Theoretically, this was going to be the post where I was all, “Hooray, marathon season is here! Let me tell you all about my goals for the next 18 weeks of my life!”
Real talk: at this moment, I truly do not know if I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon, or if I’ll be running anything for quite some time, and/or ever again.
Here’s the background: I ran all winter, yes? Spent a lot of time on the ‘mill, did speedwork for the first time, watched all my hard work pay off to the tune of a 5K PR, 8K PR, 10 miler PR, and half marathon PR. High fives all around. Throughout this time, I had the normal aches and pains that come along with being active, but nothing particularly out of the ordinary. I had some IT-band-area issues that were really outer thigh issues (I had no knee pain, so I was told it was an outer thigh thing by one of my former PTs who checked me out), but nothing beyond that.
After Ravenswood on April 27, I did two things. Thing #1: Replace regular running with regular yoga, subbing in the one weekday run while keeping up my Saturday long runs. Thing #2: I retired my Asics Gel-Cumulus 15s and began alternating between New Balance Fresh Foams (weekdays) and Asics Gel-Cumulus 16s (Saturdays). I wasn’t entirely sold on the Fresh Foams, but they did a good enough job. I ran in the Cumulus 16s for the first time on a four miler on May 3. I noticed numbness in my feet, but I had had a long day by the time I got out for my run, and I chalked it up to that and my first time in those shoes. I don’t remember if I experienced subsequent numbness in the Fresh Foams, but I do remember experiencing numbness in the 16s the two other times I ran in them, so I returned them, bumped my shoes up half a size, and bought a new pair of Asics Gel-Cumulus 15s, which are what I ran in for all of marathon season in 2013.
I ran in my Fresh Foams on May 21 (don’t remember if I experienced numbness or not) and then ran for the first time in my new pair of 15s on a six miler on May 24. Lo and behold, my toes went numb again. Now, the numbness wasn’t as pronounced–in the 16s, I’d get numbness on the ball of my right foot and around my big toe and second toe on that same foot, and occasionally in a similar area on my left foot, but always after my right toes went numb–but it was definitely still there. On May 25, I got the stomach flu, took four straight 100% rest days (unless mini golf counts as exercise), and went for a run in the 15s again on May 29. This run sucked for a variety of reasons: I woke up that morning feeling sick again, I hadn’t had a particularly well balanced diet for the previous four days, and it was HOT. Once again, though, my toes went numb at mile 2.25 (this was the first time I had thought to make a note of when I experienced numbness). I took a brief walk break during my run to see if that would help things, and it kind of did, but the numbness came back once I began running again. I checked my feet as soon as I got home, and saw that they looked totally normal, leading me to believe my numbness was nerve-related, not circulation-related.
On June 1, I went for a four miler in my Fresh Foams to see what would happen. It was another miserable hot morning, and, yet again, I experienced toe numbness starting at mile 2.25. I didn’t run any more for the week until this past Saturday. On my six miler Saturday (this time in the 15s), my numbness didn’t appear until mile 2.75, and it wasn’t quite as pronounced as before, but it was, without a doubt still there.
I had three full blown panic attacks over this between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, and I lost count of how many other cry sessions I’ve had. For experimentation’s sake, I wore my old Cumulus 15s on an easy, easy three miler Sunday morning. At mile two or so, I started to feel like a seam of my sock had gotten under my second toe on my right foot…but there wasn’t actually a seam there. I wouldn’t call it numbness, at least not like normal, but I also wouldn’t call it normal.
I’ve had no other symptoms throughout the duration of all of this. Sometimes my outer thigh would be a little tender when foam rolling, but that was it. No calf pain (except on Sunday, when I woke up feeling a little knot of soreness in my right calf [that did, admittedly, have my awareness all day, which could have impacted things], no shin pain, no foot pain, no other nerve pain whatsoever. I can–and have–walked miles in unsupportive footwear without any trouble. Nothing has bothered me in dance. I never felt anything doing yoga. I timed it on Saturday, and within a minute of finishing my run, my numbness had substantially subsided, and within five minutes it was completely gone.
I’m hoping to get into the PT for an injury screen ASAP, and unless the PT strongly suggests otherwise, I’ll probably try to get an appointment with my sports doctor and potentially a podiatrist as well. In the mean time, I’m not entirely sure what to do with marathon training. Realistically, I could probably skip the bulk of these first three weeks (perhaps with the exception of the seven miler on week two) and still feel like I would be able to get through the remainder of training (provided I kept my cardiovascular fitness up, that is). At this point, though, I feel like everything–my marathon training, the marathon in general, my running, period–is up in the air until we figure out what’s causing my numbness. I’m hoping and praying that it’s nothing (while fearing it is definitely something, and probably not something good or easy). Have I mentioned I still need to raise about $600 for the Organization for Autism Research, regardless of whether I run the marathon on not? Yeah. Awesome.
So that’s where things stand at the moment. Happy Monday, eh?