Reflecting on Injury…
“It’s a stress fracture of your calcaneous and you’ve got to wear a boot for 6 week. No running. No cycling except on a stationary bike with the boot on. No swimming because you’d have to push off the wall and that could be risky. But you can do upper body strength training.”
That was the news I got from the podiatrist this past Monday afternoon, who I’d seen last minute the Friday before, right before the race, in order to get clearance to try to race.
He’d initially taken an Xray in the office and suspected that with some advil and a lift in my shoe, the 3 weeks of no running I’d done would be enough to allow me to toe the line this past Sunday at the LA Marathon.
Despite how much I abhor the mere concept of taking Advil, I did opt to give it a try in the event the discomfort in my foot would be alleviated enough for me to safely run the marathon without risk.
But 30 seconds into what should have been a test run last Saturday, I knew I wouldn’t be able to run, as I shared in my last post.
On Monday, I called the doctor and he ordered an MRI, which showed a stress fracture, leading to the call I referenced above.
This call came in three minutes before I had a meeting with new cooking lesson clients, so suffice it to say, I chose not to let it sink in just yet.
By the time my meeting ended and Chris got back from the gym I was sitting on the steps of our entry way in a stupor just staring blankly ahead.
How the heck was I going to do nothing for 6 weeks? Even though I’d been incorporating my meditation, there was no way I could sustain being totally sedentary!
I let myself sink into that negative space; I had to break, otherwise I would not have been able to rebuild.
Thankfully, I had a referral to another doctor, one who also happens to be a triathlete and one who also happens to be far more liberal.
No pain? Then go for it. Swimming? Of course, just be careful not to push off the wall with the left foot. Cycling? Yes, go ahead, but do so indoors on your trainer, just in case of the unlikely need to clip out in a hurry or stand up out of the saddle. Water running? 100%.
And he gave me a boot which is half the height of the other one and said based on the findings of the MRI he ordered, it looks as though the fracture is already healing, so chances are that I’ll be out of the boot in maybe half the time.
By then, two days had passed and i began to feel better.
For the most part, I am sitting in gratitude:
1) This is temporary
2) I can cycle
3) I can swim
4) I can water run
5) I can see my biomechanics specialist to sort out why this happened so it does not happen again
6 ) The next race is 10 weeks away so I can still plan to perform at IM Hawaii 70.3, our yearly getaway course, my very favorite, apart from Kona.
However, I would be telling lies if I pretended I was totally zen about it.
It is still annoying to feel so limited in daily activities, like not being able to take the dogs on a hike, or to hobble up and down the stairs and put lifts in my right shoe in order to keep my hips level and prevent asymmetries from occurring.
And when Chris said he was going out with the roadies for a century filled with thousands of feet of climbing, yes, I was envious.
But at the end of the day, this happened for a reason, it’s a short and temporary thing which occurred and I can recall from a past injury (torn hamstring 10 days out from LA in 2011), I came back stronger and broke my PRs in both Ironman and the marathon.
It’s been so helpful to have had several friends with whom to chat and glean from their experiences of being in a boot, such as the fact that when you’re in a boot, you see more other people in a boot, too!
Reminded me of my mom; when she was still able to walk, before her MS had progressed so far, she’d often raise her cane up when out in a about, when she’d see another person with a cane and say something silly, as to make a declaration… “I have MS- what’s wrong with you?”, but done so in a way she’d always make the other person smile.
(Again- perspective. That’s MS. This is a month in a boot. Come, now.)
I do see more people also in a boot!
And I did have the same concerns- like how much fitness might I lose?
Fortunately, the worry that many athletes have about gaining weight isn’t an issue as I’ve got that dialed in. (Guess what? High fat combined with abundant, alkaline veggies and wild proteins also helps bones heal as it allows us to absorb our nutrients compared to eating too much sugar, which prevents us from doing that as well as makes us less likely to lay down bone! )
One friend suggested I share a post about this each week as a resource for others who might be going through something similar. What a great idea!
What questions do you have? How can I help? I won’t pretend to be a bone healing specialist, but I am more than happy to either provide an honest answer about something… or tell you I don’t know and then find out!
Reach out! I won’t write ‘misery loves company” because I am not remotely miserable, but I will say it is comforting to know that so, so many athletes have set backs like these, so let’s engage!