That's a long way of saying I just don't know what the 2011 racing year looks like yet. There may be few if any races for me. Right now, it's hard to even imagine running 100 miles a week--or even 70-80 miles per week--in preparation for the Leadville 100. I can't run on the roads or trail right now; my foot just isn't ready. So I'm continuing my combination training of treadmill running, cycling and the elliptical, along with weight training. But all I really wish I could do is run!
It's very hard for me to wrap my head around the potential fact that 2011 may involve no big races. No marathon PR. No return to Leadville. How can you do long races when you have a partially torn ligament in your foot? That's what PF is--a frayed (partially torn) foot ligament.
In the hopes that 2011 will indeed involve some big races, here's what I've decided is my immediate course of action:
- I'm going to continue with my physical therapy because I think it's effective. I just have to believe the stretching, strengthening, ultrasound and iontophoresis are working.
- For the next few months, I'm going to keep my running mileage at a modest level (no more than 50 miles on the treadmill per week) and will not run if I feel any pain in my foot.
- If by January 1 (a little more than two weeks from now) I feel like my foot has not progressed at all, I'm going to shut-down from running for 1-2 weeks and only cycle, bike and weight train.
- If all else fails, I'll shell out $375 for a running orthotic.
Regarding the orthotic, my hesitation with an orthotic is that my running form is pretty sound. Orthotics are mostly (but not always) for people who have form issues. My physical therapist shares this opinion and actually evaluated my foot strike. He said I have a neutral foot strike and that, quite honestly, I'm built to run long distances and have the form to cover many miles. Again, this is a long way of saying my PF stems not from a mechanical or form problem that would require an orthotic, but rather from overuse (e.g.. moving to Colorado when you've lived all your life at sea level and running 100-110 miles/week training for one of the hardest mountain ultras in the world, placing a huge amount of "new" stress on your body). However, if all else fails, I will turn to the orthotic and hopefully a year with the added support will help get this PF behind me.
But it's not all doom and gloom. This past week I worked out all seven days and my foot was pretty solid. My weight is holding steady and my fitness is good.
In the back of my mind, the date April 1 is huge. I feel that 4/1 is the latest-possible date for me to start my Leadville 100 training. If I'm still down and out by then, I think it might be fair to say Leadville is in serious doubt. We'll have to wait and see.
Maybe this is what I need....