- A recap of what happened leading up to the injury: I ran in unfavourable conditions of snow, ice and salt, had upped my track workouts for the upcoming OMA season, I'd run 15K during a snow storm on the indoor track in one direction, and I'd added on a missed Saturday 5K to my Sunday long run which included some tempo work because I was late for a group run. Nothing dramatic, no pop, crack, sudden pain.
- Saying when it started: January 14th was my last run. It started with a long run and finished with a fun group run. That night a bunch of us went to see Ginger Runner's Where Dreams Go to Die and I remember that my leg and foot had been sore that night during the screening.
- How I knew it wasn't right: The day after that last run I thought the pain was likely DOMS and tried to walk it off during my walk commute. When the pain increased, I knew this was more than a niggle that would go away quickly.
- How frustrated I was with trying to figure out what to do and what it was: Honestly this was the most frustrating part of the past three + months. I really felt like I had to take my care into my own hands with determining where to go for answers. While running friends provided a tonne of ideas on what it could be, I struggled with knowing what medical professional would provide me with definitive answers and a plan.
- Realizing how long everything takes: Appointment with sports medicine doctor? Three weeks. Results from bone scan? Oh, about a week. Recheck? Another three weeks. This, combined with the previous point just added to my frustration. Every time I booked something I knew I'd likely be off until that next appointment. And with each visit it seemed that the time off recommendation started fresh at 6 weeks.
- All the people that looked at my foot / tests I did: Family doctor. Xray #1. Coach. Athletic therapist. Physio exercises. Sports medicine doctor. Xray #2. Air cast. Bone scan. Sports medicine doctor recheck. TENS machine. Two week prescription for meloxicam (anti-inflammatories). Self directed second round of anti-inflammatories, this time over the counter ibuprofen.
- That just when you think you are better: You aren't. I spent several days in New York walking everywhere. My air cast was allowed to come off the day we left. It came with me but stayed in my bag the entire time. While my foot was still a bit sore, it was by no means what it had been. I returned to Toronto pumped to start running. Coincidentally, the day I ran was also the day after I'd finished my two week dose of anti-inflammatories. Yup. The next 24 hours I realized that I was definitely not better. This was a bitter pill to swallow.
- That a recovering injury can evolve: This past month I've still been painful--but not in the spots that stopped me in my tracks originally. Whether the original location pain has just evolved as it healed or my return to activity after two months of nothing resulted in compensating and new areas of injury, I don't know.
- That there are many other runners who have had very similar experiences--and now I really get it: Early on I apologized to one of my friends for not being more present during her injury. Some how I was able to stay fairly positive, but on those days I wanted to bury my head under the covers, my friends and family never let me do that. At least once a day I received the following text, "How's the foot?" (thanks Maria and Melly!) I've never talked about a part of my body more than I have the past three months! Never did I feel like I couldn't be open and honest in my replies. I honestly can't believe the number of people that reached out to offer their support and sympathy. And for that I am incredible grateful and will try to remember if they are ever facing the same thing.
- That the time off isn't as horrible as you think it's going to be: In my almost five years of running I'd never not run for more than a few days. The thought of being sidelined longer used to be incredibly scary. Looking back, the time actually went pretty quickly--and gasp, wasn't all that bad. In the first month I had zero interest in starting a new sport in the dead of winter to maintain my fitness, and I'm okay with that. I found other ways to occupy my time. Instead I wrote, I drew, I crocheted, I spent time with family and friends, I kept going to races as a cheerleader and photographer, and became a coffee drinker.
- That you may never know what it was that went wrong: In the early days of my injury, I wanted to know WHAT was wrong almost more than having it feel better. I felt like if I knew I'd be able to plan. I'd know how long to expect to be off and how to treat it. Stress fracture? Okay, 8 weeks. Morton's neuroma? Peroneal tendonitis? Cuboid syndrome? Metatarsalgia? Did I ever get to write my diagnosis blog? As my friend Allison says, "Nope." It's still in my drafts folder. In the end, I wound up learning that the feet are incredibly complex parts of a runner's body and that we often take them for granted. What matters is that I am now running with less pain. I don't really care why anymore.
- That sometimes things seem meant to be because they lead you to discover things you wouldn't have otherwise: My goals and plans have changed A LOT since January when I was training to try to PB in 800 metre, 10K and perhaps even the half marathon this spring. Last year was the year of trying 'all the things' and I was continuing down that path before getting injured. Now? So many people say it, but I know only a few people who really do it (ahem, Melly and Lisa!) Less focus on pace and PBs, more focus on just running because hey, I love to run! I wouldn't have been able to have gotten to this point without pushing the limits like I did last year. It was fun to get a glimpse of what I could do if I had the time and focus to put towards it. I can't thank coach Michelle enough for being constantly by my side for this. Now is a new chapter. When I daydream about a perfect run now, it's heading out early on a Sunday morning for a really long run, the focus is on covering the distance without worrying about time, if I have to walk or want to stop and take a photo or two. This is part of what will guide me during my recovery and over the next few months. And that makes me truly happy.
I've got several blog posts in my drafts folder and pretty much every single one from the past three months starts off with...
Sometimes you come full circle. This heart was from an old blog post that talked about running with my heart. Apparently the message was always there, I just needed to listen to myself.
My big picture running goals have hovered at the back of my mind during my injury. Every once in awhile they will resurface and change slightly, brought on by something a friend will say or do that 'makes sense' in my mind. This time off has let all of those thoughts seep deep into my being where I don't think they'd have gone had I still be focused on training as I had been before hurting my foot.
I've said it before on my blog that so much of the focus in running revolves around runners setting goals. In most cases these goals are the exact same as the majority of other runners.
WHY do our running goals need to be the same?
WHY do our methods to reach them need to be the same?
Is a goal or method bad if it's unconventional?
Here's a link to an article about Yuki Kawauchi who amazed the world yesterday with his Boston Marathon win. He's good example of someone who did things his way (the article reveals how different his training is from other elite racers). Anyone watching him at the finish would have been able to see his pure joy of accomplishment.
A further example is the second place women's Boston finisher Sarah Sellers. The media was left scrambling to figure out who she was. Turns out her background is totally unconventional as well.
These two were a perfect reminder to me right when I needed it most. You don't need to have all the bells and whistles to be a runner and you don't have to want what everyone else wants to find joy in the run.
Running. Design. Family. Dogs. Gardening. Food. Crochet. Canadian.