I’ve been reasonably lucky with injuries this year and have managed the couple of problems I have had without too much trouble. Coming out of the 100km de la Somme on the weekend, though, I found myself with a strain or sprain that will need a few days or more to heal, and then maybe some additional rest time before I get back into things. I don’t think it is a big deal and it won’t really get in the way of the preparation for the Saintelyon in December, but it is the first real in-race injury I’ve had since getting into ultrarunning so I’ll take care of it as best as I could.
I first realized that I had a problem with my left foot around the 70K mark of the race. The transition from power walking to running felt a bit painful but I put it down to the aches and pains of running for that long. As Scotty had reminded the listeners on Ten Junk Miles a few weeks before, when your feet hurt in an ultra and your brain is yelling at you to stop, the best response is to yell back, “Did you think your feet wouldn’t hurt running this far?”.
Hence, while it was painful to get started after walking for a kilometer, I didn’t think much of it. Truth be told, the pain was in both feet and so I didn’t really imagine it was anything acute and decided it was just general pain. That it didn’t persist all that long when I got moving also suggested it was just an ache that came from overuse.
When I finished the race, however, whatever pain receptors had been avoiding firing off during the run suddenly started firing again. When I sat down and Cécile was checking me out, asking all the questions you are meant to ask (how does it feel, anything hurt, need anything, and telling me to drink water) I realized that my left foot was actually really sore. I eventually undid my shoe, eased it off, took off the compression sleeve I was wearing, and saw that the top of my foot was swollen rather badly.
Though I had felt the pain in both feet and both ankles when running, it was pretty clear that only the left foot was swollen and painful. I think, then, that the right foot was just aching because I ran so far and this somehow masked the pain in my left foot, or at least seemed to explain it away in my mind.
We walked back about 20 minutes to Antoine’s place after the race and while it felt sore, it didn’t feel terrible. Back at the apartment I took a painkiller and an anti-inflammatory and we iced the foot before going to bed. It felt a little better in the morning – the rest helped, too – but the pain was still there when walking around yesterday. I iced it again last night and, as I type this at 6:30am on Monday, I am icing it again. The swelling is well down on what it was after the race but it is still tender and painful, especially if I put any pressure on the foot laterally.
So how did I do it? I don’t know.
I think I must have placed the foot poorly a few times when running and then the continued use just exacerbated the minor strain I had put on the tendons on top of the foot more. It’s not a major injury by any means and I’ve not been left hobbling around as I was after my first ultra at the 12 Hours of Ploeren last year, or after I picked up a bad injury running in the Czech Republic a couple of years ago. It will keep me from training for a couple of days but I wasn’t really planning on doing a lot of anything this week, anyway. I think that with a bit of ice and a bit of care, it’ll be ready to go again for next week.
All up, then, I came out of the 100km de la Somme with only a minor injury. I’ll be back in training on schedule and ready to start hitting the hills and enjoying the night running ahead of the Saintelyon.