Last weekend on Sunday I was doing my long run and at about mile 4 my right foot started hurting, by mile 5 it was worse, 6 worse and by mile 7 I had to stop and walk back to my car. My foot swelled up and that was it.
Got an order for an MRI and went to see my podiatrist who also gave me an exam and x-ray. He wants to wait for the MRI results but as far as I could see from the x-ray and from how my foot felt I know it is a stress fracture.
That’s right, a stress fracture in my third metatarsal on my right foot.
So, how did this happen? Well, last year I discovered two unfortunate things about myself. 1) I have osteopenia, which is lower than normal bone density and 2) the 4th and 5th metatarsals on my feet are shorter than normal, which means that every step I take puts greater than normal stress on my 1st, 2nd and 3rd metatarsals, especially the 3rd.
So the situation is, the more I run and/or the harder I run the more likely I am to fracture things in my lower body.
This posses quite a conundrum for a long course triathlete. I am pretty sure that I can get in 80 miles of running per month once my foot heals but I think I can only run 3 times per week. At 80 miles a month I’m probably not going to be getting faster on the marathon.
So what to do? I’ll be bike focused this year and probably several seasons to come. I’m on medication to help increase bone density and my podiatrist is working on orthotics to spread the loading evenly across my feet. The orthotics should help out in the short run but the bone density issue will take a few years to reach normal levels.
There is something that I have wanted to do for two years now but I’ve been focusing on more balance between my running, biking and swimming. That something is ultracycling. I have submitted my dues to the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association and Randonneurs USA.
Now let me assure you, I am not planning on getting away from my triathlon goals for the year, just planning on modifying my strategy.
More on my ultracycling plan next week.