Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Road to Boston is Paved with Good Advice (Part 2, Peroneal Tendon Injury)

First- Thanks to all of you who faithfully read and comment. I have been in a posting frenzy for the last 26 days and look forward to just reading other people's blogs and posting once or twice a week very soon!!

This is the second segment in a blog series about my Boston training, what went wrong and how I can use the experience to improve myself as a runner.
The following are some letters written (via email) between me and another runner about 10 years my senior:


Thank you so much for your help and the awesome emailed comments/posts. It's very helpful.

I have only got one point under / behind my ankle that is pretty sore/tender. And sometimes it feels like it is a very low part of the achilles tendon or even on the bottom of the outside of that foot. ran reduced mileage for 5 weeks before Boston. And did this PT after with just walking/biking (sorry..just trying to sift through the details)...and started some running in week 3? then ran /walked for 4 more weeks?

I got injured 8 weeks out from Boston ( I think i got in 2 20 milers and no 22 milers) and have no idea if I would be healed if I didn't run until the week of B (and then just see what happens)...or If I should be running through this...or what.

I haven't ran a full since Eugene last may- and that was my first. I am afraid of letting this goal slip away, but also afraid of being out most of the summer. How did you decide if you should proceed or not? I don't normally give up easily, but I am having trouble deciding if I should run through the pain and go for it at B, or just let this one go and start healing for the summer/fall.

I really appreciate whatever you can offer in regards to decision making and how to deal with this setback.

from I____ :

Yeah, the PT was after Boston. I think I made it worse by running, but I really
wanted to run Boston. That's basically the choice you have to make.
I made a post in *the forum* with the title something like "Help me salvage Boston". Pretty much exactly a year ago. That's where I got the advice that if I could run a 16 miler 12 days out I ought to be okay.

My view was that I had already paid for hotel and airfare, and I was looking forward to meeting other *forum* runners and hanging out with the ones I'd already met, so I was going to go no matter what.

I decided that if I could not run the 16 comfortably I would either jog/walk it as a scenic tour, or just watch from the sidelines. My notes say: "Hurt a lot for first 4 miles, but eased up after and pretty painless after mile 8 or so." I don't think I actually decided to RACE until pretty much the week before. I did really want to run, though, because it's expensive and a hassle to get out there for me, and I didn't anticipate doing it again for years if ever.

I do think I made an error in that I was having so much fun and was so excited and it didn't hurt at all at the start (actually, it didn't hurt at all during the race) that I decided to just go for my original goal of 3:XX, which was a mistake. I was not in shape for that after the time off, and when I hit the hills I was hurting - not hitting the wall, but I slowed down by about 30 sec/mile and my quads were really sore. I ran a PR by over 4 minutes but I think with different pacing I could have improved that by another 2-3 minutes.

I think if you do run Boston you WILL have to adjust your goal. And yes, I was out all spring and for some of the summer. I got a lot better at mountain biking! I volunteered at two races in June I normally run. The next race I ran was a 5K in August, and I was able to race a trail race in September I always do, but yeah, it did cut into my summer. And like I said, I shelled out a lot for PT because of my high deductible health plan; I think without it it would have taken even longer to heal up.


from me:

Thank you so much , I___.

I have a lot of thinking to do. I mentally have already dropped my goal- like as soon as I had a week off. I am making the trip, either way, and will pick up my bib at the expo. Everything was booked long ago. Funny that this is my first travel race and I have no idea what will happen.

You give me a lot to think about and a really good first hand account. Amazing that you still were able to PR even. LOL that's awesome! I was hoping to do that too. Unless things change drastically soon I will save that for fall or winter.

Thanks again- enjoy training for something really amazing :):)

from I_____:
Good luck, R.
I hope you can figure it out. It is a fun experience, and it surprised me how many other runners were running it injured as a "scenic tour" - one of the women from *the forum* was recovering from a pelvic sfx and walked the whole thing (within the time limit!) which really impressed me. My roommate, who is in her 60s, decided last minute not to run and cheered us on instead, and one of the *forum* BQ girls got a cold and decided not to run also. It's still a fun weekend.
After this email, I decided to rest longer until I didn't feel any pain to the touch. It may have cost me in fitness and speed, but I am hoping to be able to cover the course uninjured.  At minimum, I hope to have my summer to train.
Reading another person's experience has helped me to sort out what is most important to me as a runner.
What it comes down to, is this:
YES. I love to race. I will pour my heart into training for one (As I did going up to my injury).
But, (my feelings at the moment are) I would rather run THIS race slower and be able to run all summer than be fighting this injury going into fall. I need to be able to run regularly. Racing all out at Boston or training through injury for B might cancel my summer running. It's not worth the sacrifice to me. Still...If I feel great on race day, I will give it all I have.
This is a new step for me. In the past, I have been so headstrong and unwilling to take advice. An injury really should be an indicator that something didn't go right.

There are several things I did wrong in my training that may have been contributing factors to this injury- and one might be genetic.
  • Too many speed sessions. I probably should have alternated between 2x a week and 1x a week, or just do one of the speed sessions a week as strides or V easy fartlek.
  • Running my speed work faster than my goal training paces. For instance, I had 3x 1600 @ 6:18 for a scheduled session, but was so driven to run a sub 6  mile, that I pushed it to two sub six miles and a 6:0X, with 10 miles total. That same week I ran a hard tempo and hills.
  • Consecutive hill sessions with tempo, or faster than easy paces.
  • Not taking a rest day when I felt a strange feeling under the outside of my foot, and under the heel.
  • Not getting enough sleep. boo-hooing about it now! Just making an observation and MOVING ON. :)


  1. Great attitude! BTW, I was not injured before Boston, I just got a bad blister that got infected and forced me to run on the side of my foot, hence slowing down.

    My opinion on injuries is that they are part of the game. If you want to PR, you need to run hard and take risks. If you are too careful, you may not reach your potential. If you push too hard, you can get faster and meet your goals, but you can also get injured. So I don't think you should blame yourself. Elite runners have coaches, and psychologists, etc, and still get injured. I know that every time I run there is a chance I might get injured, and this is a risk I am willing to take for the love of running!

  2. Sounds like you are getting fantastic advice from someone who truly understands! Continued prayers headed your way!!

  3. I wish there were a way for you to get a professional diagnosis and treatment, without being charged an arm and a leg... =(

  4. I hope to be back more to read more carefully so that I can make a decent comment. Thanks for this. Good reflections. I think you'll just come back that much stronger Raina!

  5. Good post! Very interesting!! You really do seem to have this in check! Boston is Boston and an experience in itself but would be awfully rough to sacrifice a whole summer for a little over 3 hours....Obviously play it by feel, but you would have some AMAZING potential for fall if healthy!!!! I really do hope the experience is awesome for you at full speed or not!

    Like the reflections:) I worried so much when I first came back to running. My initial intentions were just to stay around 40 mpw all the way through April or so-I obviously didn't stick to that but I'm still injury free for now. I agree with Ana Maria in a sense. Personally, I need to make smart decisions but I need to take risks at the same time if I want to improve...Injuries are part of the game I guess but I really don't want to play that part again.....

    I have no doubts this is just a tiny tiny bump in what could become quite a fantastic running "career"!! Quite certain you will be more determined than ever when you completely have this behind you!

    Anyway, off to pack to get on a bus in the morning!! I have more to say...imagine that:)

  6. I deleted this spam comment, but then dug it out of my email because it was so dang funny!

    "I have recurring PTI that would come back after any heavy running session. I've had to give up running altogether now because it seems my knees just cant handle the stress from pavement impact. Now the only way I can do running if I ever want to is basically not running, but rather jogging on the spot on my mini trapoline. It's definately not the same but I get to work my leg muscles in a similar fashion to if I were on an treadmill just with way less stress on my knees and joints. Good luck to you and I hope your path to recovery is a fluid one."

    I clicked on the blogger's email link and it took me to a trampoline website =D Bwahahhaha!

  7. Remembering my injures I can say that the big mistake was not taking a rest day when I felt a little pain.
    It is always important to share experiences.

  8. oh bless your heart!!! i've been MIA, so i've missed out on all the injury updates. just wanted to let you know that i've pretty much given up an any and/or all of my time goals for boston. i'm just hoping to take it all in and enjoy my experience. maybe you'll actually run slow enough that i could keep up with you :)


Please comment! I love hearing from you!!! ♥