Giving Thanks for Plantar Fasciitis
Written by Scott Benbow, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
Scott Benbow is proud to be a member of the Ambassador team for the 2016 San Francisco Marathon. He loves to run the hills and the occasional flats in San Francisco. His new running buddy is his eleven year old son who, like his dad, loves to run.
I hit a healthy stride with my training earlier this year, and was well on my way to running strong at The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon in July. Gradually, beginning in April, I developed a case of plantar fasciitis (PF) that propelled me through the seven stages of runner’s grief: denial, then denial, more denial, followed by even more denial, debilitating pain, resignation, and acceptance.
For the benefit of those fortunate enough never to have been afflicted with PF, at its worst the condition feels as if you’ve accidentally stepped on the business side of a rake. PF sneaks up on you. And it dovetails perfectly with runner’s denial because the condition hurts a lot when you’re resting and very little, if at all, when you are running. My ill-informed response in the spring was to run more because it hurt less when I running. By running up to 2 hours each day, I was uncomfortable only the remaining 22 hours each day.
Finally, in June, my feet started to hurt all the time, even when I was running; I hit stages 5, 6 and 7 of runner’s grief and was in so much pain I had to stop running. In July, to my disappointment, I did not start The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. Since July, I have run only sporadically.
Missing my daily runs, what do I have to be thankful for this season?
June was frustrating. July was worse. But my recovery from PF has taught me a number of things about my challenges as a runner. As odd as it may sound, I’ve actually appreciated the time to assess my weaknesses and try to rebuild my strength.
My recovery has been slow. But I have been learning so much this fall about my own physiology as a runner, my strengths, and my weaknesses. I joined a gym, bought a couple of books on strength training for runners, and started to practice what I was learning.
While I’ve never really enjoyed working out at a gym, I realized during this recovery that it was time in the gym or no exercise at all. I tried my first spin class, fell in love with it, and have taken two classes per week for the past three months. I’ve worked on balance and strength using a Bosu ball, something I didn’t know existed until this year. I’ve increased my flexibility and my strength with upper-body and lower-body workouts.
Focusing on 2016, I can’t wait to increase my mileage again. But, this time, I am going to be building my miles on a foundation of stronger and more limber hips, glutes, and calf muscles.
I’ve registered for The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon in 2016 and am thankful that I will likely be able to run it with some of the readers of this blog. I am thankful that information was available to me that helped me assess what was happening to my feet and how to remedy the problem. And, I am thankful that so many of my running friends have been supportive during my recovery from PF with information and recommendations on how to heal.