Back in early December, I hurt my right foot running sprints. I assumed if I took it easy the pain I was feeling in the ball of my foot would go away.
It did not.
Between the holidays and a booked calendar, I didn’t make it into the doctor until this morning. I really had no idea what was causing me pain, but I’d assumed that the doctor would be able to advise me on how to fix it. And I suppose he did…by telling me I had to stop running.
Not the news I’d hoped for.
When I was younger and painfully shy and not at all athletic, I would joke that I did not have a body that was made for running. Turns out I was right.
An X-ray of my foot showed an incredibly high arch. “Like, absurdly high,” the doctor said. It also showed that my second metatarsal was, as the doctor put it, “longer than he thought possible.” Other doctors were called into to look at my freaky foot. He said the combination of the two things was putting stress on the ball of my foot, and more importantly, stretching my Achilles tendon in a not-so-good way. When I told him I’d been running for a couple of years and had a half marathon under my belt, he just stared at me.
“It’s a miracle you made it through that without snapping your Achilles,” he told me. “I don’t know how you did it.”
I left his office feeling numb, and not just from the steroid shot I’d just had in the top of my foot (um, OUCH). His recommendation: no long distance running. That means anything over 3 or 4 miles. No fast running. That means anything faster than a “brisk walk”. And if I wanted to continue running, there was talk of air insoles and custom-made orthopedics and other things that made my checking account cringe even harder than it does when it hears “runDisney”.
You guys…I’m sad. I realize that this is not the end of the world. It is not life threatening, or cataclysmic, and I am thankful that I walked out of the hospital today on my own volition and healthy. But over the past few years, running has defined me–as a person, as a mom, as a writer. I’ve made friends and cheered on total strangers from sidelines and over social media. I cried when the bombs went off in Boston, because it seemed cruel and unusual to hurt runners who were that close. I dreamed of the New York City Marathon, of going Dopey, of being fast. And so, I’m letting myself be sad while I get used to the idea of a new running reality. It’s going to be another 3-6 weeks before I undo the damage I did back in December, and after that I’m not sure what the landscape will look like.
That being said, I’m not going to let myself wallow for too long. After all, I started this blog because I wanted a well-rounded, healthy life…and that means more than running. It means yoga and spin class and weight lifting and boxing and nutrition and barre class and…
Well, you get the picture.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a runner, it’s that you don’t quit. You get up early, you sweat, you cry at mile 11 and you keep going until you hit the finish line. You persevere. I plan to take that runner’s attitude and apply it to the wealth of other things I can do to be healthy. I can thank running for making me brave enough to try new things, and to opening up a whole world of possibility.
How do you handle bad news?