the smell of my desperation has become a stench

I am an orthopedic nightmare

You know I’m just making up these injuries, right? I need content for my blog. It’s the same with the kids. Leta and Marlo don’t actually exist. I make up the stories, and the kids in the photos are actors. When we hired Leta we were like SCORE, because how much does that kid look like Jon?

We’ve thought about buying a life-like animatronic cat, but damn, those things are expensive. And then I’d have to make up a story about Marlo jumping on its back and breaking it, and then we’ve spent all that money for one blog entry? NO.

There I was climbing a hill at mile 8 in The Other Half Marathon in Moab on Sunday, feeling so incredible, so in love with running and with the idea of racing that I almost started singing church hymns out loud. But I didn’t because that would have wasted precious energy, and I was being smart! SMART, I TELL YOU. I knew I wasn’t going to win the race, so I decided to be the valedictorian of energy conservation.

I was fueled up, keeping a steady, brisk pace, eager for another mile. I had studied the route and the elevation of the route prior to the race, and I knew that we’d have to climb several hundred feet between miles 7 and 9. But I didn’t know that smack in the middle of that elevation were three giant hills. Like, straight up. Hold out your forefinger. Point to the sky. Now imagine running up your finger, except your finger is 500 yards long.

I hadn’t practiced hills like that before, and I noticed that most people around me were were slowing their running to a walk. But I found it easier to get up the hills by continuing to run. Here’s where I’m trying to figure out what happened, because I didn’t twist my ankle or turn it or step on a rock or ANYTHING. I was just running. I didn’t do anything stupid. VALEDICTORIAN OF NOT DOING ANYTHING STUPID. I have a certificate, and everything.

Suddenly, a few tenths of a mile after completing those hills I came down on my right foot and I thought I had stepped in a puddle of upturned knives. Sharp, squealing pain flooded my ankle and up the outer part of my lower leg. Burning. Throbbing. I looked down and expected to see fire erupting out of my shoe.

For the next few tenths of a mile I continued my pace even though the pain continued. I used that time to weigh my options. Do I stop and wait for someone to pick me up? How long would I have to wait? Maybe I should just run as far as I could so that walking to the finish line was an option. But walking was going to be as painful as running, so why not just finish the race? Of course! DUH. I’d finish the race.

Valedictorian of denial.

If you asked me how I could ignore that kind of pain and continue to run almost four miles, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I don’t know how I did it. The pain was there, it shrieked every time my right foot touched the ground, but somehow I pushed it to the periphery of my brain. It’s a lot like parenthood.

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2 hours 7 minutes 19 seconds. That’s nine minutes faster than when I ran the same distance at the end of September. I credit that progress to carbs, the racing environment, and really, really wanting to see a doctor.


The medics wrapped my swollen ankle with a bandage, loaded me up with ibuprofen and told me to see my primary care physician once I got home. And I did that last night, but the x-rays didn’t show a damn thing. So I’m off to the orthopedic clinic AGAIN because I can barely walk, let alone run. I’m trying to stay calm and not go back and read those comments where people are all, I’ve been running for twenty years and never had an injury! You must be doing something wrong! YES. Obviously I’m doing it wrong. IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT I AM DOING IT WRONG.

But, dammit, if I have to walk that marathon on crutches, that is what I’m going to do.

  • tokenblogger

    2011/10/18 at 12:05 pm

    You don’t have to run. It’s not like anyone is gonna pull back their donations…

  • sgigs

    2011/10/18 at 12:06 pm

    Hang in there.

  • mommica

    2011/10/18 at 12:07 pm


  • misszoot

    2011/10/18 at 12:07 pm

    I just want you to know that whatever you’re doing? My husband is too. He’s been running for about 4 years (to my on again/off again 5 years) and in that time he’s been to his GP several times, specialists twice, and has even had 2 full body scans for various injuries/problems. And nothing…NOTHING…has ever been found to be wrong with him. Sore muscles. Tender joints. Inflamation. But nothing “real” that made him feel worthy of the pain he was in. One year it was abdominal. Another year it was foot pain. This year? Intense Calf pain. It’s awful and crazy and if they tell you they can’t find anything? Feel free to call him and commiserate. He’s just as pissed off as you are.

    Especially since I’ve had not one problem the entire time. He really hates me.

    Hang in there. If they don’t find anything “real” – count your blessings, but I know how frustrating that is as I see it in my husband after ever scan/xray.

  • deannamil

    2011/10/18 at 12:11 pm

    Coming from someoone who is 7 weeks post surgery from an ankle replacement surgery, and I can still barely walk…you just need to get things fixed. And if you want the best most amazing foot and ankle specialist in the Salt Lake area, let me know. Not just an ortho but a foot and ankle specialist ortho. Did I mention AMAZING? I finally just got cleared for Physical Therapy and start friday — all I was told…prepare to cry. CRY? Are you kidding me? So anyway if it is ligament and tendon damage, and you want to keep running, please do not let it heal itself…it never will. Good luck to you.

  • scoops

    2011/10/18 at 12:16 pm

    During my 18 mile long run in August in Central Park I suddenly had a similar shooting pain in my ankle at mile 10. It hurt to run and hurt a little less walking. After walking for about a half mile it stopped. I finished the 18 miles.

    A couple of days later on one of my easy runs it hurt at the start but after I warmed up it stopped. I haven;t had the problem since and completed my 20 mile long run on Sunday without any problems.

    My only guess is that maybe I wasn’t striding with my usual form. Strange things happen like that for no apparent reason.

    As the running coach for my club says, “There are a 100 reason to quit the marathon, but you only need one to keep going.” You’ve got your one reason and your one and only goal for your first marathon should be finishing.

    For my first I knew I was going to cross that finish line whether I was crying, crawling, or being dragged. Thankfully it was only crying. And I beat the two women wearing pink tutus!

  • Jacquie

    2011/10/18 at 12:27 pm

    Is it your Achilles? I’ve been having similar pain during workouts, and this is the self-diagnosis I’ve come up with. Very sucky, very painful, and I am just waiting for the moment when my whole lower half just explodes into a puddle of tendons and blood. Then I’ll go to the doctor. Probably.

  • caminarl

    2011/10/18 at 12:28 pm

    I hate to say this but it sounds like a stress fracture. I got one in mile 10 of a half marathon in my foot and it killed! It didn’t appear in any x-rays either, so I had to go for an MRI for it to get diagnosed. I hope that isn’t what you have at all.

    Regardless keep up the great attitude and all the positive energy. Having run 4 marathons, I know the physical training is 1/4 of the battle and the mental willpower is the other 3/4! You’ll do great. Good luck with it all.

  • anticute

    2011/10/18 at 12:28 pm

    Honestly, with the amount of time you had to get your mileage up, I would be surprised if you didn’t blog about any injuries. Running hurts!

  • MsMegan

    2011/10/18 at 12:29 pm

    Perhaps the Universe is trying to tell you that you shouldn’t be running?

    That’s not really helpful, is it?

  • jadedneon

    2011/10/18 at 12:31 pm

    I’m gonna say that it might be a neuroma ( mine specifically is Why? Because I have been suffering something similar for a while and finally just went to a podiatrist since the GP wasn’t able to find anything on an x-ray. Two shots of cortisone later, I am a much happier person!

    Either way, “speedy” recovery and way to stick it out!

  • sweetpotatopie

    2011/10/18 at 12:34 pm

    Oh holy hell, that HILL! It’s a killer, isn’t it?? But what an amazing course; there is no place more beautiful to go out for a little 13 mile run than Moab.

    That’s a impressive time for it being your first half marathon and having an injury the last 3 miles! You should be mighty proud! Good luck with the ankle; I hope it’s nothing serious.

  • deborahjmum

    2011/10/18 at 12:47 pm

    Just to let you know, my nephew was running in the Toronto Waterfront marathon up here in Canada last weekend and the person who finished last was a 100-year-old man. Yep, that’s right. I don’t know how his ankle was when he came in, but he ran for over 6 hours.

  • Christytoes

    2011/10/18 at 12:48 pm

    I ran the race too and I think I spotted you at the finish! If you hadn’t been icing and limping I might have said hi. 🙂 Hope you get better soon!

  • JosieC

    2011/10/18 at 12:57 pm

    I was running hills at home (I’m nowhere NEAR your mileage, but it was enough to make my legs scream). The first product of those lovely hills was a strained achilles. Direct ice before and after no-hill running combined with some strength training on my legs helped with that. Unfortunately once I got that painful little issue cleared up, enter the shrieking ankle pain and swelling. Turns out I had bursitis in my ankles – and the recommended treatment for that? Running (or walking at the very least) to break up the swelling.

    Hills are a pain in the ass.

    Hope you’re on the mend soon!

  • big dog momma

    2011/10/18 at 12:58 pm

    An orthopedic nightmare??? I’d say you’re an orthpedist’s dream come true!!

  • lorz

    2011/10/18 at 12:59 pm

    I ran that race a few years ago with a stress fracture in my foot. It was a killer, but the beauty of The Other Half made it worthwile. My profile pick is me during the race. Not great form but I was hurting. I’ve since done 5 other half marathons and a full marathon. Hope you heal quickly!

  • ljnelson

    2011/10/18 at 1:02 pm

    “But, dammit, if I have to walk that marathon on crutches, that is what I’m going to do.”

    And that is why you’re a runner! Right on!

  • allisonc-t

    2011/10/18 at 1:12 pm

    You’re not doing it wrong! I am 29 – I have tendinitis in both knees, bursitis in my hip, and I’ve rolled my ankles only a million times between running with my high school cross country team and now. I finished a half marathon with blood soaking the heel of my sneaker (ill-placed timing anklet!) A few months ago, I was running with my husband and tripped on air. YES, on NOTHINGNESS. This was at a busy intersection, in front of a gas station and restaurant. People came out of both to gawk and I had to get up, pretend nothing was wrong, and walk home with my hand wrapped in my shirt to staunch the blood. I hurt myself quite a bit. It happens!

    Your injuries, your pain? It’s just the way you run, in my opinion, and I’m speaking as one who runs the same way. You run hard. You might get hurt. I think it’s badass. And I agree with the above poster – the willingness to walk a marathon on crutches? That’s why you’re a runner. Rest up and feel better…and keep running!

  • Noahs Mom

    2011/10/18 at 1:26 pm

    Congratulations on a strong finish, Heather! And bravo to the community for emphasizing that your determination to run the marathon makes you a runner, whether you’re injured (or, for that matter, able to finish the race) or not.

    For what it’s worth, the ankle swelling probably rules out a neuroma. But it may be time to try a different pair of shoes on one of your short runs. Whenever I have new pains, I get a wider, more grandmotherly-looking shoe, and it’s helped a bunch.

  • Sherry

    2011/10/18 at 1:29 pm

    I am sorry for your injuries but I enjoy that the last name of the person beneath you is broadwater ho. That was funny.

  • Tobie

    2011/10/18 at 1:31 pm

    Do people really say that to you? That’s…fairly obnoxious.

    It’s like saying to someone who got in a car accident, “I’VE BEEN DRIVING FOR 30 YEARS I DON’T SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.”

    Or to someone who spilled their coffee on their shirt, “I’VE BEEN DRINKING LIQUIDS FOR 45 YEARS I DON’T SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.”

    Or really…ANY kind of injury…

    This is kind of a fun game, actually…. 😉

  • wagabu

    2011/10/18 at 1:48 pm

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I totally understand after all the training (blood, sweat and tears) you have put into this, there is NO WAY you are not going to compete.

    I trained for a 1/2 marathon last year. I had intense hip pain (they can’t find any reason for it) and the week before the marathon I finally had to admit to myself that injuring myself further or possibly permanently was not worth it and did not make me a failure. I had done a ton of fundraising and thought I was letting so many people down. I know I made the right decision.

    I hope the doctor can figure out what is going on and keep you running across that finish line. In addition to seeing the ortho I highly recommend seeing a podiatrist. A podiatrist that runs marathons and knows what you are going through.

    Best of luck to you!

  • love2stich

    2011/10/18 at 2:21 pm

    So sorry you’re hurt, I am a new runner too! I hope your injury isn’t serious and that you are able to run your marathon 🙂 By the way, I am only 5ft tall so I am totally loving your self portrait from ALL THE WAY UP THERE!! 😉

  • j

    2011/10/18 at 2:48 pm

    I’m also a runner & an orthopedic nightmare. I just had surgery for a torn peroneal tendon & my experience was similar. Never turned my ankle or anything like that, clean x-ray & MRI. It just didn’t hurt one day, and then it did the next and never stopped. I’ll spare you the details, but I’m now 9 weeks post-surgery and 3 weeks away from being able to run again, provided I pass the “functional test” my ortho is going to put me through. Good luck getting it figured out & healing!

  • sge

    2011/10/18 at 3:01 pm

    I have just stared training to run a half marathon (I’m not quite the excercise lover you are :)and about a month ago had almost the exact same thing happen. I couldn’t figure out why I was in such pain when I hadn’t fallen or tripped, but after a few days of seriously not being able to walk I went to the doctor and was told I had a grade 1 sprain (very mild – yours is probably a more severe sprain). Sadly, the only thing to do is rest, ice, elevate and let it heal. It took me almost three weeks, but I think I would have been back to running faster if I’d stretched the area more. A trainer told me to write the ABC’s with my foot when I was resting it and that was great. If I’d done a little more stretching and moving it around it might not have gotten so tight. Good luck and hope you are feeling better soon!!

  • Mindy Lee

    2011/10/18 at 3:05 pm

    While you may be an orthopaedic nightmare, to an orthopaedic surgeon, you are a wet dream. Yes, you are. I think you should tell people that. “Listen, buddy. I’m an orthopaedic surgeon’s wet dream.”

    Heal. Get better.

  • jan001

    2011/10/18 at 3:22 pm

    “But, dammit, if I have to walk that marathon on crutches, that is what I’m going to do.”

    I swear, I will never understand that mindset. I know it’s very real but I don’t get it.

    Speaking as one who had to run one mile every night in “basic training” and who joined the ranks of those with shin splints after a few weeks. That solidified my enmity toward running for purpose other than getting away from something scary if I don’t have a gun.

    Do watch out for a stress fracture. I agree with @caminarl – those can be tough to find. I had a friend who was literally addicted to running – more to the endorphins, I guess – something we teased him about. At work, whenever he went for a run on his lunch break. EVERY DAY. He’d invent reasons to get out of the building and then he’d go for a run at least two or three times a day. We stopped teasing him about it and got serious with him when he got a stress fracture in his pelvis and WOULDN’T STOP RUNNING.

    Just don’t turn into that guy, okay?

  • wilberfan

    2011/10/18 at 3:22 pm

    Heather, a lot of people in the Paleo Movement would tell you to ditch the over-cushioned, over-everythinged conventional running shoes and start training barefoot/minimalist style. Stories abound of long-time runners who had suffered so many injuries that they were close to having to quit.

    There’s no better intro than “Born to Run”, by Christopher McDougall. Pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.

  • Meranath

    2011/10/18 at 3:43 pm

    Valedictorian of Doing It Wrong. <3

  • beritelissa

    2011/10/18 at 3:47 pm

    I apologize in advance, but I have to be a ninny and say PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Don’t be a dunce like me! My cautionary tale:

    I’d never been a runner, but 5 years ago I BECAME ONE! I started jogging casually with friends, thinking I could never run things like marathons. But I LOVED it and started running farther and farther. I signed up for a half. I was so excited! Then I got pneumonia. Two weeks before the race, though, I was better. I hadn’t trained in a month, but I tied those shoes back on and started running again. I knew I’d never be up to the proper distance by the race time but figured I’d do it anyways and walk part way if I had to. That was dunce move #1.

    I ran that half, never walked once! I was so proud! My time was abysmal, but I did it! Sure, at mile 10 I hopped over a puddle (I live in Seattle) and an EXCRUCIATING pain shot up my calf, as though the muscle had unattached itself from its fetters and flapped up my leg like a roller shade. But man, I shook it off and kept going. It was the farthest I’d ever run! I was on top of the world! I immediately signed up to do a full marathon. (That would be dunce move #2.)

    Next day, I couldn’t walk. Thing is, Seattle has HILLS. I found out much later that if you increase either hillwork or distance suddenly, you can do serious damage to your achilles tendons. If you do BOTH, then take the advice of some quack doctor that as long as you do some stretches and ice and ibuprofen it’s ok to keep training for the full marathon, that achilles tendon damage will soon translate itself into plantar fasciitis, which hurts even worse. (Dunce moves #3-eleventyhundred.)

    …And if you STILL DON’T GET IT and keep training, if you let the guilt of having signed up to raise money for a good cause (leukemia & lymphoma), then eventually you’ll have to quit that darn full marathon, still on the hook to raise money and feeling TERRIBLE about not being able to follow through on the actual running part. The only thing that will heal tendons? Rest and TIME. It took 2 years before my ankles felt normal again. I had to quit running altogether and to this day I’m still gun shy of starting again. (But man, do I miss it!)

    I’m sure that your doctors are much more competent than my quack and you’ve got the advice of a great trainer and your tendons are probably just fine (the VALEDICTORIANS of tendons!), but I know all too well the excitement of being able to run that far (!) AND give to a good cause (!) so I couldn’t help writing to say, don’t be like me and let reason be trumped by passion when the parts you WALK ON are hanging in the balance.

  • Buddahkat

    2011/10/18 at 4:13 pm

    Welcome to running!!!
    That’s happened to me twice and it was stress fractures. It’s hard to see a stress fracture on xray for a couple of weeks because it is not displaced. Then I had 2 years of plantar fasciitis and one week before the Las Vegas Ragnar (which is Friday) I had a shot of cortisone put in my knee to get me through the race (runners knee!!). When I get back I am going to physical therapy to have my gait analyzed and make sure I’m running correctly. They have that available at the U of U Ortho hospital. Why don’t I stop running??
    I’m not CRAZY!!!

    Good luck!

  • luv and kiwi

    2011/10/18 at 4:41 pm

    More like an orthopedic dream! Docs are gonna LOVE you! All of these injuries are big ole badges of honor once you run that damn thing. I ended up screwing with ish a month before the race, but took some time to heal my foot, got some orthotics and rocked the ish out of that marathon. So will you!!!

  • subjectivitis

    2011/10/18 at 4:41 pm

    At least you beat the Broadwater-Hos. Hope your foot feels better soon. I’m impressed with your resolve.

  • KA

    2011/10/18 at 4:41 pm

    heather – you RAN part of a marathon and injured your ankle. it’s NOT shocking…so those runners who have never injured themselves and make you feel bad about it…they’re assholes.

    I sprained (?) my ankle 10 months ago by WALKING and I’m STILL in a lot of pain. (I apparently don’t know how to walk properly.) So you make sure you get this taken care of right away. I don’t want to commiserate with you in your 10th month of ankle pain.

    And btw – in case you didn’t know – I feel your fucking pain.

  • aeiousometimesy

    2011/10/18 at 5:21 pm

    First, as an experienced marathoner, I want to wish you a quick recovery. I can clearly see how much completing NYC marathon means to you.

    Second, there are a few tips that might help you get to the start line on 11/6….
    1) Slow the eff down. On ALL your upcoming runs, slow the eff down. If you just ran a half in 2:07 (with an injured foot) and it was 9 minutes faster than what you ran 3 weeks ago, you’re running too fast too soon. Keep your upcoming runs around 11:00 min/mile. The marathon is an endurance event, you need to teach yourself endurance, not speed. If you slow down, you can hopefully stay injury free for the remaining few weeks and get through the race.

    2) If you’re able to run, stop the other cross training until after the marathon. No spinning. No weights. No plyos. You will need all your health and energy to get through the peak part of training and then after that peak, you will need to taper and rest to get ready for race day. None of that should involve intense cross training of any kind for a new runner. If you’re not able to run, then keeping up some cross training will help you maintain aerobic fitness.

    Third, if after all this you cross the finish line in NYC and still want to continue distance running and try for another marathon, please for pete’s sake, pick a race that is 6 months from now or a year from now and *gradually* work on building mileage and endurance for your next race. It will make such a difference.

    Run well! Good luck!

  • USCKatie

    2011/10/18 at 5:45 pm

    I super, duper strongly recommend going to a physical therapist and having a running eval done. They can look at stride and strength and recommend the right shoes and changes to your running to hopefully help prevent further injuries. It’ll take like an hour and your insurance should cover it.

    If nothing else, ice and rest up!

  • mmh

    2011/10/18 at 7:16 pm

    look, I hardly ever comment here but I’ve felt the need to with the running posts. I’m not one of your “I’m in love with you, you’re awesome!” posters and I’m not a hater (where do those people find the energy?)

    Anyway, you’re not doing anything wrong necessarily. Running is hard work. Are we born to run 26 miles? Some people maybe, but not most of us. If marathon running were easy, everyone would do it. It’s hard. It can suck and it can also be very rewarding.

    Some people have a body that will last them 26 miles with no aches and pains. Those people are superhuman (or else have slowly conditioned their bodies to accept that abuse). I love distance running, but sometimes it hurts. A lot. Rest up. Even if you don’t run until the week of the marathon, you could still finish it. Totally doable. Just slightly crazy. Just rest! And layoff on all of the cross-training! You can pick it up again after the race.

  • jenwilson

    2011/10/18 at 7:34 pm

    You are valedictorian of POWERING THROUGH. That is a super-awesome time, especially with an injury!

  • tigerlily.

    2011/10/18 at 7:42 pm

    Two things I would recommend are 1) go to an ortho or physio dude who IS ALSO A RUNNER. It will be the difference between “You need to stop running” and “You need to adjust a few things, but we can get you there”. 2) As someone else suggested, have your gait analyzed if you haven’t already. Many physio places will do this, but also see if there is a specialty running shop in town. I work for one in Canada and all of our staff members are trained to do this, at no cost to the customer.

    What sort of stride length were you using on the hills? People sometimes make the mistake of trying to take their regular stride, but keeping them nice and short will get you up the hill with much less pain.

    And for race day: pump your arms, the legs will follow!

  • Truthful Mommy

    2011/10/18 at 7:48 pm

    Well,I absolutely find it admirable that you run..period. You couldn’t pay me to run. BUt to continue running through the pain, you are amazing. Go you!

  • AmyRae

    2011/10/18 at 8:06 pm

    I’m not a doctor, but I’ve been hurt a lot (avid horseback rider but I’m bad at it). Your pain and location sounds similar to when I broke my heel. Hurt like a mofo! Was weird because my pain was in my ankle but the xray showed nothing but once they did an MRI they found the break. Best of luck, hope you feel better soon!

  • jocelina

    2011/10/18 at 8:52 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, your half time is about ten minutes faster than my uninjured ten-mile time. Also (and more importantly), as subjectivitis pointed out, you beat the Broadwater-Hos. Way to show those Hos!

    I hope the injury turns out to be minor and quick to heal and that you’re back to pain-free running soon.

  • cjlacz

    2011/10/18 at 9:40 pm

    Dooce, a really long time reader, but never posted. I’ve just started trying to run which I haven’t done since high school. When I first decided to and started reading what surprised me was the number of injuries people suffer. It seems to be all over. That led to more reading/research and to the barefoot community. There is still a lot of debate about the pros and cons of minimalist running, but it’s helped a lot of people. When you read more about the human body you realize we really are designed to run, so why the pain?

    My first attempts at running were painful in any type of shoes, but I’ve moved over to minimalist shoes (Vivobarefoot at the moment) and I’ve been walking a lot. I could tell immediately by my sore muscles I was working some areas I hadn’t before. I’ve been trying to walk at least 10km everything for the past month and recently started adding spurts of running it.

    I’d recommend reading on barefoot running first and actually run barefoot, very slowly at first! 100m, if that feels ok the next day go to 200m etc. Until you get your feet/muscles toughened up and get used to the new form it’s difficult. I think I’m finally getting a little comfortable with the POSE method, but I’m still moving my legs way too slow.

    I don’t know if it would help you or not, but I don’t think running should be painful so I decided to try and make use of all those great rubber bands (tendons) we come with to make it easier on our body. So far so good.

  • martinifontaine

    2011/10/18 at 9:50 pm

    Well, personally running makes me want to stab people in the eye with a sharp stick, unless I’m being chased by someone else with a sharp stick who is trying to stab me. But I totally get that other people enjoy it. I actually am envious of people who enjoy the running. I read Born to Run and thought it was incredibly inspirational. I bought a pair of Barefoot shoes to walk in and love them. I hope you heal quickly! Take it easy on yourself, girl! It’s okay to be valedictorian of Not Getting Injured. Ha!

  • desertrunner

    2011/10/18 at 11:15 pm

    This is my first time commenting, but I’m a longtime reader and runner. I’ve run a marathon and several 1/2 marathons and have also been injured (stress fracture – I really, really hope that isn’t what you’re facing here). Running is great – it’s my favorite form of exercise!!!

    Anyway, I wanted to echo what aeiousometimesy said. NYC is in basically 2.5 weeks, so at this point, your main goal is to get yourself to the starting line. I agree with cutting out all the other types of exercise and you may want to curtail your running – slowing down is definitely a good idea as well. Most people do a taper where they significantly reduce their mileage in the two or three weeks before the marathon. If you aren’t on crutches or something, don’t skip this. It’s important to let your body rest at this point – injury or not. Be the valedictorian of taper!!!

    The other advice I’ll give is DO NOT try anything else new between now and then. You’ve seriously ramped up your mileage and from what I read in an earlier post, have been working on changing your gait. Either one of those things by itself can cause injury because of the new stress it puts on your body. Don’t mess with your shoes or anything else at this point.

    The marathon is a long-ass distance and is not to be taken lightly even with the best training and with your body in the best condition. I wish you the best. I truly know the desire to get to the starting line and to honor the commitment you made. NYC is supposed to be an amazing race – I hope to do it someday. But also remember that one race is not worth long-term injury. I’m not saying to skip it, but it’s just something to keep in the back of your mind. Nobody would expect you to really hurt yourself to get to the finish line in order to keep your commitment. Because being injured sucks. Take it from someone who’s been there. Good luck and I can’t wait to read the updates!!

  • noodle12

    2011/10/18 at 11:48 pm

    I love you honey. But you need to lay off the orthapedic surgeons for a while. Surgeons like to cut things.
    Coming from Durban, South Africa the home of the Comrades Marathon (google that one), it is common for any tiny little weaknesses or skeletal imbalances to be exacerbated by extended long distance running.
    Everyone I know who has run an ultra-marathon has the same advice, go see a Biokineticist BEFORE you start your training, and especially before the race. Because you can really do damage to your body. x

  • TxSuzyQ

    2011/10/19 at 4:51 am

    Wow… I’m sorry this is happening to you. I know you really want to run the full marathon. Hang in there and hopefully the ortho will be able to help!

    I realize you didn’t ask for a “diagnosis” and I’m not going to give you one, but I did notice that your heel seemed very red in the pic you posted yesterday. Of course, I couldn’t see the entire thing, just a glimpse of it, but first thing I thought when I saw that was Achilles Tendonitis. Whatever it is, I hope you’re feeling better soon.

  • aprilhadley

    2011/10/19 at 8:09 am

    Hi Heather,

    You do not have to be an orthopedic nightmare. My husband, Scott has a PhD in Anatomy and a clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy. He runs his own clinic and consults with runners all over the world. Check out his website just for runners: or his clinic website

    He has successfully helped many people avoid surgery and costly visits to the doctor. I could go on and on about how many people he has helped with results that are nothing short of miraculous. He recently treated a young woman who had surgery on her hip 3 years ago. Because of the surgery she was left with foot drop and was confined to a wheelchair or using a cane (on a good day). She had seen countless specialists and other PTs and no one could figure out how to get her walking again. You may or may not believe me but she was not only walking but running (slowly) after only 2 treatments with my husband. She even had a “Walking Party” this past year to celebrate. This is only one of many stories.

    I really hope you will take a minute to give him a call. 616.401.2785 You clearly find a lot of joy in running and are such an inspiration to others. No matter what you decide, I hope you find a way to heal quickly and effectively.

    April Hadley

  • awarenesss

    2011/10/19 at 8:35 am

    I ran my first marathon 10 days ago, and I had only trained for about 3-4 weekends before that.

    The only race I had run before that was a 10k mud run in June.

    Each time I did a training run I got an intense knee pain at mile 9 and I stopped and walked after that.

    So my plan for the marathon was to run for 9 miles and then walk the rest of the way.

    In the end I somehow got lucky and the actual day of the marathon the knee pain didn’t come back and I somehow managed to run the whole way and finished in 5h04m.

    I did take about 4 ibuprofens during the race and I walked up the one big hill during the race as that was the hill when the knee pain previously started.

    So here is hoping that you will get lucky and you will be pain free on the right day 🙂 !

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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