Happy Thursday, everyone! I’ve come to embrace Thursdays even more since opting to make them my rest day for now. They’re like a prelude to the weekend, you know? Or like mile 12 of a half marathon, where you know you need just one more push and then you can rest.
This weekend Ryan and I returned to one of our favorite trails from last year, Goat Lake in the Cascades. The Goat Lake trail is a 10.4 trail that follows along a alpine stream (if you opt for the lower Elliott trail, which we did both ways) with a gentle incline before climbing a bit over the final couple miles to deliver views of a breathtaking alpine lake. Since my right foot and left calf were giving me some trouble (more on that in a moment), we wanted to avoid any steep climbs, and Goat Lake offered exactly that. Plus, it was finally snow-free!
We arrived a bit later than desired on Saturday morning since the movie got out late on Friday night (so worth it – go see Captain America: Civil War now) and the trailhead was packed. We ended up parking about a tenth of a mile away from the trailhead, which actually worked well since Charlie always has to stop approximately twenty times in the first quarter mile to mark, sniff, and repeatedly do his puggle bathroom business.
For a 10+ mile hike, the ascent and descent both go by fast. You feel as if you just have warmed up and found a steady rhythm and before you know it, you’re greeted by the glistening blue water. We climbed for 2 and a half hours (which included a snack break) and took just about two hours to climb down.
The sweetest and most adorable thing is how much Charlie loves hiking and running outdoors. Even though he hates baths and swimming, he loves splashing in running water and he got very excited as we hiked along the rushing creek. He started to howl with happiness (that’s a beagle mix for you!). So cute!
We spent about 30 or 40 minutes at Goat Lake, basking in the warm Washington sun. We may get grey skies for weeks during rainy season, but spring and summer in the Seattle area is undeniably beautiful.
Hopefully we can camp soon at Goat Lake! Our hiking plans over the next few weeks hinge on how my foot feels.
So what exactly is going on with my foot? If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen how the past couple days I’ve opted for the elliptical trainer over running. Although nothing will be known with certainty until my podiatrist appointment on Monday, my symptoms match those of extensor tendonitis trigged by overuse and tight calf muscles. The ache on the outside top of my right foot goes away with rest but arises with any flexing (like running), and then my calf just has a nasty knot that goes away temporarily with foam rolling and massage but then returns. The issue with my left calf is probably triggered by a slight alteration in my gait to ease up on my right foot. I can run, but not comfortably, so why aggravate something into a worse injury?
So I’m forcing myself to rest, since a few days off are running usually prove as a reliable fix for minor aches. Two days off (one on the elliptical, one rest) last week did the trick temporarily, but Monday’s run brought on a significant amount of discomfort in my foot, so I ordered no running for myself until any ache or discomfort alleviates.
After analyzing over everything with Ryan and Meredith (who had similar issues with her feet a few years ago), I’m fairly certain it is just an overuse issue. I’m a bit worried my running shoes could be the issue, since I switched recently to the Kinvaras, but I wore the shoes for a good 6 or 7 weeks before I experienced any issues. Of course, because I’m running shoe obsessed, I’ve been searching for other options for long distance running. The Kinvaras work fantastically for easy runs, but maybe I’ll try something different for long runs/races/tempos.
I honestly feel like I’m weird when it comes to running shoes. I ran my first half marathon in minimal zero-drop running shoes (Merrells, which I still love for long walks/strength training), and only switched out of them because I needed a tiny bit more cushioning. Snugger, lower profile shoes seems to work better for me, as in the Kinvaras feel cushiony. I blame it on the fact I have big feet (size 10 in women’s) and traditional running shoes feel heavy on me.
Although no matter what shoe I’m in, I habitually tie my shoes very tight – which can irritate the extensor tendons. More likely than not, the problem emerged from getting overzealous in my running by upping my frequency right at the same time we increased the duration of our hikes. I simply can’t handle six days of running plus hiking – the balance for me, I know clearly now, is five days of running. Sometimes you try a new training stimulus, just to see what happens – and your body lets you know whether it works or not in a loud and clear manner.
Fingers crossed all this rest, cross-training, icing, compression sleeves, and KT tape pays off soon. I may not run until next week and we’re likely to skip hiking this week, but it will be worth it to avoid exacerbating this into full-blown tendonitis or worse. I’d rather not run and avoid a several week hiatus due to injury than run and risk a long time off for injury.
A few days or even weeks of cross-training aren’t that bad in the grand scheme. I’m willing to adjust my training, goals, or even the race if I need to. I still can walk, I still am healthy, and I still have far many blessings in life including a loving husband and family, snuggly puggle, a job, food on my plate, and a roof over my head. So many people in the world go without those that it’s not worth self-pitying over a minor setback in marathon training.
Linking up with Thinking Out Loud!
How’s your week going?
What shoes did you run your first race in?
Elliptical, swimming, aqua jogging, or cycling: what’s your performed form of cross-training?