People love the cliche, "What ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."...Um, or puts you in more pain causing more injury to keep you on a path to making some bigger fucking mistakes.
I wish I could write a success story of adventure and show a highlight reel of the past year of successes. A little over a year ago I ran Javelina 100 which kept me craving more and fixed my sights on two more 100s for 2019, including a Hardrock qualifier—Run Rabbit Run.
Quiz:My 2019 highlights reel will actually include:
A) a sad tendonitis story
B) a heel spur hobbling plantar fasciitis tale
C) a thriller of a talus fracture
D) all of the above
Sometimes the Best Intentions are Still Fucking WrongI never dreamed this would happen to me, and now it's hard to imagine running or walking pain-free. I've been sidelined for long stretches over the last 12 months, gone through Physical Therapy for tendonitis which was diagnosed last February, endured Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) for that tendonitis, been unable to train as hard as I use to due to pain, was hobbled at one point due to a heel spur and plantar fasciitis which I needed a cortisone shot to calm that down, gained weight and don't resemble an athlete as of late. For further humiliation, while sitting in a dentist chair this fall wearing one of my many race shirts, I was asked if I had run that particular marathon printed on the shirt. The hygienist was shocked that I had. It's really gotten that bad!
Besides deferring those two 100 mile races, I attempted to follow through on two 50mile races thinking my training could at least muster that. The first ended prematurely at mile 27 due to the trail being mismarked and a sweeper error with a time cutoff to start the second loop. The sweeper started after mile 27 instead of mile 25 or he/she would have seen a group of runners on the course to follow behind, which was the whole point of sweeping on a second loop and meeting the time limit, am I right? Not my fault, and not even so much as an apology from the race director of why runners matter less, and less than the staging of theatrics at a grandstand … another story altogether. In hindsight, the torture in my ankle that day, should have told me this wasn't getting better, and have been a sign that I had a built a callus to deny pain too much as I had practiced for months.
A month later in another 50 miler I was moving along, but my suffering started at a level 3 in the first mile and was past a level 10 by mile 21. I kept moving from aid station to aid station in hopes that it might get better because that is what ultra runners do. Deny, deny, deny—only denial's sharp edge was swinging the wrong way.
I dropped at mile 28 right before the next dune run section because I felt like I wasn't going to be able to walk from the trauma going on in my ankle. The agony was like sharp glass cutting around my ankle. I was experiencing 0% joy on a beautifully perfect day—I couldn't find a thread of it for one instant!
I went back to my doctor that week and was told to ease back on the miles again because of my tendonitis and that this pain may not go away. I was told to come back in if I'm still hurting in 4 weeks, and at that point I could get a cortisone shot to calm things down.
|My dog resting next to the scooter. A big change from |
her running away from me for the first week.
Seek a Specialist with Matters of the Feet—Just Do ItAfter those 4 weeks past into November and I was still in discomfort and not running much,—and after gut checking with other runners—I decided I really needed to see a specialist and forgo any cortisone shot that would only masked the issue. I needed to push back and know if something was missed. This couldn't be all that was left for me. A podiatrist might say I needed surgery, but at this point I still couldn't walk or run without squeezing the blade of that denial sword.
I found a specialist through another friend who had already gone through great lengths to find him. On the day I saw him thinking I was there for a conversation about tendonitis, he quickly informed me that I had a much bigger problem on my MRI from last March—that was 7 months old. He informed me that I had a fracture around my talus bone and some deformity as well. This was severe.
So in fact, I should have been off of this foot 7 months ago! Will this horror show ever end? I wish I could speed through to the good parts of the reel.
|Swing Crutches are definitely |
more stable than other crutches
but not as safe as a scooter.
Especially on ice.
Followed by 2 weeks (that I've just completed) of being able to bear weight and walk in the boot. Where tomorrow, I am at the start of walking without the boot for the next 2 weeks. At the end, I'll have another MRI. I may need surgery yet.
|Scooter life is a bottleneck, and |
everything take 3Xs as long wheeling
around and around in one direction.
I was still able to pull off these cupcakes
for my son's birthday. It's a small
victory and better than crutches.
I've made changes during this time span. I cut back this holiday season on my expectations. I didn't throw a big holiday party and that's been alright. I have focused on the things that I have one way of doing, and that's doing them right even if they take much longer. I've made less food all around and have counted on my family to do more chores, prepping, shopping, and fetching me items. I simply can't crawl up and down the stairs all the time getting things I can't drag.
The current pace I have is moving forward to an unknown destination. I've been focusing on one day, one week, one part of the process at a time and breaking it up going from aid station to aid station. I just don't want to DNF this race.