January 5, 2012

Kalendis Ianuariis

As 2011 hobbles out of town like a farty old bastard, there's good reason to hope for better in 2012.

Before last year even began I'd gotten this weird aversion to running. Just didn't feel like getting out there. Within a couple of months my calves, or maybe my tendons, or both, had become sclerotic from lack of activity and stretching. Then in March, with hardly any training at all, I had to go and run a half-marathon. And that's when all hell broke loose.

My shoe was lined with razorwire. Or maybe the medial calcaneal nerve in my left heel got trapped under some kind of inflammation. Hard to say. I limped and moaned for days. Finally got to the podiatrist, who handed me a long menu of stretches and a night splint perfectly constructed to annoy my wife and trouble our sleep. 

Then the cat got fleas. Because of the vasodilation from all the Advil I was taking, they found me a cheaper snack than the feline. Or maybe I'm just delicious that way. In short order they had infested my night splint, giving me a weeks-long itchy welt where they had pricked and picnicked en famille. A mosquito or a bedbug has a discrete proboscis that it'll sink into your skin to get your blood. Not the cat flea. Ctenocephalides felis basically saws through your flesh with jagged implements, leaving behind a livid lump. Justinian had survived fleas, so I guess I could too. But now my foot hurt and itched.

For six months I had neither run seriously nor slept well (for the itching and the splint), and still there was hardly any improvement. By midsummer I was carrying a dark cloud wherever I went. Finally decided not to wait for a miracle and just started running again.

Well, the running didn't make anything worse, and anyway the pain was creeping around from the back of my heel, where it was sharp and local, to the back of my arch, where it became diffuse and insidious. That's what folks round these parts call plantar fasciitis.

Aaauugh! So: rolling golf balls under my feet, stretching, ice, blah blah.

Meanwhile I had a pretty good road and cross-country season on low mileage. I got six age-group firsts over the season. The pain abandoned my left foot and took up in my right. In December, fuck it, it was time to start thinking about the Boston Marathon. So I ignored the unchanging pain and ran even more. And, mirabile dictu, the footache started to fade, just a little.

As I run higher mileage now than I ever have, the pain continues to lessen. I attack the pf with everything I've got and continue to ramp up the miles. I have no idea how this story ends, but I feel every step grinding that old man deeper in the ground. In spring we'll see what sprouts. I'll look for crocuses in every footstep.

No comments:

Post a Comment