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On Flying Solo and Fast Marathons

Posted Dec 04 2011 9:01pm
Foot update: After some lovely Thanksgiving turkey trotting, the foot pain flared up again during last weekend's 18-miler. After two more very short runs, I finally got to see a podiatrist on Wednesday. I took quite a few unplanned rest days in the meantime, hence the radio silence.

I still don't know what's up. First Dr. X tried to blame the shape of my feet, but I cut him off there. Yeah, I've been told I have weird feet before, but I've been running since high school with zero problems. Next. He still wanted me to drop $500 out-of-pocket to get fitted for some fancypants shoe inserts that would *maybe* help me kick this thing (pun intended). I politely declined and reluctantly downgraded to a $40 pair of Spenco shoe inserts, a pricey RX for anti-inflammatory meds and an x-ray order (results still TBD).
Co-pay included, I left the doctor's office out $65. The frugal shopper in me is annoyed that these are way cheaper online.
The good news is that the shoe inserts seem to be helping-- the pain has all but disappeared when I've walked in them over the past few days. The pod recommended taking a few days off while I wait for the x-ray results and see how I felt running this weekend. So yesterday I slept in before attempting the scheduled 13 miles by myself, hence the post title (just in case the foot was not okay to run, I didn't want to get up at 5 a.m. for nothing). Even though I took more stretch and water breaks than I could count, I was much happier with this effort than the past couple of long runs

Since I'm still able to run at "my" pace (~8:45, which is just challenging enough without pushing myself too hard on "practice" runs), this foot thing is more annoying than anything. In addition to the insoles, I feel like I've tried every suggested remedy thrown my way-- epsom salt soaks, icing, ibuprofen, athletic tape, bacon (yes, really, and yes, of course I have faith in its healing properties). I have just three more long runs on the schedule (20, 13 and 22 miles, with a ski break thrown in the middle) before tapering for Houston. I have no plans to run a spring marathon after Houston, so I still have my fingers crossed that this one will be smooth sailing.

On that note, I came home the other night to find my trusty copy of Runner's World in the mailbox, which has a spread on 10 of the fastest marathons in the U.S. and Canada. First one on the list?

Darn right it's sold out.
Houston ! RW describes it as faster-than-average race with elite participation (the Olympic Marathon Trials also take place that weekend), and after New York, I'm so not scared of the "mini-hills" that will show up in the final three miles.

On the opposite page is Newport, AKA the teeny Oregon town where we moved just before high school (and where my dad still lives). My former cross country coach is the race director and has been on us ("us" = my sister and me) a couple of times to come run this one. Never say never, but even though he's quoted as saying the race has never been rained out, I'm still wary of putting my eggs in this basket. The last time I went back, it rained every day during my two week visit! Maybe someday, though.

The other fast marathons on the list were Chicago, Tucson, Baystate (Lowell, MA), California International (Sacramento), Jacksonville (Florida), Run for the Red (Pocono Mountains, PA), Mohawk-Hudson River (Albany, NY), and Road2Hope (Hamilton, Ontario). Are any of these on your "someday" list?

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