Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dealing With Setback

I've had a bit of an unlucky last month and a half of running.  I struggled in the taper period for the Chicago Marathon and my taper was more of a cliff.  I did get through the marathon without any major issues, but didn't get close to my goal time.  I foolishly went out hard in a half marathon just a week after the marathon to try and see if I could PR and lift my spirits a bit.  Instead I wound up walking half the race while dealing with hip pain.  After the race the knee pain set in and a week later I would be diagnosed with IT Band Syndrome.  Still being hard headed I went out for a trail run because I figured it would be easier on the joints and I didn't want to miss my friend's first race.  I wore a brace on the knee and all was going well until I stubbed the toe on a tree root 3 separate times.

After the trail run and the toe stubbing I finally slowed down and took it easy, mostly since I could barely walk, let alone run.  I don't do well with not running though and have had a bit of a problem with binge eating in the last month.  As a result I've gained about 7 lbs.  I did get myself into a routine of doing leg exercises and stretches, but not much else.  The weekend after the trail run I did manage to get myself out on a short jog to test out the knee brace and things went relatively well.  This helped me think that not all was lost.  I went for another short run at Blogger night at Roadrunner Sports and was completely pain free which was a huge boost in confidence in how things were progressing.

It was on Friday that I heard the dreaded words that I really didn't want to hear.  I was overdue for an annual exam so I went to the doctor's on Wednesday.  I had them check out the toe while I was in there since I still had some pain.  I showed the doc my day after picture and she said she wanted me to get an X-Ray just to be sure.  I went and got that X-Ray on Thursday and then got the call on Friday.  The diagnosis is "fracture of the distal aspect of the distal first phalanx, obliquely oriented. This is essentially nondisplaced . There is adjacent soft tissue swelling."  In layman's terms, the tip of my left big toe is cracked. It takes 6 weeks for a fractured toe to heal.

Now here is my quandary - I've run immediately after breaking the toe - even sprinting on it to finish the trail run, and I've run twice more since -albeit short runs, but they didn't seem to have any affect on the toe.  Do I keep up with the occasional short run to keep some sort of athletic base going?  I'd hate to see what would happen if I don't let myself run for another month.  And don't suggest swimming.  I hate swimming.  The other thing is I have the Rock and Roll Last Vegas Half Marathon coming up on Sunday.  I don't think there is any way I'm going to let myself skip that.  I may wind up walking half of it, but there's enough booze in the city to overpower any toe pain I might have once I finish.  I will have to test out shoes since some seem to cause more issues than others.  I won't be able to fully toe off during my stride.  I can jog in place up on my forefeet without any issues, but something with more flexing, like pushing off during lunges doesn't feel too good.  Luckily after this race I will have 8 weeks until my next race, which is plenty to recover.  Luckily that one is just a 10K.

I know I'm being a bit hard headed, but once I get into a routine I don't like to stop.  I was doing so well this year with consistency in my running and the results showed in all aspects of my life.  I've been rather fortunate during all my training and never really faced any injury.  I started running just over 2 years ago and other than some tendinitis from overdoing it when I first started out I've been doing well ever since.  I've had occasional shin splints and a couple hamstring strains, but nothing that has completely sidelined me.  I just really don't want to let myself fall off the wagon since that's what happened to me in high school.  I hurt my knee my senior year of track before the season even began.  I tried to get myself back together, but couldn't get it healed to where I could run and wound up sitting out the rest of the season.  I would eventually see a specialist who recommended surgery.  I finally got that surgery before my 3rd year of college.  I tried getting back into running that year, but woke up sick the following day... wound up with complications from impacted wisdom teeth, unlucky timing... and didn't try running again until 8 years later.  Let's hope I'm back on track in 8 weeks instead of 8 years this time.


  1. That's bad news about the toe. Did the doc say not to run? If it doesn't hurt then is it safe to assume you're not doing any further damage or slowing the healing?
    Regardless of what you decide, I hope you're feeling better soon.

  2. I think the races you have signed up for will force you to not wait 8 years... I would say take time off after Vegas to get the toe completely heeled and then start heading back out there for some short runs. And keep up with the leg exercises and stretches for the ITBS. Hope it all feels better soon!