Plantar Fasciitis — a painful teacher

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had 20+ years of injury-free running.  Oh sure, I know how nasty an IT band can be or a how a tight glute can hamper the desire to finish hard.  However, the vast majority of my running years have been free of icing or ibruprofen.  I credit great coaches who designed smart and safe training programs.  They taught me the importance of not increasing weekly mileage more than 10% week to week and I’ve stuck to that over the years.

To stay injury-free, follow The 10% Rule

This spring I felt an uncomfortable poke in the bottom of my heel after sitting or sleeping.  I ignored it, hoping it was nothing and would go away.  Great strategy, right?? A doctor confirmed my suspicions and told me I’d need to stop running until it healed.  I decided that I’d stop running on the road and just run on the softer shoulder.  Of course I should have listened to the good doctor but I couldn’t quite imagine my days starting any other way than with a good ol’ sweat-it-out-run.  The pain increased of course so I heeded the advice of many and STOPPED running.  Surprisingly, the world did not end.

I learned to fill my morning run time in other ways:  yoga, meditating, lifting weights and TRX classes.  I even logged time on an elliptical machine.  Our family dog, Charlie, got many brisk walks in the woods.  The forest floor was soft and comforting and I thoroughly appreciated the healing the woods offers.

Magical, no?

As much as I truly enjoyed all these activities, none have quite filled the void.  Lately I’ve even had dreams of running.  No lie!

I’ve found a number of therapies and am using them all religiously in hopes of hitting the road the road sooner than later.

What’s Working for Me

  • Rolling my heel on a sock-covered frozen water bottle 
  • Heel inserts
  • Expertly fitted new shoes
  • Wearing a “boot” while seated and as long as possible at night
  • STOP running completely (to my great disappointment!)

What has worked for you?  If you’ve been plagued with plantar faciitis or other similar injury, how did you deal?  I’d love to hear about it!


Proud Running Moments

When runners get together and talk shop, sometimes we end up sharing PRs (personal records) from the various races we’ve run.  Perhaps because I haven’t raced in the last year or because of this new perspective I’ve chosen lately, I’ve learned to be proud other runs, too.

  • The morning run after one of my kids had the flu and I was on mom-duty from 2am to 5am.
  • The afternoon I was just cranky and didn’t really want to talk to ANYONE or do ANYTHING but I got myself out the door ANYWAY.
  • The insanely sub-zero run that required more layers than I care to count.
  • Running even though my to-do list was filled with a baseball tournament (or swim meet or basketball game or family gathering) an hour away, grocery shopping, laundry and school work.
  • More morning runs after nursing marathons. Those dang growth spurts!

I didn’t get a medal or even a fancy shirt after these runs.  No one was cheering me on at the finish line and there were no pre-race butterflies to calm.  No age-group awards or trophies.  So why I am I so proud of these runs?  Because they are proof positive that I’m a runner, through and through, and that I can keep the plates spinning in this great magic show of life. I’m a firm believer that first we need to take care of ourselves, then we are much better equipped to care for others.

And those PRs?  I’ll brag about those some other time….