Plantar faciitis has been dogging me since the Philly Marathon and has prevented me from running. This past Tuesday I saw my orthopedic specialist and he ordered an MRI to be certain there is no stress fracture. A stress fracture would mean 6 weeks in a boot, and I would not be able to run the January Dopey Challenge in Disney. No fracture would mean a cortisone shot could give me relief so I could resume running. Yesterday I got the MRI and I picked up the report this afternoon.
Before I picked it up, I realized I was living out the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment. Until I picked up and read the report, both possibilities remained — I had a fracture or not, the cat was dead or the cat was alive — essentially both states existed until the report was opened and read.
Naturally, I was desperately hoping for a clear MRI. I really want to run Dopey for my 65th birthday coming just days before the event begins. So you might think I’d immediate read the report when handed it. Nope. I walked out to my car with the report folded in my hand. The cat remained both alive and dead.
Finally, in the car, I opened the report and read it. No fracture, it said. Diagnosis: plantar faciitis, it read. “It’s Alive!” I shouted. “The cat’s alive!” I still have a painful cortisone shot coming up, and I won’t be able to run for at least another week. I won’t be as well-trained as I hoped to be, but I still will be good to go for Dopey. So I printed out my waiver online and got my bib number: 33785.
The cat is alive, and this Roadkill will run!
This has been a truly incredible year for me, but it ended prematurely last Sunday with a limp.
I have been struggling with injuries since the end of September, and plantar faciitis seems to have been the root of my problems. I was able to rehab enough to run and complete the Steamtown Marathon in October, but my calf cramps returned the week after Steamtown. As the calf loosened up, however, the plantar faciitis flared up. After more Graston and ART treatments, it felt like I would be able to run Philly.
But after just a mile or two I was still struggling to get comfortable running. The pain in my foot just kept getting worse. By mile 4 or 5 I knew it was unlikely that I could run the entire 26.2 miles. As I passed the zoo I could see the marathoners across the river on Kelly Drive. I so wanted to go there, but I was in too much pain. By that time, I was also going very slowly. I started out doing run/walk intervals, but by mile 9 I stopped walking. It actually hurt more to walk than to do a slow shuffle/run.
As I came up to the Art Museum where the half marathon splits off to the right to finish, I was already well over 3 1/2 hours! Even if I thought I could tough it out for another 13 miles of pain, I could not have come close to the 7-hour limit for the marathon. Fortunately, Philly allows you to drop down to the half marathon for an official finish, and I gratefully took the option even with an abysmal 3:48 time. At least I completed the Half.
I was disappointed, of course, but there were some highlights from the race. Before the pain, as I approached the start, the race announcer was just ahead of me high-fiving runners so I did, too. He saw my Marathon Maniac jersey with my name on it and called out over the loudspeaker, “Here’s Marathon Maniac, Roadkill Bill!” That was so cool, and quite a few other runners along the course told me they heard him announce me.
It was also great to catch up with so many other Marathon Maniacs — at the pre-race photo at the Rocky statue and during and after the race. And I got to meet Maniac Fast Eddie McCoy near mile 4. Fast Eddie has been featured many times on The Marathon Show and the Mickey Miles podcasts I follow. Eddie recognized my name from me being on the Marathon Show and stopped to take the photo of us below.
I also tried live-blogging for the first time since I wasn’t expecting to run for time, anyway. I used the WordPress app on my iPhone. For most of the posts, I dictated the post using speech-to-text, and I included photos with a couple of posts. It worked fairly well in spite of some transcription oddities, and I’ll probably do that in some future races as well. It did feel a bit odd, though, talking into my phone when other runners were passing by!
After I crossed the finish line, the pain felt even worse. Luckily I had parked close to Logan Circle where the finish chute ended, but limping to my car was still tough. I was so happy to finally sit down in the car. At home, I hobbled into the house, and immediately put my foot in an ice bath. The rest of the night and the next morning I had to use a walker to get around the house.
So, instead of completing my 9th marathon and looking forward to my 10th this year at Rehoboth Beach on December 7, I finished my race year with a limp and whimper. Now, I need to heal so I can run the Dopey Challenge in January at Disney World. I am having twice-weekly Graston and ART treatments, and I just picked up a night splint for my foot along with a new pair of custom orthotics. I’ve also been icing my heel regularly. This coming week I’ll start doing some core work and cross training. I WILL run Disney — by hook or crook!
Pulled in at the Half Marathon. Time to relax, rehydrate, and recover!
Going to stop at the Half. Too much pain to try for the full. Doing OK though.
Hoping they don’t need a roadkill specimen
Crossing Spring Garden on the way to the zoo.