It has been over 7 weeks since I broke my arm on a training run. While I know that my arm is healing, it still seems like it is taking a long time. In addition to the physical discomfort from my broken arm, I had the disappointment of missing races for which I had been preparing for months. I derive joy not only from running a race but from the preparation for a race too. Instead of being a participant, I ended up being a spectator. That was really difficult.
I feel for Julius Randle, a rookie player on the LA Lakers basketball team, who fell and broke his leg during his NBA debut and the season opener. There had been high hopes for Julius to become a star player on the team. Now he will be out for the season. Teammate Kobe Bryant said that they will “find a silver lining” to Julius’s injury. Someone made the same comment to me about the silver lining of my broken arm. I am still trying to find it.
I am slowly making progress. With the help of massages, I am getting the locked-up muscles in my shoulder area loosened up. Massages have increased my mobility in my arm/shoulder and reduced my pain. Less pain means that I sleep better and sleep is extremely important for healing.
Keeping active was impossible for the first 3 weeks. I tried walking in my neighborhood but my arm bounced when I walked and irritated my shoulder. I resorted to riding a recumbent exercise bike, which is much less enjoyable for me. I wanted to find a way to run again.
In order to run, I needed to get a running bra that I didn’t need to pull over my head – something that I can’t do one handed. A friend who works in a running store helped me find one that I can easily put on. Last week I was able to put on my running shoes and run 3 miles. My husband said he hadn’t seen me smile that much in a long time. I was finally on the road back.
In the last 7+ weeks I have watched a lot of documentaries and read a lot of books. Most recently I watched “Breathe” about William Trubridge, a Kiwi who attempts to break his own world record free diving, diving unaided, to a depth of 300 ft. For his dive, William went to Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, the deepest blue hole in the world. I didn’t enjoy this film that much but I am not sure why. It seems insane to dive to those depths with the distinct possibility of passing out and drowning. William who can hold his breath from 7 1/2 minutes also does some crazy contortions to get as much air in his lungs as possible before he dives. I found it disturbing to watch William prepare to dive. In the trailer, you can see William’s contorted body. Here is a link to his web site in case you want to check him out.
I also watched “There is No Finish Line: The Joan Benoit-Samuleson Story” (which helped get those disturbing images from “Breathe” out of my mind). I have been a fan of Joanie’s since the 1984 Summer Olympics and this film made me an even bigger fan. It was interesting to learn how Joanie came to become a runner and what drives her, not only on the race course but in her non-running life as well. I had to laugh when Joanie recollected what her mother said to her when she won the Women’s Marathon in the 1984 Olympics: “will you stop running now?” I don’t think any of us can imagine Joanie not running.
One thing I tried to avoid during my recovery was couch surfing. Every day was focused on getting moving again. I recently read about three college friends who took the couch surfing concept to a whole new level. They bought a 1996 Dodge van off of Craigslist, loaded a futon into the back with their 2 dogs, and headed off from Burlington, Vermont on a four month, 18,000 mile journey around the United States. Apparently the trio had planned to take this trip last year but had to postpone the trip when one of them suffered a spinal injury. When he recuperated, they agreed that this trip would be a celebration for all of them, but especially of his recovery.
The group also wanted to show how varied the American landscape is. So when they hit a scenic spot, they would haul out the futon and take a selfie of the whole crew – dogs included – sitting on the futon. There are pictures of them next to pristine lakes, straddling railroad tracks, in flower filled meadows with mountains in the background, in deserts, and even on the beach in Southern California. Sometimes they hauled the futon over rocks, and an occasional river to get the right photo. You can see their photos here.
So no couch surfing for me. I will be slowly putting one foot in front of the other, trying to remain upright, focused on my next race.