One Foot in Front of the Other

So. What does a runner write about when they’re not running?
I’ve missed almost two weeks, so far. I was supposed to get into the nitty gritty of my Goofy + 10K training this week – two 45 minute runs, a 4 mile walk and a 13 mile run the next day – and instead I’m sitting here rolling a nubby ball underneath my left foot.

My new best friend. Source:
My new best friend.

I mean, my left foot was supposed to be the good foot! It’s bigger than the right one, it’s never given me a lick of Achilles Tendinitis unlike some other feet I know (I’m looking at you, righty). Heck, there’s even a movie called “My Left Foot”. I’ve never seen it, but I can only assume it’s about a gal training for a marathon, and her Left Foot is her best friend who never lets her down. I’ve obviously never seen My Left Foot. If that’s not the plot, Hollywood, call me – I’ve got a great idea for a movie.
So, rest.
And by rest, I mean hiking up (and back down) a 3000 foot mountain. Sure, hill work can be a part of the onset of PF, but that doesn’t mean hiking, too? Does it?
Spoiler Alert: It does.
To be fair, we’d already decided to push back our training by one week because we knew we wouldn’t have another chance to hike in Skagway after this week. Next week we participate in a crew drill which will keep us on board until almost 11am. After that, bye-bye Skagway. We will start our repositioning cruise, heading south. As a result, this hike would take the place of our long run this week. I had made the hike once before, two years ago and knew that it was a fair substitute for a long run. I geared up in my UnderArmor compression tights, a pair of Zoot Compression socks, and warm, waterproof layers.

We were joined on our hike by our good pal Sam Port from the Frankie Valli tribute act: Oh What a Night.

Greg and I discuss navigation.
Greg and I discuss navigation.
Greg has the answer: Peace through Strength
Greg has the answer: Peace through Strength

The hike in Skagway up to the Devil’s Punchbowl is a challenging 8 mile (and change) round trip trail that takes you up to that aforementioned 3000+ feet altitude.

These directional plaques carefully don't mention the elevation gain you're about to encounter.
These directional plaques carefully don’t mention the elevation gain you’re about to encounter.

The trail takes you up steep inclines that make you wonder why you’re attempting this and over giant boulders that seem like an open invitation to fall and break your leg.

This is one of the milder up-hill climbs.
This is one of the milder up-hill climbs.
Upper Dewey Lake, from our climb back down from the Punchbowl.
Upper Dewey Lake, from our climb back down from the Punchbowl.
We all placed rocks for our very own Inuksuk. Then Sam and I got super-immature.
We all placed rocks for our very own Inuksuk. Then Sam and I got super-immature.
Upper Dewey Lake from above, the boulders to the right are what we're about to climb over.
Upper Dewey Lake from above, the boulders to the right are what we’re about to climb over.

We chose to do it on a day where it also happened to be raining sideways at times, and where the fog (aka “clouds” to people at a lower altitude) rolled in like a scene out of Hounds of the Baskervilles.

Fog, or Clouds?
Fog, or Clouds?

Struggle aside, it was stunning. And I will never do it again.

We made it!
We made it!

By the time we got back down and I was getting ready to do our show, my heel hurt so badly that I was blinking back tears. I got my trusty nubby ball out of the fridge, gingerly placed my foot on it and shouted in pain, smearing freshly applied mascara all over my cheeks. But, gradually the intensity of the pain started to ease. Hey, this little nubby thing works! I kept at it, and even brought the ball backstage to use while we waited.
I also wore my Feetures PF foot sleeves – which I hope looked cute with my dress, under my footless tights. I may have dragged my foot a bit, but I got through the show in relative comfort.
After the show, we iced. Greg iced his knee, and I iced the soles of my feet. Then did some nubby ball rolling. Then rolled out my calves.
The next morning, the discomfort was minimal. Ice works! I had gone to bed worrying that I might need to look into cortisone shots, but now I’m hoping that pain management and exercises might do the trick.
I think I’m going to try a short run this week.
Assuming my left foot and I can come to some sort of an understanding.
How do you decide if you should train through an injury or take a break?

ENERGYbits Running

tabethawells View All →

I am an actor/writer/director based in Chicago, IL.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hey, Fellow PFer. I found an article on PF that summarizes all the treatment research on it to date. I found it very informative and very depressing (some crazy bull$hit about taking 6-12 months to heal no matter what you do). If you want to write and give me your email address, I’ll forward it onto you.

  2. I have one of these nobbly ball thingies too – it’s got a different name but same thing in principle it’s a ball with spikes on it 😉 It has been somewhat languishing in the box in my room at the moment but I am going to get it out tomorrow and give it a go see if it helps with the pain I have been having in my ankle.

    Your hike up the mountain looks amazing and also like it might kill me but the views were gorgeous 😉

    Hope the pain is still improving – even if it’s a little bit at a time.


    • Thanks – there were times during that hike where I felt like it was going to kill me. Today is the first day since the hike when I can walk normally!

      Good luck with your ankle. Feet, man. Feet…

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