Pulling the Marathon Plug

Well this was not the post I wanted to write this week.  It wasn’t the post I expected to write either…but here I sit with a suspected stress fracture in my metatarsal (on the other foot I had problems with).  Even if it’s not a stress fracture, I think both mentally and physically I’m not ready to run another marathon right now.  After my injury in July, it seemed I was forcing myself to train for a full.  While I was enjoying running, my heart wasn’t 100% into Wineglass.

Rewind a bit: 

It’s funny because since coming back from my arch issue I have been smart.  I haven’t pushed my limits or upped my mileage to quickly, if there was pain, I stopped. It wasn’t as if I went from no miles to 70 miles per week.  I haven’t had any pain that I would relate to muscle or even bone pain.  I thought it had been going really well!  So why on Earth did I wake up on Friday morning with a bruised and swollen left foot?   I have been running pain free for the last two weeks.  100% pain free with nothing I was concerned about.  My last run on Thursday was an easy run.  I felt no pain, breaks or soreness.  (When I had my only other stress fracture in my tibia, I felt “the break”).  

I just woke up Friday morning in more pain than I have been in for a while.  The pain in my foot hurt so badly it woke me up.  I would do a “hop test” but LOL, I can’t even walk without pain…believe me this is as shocking to me as it is to you.

While I haven’t “officially” been diagnosed (mostly due to my work schedule this weekend), it doesn’t really take a genius to see I can’t walk.  Their advice will be: “Well you should probably stay off your feet and not exercise, here is your boot”.

Honestly, that’s fine.  A boot will bring attention to the fact I’m injured and not to karate kick me in the foot or accidentally step on my toes.

How am I dealing emotionally?

As an extremely emotional person, I will probably cry when they officially diagnose me at the doctor but I haven’t cried yet.  Something about the confirmation will probably cause me to cry.  I went from not being injured for two years to back to back injuries.  When it rains, it pours I guess.

That being said I’m mentally at peace with a serious injury.  I’m not in college fighting for a last season or race.  After being injured the first time my heart really wasn’t into my fall marathon anymore.  I felt like I was doing to just “do it”.  There is a marathon every weekend if I wanted to find another one…but I don’t right now.  I don’t have an interest to train intensely (via cross training) through a stress fracture.

It’s almost (key word:almost) like a mental relief because I’m not forcing myself to run a race I don’t feel comfortable doing.

What if it’s not a stress fracture and my foot is extremely bruised? 

My foot hurts, I can’t put weight on it and it’s bruised and swollen. I’m not being negative; I’m just stating the facts. I’m not sure what other injuries could be a possibility but I guess the doctor will tell me.  

Reasons that it might not be a stress fracture are: the amount of bruising (it’s basically my entire foot…sorry to people who got visual photo text), the fact I woke up in the morning with this pain (not during a run) and there isn’t one point on my foot that I can pinpoint the pain radiating from.  So it’s a possibility it is a major bruise but that is why doctors exist…to go to them.

Finally as always…where does this take me training wise?

Honestly right now I’m taking both physical and mental time away from running and even the “training mindset”.  I had a series of crappy races since my half marathon PR (April Fools in Atlantic City).  As the races got worse, my confidence in running dwindled.

I don’t have a need to cross train to maintain a huge amount of fitness.   I don’t have any immediate races to train for and I won’t until I know a problem and want to run.  Will I cross train?  Yes, of course but I will do so when I’m healthy.  I’m not going to spend hours on the elliptical to maintain a base for running.  There isn’t really a point…I would rather heal faster then cross train and take twice as long to heal.

Yes this injury sucks.  It sucks a lot.  I’m pretty crushed but for all the good months of training, you must have some bad ones (and I had nearly 24 good months of training).  It will suck more when (if) they say “you have a stress fracture”…but it will heal.  Bones heal and grow back stronger.  Mentally I’m exhausted and frustrated but whining isn’t going to help.  I will still be around the blogging world of course but I couldn’t tell you what sort of LOLZ will be brought up in the next two months.

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  1. Sorry to hear about your foot, hope it at least starts to feel a bit better soon. I think you’ve got a good attitude towards the recovery though – no point trying to rush things that take time no matter how frustrating that can be. Looking forward to hearing about LOLZ adventures while it gets better.

  2. Hollie, this stinks. There’s no other way to say it. This is another tough break. It’s super frustrating, but it sounds like you’re approaching the situation with the best mentality possible. Racing doesn’t *need* to happen right now, and it’s more important to completely heal than to push through it.

  3. This stinks :(. I think you’ve made peace with the decision though and are being smart about it. There will always be other marathons, definitely let your foot heal and take it easy mentally too. *hugs*

  4. It’s okay to cry; this has been a very frustrating process and emotions are part of it. Hugs to you, Hollie.
    +1 What everyone has already said about your attitude, and it’ll help a lot going forward. More hugs to you. <3

  5. So sorry Holly. Is just diagnosed with a suspected stress fracture and they will confirm after an MRI on Monday. I don’t know when it happened but I knew what it was before going to the to doctor. So me and my boot are heading to the pool. Wishing you a healthy recovery.

      1. Outside left metatarsal. I got back in the pool today. Thankfully that always comes back.

  6. So sorry to hear this! I hope its not fractured so that it will heal faster. It sounds like you did everything right and sometimes these things just happen and just leave us shaking our heads.

  7. Hollie that stinks, but you’ll power through and still be an amazing runner after you recover. I just had 10 weeks off as a result of a stress fracture. The first three weeks were the worst because I couldn’t even get a diagnosis. I had no bruising or swelling though. Just pinpoint pain. Now I have to follow up with 4 weeks of PT and can only run on the Alter G treadmill. I tried pool running, but found it to be mentally painful. Good luck. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  8. Sorry about your foot! You have such a great attitude about injuries (even if you do end up crying about it later).

    When you mentioned not wanting to crosstrain on the elliptical just to maintain fitness, all I could think of was how much that’d hurt your foot 🙁

    1. HA true story…if it’s a stress fracture, I would run the risk (LOLZ bad pun) of shattering the fracture and then spend even more time recovering!

  9. I’m so sorry to hear this. You’ve always been a really smart and admirable runner and the way you’re handling this is no exception.

  10. So sorry to hear about your injury, but it’s great that you know you need a break (no pun intended) and to let your body heal rather than try to push through or push too hard to get back.

  11. COME VISIT ME! Or meet me somewhere. Gosh, I know how you feel about being injured and the waiting game. UGH, the waiting game. However, I have realized if something hurts it is SO much easier for me to take time off going through other injuries. It’s all a learning process and you just learn to cope/find other things to do in the meantime. Hang in there, Lolz!

  12. sorry about your foot injuries!! I know you have lots of stress/demand on your bones but with multiple stress fracture you may want to ask your doctor about checking some basic labs such as calcium vitd, and maybe a DEXA scan. You have have already done this so sorry if that is no help!

    Feel better quick!

    1. Thanks! In all honesty, I haven’t had a stress fracture since July 2011. That injury I can relate to poor training but I’m not sure about this one. While bone density is something I hope to discuss with my doctor, I don’t think I’m at high risk for low density.

  13. Hi! I am is sorry to hear about your injury! I just got over an injury and am starting to gain my fitness back. The one upside was I was able to be more social and do things I would normally have to forego due to training/being busy. Nevertheless, I can imagine your disappointment. You will have more marathons (I know hearing that doesn’t make it easier now) and it’s better to take time off than run on an injury. Sending positive thoughts and healing vibes your way!!!

  14. After all you went through with your other foot, I am SO SORRY to hear about it. But putting racing on the back burner for now seems to be the best thing to do. Sending TONS of good vibes your way!

  15. BOOT BUDDIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    For serious though, this sucks, I’m sorry. I always feel really bad for runners with stress fractures, because triathletes can usually still swim and do some biking.

  16. Shit Hollie, I’m so sorry 🙁

    I really do hope that it’s bruising and not a stress fracture, but I’m in awe of how pragmatic you are about this and with your attitude I know you’ll get through this and come back even more motivated to crush your already freaking incredible 13.1 PR and also run as many strong marathons as you care for.

    Wishing you all the best.


  17. Sorry to hear about the injury. As tough as it sounds, take the time to heal properly (find something else to focus on during any downtime) and then start it up again.

      1. That’s cool. I’m not nearly as patient. I had to take a few weeks off this summer (hamstring) and I was bouncing off the wall. Good luck with the recovery.

  18. Wow, that sucks. So this was the other foot. Makes me wonder if you changed your gait. I know when I hurt something, other things start to hurt too. I would say hope it’s a fracture and not a sprain. Bones heal so much better than the other stuff in a foot. But just think, you can be in the pool all the time swimming. Heal fast.

  19. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear this. 🙁 But, I think you are being smart about it. Running can be completely unpredictable, injuries included. Rest up and come back even stronger with a fire in your belly (and not from the diner!). 😉

  20. I was really hoping for a miraculous recovery (I mean hey, I’m no doctor but if something like this can happen overnight, couldn’t it also disappear overnight too?!). And I’m kind of pissed at both of your feet for being so dumb lately. That aside, I hope whatever this ends up being heals quickly and if there is absolutely anything at all I can do to make you feel better, you best tell me.

  21. I’m so sorry!! Injury sucks, no matter how you look at it. I had a similar thing where I’d been monitoring a pain in one foot and then in one run I suddenly had debilitating pain & bruising in my other (normally so dependable) foot. I was certain it was a stress fx, but it actually turned out to be a dislocated cuboid (tarsal) that my chiropractor popped back in easily. It happened again the next week and I decided to take some voluntary time off to let my body unwind from stress & hopefully allow my ligaments to stabilize. I really hope that you’re dealing with something simple that has a clearcut diagnosis and treatment plan!

  22. UGH – this is a total bummer. Hopefully it’s not a fracture, BUT bones DO heal up pretty quickly; I think it would have been worse if the soft tissue arch pain became chronic and unresolved. It sounds like your body just wants a rest. I had a bad break in my right foot (dropped a computer on it like a real dumbass) a few years ago. I took a month off and just gave myself permission to rest and cross train only for my emotional well being/general health and came back in about 4 weeks. I’ll be sending healing vibes your way! You will get through this and come back better than ever!

  23. Very sorry to hear about your injury! Hang in there and keep you head up. I have battled my fair share of injuries with my feet and legs. Any injury that sidelines you from running isn’t fun. I hope you have a speedy recovery and you come back stronger then ever!!

  24. I’m so sorry about your foot! Fingers crossed that it’s not a stress fracture so that you can get back to running whenever you’re mentally ready. I’ve had mental burnout from marathon training before and I think taking a step back is a smart thing if you’re really not enjoying running. If you don’t love doing it, what’s the point? Better to wait until your mind is refreshed.

  25. Sorry to hear it, Hollie 🙁 Hopefully it isn’t anything too serious and it stops causing you grief soon. Injuries always suck, but it sounds like you’re okay with taking some time off, so maybe this is a good opportunity to take it easy and come back even stronger 🙂

  26. Yuck to injuries that really sucks 🙁 but you see to have a really healthy attitude toward the whole thing and it all makes sense. Why push yourself cross training when you can rest, heal naturally and then start up again she you’re really ready. Hopefully it isn’t as serious as it seems now.

  27. How random! And frustrating! You JUST got back to running! You do really seem to stay fairly positive with all of this and I’m glad that you’re able to do that (although I’m sure that there are less positive times too).

  28. Oh no! I feel ya, I had some stress fractures in my foot a few years ago. I had symptoms and not only did I ignore them but I wore flip flops. I kept thinking my feet were just sore and then it got BAD and I couldn’t walk on one foot, turned out it was fractured. It sounds like you’ve got that too, I hate to say but you seem to know that=( Good luck!

  29. Ugh! I’m really sorry to hear this!

    You and I can spend this fall together on the sidelines cursing at our bodies for being stupid and ruining our fall plans!

  30. I’ve just been diagnosed with a stress fracture in my pubic rami, and I am not dealing with it very well! I’m new to reading your blog, so hopefully this fortunate timing will pull me out of my pouty pity party and have someone else to relate to while I recover. We can share tips on using crutches 🙂 No matter what the diagnosis is, think positive! xx

    1. I’m really sorry to hear that Amanda! That sounds painful. I’m glad you stopped by and I hope to chat again!

  31. Argh! Sorry to hear this Hollie- crossing my fingers that it isnt anything serious, but if there’s anyone that has a level head and perspective- it’s you. Chin up, tiger.

  32. It’s weird when we are in these mixed states where obviously the injury sucks majorly because we love to run and have a goal…yet a little relieved that we can sometimes stop pushing for a goal we no longer want! Hope it turns out to be something quick healing

  33. Aw, sorry to hear about the latest injury, Hollie. 🙁 But I totally get what you mean about “almost” feeling relieved to not have to train through the injury. Wineglass just wasn’t meant to be this year. Perhaps that wil bring bigger and better things for 2015? xo

  34. I can’t imagine what you’re going through but listening to your body is most important…. Rest up, there’s always next year! Hang in there doll!

  35. Oh poo Hollie!! This stinks and I feel horrible about your injury. But on the bright side you have been the most inspirational person to me through this recent injury streak. You attitude has been upbeat through it all even though the situation is not rosey so to speak. Wishing you a speedy recovery

  36. This makes me so sad for you!! But we all know you will come up with some good LOLZ in the meantime. Take care of that foot and just enjoy life sans training.

    One of my fav quotes that gets me through injuries: “a setback is a setup for a comeback”… the pavement will still be there. and you’ll come back stronger and refreshed!

  37. Very sorry to hear this Hollie! I know how disappointing it is to be preparing for a marathon and have this setback. You are such a good runner that I know that you will heal up and be back at it in no time. Give yourself the time to heal properly and we’ll be cheering for you when the time is right to jump back in. Best wishes!

  38. That is a total bummer! Real sorry to hear that. It could have been a compensation problem – where you altered your stride due to your previous injury and eventually the bone and area just got too weak and broke.
    Regardless, rest up and enjoy this forced break. You’ll come back stronger and motivated!

  39. Wow! I am so sorry to be reading this! I know this is not what you wanted at all (I mean who really wants an injury?!) but you have such a positive attitude about it. I hope you get “just a super bad bruise” report from the doctor and not a stress fracture report. Either way, you’re going to recover and come back even stronger like I know you will!

  40. Three thoughts:
    – I am sorry. Because no matter what, it sucks. I haven’t raced this year at all, and even though the choice was mine (or at least dictated by doing things for / with my wife & kids), there are a couple I wish I had run and sorta feel bad missing. So no matter what, having to make that choice sucks.
    – I am personally a little disappointed … being out in the Corning area I don’t have much opportunity to meet other bloggers, and originally Danielle (T-Rex) was planning to run Wineglass, but that got pushed out. Now you had planned it, and I figured I would get to meet you at one of the pre-race things. I’m not running this year (even though over 100 spots have just opened up!), as it is right between my wife and son’s birthdays (and I’m running an ultra the following weekend). Anyway, you know what I mean.
    – Finally I kinda knew this was coming – because your writing changed, your word choice, tone, and so forth told me exactly what you said: you weren’t really committed.

    So it is a very sad thing and I hope whatever is up turns out for the best overall … but ultimately I think this is for the best.

  41. Sorry to hear this. My very best wishes for your recovery. I am confident that you will use this time in a way that will make your life even better than before.

  42. I’m really sorry to hear this Hollie. It’s not particularly fair at all. I always admire you for being such a sensible and smart runner. You never do stupid trainings with ridiculous fast paced runs every single day or jumped up mileage so it seems very unfair that you’ve been struck with this potential stress fracture. I hope you heal quickly. Mentally it sounds like you’re coping very well – personally I’d have had a complete melt down. Hope you heal quickly and things start looking up.

  43. Ohhhh Hollie, I am so sorry, that just sucks.
    Fingers crossed the doctor is able to easily diagnose it so that you can treat that sucker! Best wishes, there is just nothing fun about a stress fracture, I hope you have a very very speedy recovery!

  44. Sorry about the marathon dear but you seem to know what’s best for you and you’ll come back even stronger! Rest is definitely better than trying to stay fit and get even more injured or delay recovery!

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