Stress fracture. Two horrible words that evoke fear into any runner or triathlete and it’s what I have going on in my third metatarsal.
A few weeks ago, I had pain on the top of my foot. It started out dull and I thought it was tendonitis – it just didn’t seem like a SF that first week. Although I stopped running, it got worse and that’s when I knew what the X-ray confirmed – it was bone, not soft tissue. It certainly wasn’t caused by my mileage, but I think it’s a combination of switching from stiff to more flexible shoes, taking off too much time in November for plantar fasciitis (maybe my bones got weaker?), and maybe not taking enough vitamin D supplements over winter.
I’m rockin’ an air boot for 4 weeks and another 2 weeks as needed after that – no running for 6 weeks.
I’m going to be honest and say that I did wallow and feel sorry for myself for a few days (a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and pizza were sacrificed… I need the calcium for my bone to heal, hehe). This news hit me AFTER a week of having a head cold – I was not happy, to say the least. I was even going to switch to IM Cozumel in November using the new transfer program Ironman set up until I learned I can’t switch to that one. So I’m sticking to IM Coeur d’Alene.
“But you will have to run a marathon in a few months!”, you say. Yep. And while that at first scared the day lights out of me, my understanding is that a IM marathon is not the same as a stand-alone marathon. Especially since this is my first IM, I imagine there will be lots of walking anyways. And if everything goes well on the swim and bike, I’ll have 8 hours to finish the marathon before the 17-hour cut-off; I could walk it in that amount of time.
So how am I adjusting my training? First, I’m aqua-running in the deep end of the pool, flotation belt and all. I purposely call it aqua-running, not aqua-jogging because – laugh all you want – but it can actually be a challenging workout. And you can keep your aerobic fitness for ~6 weeks doing this. It is boring, but with my fancy waterproof mp3, it’s similar to running on a treadmill. Second, I’m upping the distance and intensity of my cycling and swimming. Luckily, this is easy since I’m following Matt Fitzgerald’s training guide, which has 10 intensity levels for each distance. I just upped the cycling and swimming levels and will keep my running the same. I’m hoping my legs will feel fresh (or at least not like dead weights) after the bike so the marathon won’t be as bad. I count my nutrition as part of my training, so the third thing I’m doing is being very diligent about getting more calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
No, this is not ideal and it will take some of the fun out of training. But I’d like to end off with a few things I’m thankful for:
-It’s early in training. If this was right before race day, I wouldn’t be able to finish
-The SF showed up on X-Ray, which is rare and means it’s already starting to heal. And I didn’t have to get a bone scan
-I listened to my body and stopped running early on, so it’s not a full fracture
-It doesn’t hurt anymore with the boot
-I can still bike and swim and do some limited strength training
-I’m basically going to be the world’s best aqua runner
-Excuse to eat ice cream
Until next time