Injury and the Road to Recovery

When running plans are derailed by a broken foot. The Crazy Hamster is officially on IR to start 2020

December 2019.  The end of the year, but also the end of the DECADE!

As I sit here and reflect on the last year, I can’t help but smile! I had come pretty lofty goals, some I reached, some I came close.  I was able to travel to some pretty amazing places, traveling with great friends and met even more along the way. I was already looking forward to an epic 2020, with even more crazy goals and adventures planned.

But last week, all of those plans came to a screeching halt.

Now, I sit here looking at a virtually blank calendar for 2020… waiting for what comes next…

But I think I need to back up just a bit….

After xrays and an MRI, The foot pain that I have been dealing with for several months finally had a diagnosis.

Apparently since late summer, I have been running on a fractured sesamoid bone in my left foot!  Yes, I ran 4 half marathons on a broken foot, 2 of them being my fastest ever!  That also does not include all of the training miles, strength training and teaching 2 cycling classes a week.Now that I know what I am dealing with, I am trying to figure out how I managed to do all of that!

Now that I look back on the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that I have this fracture since at least mid August.  For those of you that follow me on FB, you may recall the amazing Orange Sherbet Brooks shoes that I bought.  Well, after just 2 runs with them, I brought them back to RunAway shoes because they hurt my feet.  In reality, it was this injury rearing it’s ugly head.  All the pain I was feeling at that point was exactly where I am dealing with this fractured bone!

I bought different shoes and moved forward, but still was dealing with the same pain.  It usually didn’t hit until 5+ miles into a run, but it was always there.

I have 2 half marathons in September and noticed the pain each time once I got past mile 6. One of these races was my target half marathon for the year.  I wanted a PR and I wanted a 2:15 finish.  Neither happened.

I finally broke down and visited Chad at the Bellin Injury clinic the day after I got back from the Whiskeydaddle half marathon (October 15th).  This was supposed to be marathon #3 but because my training had not really been where I wanted it to be AND I had been dealing with this nagging foot, 26.2 miles did NOT seem like a good idea.  After driving to Peoria all day Friday, I talked to the race team and officially transferred to the half.

Best choice I had made all year.  Before the race, I decided that since I was not running the Full, if I felt ok on race morning, I was going for that PR that I missed a few weeks before in Michigan.   Once again, right around mile 7, my foot woke up. Thankfully I was running with great friends who kept me distracted and moving forward.   I pushed my way through and finished strong.  I hit that PR and spent the afternoon celebrating that epic finish.

After driving home, and headed to see Chad, he noticed that I had a blister UNDER the callous on my left foot.  He gave me a treatment plan for that we were working forward.  I gave it some rest, did some icing, and a few other things to get me moving again.

Fast forward about a month… the Madison Marathon was supposed to be marathon #4. Once again, transferred to the half, as I knew that I was not going to be able to complete 26.2 miles with a strict 6 hour cutoff.  I can fake it/push it through the last 6 miles of a half marathon… but there is no way that I can fake it through the last 19 miles of a marathon!  I ran that 13.1 miles with another great friend who help make sure I made it through those miles, even once my food started hurting.

Monday morning found me back in Chad’s office for further consultation.  This time I left with a referral to the PA in the foot specialist office at Bellin.  A week later I was scheduled for another appointment and x-ray.  This appt brought on the confirmation of inflammation, but did not rule out a stress fracture of further damage to my food and as a result… an appt for an MRI.  1 week and an expensive 45 minute nap later, I got the call, just as I was finishing up work for the morning.

The confirmation of the fractured sesamoid bone.

I will be honest – I kept my cool during the conversation with my PA, but when I got off the phone, it all hit me.  Telling a runner they are dealing with an injury is one thing… telling a runner they may not run for up 60 month is not too far short of a death sentence.  I spent the next 20 minutes or so wrapping my head around what I was told and then made the call to set up my next appointment.  With the foot specialist.  I knew that Dr Anderson was tough to get in to see, even with a referral, but now that I had a referral from his PA, I was able to get in the 1st week of January (much better than the Mid March it could have been with the referral from Chad).

It wasn’t until I got home that I realizes just who my new foot specialist was!  As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across THIS article that was shared by Bellin Health, originally posted by EPSN!  I knew that Dr Anderson was good, but I didn’t realize to what extent!!!  If Cam Newton and Marcus Davenport trusted Dr Anderson to get them back on the field, I am pretty sure he can get me running again!

Honestly, I think this was the exact article I needed to see that day… to assure me that everything WILL be ok, and that I WILL run again.

Image result for injured runner

So now, as I sit there and try and get used to my new “normal” (at least for the next several months), I know that I need to find other outlets for stress and fitness, since I can’t just go out and run 5 miles whenever I need it.  I also am realizing really quickly that I need to figure out how to eat again…. I can’t eat like I am still running 20-30 miles per week!  The scale has already reminded me of that since I have not run since Madison in November!

Over the next few months, I plan on using this platform to document my road to (potential) surgery and then recovery.  This diagnosis but my slowing me down and keeping me from getting closer to some of the goals I have set, but it is NOT going to stop me!  I WILL find other activities to keep me moving, and once I can run again, you can be guaranteed that I will be there.  It is going to be a slow process, but slow it better than nothing!

The Crazy Hamster may be down, but she will not quit!    Here’s to coming back stronger on the other side!

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