Friday, July 07, 2006

Calling All Runners

We have a runner down!

The runner in question is not an RBF'er, or even a blogger, but I want to show her a) how popular I am, and b) the power of the RBF!

Let's call her Lulu. Lulu is training for her first 1/2 marathon, the VA Beach half, on Sept. 3, and she was right on track for a sub-two hour time, when ... well, I'll let her tell you:
Had long run on Saturday (7 miles, faster than usual pace, some sub-8 minute miles). Rest day Sunday.

3-miler on Monday—1/2 mile in, noticed pain in my left foot, but ran thru it.

Hobbled around on Monday night and Tuesday. My foot really hurt when I put weight on it, but not at all when I didn't. Not too much swelling. RICE'd intermittently Monday-Wednesday. Called Doc on Wed. and made appointment for Friday (today). Started to feel better Wednesday night thru today, but went to Doc anyway.

Doc asked what kind of shoes I wear, how often I run, distances, etc. Said that I had a hairline crack in my longest (2nd?) metatarsal. He squeezed and hurt me a little bit, then said there was definitely some swelling. For the first time, in the horrific fluorescent lighting, I noticed a slight greenish tint to the area on top of my foot. Doc offered a boot, but said it wasn't completely necessary, and actually said that rigid shoes would probably be fine. He would do the boot if I had a full fracture (as opposed to a crack).

He wants to make sure I'm healing properly before recommending a running schedule and other preventative measures, but was sympathetic and understanding about my desire to get back out there. Wants me back in three weeks—I have to refrain from running, jumping, dancing, etc., during that time, but I don't have to stay completely off of it.

He said no more icing—could actually make things worse 24 hours after injury. Instead he suggested a warm foot bath. He didn't wrap it.

Doc said he usually recommends 6-8 weeks of healing time before running again, but depending on the x-rays at 3 weeks (and my determination), it's possible that I could be running again in a month.

The 1/2 marathon is in 8 weeks. My goal was to run it in 2 hours or less. I was at roughly an 8:50 average pace at the time of injury and my longest run was 7 miles (two days before the catastrophic event).

(And I worked hard getting to a sub-9 minute average page—how depressing!)

So, my fine friends, who has had this kind of injury? And can we help Lulu? Pep talks? Advice? Pity? Is the half still possible? What can she do in the meantime so as not to lose all her gains? Ya got anything at all (and I know you do!), please leave Lulu a comment.

'preciate it, y'all.


stephanie said...

Sorry Lulu! I hope you can still run the 1/2 in September!

Mark I. said...


I have had this injury and the only thing that can be done is to rest it. The doc is giving you really great advice.

Could you still do the half? Sure. Will you get that time goal? I hate to tell you this but probably not - not after taking the time off.

Please take the next statements from a guy who's seen runners keep on running when they should have stopped. Yeah, they ran their races. Some even got PRs. But more often than not, they screwed themselves for months. One guy I know may not ever run again.

This is a FRACTURE. It is cracked bone - not something to take lightly.

My stress fracture happened in my ankle in the last mile or so of a marathon and it took me months to heal it properly.

You have a decision to make: Go for the short term glory and risk permanent damage, or back of and live to run another day.

I assume you plan on being around for a while? Is there a rush? Sometimes the wait makes the victory that much sweeter.

All the best to you "Lulu". :)

Firefly's Running said...

Listen to your doctor. I had a major strain - almost thought it was a fracture with the pain - on the arch of my foot. It took weeks to heal, but I was able to get back to running with rest and the darn boot.

Anne said...

Granted, I just ran a full marathon on a fractured hip (which wouldn't have happened if I'd known that was the source of pain that day). But I think Mark's right and Lulu needs to follow the doctor's advice and wait until it fully heals (which is 6 weeks at best) and maybe sit this half out unless she doesn't mind perhaps super long walk breaks. And some don't screw themselves for's more like for life. Be conservative. It's not like there won't be more Rock 'n' Roll half marathons in Va. Beach after this one.

nancytoby said...

What kind of doc is this? Is this a podiatrist or a sports medicine specialist? Did you have any x-rays taken? What did they show?

I had a stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsus. Didn't show up on x-ray at all, but showed up on a bone scan. I was in a air cast for 7 solid weeks, for everything but sleeping and swimming.

I'd probably get it re-evaluated. This just doesn't sound right to me.

nancytoby said...

Meaning... a 2nd opinion. Not the same guy.

Running by.... said...

Gosh, it sounds so heartbreaking! I'm gonna have to agree that the most conservative approach is probably the best. Lulu doesn't want to injure her foot further. Keep us posted on Lulu's recovery ok?

21st Century Mom said...

Poor Lulu - what a bummer. But there are lots of 1/2 marathons out there and only 2 feet on her body so I think the answer is clear. Stay off the foot for now and find another event.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lulu, You have to consider which you want more a sub-2 hour 1/2 now, or a long life of future running. Just take care of yourself, and put off your race to one further out. I know that isn't what you want to hear. Big, big, big bummer.

Nic said...

I have had a stress fracture in my hip, Lulu, and it ain't pretty. It doesn't go away until you rest it.

So rest it.

But if you must be active, do some pool running. Pool running makes for a serious workout without the impact. Lots of runners use pool running to help them through an injury.

You'll run again. But only if you recover! Good luck!

susie said...

Lulu, I just wrote Lara the same thing. I ran a half when I shouldn't, and though I finished, I didn't walk for a few days and couldn't run for a couple of months. So take it easy, as frustrating as it is. Good luck. We are sending RBF special wishes to you for strong healing:)

Lara said...

Yep, like Susie says, I'm sitting out a race this weekend not because I'm presently injured but because the injury of a few months ago hasn't allowed me sufficient time to train properly. I could run it (though probably not to my satisfaction) but would I find myself injured and grounded again come Monday? Possible. And not a risk to take, in my mind.
Having also had a stress fracture in the past, I can't express enough how important it is to let it heal properly - for me it was 8 weeks.
Injuries are a drag to say the least and they totally mess with your head but patience pays off. I also agree that you should see a sports medicine specialist or orthopedist about this.
Good luck!!

Haight said...

First of all...I hope Lulu is your real name...cuz it's very cool.

Secondly, I have to ditto the Blogfather's comments...that's why he's the Blogfather yanno.

~JDoubleU said...


I had a stress fracture from the base of my middle toe down to the ball of my foot. Discovered around Thanksgiving but I had probably been running 70+ mile weeks on it for 2+ weeks (at felt bad worse horrible then I couldn't run). I didn't run until late January when I got the ok to start slowly (they said I was healing slowly and at the time I was diagnosed I had several other spots in my feet, legs, torso that popped up on my bonescan as pre-fractures so I was told to really take it easy). I was a little scared of running on it and I was in Boston so the weather wasn't ideal. I cross-trained real well though: swimming, biking, and after a month, using the elliptical. Well it wasn't 8 weeks after the injury, (then again my injury sounds a bit more severe) but come middle of April I turned in what is still to date my marathon PR at Boston. The hardest part of it is it is a foot injury and it is really hard to totally rest your feet!

Stephanie said...

Hi LuLu,
I have never had a stress fracture (knock, knock) but these people are very smart and have great advice. I did run through a marathon with an injured hamstring (not as severe as stress fracture) and it took months for it to fully heal after that. Good luck and if you ever want to, you should start a blog b/c running blogs are very cool!

Black Knight said...

I am not a doctor but my advice is: ask to a running doctor how you can face the problem.

TriBoomer said...


I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my fourth metatarsal after my first half-marathon. The prescription was to give it rest. It took about four weeks before it was back to normal. While it healed I swam, took spin classes, and did plenty of hamstring curls and leg extensions in the gym.

About the 3 weeks before getting an x-ray I'd see if you can get one ASAP to get a precise diagnosis. Three weeks seems like a really long time to get it x-rayed.

By the way, I ran my second half marathon two months after my first one and set a PR with a 1:46. The cross training kept me in shape.

Thomas said...

Dear Lulu,

sorry to hear about that. Injuries are incredibly annoying, but unfortunately they are part of just about every runner's life.

Don't even try to run at the moment, listen to the doctor and all the advice given to you by all those experienced runners. If you can run again in 3 weeks, you can still do the half. If not, you can always pick another one.

Lulu said...

Thanks for all of the sage advice. I just realized that I left out a vital piece of info -- the Doc (podiatrist) did take three X-rays, and his diagnosis was based on those pictures as well as his examination. The follow up X-rays in 3 weeks will be to make sure that the bone is healing properly. This Doc doesn't feel that he can make any training recommendations until he sees those X-rays at 3 weeks.

It seems that the consensus is to rest and wait it out, however painful that may be both physically and emotionally. You're all right -- there will be other 1/2 marathons. The fact that I signed up for and committed to this training schedule was a huge step for me, and there will always be other opportunities.

The silver lining is that I know alot more about myself as a runner. I'm confident that I could have reached the goal I set out for myself had I not been injured. So I will take all of this information and apply it to future training and races.

So thanks again to all, and a special thanks to Jeanne for posting on my behalf. (and for her support, too!)

Irene said...

I'm so glad I caught this post. I'm having foot issues of my own. There was so much great advice and much of it I am taking with me. Thanks Lulu, you saved me from, perhaps, causing further injury to my foot.

Bolder said...


How many toes does a person REALLY need? That would be the question I'd be asking myself right now.

I had training-stopping pain in my big toe metatarsal thingy as diagnosed by a podiatrist in the same way yours was -- no x-ray, just him placing his grimy hands on my feet and squeezing. This was over a year ago.

I was running in really hot looking trail runner New Balance shoes that looking back would be best described as grey/black racing flats with no cushion.

Best advice doctor gave me was get a shoe with a stiff sole. I went from not being able to run a meter because of the metatarsal flex sending white-hot shooting pains through all aspects of my cerebellum to no pain -- just through a shoe change.

Knowing Lulu that we seem to have the same feet, I pass on this experience to you.

Your mileage may vary.

Dr. Bold.

p.s I'm not really a doctor, but it helps me pick up nurses

p.p.s. Just in case you do hit the pool, careful with the push off on the wall with said foot. A word to the wise is usually sufficient

p.p.p.s. You're a full-time job.

Amy said...

I started training on Oct 19, 2005 (had never ever run before in my life...not even a mile) tendonitis in my left pereneal tendon in Feb...was in cast, etc, out for 7 weeks total. Had to run/walk when I came back. And still after all that, ran my very first marathon on June 4 and beat my own conservative goal by 21 minutes...then 1 week later, back in the cast with a full stress fracture (2 actually).

So, what I am trying to say is anything is possible. You just have to want it bad enough!