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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not So Good News

First the quick one – I actually broke ANOTHER camera.  Monday, I’ll embarrassingly put in a claim on my replacement plan / extended even-if-I –accidentally-throw-it-off-a-mountain warranty.  (Not to worry though, I still have pictures to share, and while I’m waiting for my reimbursement check, I always have my phone if I absolutely have to take a photo). 

Secondly, while I did not fracture/break my foot, unfortunately I cannot blame the no-support, no-give sandals for my foot pain.  The pain has returned, in abundance, but sporadically.  And I have self-diagnosed my problem as plantar fasciitis.  How do I know?  Well, I have a textbook case.  I run on uneven surfaces.  I’ve been running in worn shoes.  The pain is in the heal and arch.  It’s the worst in the mornings, etc. 

Friday, before I knew that I had this dreadful condition, I drove up into Saddleback Mountains (a very long, rocky dirt road) to stash 200 flluid ounces of water at Modjeska Peak for this morning’s long run.  The drive was delightful and scenic, but also very stressful.  I had to focus so hard on my driving (so that  didn’t wreck my truck or drive off the mountain), that I was actually drained upon returning.  It seemed actually more tiring to drive the route than to run it.  (I wouldn’t be able to run it though, carrying all that water).

A proud trail runner, for the first time stashing water in the mountains by myself : )

The drive down from Modjeska Peak:

Well, since I had already stashed water and planned to meet Cody L. for another training run, I wasn’t going to miss this morning’s run.  Pain or no pain.  Thing was, when I got out of bed at 4:30 AM, I practically fell to the ground when I stepped down on my left foot.  I iced my foot as I got ready and I was on the road by 5:00 AM wondering how I was going to do this.

First off, I cut our route short about 5 miles.  Instead of 28, we went for nearly 23.  It included two peaks, Santiago and Modjeska, lots of elevation, and a delightfully cool morning (but not minus the gnats).  I’m certainly grateful for Cody.  If he hadn’t made the long trip out, I may have not got in this run. 

Setting off up Holy Jim under darkness:

As I worked into this morning’s run, my foot pain became very bearable.  We made decent time to Bear Springs (top of Holy Jim), though we were five minutes slower than last week.  The best thing was, I made it to Santiago Peak in 2:46 (my record is 2:45 from what I recall).  Cody made it in 2:40 (but it was only his first time there – I have been to “the peak” countless times now).  It’s a hard, hard climb for me.  Very stressful.  To deal with it, I absolutely cannot think about the climb while going up.  I pretty much can’t think about anything.  I just moved forward, running some, mostly power-hiking that final couple miles to Santiago Peak.  The views made up for some of the struggle.  And of course, finally arriving, made up for all of the struggle.

The Main Divide on the way to Santiago Peak:

I saw one runner coming down about a half mile from the top.  I didn’t recognize him. But I bet he was training for Twin Peaks.  We also saw 2 other runners at the peak.  I know one of them, and he’s definitely training for the ultra, so I bet the other guy was as well. 

A quick stop at Santiago Peak to take in the view (beneath Cody’s hat, my Saddleback Marathon t-shirt – very cool that my race shirts can go to good use : )

Group Photo:

Looking  back at Santiago Peak on the way to Modjeska Peak:

The last 8 or so miles were downhill and quite painful for me.  My foot pain became progressively worse with each step.  Four other runners training for Twin Peaks (3 who I know) met up with us on Upper Holy Jim as they made their downhill trip from the peak. They gave me some good advice on treating my foot condition.  One of the guys said I can get rid of it in five days.  FIVE DAYS!  I am following his regime, you can be sure.  (I’ll go into that in another blog entry).  

Cody and the other four guys made it down to the lot before me.  I urged each one who passed not to wait or worry about me.  (Men tend to fear that I  need help or can’t be alone if I’m having trouble on the trails.  It’s sweet and part of their upbringing.  But really, I had to do this by myself).  My pain was increasing, and I didn’t need an extra voice, caring hand or someone to try and keep up with.  I basically tilted forward and with a blank mind plodded down Holy Jim, sure in a lot of pain.  At the same time, I was oh so grateful that I was able to make this run after all. 

As I sit here writing this entry, I’m rolling a tennis ball beneath my foot.  Now it’s time to put a sock on and ice.  I shall conquer this!  I must if I’m to run Twin Peaks.  I can’t attempt 50 miles with this foot. 

Today’s profile:Running Up HJ, Main Divide to Santiago Peak, Modjeska Peak, down MD, Upper Holy Jim, M 9-22-2012, Elevation - DistanceRunning Up HJ, Main Divide to Santiago Peak, Modjeska Peak, down MD, Upper Holy Jim, M 9-22-2012


  1. I have battled PF on/off for two years and my recent bout was nipped in the bud by getting an ART treatment. My doc is a phenomenal athlete and practitioner and I HIGHLY recommend him and ART if ice, tennis ball, keeping foot stretched, wearing supportive shoes, taping the arch does not work quickly. My last bout was the worst ever and one ART treatment plus listening to his instructions worked. I hope you are already planning on resting (ie.not running) as running can make it worse right now.

    1. So sorry you had to go through this Rachel. It's awful. I am doing all of the above. Thanks so much for your advice!

  2. So sorry about the PF. It's the worst thing to deal with. Keep those feet taped up! If you need some ideas for treatment, I have a whole email list of things I've been doing this year to combat my PF. Shoot me a message if you want me to send you some treatment ideas: averagewomanrunner@gmail.com

    1. Thanks again Alma! Great advice. I am seeing some improvement.

  3. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm more worried about the camera being broken. I mean, you can go off-roading on foot and go 20+ miles a few days later so I'm sure you can manage your race just fine. But breaking the camera is lousy news. Your pictures are what keeps me coming back for more! (well, the stories that go along with them are good too)

    1. You are so funny Neil. Thanks for reading!

  4. Sorry to hear about your PF! I'll pray for your run and that it does not get worse. I had it about 5 years ago, and it did heal and has not come back (although it almost did a few months ago). My situation is different, it happened to me because I have flat feet and there is always a chance it will come back. I saw a pediatrist (you should too if you have not already, but see one who knows runners, otherwise they will tell you you shouldn't be running!) I was given custom orthodics which have really helped but that was because of my flat feet. Stretching, long warm ups, ice, rolling on a frozen water bottle, that all is helpful, all the time, even when it is healed. The worst treatment is what we all dread...take a break from running, which you will probably have to do or it will just get worse. Good luck!

    1. Thanks David. Definitely the worst part is taking a break from the running. I too have orthodics, so this really took my by surprise. Thank you for your prayers. I need them. : )