I have read (on blogs and in other stories online) of runners that celebrate their birthdays by going out and running their age in miles. Well, I don’t think I am up to running 38 miles.. or even 38 kilometers. So I headed out my door yesterday with the goal of running 38 meters (plus a bit extra) in celebration of my birthday.
Now, as those of you that read last week are aware, my plantar fasciitis has been bothering me. By yesterday morning (I took saturday off) it was fairly calm. My right foot just had its usual twinges, while my left was ALMOST back to normal. I had spent saturday icing it, and massaging it using the footlog, with excellent results. Well, yesterday I was a bit nervous to go out and run. To be honest, it’s not easy to have a foot that is sore. To have it feel like there is a nail being driven into your heel, or that the entire run up the foot hurts when pressure is put on it.. Well, to be blunt – it sucks. Last year, fear of that pain was near-crippling to me. In fact, it was that fear, more than the pain itself that made me stop running. Yesterday morning, I was faced with the idea that I could take another day off (that could easily become 30 days off, as fear doesn’t exactly get easier), or I could run. I knew that after the first 1/2 mile, I really didn’t have to worry about anything WHILE I ran, as one of the symptoms of PF, is that as you use it – the pain ceases (only to come back later!)
I really suspected that if I “took another rest day” – that I was very likely going to find it to easy to keep avoiding running. So, I told myself I had to go… Then three or four hours later, I got up changed and let my wife know I was going to run 7 or so miles. (She thought I was an idiot for doing this.) It was sunday, which meant it was my long distance day, and I had a birthday cake to eat.. So I needed to get a serious calorie deficit going! She reminded me I could call her if I needed her to come get me. (Best. Wife. EVER.)
I hopped outside, started my music, and waited for Runtastic to see the GPS Satellite. Once it picked it up, I headed off! I had pre-mapped my route to come in at around 7-8 miles (depending on how I chose to vary it), but it came to me fairly quickly that 7 would be better than 8… I actually considered making it 4 if I am going to be honest. We all know running is a huge part mental, and I had already beaten myself mentally. I had spent the day worrying about how much pain the run could cause me. Not exactly a way to get “psyched up.” My legs were tired.. Breathing was hard (the air was hot and humid.) I had worn cotton socks for some reason, and had a blister start on my right foot around mile 3.. This was probably the first time I thought to myself – “You know, its my birthday.. I could give myself an easy run.. and just call my wife to come get me..” But I didn’t. Nor did I run up Davidsonville Road to turn my planned 7 mile run, into a 4 mile run. I headed toward Crofton Parkway…. and kind of hated myself while I did it.. (But I figured I’d hate myself more if I didn’t.)
Around the parkway I went, waiting for my Runtastic to tell me I was at the four mile mark.. That way I knew there was less run in front of me, than behind me! My left foot still felt pretty good, and my blister was definitely there. My legs were tired and really wanted to be sitting in a recliner..
I knew my times of 8:21, 8:23 for mile 1 and 2 were somewhat quick for 7 miles, but I figured you don’t get faster if you don’t push it… 8:36 for mile 3 showed I was slowing.. and 8:44 at mile 4.. Well, I foolishly tried to pick it up a little to make sure I was keeping 8:30 or better splits. That is my hoped-for pace for the MCM, which would bring me in at 3:43.
While going through mile 5, my mind was still playing its games… ‘You know, 5 miles would be a fair distance.. That would be 600 Calories burned, and you know that the wife would happily come get you..” I ignored it and kept going. After all, is my wife going to come get me at mile 22 of the MCM? When I crossed the Mile marker for number 5… I walked. I admit it. I wasn’t happy with the choice, but it seemed very necessary – my legs were all sorts of ticked of at me.. breathing hurt.. my blister was a pain in the…foot. I think I walked 3 times in the mile, and drank water every time. (Never underestimate the joy of a fuel belt that you can carry water on.) Mile 6? I walked 2 times. All the same complaints for that mile…
I did finish.. And I did NOT call my wife. Over all time was 1:00:28. I just missed my 7 mile/hr speed that I was aiming for, but I was not the least bit upset. Actually, I was amazed I was only 28 seconds off with the number of times I walked! With how I felt – I consider it a succesful run! The “hard” runs – where we have to keep convincing ourselves to put one leg in front of the other.. I think those are the ones that really help us grow and improve.
I did ice and massage my foot throughout the rest of the evening, and even wore my “boot” on the foot for part of the night. As it is sore this morning (big surprise), I also brought my footlog and an ice pack to work. I wear my orthotics in my work shoes during the week, so hopefully that will help keep the level of stress on my foot down during the day. With good icing/massage – hopefully it will be up for tonight’s 3.25 miles!
My birthday? It was fantastic. My wife and kids took excellent care of me. We had grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, with sweet corn and kale salad. Thanks to that run, I still came in 1000 calories under what I was allowed for the day! Definitely an outstanding birthday.