I haven't talked much about running since my half marathon. I thought that I would segue right from that into a speed 5k program and work on some more 5k PRs or even a 10k PR, since I technically got a 10k PR during my half marathon.
However, the wind during the half did some lasting damage on my feet. As I was running, I was completely cognizant that my gait was off, way off. I knew that I was hitting my feet funny as I was hunching my body into the wind, but there was really no way to correct it. I am normally a heel striker, but due to the wind, I was running like I would run up hills, which meant that I was hitting with my forefoot. Toward the end of the race, I could feel the strain on my feet. 13 miles was nothing. I ran 13 miles or more four times through the course of my training plan, so it was just another long run at that point. My legs weren't sore at all, but my feet were screaming. At lunch afterward, the bottom of my feet felt scalded, like when you step on hot sand. I remember slipping off my feet and placing them on the cool restaurant floor. It was like instant relief.
This kind of pain is common for me after hill repeats where forefoot striking happens. I can usually ice it and be back on my feet in a day. However, hill repeats are usually only 2 miles. This was obviously a much longer run. I expect that my feet were hitting harder due to the wind. Ice didn't work this time. Neither did moleskin. I really didn't let on how bad my feet were for a while, but they were pretty bad. It doesn't help that I have a job where I can't sit down, so my feet didn't really have a chance to recover. They'd start to feel better on the weekends, then I'd be back at work and on my feet all day and they'd HURT. I'd step down and wince because I'd get a stabbing pain in the ball of my foot. I was walking on the side of my foot to alleviate pain. I was hobbling around the house. In short, it was pretty ridiculous.
I limited my running. Although I was still running some, I've been running no more than 8-10 miles a week, which is pretty maddening. Truthfully, running didn't hurt because again, when I run normally, I heel strike. No weight comes down on where it hurts. It's just that as soon as I would stop running and start walking, the pain would return. I feel like I'm losing/have lost a lot of the fitness I accrued during the half marathon training. Yes, this makes me crazy. No, I don't regret holding back because my feet were a mess. Slowly, they started to get better, to the point where I could walk normally, but they're still sore. I finally admitted that three weeks after the half, they shouldn't STILL be sore. So I did a google search and found a podiatrist who seemed very runner friendly.
My appointment was yesterday. My mantra the whole time was "please no fracture." Early on in the worst of the pain, I was pretty sure I'd fractured it. Or possibly smashed every bone in my foot because it hurt SO much. This is partly why I've been stubborn about going to see a doctor--which is unlike me, because I'm the first to see a doctor when I'm sick. The first thing the doctor commented on was my high arches (actually, the real first thing he commented on was how super healthy I am--favorite!). This made me laugh because people always comment on how high my arches are. I didn't tell him that I really love flip flops and they probably do not provide arch support. However, he explained that with high arches, I get even more pressure on the ball of my foot while running, so that was interesting. After looking at my feet, he noted that the area over the sesamoid bones is definitely inflamed. Score one for Dr. Google because a diagram of the feet led me to figure out that this was the area causing me pain. He said that he didn't think it was a fracture, but he wanted to do x-rays to rule it out entirely. I got x-rays done and continued my game of "please no fracture." He came back in after the x-rays developed and said my feet looked good, except for a slightly suspicious shadow on my right foot. He said that a stress fracture would've developed by now, so it isn't a concern. He also said that because it takes three weeks for a stress fracture to develop, it was good that I waited to come in. My stubbornness wins!
In the end, he prescribed anti-inflammatories, a cream, and epsom salt soaks twice a day, plus he wants to see me back next week to see how my feet are doing. He said if I'm still having pain, we'll talk about fitting me for orthotics to deal with my high arches. The best part? He said I can resume running normally. Music to my ears. It feels great having answers and also seeing a doctor who was runner friendly. He said several times that he thinks it's great how healthy I am and how I tackle longer distances. He never said, "You're here because you ran and hurt yourself. Don't you think it's maybe not a good idea to jump back into that?" I loved that he understood why I wanted to get running again as soon as possible. Mostly, I'm glad that I have answers. The final diagnosis was that I bruised my sesamoid bones and also that the wind is a big, stupid jerk.