Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A PR and a Fractured Foot

I ran the Pengelly Single Dip last year and it reminded me to be grateful to this sport I love so much and for my ability to participate and endure it.  I remember getting to the race and thinking I didn't quite fit in with the other athletes.  It was like when I first started running and felt like an imposter.  But I found my zone and it became my favorite race of 2013.

This year I was excited rather than nervous for the race.  I'd made the route one of my regulars and I knew I could run it strong.

We started off for the base of Mt. Sentinel and slogged up the side of the mountain, already feeling the heat of the day (my nemesis).  I took it slow until I made it down the fire road.  Remember running around as a kid, those times when you just went as fast as you could?  As I came around a turn, I decided to do that.  I just wanted to have fun, so I stopped pacing and ran as fast as I could down the trail.

I passed people, jumped over the dips in the trail, and had a blast.  I let go of all the training and seriousness of trying to maintain X minutes per mile.  I slowed down again once I reached the road, but for those few minutes on the mountain I felt free.

Sam met me at the finish and we watched the Douple Dip finishers and sat in the grass.  I checked my time and saw that I had PRd.  It felt pretty damn good.

Pengelly Single Dip 2014

A little over a week later, I fractured my foot.

I woke up that morning and my foot felt sore, but it felt like the regular soreness of marathon training.  I figured it would fade like the other various kinks do once you start your day.

When Sam and I started, it was drizzling, which was a good thing.  Without having to deal with the heat, the run should have gone mostly smoothly.  A few miles in, I told Sam I was uncomfortable.  I adjusted my stride and tried to take it slow and steady.  It started to rain harder, but I like running in the rain.  My foot still hurt.

At 16 miles in, I had to stop.  I stretched my foot out and tried to put on a brave face.  I told Sam it felt like if I were to take off my shoe and sock, my foot would be black and blue.  But, yes I was fine and yes I wanted to keep going. 

At 17 miles in, I had to stop again.  I'm not a person that cries when I get hurt, I'm more of a suck it up type.  So, I stood there with Sam in the rain and held back tears.  He asked me what I wanted to do and I said that I didn't know, that I wanted to keep going, maybe.  I told him I didn't feel rational.  Could he just decide and I'd do what he said?  He said let's quit and I said two more miles.  Like it would resolve itself in that distance.

So we did two more miles and went home.  When I took off my shoe, my foot was red and swollen.  I couldn't even touch it to the ground, it hurt so bad.  We iced it and I felt stupid, but I cried.

I hoped it was minor and would heal on it's own, but after two weeks of limping around, it didn't.  I went to a specialist, they took x-rays, and told me that it was a stress fracture.  Goodbye first marathon, hello ugly black shoe.

My new nemesis

At the moment, I'm mid-way through the healing process.  I haven't run in almost a month and I'm ready to pull my hair out.  My foot doesn't hurt anymore, but I know it's still healing.  And the fear of re-injuring it worse is enough to keep me out of my running shoes.  Sam and I go on short walks and we kayak and try to stay active, but it's not the same. 

It made me realize something - I'm not, and never was, an imposter.  My race times never mattered.  I woke up before dawn, ate the bagels, and put in the miles just like other runners.  And I miss it.

But watch for the neon shoes, I'll be back soon.