I've been having a rough week. It's been stressful at work, I have been having crazy nightmares so my sleep hasn't been good, and after-work hours have been chock full of obligations and activity too.
To top it off, Gertrude is complaining at me very loudly. After success last week, I decided to increase to a 2:1 run/walk interval. Monday went great. That evening, no pain. I was thrilled with this development and for the first time, started to really think that maybe I'm moving forward and truly putting this whole nightmare behind me.
On Tuesday, I made a poor footwear decision and by the evening I was paying for it. I didn't panic yet, chalking it up to the bad shoes and nothing more.
Yesterday morning, my goal was to run a continuous half mile. When I got out of bed, I was in pain. When I got to the track I was filled with trepidation but went ahead. I completed my 30 minutes, including two half-mile segments accompanied by a dull underlying pain at the same level of what I experienced on my first run/walk sessions during week 1. As the rest of the day wore on, it hurt more and more. By the time I got home around 7:30pm, I was in a very foul mood in large part because of the pain.
While I was sitting on the couch with an ice pack ace-bandaged to Gertrude to try to shut up her wailing, I surfed Facebook to kill time and came across the story of ultra runner Dave Mackey, whose leg was crushed during an accident on the trail. He has gone through 13 surgeries, none of them particularly successful, and is reduced to hobbling with a cane. Basically, he can't take it anymore and has decided to have the leg amputated to be free of the pain and says he looks forward to a return to running (and life) with help of a prosthesis. I immediately felt a kinship with him and cheered his brave decision.
Of course I know that my situation is nowhere near as dire as Mackey's, but there have been numerous times over the past months where I have said that I'd rather just cut this offending off and get a prosthesis. Everyone of course thinks that sounds absolutely crazy and many probably think Mackey is crazy too - but I get it. After only 6 months of dealing with my issue, I am ready to be done with it. I am MORE than ready. I already feel like it will never end.
I wonder if I will ever be able to wake up in the morning and not dread getting out of bed because I know how much those first steps are going to hurt - reminding me that I am broken and feeble where I was once strong and unstoppable.
Will I ever not have to pick my work footwear according to which pair of comfort shoes will look the least ridiculous with the rest of my outfit? Will there come a day when I can walk past the shoe section of a department store and actually be able to try on the pretty and fun shoes that I used to love so much? I'm only 33 years old - much too young to be sentenced to the comfort shoes that I detest - that make me feel frumpy, short, and dull.
Will I ever be able to plan a recreational activity without having to wonder if there will be too much standing involved or too much walking and if there is, whether or not there will be seating so that I can rest? Or if there will be too much sitting which will result in awkward and painful steps when I go to leave?
Or NOT be the person bringing up the rear of the group - the one who everyone else is waiting for?
This morning my alarm went off at 5:15am and I lay in bed, pointing and flexing my toes and stretching my calf even though I knew it would be of little use. I steeled myself and put my feet into my shoes then hobbled painfully through the process of getting ready for spin class. Before surgery, my foot never hurt like this in the morning. All of my pessimistic thoughts from the night before hit me full force and then some, leading inevitably to the question of what I'm supposed to do in April.
"This is just ridiculous, there is no way it's going to happen. You can't even run a half mile without suffering. There is no way you're going to run 26.2 miles in six months. What are you doing? You're done. Hang it up."
I can't stop these thoughts.
This morning was Becca's spin class. I love Becca because she yells at us (in an encouraging way of course) to keep us motivated. She reminds us to ask ourselves why we came. Why are we here? What's your goal? Where do you wanna be?
For nearly 2 years, the answer to that question has been Boston - that I'm using spin to get stronger and faster. Before I qualified, it was to get that BQ. After I qualified and didn't get in, the answer was to give the BAA a big old middle finger by beating my BQ by 5 minutes. During my down time, it's been to fight to retain some shadow of my former running self, using whatever I can to maintain fitness that would hopefully translate back into running.
This morning, I told myself that it is still Boston, mainly because I am trying desperately to convince myself it's possible and not just a crazy pipe dream. That I won't forever be in pain. That this wasn't a huge mistake and that I'm done.
And who am I kidding... the other reason I was in spin was because I wanted an Old Bay Cheddar Biscuit from Early Bird Biscuit Co this morning and needed to feel like I earned it.
Boston and biscuits.
I'd like to say that my spin class -in which I really kicked some butt, I must say - and biscuit made me feel more like I will run Boston in April. But sadly, it didn't. As soon as I get up from this chair, I will quickly be smacked back down to the reality that yes, while I have a Confirmation of Acceptance postcard with a return address of Hopkinton, MA, I am no Boston Marathoner at this moment.
And at this point, I don't know if I ever will be.