As I mentioned in my Setbacks post, I’ve injured my foot. At first I thought it was metatarsalgia, but it’s a closely related issue – sesamoiditis. My podiatrist cleared me to attempt a run after a week and predicted things would be fully healed by 2 weeks in. There were 2 key changes I had to make. First, I had to change out the shoes I wear daily to work – I’d chosen a New Balance model that didn’t have a rigid enough sole. Second, I had to wear dancer pads while recovering. As opposed to the metatarsal pad I’d originally sought out from CVS, it doesn’t cushion the area receiving pressure. Instead it puts the pressure everywhere else. More about that later. I spoke with the coach I’m using to get ready for the Marathon and we agreed that I could try and run the race, but had to keep my pace lower to reduce the chance of injury.
It was definitely great to be back among a crowd of folks all trying to do the same thing; one fun aspect of running a race vs just training or running for fun. It was also a fun atmosphere as a pride run. Many folks were wearing fun accessories like capes, tutus, rainbow socks, etc. This was the first time that I can recall the NYRR opening ceremonies containing the Black National Anthem. The horn went off and we were off.
I’d thought about moving back to another corral since I wasn’t going to go my predicted speed, but they had a moderate heat advisory and asked folks not to go too hard. So we started off and people passed me but that’s actually not a direct consequence of going slower; people always take off from the starting line too fast. But as we continued on more and more folks passed me. I started off in group B and eventually I was running with groups D and E. But it was nice to be in Central Park, working my way towards the finish line.
Since this was a test run of whether I could return to training, I was paying close attention to how my feet felt. On the plus side, the dancer pads worked wonders. I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever on my sesamoids. That’s awesome for healing. Unfortunately, and what bummed me out a bit today is that the dancer pad had a couple side effects. Since it’s essentially transferring the impact forces via the pad, while the sesamoids were safe, the forces were being transferred out towards the metatarsals near my pinkie toe. It was also pushing up into my arch. So I’m not sure what to do to avoid reinjuring myself. I’m working with my podiatrist to try and see if I can find a better insole for running than the custom orthotics he made me .They just do not have sufficient cushioning up in the balls of the feet.
I was supposed to do about an 8:15 pace and I ended up doing an 8:04 average pace. I let myself go a little faster when descending a hill and didn’t try to keep pace when going uphill. I just wanted to see if I could run without pain. So I finished in 32:13, 4 minutes slower than I did on the GridIron 4M earlier this year. Recognizing that this may have been more of a fun run for most, I did alright with the rankings while taking things more slowly. Overall, 1405 out of 7023 (20%), 1078 out of 3189 for gender (33%), and 223 of 576 for my age group (38% – worst ever for my age group, but not the end of the world).
So my return to racing was a mixed bag. I was able to run a longer distance than my test run without pain in my sesamoids. I wasn’t able to run as fast as possible, so I didn’t get the buzz from that. And some of the pain was just transferred to another part of my foot. But, boy was it so nice to be back out there on the road with others. I’ve got about 5 weeks before my next race to figure things out so that I can get back to running. I hope it doesn’t take that long so that I can get on my Marathon training, but if I can get back to running pain-free, I’ll be so incredibly happy.