This really isn’t the post I had planned but it is, what it is. On May 9th I ran my last half marathon, the Rattler Trail Run. It was the hardest half marathon that I have ever done. It was a my first trail half marathon. It was a technical trail. I thought I would be ok, I train on a trail. I had prerace jitters, I kept seeing this technical trail run being discussed, I was nervous about getting hurt. I knew I would be fine though. I had no problem walking if I needed to. As long as I did that I would be fine, or so I thought.
Race day came and I woke up early and drove to San Lee Park in Sanford, North Carolina. It was a beautiful looking park! The race would be in the woods surrounding a lake, it seemed perfect. I was ready!
Race directions were given, we started and up the hill we went to the trail. That is where everything changed. I now knew what technical trail meant. It meant roots and boulders and not being able to look up without tripping. We were running on mountain bike trails. My son would love to ride on the trails. Running on them was a different story.
On the first 10k loop I was feeling ok other than my calves being mad at me. My times were horrible and after recent improvements it bothered me but I kept at it. After all no one was going to come out on the trail and save me. I tripped and stubbed my toes on rocks multiple times but was lucky as I never fell down. I passed and I passed others. I ran with strangers, each of us commenting on the grueling trail. Then right as I was near the finish of the 10k I tripped and then stubbed my toe, yet again. The girl I was running with repeatedly asked if I was ok. It hurt like nothing else but I told her I was fine I could walk it off. I can say now that trip was much worse than what I ever thought.
I continued on and finished the first 10k. My time was horrible but at this point I no longer cared. I went on to do the next loop. With this loop I didn’t trip nearly as much and my confidence was building back up despite my horrible mile splits. I was determined to finish even if my time sucked.
I completed the loop and was ready to tackle the final loop but not without being told I needed to eat something first. So I ate a few potatoes. I didn’t think I needed it, I had my gels, nuun and water but I ate a couple and off I went for the last and final loop. This time I ended up pacing another runner. We chit chatted most of the way. We stayed together or her right behind me the entire way. I was constantly checking on her and we remained in earshot of each other when I did get a bit ahead. It definitely helped as that last lap was a hot mess. Heck the whole race was, I couldn’t imagine those doing the full. They had to do the half marathon route twice!
We finished though. Thirteen point freaking one. We were given our medals. I recouped from some low blood sugar we took pictures and I hiked back across the park to my car to drive the hour home.
By the time I got home some stiffness had set in and my feet hurt. It hurt to walk, I was now limping around. I showered and elevated my feet. It was after my husband looked at my feet and noticed some bruising in addition to the swelling that he told me I should probably go to the emergency room. We debated and he won, off to the ER I went. After a quick X-ray showing I didn’t have any major breaks I was sent home to RICE my foot and see my Primary Care Doctor Monday.
I made that appointment, she looked at it, put me in a boot, told me no running and told me to come back in two weeks if I was still having problems. Three weeks later I went back. I felt incredibly stupid for going in. It was my big toe and it just would not bend at the 2nd joint as well as still being swollen. So she x-rayed it again and referred me to a podiatrist so I could get a MRI. I’ve since learned that my insurance,Tricare, is picky when it comes to ordering MRI’s. So, a few more weeks down the road I go to the podiatrist. More x-rays again showing no major breaks and his diagnosis was Turf Toe. If I wasn’t better in 4 weeks he would send me to physical therapy and after 4 weeks of that he would do a MRI. Say What? I have Google and as someone who hates the doctor I googled my problem further than Web MD (and yes I know doctors hate this,lol). I knew I did not have turf toe. Back to my Primary Care doctor asking for a second opinion which she readily agrees too. It is now July and i’m finally sent to an orthopedic doctor and he finally sends me for an MRI. His concerns are that I have a stress fracture or a tendon injury. At this point I am happy to be getting the MRI finally, my injury was months ago now and my stupid big toe does not bend! Just call me random injury girl. Heck after receiving my MRI results my doctor pretty much did, he called me a mystery girl. My MRI was helpful and it helped give us some answers.
Like the MRI said I had multiple stress fractures in my foot that I had no clue about! Other than that my doctor has decided that I needed to see another orthopedic doctor that specializes in feet. At this point I just wanted to run, i’m all for it if she could fix me.
I finally saw the foot specialist and I am glad I did. She thinks several of my supposed stress fractures are an anomaly she often sees on MRI results. I tend to agree with her because I had no issues with that area of my foot. As for my toe I learned some interesting things. Like that last joint of your toe does need to bend to run and each person has a different degree. My toes are just more bendy than some others. The good news is I have just enough bend to be able to run. I ended my appointment with a cortisone shot to my toe. Thank goodness they have freeze-y spray! That was definitely an experience. While I don’t have a diagnosis and i’m waiting for the shot to do it’s thing I was given the green light to start running again and guess what I already have a half marathon in a couple weeks! I will be sweeping a local half, so it’s ok that I will be slow. Slow and steady wins the race and this girl has a Full Marathon to get training for! I hope my foot is ready!
What are your best tips for bouncing back after a race injury?