Letting go and moving on. Indeed those are both two cliches, but within these often-overused words, lies a ton of weight and truth.
Last week, the results of my bone scan came back and revealed I that don’t have a stress fracture in my left foot, as had been the diagnoses over the past three months. With this result came relief but also confusion. I was relieved to know that my body didn’t completely break down. Whatever has been going on, it isn’t the result of weak bones, which indicates that I’m not prone to stress fractures. For this, I consider myself fortunate.
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I was excited to know that since it isn’t a broken bone, there was a high chance I’d be back running sooner rather than later. Through this injury, I’ve always been able to always trigger pain if I stretched my foot a certain way. Then one day, I lightly pushed into that stretch and it didn’t hurt. It was the first time in three months that no pain was triggered. I felt ready to run.
While my bone scan confirmed that I’d be able to ease into running, I was confused. I wasn’t able to run for three months, and I don’t know why. Since I don’t know what happened, I don’t know how to prevent it from happening again. I had choice: I could live in fear of another injury, or I could listen to my body, take account of what I believe caused it to cease up, and then let it go.
I chose the latter and came to peace with this injury.
There are some points I can take from this. For example, 70 mile weeks on a treadmill doesn’t work for me. I’ve also learned that moving up half a shoe size prevents it from feeling cramped or ceasing up. Of all of the potential causes of this injury, the toughest to swallow is that it was probably preventable. Weeks before my foot gave out, I had done a high mileage week with severe blisters. I had major blistering on my feet and rather than take time off, I pushed forward and tinkering with my foot strike to accommodate for the pain. I have no idea what specific damage this did, but I’m quite certain it was enough to turn my foot from being aggravated into a full-on temper tantrum.
There’s little more I can offer myself to get a clear answer. I’m accepting that and moving on.
My experience is a story every runner has, in some way, shape or form. We’re all resilient people– we have to be in order to keep on with this sport. A timely reminder of this trait came in watching the Boston Marathon earlier this week. In particular, I’m thinking of Desiree Linden’s interview with a local Boston station just moments after crossing the finish line in fourth place. It was a disappointing ending for the 2011 runner-up who had made it clear she was gunning for the win. Still, she spoke with grace and wisdom. In summing up her race, she also spoke to the nature of the sport itself. “All you can do is put your all into it . . . it’s a tough race to win and that”s what makes it so special,” said Linden. “If it were easy nobody would be here.”