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Back on track

Wilson Kipsang at the London Olympic marathonYesterday, Kenyan Wilson Kipsang broke the world record running an ultra-speedy 2:03:23 at the Berlin Marathon. Most impressive. And I… ate a jumbo ice cream sandwich. Really fast.

Weird but true? We have more in common. Like Kipsang, I am running my own sort of marathon. Only difference is, instead of pushing my body to its ultimate limit, I’m pushing my patience.

For nine, very long, very slow, very painful months I have been doing anything and everything to recover from a particularly nasty case of plantar fasciitis ( That’s why I haven’t been updating my blog much – hard to write about running when you’re, errr… not running). It sucks.

I’ll admit, when I was sidelined last February due to constant foot-arch and heel pain, I was kind of relieved. Burnt out after three-plus years of intense training, the idea of taking time off of running appealed. I fell back on other sports: I went to spin classes, swam and weight trained. And it was good – for a while. But as the novelty of my new workout regime eased off, I quickly realized what running did for me. It wasn’t just a tool I used to manage my waist-line, but more importantly, my well-being.

So, like any dedicated runner, I got to work.

Plantar Fasciitis - Running Injury Prevention and Treatment
Plantar Fasciitis – Running Injury Prevention and Treatment

I set out to do whatever I had to do to fix the problem. I visited two different physios, a chiropodist, a chiropractor, a family doc, an orthopedic doc, Dr. Phil. I tried extra-strength Advil, ultrasound, icing, laser, a Strassburg sock, shockwave therapy, cortisone shots, foot exercises, calf exercises, hip exercises, and even really cute new running shoes.

And now, finally, things are getting better. I’d be lying if I told you I was healed (no pun intended). I’m not. But I don’t have 24-hour pain in my feet and, with the guidance of my physio Steve (not to be confused with my run group coach Stevil, I’m running again.

For now, physio Steve’s put a 5K limit on me. When I can run that far pain-free, I can increase the distance. This time last year, that limit would have crushed me. Today, I’m just thrilled to be running at all. Forget my goal-misses and timing-woes of yesteryear. I feel so lucky to be back in the swing of it.

Last Friday was the Terry Fox Run at my daughters’ school. Instead of a prescribed distance, the goal was to run around a field as many times as they could in an hour and fifteen minutes. When the starting bell rang, my four- and six-year-old shot off with no concept whatsoever of pace, time or distance. They ran so fast that they only lasted about 100 metres before they had to walk. Nevertheless, as soon as they caught their breath they took off again. This strategy played out over and over again until the finishing bell rang and they were forced off the field. The whole time they were laughing, smiling, high-fiving – just plain old happy. It was amazing.

Now, I don’t know that their race-day plan is one that I will fully embrace (I kind of like the idea of pace), but from here on in their smiles, their joy, their love of running is what I’m going to emulate (when I’m not complaining).

So, up yours, plantar fasciitis. You may have my feet, but you don’t have my spirit. Slowly, (okay, very, very, VERY slowly), but surely, I will beat you.

Let’s go.

If you like my blog,  drop me a line and I’ll add you to my mailing list to let you know when updates are on the site. Don’t worry, your e-mail address will be safe with me and my best Nigerian banker friends. You can also follow me on Twitter @Couch2Kenyan.

Also, be sure to Check out my fellow blogger Michelle Kempton’s journey in her blog Road to Recovery.