Or, more accurately…Cleveland.
You all know that I have been training for the past 12 weeks towards my first full marathon – the Cleveland Marathon. Over that training time, I have felt good overall with the occasional twinges or pain after runs. Usually, they go away within a few days by icing, stretching, and doing exercises to take care of my calf/ankle strength and flexibility (since most of my pain stems from tight calves, I believe). I fear I have a different sort of pain on my hands this time, though.
all happy after my 18 miles…before I realized something is really not right
Two weeks ago, I had my first 18 mile run. It was my first run of that distance and I ran it with my pals from the running group, which usually means on the faster end of my long run pace. I felt fine most of the run, with some discomfort the last 2 miles or so. I chalked it up to being my first run of that distance. After stretching out, I felt fine again. However, over the rest of that weekend, I began to notice a dull pain in the top of my foot and my left lower leg felt very stiff and achy. I did my usual ice/stretch/etc routine and the pain went away.
However, I wasn’t running. That was the week I got sick. I ran somewhere between 2-3 miles one day at the end of the week and my left lower leg felt very stiff with the dull aches again. Then, came the half marathon. As you may remember, I didn’t feel well that race. I don’t remember much foot pain in the race, but the overall crappy feeling I had may have masked it. I do know it didn’t hurt after that run though until the next day. The overall lower calf/ankle stiffness came back with the same dull ache on the top of my foot.
All last week, I could run fine as long as I kept the pace on the lighter side. I would feel some discomfort for the first 1-2 miles, then nothing the remainder of my runs – the 6 miles, the 9 miles, and the 18 miles. An hour or two after Saturday’s 18 miler things got a bit more iffy, though. The pain became more marked and it even hurt a fair amount to walk. And this morning? I’m officially a full-fledged limper.
Having pain for two weeks makes me very cautious and the “symptoms” have me worried it could be a stress fracture. I’m not messing with one of those! At the same time, it could be soft tissue related, with a form of tendonitis. It’s so confusing because the symptoms I have relate to both a stress fracture or soft tissue damage.
- I have had pain for 2 weeks, despite icing and stretching, which makes me think it’s a stress fracture. It started off as mild, but is now much more noticeable. Whatever it is, it is making me limp and enough to have me concerned.
- Ankle stiffness, tight calves, and some arch discomfort have been around as well – which seems more related to soft tissue damage, but could still cause imbalances leading to a stress fracture too.
- The area of my pain correlates to a stress fracture of either the 3rd or 4th metatarsal.
- The pain in the top of my foot is centered to one spot and not all along my foot, also corresponding with a stress fracture.
- I don’t feel discomfort after the initial warm-up of my runs. I actually feel great running, but afterwards notice pain walking and putting weight on my left foot. Not unbearable or sharp – but noticeable and disconcerting.
- It hurts much worse when going barefoot.
- I have a gut feeling it’s a stress fracture.
What do I plan to do??
Well, I don’t want to push my luck. My body is telling me something isn’t right. I plan on taking time off running and either focusing on spin classes, weights, non impact activity, and stretching or resting completely until I hopefully get some answers. I plan to call a foot and ankle sports doctor right at 8 am to hopefully get an appointment this week. It pains me to do that because I hate going to doctors, paying loads of money with our high deductible plan, and taking the chance of being told “rest” or “I don’t see a stress fracture” when really there is one but it was too soon for an X-Ray to pick it up. I’m sucking up my general frustration with doctors, though, to get answers and take care of myself. Better playing things safe right now. I’m hoping and praying that by looking into it sooner rather than later, whatever it is will heal quickly and I can still do Cleveland. If not, well…I’m not going to think about that until I have to…and hopefully I won’t!
Have you ever had experience with a stress fracture or injury like this?