Getting the All Clear

It’s official!  I am cleared to resume all normal running activities! This makes me unbelievably happy.  I’m still having a little pain in my heel first thing in the morning and immediately following some runs (especially the long runs), but after seeing how much looser my plantar fascia has become in the last few months, the doctor felt good about me resuming normal activities.

If you’ve ever dealt with plantar fasciitis, you know that it is a total pain in the…heel. Literally. It’s also a pain in the something else, but I’m in a good frame of mind about this, so I’m not going to use that word.  Plantar fasciitis is an injury that builds up over time and takes even longer to heal.

My pain started in early fall. I wasn’t following my training plan the way I should have been because I was so busy getting ready for the wedding.  So, I started with just a little pain here and there.  Then, we went to Spain where I spent the vast majority of the 8 days we were there traipsing around in super flat shoes with absolutely no support. (Note to self: on next vacation of this nature, but something with some arch support that still looks cute.)  By the time we got back, the pain had built to a point that it began to affect my running.  I was running through pain on every single long run.  Finally, I decided to call it quits.  I backed off to the 10K instead of doing the half I had registered for and looked into getting in to see a doctor.  I kept my mileage low (no more than 3-5 miles at three times a week) until I was able to get an appointment (Christmas Eve).

The good news from the doctor after watching me run and looking at my foot structure was that I definitely didn’t need orthotics.  He gave me some new insoles for my Asics and advised me to stay away from another pair of shoes I had bought in the fall with a sole that wasn’t quite as flexible.  I was given an exercise regimen and a prescription to continue my low mileage running for another 6 weeks.  For the next six weeks, I stuck to 3 mile runs on Tuesday/Thursday and 4 miles on the weekend.

By the time I went back in February, my pain had decreased quite a bit. I said 50% better when they asked.  The doctor felt good about that, so he told me I could begin increasing my mileage by two miles a week.  I handled this by adding on one mile to one of my mid-week runs each week and one mile to my long run.  I was able to keep this up, building in recovery/back-down weeks every so often until I got up to about 18 miles.  I noticed slightly more tenderness in my foot, so I backed off for a week and then went back up to 18.  Last week, I made it through just under 10.5 miles without any pain in my foot until after I had finished my run!

This week will put me at my highest mileage since the pain began, 21 miles.  Then, I get to start taper mode to prepare for Flying Pirate weekend (a 5K on Saturday followed by a half on Sunday).

So, now that I’m all clear, where do I go?

I know my overall fitness level has decreased pretty significantly since the wedding. I’ve gained weight and I’ve lost strength. Even some of my running clothes are just a little too snug to wear comfortably. I want to ramp up my mileage over the next 3 months, so I’m going to start working on putting together my post-race plan right away. I’m hoping to get my average weekly mileage up to about 30-35 miles per week (over 4-5 runs) and build in strength training 3 days per week. I would also be able to love to get back to being able to run a 5K without walk breaks, but whether or not I get to that point over the next three months depends on how asthma-friendly this summer ends up being.

I love working on my own training plans, so I’m excited about getting started on this one!

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