Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A February Limp Home

Happy Leap Day Barefooters!
I hope everyone is enjoying their bonus day.  February is over.  The weather is warming.  So I should be happy, right?  That would be a lot easier if I was running, but I'm not!  I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm once again leaning toward blaming the Vibrams.  My injury happened while on a long barefoot run, but occured just two days after my first run in the Vibrams all year.

February started well, and I had a pretty good couple of weeks at the start of the month.  The first week included a business trip to Chicago and a couple of nice barefoot runs in new surroundings.  The second week was nice as well and I was looking to finish with a Saturday run on Feb. 11, but the weather wasn't cooperating.  Windy and cold (19 degrees) and I didn't feel like flirting with frostbite again.  So I decided to do a quick Vibram run over to MacGregor Park and back, utilizing the 1.6 mile trail in the park, for a total of 5.21 miles.  Afterward, I had a little pain in the lower right back and a little TOFP Top of Foot Pain on right foot.  But nothing I hadn't felt before, and figured that it just happened to coincide with the trail run in the Vibrams.

After a day off, on Monday I went out for a "mid length" barefoot run and it felt great.  I mean really great!  It was 29 degrees and partly sunny with a slight southerly breeze.  I ran straight north on Anthony road and...well...ala Forrest Gump...I just kept on going.  I kept thinking I would turn back, but then kept picking targets just a little farther ahead and thinking how great it would feel to do my longest barefoot run ever.  I ended up running all the way to the Tipton County Line!  And that is 8.1 miles from my house.  OK, I thought, great, I'll get to turn in my first 16 miler!  Upon turning around things were still feeling great and the breeze was now in my face which actually helped to cool me down.   I was enjoying this lightly travelled road and running right down the middle on the softer tar portion left from 3 year old chip and seal.  I was really feeling great.  I had no problem keeping a really consistent 8:40 pace and even started calculating about what time I would be back home.  Running along, thinking life was grand, when all of a sudden, TWANG!!!  A sharp pain in the middle of my right foot stopped me cold.

And I mean cold.  I tried to walk it off.  I tried to shake it off.  I even sat down in the middle of the road, actually laid down on the road and massaged my foot, but to no avail.  I started walking back...but I still had almost 7 miles to go!  I felt like crying but figured that just wasn't gonna help.  I walked on the side of my foot.  I was limping slightly.  I tried several times to run, but each time, after only 2 or 3 steps, the shooting pain was back.  I was convinced I had broken something.  But what to do?  There was no traffic coming along, no cell phone...heck no shoes (at least last time I went on my 11 miler I had hauled along my shoes in my jacket pockets, just in case...Duh!  this was a major screwup!)

I said a prayer.  God, just please keep the partial sun coming, and keep the wind from getting too strong...and please let me get home before dark.  Well, I kept limping along at about a 20 min/mile pace.  The sun stayed just warm enough.  While the wind was bitter, I never got super-chilled and tried to concentrate on not wasting energy shivering.  A few cars came along after I had been walking for over an hour and I thought...well, I've come this far, no sense hitchhiking now...I sort of regretted not flagging down the first couple of cars, but once I got within 2-3 miles of the house, I knew I would survive.  The Garmin went dead for the last couple of miles, but I felt I was finally back in familiar territory...at least they'll find my barefoot corpse!  Well, as you can see from the above picture, the right foot has definitely seen some damage.

I made it back home after 2+ hours of walking and immediately jumped in the hot tub.  (God answers prayers!)  My whole right side was sore from the limp home.  I waited 48 hours before deciding to go to the doctor.  The GP did an X-ray and compared to the X-rays taken back in July when I did this to my left foot.  He then sent me to a podiatrist when the X-ray showed nothing.  The podiatrist did a bunch of twisting and prodding and gave me the diagnosis of "soft tissue damage" and said to let pain be my guide, continue icing and take Aleve (Naproxin Sodium).  I was just happy he didn't stick me in a walking boot.  He scratched his head on the whole barefoot running thing but to his credit he didn't discourage it, and did ask a ton of questions about the whole phenomenon (maybe a future barefooter!) 

So I've been off running now for 2+ weeks and have decided to take the whole month of March off as well and let it heal up the right way.  It feels about the same (maybe a little worse) than what happened to the left foot last summer (which started the whole barefoot thing for me.)  I'm hoping this "damage" falls into the category of the natural "spreading" that goes on with the metatarsals as the foot adapts to barefooting and shed the confines of the dreaded shoes, or as we barefooters say:  "foot coffins."

Either way, I probably needed a break for a while.  No races, or even goals on the near term horizon...although I did sign up for the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis at the end of the year...barefoot?...hmm....we'll see.

Happy Barefooting,
BF Dan

February Mileage: 
Week 1 = 17miles
Week 2 = 24 miles
Week 3 = 9.3 miles running, 6.9 miles walking OUCH

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