Saturday, October 2, 2010

Not NYC bound: Paige Higgins

By Joe Battaglia for Universal Sports
Paige Higgins was hoping to build on a solid performance in her last race with a strong run at the ING New York City Marathon. But on Thursday, the 28-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Nov. 7 race with a stress reaction in her foot.

Higgins was the top American finisher at the Boston Marathon in April, crossing 13th overall in 2:36:00, and figured to contend for one of the top-three places in the U.S. Marathon Championship, which is behind held in conjunction with the New York City Marathon.

"Words can't express how severely disappointed I am," Higgins wrote in an email. "I don't know why this happened, and I still can't even believe that this is the reality of my situation."

Higgins' ordeal was quite frustrating.

She said that her training has been spot on, and that she was "hitting my miles like it was a walk in the park." On Sept. 22, she was scheduled to do a six-mile run followed by four 1000-meter repeats and said she felt as healthy as any other day she had set out for a run.

The injury arose midway through that workout.

"I had finished the six-mile feeling a little fatigued, but that was it," she said. "During the six-mile steady state, one of my shoe laces came untied and I had to stop and tie it. I continued on my way with no indication of anything, pain or stress. About 10 steps after I completed my steady state, I had a pain in my foot so sharp and painful I was sure I had somehow broken it."

Thinking there might have been a problem with her arch, Higgins immediately sought treatment from her massage therapist, who indicated that the problem was not muscular. Later that day, an x-ray revealed no broken bones.

"I hobbled out of the office upset that I didn't have an answer," Higgins said.

Higgins returned to her massage therapist, who suggested staying off the foot for two days just in case the injury was a collapsed arch. When the pain did not ease with rest, Higgins went to another doctor, who gave her a Prolotherapy injection, which is aimed at stimulating the body's ability to generate collagen and minimize pain.

When the injection provided no relief, Higgins sought the opinion of John Ball, a chiropractor in Phoenix that works with the Higgins' training group in Flagstaff. It was then that the true nature of the injury was revealed.

"John looked at it, and said it was 50/50 nerve versus bone," Higgins said. "I drove back up to Flagstaff, only to get a call saying I (needed) an MRI. On Monday, I drove back down to Phoenix, got the MRI, and the results showed that I did indeed have a stress reaction in my third metatarsal, and it will require four to six weeks of no running."