Running slowdown

When I had some Achilles tendon problems in March 2008, I realized running five or six times a week was probably not a good idea for me, and I added cycling and swimming to diversify my exercise and, hopefully, prevent injury. This worked well for two years. From May 2008 to May 2010, I ran, swam, and biked injury-free, running a strong half-marathon in September 2009.

However, in May of this year, I began to experience some soreness in my arches, mostly in my forefeet. A few hours after exercise, or maybe the next day, I felt soreness, mild pain, or prickly or itchy sensations between my arch and heel. I started thinking I have plantar fasciitis, quite common for runners, despite never having its most common symptoms–pain in the heel, usually at night or first thing in the morning. The discomfort came and went for a while. But by the end of June, my feet were sore more often than not. So I laid off running for all of July. I also tried to be more religious about stretching after exercise, though honestly I did so poorly (and still do; always have). After the break, I ran a couple times the first week of August, alternating a half-mile walking and running. But after a few runs, the trouble returned, so I gave up running a few weeks more.

Since August 25, I’ve logged six run and walk combinations, typically running 1/2 to 1 mile, walking a quarter-mile, and repeating the cycle three or four times. I’ve kept my paces slow, 10:00 or so, though I did run one mile under 9:00 last week. For a while, I had no symptoms. But intermittent soreness in my arches remains, with the occasional itchy/prickly feeling too. Nothing particularly bad, but noticeable enough to be annoying and to make me worried more intensive running (anything under 8:30 pace or longer than six miles) would worsen things.

Part of my problem is a splinter or similar foreign object in the outside middle of my right foot. But that doesn’t explain it all. Last week I visited my GP, who examined me (opting not to play “dig for the splinter”) and sent me to radiology. The x-rays showed no stress fractures. So off to the podiatrist I shall go. Meanwhile, I’ll be putting quite a few miles on my new Trek, keeping any runs short and very slow, and trying, once and for all, to get serious about flexibility. We’ll see what the next doctor orders. Now it’s time for run #7.

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