It all started so innocent. I had a little stress fracture and a little anterior tibialis tendonitis in June. I rested and came back to it - slowly by all means. A couple of months later the 1-year old plantar fasciitis (that was there but not really stopping me) began rearing its head - likely due to over-compensating for the right leg pain, I put some more weight on a left. At some point, since I was ignoring it completely, it tore a bit at calcaneus attachment, accumulating a bone edema as well at that place. So, OK, sucks, I rested a bit more. And came back, again, slowly. But since the pain in the inside of the heel was still quite prominent, my body reacted by rolling the foot on the outside a bit more to compensate...yet again. Now, I was king of hurting on both, outside and inside, of my left foot, yet running here and there some, not much, just waiting (and not doing anything else - but, you know, RICE, right?) Best treatment is rest, so I was, by my definition, resting.
Then Grand Canyon trip came, and there was no way I was ditching it, so I ran. It was fun. I have no regrets. By the end of the crossing, I kept uncontrollably rolled my foot who knows where and the outside of my ankle began hurting, turning into a peronial tendonitis. But, you know, it's just -itis, right? Nothing a little rest wouldn't cure.
But it didn't. Nor did it anything good for my foot - outside or inside. And I succumbed, I went to a doctor. Doctor Chris Seller of Performance wellness is awesome. I actually told him so - and I hate medicine in this country. He is one of a few (of whom I can count on one hand) medical professional who had listened from start to finish, HEARD what was said, applied THINKING and LOGIC, and drew conclusions.
Doctor Chris Seller, however, is not a magician. Sadly. Because by avoiding my injury for so long and pretending it's not there, things had gotten to the point where it will take a lot of time and care to get them unwind back. You see, as the PF tear was healing, since it wasn't stretching or strengthening correctly, it got all bunched up at the spot of a tear and caught a few other tendons...and, most importantly, trapped a nerve. As I kept my denial alive and rolled the foot, trying to run, same issue happened on the outside - and trapped yet another nerve there. In a meantime, all those tendons had adhered to each other and even to the bone. Keeping those couple of nerves trapped inside, inflamed, squeezed, bundled up and screaming in agony of pain. That, and a couple of foot bones getting "dropped" (prolapsed) as they don't hold in place anymore.
Thus the treatment. He digs in, he tries to separate the fibers, pull each of them apart, away from one another and the bones, free the nerves...which don't really want to come out, punishing me for not listening to them at the time it was still not gone far.
Who would have known. I had run through so many things, and some little silly nerve entrapment(s) stopped me dead. With little light at the end of a tunnel. Almost 6 months of no real running, and I wonder how I am still keeping my sanity. I almost stopped dreaming of races (although had one 2 nights ago, and in it I won a random 50 miler I didn't even knew I was running), I am not making plans, I am somewhere between despair and content...not sure which one is worse.
I even cried today, as I was laying on a cot with electrodes stuck around my foot after excruciating digging. Just quietly cried, tears silently countering my face. I am tired. It's not the end of the world. But today I felt simply tired, down and somber. It's a humbling experience for sure. I am not invincible...
But that's ok, no condolences required.This stupid little thing had also given me a lot in exchange. It gave me appreciation of what I was able to do before. And what I plan to do to some extent again. On what it means to me. Not to race, not to participate in crowds, not to have a group belonging. But simply to run. It also reminded me that I have more than that in my identity. So much more. I am not just a runner. I am beyond. Nothing changes in the world when I stop. My family is here. My soul. My heart. My mind. I am still the same...
I am here for a long haul. I just need to inhale, be patient, and realize perspectives. This is what I am known for in so many other areas anyway:)
p.s. it was actually awesome to throw caution out the window this post-rain morning at the dark-o'early and run "fast" (ha! at 9 min/mile pace) for 4 miles and push. I was curious if I could push. It was so greatly missed...so much.