This week I suffered a setback, and it’s a crappy one (not that there are any good ones). On Monday after a 6-miler which included a bunch of 30-second hard efforts, the ball-of-foot tenderness I had in my left foot from a couple weeks ago came back. Walking barefoot on the wood floor in my house, it felt like I had a marble in the ball of my foot between my third and forth metatarsals. And that was when I realized my situation: a Morton’s neuroma. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s a nerve between the third and fourth metatarsals, usually, that for a variety of reasons gets compressed and then inflamed, and then it scars up and you are left with a small tumor-like mass in the ball of your foot that can then become chronically inflamed and increasingly painful. Even when it’s not angry, the scar tissue never goes away and is prone to re-aggravate and the only chance to be rid of it is surgery, which carries with it a 3-month recovery period and a 30% chance of recurrence. To quote Salty, no bueno.
I experienced a range of emotions: sadness, frustration, self-pity. I had thoughts like, “this is what you get for trying to train with a coach again,” and “this is what you get for thinking you might actually be able to accomplish something with your running.” Tears were shed. I tried to take heart from a quote I read on the internet:
Most of our obstacle are internal, not external. I began to embrace the obstacles and realize they are the way to success. Even the external obstacles change when you change internally first. No, it’s not easy and you always have to fight. But successful people do what others don’t. -Perry Nickelston, Stop Chasing Pain
So now I’m managing it. I rested from running for two days, and my coach gave me a killer aqua running workout to do instead which made me feel optimistic about continuing to make fitness gains while I figure out what to do. I made an appointment with my sports podiatrist for next week. I combed through the threads on Letsrun.com, and actually found some useful advice for dealing with this and I was able to calm it down enough that I could resume running after those two days of rest. I bought Birkenstocks and toe stretchers. I even did a pretty strong tempo run with my coach without any pain. So that’s where I’m at.
Monday: 6 miles – 2 mile w/up, drills, strides; 6*30 sec pe 8.5 with full recovery. It was after this run that my foot started acting up again.
Tuesday: 45 min strength and core
Wednesday: Aquarunning: 60 min, including 10 min w/up, 3*[10 min comfortably hard (pe 7.5) as 5 min traditional/5 min cross-country], 1 min recovery between sets
Thursday: 5.6 miles: 2 lap warm-up, 3 lapper at the B’line Res: 6:26, 13:12 (6:46), and 19:43 (6:31) for 2.85 miles and a 21:39 5K equivalent, 1 lap warmdown
Friday: 4.9 miles – 40 mins easy and 30 min strength
Saturday: 6.75 miles – 60 minutes – 10 warm-up and then 5 X 2 mins. at p.e. 7.5 with 1 min. recovery and then 5 X 1 min. p.e. 7.5, 1 min. recovery and then 4 X 30 seconds at a p.e. of 9 with a 1:30 recov. and then warmdown
Sunday: 60 min Strength and core