I am going to be  back in the pool for some water run sessions.  With all the holiday excitement I haven’t shared my latest foot update and I need to, because this is part of my journey to Ironman Mont Tremblant.
After the Nutsy’s 5K the top of my left foot has been “bothering” me.  It has been sore on and off and “noticeable” but not “concerning” when I run.  I took several days off from running when I realized it was not alleviating or working itself out.  After a few days without running I laced up for a “test” run and wound up disappointed.  The foot just wasn’t ready for the running I want it to be capable of.  There was no “sharpness” and really I could have very easily “pushed through” the pain but my goal was to test the foot to determine if I should continue or call my podiatrist.  It took only 6 minutes for my left foot to make it very clear it couldn’t handle the load of running. Normally, I would run through this but the way my luck has been, I played it safe.  It felt like a bruise or like too much pressure across the top of the foot so I wound up walking home to make an appointment.  
2013 has not been lucky for my feet:
  • April: Heel contusion from a T2 mishap at RTC sprint 
  • May: Scary Infection from a cut at Columbia Tri
  • June:  Fractured 5thmetatarsal 2 weeks before Rev3 Williamsburg half iron from a slip and fall in my hallway.  Do NOT text and walk!
  • August: A strained digiti minime (the pinky toe muscle) from having to use crutches and the walking boot on my “good” foot
  • December……   Well, the news is I have a Stress Reaction in the 2nd metatarsal
Now, “stress reaction” is usually a good description for my mindset once this doctors delivers news, not the actual diagnosis, of the injured foot.  A stress reaction is an overuse injury to the bone.  The bone is aggravated and there is inflammation but he does not suspect there is an actual fracture at this point.   The bone is breaking down faster than the cells can rebuild.  If I had continued running on it with no rest and “pushed through” the pain I could have very well landed myself in a walking boot cast again, this time with a stress fracture.  Since my stress reaction is mild and does not hurt to walk around I don’t need a cast so that is great news. 

Dr Mahon’s plan is for me to bike, swim and do everything as normal except run.  
I need to take two more full weeks (two weeks from my appointment which was on Friday 12/20 off from running and then test it again and see him on 1/9 for our next steps.  I’m really hoping that it alleviates itself.  This means I am likely “out” for the Frostbike 15k but the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon may very well still be an option since I have a decent base behind me. 
I thought back on my training log and I feel really did ease back in gradually and intelligently.  I was water running to get in the run volume while at the same time building gradually back into running on the land.  I had made big gains in improving my run form.  I’m always wearing my custom orthotics.  I’m kind of addicted to calcium rich key lime Chobani yogurt, so this diagnosis comes as a shock.  In xrays he can see the “inflammation” and he can feel the “abnormality” in the bone but lucky for me, although there was a spot that hurt a lot when pressed, he did not feel anything he thought would be a fracture.  He says I’m learning when to dial back.  
The only trigger I can think of is switching from my Brooks Ghosts to the Saucony Kinvaras.  The toe/heel “drop” in the Kinvaras is 4mm and 10.3mm in the ghosts.  Dr does think that could have placed stress on the forefoot that my feet weren’t ready to tolerate.  I thought that I was easing into these shoes gradually but apparently not enough.  So it’s time to put the Ghosts up for a while and water run!  I also really need to work on strengthening my foot and ankle muscles, just to help them stay strong. 

My Brooks Ghosts at Clearwater: Too bad I don’t have this view every day!

Water running gives a great cardio workout.  It simulated the muscles needed for land running (except the toe push off).   The aerobic system gets a good workout too if you push hard.  Today, my whole family braved the snowy weather to lounge by a local indoor pool as I pushed hard in the water.  Talk about family support! It was also my 7 month old nieces first day in a swimming pool so I got to play with her post “run” sesh. Yes I’m disappointed that I have this setback but I’m grateful that’s it’s only two weeks sidelined from running and nothing that should take me out of accomplishing my key goals this season.