It’s almost as if my body knows it’s getting close to being able to train hard and actually try to race when I run. I say this because, just as I get past some injury or condition and begin to look at race planning, something else happens that sidelines me again. This has been the case for the last few seasons.
It’s been ages since I felt the way I do now about running; a feeling I’d describe as quasi-euphoric. I won’t go into any detail here about the trials and tribulations of the past 12-18 months. If you’re really interested in such long-winded stories, part one is here and part two is here. The long and short of it is that I was becoming convinced by the middle of last year that I might just have to hang up my runners for good, with severe nerve-related pain, discomfort and tingling, resulting in an inability to run more than a couple kilometers at a time.
I’d already come to the conclusion that ultimate was no longer a good idea due to a minor tear of my left medial meniscus about three years ago, and was really thinking I’d be almost completely focused on cycling for my endorphin fix. The problem with that is that I just love running. I like cycling well enough, but in my heart I am a runner. It’s cheap, easy and I feel better when I’m on a good run than I do at almost any other time. Whether I’m chasing people and a plastic disc in cleats, hitting the trails or pavement or ramping up for speedwork or hills, running gives me a fix like no other exercise.
In April, I outlined my experience to that point, with my left foot. At that time, after several months of annoying and somewhat perplexing symptoms, I expected that by now, I’d have more of a solution – perhaps a surgery or something – to report. Sadly that’s not really the case. I can report some progress, though, small as it may be …
So that you don’t need to click the link above, should you be interested in such things, my situation thus far in a few simple bullet points:
- I began experiencing toe tingles and weird symptoms in the summer of 2011, which progressed to downright painful toe jolts.
- It took two attempts at a podiatrist to find one I could trust by early spring 2012.
- I was diagnosed with one neuroma between toes 3 and 4, with a slightly less clear problem between toe 1 and 2.
- I had begun sclerosing alcohol injections, in an attempt to decrease/kill the toe symptoms.
I guess you have to celebrate any successes you have with a situation like this, so I’m somewhat happy to report that the sclerosing injections were a minor success. Seven treatments were able to kill the intense jolting that was occurring while running and uncomfortable tingling that was occurring pretty much any time I stepped hard through the ball of my foot. This would include, but was not limited to, running, going up or down stairs and any kind of jumping and landing. So, as of the beginning of June, at least something had gone right.
I tried typing with a sore, swollen wrist with Naproxen and Tylenol 3s in my system the day after the event – not the most effective way of writing. As such I had to get my thoughts down while this amazing event was a little less fresh in my mind, the day after the day after the event. It was probably the most enjoyable and worthwhile injury I’ve ever had, too, but more on that later. Apologies in advance for a long journal entry.
Months of preparation
It’s a mix of pride and melancholy when something you’ve been preparing for months for is finally done and that’s certainly the case with this. I’d never heard of Ride2Survive last year when I stumbled upon it while Googling alternatives to the Ride to Conquer Cancer. I wanted to find something big, challenging and sweaty that I could do to help in the fight against cancer. My wife is a six-year breast cancer survivor, captaining a Run for the Cure team for a couple years and raising a fair bit of dough along the way. Cancer research and treatment is very important to us for obvious reasons – after this experience, even more so.
What made this ride all the more special for me, is that it really became a family affair. My wife Connie volunteered to be a ride day crew member, as did my 19 year old son Tyler. My eldest son Malcolm wasn’t sure he could make it up to Kelowna, so he moved back home for a couple days, holding down the fort and dogsitting. Both my kids donated money, too. The whole thing really warmed my heart.
As I’ve told friends and people I ride and run with about the foot issues which are severely impacting me at present, I often get puzzled looks at the terms metatarsalgia and neuroma. I felt that, as opposed to lengthy explanations over and over, I’d just capture all that stuff in a journal post. I thought it might be kind of interesting to capture my whole foot experience over time, so I’ve decided that this will be the first of two or three posts. There’s also the possibility that someone will find this of use if they are experiencing their own weird symptoms.
I began experiencing what I would call minor tingles in the third and fourth toes of my left foot in the late summer of 2011, appearing only an hour or so into runs. At the time I thought nothing of it and figured it would disappear over time. As opposed to disappearing, by the fall of 2011 the tingles slowly turned into what I would call minor nerve jolts. While not painful, they became fairly uncomfortable and began appearing earlier in my runs, sometimes requiring me to stop and massage or crack my toes. By Christmas it was clear I was dealing with a condition that would require treatment and I began looking for a podiatrist in early 2012.