So I sorta dropped off the face of the planet around here, no? Sorry about that. After I printed off and filled out the sheet to sign up for the 5K I wrote about last time, I had another run. Nothing unusual to start, but by the end, I knew something was wrong.
See, in 1998 I was in a car accident. Someone pulled out in front of me while I was going about 40 mph and I stood on the brake to try to stop in time. When plowed into the side of the car that pulled out, the brake was jammed up into my right foot, breaking it in three places in between bones and in hard to see places that normal x-rays didn’t show. I had x-rays at the ER, at the regular doctor’s office, and a month later when I still couldn’t walk on the foot, again at the orthopedic surgeon’s office. It took a radioactive bone scan and then an MRI to find the break. I asked the doc then if their difficulty to find meant they were minor, cracks that would heal fine. Nope. I’m not that lucky.
I had to have surgery to fuse together a big clump of my foot bones and afterwards, it became apparent I had nerve damage. If the nerves didn’t improve by six months post-op, they likely would never be fully restored. For my troubles, I got four, three inch long screws and four metal plates in my right foot and a four inch long scar from my big toe up my instep and nearly to my ankle.
Half my foot is still numb, 12 years later. The half that’s not numb screams if I step wrong. The whole thing swells, and I have to be very careful of my shoes.
So why the hell do I want to be a runner? How can I be deluded enough to think that I even can be a runner? Well, I’ve never actually tried like I am right now. I don’t know that I can’t be. I see people who lose legs and feet become runners. If not them, why not me? I just have some obstacles to overcome, some extra care to take.
So when the run after I had filled out the paperwork and made a note to write the check and mail my registration and fee resulted in a swollen foot, I figured it was normal.
I was wrong. By the end of the day, my foot barely fit into my work shoes, and as soon as I got home to take my shoes off, it swelled even further. Ice therapy helped, as did staying off it. The swelling went down after a few days. But the pain didn’t.
Long story short, I haven’t run in a month. I don’t know that I should start again despite what my desires are. I don’t want to derail my fitness again so severely that I can barely do any of it that involves my legs. It’s not a dealbreaker unless I don’t take extra care.
In talking about my frustrations with my husband last night, he very gently suggested that perhaps trying to run right out of the gate is not the strategy that will lead me to being a runner in the longterm. Perhaps I should do biking and other things that will help me lose some of my excess 100 lbs, which will eventually relieve some of the stress and force applied to my bad foot while trying to run. Perhaps, if I can shed half the weight, my foot will adap better to the changes in my fitness level, and also the act of losing the first 50 will strenghthen muscles surrounding the fused bones that cause me pain.
Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps I can’t be a runner just yet. So while my foot heals, I’ve been rethinking how I’m going to approach losing this weight. Needless to say, my frustration level has been high, as has my impatience to get back to it. I feel like a slug with no motivation even though I know I need to wait a little longer to give my foot maybe a few more days or a week longer. It’s back to the drawing board.
But I’m not giving up. Far from it.