By: Megan James, PT, DPT
One year ago today, I was running the most sought-after 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston with at least one million cheerleaders – including some of my family – alongside me all the way to the infamous “right on Hereford, left of Boylston.” It was absolutely the most incredible experience in my running career.
About one month later, I was still living on the “high” of completing the Boston Marathon and had resumed my normal training schedule after only a few days of rest. I woke up one morning to go for a run and realized I could not walk due to severe pain in my left foot. Between my own knowledge and consulting with other physical therapists, we had a pretty good idea about what was going on. After seeing a podiatrist and having X-rays and an MRI, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture on my 4th metatarsal with deep bone bruising on my 5th metatarsal. My summer would be spent on crutches and in a walking boot – no running and no biking.
It wasn’t until the end of September that I was able to return to running, and that was only for a few minutes at a time to start. By the end of October, I was up to running 3-4 miles at a time and was feeling optimistic about being able to resume my training, but my eagerness to return overcame my patience, leading me to push it too hard. I had a recurrence of foot pain in early November that sidelined me for an additional week. From that point on, I made a promise to myself to be more patient and cognizant with my training to ensure my body was fully recovered.
After almost a year off of racing, I found myself back on the starting line at the Syracuse Half in March. I bested my half marathon time by six minutes and broke the 1:30 barrier for the first time. The past 10 months were a true test of my patience – if not for recognizing the importance of taking a step back in the fall, I would likely be back at square one right now. As a physical therapist and a competitive distance runner, I cannot stress enough to myself, my friends and my patients that patience is a virtue, and a very important one at that. Next up on my race schedule? Bennington Marathon, followed by a week of REST.