Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gratitudes: Finding the silver lining

Not going to lie: I was NOT planning on this again:
It hasn't even been a full year since I broke my ankle, and here I am, back in das boot. This time, it's a "stress reaction" in the third metatarsal, and I ain't playin'. No running 18 miles on a broken bone this time. It was straight to the doctor, paid attention to the pain signals my body was sending me, and waited hopefully for a diagnosis that would allow me to do Raleigh on Sunday

You know, a diagnosis like 1) a bruised tendon or 2) severe tendinitis or 3) arthritis. 

Runners be crazy. 

It all started last Friday morning during a routine run, when right around the halfway point as we were headed back, I got this really weird, shooting pain right through the middle of my foot. I mentioned it to my buddies, and one even asked if I wanted to stop and walk, but I said "nah, let's just keep going." It hurt badly enough by midday that I figured I wouldn't do my Saturday run, and then I woke up Saturday with bruising and swelling, and couldn't put any weight on it.

Not good. I had an epic meltdown worthy of a seven year old around noon, then pulled myself back together for the rest of the weekend.

Unlike last year when I wanted to just gut it out and wait it out, I called my ortho over the weekend, left a message for an appointment, and called again first thing Monday morning. I got an afternoon appointment for X-rays and was encouraged when they came back "without an obvious break," as the doc said:
I know, that's some bunion, huh?
To which I responded immediately, "so I can run!"

Bless his heart, he has so much patience with idiot runners like me. 

No, no running. Now you can go get an MRI. So I dutifully made the appointment, got the MRI done yesterday, and headed back for the consult on the results today. I'm clearly no doctor, but even I could tell right away that my third metatarsal just ain't right:

And when the orthopedic surgeon tells you that a bit more running could've snapped it, and snapping it could've meant surgery and a screw in your foot, you get a little bit more motivated to be a compliant patient. So into the boot I went, and weirdly, I'm handling it without even the thought of another meltdown. 

In fact, I've decided that there are Gratitudes to go with what I could call a series of unfortunate events, but which instead I'll call "just my life."

  1. If I had actually gotten into Boston with my BQ instead of what I thought at the time was a major disappointment, I'd be infinitely more crushed right now that I got in and couldn't run because of injury. 
  2. If I had decided to train hard core and requalify for Boston with Raleigh or Garmin as my qualifying attempt and then couldn't race because of injury, I would've been just plain mad. 
  3. This weekend, I had planned to run Raleigh as part of a reunion weekend with some of my female West Point classmates. Instead, I'll get to relax, enjoy their company, cheer them on, make race signs, and ring that cowbell for all it's worth for each one of them who makes it to the start line. 
  4. I don't have a total "no workout" ban like last summer, so I can try once again to do some upper body and core work, two things that are woefully lacking from my fitness routine and that could, ultimately, actually make me a better runner. 
  5. Speaking of things that could make me a better runner, a bum foot means I can get back in the pool earlier than planned. I love to swim - so much that I swam Masters when we lived in Ohio - but have pivoted to running so much that I haven't been in the pool in months. This gives me the time to rediscover the joy of swimming. 
  6. I won't be gone two weekends in April, and won't be running a marathon the morning of John's 7th birthday. While I was looking forward to all of my planned races, the kids are definitely excited that I will be home those days!
I'm not going to pretend I'm not disappointed or upset. I love to run marathons; I really had my heart set on Going for Gold; and there's money already spent on race fees, though the amount pales in comparison to out of pocket costs for, say, foot surgery. There's also the little voice inside my head that surfaces from 20 years ago at West Point telling me to suck it up and work through the pain, that sitting out is for soft people and if I was really hard core, I'd gut it out and get it done. 

Thankfully, there are far, far more voices right here with me at home, at work, via text, email and Facebook messages telling me to stay off of it, rest, and heal. I'm grateful for those voices, and they easily drown out the one in my head.

So four weeks of no running, and then I'll reevaluate my running routine from there. I have a feeling my 30-40 mile per week days are over; the pool and the bike will get more attention, and I'll be better for it all around. I'm super excited about seeing my girlfriends this weekend, and there will still be a race report - it will just be from a different point of view. In fact, I think my vantage point shifted just a little bit with this diagnosis, but from here, it all still looks good.

1 comment:

  1. I'm proud of your attitude, friend. It's ok to say it sucks, and I'm glad you've found the silver lining of a weekend of fun with your buddies. Keep on keepin' on.