It was one week ago. I was running my “long run” for the week – fortunately, only a 12-mile run after running 16 miles the week before. I’d been experiencing a bit of soreness in my heel over the past couple weeks, but I assumed it was because my mileage had drastically increased since running my half-marathon a few weeks ago. Let’s face it, every run lately has started with a bit of soreness, but it had always worked out within the first 1-2 miles. It’s really not that big of a deal.
However, this run felt different. The soreness in my heel was a more sore than usual. But – I pressed on, like a good boy should. By the mile 3 I was still hurting and started to worry that I would really be hurting by the time I finished my 12 miles. Around mile 4, I was going up a short incline (in a motion much like running up some stairs) when I experienced one of the worst pains I’d ever felt – a pop in the back of my heel. I immediately assumed I’d ruptured my Achilles tendon. My training as an emergency physician was quickly put to use – and I determined that the tendon was not ruptured. I tried stretching; tried walking it off; tried a slow jog…nothing was working. I quickly determined that my run was done and I needed to start walking home.
I texted Linda and called Anna – someone would come pick me up. By the time Linda got there, I was only 1/4-mile back and couldn’t take one more step without being on the verge of tears. This was more pain than I experienced when I broke my pelvis 4 years ago in a bicycle crash. Honestly, my “almost tears” was the frustration over the fact that my marathon training had come to an abrupt halt. So close, yet so far away!
I used crutches the first 24 hours, but quickly moved over to the cane that I used for a few weeks during my pelvis fracture healing. The best thing that could’ve happened was an invitation to be evaluated by a good friend that is a physical therapist. She did some magic massage and ultrasound therapy that made my heel feel much better. Kinesiology tape and a heel cup have also been a miracle.
My marathon is 5 weeks away. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run it, but I’m hoping that I get the chance to try. I’ve rested for a full week and I’m expecting another week of no running. I’m hoping to start using the stationary bike soon to keep my cardiovascular status in check. If things work out, I’ll run the marathon – but in a much slower time than previously expected. At this point, I’ll be happy just to get the chance to try.