Monday, February 20, 2012

Reality bites

I thought it was just a pinched nerve. Or it was what I had myself believe as the reason for the pain in my right foot when I ran.

I did not want to hear something like "stress fracture" or anything that meant I would be unable to run for a long time. I already had my training plans and race schedules. I did pretty well in my races last year and I want to keep the momentum going. A long lay-off would keep me off track. I definitely didn't want that.

A day short of three weeks since I felt that shot of pain during my last training run, the foot still hurt there when I put pressure on it. The acupuncture and massage sessions helped reduce the swelling and the intensity of the pain I felt during the first week. The pain that lingered wasn't really killing me, but it was bothersome enough.

Today I finally gave in to my wife's persistent request that I see a doctor. The x-ray result showed that what I had was indeed a stress fracture in one of my right metatarsals. The doctor said my foot has to be in a cast for four weeks.

Now, it's not just no running for me. Even cycling, which I had been doing at least every two days for the past two weeks just to maintain the aerobic conditioning, was no longer possible.

Four weeks. On second thought, that's really not too long. I can start those upper body strength workouts with my dumbbells which I had long been planning to do. And there are those running books and running movies waiting to be read and watched.

I'll get by and will definitely be back. Stronger, I hope.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Just run

Never mind if your shoes are quite old.
Never mind if your shorts and shirt are a bit faded.
Never mind if you don't have GPS.
The old chronograph still works and it's just fine.

Just run,
chasing the dream of a faster time.
It is what really matters.
It is what really counts.

                                                           (Rediscovered today in an ageing folder of unpublished notes)

Saturday, February 04, 2012


An injury has kept me from running for the past four days, the first time this has ever happened. It will also be the first time I can't make it to the starting line of a race due to an injury. I guess us runners all have to face something like this at least once in our running lives.

This sucks. I would rather be on the road and sweating it out through a 10 kilometer run early in the morning than on a lounging chair worrying about the persistent pain in my right foot. But it has been like that since Wednesday this week.

I went for a run Tuesday, doing fartleks and some hills on a 12k route. Everything was going fine until the last downhill curve which was quite steeply banked. I didn't twist my ankle, but it was likely that my right foot hit the banked pavement in some awkward kind of way so that on the uphill surge going to the kilometer marker, I began feeling the pain, apparently from a pinched nerve. The pain became more pronounced on the last kilometer and had me limping through a slog home.

I had a chiropractor work on my feet twice. But the slight swelling and the pain persisted. The morning after the visits to the chiropractor, I tried to see if I could run. I can't. The pain in my right foot whenever it hit the pavement was too much. I would say now that I was in denial. Friends already had me registered for the 17k Philhealth Run in Koronadal on Febuary 5. I already had my race number and singlet. I have no plans of missing this one.  It can't really be that bad. I should be able to run at least by Friday. Reality told me otherwise.

This morning, I went to an acupuncture clinic and finally informed my friends who sponsored my registration that I just couldn't make it to the starting line in Koronadal. My right foot needs time to rest and heal. It's definitely frustrating not being able to race. I had put so much in training for a good finish. But things like this are part of our sport, and we just have to learn to live with them when they come.

Last night, I saw a tweet by American marathoner and US 50K record holder Josh Cox that said:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept when I cannot run; the courage to run when I can; & the wisdom to know the difference. #runnersprayer"

That is my prayer today.

Stubborn runner cartoon from Marathon Sweetheart