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Running the Broken Toe 50K After a Stress Fracture Recovery

I want to thank Danny Dreyer for ChiRunning and all that’s followed. I’ve read his book cover to cover 3 times and it’s about time to read it again.

Back in early June, I ran my first 50K event, only to find out later that my body sensing, ego monitoring, general awareness, etc were not quite where they should be. After the long run, I couldn’t walk later that day. Only later did I figure out I did this on a tibial stress fracture. Ouch, and quite a setback. Ten weeks of healing was enough time to figure out all my errors, such as doing too much speed work at the end of long runs. During the recovery phase of this fracture, I continued to do the Chi loosening drills every morning.

The Broken Toe 50K in the Dayton, OH area, was appropriately named and I was concerned about doing this after that stress fracture. Several runners tumbled on the challenging mountain bike trails and several dropped.

At this race, I ran about 14 miles in minimalist trail shoes, then about 13 miles in wide-sized cross country racing flats and finally the last 4+ miles in huaraches. As in my long training run three weeks prior, I found that wearing the huaraches at the end resulted in less discomfort. Most of that went away with even less footwear! Ancient style foot protection is great, so long as we adopt it very slowly.

Two ultras this year were important to me, as I wanted to advance to more trail running via minimalist/barefoot running on a 100% plant based diet while moving beyond the marathon. With the ChiRun technique, I accomplished my goals in spite of some strategic errors. It’s worth noting that my plant based diet not only got me off cholesterol medicine, but gave me so much energy that my body’s infrastructure simply wasn’t ready for it all. Ironic that it played into getting a stress fracture!

For now, I’m hoping to run a 50 miler before considering the speed required for a Boston qualifier attempt.

Lastly, Danny, thanks for being at the US AF Marathon Expo. I attended the Friday presentation and found it very useful. Your humor and relaxed approach to all this is wonderful. It’s been an interesting couple of years, testing the ideas in Born To Run and finding it spot on.

Happy Trails,

Randy K

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