Frankly the details of the injury itself play somewhat of a minor role in this story. I don't have a dramatic Krista Duchene broken femur finish or wiping out on ice on High Park's Spring Road hill story to tell. Put simply, I have a pain in my foot that I've never had before and that pain is not resolving. My days have been comprised of balancing my fear of making it worse with losing the running gains I've made. But instead of talking pain, swelling or meds, I want to talk about the side of injury that people don't typically think about. Those unexpected things that have come up since I realized the words "I'm injured" were a reality.
This is the biggie. Uncertainty of what the injury is. Uncertainty of who to go to for answers. Uncertainty of how long it will take to get better. Uncertainty of if I should rest or not. Uncertainty of making things worse. Uncertainty of if I will be able to do this race or that race. Uncertainty of how to sort through the varied advice, recommendations and information I've received.
In the past when I've had a medical issue I'd make an appointment with my doctor, dentist or optometrist. I guess maybe I've been lucky up till now as I've typically found answers fairly quickly or was sent for further testing or referred to a specialist who could provide assistance. With this injury I've had a hard time figuring out where to get answers. I've tried a couple routes, but have resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to have to wait the three weeks to see the sports medicine doctor. I'm impatient when it seems like something that should be pretty straight forward and it's a matter of scheduling that holds me back from those answers. I've practically considered breaking into the medical tent at a race to get a sports doctor to just take a peek at my foot. I only hope that when I finally get to see him that he'll have answers for me and that I don't do something in the meantime that sets me back further while waiting. I truly wish there was a system to assist athletes in navigating the system.
As I tried to figure out where to get help, I thought that reaching out to those who had gone through something similar could provide me with guidance. I told a couple people in confidence in the first couple days. As time went on and I wasn't getting any better I felt the pressure to tell others when it became obvious that something was up. I was turning down invites to run and even my social media posts that were previously very running based had evolved to food, family, dogs and nature. The word 'injury' is one of the worst words in a runner's vocabulary. Some of the reactions I've gotten as I tell those around me (or they hear from others) have honestly surprised me. From daily notes of support to recommendations, to opinions, to doubt to silence. Admittedly this has been hard for me to deal with. I guess the plus is that I've learned when I hear someone is injured, I'll just let them know I'm there. The most comfort I've had these past days has been from those that just let me know exactly this.
I knew from watching many of my running friends go through injury that the emotional side would be as challenging to deal with as the physical side. Forget the simple fact that the body is used to several endorphin boosts a week from running. Suddenly a big part of your life is uncertain, of course you are going to feel confusion, pain and loss. Even if it's true that "time will go fast", "you'll still be able to run this or that race", "you'll be fine," your deep down feelings still sting in the moment. I'm working at trying to find different outlets to distract and enjoy, but sometimes yes, I'm sad about the fact that I'm not running. And honestly, I think that's okay.
I have seriously been at a loss as to what day it is since I stopped running! I realize just how much my schedule (and my husband's and even my dogs schedules) revolves around running. I used to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, some Saturdays and Sundays. Silly things like forgetting to shower as I typically shower at work post run or walk commute to being confused about meals I'd planned for which day and constantly writing down the wrong date.
I've learned more about foot injuries and anatomy in the past two weeks than I ever thought possible! Dr. Google can be somewhat informative, but also frustrating as I've yet to find any results that makes me say, "That's it!"
Given I am quite set in my ways with regards to the foods I eat, it has been a 'kick me while I'm down' to have to cut back on my calories as my body adjusts to less activity. Given this has all landed just after the holiday season and off season for running, I already was facing a smaller spoonful of peanut butter with my breakfast!
The lure of early-bird pricing is hard to resist. Currently I've already registered and paid for several spring races and a full season pass to the indoor track. Watching a whole season of OMA indoor track and those races start to fall away definitely hurts a bit.
The first week I rested completely. The second week I convinced myself that since walking was mostly painless that it wouldn't set me back. Given the location on my foot, I've haven't wanted to do any cycling, rowing or elliptical. Over the past few days I've come to accept the fact that I will lose some of my running fitness gains but that ultimately I just want to get better.
One last funny one...You'd think I'd be doing a lot less running clothes laundry...alas I realize that is pretty much all I wear anyway, so no difference there! Ha ha! Oh, but I haven't had to charge my Garmin as much, so there is that!
I did not write this for sympathy or answers, but instead I wrote it for me, as putting the words and thoughts down often helps me sort those things out things in my mind. I've written and edited it three times over the past three days, and in doing so I feel more of an acceptance of what's happened. Looking at it from the different angles has been a good way of dealing with each individually. I really do hope that this can help others runners who are facing a similar challenge. It is truly amazing how much one little spot of pain can domino all the pieces of your life!