Last Thursday I ran an easy 4 miler. It was supposed to be 5 miles. However, I started to feel a little bit of that TOFP creeping back, so I cut my run a little short. When I got home and showered, the realization that I was having a relapse of the dreaded TOFP set in. Fortunately, the pain was not as bad as my previous run in 3 months ago which sidelined me for 2 full weeks. With my first barefoot half marathon looming 5 weeks away, I was fearful that another 2 week hiatus would crush my chances.
Enter alpaca shearing. This weekend I went up to my friend's ranch to help them shear 50 alpacas. To say this job is exhausting is an understatement. Try wrestling one of these beasts to the ground (some weighing up to 200 lbs.) to be shorn against their will. Then do it 49 more times. But here's the great news - my TOFP was gone by the end of the first day!
How do I think this happened? Well, in shearing alpacas you do A LOT of kneeling and bending. There are times when I was kneeling, sitting back on my feet with the tops of my feet flat to the ground. Other times I was squatting and up on my toes. These two positions forced my feet into positions that ultimately stretched the muscles repeatedly over an extended period of time. Essentially I stretched my foot muscles a lot.
My true hope is that I don't get TOFP again, but should it happen...I'll be kneeling and squatting a lot.
If anyone else has had any experiences with TOFP and was able to get it to stop with anything other than rest, rest, rest, let me know!