I'm training for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.
It's taken me a while to be able to say this, because I've been injured - but I'm determined now! It won't be fast and it won't be pretty, but I'll do it.
Shortly before the Edinburgh Marathon in May I developed plantar fasciitis. I've never had any running-induced injuries before, other than twice tearing ligaments after falls, so I decided to ignore it. I still don't know if this was the wrong thing to do - I'd trained hard for the Edinburgh marathon and I'm glad I saw it through, I'm really proud of my 4 hours and 12 seconds. But subsequently I've read that taking a break as soon as possible is the best thing to do for plantar fasciitis, and maybe if I'd done that, I would be pain-free by now. Which would be nice.
I think the fault came from a pair of 'real life' trainers - not the shoes I ran in but the shoes I wore to college. They were pink Nike pegasus 29s and they looked really lovely. I got them in John Lewis, and even though they are officially running shoes, the man in John Lewis was obviously a suit salesmen and didn't even ask if I was a runner, let alone probe me about my tendancy to pronate or weekly milage! Never knowingly undersold, but also a bit shit.
Because I didn't run in these shoes I didn't click that they could be causing the problem, so I wore them until a few weeks ago when the podiatrist pointed out that they're really quite minimalist, which she demonstrated by being able to wring them out like a dishcloth! This is just not possible with the Asics I run in. The difference in stability really took me by surprise. So, without the Nikes, things aren't rosy yet, but I do feel a bit better.
I saw a sports therapist who suggested lots of calf stretching and quad stretching - which of course will never go amiss - but it wasn't making much difference. At the end of July with a heavy heart and an aching foot, I told my running coach Angie that I was going to take a break. It was a one-month break where I tried to do only low and no-impact activities. After the initial few days of misery, it turned out to be okay. I went to the gym every day, did cardio for up to 90 minutes with the intention of not losing my fitness. I still don't like the rower and the bike, but I have grown to feel fond of the eliptical and some of the free stepping machines where you get to leap like a gazelle.
So, after a month off, I really didn't feel any better. I saw a podiatrist. I'd avoided seeing a podiatrist because I suspected I'd be told to stop running long term and I didn't want to be told that. So when I saw Jacquie I was very surprised when we got to the end of the consultation, and that advice had never come. I agreed to be fitted for orthotic insoles, and asked her if I should stop running? She said she wasn't going to advise that, because I love to run, and the chances of tearing my plantar fasciia or my achillies (which is playing up on the other leg) were no higher than they would be if I wasn't injured. So basically, as long as I could put up with the pain, I could keep running. Basically, if I was tough/nuts enough. Great news!! I am both tough and nuts, so there's no stopping me!
I went back to running and although the first week was truly horrible and made me wonder why I ever began running in the first place, I've been back for two weeks now and it's not too bad. My foot still hurts, but last week I got my orthotics and they difference they've made has been quite incredible. Even after a few minutes in them the pain I have on standing up (when my muscles have shortened and need to work again) was dramatically reduced. This really cheered me up and made me feel very excited! I haven't run in them yet but I'm looking forward to breaking my feet in enough to do that.
The worst thing is that I seem to have lost all my speed. Before I took the break, my easy pace was about 8.30/M, and now if I manage a mile in under 10 minutes, I'm doing really well! I'm shocked at how much speed I've lost, especially when I worked hard not to lose my cardio fitness. Even my ten minute miles make me feel like I'm giving everything I've got and have my heart rate at 160+. But I'm grateful to be running again and looking forward to completing my third marathon, even if it does turn out to be my slowest.