My first marathon experience, mysteries of the metatarsals and will I do it again?

My first marathon experience, mysteries of the metatarsals and will I do it again?

March 4th was my first ever full marathon, the Myrtle Beach Marathon! I’ve ran 4 other half marathons over the years; my 4th one being in December and then I carried on the long distance running from that point.  So many fun yet painful memories in that weekend. Two good friends joined me and ran the half marathon, and it was an awesome girls weekend in Myrtle Beach (apart from the running, haha). I am able to walk unassisted now, thankfully! I don’t know what I would have done without them helping in so many ways after the race!

MBM

So those dang metatarsals. I think the race would have been much less painful had I been able to train the last 4 weeks leading up to the race. I got sidelined on a 15 mile run 4 weeks before the marathon, my right foot started hurting during the run. I was able to finish, I presumed it would settle down in a day or two, but 2 days later it hurt worse and I was limping just walking, couldn’t consider running. After another day or two where it wasn’t getting better I saw a podiatrist. Xrays were fine, it was an inflammation of the tissue around the 6th metatarsal. He prescribed a topical cream, an icing regimen and said to see how it felt. After a week, it seemed to be doing better and I was able to run a few miles on it. It seemed ok, but it wasn’t healed and it continued with the same sort of consistent dull pain that concerned me that I would be doing more damage.  I also have a pinched nerve in both feet around the 4th metatarsal bone, which acts up on a regular basis. I addressed this with the doctor as well. He told me there is no easy fix, it is from the nerve being pinched, and to make sure my shoes aren’t too tight. The treatment is either to put a shot in the nerve or to kill the nerve off.  Umm…sounds painful. So yeah, never mind about that nerve!

After another failed run (tried to do a 10 miler 2 weeks before the race, had to stop at mile 2 because it kept hurting) – I took to google. I know. But, in this case it worked out.  I researched the whole pinched nerve issue, stumbled upon some article (which I can’t find now, who knows what search term I used in my desperation…) which indicated that the foot pain I was having could be related to the nerve pain. Constant and regular nerve pain/damage can radiate to the rest of the foot, causing inflammation. It just so happened that the right nerve had really been twinging a LOT lately. The article mentioned that toe spacers could help, because it kept the metatarsal bones separated, therefore the nerve wouldn’t be pinched. What a ridiculously easy thought, and that certainly wouldn’t be my solution, I thought to myself. But I wound some toilet paper between my toes, like is done sometimes when you get a pedicure. And wow, foot pain was pretty much instantly gone. Nerve pain and the rest of my foot felt great!  I found some toe foam bandages at Walmart that acted as toe separators and that wouldn’t irritate my feet while running, practiced walking in them a few days before the race, as well as started doing ice baths for my foot at night and didn’t run at all on it the week and a half before the race.

I also picked up some Dr. Schol’s active inserts at Walmart for my running shoes, I figured it couldn’t hurt. They are wonderful by the way. Why have I never used orthopedics/inserts before?? So the foot was grand for the race. It didn’t hurt one bit. The legs on the other hand…I had done some lower body strength workouts, some elliptical and some stationary bike workouts, but it definitely wasn’t enough. I started feeling the legs at mile 8. MILE EIGHT. Are you kidding me?? I was able to push through it and keep up the pace (3:45 finish pace) until the half marathon point. And then my legs completely cramped up. They felt better every time I ate or drank anything, so I pretty much ate everything I had by mile 16, and then started double fisting drinks and eating anything they had at the hydration stations. I had a few banana pieces and lots of amino type drink and water. It would help my legs for about 1/4 mile after the station and then go back to a very very tight sensation. It didn’t even really help to walk, it just took longer. So I kept going, just slower and slower as my legs weren’t allowing much. I ended up finishing in 4:28. Yes, I added 45 minutes onto my time just in the second half of the race. Kind of crazy, but my lack of training the weeks before the race plus not realizing the hydration I would need definitely added to that (it wasn’t even hot out.  It was 40’s, very nice running weather!).

After the race my legs were so sore, it was hard to walk fast!  Curbs (stepping up and down) were a REAL challenge. We went to the post race party (not that great) and oohh the steps. Then went out to dinner and more steps. Of course! The soreness continued for the next 2 days at a pretty strong intensity and then got much better. I’m fine now. My one achilles (on the right) is still sore and my LEFT foot (interesting!) at the same spot as the right one was hurt, is still sore. But I’m icing and they are getting better.

So within 2 days after the race…I was already considering doing it again. Being a beginner marathoner, I researched how quickly again one could do another marathon, because my logic was that hey I’m already in pretty solid shape now, maybe I’ll just bang out another one next month! But apparently it takes 3-4 weeks if not longer to fully recover from running a marathon, and you shouldn’t push your body too hard and do hard races too close together, it increases your chance of injury. So…I decided instead to do the same race next year. I need a break from long distance running! I plan on doing some shorter races come summer – I already have the Ultimate Win Run scheduled for June, along with a Brew Dash for June as well. Soccer is getting started for the spring, and I will have that in the fall as well – and then after it’s over I will start marathon training sometime in December. It’s so far away I’m not even going to think about it. But I’ve learned some good things about metatarsals, I already scored some HOKA’s at a GREAT price which should last me through the marathon since I’m not running a large amount of miles and I have the tiniest bit of experience now!  So can go into the race with a better plan than this year. And both my friends are in to do the race again!  Myrtle Beach Girls weekend 2018 is on! mbm2

 

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