Just one marathon into my goal, I suffered another minor setback, but I also have learned a lot from being slightly lame lately.

I was slightly stiff the day after the May 17 Ogden marathon so I went to a yoga class. Monday I rested, and Tuesday I attempted a short three-mile run.

That's when my trouble started.

First I had what felt like a cramp near my big toe in my left foot. Then about a mile and a half into the run, the outside of my right foot began to ache severely. Because the pain moved around and was shooting a bit, I thought it was a cramp. It was, after all, 90 degrees when I attempted to run that afternoon.

So I went home and took an electrolyte tablet and drank every Gatorade and Powerade left over from a weekend of kids' soccer games. By the next morning, the pain in my foot was worse.

"I guess it's not a cramp," I announced to my husband. I searched the Web and consulted with friends who run. Then I called the University of Utah's Orthopedic center and made an appointment with Dr. Amy Powell. I couldn't get in for two weeks, so I decided to modify my training until I had a professional opinion.

I thought I was probably overreacting, but I didn't want to miss any of my races. The Wasatch Back Relay isn't part of my 40th birthday celebration, aka Grand Slam, but it's actually my favorite race.

I immediately moved to the stationary bike, a piece of equipment I usually loathe, and attempted to keep my cardiovascular system in shape while I allowed my foot to heal. I know many people love to bike, but for me, I feel like I have to work twice as hard to get the cardio benefits I get from running. Still, I actually came to enjoy some aspects of indoor biking — like the fact that I can actually watch reruns of CSI and ER while I ride. No iPod necessary.

After two weeks on the bike, I really wanted to get back outside.

My visit with Dr. Powell was quick and painless, and luckily, she said the X-rays showed no fractures. Just like my car would never make the offending noise when I finally took it to the shop, my foot completely quit hurting about two days before my doctor's appointment.

Still, she said to start out with a shorter run and see how my foot held up. Apparently they can do MRIs on your feet.

I didn't want to get a mile away from home and find myself unable to run back, so I tried running on a treadmill first. My foot immediately started hurting, but about a mile in, the pain began to subside. It ached less and less until I was finished, and then it hurt a little more. It seemed stiff, so I iced it, and the pain dissipated again.

I'm not almost pain free, but I have figured out that certain shoes aggravated it. No more flip-flops — which is hard this week, as I am in Mexico. I've opted, instead, to wear some water/hiking shoes I bought in Moab last year, and they offer a lot more support, but they are easier to take on and off than tennis shoes.

The humidity in Mexico is a new issue, and it's one I'm sure I won't have to deal with at home. But working out in the heat, I believe, will benefit me in my conditioning. It gets easier every day.

I am going to have to do some major hill training when I get home, as I haven't even seen a mountain in more than a week.


E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com