Truthfully, I had been dealing with mild plantar fasciitis in my heel since way back in early August when I ramped up my fall marathon training. It was a series of dumb mistakes that that led to it and in hindsight I probably deserved it. Here's how I managed to find myself in this situation:
1. After returning from our two-week vacation in July (where I hardly ran at all) I jumped immediately into an aggressive training program in an attempt to BQ at Lakefront Marathon.
2. Said marathon training program was only a short 11 weeks long instead of the usual 16 I like to do in order to build up slowly and safely avoid injury.
3. I ignored all the early signs of plantar fasciitis that began in late August and didn't adjust my training, take any time off, or change my goals for Lakefront.
4. After finishing Lakefront at the beginning of October I also ran the Milwaukee Marathon for fun on October 15th, followed by the Chicago Lakefront 50K at the end of the month.
All my training got me a 50K PR in Chicago but after that my heel basically exploded and told me where I could shove it. I tried to ignore it yet again to run the Schaumburg Half Marathon on Thanksgiving weekend (a yearly tradition of mine) but my foot basically gave me the middle finger at mile 6 and I hobbled in pain to the finish for probably my worst half marathon ever. Not my slowest finish but definitely the worst I've felt at a half.
Milwaukee Community Acupuncture, and scheduled an appointment at the Milwaukee Foot and Ankle clinic. I had big plans for 2018 and I was not going to let my stupidity derail them. I was going to be smart, dammit! At the doctor I had x-rays and an ultrasound done on my foot that thankfully(!) showed no stress fractures but I did have a big angry plantar fascia inflamed to about twice the width it should have been. Surprising? Not in the least. I told the doc about my running ambitions for the upcoming year and she assured me I could still get there and that I was doing all the right things. I like the occasional head pat so this made me feel good.
A steroid injection into my heel wasn't immediately recommended (thank goodness) but I did leave the office with an oral steroid prescription to calm the inflammation and a big boot to wear at night that keeps my foot flexed and the fascia stretched. I also had neat-o molds taken of my feet so I can be fitted with some custom orthotics for my shoes. I'm looking forward to getting those made and seeing how they work out!
In the third week of my break I decided to cautiously test the waters. My medication was making my foot feel better and I felt like the acupuncture treatments were starting to help as well. I didn't want to overdo it though so I just did a couple of runs in the 3 to 5 mile range at a very, very slow pace on the treadmill. I felt clunky and sluggish but my foot didn't hurt so that was a plus. Week four I increased the mileage a smidge but still kept things suuuuuper slow. Then on the week between Christmas and New Year's I attempted a very conservative speed workout on the treadmill (400s). I opted for indoors again because it was probably a bajillion degrees below zero outside and the last thing I wanted to do was slip on some dumb ice the week before my spring marathon training was scheduled to begin.
Which brings me to January! Here we are. I officially started a 16-week training plan for the Spring Chance BQ.2 Marathon on April 21st. It's a 10k-ish multi- loop course that is designed for people who are specifically attempting to qualify for Boston 2019. What's my training plan you ask?
I'm going all in on Hansons advanced training method! It's technically an 18 week program but I had to modify it a bit to 16 weeks because of everything I just talked about above. I originally wanted to start in mid-December but I strongly felt it was more important for me to start healthy, even if it meant sacrificing a couple of weeks of training. If I'm being completely honest though, my heel is a little bit hit and miss right now. Some days it's completely fine but other days (like after my speed workout yesterday) the pain will come back and linger for the rest of the day. Overall I believe I'm on the mend but I'm keeping an eye on things in case it regressed to where it was back in November.
More about the training in a bit! I just needed to get all this injury stuff out of my brain so I can look back and remember the time I made a good decision for myself.