Head Over Heels

Nothing brings more heartache between this runner and her shoes than plantar fasciitis.

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Dear Sauconys,

 

I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss you. I know it’s going to take some time before we can go back to how things were, but I just want to say I’m sorry. Believe me, this is just as painful for me as it is for you.

 

 

When we first met, I was sure you were my sole mate. I had just gotten out of a four-year relationship with adidas (four years of my monogamous devotion and suddenly that jerk felt the need for an “upgrade”) and was on the rebound. It took me three blind dates, with three different shoes, before I found you. I’ll admit, you weren’t the hottest shoe on the shelf, but I had heard good things and was willing to give you a chance.

 

 

I remember our first date so clearly. I wanted to go somewhere public – to play it safe and keep it clean in case things didn’t work out – so we went to a treadmill at the YMCA. We spent the evening in a cramped room full of sweaty bodies and grimy machines, but being with you made me forget about our surroundings. I felt like I was flying. Five miles later, I knew you were a keeper.

We didn’t waste any time getting to know each other, with seven miles at a 7:16 pace on Monday and a kick-ass speedwork session on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I took you downtown to meet some of my friends, and you made me look great. I was wearing my baby blue track shorts, the ones that match your uppers, and everyone said we were so cute together. And you were comfortable and supportive the whole time. But I was rushing into things too quickly, putting too much pressure on you too early in the relationship.

 

 

That Saturday, I totally took advantage of you. I pounded you for 14 miles on pavement, and five hours later, dragged you back onto a gnarly trail for five more. That was the first time we got dirty together …

 

 

The next morning, I awoke to excruciating pain in my left heel. I felt like I had stepped on broken glass. I consulted friends, co-workers and online gurus, all of whom made the same diagnosis: plantar fasciitis, the arch-nemesis of distance runners.

 

 

At first, I thought you had betrayed me. When you enter a relationship, you expect your partner’s support even down rocky roads. But many of my sources said I was the one to blame. Lack of stretching, inadequate recovery time and rapid increases in mileage all contributed to my pain. Meanwhile, you were attuned to my stride all along – you never meant to hurt me.

 

 

Now I’m alone in my apartment, staring longingly across the room at you. The past two weeks have been unbearable. I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate. I break down when I see other couples out on the lakefront. My single friends keep telling me to give it up, to take a break from the running scene. They think a few one-night stands with a pair of platforms or stilettos will take my mind off you. They don’t understand what we had.

 

 

I want so badly to take you out and lose myself in your embrace. But while it would feel so good for the moment, I know that afterward I’d only feel worse.

 

 

I’m waiting patiently for you to take me back. In the meantime, I’ll be icing, stretching, strengthening and giving the ’ol two-wheeler some lovin’.

 

Solely yours,
Nicole

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