Longer story short: after the pain in my left ankle failed to subside, the beyond helpful training staff suggested I get into a walking boot and was run-less for an entire month. I instantaneously flashed back to what happened now seven years ago:
Post Accessory Navicular Removal Surgery, May 2003.
That too was not a happy time, regardless of the thumbs up. But good to know I painted my toenails back then.
Health care bureaucracy made it take forever to get into my PCP who, shockingly referred me to an ortho specialist, who (well, for starters I didn’t even get to see an actual doctor, just a physicians assistant, grumble) said, yeah…stay in a boot and I’d get an MRI. OK.
So here was the important highlights of my last seven days:
Monday, May 24: fell asleep amidst an MRI in a ridiculously hot radiology department. You would think they would be able to regulate the temperature in a hospital, but nope; a world-renown teaching hospital= suite 237 in the FAC. Scary.
Later that day, Mike Gilmartin, head trainer extraordinaire takes me down to the one place I have never been in my three years traipsing about the FAC: sports medicine’s lair. It was bizarre, as it’s a doctor’s office. Right there! Dr. Hutchinson kindly took time out of his schedule to look at the results of the MRI, and said he saw nothing resembling a stress fracture, which was the main and most feared diagnosis.
Monday night: half mile on the treadmill, no pain.
Tuesday: 3.44 on the FAC pathways, no pain.
Friday: 2 miles on the treadmill, no pain. Run at 9:00 minute miles and faster, just to remember what that pace felt like. Had the distinct pleasure to have my friends over for a pre-race food consumption.
Saturday: As of Monday, I was not going to participate given I had a black bulky boot on my foot. As of Wednesday, I was going to be highly conservative and run a mile, walk a mile.
With the horn/gun (don’t remember what it was, actually) I, along with five current/former co-workers and my guy were off. Within the first mile, I found Gilmartin, and the dearly missed Brian Forth worked his way over and the three of us worked really well together through six miles. I credit the impeccably even pace (we went 9:50, 9:08, 9:04, 9:05, 8:53, 9:05 for the first six) to Mike; the man is a metronome.
Mile seven was fine, honest. It started to feel warm around that point, and my tight contact with the two gents was slipping. We got to the water station, and the crowding was bad enough that I walked through it instead of getting run into. I saw the pair I had gone over halfway through this thing with only 20 meters ahead, but that’s when the wheels fell off.
Final four miles: 9:22, 10:00, 10:33, 9:55...
Ugh. I just ran out of gas, and it hurt to move that slowly. Not physically, but mentally. I had come so far at a really frigging satisfying pace, and just splutted. My back started hurting, lifting my legs was unhappy, and I just felt gross. My foot did start aching, but not in a concerning way, more in a please stop this absurdity kinda way.
Seeing a trio of University Commons chums with a bit over a mile to go helped, but I couldn’t move much quicker. If this was a ½, it would have turned even uglier.
Final mile. Was invigorated by the potential of finishing. Wrapping around the stadium was cool, and a quick look at the course map helped out immensely in terms of knowing how much more there was until the finish line.
After a disconcerting decent into the underbelly of McCormick place, with non-exsistent lighting (the road wasn’t 100% even, seemed like a really great way to turn ones ankle in a missing patch of concrete; glad no one did) the entrance into the races namesake was a decline into a much brighter, open space. Down and around to the actual fields opening was cool. Wish I wasn’t hurting as much and could have soaked it in a bit. Did notice the sheer number of people sitting in the stands, the cheering was awesome.
At the very least, I crossed the line with good-looking form. I definitely said “f@ck!” to myself as I stopped my watch. I found my people after we all finished, no one worse for wear. I’m fortunate of that, given that the race organizers declared a level black due to the increasing warmth and deemed the race over.
I’d be interested to know how race officials dealt with people still a ways out on the course; yes, there was a pre-determined time cut-off but what are you going to do—“hey you at mile seven, please stop running and walk. I SAID WALK!!!!” I understand they officially declare things over so as to avoid litigation if something goes really awry, but is there no self-responsibility? Saw one guy being iced down with an IV as I left the stadium; saying he was in agony would be an understatement.Have to wonder if pride got in the way of that, but I have a different mentality. Yeah, my ego would have been bruised, but if anything felt off kilter, even the slightest bit, I was going to cease and desist. Maybe it’s a rarity to be in tune enough with your body, but if things are going wrong, stop. I’m willing to call things off come October 11 if something goes wrong or the heat is obscene (I know I don’t do well in humidity); would it suck? Um, yes! But knowing there are other alternatives and can enter another race down the road (rationally, Indy has a marathon the first week of November…irrationally, *insert warm/nifty location here*) can help with that decision if it needs to be made.
A post-race grill fest on the upper parking deck capped things off for an awesome day. I wish the soreness had reached a level of “good soreness”, but never did. Foot felt fine afterwards, so a nap and some icing made everything alright in the afternoon.
With things feeling good, and an open summer in front of me, getting back on track makes me feel much better. I have a much better sense of cross training to avoid any overuse injuries from this point on, and it’s just me, 132 days, my feet and a combination of my rowing machine with a bike every now and again. And I finish typing as the Hawks get game two. A very good weekend, indeed.