It’s been over 2 months since my last blog post so a lot has happened.
I just got back from our yearly vacation to Santa Cruz and the Bay area. It’s my spirit home!
I am now in week 12 of Chicago Marathon training and there are 32 days left to that big day!
Shit is Getting Real
My Chicago Marathon Running Attire
The runs are getting longer and harder. It doesn’t help that the weather is still hot and humid here. I’ve trained more often on the treadmill than I was comfortable with. I think treadmill running is the most boring and possibly the worst kind of training but it’s all I had many times when the weather was so hot. I also believe that the treadmill training may be hurting the mechanics of my run. I often dread my long, Saturday runs all week long so that screws with you mentally.
I did get in some great runs in Santa Cruz on the beaches, along the coast and a challenging trail run. That hardly even felt like running, though.
I do most of my long runs outside when possible. My schedule over the next couple of weeks is getting tough and there doesn’t look like a let up on the heat.
But with all that said, an issue has arisen that has me very nervous about being able to train and even run the marathon. I am working desperately trying to resolve it. After about 13 miles or so, my left foot and toes start cramping up. It does so to a point that I am totally unable to run. I usually stop and take my shoe off, massage my foot and go back at it. A few times, it stopped my training run. I can run with a tight hamstring and most anything else but it is impossible to run with a severe foot cramp. My toes actually turn upward and the pain is unbearable.
Here are the things that I have tried to get rid of it:
- New shoes and half size bigger to allow for toe room. A professional running store pro helped me.
- New, expensive socks such as Xperia, Features and Injinji
- Salt tablets (sodium loss from sweating)
- Foot stretches and exercises prior and after a run
- Plenty of water on my run
- Rolling calves and feet (before and after)
- I’ve even tried to consciously change my gate and foot placement
- I’ve cursed
- I’ve cried
I’ve basically self-diagnosed my issue as being caused by muscle fatigue caused by muscles higher up the leg chain than my foot muscles. It messes with the running mechanics. I can only deduce that the piriformis muscle strain on my left side is causing the mechanics of my left leg to be at issue which may be causing the foot cramp in my left foot.
Today, I went to one of my local running stores (UltraMax Running) and talked to very nice and helpful young, gentlemen runners. They listened, asked questions and made suggestions. They seemed very concerned and cared about my issue. One ask me if I had an injury of some kind in the last year or so. I did and still have that piriformis muscle issue on my left side! The same side where the foot cramp occurs. He said that all the leg muscles are tied together and an injury in one place can cause muscle strain and issues in the other. He also showed me how to do a proper foam rolling for the piriformis muscle, hamstring and calf. He said a strained calf muscle can cause feet issues. I bought a pair of CEP compression socks today.
I have used the CEP calf compression before. In fact, I trained for my first marathon with the calf compressions and I have not this time. Maybe wearing them again may help. I’ll give it a try this coming weekend. I also bought Hammer Endurolytes at $25 a bottle to try on my next long run. He told me if I took when when I started cramping, I had waited too long. He suggested taking 2 before I start and 1 every hour I run. I’ll do that.
In spite of this potential show stopper foot cramps, I’m very excited about being fortunate enough to be running in the Chicago Marathon. And in addition, I will be running with a friend, VeganRunnerNerd. She lives in Iowa and I live in Missouri. We are now training together virtually but 3rd week in September, we plan a real life run together in Iowa! Yes, I’m excited.
On an odd note, I was asked to write a contributing story for an online health magazine “Healthline Media.” It is undergoing editing now and they will let me know when it’s published. A paid story with freelance agreement and everything! I can’t wait to read what I wrote! The series will be entitled “What Made Me Run a Marathon.” It will also detail my weight loss and my healthy lifestyles journey.
This is very likely my last marathon. Unless by some miracle, I can get into the “Big Sur International Marathon” which is a long shot. I don’t mind the marathon, it’s the damn training!
I probably don’t have any readers left on my blog because I do such a poor job of updating but if any runners read this post, I welcome advice for my foot cramps.