A Detour en route to the Princess

As millions of children have found out whether they made the Naughty or Nice list this year, I have found myself on another list: the Injured List.

As runners everywhere go deep into their training for Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend in January, Disneyland’s Tinkerbell Half-Marathon later that same month and Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon in February, there are many tales of woe and injury on the training boards. ‘Tis the season!

rundisney

Until now, I have been very lucky in my training. I lost only one week back in May due to a strained hip flexor which was easily healed with a little rest, ice, heat, foam rolling and stretching.

But over the summer as I started to hit some higher mileage runs, I noticed a dull ache on the ball of my right foot. It came and went. I could run 21K without a problem, while other times I would feel that dull pain on a 16 or 18K run. Many times I wouldn’t feel a thing but, when I felt it, it was bothersome. A little annoying. Kind of curious. However, it would immediately disappear after the run and sometimes not show up again for weeks. I figured that I must need a shoe with more cushion for longer runs and started researching new glass slippers in the Fall. But before I could transition, I had a suite of Fall races to run, including my first 10-miler in November. As my race report details, I really struggled through the last leg of this race with this pain which, for the first time, was not a dull ache but a screaming problem. I blamed my shoes and happily retired them after that.

shoes

But this time the pain didn’t just disappear. And it stole some of the joy from my run as I worried every time I laced up that I would be hit with that awful feeling again. Not wanting to waste any time, I went to see a podiatrist who analyzed my gait and told me I have some “biomechanical issues” – meaning, I over-pronate which I already knew, and apparently my right leg is a touch shorter than my left. Not much I can do about that little defect! My podiatrist thought custom sport orthodics and some laser therapy to heal the scar tissue in my foot would do the trick. I was allowed to keep running, but only shorter distances while I waited for my orthodics to arrive and the laser therapy to begin.

The orthodics arrived a week or so later and I was anxious to get familiar with them. She did some laser therapy on my foot which is essentially heat treatment with shocks (yes, shocks – ouch!). My foot hurt just walking for 3 days after the treatment and then started to feel better. I ran 5K in my new orthodics to test things out. My toes felt numb part-way through the run which was another, less common issue I had been having in the same foot, but no pain on the ball. A few days later I set off on a longer run and unfortunately, the pain returned only much worse than before. I should have stopped before I did, but I really needed a run and everything else felt great – legs, lungs, heart, head.  I loved being out there again, my first long run in a few weeks. It was a beautiful day with gorgeous views along the water. If only it didn’t hurt with every other step.

think disney

This was enough to send me back to my podiatrist to tell her that I was still running with pain. She told me I should be wearing my orthodics as much as possible and – the dreaded words – to stop running for 2 weeks. She also noticed my foot was a little swollen. She did another round of laser therapy. After that, the pain became constant and my foot continued to swell. I began to worry that maybe we were dealing with a fracture. What if we had been treating a break as soft tissue damage? What if every run had just been making the fracture worse? With the holidays now fast approaching and no time to waste, I went to an urgent care clinic where they did an x-ray which did not show anything – however, the doctor (another Disney runner, by the way!) was quick to tell me that stress fractures do not always show in an x-ray. She ordered a bone scan which I had today – meaning I am now radioactive! Add a tiara and a cape and we have a new princess superhero!

Fortunately, the scan did not show a stress fracture but unfortunately, the whole world has been on holiday while my injury has gotten worse. My foot is so swollen I can barely walk and have been reduced to hobbling around on the side of my foot. I am in my running shoes all day long for some support. I am icing every hour. I am taking pain meds. And I am still sore! It is very hard to imagine running a half-marathon right now when I can barely walk through the grocery store.

patience

So much of running is mental and working through an injury calls on those same strategies as you go through the stages of denial, anger, grief, frustration and disappointment. I have always skipped over the injury sections of running books and magazines as something that did not pertain to me. But here I am: a running princess who cannot run. With 2 months to the Princess Half-Marathon and after 10 months of training, I am so disappointed in my body and beyond frustrated with this set back. However, I am also determined that this set back will result in a comeback, princess-style!

xmasday 011

I have rented a stationary bike for the month of January so that I can keep my cardio fitness. The bike pedals allow me to push without using the sore part of my foot. I am also doing some core work and lifting weights so that I don’t lose upper body strength. I have to believe that this story will have a happy ending as I have worked too hard to give up now. If I have to run the half-marathon in a cast and on crutches, you better believe I will paint that cast pink, bedazzle those crutches and have at it! One of the traits of a true princess is perseverance (aka stubborness) and, in this regard, I am most suited for the role. See you at the start line!

~Princess Jodi

Tell us: Have you ever been sidelined with an injury?

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6 thoughts on “A Detour en route to the Princess

  1. I’m training for the Princess Half Marathon too, and I was dumb and exacerbated an IT band problem on a long run last weekend. I know exactly how frustrated you feel! Hang in there, though. I have decided to keep a positive attitude — I may not be fast, but I know now that I can complete a half marathon, even if I can’t train as much as I’d like over the next few weeks. I have no doubt that, with all your training, you will blow me away! Let yourself heal, though, that is the most important. I’ll see you at the Princess!

  2. Sorry to hear of your injury. This year was hard for me, kept me out of it for about a month and ran 2 races through so much pain. I did the same thing you did, ran through the pain, and it made it much worse. I eventually had to take a break and come back slow to my training. Thankfully, I was able to come back from my injury and run my 1st 10K followed by my 1st Quarter Marathon. Right after my Quarter Marathon I felt the injury coming back and I took a week of rest, iced and enjoyed the week (although I missed my runs) and this week I got back at it 100%. Over the last few months, I’ve come to learn that constant running doesn’t ALWAYS make us better runners, sometimes we just have to listen to our body, give it what it deserves and it’ll give it all it’s got when we need it most. Hope you recover smoothly and rapidly!

  3. Ugh! 😦 The best thing anyone will tell you is let it heal so you can get healthy for the race. You’re in great shape now and you won’t lose your fitness overnight…and we have 2 months until Princess. There’s a gal (Marcia) on the Team #runDisney FB group who has been injured and won’t have run for 4 or 6 weeks until right before the marathon. She’s been swimming, biking and doing yoga to try to maintain her fitness. I cannot imagine how unbelievably frustrating this might be…try to stay patient!

  4. So sorry for your injury! I know how you feel as I had an injury in late August early September for what I thought was shin splints and it wasn’t. So after 6 weeks of therapy I was fine until last week when the twinge came back so I am doing what I need to do to make sure nothing happens in the next 23 days but If I have to crawl accross the finish line I wll.

    • Hi Princess Jennifer – I feel exactly as you do: I will be crossing that finish line even if I have to crawl! Best of luck with your final weeks of training. Take care and I’ll see you at the finish line!

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