from me. To tell you the truth, the morning after, I found myself limping quite severely. What was this devilishly painful sensation below my heel?
Hello plantar fasciitis (or hälsporre in Swedish). Plantar Fasciitis is an irritation in the proximal (i.e. closer to the heel) part of the plantar fascia, a malleable but very strong piece of soft tissue that attaches the calcaneus (heel bone) to the tendons of the toes. It’s not an unusual injury, as running injuries go, but an extremely annoying one since it is so damn hard to get rid of. I can still run, preferably on softer ground, with only a slight dull ache in my heel. I can also walk shorter distances. But the second I take my shoes off to walk barefoot across our wooden floors at home, I start to limp again. And the mornings are horrible.
I wasted no time in calling one of our athletic club’s advisers and health care professionals, the most pre-eminent chiropractor in the realm. Who also happens to be my little brother. He initially gave me sound – after a fashion – advice on how to treat my foot, including stretching exercises, shoe insets, and the use of hard slippers indoors. And then the following conversation took place;
“And you do realize you need to rest, right?”
“I mean rest-rest.”
“Just for the sake of curiosity; how were you planning to rest?”
“Well, I have a resting week in my training program this week.”
“52 kilometers on four different runs. Only a 20 k long run this week. That ought to do it.”
“You do realize that as brilliant you are in many other fields [that’s proper sibling respect, right there], you are a complete imbecile when it comes to your running, don’t you? [not so proper sibling respect]”
“You need to back off for at least two weeks, maybe three.”
“Define back o…”
“No. Running. What. So. Ever.”
“What, no running-running? Not even 10 k?”
“You’re an idiot.”
Brief, but heated exchange of colourful expletives
Which is why I’m currently in the middle of a running sabbatical of two weeks. I’ve done some cross training (I hate that word), biking, rowing, strength exercises and carrying little miss Sunshine in a backpack in the woods. I hate this stuff. Where are the magical go-away pills when you need them?
I haven’t consulted our chiropractor on whether or not I can go straight back to my training program when I start up again. A week total of 109 kilometers and a long run of 40 k should be fine. Right? I mean, we have an ultra in 7 weeks, for goodness’ sake!
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