Two main issues are at play here. First of all, and I didn't mention this in my last long run post because it didn't seem important at the time, but I somehow managed to hurt my big toe during my 12 miler on Saturday. Not the actual toe, but the ball of foot just behind my big toe. I didn't even notice the pain until after the run, so I didn't think too much of it. But the pain has persisted for a couple days now. A little internet research (Dr. Google can bring such wisdom when he isn't making you feel like you're an inch from death) revealed that the likely cause of my discomfort was Sesamoiditis.
Sesama-what? Well, copying and pasting a definition is easier than trying to explain in my own words, so here's what Foot.com has to say about it:
Sesamoiditis is a common ailment that affects the forefoot, typically in young people who engage in physical activity like running or dancing. Its most common symptom is pain in the ball-of-the-foot, especially on the medial or inner side. The term is a general description for any irritation of the sesamoid bones, which are tiny bones within the tendons that run to the big toe. Like the kneecap, the sesamoids function as a pulley, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the toe. Every time you push off against the toe the sesamoids are involved, and eventually they can become irritated, even fractured. Because the bones are actually within the tendons, sesamoiditis is really a kind of tendinitis - the tendons around the bones become inflamed as well.The article goes on to say that it can be caused by various things including increased hill work - ahhhh, well, my 12 miler was rich with steep hills. So that was probably the source of my ailment. The article also says that treatment involves rest. Well crap. I don't want to rest! I'm supposed to run 6 miles tonight! That's the training plan!
But what's the most important run in marathon training? For me, it's the long run. So the question is - would I rather have a so-so 6 mile run tonight and maybe make my foot worse and be unable to run my 16 miler on Saturday? Or would I rather take it easy today (and as many days this week as necessary) and have a successful 16-miler? Definitely the latter option.
So I'm taking an unscheduled rest day. I hate it. I'd rather be running. But it's more important that I run pain-free, so that means temporarily restricting myself. And to make sure I really got it through my thick skull, Mother Nature has also given me a developing head cold to deal with. Gee, thanks. Like the toe thing wasn't bad enough.
The good news is that over the course of today, the pain in my foot has nearly disappeared. I am going to try going for an easy run tomorrow after work and see how it goes. That is, if this head cold doesn't get a lot worse and I can still breathe tomorrow.
Peace. Love. Train.