Running

Last night was my first run back from a broken foot. If you know the whole story, skip to below the shoe picture. 🙂

I decided 4 years ago that I wanted to run a half marathon. Some people I was close to in college were talking about running one so I figured I’d join in. I started “training” (in the sense that I would run on the indoor track at Texas A&M REC Center) on a daily basis. Then I got sick with my thyroid stuff (you can read about that here). I decided I would run it when (or if) I ever got better. December 2011 came around and I was finally feeling more “normal” so I signed up for the Austin Half Marathon in February.

I would run twice a day to train for the race. I started with 4 miles being a long run and in 10 weeks I was running 12 miles on a long run day. Maybe I’ll go back and log my running with times and places one of these days…I managed to run myself into a stress fracture in my left big toe about 3 weeks before the race. After consulting a doctor about permanent damage to my foot, I decided I was still going to run the race with my broken joint even though it was going to be painful.

At the starting line, the guy next to me accidentally tripped me, causing me to tweek my ankle but true to form, I am stubborn and decided  I was going to finish this race if it killed me. So I ran 13.1 miles through the hills of Austin Texas with a broken left big toe joint and a sprained ankle. Both didn’t really hurt until I stopped running!

I ran it in 2:28:01 which is much faster than I thought I would and I was soooo happy!

I had done a lot of research prior to running the race to try to anticipate what kind of reaction my body was going to have to that much stress at once. I knew I was going to be sore. I knew I was going to be hungry. and I knew I was going to hate sitting on the airplane to fly back to Kansas City the next morning.

Some people have muscle spasms. Some people have bone pain. Some people go run 2 or 3 miles the next day and are fine. I wanted to be one of the people who ran a recovery run (easy, flat, slow) at the end of that week and started training for the next race (which I was hoping would be Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in Kansas City in April). I was definitely not that person. I was in excruciating pain after a quarter mile run. For the first time in all my training I quit. I stopped. Turned. and walked back to the gym.

So I waited a week and tried again. Same result. Except this time my foot hurt for a couple of days afterwards. This process continued on for about a month. Then I decided to go see a doctor about it since my ankle had joined the pain party.

I ended up at Cleveland Chiropractic College Clinic with a student intern learning to be a chiropractor. (I had switched jobs and didn’t have insurance for 30 days so they were cheap and didn’t take insurance anyway). After a very extensive doctor’s appointment and x-rays, I found out I had 2 stress fractures in the 4th and 5th metatarsal bones in my right foot, an aggravated major ligament running from my right big toe to the outside of my calf and I had walked/ran enough over the 6-8 weeks since my injury that I had thrown 2 discs in my back and 1 in my neck out of place from compensating. Needless to say, all attempts at running immediately ceased.

I’ve been in physical therapy twice a week with spinal adjustments to help fix the problem. High heels were also nixed out of my wardrobe. After 4 weeks, my x-rays came back clean on Friday meaning I could start running again (slowly).

I bought new running shoes to try to help prevent stress fractures in the future. Stress fractures are a result of uneven muscle development on either side of a bone which causes it to torque and then you apply a repeat stress (such as running repeatedly and for long distances) and you crack the bone. Physical therapy develops the muscles more evenly and these new shoes are supposed to be self correcting my running stride. You have to break them in slowly which is perfect since I have to start running again slowly.
I went 1.19 miles last night in 13:56 minutes. Super slow. Super flat. Super amazing!

The shoes felt good. The little muscles in my feet were tired after a mile which means I was running correctly in them. It also means that they are developing the little muscles in my feet which will help prevent some injuries in the future.

In those 14 minutes, I was able to clear my head, re-focus my priorities, and love my life. I feel like I have to run to be able to get some stress relief and last night proved it. When I got back to front doors of the gym, I was ready to really work out.

Last night’s workout:

  • 100 leg raises – laying on my back, holding onto the window ledge above my head, bending my knees at 45 degrees, keeping my legs together, raising my legs until the bottom of my feet where facing the ceiling.
  • 50 squats with a 25 lb. bar
  • (3) 1 minute planks with my feet on the window ledge
  • (3 sets) 10 each side, side crunches – left foot on the floor with leg bent, right leg laying on the floor with foot behind left ankle, raised butt, straight body, left hand behind my head, right hand on my obliques, crunch straight up
  • 50 bicep curls with 25 lb bar
  • 15 push-ups with my hands on the window ledge

It was fantastic to have the control back over my body. I was nervous to go run last night but I’m very thankful that I did. I ran without pain last night and I work up without pain this morning which is awesome! I’m still going to go to physical therapy twice a week for a few more weeks so my doc can monitor my responses to running again.

Tonight is run club and I’m super excited about that too! It’ll be really nice to see everyone again and start running. My next race in the color run 5k in Kansas City at the end of June. I’m not looking for a specific time at this point but I do want to run the whole thing without pain…

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