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My left foot

Last Sunday my training schedule called for a 90-minute run. The weather was actually above freezing and there were no abominable snowman on the trail. My nose hairs did not form nasal popsicles when I walked outside.

So, of course, this is the week I injure my left foot.

Some days I might be happy to use an injury as an excuse to avoid a long run. Instead, I’d been looking forward to using a long run as an excuse to have a Coco Loco, a chocolate truffle surrounded by coconut cake and glazed with caramel. No 90-minute run for me. No Coco Loco either :(

It’s all been rather tragic. Last Wednesday it was 50 degrees out and I came home 90 minutes before sunset, leaving plenty of time to run on the trail without three layers of insulation. Only I couldn’t, because I’ve developed a sharp pain on the underside of my foot when I walk, not always, just sometimes when I distribute my weight in certain ways. I suspect it’s an overuse injury, a strained ligament or tendon or something. The best way to attack an injury is to catch it early, ice it and rest it, which is what I’ve been doing. This weekend I tried not to leave my apartment, which wasn’t too hard since that’s how I spent most of my college years. Ha, ha, ha…how I wish I was kidding.

It seems to be helping because the pain has receded, though it doesn’t yet feel healed. It’s happened in a fairly good spot in my training schedule since next week calls for a cutback in running. (30 minute runs instead of 45!) However, it effing sucks. It’s beyond frustrating when my body cannot keep up with my mind. I’ve been using the elliptical machine at the gym instead of the treadmill, but it’s such a letdown. I don’t want to ellipticize, I want to run! I also find it difficult to push myself hard on the elliptical. If I stop on the treadmill, in the best case scenario it sands the zit off my face. If I stop on the elliptical, the machine turns off. Oh my God, how horrible.

However, I am reminded of Deena Kastor, a featured marathon runner in the film Spirit of the Marathon which I saw recently. During the film, she injured her leg or foot or some appendage, and could only run in a pool for several months. When she talked about recovering from the injury, you could tell she was upset that she couldn’t run for real, but she kept a positive attitude and worked out in the gym as best she could. (And damn, she lifted weights so rapidly it SCARED me.)

So, I will ellipitcize and I will pray that my foot heals. And no matter what, I’m completing the damn half-marathon in six and a half weeks. If the bus trailing behind at an eighteen minute per mile pace tries to pick me up off the course, I will beat them off with my crutches if need be. Hopefully my foot will just heal itself, I’ll try not to increase my mileage too rapidly, and all will end well – including me at the finish line.

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anji • March 17, 2008 at 8:13 pm

I know you hate unheeded advice, etc. but I’ll throw it in anyways. If your benefits cover it, I’d see about getting in to see a physiotherapist. If you aren’t covered, they’re like, $45/assessment(CDN bucks mind you) and like, $30/subsequent visits. They can spoil you a bit and give you exercises to help strengthen that puppy up in order to let you still run your race. My brother has the same kind of thing right now (from basic training military stuff) and he’s now recouping very well. I swear by physios after having ocurred a wrist injury. Mine was severe so it’ll never be 100% but I can proudly wipe my ass again so I’m happy. Heh. Too much info, right? Innervoice, shut up! But seriously… give it a ponder.


starbird • March 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm

What anji said.

Also, this is OT, but to have something to look at while you are resting on the couch, you can view this fascinating .pdx file from our US Govt:


It’s about food supply and nutrients in the US diet since 1909. Very interesting. The good stuff is at the end of the file, of cource.

PQ – Thanks. I’ll take a look.


Red • March 17, 2008 at 8:41 pm

No chocolate truffle surrounded by coconut cake and glazed with caramel?

How can we be happy in a world where a single person is deprived of such treats?!

(PS Feel better!)


K • March 17, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Well, I hope it feels better soon. I’ve been banned from running since November because of foot issues, so I feel for you (and am slightly worried about how I’ll get back into it once I’m allowed to.)

Good luck! I’m sure the chocolate truffle thingie will still be available once your foot is better (said she heartlessly…)


Cindy • March 17, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Hi PQ,

I am sick, right now, which is a little different than an injury, but I can still relate to your frustration at not being able to exercise the way you want. I find it so hard to be “unwell” in any way. I used to love to curl up on the couch with a box of tissues for a week if I had a cold. I’d watch movies and eat stuff and revel in the break from life. Now I get absolutely frenzied and become quite sure that I am going to die if I don’t get better instantly. I have no time or patience for being sick and want to be on the move again. A good patient I am not…

Anyway, rest up and take care of your foot and you’ll be running again in no time. And that chocolate caramel whatever thingy will be waiting, I’m sure. I can’t relate to that (but I could insert hot fudge sundae and then it would make perfect sense!).


Alison • March 17, 2008 at 9:53 pm


I’m a long time reader, but never actually commented…so here goes!

First of all good work on all your training! I ran a half marathon last year, don’t know if I’ll ever do it again tho ;-)

Sounds like you may have tendonitis? I would seriously get it checked out cos it wont get any better. I developed tendonitis after I had been training for a 15km run (sorry I’m in Australia I don’t do miles!)…but I just had it strapped and rested for a week or two. Funny thing was that it didn’t hurt when I wore high heels, perhaps I should have trained in my stilettoes!

Anyway take care and keep it up!



sb • March 17, 2008 at 9:59 pm

This sounds like it may be plantar fasciitis, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantar_fasciitis) which I think I also have. I was told by a guy at the running store that a good physical therapist and awesome taping (done by that PT) helped him heal completely from the same thing. And that guy has run abut 20 marathons!! So… the short version of what I’m trying to say is… talk to the people at your running store, and get a good PT, (like anji said)! The sooner you get it properly diagnosed, the sooner they will have you running again!

Ok, I’m now done with the unsolicited advice.

But I also want to say, I’m one of the winners of the galley of your book. I’m a few chapters into it already, and it’s just as good as I expected based on reading your blog. Funny and brutally honest at the same time. Very well done!!

PQ – Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.


Sarah • March 17, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Yes! I love that, beat them off with your crutch as you merrily hobble along. You WILL finish that race!!!


Katharine • March 17, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Hi, PQ. I am not a physician (but I am a medical copyeditor and so know where to look this stuff up), so be sure to check out this info with your doc: Here are some stretches (illustrated), courtesy of American Family Physician, a newsletter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, that you can do to help alleviate plantar fasciitis. I’ve done some of them, and they work.


Red • March 17, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Man, isn’t that always the way shit goes down? You never injure yourself when you don’t have anything going on and it’s 15 below outside anyway, it’s always like, “Oh, it’s unseasonably warm and she’s training for a marathon! Let’s get her!”

Is it sprained or just broken? I would think that if it were sprained it should heal up in plenty of time for the marathon. Either way, though, that totally sucks.

*sends lots of good health ju-ju*


Shelladawn • March 18, 2008 at 12:38 am

Hope you are feeling better soon and ready to run your arse off. If only so you can have a Coco Loco thingy. Don’t have them here in Australia, might have to move to the US. Al Pacino and Coc Loco, me likey likey.


adrienne • March 18, 2008 at 1:06 am

Here’s one more vote for medical attention. Yes, it sucks, but it beats the heck out of chronic problems that last for years.

You’ll be back on the Monon in no time.


leora • March 18, 2008 at 1:13 am

Oh Jeanette, I know exactly how you feel. The first marathon I trained for, after intense training for six months, I flew to New Orleans to run it and wound up getting the flu so badly that I was hallucinating. I had 105 fever. It was a mess. I was so disappointed. Of course it’s important to let your body recovery, but when you’ve been working so hard for so long, it really is such a let-down.


Lisa • March 18, 2008 at 1:38 am

PF in runners classically presents with pain upon awakening, not upon light use.

Definitely rest it and ice it and baby it, but I don’t see PF here. (I do agree with you, PQ, that it’s likely overuse. Sucks, doesn’t it, when your body won’t keep up with you? What sucks even more is that it only gets more fun as you get older.)


Flora • March 18, 2008 at 3:52 am

I can really relate to your frustration. Last fall I tried to step up my exercise too fast, going from just yoga once or twice a week and sporadic walking to Couch-to-5K AND long hikes every weekend AND yoga 2x-3x/week. I ended up hurting my knee and getting an inexplicably nasty flu, twice, while the weather was still warm, which set my fitness regimen way way back. So as much as I sympathize, I urge you to take it slow until you feel 100% again.


dietgirl • March 18, 2008 at 5:22 am

OH MAN there is nothing more frustrating in the world than an injury when your mind is raring to go go go… my sympathies PQ and I hope you’re on the mend soon. Least of all for that truffle :D


Olivia • March 18, 2008 at 8:31 am

Sorry about the injury PQ. I have to give a shout out for Deena Kastor. She trained for several years in my hometown in CO with the coach who worked at my college. Her husband is a grad. Not a big deal, I guess, but it’s my closest claim to fame. Getter better soon!


psychsarah • March 18, 2008 at 8:36 am

Just sending you healthy vibes from Canada!! Take care!


Kelly • March 18, 2008 at 8:50 am

You should definitely aqua jog! I do it every single time I’m training for a marathon. Even if I’m not hurting at all, it’s a great way to supplement running. It’s a better cardiovascular workout than the elliptical, and it’s actually kind of fun. Also, if you stop, you’ll drown. Isn’t that incentive enough to keep going?


Lynne • March 18, 2008 at 9:07 am

Have you tried using a tennis ball – rolling it with your foot. It’s supposed to do something for that kind of pain.

ALSO, During my first Half Marathon, my sister and I were running along and laughing about being last, until we heard a car, turned around and saw only the AMBULANCE with it’s flashers… Hey, we finished!


Elizabeth • March 18, 2008 at 9:38 am

I’m training for the same half-marathon and sprained my ankle about two weeks ago. I have been stubborn and running on it anyway (cutting down the miles, however)… I am so ticked because I have been training for this thing since November and I messed my ankle up 9 weeks before the race… if you backup beating of the trail bus with your crutch, I may just be running along side you! :-)


G.G. • March 18, 2008 at 9:40 am

If you can’t run, you could always increase your weight training so that the people on the bus will know you mean business when you’re smacking them with your crutches. You know, like you’re training for an American Gladiator event. Consider it cross-training:-)

Get better soon!


Jill • March 18, 2008 at 9:50 am

*sand the zit off my face* OMG that made me laugh and almost snort coffee out my nose!!

Sorry about your injury – hope it gets better soon!! =)


JEM • March 18, 2008 at 10:46 am

I am praying for a quick recovery, I know how much this means to you. Take care.


wilma • March 18, 2008 at 10:52 am

i hear you re not being able to run. i have had almost every running-related injury in the book, over the years–track training is intense, especially when you’re not 15! your injury could be tendonitis. i have just been off running for about 6 weeks due to shin splints–which i likely got from running more on my toes (which you do when wearing spikes). water running is boring as anything, but is very, very good, especially if you try it without the water belt (but you need to stay upright, so you may only be able to do this during your intervals, and not your rest, for example). also, (and please ignore if you like bc this is advice), i concur with everyone who is mentioning physio–it really, really works. i always wait until way too late, thinking that it’s just muscle soreness or whatever, and then am always slightly surprised to discover that yes, i have a real injury. good luck!!! and you’re right, icing is usually very important, and i think that using a tennis ball, mentioned by someone above, is also a very good idea. cheers, wilma


Laura • March 18, 2008 at 11:28 am

Sorry to hear about your foot! Really makes you appreciate being healthy, doesn’t it.

Even if you don’t get your miles in like planned before the Mini, you can do that race. If you have to run/walk, you can still do that race. You’re fit enough that you can finish, even if it won’t be in record time. Take care of yourself.


anonymous boxer • March 18, 2008 at 12:18 pm

This is why I had to give up running in my early 30’s – I don’t know if the human body was necessarily created to withstand so much running…. or maybe that’s just what I told myself. When I switched to jump roping/boxing I had ZERO problems with my feet/knees/etc. I hope you repair soon and can finish your amazing goal. But I’d also listen to your body and perhaps consider finding an alterntive workout. I’d like to point out… jumping rope burns 10 calories per minute and is low impact. Got that? OK, I’m off my soap box and onto the day……

Be well.


Patty • March 18, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Hope you foot heals soon! I know you are doing the right thing and resting it. I hope it feels better before race day. When I was running last year I kept having other pain toward the toes. Finally figured out it was the type of running shoes I was wearing. Bought new Asics and later Saucony and problem solved!


Lisa • March 18, 2008 at 1:33 pm

I feel your pain! I’ve been dealing with a foot injury for about a year now, so I know how frustrated you must feel. I’m just starting to get my running groove back and it’s almost as hard as starting to run in the first place. I’ve run my feet over more frozen water bottles (excellent shape for the bottom of the foot!) than I can count. I’m wishing you all the speedy recovery vibes in the world!


KateG • March 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Take good care and don’t despair! I twisted an ankle with about a week to go before my first half-marathon and recovered enough to complete the race. I think you are wise to take some time off from running since you’ve been having sharp pains. I hope you will be back to your training schedule soon!


Rah • March 18, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Sorry to hear about your foot, PQ. You are an adult, and I will not give you any advice, as much as it kills me to keep quiet. Get better.


Cynthia • March 18, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Sorry to hear about the foot. Medical check up might not be a bad idea if it does not improve. Just so you know what is going on.

Meanwhile, I second the suggestion to try aqua jogging! It’s harder than you think with the extra resistance of water!


Jenn1701 • March 19, 2008 at 8:50 am

I feel your pain (literally) sister! I am nursing the beginnings of what I think might be a skin splint in my left skin and it is just too painful to run. I have to say though, I have been ellipticizing at the gym during this time, as well as upping my weights, going longer on the stationary bike and adding some morning aerobics so I feel like I have made up for not being able to run. Good luck on your healing, you have a bunch of people cheering you on!


The Phoenix's Egg • March 19, 2008 at 11:46 am

Speaking from experience, injuries are the suck. You’ve already gotten a ton of advice, so I’ll just chime in to say good job with resting and icing early!


Stephanie Quilao • March 19, 2008 at 2:31 pm

When I was marathon training 6 years ago, I had a nasty injury and doc told me no running for at least 4 months. Yikes! I’ve been running every week since college and now to go 4 months straight without one stride. But it was a big lessoned learned. I got that injury because I was over training. I let my ego dictate the training not my body, and that always ends up in injury. Pace yourself and rest if your body is screaming for it. You’ll run your half marathon.


victoria • March 19, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your injury! You definitely have the right attitude about it. Hang in there!


Sagan • March 19, 2008 at 6:31 pm

A friend of mine loves sports but she always seems to be injuring herself- her doctor ordered her to run on the elliptical instead of the track and she was ranting about it, too. It’s just not quite the same.

I’m not that much of a runner but I’m trying to train for a half marathon in June, so my mindset is somewhat similar to yours… I’m going to finish the damn thing no matter how long it takes me!

Good luck with your foot; I’m sure you’ll be back up and able to eat some yummy Coco Loco’s in no time:)


HotHarmony • March 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I totally feel ya on the pain in the heal thing, I am training for a 5 mile trail run on April 26th and just Monday night noticed a new pain in my heal. I tried for 5 miles yesterday and got to 3.5 before it was too painful. Looks like I will be resting for a bit!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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