I'm reminded of a movie quote, though I can't remember who said it in what film. It goes, "I hate it when I'm right." Everything I wrote in the previous post came to pass. I DO have a stress fracture in my heel and I won't be running the 5K on Sunday. So...
I honestly don't know how this would have happened. As a barefoot runner, I use a forefoot strike which should completely eliminate stressful forces on the heel. I can only surmise that all of the walking I do at work in minimalist (read: uncushioned) shoes plus the forces of my achilles pulling on my heel while running weakened my heel bone enough to cause this fracture.
So I'll be doing no load-bearing exercise for the next four weeks. That means no running. I also will wear a boot, at least to work, in order to allow my heel to heal. That, along with a note saying I should "limit the amount of walking (I do) throughout the day," will probably be enough to allow this problem to fix itself. I'm going to pursue using a motorized scooter of some sort at work so that the long walks to the other end of the facility are a lot shorter and less strenuous on the feet. My employer needs to accommodate my injury, so we'll see what our Occupational Health department has to say.
The doctor doesn't seem overly concerned about me wearing the boot all of the time. He believes the problem should resolve itself so long as I don't run and wear the boot at work. I take that to mean that generally avoiding strenuous activity or heavy use of the foot should be enough. I think I'll probably still try to go barefoot around the house. I often walk with a forefoot strike and gently touch my heels to the ground when barefoot, so that should be okay. I'll also sleep barefoot.
So, thus begins four weeks of taking it easy on the feet even if I still try to get workouts in. I want to try to find alternate ways to do cardio. The good doctor recommended a stationary bike or swimming as good non-load-bearing exercises. I'm sure our city's community center has inexpensive memberships available to use their gym, so that sounds like a good option for the bike. A local middle school has an indoor swimming pool, so I'll investigate what usage costs there are. I can always also do core exercises as they don't require significant forces on the heels.
In a way, I'm kind of glad that this happened now. If I'd gotten a stress fracture right in the middle of the spring-through-autumn months, that would have really given a hit to my barefooting. This way I'll be able to heal up, get reconditioned and go enjoy a number of runs this summer AND do them all barefoot. Sounds like a plan.
Thanks for reading. I welcome your comments below.