“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.”
Last Friday I finally found meaning in the words above.
Last Friday I went to the podiatrist for a nagging foot pain that kept getting worse. I honestly didn’t think anything was seriously wrong, but taking the advice of my wise friend I went to get it check out just in case. I went to go Dr. Amnon Barnea who was recommended to me by Ashley and who I would highly recommend to anyone. The office was clean, the receptionist was friendly and the Dr. was wonderful, caring and took his time with me. After some initial x-rays, the doctor asked me about my pain, when it started, etc. He felt around my foot looking for pain cues. After initial assessment everything seemed fine except for a tenderness on my arch, tendonitis. The arch of my foot was were the pain was, so that made sense. Then the doctor went to review the x-rays. When he came back he seemed to have a more serious look on his face. He started to poke around the top of my foot near my toe, asking if I felt pain. My honest answer was “I don’t know, I’m not sure how it should feel,” so we took off my other shoe and he pressed in the same area on my “good” foot so I had a reference point to gauge my pain level. After going from the good foot to the bad foot my reaction was “ouch, yes that hurts. Ok yes that hurst. You can stop pressing there now.” Dr. Amnon explained to me that he saw something fishy on my x-rays. He explained that if he had just seen it in one view, it may not have been anything, but since it appeared in two views, it means somethings wrong. He showed me the x-rays and took the time to explain what everything was and made sure I could actually see what he saw.
The diagnosis: tendonitis accompanied with a stress fracture. Apparently I had gotten tendonitis in the inner arch area of my foot and continuing to run on it (15miles, 4miles, 5miles..) caused a stress fracture. Apparently when you have weakened tendons, the bones around it are more susceptible to injury, which is why you’re supposed to STOP the exercise that caused the initial injury. Oops! But no, seriously, how many times do I need to make this mistake until I learn? At what age do you lose that super hero state of mind?
The doctor edged with caution as he broke the news to me that I’d get to wear a really cool (aka huge, bulky and hard to walk in) boot for 2-4 weeks and would definitely not be able to run for 4-6 weeks. I think Dr. Amnon was expecting me to freak out and start balling because automatically started to “console” me. I didn’t cry, though. I didn’t freak out. As the doctor handed to me my “boot sentence,” a sense of numb calmness came over me. Now this is where a lot of serious runners will likely balk at me and recite mean phrases about me in their head, but for the first time in a while I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. Dare I say I was…happy?
I know I’ve just written something that is beyond taboo for a runner – happy with an injury — but it’s true. I’ve had a lot of stress with training this year. First with an IT band injury which emotionally and physically devastated me; then with a 3 week cold that put me out of marathon training just when I was finally building my endurance back up; and now this. The past few weeks prior to this foot injury, every run felt like a chore. I wasn’t enjoying it. I run because I love it, not because I have to. I had lost sight of why I was even running.
The good news is I can still do the other exercises I love such as Soul Cycle, biking, strength training and yoga…all within “moderation” (can someone please explain what that word means?) and probably with a little modifying to protect my foot.
I also have more time to spend with my friends and just focus on enjoying life. The Boot went to a Met’s game on its first day and for the first time in months I went out with my friends and bf without worrying about waking up early to run the next day.
And if you’re wondering, NO I’m not giving up on running. I’m just simply taking a *forced* break and I’ve made the choice to appreciate the time.
I’ve chosen not to take my set-backs as a sign that I should give up on running and tie up my shoes (ha ha). I do still want to run a marathon and I will run a marathon, but when the time is right. I’m learning from this experience one of the most important lessons and I’m thankful for that: