Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rain... Pain... Go Away...

"Rain... pain... go away!"
I’ve been laying low the past days since I was pretty messed up after the Los Angeles Marathon. The sore in my foot I tried to downplay as manageable caused me a lot of pain during the race. Despite my condition and the heavy rain, I was still able to hit my goal of beating my time last year; and PR at the same time setting my new marathon best at 4:19:45s.

This however did not come without a price. I could hardly walk after race and the pain in my foot got worse the days that followed. I was limping so bad my back was starting to hurt.

So, Thursday I went to see a local podiatrist here in Glendale. Right off the bat he told me I was a runner (the smell was a giveaway). What impressed me the most was to learn he was part of this year's LA Marathon medical team, and has done so on and off every year. As expected, the consultation turned into a lot of discussion about running. In the end, his report wasn't as grim as I though it would be – the x-ray showed no broken bone (whew!), no stress fracture (good!), no significant muscle tear (boo ya!); I was all ears when he said no running until I get better. He prescribed me an anti-inflammatory med to help with the swelling and was instructed to continue to ice the affected area.

The podiatrist told me however that I have a genetic foot disorder called, calcenous varus (nyah!). My heel is narrow compared to normal so most of the impact of running is transferred to the midfoot section, hence the source of my pain. I was advised to get a shoe with a higher heel or to use an orthotic heel insert. This is apparently common to many people but since it is not a disability, the condition is generally insignificant to affect physical activities - that made me feel better. Overall, it's still good news for me. As soon as I stepped out of the doctor's office, I felt I was whole again. My stinky feet were bouncing happy ready to sprint that very moment.

at the LA Expo, trying to look tough before the race
I feel much better now although I haven't run since. I'll allow myself two more weeks of complete rest before starting any serious training. I'm contemplating doing cross-training while recovering - swimming, maybe, we'll see. But definitely, I am not looking forward to seeing the podiatrist anytime soon.

This year’s LA Marathon will be memorable to many due to the unforgiving weather - the rain was relentless from beginning to the end. I know many people got sick as a result. This I have to mention - the sight of hundreds of young students from the SRLA program running the course in this weather were inspiring to witness. Running alongside them made my worries that day seem so small. I also give big credit to the volunteers and families that cheered and supported the runners throughout the course despite the freezing temperature. My only comment was distance of the reunion area that seemed unreasonably far from the finish line. I know this will be addressed next year.

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