You may have noticed that I haven’t written on my blog for the last couple weeks. I was trying to come to terms with my latest injury. I didn’t want to talk about it, write about it, or even think about it. While running two and a half weeks ago, I tripped and broke my big toe. My podiatrist told me no running, cycling, or even swimming for at least 4 weeks. There is no way to speed things up. I just have to rest my toe and hope for the best.
My emotions went the whole gamut. First I was frustrated. I blurted out “Why me?” to my husband. I immediately realized the absurdity of the comment. I sounded like Nancy Kerrigan, the Olympic ice skater, after she was attacked prior to the 1994 Winter Olympics. That curb I tripped over didn’t have it in for me. Things just happen and they are out of our control.
Then I was angry. I threw my running shoes into the back of my closet. I thought about giving up on this whole running thing, quitting my 50-State goal and no longer writing this blog. I never broke a bone while I sat working at a desk. Maybe I needed to get a job and go back to a sedentary life style.
Finally I became very depressed. It took me a long time to discover running. Now I was unable to do the very thing I loved the most. There were races that I was going to have to miss. My half marathon in Maine in July was scratched and another one in August is questionable. When I had mentioned the Chicago Marathon in October to my podiatrist, he was doubtful that I would be ready. I was devastated at the thought of missing that race. I may claim to be the funatical runner but I was neither running nor having fun.
I couldn’t think of any way to fill my days if I could not run. When I broke my arm almost 2 years ago, I gained 5 pounds that I struggled to lose. I feared that I was going to be reunited with those 5 pounds and maybe more. I could only sit and read. Let’s face it – reading is not an aerobic activity. I was doomed.
One day the song “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba popped in my head:
I get knocked down But I get up again You're never gonna keep me down
I had tried to get up again. I tried to have a positive attitude. I decided to stay as fit as I could by doing floor exercises like Pilates that wouldn’t require me to stand and put weight on my foot (and therefore my toe). My running coach sent me encouraging emails. But it was all an act. I just couldn’t get up again.
This week I read excerpts of an interview with Meb Keflezghi where he pointed out “everybody gets hurt.” Over the course of his marathon career, Meb has ruptured both quads, experienced Achilles tendonitis, a soleus tear, and a pelvic stress fracture. Getting injured is “part of the sport” according to Meb but “it’s how you deal with it that matters.” Compared to Meb’s injuries, my broken toe was nothing.
Meb’s words resonated with me. I needed to change how I was dealing with this injury – starting with my attitude. I could be “down-in-the-dumps, oh-woe-is-me” but that response would just be wrong. I have a friend whose husband is battling cancer for the third time. I have no business feeling sorry for myself because a broken toe was keeping me from running. I am going to be out there pounding the pavement again soon enough. I may be inconvenienced by my injury but people who are battling life-threatening illnesses like cancer have a questionable future.
It was time for me to get up again. I started by deferring my Chicago Marathon entry until 2017. I looked at the calendar and realized I could probably be ready for the New York City Marathon. I secured a bib through a charity and will be running through New York City’s five boroughs in November. I won’t be very fast but I will be able to finish the race. I got more serious about my Pilates training and started increasing the number of workouts I do each week. When I get approval from my podiatrist to start running, swimming, and cycling, I will work with my running coach to get back into aerobic shape. I am fortunate that I was in very good physical condition when I fell. I should be able to bounce back quickly.
So far I have not gained any weight. I am eating much better thanks to the wide variety of healthy vegetables and fruits available at the local farmers’ market this time of year. I plan to add more exercises to my workout routine to help maintain my flexibility as well as strengthen my core. From a broken toe will emerge a stronger and more grateful runner.