Spring Timeline of Minor Issues

I wanted to reflect upon my training since March and figure out how I got to this point in training.  The point of being burnt out, exhausted and injured. Hopefully, someone falling into the trap doesn’t land here too.  Yes, maybe this post reads more like a diary, but I do believe it’s beneficial for me to look back and reflect upon the roller coaster of 2016.

The Good Times:

carlsbad half
I started 2016 off with a bang.  In January, I PRed in both the 5k and half marathon.  I trained through February and PRed again at the Flower Show 5k.

I ran a disappointing race at Shamrock in March. It took both a mental and physical toll on my body.  I believe that was the beginning of my slow downward spiral. Since March, I’ve had a series of small injuries that caused me not to train consistently.  “It was always something.”

After Shamrock, I had a tight Glute Meade that pulled on my hamstring.   I felt overall tight, and it caused me to take about a week off from running.  After my muscles had loosened up, my training became more sporadic and less consistent.  Looking back, not training consistently caused more and more issues to arise.  I should have just taken an extended break then.  It would have prevented mental fatigue and minor aches to heal.

After running a great race at the Atlantic City half marathon, my right foot was sore.  My metatarsals hurt, and I thought I had another stress fracture in a metatarsal.  My right side doesn’t give me too many problems, but my foot hurt.  I took time off, and they found it was just soft tissue damage and pinched metatarsals.  I panicked “for nothing”.  After a week off and diving back into more haphazard training; I ran a few good races.broad street 10 miler 1

I ran Broad Street, the Newport 10k, and a mile in May. Diving quickly back into training wasn’t the best idea, and I found myself both mentally and physically exhausted.  After the mile, I decided to take a break. I didn’t have any ankle pain, but my legs were tired, and my mind was just as tired as well.

After taking a few days off, I decided to go for a run.  My legs had loosened up but something in my foot just “felt off”.  I couldn’t explain it, but my left foot didn’t feel right when running.  It was an ache more in my ankle.  It was enough to cause concern, so I just continued to rest.  I am relatively cautious, and anything feels off, I prefer to get looked at immediately, so I did.  This goes for pretty much anything, running related or not.

A few days later I got an X-ray and also got ART.  I was walking regularly, but something just felt off.  As I’ve mentioned before, the X-ray came out normally.  The doctors visually looked at my foot including pressing against each metatarsal, pushing against my navicular bone and squeezing my calcaneus.  They engaged with each bone, and I did the “hop test”.  All of which, I could do with no cause for alarm.

They also hit the tuning fork against my foot.  Nothing in my foot hurt, so it was somewhat motivating that my issue wasn’t bone related, and they ordered an MRI.

MRI foot
An MRI image of my foot

During the entire process of getting everything looked at, I didn’t miss running.  Maybe it was because I was mentally exhausted or maybe because I knew my foot felt off but I didn’t even have the interest to run.

The orthopedist thought I probably had an inflamed tendon or muscle in my foot.  Based on everything else, it made sense.  About three weeks after I decided to take the mental break, I received the results of my MRI.  I had a small hairline fracture on my fifth metatarsal closer to my ankle.

As I’ve mentioned, my initial thoughts were: how, why, what, did I do?

It was shocking considering I had run frequently on it before taking a mental break.  Since I was overall sore, tired and tight I think my foot aches were being overruled my overall body ache.

Even though the fracture probably happened sooner, we are considering the initial rest and recovery to start May 23.  It was the day I began taking my mental break.  Here I am, nearly one month later away from running.  It doesn’t feel like a month later, but I believe it was because I spent the first two weeks not knowing my body was even hurt.  I’m allowed to attempt a mile next Monday to see how it feels.  Since this injury hasn’t presented itself normally and I still don’t have many answers, I don’t know how the run will go.  If I feel anything even during the first step or two, I’m not going to continue.

Questions for you:

Have you had a mysterious injury or issue? 

What is the most fun cross training exercise you’ve done?