Funny bone

I don’t know how many different opinions I’ve heard in the last few weeks regarding my foot. Usually the ones I agree with are the ones I remember.

x-ray-heels

My foot is not better. It is better than it was, but it’s hit a plateau where you can see the horizon for miles and it’s just a mirage where (complete pain-free) reality starts. I’ve had bone scans and x-rays where one or the other alone would have come up with wholly different results. And after practitioners with many years of medical worth poured over my foot photos, I have Freiberg’s disease.

Freiberg’s is a progressive situation. It begins when (unknowingly) you lose blood flow in your metatarsal bone. The bone then loses durability and during activity starts to hairline fracture. The continued activity can lead to the bone becoming malformed and — in my case — you get a square stump trying to fit in a round joint. It would be funnier if it wasn’t painful. It usually happens in adolescence (which is a few generations ago for me), and if you get (as I’ve coined it– “later-onset”) Freiberg’s disease as an adult, you’re almost sure to be female. The 50/50 odds were not in my favour this time.

The surgeon I saw listened carefully to how I described my 9 month history. I felt like he understood my plight and his nodding lead me to trust he was going to give me a positive outcome with a definitive timeline. But he told me that marathons, half-marathons or any longer distance running was out of my future. When I asked if I could cause further damage if I ran in pain, he said that I shouldn’t be running at all. I didn’t hear much after that.

jackhammer

There must be a bone in here …    somewhere!

Naturally I have options, but no one is sure which one will pan out. Surgery is a last resort. I am getting custom orthotics to alleviate pain in my metatarsal arch when I walk. I’m trying different shockwave treatments in the hope that it will help mend my bones a little stronger. Shockwave is much like having a jackhammer at full throttle caress your foot: the hope is that you will find the most painful situation and then endure it. The greater the pain the more likely it is you are treating the weakest area.

I do miss running and want to get back to it. I may never run a 50km race, but I still crave the endorphins, the suffering, the elation of moving forward on only willpower that running brings. My swimming is improving and I’m starting to feel sore and fatigue as though I’m actually doing something, but a swim cap is not a replacement for a running shoe.

Who knew one little bone could be so funny?

It happened a year ago

It’s been over a year since I ran my last marathon. A year and a week or two.  I ran a marathon in Paris, then ran a half-marathon a few months later, and then experienced a lot of foot pain. I continued running through pain (because running fixes everything). I could resemble a run with adrenaline and endorphins and stubborn determination, but I was lame if I tried to walk.

So my last run was in early September. I have given up being a junior meteorologist where I would check the weather daily to ensure I was prepped for any climate anomalies during my runs. I now operate in two zones only: wet in the pool, dry and stinky in the gym.

blossoms

The weather is definitely spring where I live but I wouldn’t know it: cherry blossoms, breezy days, and sunshine. I barely go outside. I am either wet or dry.

Time is a strange progression. I recently heard that when we have established routines, or habits, our sense of time is warped and shrunk. The first month on a new job is exhilarating and tiring and overwhelming with so much new stimuli. But after five years in the same routine it’s hard to remember what you had for lunch the day before.

When I was first told to take time off from running, I thought it was to take a day off. A “miss one workout and see if you feel better” suggestion. I couldn’t remember the last time I had taken more than 4 days off in a row, let alone a week! It made me nervous, as though if I missed too many days I would forget what to do and my running “habit” would go off the rails. It was like that feeling of dreading New Year’s resolutions that you make and give yourself the obligatory two weeks to fail.

I worried about my fitness level, my sanity, and my running friendships. After the first few weeks though, I adjusted to this new measure of time: I got into a new routine. I knew I needed to replace running with something else (fitness) and give myself that me-time back (sanity). I still had my running coach, he now just also became my strength and swim coach.

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This is my kid a few years ago. I am still not opposed to the use of water wings.

 

I like being in the gym and doing strength work, I’m not such a big fan of swimming. Joining a group would have been ideal, but it didn’t fit with my schedule. I realized pool running (although in a group setting) was not only incredibly boring, there were also no measurable improvements I could gauge. The class I attended was full of high-intensity intervals where we were encouraged to give “100%” for the interval. It was hard to measure if my 100% had increased after 8 weeks of bobbing around in the deep end. I was tired after the workouts, but felt more drained than enjoying the satisfaction of an exhaustive accomplishment.

I have found ways to make the swims work for me. What I liked about running was that I could measure improvements (and not just that I could eat more before I felt full). Through this I found that measuring aspects of swimming made it more enjoyable and rewarding for me: increasing distances or measuring times helped me see that I had gotten more efficient.

I still like to think of myself as a runner (the clothes are so cute). I trust that my foot will heal. I am currently transitioning from an air cast/walking boot to regular footwear. But my perspectives have changed. I’d still like to run another marathon, but for now walking pain-free around the block would be nice. My swimming has improved and I am getting stronger in different ways than running would do. It will take as long as it takes, but I don’t have to stop myself to wait for it.

September: Attitude of Gratitude

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Most days I write down up to five things I am grateful for, big or small, subtle or apparent. I archive and post the list monthly. This is September 2014.

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a Labour day at home — going out for another group trail run — assessing where I am, not where I would wish/hope to be — my son’s help with snipping and raking up garden brush — clean sheets — going to bed early.

green lights in traffic — my daughter’s care and consideration when making a burial plot for our departed hamster — that kids soccer starts this week — remembering to do what I’d forgotten to do (in a timely way).

first soccer practice for my son — sunshine — white wine.

my son for watering the garden — fresh tomatoes from the garden — yummy greens and kale salad — decadent coffee.

sleep — having a sense of what “normal” feels like to me.

my mom coming to visit — that she is so self sufficient — that traffic was light on my drive out to the airport — taking the day off from running.

managing to make it through another long(er) run — feeling good after my run — ice bath for my foot — chocolate/pumpkin seed bark.

burgers —  that the restaurant texted us when our table was ready — a burger place that has fresh salad and delicious burgers — finally buying a new broom.

my mom taking care of the kids this week.

my mom cleaning up after me (and the rest of my family) — getting to the gym — that we managed to make it to the beach — that my son and mom went for a swim — that we did manage to get home and get to soccer practice.

finishing a good book (The signature of all things)

starting a new book —  having a meal together — seeing how little things are important.

helping out with the aid station at the race — enjoying the sunshine — dressing up — going out for a quick bite with my Sweet — easy parking for the music festival.

taking care of my foot instead of running — learning that I am not the only injured runner in the world — that pain means something — drinking extra coffee — taking a nap.

that summer is still hanging around — reading other bloggers (you guys are good!) — the feeling of warm air in the evening — fresh kale salad.

more fiction — being able to renew my Library book — that Netflix will exist even if I am not watching it — texting.

registering for new classes that stretch my comfort level — my physiotherapist — making time to make time.

being able to send the kids home early from day camp — leftovers for lunch — kind neighbours — wine.

a walk before dinner — the fine weather — feeling content.

the short cycle on the washing machine — watching kids play soccer — the smell of fall — the goldening of leaves.

going to the intermediate class of yoga — stretching myself (mentally and physically) — an afternoon rest — doing groceries when there was no one in the store.

that school has finally started — the kids excitement — new adventures — new schools and teachers.

the kids making their own lunches — starting new schedules — soccer practice — tomatoes from the garden.

being back in the pool after over a year — realizing that although my fitness is different, I can still manage to swim laps — being away from running and realizing how much it means to me.

hearing that other injured runners are running — magnesium — bananas — the extra parking spot no one else saw — my daughter’s care, patience, and kindness.

the washing machine — cold water laundry soap — realizing that in people years our cat is 88 years old — my son going to bed without a fuss, as though it was the most normal, everyday thing to do.

watching soccer in the early morning in a t-shirt — the sunshine for sticking around — coffee and cookies after soccer — making morning rituals.

trying out inverted poses at yoga — the kids being able to stay home alone (the house was still standing) — going to the pool and doing my water run — time alone at home.

sunshine — feeling refreshed for a new week — not having to do anything — spending time with my son in a coffee shop doing homework.

being able to take a detour through traffic — only being a few minutes late for soccer practice — getting to my class on time — doing less.