My Return to Running

After finishing four marathons and one half marathon (and a handful of shorter distance races), I stopped running at the end of 2006.  My plantar fasciitis was so bad that I didn’t run much for the next two years.  I did a few local 5Ks, but that was pretty much it.  I stretched, iced, took physical therapy, and tried other things to heal the plantar fasciitis.  But every time I started running again, back it came. 
Foot x-ray taken when I had plantar fasciitis
Finally, I was able to run more regularly and by 2009 I was running short distances.  And then I had a bad year of tension headaches (pretty much the pain of a migraine without the other symptoms), and they were so frequent that I felt like at all times I either had a headache, was recovering from a headache, or was trying to take care of things that I missed because of a headache.  So, my running was very sporadic for another couple years, as I just couldn’t dedicate myself.

Then Spring of 2011 rolled around and the headaches were mostly under control (thank you, acupuncture!).  So, I started running again.  I did a couple local 5Ks and was REALLY SLOW!  But I was not discouraged.  I knew that I had done this before, so I could do it again.  I joined a half marathon training program called Friends & Fitness, and began weekly long runs with the group.  In addition, there were weekly speed and hill workouts.  I was still slower than I had been in 2006, but I was getting back into my groove.

And then, another set-back.  This time, it was a stress fracture to my right tibia.  That’s the big bone in the lower leg.  I had trained up to 11 miles, then had to stop and take ten weeks off running.  How frustrating!  Not just because I was injured, but because before the injury I had registered for several races.  I’d become so confident that I was “back” when I registered for those races.  But in reality, I had ramped up my training too fast.  I started adding distance too quickly without first having maintained a decent base of weekly mileage.

Eventually, I started running again and had only a few weeks to prepare for my next half marathon (I had to skip an earlier half marathon).  My big debut race was the ING Hartford Half Marathon.  It was a fabulous experience!  My friend Sherri, a Connecticut local, was also running the race, and I had a great time catching up with her and her family.  The Hartford race was well-managed and fun, even if I was slow and a little sore.  My injury didn’t much bother me until the end of the race.   
At start of 2011 Hartford Half with Sherri and Hiam (waving to the photog, Sherri's brother Mark Englehart)
With Sherri having a celebratory beer in Hartford
The rest of 2011 was spent on long, slow training runs (with lots of walking) on my own: cold, dreary days out on the running trails working up to 18 miles.  I wanted to go to 20, but the injury occasionally started talking to me, so I played it safe.  Additionally, I ran some short local races: 
2011 Marine Corps Marathon with Michelle and Elizabeth (they ran the marathon, I ran the 10K)

2011 Fairfax Four Miler, a night-time New Years Eve race

My last race of 2011 was on the evening of New Year’s Eve.  At that point I was registered for three big races in January.  But little did I know that my crazy January race schedule was just a shadow of what was to come in 2012…


  1. I'm so proud of you Sandy! Even through all the injuries and such, you never gave up. You came back. That's a true athlete!

  2. Awesome entry!!!! Learning more about you and I love it!

  3. WoW! Good for you! Injuries can sure be frustrating! I'm inspired by all your runs! I hope to run a marathon in the next 3 or 4 yrs - until then I have many more half marathons I'd like to complete :)


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