Do As I Say, Not As I Do

On June 12, 2009, in Cycling, Injury, Running, by Meghan

You may be able to discern from my blogging absence the fact that I’ve had ample time to ponder the title of this blog entry. I came up with a few post titles, and here are the ones that didn’t make the headline cut:
“War Waged By The Body On The Brain”
“The Agony Of De-feet”
“Injury Sucks, But Stubbornness And Stupidity Suck More.”

Perhaps you now understand that I remain in the throes of injury recovery, where I’ve been doldrum-stalled for the last 10 weeks. I have one of those common runner’s injuries, an inflammation of the plantar fascia in my right foot. I acquired it shortly after beginning my pack training for the Marathon des Sables, somewhere last December or early January, I believe. I continued to train on my aching foot, and then I even raced on it. I suppose I naively believed that a month or so of rest after the race would be enough time to heal some inflamed and scarred soft tissue. As you can tell, it wasn’t.

In the meantime of cross-training, I’ve become acquaintances with the rowing machine, close friends with the elliptical, and best friends with my road bike. I’ve had some spectacular road rides through the never-flat roads of the Sierra Nevada foothills that have helped me to maintain a little bit of physical fitness, deplete the large reservoir of unspent rocket-fuel energy, and prevent me from taking the injured runner’s large leap off of one of Yosemite National Park‘s cliffs (It’s a figure of speech!).

I’m sure all runners (Because, admit it, we’ve all been injured. I read a study about injury in distance runners, and almost 50% of surveyed distance runners reported a training/racing-affecting injury within the previous 12 months. There’s a lot of injury out there!) can empathize with the challenge of being the injured dead among the non-injured living. No matter how happy you are that your loved ones and friends are galavanting through hill and dale, there is still piece of you that wants to cry because you can’t. I find further challenge in the fact that a thousand or so miles of trails in ridiculous Yosemite National Park and nearby terrain surround me every moment of every day, and I can only look at them in that intangible, I-suppose-it’s-pretty-out-there way.

I think that the always perceptive Leslie (Well, more like, we’re long lost twins and she can read my mind because of this.) knew I was suffering the non-running runner’s malaise, so she sent her cycling husband Keith to California to entertain me by bicycle. Last weekend, Keith pushed me and my little pink bike all over the Sierra Nevada foothills, kindly listened to my childish wailing, and made me spin gears until a smile had sewn its way across my face. I can’t thank this lovely couple enough for their respective efforts in taking the proverbial long-handled broom and swiping the cobwebs of injury depression from my itty bitty, singularly-focused brain and remind me that the rest of life is real, real good.

This post may come across as a bit abrasive and cynical, and it’s supposed to, for the entertainment factor. However, I’ve gotten past most of these nonsense feelings and my current attitude towards myself and/or my injury is much more peaceful. I’ve mostly accepted the dumb things I did to acquire and keep my injury, of the injury itself, and of doing the things it takes to get better. Mostly, I hope that someone will read this and be inspired to not make the stupid mistakes I did, including letting a trivial injury make you feel bad about the rest of life. Life is fabulous, indeed!

Taking a road biking break at Olmstead Point in Yosemite National Park

11 Responses to “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”

  1. "e Brutto" says:

    I did the same thing with a foot injury caused by running in a 50 K mountain marathon while under trained and in the wrong shoes. Then I ignored it until I had to pull of of a race 4 months later.
    Self massage and cold baths (not at the same time) have been my big discoveries no not the kind that always puts a smile on your face;¬).
    There are some links on my blog to the massage vids, it is all up on youtube.
    I have not felt the need for ibuprofen since.

  2. Danni says:

    What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? I'm sad about your injury situation, both because I truly empathize and for purely selfish reasons, but I actually do think these things leave us more appreciative and stronger physically. We learn to balance stress and rest better through trial and error. I'm glad you're on the mend. Be careful!

  3. E-Speed says:

    Hope your foot heals quickly. Regardless of everything else being great, not running for a runner definitely leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, and you are obviously a runner 🙂 Hope you are able to get back on the trails you love soon and in the meantime enjoy that bike!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had a chronic plantar fascia problem and tried all sorts of things (hand massage, icing, massage with a golf ball, and massage with a tennis ball). I found massaging with the tennis ball was the treatment that tipped things in my favor. It hasn't bothered me now for 3 years. Good luck!

  5. Beth says:

    Oh yuck. I hope your foot feels better soon! I will have you know though that it was bad case of plantar fasciitis that forced me into triathlon…and you already have the bike… Heck Meghan, an IM would seem easy after your race across the desert! 🙂

  6. JeffO says:

    "Injury Sucks, But Stubbornness And Stupidity Suck More"
    I thought, "OMG, she's devoting a whole post about me!"
    And the plantar bit… that's exactly where I'm at too. It started during the Moab 100 months ago. I have a permanent halt on all new race registrations until I can run my Tuesday and Thursday group runs without pain.
    Problem is, I registered for EVERYTHING months ago! I have a full calendar. I've already skipped two races and skipping more in future. But also still walking/running some others I can't bear to miss, but not "racing".
    I don't run-train at all anymore. I only bike, stretch, and do situps, pushups, etc.

    I have a therapist/fried who made me promise NEVER to use an unyielding object on my foot. Like Anonymous said, the golf ball didn't work but the tennis ball did. My friend said to use a balled-up towel, or my thumb, or a tennis ball. Also massage by taking the thumbs and pulling opposite directions to spread the plantar.
    Wikipedia suggests using a bag of frozen corn to both ice and stretch the plantar. Bad idea – never stretch cold tissues. Either ice or stretch, not both.
    Let us know all the research you've gleaned! If I know you, you're becoming a regular plantar faciitis scientist by now.

    Good luck – I so totally feel your pain.

  7. Hart says:

    i feel your pain sister. my foot is elevated on a pillow as i type this.

    take care of yourself and hang in there.

  8. chelle says:

    This too shall pass…patience is the hard part. When I think about all the terrible chronic injuries I've struggled with over the years…the odd thing is I can barely remember anything about them. When you're in the middle it's endless, once it's over, it's almost like it never happened.

    I found the traction boot thingy helped me a lot with plantar though…I still sleep with it on whenever I start to feel a twinge.

  9. sea legs girl says:


    I'm really sorry you are still having trouble with your foot. I agree with the comments about massaging and that is first line therapy of plantar faciitis (I like the tennis ball idea!). Also, have you tried a night splint that will elongate your foot while sleeping? And if you haven't seen a doctor, I'd do that, because you might be a candidate for a steroid injection at this point (and those are effective in 70% of people with plantar faciitis). There are some risks with a steroid injection, though!

    I like the suggestion of tri training, too! You should start swimming if you are not running. Now that it is summer, outdoor swimming is just the best if you have access to a nice lake!

    Either way, I hope you can run again soon.

  10. Rick Gaston says:

    l like the third title option as I've been stubborn and stupid before and will probably be again sometime soon regarding my body. Sorry to hear taht the plantar thing is not going away as soon as you hoped.

    One of my good friends is going through a run related injury right now too. You remember Jess, she has problems that has kept her from running the last 6 months. She's been incognito on the gang's run related events, not even coming out to cheer. I'm amazed she even came to crew for me at San Diego. We've been feeding her good food and wine whenever we can to cheer her up:)

    It doesn't need to be said but I'll say it anyway – Hope you are healthy and back to running soon. Thanks for the shout out about San Diego. June is good to me.

  11. Meghan says:

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to give you all a shout out thank you for the kind words and support. I surely wish I could apply all of your good energies straight towards healing my foot, but I suppose the world just doesn't work like that. 🙂

    Thanks again!

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