Similarities: Ryan Hall and I

Ryan Hall and I have something in common.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but I still have yet to log that 59 minute half-marathon, or qualify for the Olympics.

He’s got plantar. So do I.

A couple of days ago I was on Twitter when, among all the tweets, up popped one from  Hall. The elite, Olympic-qualified runner first said he was getting an MRI bright and early that morning. He then followed it a bit later with a second, commenting that the image looked good and he was just checking on the plantar he’d had for the last four months. Publicly, it was the first time Hall had mentioned the injury. And as it turned out, it was news: Runner’s World had an article up within two days. (For the link, go here: http://bit.ly/zjKfVX)

Readers of this blog know I’ve been struggling with my first instance of plantar over the last few weeks, so needless to say I was fascinated to learn what Hall had to say – and astonished.

Astonished? Yes. When I found out he ran through it in training and qualification for the Olympic trials, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the discomfort, indeed, the pain.

A couple of weeks ago, still stubbornly training for my marathon, I was running, when at the 12 km mark, I began to feel the familiar stab in the heel. When I pulled out at 16 km, I was uncomfortable, and while I probably could have done more, I would have inflamed the injury even more than I did.

Bang. Six days off the foot. Just like that.

Reading Hall’s story I immediately had some questions: was I being a wimp, not running through the pain? Maybe. Is it a good idea to do so? Doubtful. How do I figure that? Well, the fact that Hall felt it necessary to get an MRI suggests he was concerned that the injury was far worse than what he lets on. Also, he admits to a lot of relief to learn that it was only plantar.  So while he acts pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, I figure it must have hurt like a bugger.

Hall talks about all the treatment he’s had for the problem since November. He lists taking Aleve, using a splint, icing it, rolling it out with a golf ball, strengthening and stretching, and getting shockwave therapy. Oh, and he took three weeks off – probably his best move, along with all the other fixes. Plantar seems to respond best to rest, something Hall admitted. “From what I’ve learned it just takes patience more than anything,” he said.

Hall said he hasn’t missed any runs and that the injury’s gone from being intense to a “dull annoyance.”

The upshot? I’m not an elite marathoner; I’m taking the time off. But I’m taking a few pages from Hall: I picked up some Aleve today and my foot is also taped.  Hall? I hope he gets better and his sore left foot (hey! same as mine) doesn’t hamper an already brilliant running career.

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About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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