I am so f*ed.
Well, that’s not entirely true. But at a minimum, I am moderately screwed. A few weeks ago, I tweaked my left foot on an easy 6 mile run. At the time, it struck me as a minor inconvenience – like an irritating (yet curable) case of tendinitis. But after 5 days of modified activity and a half a bottle of Advil, I felt no better. That’s when I knew – it was time to put my over-priced health insurance to good use.
Before I left on vacation, I saw my Doctor and gave him a run through of my symptoms. (Swelling of the foot, explosive pain while walking, excessive b*tchiness, extreme bouts of self-pity, increased desire to consume vodka, etc.) As I consider myself the czar of self-diagnosis, (thanks WebMD), I also went on to predict, “It’s a stress fracture.”
He didn’t necessarily agree.
He said, “You’re right, it may be a stress fracture. But you’re only 5 days into this so it’s too soon to x-ray. It could also be arthritis of the joint and a bruised bone, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Note: Swing on by and I’ll show you how good I am at ‘wait and see’.
So I go on vacation and hobble my way around the Outer Banks. I didn’t run, (obviously), but I did spend oodles of time swimming + cheating on Black Betty with a cruiser bike. (Check out that seat… bliss!)
Unfortunately, even though I was consciously trying to give my dawgs a rest, over the course of 7 days I could feel my left foot migrating from mad to holy-gawd-almighty-amputation-might-be-best.
The day before I’m due to fly home, I tug on my ‘empowered healthcare consumer’ pants and call my doctor’s office again to schedule a follow-up. Only this time I know… the diagnosis definitely isn’t going to be in my favor.
Immediately after making that call, I hopped on Amazon to order an Air Cam Walker Fracture Boot. I threw my old one away a year ago because I thought keeping it meant I was manifesting injury. I also knew that if I had to buy another one from the doctor it’d cost me my first-born.
My follow-up appointment was yesterday. After 90 minutes and a slew of x-rays, I was right – there is a fracture in my third metatarsal.
Doc pulls up the x-rays and says, “You see that?”
“Yes,” I reply. (There is an angry white line through the middle of my bone – of course I see it.)
Forever the optimist, I didn’t spend too much time dwelling on the diagnosis. (After all, I knew it was coming.) Instead, I immediately wanted to know, “What are we looking at here? How long before I’m back out on the road?”
He gets an Orthopedic Specialist on the phone who recommends:
4 weeks off from ALL biking + swimming
8 – 10 weeks off from running
Note: If it takes 10 weeks to heal this b*tch, I’ll be about 2 weeks out from my half-Ironman event. As I’m doing the math in his office yesterday, the gravity + hilarity of my situation had my oh-sh*t-o-meter spinning off it’s axis.
While he’s busy walking me through my ‘personal care instructions’, my mind is already 100 steps ahead. I’m mentally running down the list of what’s still possible – weight training, core + trunk strengthening, the upper body ergometer bike, etc.
On my way home, I call my coach and give her the news. She says, “No problem Brook, I’ll send you an updated training plan by the end of this week. Oh, and now might be a really good time to pour yourself a stiff drink.” (I did.)
Then this morning, I got on the phone with my PT and we discussed building a plan that focuses on my rate of perceived exertion, a strategy that uses substitute activities to build strength, maintain fitness and more importantly, keep my mindset on the right side of the fence.
With almost 24 hours to chew on things, here’s where I’ve settled:
I’m not ready to ‘call’ Austin. Not even close. Is this how I wanted to experience my first 70.3? Given a choice, no. But my hand for this training round has been dealt. And while I don’t love the cards, they’re still MY cards – and I plan to play ‘em ‘til the house folds. (Or until Kenny Rogers tells me to run.)
Let the games begin.
P.S. Many of you have written to say you were derailed by a stress fracture of some kind – if you have any advice for a work around pop on over and share. www.Facebook.com/BrooksFirstMarathon.
P.S.S. So get this… Elena Cruise from the United Kingdom thought it’d be a brilliant idea to STEAL my head shot and use it as her profile picture on LinkedIn. It’s under investigation now, but seriously? Who does that?
P.S.S.S. Meet Judy – she was my x-ray tech yesterday. Man did this woman put a smile on my face. For starters, she’s run 3 marathons. Her favorite? Chicago. Her time? A 3:33:00. The year? 1982. Awesome, awesome, awesome.