Friday, June 24, 2016

Runfessing my Situation



So, yeah, there's a few things I need to confess.....actually, let's just go ahead and runfess them, since they're all running related anyways.

First and foremost.....I've been dealing with a wonky heel for the past month or so. I could tell something was up (in the middle of May). My right heel felt like my left heel did a year ago....kind of "ouchy" after running. Plantar Fasciitis? Heel spur? Just a routine pain in the heel? It didn't hurt much when I was running, but it definitely had some aches and pains while walking.

The timing was not ideal for this (seriously, is the timing ever perfect for such an issue?), but I must runfess, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. My mileage has been dramatically scaled back to the bare minimum, but I was able to do two half marathons on back-to-back weekends without needing a wheel chair (or a stretcher).

 

Upper left, Dam to Dam on June 4th, and above, Grinnell Games on June 11th
So far, so good on the heel feeling better. It's not cured, and it will not be back to "normal" for awhile, but I think I have it under control. I have some stiffness (usually first thing in the morning), but it's not painful. I'm wearing my "comfort" shoes more often than my "sparkly sandals" and I am not over-doing it with my running. Most of my runs are fairly short during the week, and my "long" runs on the weekends (with the exception of my two half marathons) have not been longer than 10 miles.

I have a slew of events coming up in July, one of which is an ultra. As mentioned, I have been dealing with an unexpected drop in mileage (due to the unexpected wonky heel) in recent weeks. And, my ultra is happening in the evening hours (start time is 11:00PM). Let's not forget July is (historically and otherwise) a pretty hot & humid month in the Midwest. Oh, did I mention my ultra is a 12-hour event with no specific finish line, just a continuous 1-mile route we keep running (and repeating) until time runs out?

And guess what?

I need to runfess that I'm not having any anxiety about it. Last year, I ran the 6-hour endurance race at the same event, also with a "healing heel." It wasn't an easy quest, but it was not impossible either. And, it actually was fun conquering that finish line in spite of my less-than-ideal training (due to last year's wonky heel situation). Even with my recent slump in mileage, I feel stronger and in better shape than I was last year.

One of my secret weapons for strength and endurance? Planking... anywhere and everywhere
 Of course, a 12-hour ultra is a different ball game than a 6-hour ultra. Even though I only have one ultra under my belt, I do know the training (and the race itself) are very different than a typical road race. With ultra's, it's more about the endurance and not the speed. It's not only about energy, proper fueling, hydration and strength, but also fatigue...and being able to recognize the early signs of all of these factors and staying ahead of them.

Christmas in July 2015
I will runfess, though, that this is one race I'm not the least bit hopeful to run the entire time (ha ha ha ha ha), but I hope to run as much as possible in the first six hours. I know I will need walk breaks, and I will need to to stop periodically for food and fuel. As mentioned, this is a 1-mile loop, so I won't need to carry anything with me, because I can stop at the aid station every mile if I want to (but I will probably try to go 3-4 miles at a  time). Am I being over confident? Naive? Or just a little crazy? (Probably all of the above)

Even though the wonky heel has altered my training a bit, I must runfess that's it's been kind of fun playing and experimenting with different taping techniques for my heel and arch (even though my arch feels fine, I'm taping it as a means of prevention). Sometimes, I'm able to match my clothing to the tape. Since I'm wearing it anyways, why not make the tape a fashion accessory?


Lastly, I'll just runfess it....I do not think it's a coincidence this wonky heel happened when it did. Typically, I'm not a high-mileage runner. I don't thrive on triple digit monthly mileage. For me, it's more of quest to excel with my running without the wear and tear of numerous miles. My miles for May wound up at the century mark, and that has not happened in over a year. My body has proven (repeatedly) that it does great with moderate mileage and doesn't need the high mileage numbers to maintain its endurance. Lesson learned.

Have you ever gone into a race (slightly) under-trained? Ever done an ultra? How do you feel about mileage...high or moderate?

I'm linking up with Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice  for the monthly Runfessions. Gosh, it feels good to get that stuff off my chest and out in the open. Whew! Head over and see what everyone else is Runfessing....








23 comments:

  1. I wish I could do higher mileage, but my body doesn't seem to like it either. My ankle/heel started with low mileage!

    I seriously can't imagine doing the same mile over and over again, so good luck with that (plus I'm in bed long before 11 pm).

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    1. Running is so personal and individualized. What works for others can be a nightmare for others....such is the case with mileage. I'm thankful I can do what I do with the mileage I run. The high mileage months feel great at the time, but they almost always come back and bite my backside...

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  2. Hopefully, you'll heal quickly by taking it easier like you are - smart thinking! Looks like a fun challenge coming up with the timed event!

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    1. The heel is feeling pretty great considering what it felt like a few weeks ago. I'm glad I caught it (the potential PF) when I did and had the sense to scale back the miles. Onward!!

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  3. All things considered, it sounds like your heel is hanging in there. Mega style points for the matching tape. One can never be too stylish...or colorful. :D
    I'm a very low mileage runner, maxing out at maybe 35 mpw during marathon training. Whatever works, right?

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    1. Now....If I could just find some cheetah print tape.... ;-)

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  4. Wonky heel? Plantar Fasciitis? I'm right there with you and low mileage is all I got right now. I"m kind of sad about it. I want this to go away. Enough already!

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    1. The wonky foot issue seems to be plaguing a lot peeps recently. I think we need a support group...

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  5. Hoping to your wonky heel stays right where it's at and the ultra is no biggie. No Biggie?!!! So cool that you are doing this. I can't wait to see you again and watch you do this really epic race! I'll bring my biofeeeze! :) #ubagepower

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    1. I am SOOOO excited to see you, too!! Yes, bring the Biofreeze! I will have a long car ride home afterwards ;-)

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  6. Hoping to your wonky heel stays right where it's at and the ultra is no biggie. No Biggie?!!! So cool that you are doing this. I can't wait to see you again and watch you do this really epic race! I'll bring my biofeeeze! :) #ubagepower

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  7. I'm really liking the more frequent running participating in the runstreak and I'm really fine with just doing a mile some days. I admit I haven't ran over 3 miles in several weeks either and I'm ok with it.
    With all your planking and push ups you are in great shape to do your Ultra! If that heel will get on board all will be fine! I'm crossing my fingers for you too! It's all about finishing not how fast. I can't wait to hear more about this event!

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    1. I've told you before about my periodic streaks.....I enjoy doing them but only for the short-term. Usually by the final week, I'm just so ready to be over with it. I have never had the urge to continue on indefinitely. That said, I do enjoy the challenge of just getting outside and getting it done. Typically, I've done the streaking during my off-season, so I can do the 1-mile minimum and not have to worry about it impacting any race-specific training.

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  8. I can't run high mileage either. Hansons would be my undoing. My latest foot trauma left me with a nueroma that will always be there. It's frustrating because I go for weeks (or longer) and not even feel it. Then BAM. I'm confident you have the conditioning to do your 12 hour ultra. It's about endurance and we know we can get that without the excessive pounding on our feet.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I agree with what you said about endurance not coming from excessive pounding of our feet. That's what works for me ;-)

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  9. Wow! 12 hours on a continuous route?!?!? Kudos!!! That sounds tough. The sane thing over and over would be daunting. Kill it!

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    1. It did get repetitive last year (and that was for "only" six hours LOL), but it's also nice because you know you're gonna have an aid station (and a porta-pot stop) at your disposal every 10-15 minutes. Also, you have the option to pullover and take a break without needing to worry about getting left behind (like you would in an actual street race).

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  10. Hoping your heel continues to feel better! Glad that you were able to nip it before it got worse and that you still feel ready for the ultra :)

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    1. The heel is definitely feeling pretty good ;-) I'm heading out for eight miles this morning.... #fingerscrossed

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  11. I have never been good with high mileage, my sweet spot for years was 20 miles a week.
    I have done several races with almost zero training lol after my last injury. I just tried to enjoy them and not think PR. One I ran was a 10 mile trail race, it was part of a 12 hour timed run :) I ran with several people who went on to run 40 and 50 miles running the same 2.5 mile loop all day! I hope I can get back to a place where I can participate in the 12 hour one year. They all walked the big hills in the loop an took a lunch break, a very different experience from a road race.

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  12. Wow! It is amazing with your practicing. I am also runner and am trying to get 20 miles per day. ^^

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  13. I am so impressed that you will run the same mile loop repeatedly. That would drive me insane. The back of my leg is tight in the morning, and when I wear flat shoes. It felt fine running but is still a bit stiff I need to stretch more and do proper warm up, but I have the feeling my pesky pain is going to nag me my entire marathon training cycle.

    I didn't plank or push up once this week. Back in the saddle today !

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  14. I had a weird heel issue going into my marathon a few years ago and ran on it despite my doctor's advice... Luckily nothing ever came from it! But I do take longer breaks in between races now just in case it was an overuse injury.

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