Once upon a time there was a girl who’d only had one running-related injury (and not even from running directly, just spending too much time barefoot and then … well, okay, too many miles pounding on a funky foot), had run well in high school (“the glory days”), and was now running in college, trying to keep up on schoolwork, enjoy the independence of college, and adjusting to the South. That being said, she was running in an entirely new program and was able to run new/different events than in high school now that she was a big bad NCAA athlete. Fast forward through her whole freshman year (I keep saying there will be a recap, but I’m keeping up the element of surprise, okay?) and into summer, now
I’m she’s working, has an internship, and still running … okay, “training,” as Coacher wants us to think of it.
Sounds great and perfect and pretty cool that a girl with a passion for the sport could continue to the next level of competition and that all her first year of running would be setting PRs and winning championship races, right? *cue button sound* ERRRRRNT. Wrong. Gaining weight during the first year of college, less sleep, more running, more school stress, all of it = my running (secrets out, that girl is/was me!) just isn’t at the same level that it used to be, or where it needs to and should be. I ran the steeplechase this spring a few times, but ultimately it was the hurdling and non-stop running that has led to some heel pain. Plantar fasciitis, nothing special.
Wake up in the morning = ow.
Standing up and walking after time sitting down = ow.
Trying to roll out the knots in my heel itself = OW.
Running on a “bad day” = ow.
So yeah, months of pain = ow ow ow.
A play on words, but also a title that means exactly what it’s supposed to. Heel (with a double E, but not my excited sound “EEEE!”) as in my literal left foot, and also a focus on needing time to heal, just like you might have read the title and guessed. Time to heal my heel. Get it, got it, good?
Merriam-Webster gives the definition of heal (verb): “to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome.” As little as I like being in pain or even saying the word “injury” or admitting to not being 100% healthy, I like that definition! Any type of injury, even as a non-runner or athlete, is totally undesirable. Last time I checked, most people don’t like being in pain, and definitely not if they can prevent it. Being so, any running related pain I’ve had in the past (& heck even now!), I always put off seeing the doctor or taking time off from running – they’ll just tell me to take some time off & I can’t do that!! (No, I’m not stubborn. Why would you think that?)
“It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes … Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners.”
Okay, stop there. The trainers at Emory along with the certified doctor/podiatrist himself all agreed that my heel is the issue. Since I’m stubborn (who knew?) and have gone to the same doctor with any/all foot issues, he knew that I couldn’t (more like wouldn’t) be open to taking any time off of running, and especially not while training for cross country this fall – when Coacher says he’s going to cap your mileage at 70 miles/week, you believe him and run as hard as you can to get in shape for those weeks to come. So finally to the “healing” part of this story (if you know me, this rambling should be expected, whoops), that’s where we’re at now.
“Didn’t you know? PT stands for pain and torture. I was supposed to keep going from my foot after surgery, but I only went a few times then stopped.” – my mom
“You can maybe try and do a short run afterwards.” – Doctor Wright
Just a couple of the encouraging things I’ve heard so far about starting physical therapy for the fasciitis, along with the fact that (apparently) I also have very poor ankle range of motion because of my tight calves. Not sure what all that foam rolling does then, sir. Not to have attitude, but just to play it off that I’m nervous. As if my days could get any busier, and since my cute small town is really that small, I have to drive about 40 minutes
to be tortured. Somehow my life is always busy and seems to be on the go – not sure who’s plan that was, but not sure that it’s always been mine!
I’m all about new experiences and learning from them, and trusting that if I put in hard work then things will be okay and all that, so maybe I should listen to myself. It’s frusturating to have this nagging, often sharp pain all the time. For months. Even when NOT running. So, it’s time to heal the heel. It’s time to enjoy running again because I haven’t for so long and most days I hate it, it feels like a chore. It’s time to be more positive and motivated. It’s time to enjoy the opportunities in my life, the people around who so often offer their support and love to my grumpy/stressed out/tired/busy/etc. self, and move forward … pain-free. Because I owe it to those who want the best for me.
Oh, and according to Urban Dictionary (obviously the most trustworthy source), heel: (n) In professional wrestling, a “bad” guy. So maybe if the whole running thing doesn’t work out, it’s time to be a heel. ;-)
Until next time,