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In the context of running, the past few months have been more than a little frustrating, and more than a lot confusing.

The foot pain that I’d been experiencing for most of the first half of this year has largely gone away. I still feel some discomfort first thing in the morning when I get out of bed, and if I’m sitting and writing for long stretch then the foot is tender when I get up out of my chair. But it hasn’t really been so sore that I haven’t been able to run.

[Of course, the lack of confidence in the integrity of my foot has kept me from doing many (oh…. I think there might be an erroneous “m” in that word….) long runs. Perhaps foolishly, I’m still planning to toe the line next month at the Tahoe Rim Trail Run, but I’m going to try to duplicate the approach I took to the Run Through Time — I’m going to go out and enjoy a full day of running, knowing that there are places along the way that I can get water and calories, and that I’ll have other runners to chat with and to help keep me moving forward.]

I’ve experimented with lots of different things over the past few months; dry needling, acupuncture, night splints, hot/cold hydrotherapy, foregoing the minimal shoes, changing my diet, targeted massage……… and the result of that is that I’ve improved. I’m not 100%, but I do feel a lot better than I did in February.

The frustrating thing is I’m not sure which (if any) of those things, or which particular combination of things (and in what order), were the catalysts for positive change. It would be great to be able to point to a single treatment and say “THAT thing; THAT’S what helped fix me. THAT’S the answer.” But that’s not how things are. Staying healthy and functional is a messy and complicated web of factors, and pulling on one strand of the web affects all the others. I’ve gotten better, but I don’t know exactly why.

The big lesson may be that we’re all different. After spending far too many hours trying to research and pinpoint exactly what path forward would help my foot, I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes you’ve just got to try a bunch of stuff, not get overly enamored of any particular “solution” (or at least not to the exclusion of other possible fixes), and hope that your body will be able to take the assistance you’re giving and use it to heal.

Every body is different, right?