This is going to be difficult to type (no, not because of carpal tunnel syndrome). I've been fighting both a heel injury AND how to deal with it for quite awhile now. Since it first appeared on May 31st, I've gone through periods when the heel pain has been pretty intense, and periods when it seemed like the injury was a thing of the past. After no running for the first 3 weeks of June, along with four weeks of physical therapy, I felt like I was ready to ease back into running, which I did. I was part of a Ragnar team, and felt obligated to not only run it, but to try to be somewhat prepared for it. I had days where I felt a bit of heel pain, but nothing I considered a "shut it down" kind of pain. I ran a 5k. The heel felt fine. I ran Ragnar. The heel felt fine...until my third and final leg, which was quite hilly. That's when the heel spoke to me (and it wasn't using its Sunday School words). Shortly after that, I ran 2 hours on very hilly trails (in preparation for my first 50k on Oct. 2nd). That caused INTENSE pain in my heel. I keep saying "heel", but the pain has since grown. I now feel it in my ankle (still mostly on the inside, right above the ankle bone), as well as under my foot, at the back of my arch. It's more of a "rear right foot" issue now.
After the hilly trail run, I backed off for a few days, then ran a flat half marathon. Yes, some pain, but not horrible. I thought, "maybe I can keep training if I'm running on relatively flat ground". Two days after the half, I ran a very slow (and flat) 12 miles. Not much pain. The next day (two days ago), I repeated this very same run. The pain during the last mile was pretty severe. As usual, you can question my line of thinking, but I wanted to do back-to-back long runs to see if my foot might be able to handle the training necessary for my 50k (since it's only 7 weeks away), as well as the 50k itself. The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding "NO". Even staying off the hills, it's just not going to happen.
I'll say it here and now - Chris (fellow running blogger, and fellow heel injury sufferer), you were right. I wasn't ready. I had to find out for myself, though.
Due to my current financial situation, I'm unable to get an MRI. I don't know if there's a fracture involved or not, but I'm going to treat it as if it might be.
Which brings me to my plan of action. No running...PERIOD...for at least two months. Yes, that means I'll be volunteering at Baker Lake rather than running it. In place of running, I'll be cycling - mostly outdoors, hopefully - and swimming. I have a prepaid swim pass I bought about three years ago and have yet to use. I'm not sure if they allow aqua jogging. If not, I'll swim laps. I'll also work on strength exercises. I'll basically train like a triathlete, minus the run leg.
I considered NOT posting this, so I could back out of my decision a couple of weeks down the road to test my heel again. I chose to go through with this, though, for accountability purposes. I want to be running 20, 30 or more years from now. Being the "running wounded" isn't the way to accomplish that.
Thanks for your kind comments & words of advice during this process. I'll continue posting here. This will give me an opportunity to be a more well-rounded person (hopefully not around the midsection).