It turns out that what I thought was extensor tendonitis was actually a metatarsal stress fracture (or possibly just a “reaction”– length of healing time will tell). It’s been over two weeks since I’ve run a step on land, and it looks likely that I’ll have at least two more weeks of rest before I can think about pounding pavement again.
I’ve already gone on record with my plan to stay positive and get stronger during this unplanned hiatus from running. And I’m determined to follow through on all of it–hopefully without losing my fitness (or my mind). I’m lucky to be able to do a lot still–biking, weight lifting, pilates, and aqua jogging. I might be able to add back in stairs and elliptical this week if healing continues as it should. But I’ve really zeroed in on the aqua jogging, as the research shows it’s the next best thing to actually running in terms of maintaining running fitness. (Though it’s the least best thing in terms of actually being any fun.)
Here’s the breakdown for the last two weeks:
9/22 – Monday – Aqua Jogging (45 min). First off, I’m grateful to have it as an option. It’s definitely better than nothing. Thankfully I had a friend with me and we could talk the whole time and that helped pass the time. It really is a lot harder to get the heart rate up I’m the water—and hard to get into a flow/rhythm.
9/23 – Tuesday – Bike, Elliptical & Pilates (1 hr 45 min). Started with a 15 minute “fitness test” on the bike. I’ve never done biking before so I was curious to see how I’d do. It gave me a vDot of 48.7 and 100th percentile for my age (haha!)! I’m sure it was WAY inaccurate but that was a fun way to begin. Decided to switch at that point to the upright bike. Did that for 15 minutes and was able to do 3 reps of 3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy in that span. At that point tried to mix it up for the last 15 minutes (since I’m not sure how sore my quads would be not having biked much before) and got on the elliptical. Was able to stand so it was pain free and just focused on pushing from my heels rather than toeing off (to avoid aggravating what I THOUGHT was tendonitis in the forefoot). Did 3 more reps of 3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy and then stretched. While deciding what to do for core, I stumbled into the room where the pilates class was about to begin and decided to do the class. It was great! Really worked my glutes and core and even some of the hips/extensors. After 2 hours at the gym, I felt like I got in a good workout.
9/24 – Wednesday – Off
9/25 – Thursday – Weights and Elliptical (1 hr 15 min). Saw my PT in the morning and he confirmed my fear–that it was a stress reaction or fracture in the metatarsal. Later in the day got 30 minutes of weight training in plus 45 minutes of elliptical (including 6×3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy).
9/26 – Friday – Bike ride outside for 65 minutes, lots of hills! Was great just to be outside on a beautiful fall day.
9/27 – Saturday – 40 minutes of stair stepper. Was feeling antsy so went to the gym to do some stair stepping while watching football. That wasn’t my smartest move. I think by babying the foot, I put too much pressure on my fibula/ heel of the same foot, and wound up with a super tender spot on the fibula that radiated to behind the ankle. Another stress reaction? Could be–presented the same way the metatarsal/top of foot did (pain and weakness, not responding to massage or ice, specific spot that is tender, boooo!).
9/28 – Sunday – 25 minutes of aqua jogging. Went to open swim with my daughter and played aqua jogging tag. They wouldn’t let me use the aqua jogging belt so I put a noodle under my arms and did what I could. I’m sure I looked like a super tough athlete bobbing around with my pink noodle, haha! Not a big workout but still got my HR up a little. Better than nothing!
Total workout time Week One – 5 hours, 55 minutes
9/29 – Monday – 45 minutes aqua jogging plus 15 minutes strength. Getting the hang of the pool running thing. 10 min warm up, then ladder 1 min hard, 1 min easy, then 2 hard 2 easy, all the way to 5 min. Then cool down. Followed it up with glute and hip strength exercises.
9/30 – Tuesday – Off. My husband had major hip surgery so I got up with him at 4 am and spent the majority of my day in the waiting room. Grateful all went well and he is on the road to recovery!
10/1 – Wednesday – 45 minutes aqua jogging, 20 minutes strength, 40 minutes cycling. Did 45 minutes of pool running plus a killer core routine workout. Felt nice and tired by the end. Then had to pick up the car at the shop so biked 8 miles in 40 minutes with plenty of hills. Gorgeous day and I appreciate the chance to get outside. Visited hubs in the hospital and realized how LUCKY I am not to be able to take care of him and help out without having to be on crutches or wearing a boot for this stress fracture.
10/2 – Thursday – 40 minutes aqua jogging. Best pool running session so far. I focused on form and really engaging the glutes/hamstrings and running the same way I would on land. It slowed down my turnover a lot, but definitely got my HR up and my muscles working. I was tired after the workout in a similar way to running, and that was a GREAT feeling.
10/3 – Friday – 30 minutes of strength/ cycling. Woke up feeling pretty tired and legs were pretty tired as well from the pool and bike workouts. (Yay! That’s a good feeling!) Tried to do a little biking but had some twinges and decided to back off. Did a little elliptical to see how my foot tolerated it, and it wasn’t too bad, but again, in the name of caution, didn’t do much before hopping off. Spent remainder of time doing PT exercises, dead lifts and bicep curls, then stretching. Better than nothing.
10/4 – Saturday – Off.
10/5 – Sunday – 40 minutes aqua jogging. Went to open swim with my daughter and she “raced” me back and forth as I aqua jogged. Was more of an easy effort, with a few “pick ups”. Had to take a 10 minute break right in the middle for a “pool break.” Not ideal, but again, doing what I can. Did some stretching and massage later that night.
Total Week Two- 3 hours, 20 minutes.