This post is one that has been on my mind for almost 2 weeks now. And to be honest, it probably would have sounded a bit different had I written it then. Now, I’ve come to terms with my injury. But let’s work through this anyway.
So, I have a stress fracture. I’ve never broken a bone in my life (minus a fractured pinkie but that’s a story for another day). I’ve had a plethora of foot problems, but nothing like a stress fracture.
Sometime near the end of last quarter I believe, I noticed that my foot was hurting on and off. It didn’t feel serious at all. I remember walking around Seattle and being a little concerned that it was bothering my walking. I remember running the Hellyer 5k and thinking it was odd that my foot was hurting a bit, but I thought it was because it was cold and I wasn’t warmed up.
Honestly, the pain was pretty minor and I thought it was a bruise or a sprain or something.
Fast forward to the Cherry Blossom race. My foot was hurting for the first several miles and suddenly I had the feeling: “I wonder if this is a stress fracture.” I don’t know why I had that intuition, but quickly forgot about it because it wasn’t bothering me much.
I kept going along my life. One week it was a slight annoyance but I was still doing everything, the next I couldn’t walk. I truly believed I had a stress fracture then, and made an appointment immediately for an x-ray. I don’t know why I was so sure I had a stress fracture, but I guess the body knows! I knew almost nothing about stress fractures prior.
Then cue a frustrating process of waiting days for an MRI without further instructions (an x-ray doesn’t really show stress fractures, it just suggests where they might be, unless they are super severe, I believe). My x-ray was Tuesday, I couldn’t get an MRI until Friday, and I got nothing but radio silence from my doctor in terms of the results of the MRI. Meanwhile, I limped around for over a week while I waited, in quite a bit of pain. Finally, after no response to my calls or messages, I just made an appointment so I would have to be seen! The MRI showed a clear stress fracture in my second metatarsal, and I FINALLY got a boot. This makes me pretty angry that I had to wait a week for it, because it felt so much better with the boot, and that is a week I could have been healing! I was given the sentence: 6-8 weeks in a boot, an x-ray in 4 weeks to see how it is healing.
This could also be a little lesson in self advocacy. That’s something I’m general not good at, but felt I did pretty well with here. I went in the first time and essentially said, I think this is a stress fracture, I want an x-ray, and then despite lack of response I went in again to get answers.
That’s the story, but that’s not the point of this post.
I know teenagers are known for thinking they are invincible. Honestly, I never felt that way. I was almost always healthy, and never had serious injuries, but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t take risks, I just lived my life, as it was, and that was healthy. I did what I wanted, which I was reasonable about, and my body never really rebelled.
College has been a big fat lesson in “vincibility.” No, I’m not invincible. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m no longer a teenager and am entering the older, more delicate stage (yes, I realize I am still very young but it’s relative) of my life, but man. I’ve never had a serious injury before in my life (minus stitches), and within the past year I’ve had 2. I’ve been the sickest of my life once (mono), and chronically ill fairly significantly another time. I’ve been to more doctors in the past 4 years than ever before.
The shoulder in the fall was sort of a freak accident type of deal, rather than an overload/overuse type of injury, but still. I keep joking to my friends, since my birthday was last week, “I’m 22 now. I’m so old, my bones are already falling apart!” But honestly, sometimes it feels that way. What’s most concerning and puzzling to me is how this injury happened. I was training for a 10 mile race, on top of Crossfit and teaching spin, but that’s nothing I hadn’t done before. I’ve done 6 half marathons, why now? And now I’m forced to take a step back and think about what went wrong, and what the future looks like. The most important thing for me is to make sure I heal properly, and don’t re-injure it. Honestly, I don’t really care about not running right now. I see people running and think, “huh.” The drive to heal is so much stronger than my love of running.
I have to realize that I’m breakable. I have to be smart. I have to take care of myself. In college, that’s something that’s really easy to forget. In the health realm, you can’t never sleep, chug caffeine, eat junk, and expect to stay healthy. It’s not sustainable. When you have fewer restrictions on what you can and can’t do, it’s easy to make the fun decision instead of the long-term, self-care decision.
And this is where the post takes a bit of a turn from where it would have gone had I written it 2 weeks ago.
First, I think I should say that if the Cherry Blossom race was the cause of it (which I’m sure it was definitely not the sole cause), then honestly, worth it. That was an awesome experience, and probably a once in a lifetime type of deal.
Before I even went into my doctor’s appointment, I had gone through the various stages of grief and acceptance about my injury, assuming it was a stress fracture. I spent the first week gimping around (before the boot), wishing I could run. When I was given my 6-8 week sentence, I was crushed. Very little in terms of exercise (my doctor’s advice in this realm is some anger for another day), and the knowledge that I’d be graduating in this boot. You graduate from college once (well, sort of), and I would get to walk the stage in a boot. ( I shouldn’t use the conditional here: to be clear, I WILL get to walk the stage in a boot.)
The first couple of days with the boot were a little difficult. Stairs. Biking. It rained the first day I had it and had to bike to 4 classes.
But after a few days? Honestly, it basically doesn’t affect my life, or what matters. Biking is fine now. I can handle going down stairs (I can’t bend my ankle in the boot). Granted, my method is a bit high risk, high payoff, but I have yet to have issues!
I’m very mobile. I’m teaching modified spin. I go to my classes. I can still workout (more in a moment). I can go out with my friends and have a good time. I can enjoy all the graduation festivities. The only thing it really affects right now is my squirrel observations, because I have to hike up a hill and that’s just not pretty.
More on that picture in an upcoming post!
My foot needs to heal, and I’ve accepted that. I’m taking it easy, but I’m not letting the boot take over my life. Sidenote: it’s also been a fantastic distraction that I’m graduation in 3 weeks…wait what??
In terms of workouts, I’m surprisingly having a bit of fun with them. I’m being forced to be creative, and do a lot of things I normally do. Running is out, about 70% of Crossfit is out, and spinning isn’t exactly recommended, so I’m limiting it (but it does feel fine on my foot). So what am I doing?
I’ve been doing some weightlifting with deadlifts. These are the only weight lifting movement I’ll do standing, and they are ok only because all my weight stays on my heels. (And I don’t go very heavy.) I’ve been playing around with some of the weight machines at the gym, which I NEVER have used, and have found some fun things. I’ve been going to my Crossfit gym a few days, sometimes to ride the assault bikes, because the way my foot is positioned, they’re a little bit less sketchy on my foot. I’ve been working on pull ups. I’m consistent with my ability to kip, but my goal is to get a strict pull up by the time the boot comes off. Plus, I’ve been doing the pull ups in the boot, which has a little weight to it, so when it comes off I expect to shoot right up! I already feel stronger with my pull ups after 2 weeks of working on them. I’m actually pretty close to a strict, so here’s to more hard work!
I’ve also been doing a crazy amount of abs. These are 100% safe, no risk for my feet, so I’ve been doing some basic ab workouts I’ve done in the past, plus some Blogilates videos. My core is already way stronger! The fun thing about abs is you improve so quickly! I also plan on doing some of non-abs Blogilates videos. I did a killer butt one the other day and am feeling it. So basically I’m going to have killer abs by the end of this injury, right? That’s how it works?
Basically, despite things, I’m in a pretty good place. This is my new normal. Ever since getting the boot, my foot basically hasn’t hurt (not that I’ve tried walking on it.) The biggest struggle is the secondary pain the boot causes in the other parts of my foot, and trying to not get a stress fracture in my good foot, because it sometimes hurts too.
Here’s to health, and here’s to the future!