Injury sucks, especially when you are a runner. Tomorrow will mark the first time (since I became a “real” runner) that I have registered for a race and not been able to run it. Needless to say, I’m not happy about that. I’m also missing my February 12athon run. I was planning to do the Slacker’s 12-hour race and the Baker’s Dozen challenges to score some extra points. However, I keep reminding myself that if I run this weekend, I’m risking not being able to run the races I’m training for at the end of April.
I’m working on letting this injury teach me some lessons about myself as a runner. I’ve been having some twinges in my ankles for almost two weeks now. I’ve been icing and taking Aleve and it seemed to be working. Now would be a good time to tell you that a few weeks ago, I started running in new shoes for track work. I’ve been doing a gradual break in because they are considerably lighter and offer less support that my regular running shoes. I started with one mile the first week, then two miles, and over the last two weeks, I’ve done about three miles in them on track night.
This Tuesday, I did my warm-up and then ran 3 of my 6 800s in my new shoes. Then I switched shoes and did my last 3 800s. I was completely pain free throughout the entire run (although my legs felt a little heavy). However, my 8:30 on Wednesday morning, I started to get pain on the outside of my ankle that ran behind my ankle bone and then into my foot. I believe all problems can be solved via Google, so I did some research and formed a hypothesis that my peroneal tendons were causing the problem.
By the middle of the night between Wednesday and Thursday, the pain became so intense that I had trouble falling back to sleep after I woke up to feed the cats. I really thought up until that point, I might just be able to rest a day or two and then I would be back at it in time for tomorrow’s race. By the time I got up on Thursday morning though, I knew I was going to have to suck it up and head to the doctor.
Long story short, the doctor blames my new shoes. He must have known a bit about running shoe fit, because he was able to make reference to specific components of my regular running shoes and my new track shoes. He also looked at the wear pattern on the boots I was wearing that day and labeled me a supinator. I explained to him that my running shoes didn’t have the same wear pattern (their wear happens directly under the ball of my foot. He explained that the reason the wear showed their was because the shoes were correcting my foot strike to make it more centered. Obviously, the new shoes don’t do that and that means my proneal tendon was getting overstretched by the supination.
Another good question he asked was why I wanted to change shoes. I talked about the weight difference and he pretty much told me that was ridiculous. I think he may be right. I mean, I’m never going to come anywhere close to setting any land speed records. And, at over 140 pounds, is that 5 ounce difference really going to make that large of an impact? Just some interesting thoughts.
So a couple of lessons learned. 1) Don’t assume that I can just will my feet to strike correctly if they don’t have the support they need. This means I may never be able to transition fully to a more minimal shoe. 2) Don’t be afraid to give yourself some rest if you need it. 3) If I ever try changing shoes again, don’t do it during a high running volume training program AND take it more gradually.
So, this weekend, I’m going to be super frustrated to be sitting at home with the 2 Is (ice and ibuprofen), but I know this is the best thing I can do for myself this weekend.