Thursday, September 21, 2017

The wonderful mystery of the disappearing plantar fasciitis

About a month before the Ultra Tour du Léman, the nascent plantar fasciitis that I'd been feeling since getting back into training post-GUCR flared up sufficiently during a run that I decided to cut out speedwork and cut my mileage almost in half.
Now that the UTL is behind me (race report forthcoming), turns out it was the right decision. My fitness wasn't where i hoped it would be, but I went into the race feeling mentally strong from the GUCR finish and that my fitness was at least sufficient to see me to the end of the race. And that turned out to correct, since I did manage to finish, even if it meant drawing on all my reserves and experience and just plain stubborness and desire to finish.
But it was also correct from the perspective that it's better to show up at the start less fit but uninjured. The foot was still still a bit sensitive upon waking up in the morning, but it didn't bother at all during the nearly 30 hours it took me to finish.

But the most amazing thing is that now, three days after the race, there is no pain at all! Not waking up, not walking around during the day. I read somewhere (via James Adams, citing Mark Cockbain I think) that "an injury caused by running is solved by running". A bit extreme, but in this case quite true!

Perhaps my foot is still "warm" from the race, and the plantar will flare up again in a few days or if I started running again next week. But plantar or not, I'd already planned to take a long "seasonal" break from running. A full month off, something I haven't done for the past three years. I need it, both mentally and physically, and am really looking forward to it, to reset the mental batteries. I'll be doing some low intensity biking starting next week for cardio, and strength training starting the week after, but otherwise no running till mid-october. Then it's going to be a slow build-up for three weeks before a two-month period i have planned to increase my speed (avoiding any runs longer than 2h). I guess the real test will be then, but I'd like to think that my feet will appreciate almost two months off hard running and will reward me by keeping quiet.

Running ultras continues to be a valuable life lesson in pain management and physical recovery. If this plantar doesn't come back, however, it will be quite the most amazing thing that has happened to me. And hopefully gives hope to anyone ever plagued with injury...

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