It has been 26 days since I last ran. Not that I’m counting. Seriously, I’m really not.
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I understand that there’s nothing to gain from focusing on what I can’t do. So instead, I’m choosing to focus on what I can do. The only reason I know the exact number of days that I have missed is because I have it written in my running journal: January 18: Pain on outside of left foot– sudden and sharp.
As I wrote last week, this pain has turned out to be a stress fracture reaction of my fifth metatarsal. I’m now seven days into wearing a boot and putting as little strain on my foot as possible. I was given the go-ahead to ride the stationary bike, but only if it didn’t aggravate the injury. I was hopeful this would be a solid alternative to keeping up some cardiovascular work, but unfortunately after day two of biking, it was clearly hurting my foot. So, I’ve decided the best approach I can take is to get off it completely until I go back to the orthopedic surgeon in three weeks. I want to give it a fair shot at healing and I understand I’m only going to prolong the whole process if I continue to aggravate the bone.
It’s a bizarre experience to go from being highly active, to sitting with my foot up as much as possible. I describe it as a nightmare, but I don’t mean that in woe-is-me kind of way. It’s just a matter of fact that I thrive on outdoor, fresh-air activity and it’s a shock to the system to have that taken away. Beyond the obvious difficulty of not running, my routine has been totally disrupted. My daily walks with Skylar (our dog) have been cut out and my ability to walk anywhere beyond the confines of our home is gone.
So to deal with this, I’m shifting my focus onto the things I can do. I’m taking time to work on core and upper body strength, which I trust will serve me well upon recovery. I’m also incorporating longer stretching sessions into my daily routine. Of course there’s only so much of this I can do, but I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to delve deeper into my writing and other related projects.
Another saving grace, is this injury doesn’t stop me from spending time with family. When one of my sister-in-law’s called to see if we wanted to go for walk with our nephews on Saturday, I was all over it. Of course I couldn’t walk much, but it was still nice to get out into nature. I ended up hanging out on a log with Skylar for a good portion of our time there, but that was perfectly fine.
This whole experience is forcing me to slow down, and that’s a not a bad thing. I think as runners, we can get pretty caught up in go-go-go mode and sometimes fail to take a deep breath, observe, and account for all the goodness we have in life beyond training. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be overjoyed when I get to take those first few running strides, but in the meantime I’m going enjoy each moment for what it is.