Saturday, May 9, 2015

It's Not All In The Butt!

He put his gloves on and examined my feet while carefully assessing the two prominent bony areas on my big toes. He raised his head, asking how my toes were.  I could tell he knew. He knew of my pain which nobody had validated to that point, had an answer for, or had given any importance whatsoever! I told him how a few years ago the right toe started hurting, but since I started running both toes are now painful. I told him how finding the right shoe has been very difficult and the only shoe that fits my small, chubby, and pained feet are Skechers GoRuns as they allow room for my toes.

Inflamed and painful big toes!

For those of you who are new to my blog, I ran my first marathon last October. I started training again in November and set goals for myself for 2015. I registered for the Toledo marathon in April and my first Ultra marathon (50K at Sulphur Springs) in May. I planned for a few 5K, 10K, ½ marathon races here and there as well. But things did not go as planned.

Winter Training!

On March 1st, during our long run, I told my running buddy John (Running Room) that my left hip had been acting up for the past few runs and that I would monitor it to see at what KM the pain would kick in. It was around 10K that I felt a tinge of discomfort but it was nothing serious. John and I separated as we were heading home in opposite directions. At one of the intersections the light turned green but my knee seized up and I could not believe what was happening. All I could think was that I needed to get my run done. I thought I needed to slow down and just get the KM in. I got myself home through a combination of walking, jogging, and running. I was frustrated but thought it was only a bad run and it will go away with a few days of rest.

“It is during our darkest moments 
that we must focus to see the light.” A. Onasiss

On March 8th I went for a test run to see how things were. It was a beautiful sunny day and my heart was so happy to be able to get out and enjoy the day. But as I progressed to 2K I started feeling the pain in my knee. I was devastated to learn something was seriously wrong as I was not able to run. There was a big sharp pain around my knee as if someone was drilling a nail into my leg. I walked home with a heavy heart and lots of questions.

"Me and My Shadow"

I always read a lot to learn more about the sport and to help myself in becoming a better athlete.  When I got home I did some research and all my symptoms were pointing to an ITB injury. Read here to learn more: Iliotibial Band Syndrom (ITBS).

I made an appointment with Fowler Kenndy Sport Medicine Clinic and at the initial assessment I was told that weak glutes were the culprit and yes, I had an ITB injury. 

I started physiotherapy and was given strict instructions to refrain from running and spinning. Yoga was ok. My allowable exercises were 10 min on the elliptical, some leg presses, and bridges to strengthen my glutes. The marathon was scratched off my calendar and the ultra marathon had a big question mark in front of it!

This went on for 2 months and the progress was very slow. Two weeks ago my physiotherapist recommended seeing a podiatrist in the clinic to get some orthotics to help with my knee buckling issues.

The podiatrist waited till I finished telling him about my painful toes. Then he picked up my old running shoes and showed me that all the wear and tear was on the outside. He explained how the rigidity in my big toes not being able to flex backwards had contributed to my injury. He also said that as long as I run long distances the bones in my feet will continue to become bigger and at some point I may need reduction surgery. But having proper shoes and orthotics will help to reduce injury and improve running.

WHY YOUR BIG TOES MIGHT BE THE CAUSE OF YOUR RUNNING INJURIES! I came across this great article today. Most articles point out that weak glutes are one of the main causes of ITB injury and nobody talks about runners toes! 


He acknowledged how hard it is to find well fitted running shoes for a person like me. Then he instructed me to purchase either Saucony Echelon 4 or Brooks Dyad 8. My girl friend Angie at the Running Room always worked so hard to find me a nice pair of running shoes but we gave up! I always felt so bad when I tried on many shoes only to end up having none of them fit properly! Today, I told her my doctor wants me to buy these shoes do you have them? She had the Saucony. I tried them on and was shocked! The SHOES FIT with no pain or pressure on my bones. I asked her did you have this last time. She said: “No. They got them only a few weeks ago.”  We both smiled, high fived and hugged each other. SUCCESS. Of course, I need to learn to run with orthotics and my new bulkier shoes. My Sketchers are still my favourites as they are super light. But if I want to run I need to learn to run with orthotics and bulkier shoes!

My favorite light Skechers.

My new Saucony Echelon 4 Wide.
Much heavier than my old shoes.

I am going to see my podiatrist on Monday for a gait analysis and to see how my new shoes and orthotics fit. It seems that after a long time I may have some answers to my problems. I have to mention I saw another podiatrist back in Oct when my toe was injured before my marathon and he did say I needed orthotics but I kind of ignored it! I paid for it greatly.

I learned a great deal about my body and my running form through this injury. I also learned not to purchase short distance race packages for the whole year!

Thank you to The Runner's Academy for their continuous support providing educational materials and practical exercises to help people like me becoming better runners. Follow them on TwitterInstagram to learn more. 

My races for 2015 looks like this now but things might change again!
5K:          Feb 15, 2015:          London Honda Race Series Race #1 (Did not race in wind chill of -33)
5K:          March 14 2015:       MEC - (Did not race due to ITB)
5K:          April 3, 2015           London Honda Race Series – Race #2 - (Did not race due to ITB)
42.2K:     April 26, 2015         Toledo Marathon - (Did not race due to ITB)
50K:        May 23, 2015:         Sulphur Springs - (Won’t run due to just coming back from ITB injury)
10K:       May 23, 2015:          Sulphur Springs - (I switched my 50K to 10K Trails) - 
                                               My goal is to just to complete this race with no time expectation.
5K:          July 17, 2015          London Honda Race Series – Race #3 (I won’t be racing)
50K:       July 18, 2015:          The North Face Endurance Challenge Series, Blue Mountain - Trails
21.2K:    Sept 13, 2015:          London Honda Race Series – Race #4 - Springbank Road Races
25K:       Oct 17, 2015            Vulture Bait – Trails
42.2K:    Oct 18, 205              Big ? Mark! - As I did not run Toledo, I need to run another marathon.
                                              Not registered for this yet!
5k:          Oct 31, 2015           London Honda Race Series – Race #5 - Halloween Hunting

You can follow my journey on Twitter and Instagram

~ Freedom ~ Focus ~ Moving Forward ~ Determined ~

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