The United Healthcare Newport RI Marathon was this past Sunday. Going into this race I had some mixed feelings. My training went really well up until the point that my right foot started acting up. It started out as a tightness in the sole of my foot when I woke up one morning and I immediately thought – oh no, the dreaded plantar fasciitis!! Thankfully this happened after I had already completed all of my super long training runs, but it was just days before I was scheduled to run the Zooma Half Marathon in Falmouth. So after that race, I started to feel my foot a little more and kept off of it (no running) for the remainder of my taper. That’s right, no running for the two weeks prior to the marathon! I did all of my taper cardio on a spin bike and and hoped for the best while working on healing my foot.
By race morning my foot felt really good, the weather was perfect and I had high hopes for a great race!
The race start was flanked by beautiful beaches on either side of the street.
Porta potties as far as the eye can see!
Packet pickup was quite organized, but the start of the race was delayed while we waited for shuttle busses to finish bringing runners to the start. The start was also a little weird with no banner marking the starting line, no pace markers for runners to seed themselves and lots of spectators mixed in with runners on the street waiting. Oh well! I waited patiently with the crowd knowing that it could only help me not to go out too fast.
Can you find the starting line? Me neither!
My plan was to aim for a 4:20 finish; based on my half marathon time two weeks before this was quite conservative (over 10 minutes more than my predicted time). My aim was to finish well and not kill myself. The first twelve miles were great! I was sticking to my plan and averaged 10 minute miles. After the nine mile mark I met up with my family and got a fresh bottle of water. The weather was gorgeous and the views stunning! We passed many of the grand “cottages” that make Newport famous and had views of the water in multiple locations. I was feeling great and the pace was very comfortable through a couple of rolling hills. At mile twelve, I looked at my watch and saw that I was right on track – two hours; I had plenty of energy left in my legs for the next half. I looked up and saw a woman’s shirt that read ‘slacker’. As I turned to tell her she was no slacker, I stepped right into a pothole with my left foot.
As my ankle turned, I went down, and did a sort of barrel roll as I went, which kept me from doing any additional damage. I got up and walked a few steps, it felt like my ankle might be bruised but would be okay, and I started running again. Another runner held my gloves for me as I reattached my bib, which had ripped off in the fall. With each step my ankle hurt more; after another mile I knew there was no way I could continue on for the remaining thirteen. With tears in my eyes, I pulled off the course and asked a volunteer to help me find medical help, then called my husband. What a bitter disappointment! After training all summer and having a great start, it was all over.
The EMT immobilized my foot before driving me to the medical tent.
After I finished my pity party and dried my tears, I regrouped. I realize just how lucky I am that my injury was not worse, and it’s only a minor sprain. It’s not bad enough to require a boot, just an ace bandage, ice, and rest. Days later, my ankle is already starting to feel better as I hobble around. There will always be another race. My goal is to fully heal my left ankle AND the plantar fasciitis on my right foot over the next few months. All of that time will give me plenty of opportunity to research potential races for the coming year!
Update: A few days later, once the swelling and pain in my ankle died down, I realized that I also had a stress fracture in my second toe. I was lucky to already have an appointment set with a podiatrist for the plantar fasciitis! Both the sprain and the break healed within a few weeks.