It must have been some time in early September that I made a deal with myself that if I could build back to running 15k or 10 m that I would order myself a double helping of Crispy Potatoes from Elk Creek Cafe.On and off for over a year and a half I had been struggling with plantar fasciitis. June of this year, after running poorly in a 10k race, it became enough of a problem that it was impacting my normal daily activities like walking uphill or carrying heavy loads. In August, I started physical therapy for it and slowly started running again around the same time.
A couple of weeks into September I was back up to 8k (5.4 miles) with no foot pain at all. I celebrated that victory with one order of Crispy Potatoes and hoped to keep working toward my goal.
Last spring I had been able to gimp out a painful ten miles from Sand Mountain Road to the tunnel past Poe Paddy State Park. It wasn’t pretty, nor fast but I am never really all that fast so I felt it was fine. Late May, I ran a 10 miler out in Poe Valley. I finished in 1:43 and my pace was an average of 10:22/mile. I was pretty pleased, except for the pain. I was stupid to put up with it and not do anything about it for so long but I didn’t want to have to stop running to heal. That is what I had to do in the end.
Last week found me in a pretty good place. I had chased away quite a few inner demons, finally got a good night’s sleep, ate a decent sized meal and my foot was still cooperating. I set out to tackle about 8 miles or 13 k. I finished slow but strong on a really windy but beautiful day. I ran through Spring Creek Canyon and finished well at the commuter lot at the top of a long hill on Shilo Road.
This past week, I thought about all of the hills I tackled over those 13k and I realized that adding 10% distance would allow me to reach 15k on my next long run. I chose Poe Valley route today for my first 10 miler since May 22.
The day was quite similar; sunny, cool and beautiful. The biggest difference was no pain. I ran strong on the downhills and saw that even on my uphill miles I was still averaging just a hair over a 10 minute mile. I have no GPS and my iPod is really just an estimate of my average pace/footfalls. I went mostly by the time on my watch and the awesome chalk mile markers my dearest love left for me the whole course.
Jim drove the whole way to Poe Paddy, marking the miles in chalk, dropping a water bottle for me at 10K, parked then got his run in by timing it to meet me about half the distance he planned to run. We met up soon after mile 8 for me, it was about 2 miles for him.
I was running really well at that point and knew I had dipped below a 10 minute mile (even with a 57 second dart into the thicket to… well, you know). I was pleased to have no pain the entire run and finished at the 10 mile mark in 1:36:02, an average pace of 9:36 mm.
The next thing I thought of was how I had finally earned my double order of Elk Creek Cafe’s Crispy Potatoes! I took my change of clothes, soapy wash cloth and towel into the cold rest room at Poe Paddy and changed as quickly as I could.
It was past noon by the time we rolled into Millheim and were shocked to see the old Millheim Hotel’s porch and balcony had been taken down! No balcony party tonight and we bee-lined it to Elk Creek anyway. Going late has the disadvantage of some of the best menu items are already gone but, thank the goddess, they never seem to run out of Crispy Potatoes!
I was hoping for a Mango Mimosa but the double order of potatoes was my victory treat. Did I eat them all? I had help – thank you Jim, for helping me with and supporting me in everything I do.