Stress fracture -the art of patience

My left foot is somewhat troublesome since a couple of months and I most likely have gotten a stress fracture at the end of the second metatarsal bone. This might be from bumping into the front of my shoe together with the fact that the front arch of the foot is too low, I’m not sure but that’s the best theory me and my physio has come up with.

My toe taped (I do need a pedicure, sorry about that :P)

The aching toe has, as a consequence, resulted in a stiff right calve and me becoming even more crooked than before and I need some time off. It could also be the other way around, that my crookedness and therefore excessive clomping and not rolling my step across the bed of the foot, have caused the whole thing. It could also be a horrible combination of any of these


Apart from a pedicure, the remedy is the same: rest, recovery and rehab. I’ve been doing easy jogging and hiking up until a couple of weeks ago but it seems as if I need a couple of weeks off. I’ve tried swimming and wet vest running but the sports tape looses its stiffness and do not give ample support.

So, for a few days now I will do only yoga that does not stress the foot too much and maybe some easy upper body rubber band and also some core exercises. After this I will step it up as fits and in collaboration with my physio.

Lessons learned

What I’ve learned is the following

  • Rest more – Or maybe just rest, period.
    After such a big effort as 100 miles in eight days I need to rest at least two weeks. I did not really give myself any rest at all. I worked a new job AND ran as usual (to survive at the new job and other stuff). I did not pay attention to the signs such as fatigue and other stuff such as minor colds hovering.
  • Set new goals – avoid post race depression
    Having completed an A-race or a big challenge, no matter what you call it you need to use the energy to set new goals not to fall in the post race depression ditch. It would be the easiest thing just to pick a race and set up a plan but I cannot do it that way. I have such problems knowing what the state of my body will be in so I have to have other types of goals. It needs more thinking, hence I tend to procrastinate.
  • Stop comparing – turn off social media
    I definitely identify myself as a runner but not running or being able to move outdoors, not only due to the fracture but also due to my cold urticaria, leaves me sad especially bright and sunny days like today. My Garmin says MOVE! social media is full of people’s most successful shots and with nearly 700 “friends” whereof maybe 80% are runners you bet there’s always someone completing a race that is so extreme I can hardly drive the distance by car without taking a break or even a nap and here I am, not being able to complete a race that “real” runners do in one day in eight fucking days without getting injured???

But heeeey STOP!

Wait a minute and THINK about it! You did make it. Now you just have to ACT on this and REFLECT on what went wrong and you will become a the STAR that you are.

With my body, barely screwed together, it’s a challenge just to stay upright.  Add menopaus almost ten years ago to my somewhat herniated disks, arthritis, gout (!) cold urticaria and whatnot. Few would have the knowledge, persistence and stamina to follow this “project” through. Just the fact that I’m not being able to set those usual goals that people are so familiar with, like running a certain race, because you never know if the body will make it is a horrible challenge – I’m surrounded with friends that want me to tag along and most often I end up being support – driving a car, meeting up here and there. Sometimes it’s fun but it also hurts in my runner’s heart seeing these beautiful surroundings and not being able to participate. Not wanting to participate.

Yes, I developed quite an aversion to my own participation in races. I don’t enjoy the challenge of  having to pay for something I’m not sure if I want to run a year in advance. I don’t fancy the hard work of fiddling my fitness to peak at certain periods. Staying strong and fit is such an accomplishment anyway with this body.

So yes that’s where I am now, looking out on a bright and blue sky pondering if I’ve ever get well and what the mening of life is if not being outdoors.

June in summary

That great feeling a couple of days after a tough race.  It’s just magic. The first night I sometimes get pains that keeps me awake and that is really not the greatest but afterwards, when my muscles are sore and a bit swollen, my internal abdominal muscles, erector spinae and all the stuff around my spine keeps my habitual escapers around L5 and L6 in place and I feel like I’m just like anyone else. Through a normal year that is not always the case, but summertime when temperature is bearable (i.e. above 20) my body transforms, it gets at least 10 years younger than my actual 69… or soon to be 49.

The skeptics and critics

A lot of people are skeptic and critique people that, according to the skeptics, spend too much time training. This was a hot topic a while ago and I will not debate this here. Just have in mind that not very long ago we as humans spent most our days moving – our bodies were in motion.

The critics do not question me up front but I often get hints that suggests I might be doing something wrong. They do not understand how it is possible that I sometimes cannot lift a sock from the floor but at the same time I’m able to do a 50 km race.  Those skeptics are probably not familiar with the magic of running – the anatomy, physiology and bio-mechanics behind it and first and foremost, they do not know my body, its’ quirks and features. I have been actively learning about this the last 10 years, I’ve been coaching strength training and am a fountain of knowledge when it comes to injuries.

1 hour per day

The last years I’ve noticed that one hour a day of something physical is a great way of keeping the spirit and the body in shape. The only thing stopping me is my imagination – you can always do some rehab/prehab exercises or focus your mind in a yoga session that do not challenge your body’s abilities but instead your mind’s.

June in figures

(km)Run SwimStrgthBft.wTotal
28/5-3/652.42.72.4 h0.7 h15 h
4/6-10/625.72.2 2.1 h0.6 h10 h
11/6-17/651.2-1.2 h2.6 h12 h
18/6-24/637.4 4.81.8 h0.811 h
25/6-1/728.010.80.8 h0.910 h

The first week of June was preparing for the Jurrasic Coast 50 K. I was a bit clueless on whether or not my body was up for it so, apart from a jogg Monday, and a swim Tuesday I restrained myself to a maximum of 15 minutes of strength, mainly standing yoga sequences that I’ve gotten from my physio. The race went well, as I blogged about here and the day after was total rest, sitting in the car to Stansted where our flight home was on Monday.

In the evening after coming home I felt sore and stiff and tried walking it off (barefoot) but felt awkward and started to jogg and that felt much better. I did a few of those during the week and also a run (in shoes) of 13 km and an open water swim at home of 2 km.

Two weeks after Jurassic I felt ok and started running more, almost every day and a lot barefoot to keep the pace down and injury free. I’ve been alternating my running with running barefoot or minimalistic since 2008 now and really think it’s great – you get a posture and technique that you need to be able to run free. Over 51 km is really great. OK I alter my jogging with walking but I’m so super excited that I’m not a wreck!!!!

Post race depression

I’ve often talked to clients about post race depression and often recommend planning the next race after an A-race long before the A-race. However, the difficulties with that is that a person like me, who does not know if he/she will be able to walk for weeks after a race, cannot afford to sign up to a race that you might attend so here I was – drifting into a black hole of nothingness. The glory of ultra fading ;). I need distraction and stuff to do that makes me tired so I start swimming a bit more. Outdoors mostly because indoors places makes me sneeze due to too much chlorine.

Swimming outdoors

Photo: Benen på ryggen

The following week sums up to 37 km running and almost 5 km swimming and the last week of June, entering July sums up with more than 10 km all Open Water swimming, where the longest swim was 3 km and the toughest was a 2 km head wind swim back from an small island I swam to assisted by my husbad in kayak.

All in all a very good month with over 53 hours of training 190 km running!