Every little thing is gonna be alright. ~Bob Marley
photo: my last run before seeing the doc
It’s 8:34am, and I just sat down at the coffee bar waiting for my pour over. The weekends are “real coffee” days for me, which I knew wouldn’t help my edginess, but whatever. I did it anyway. With my laptop open and to-do list next to it, I decided to do the responsible thing and start self-diagnosing this pain in my right leg via all the medical professionals that contribute their knowledge to the interwebs. Oh, that’s right…. Most of these people aren’t doctors, and it’s not a good idea to formulate my own treatment plan based on anecdotal experiences and amateur research of people I’ve never heard of. Perhaps, I’ll keep that doctor’s appointment I made, after all. Surely it will be better than the three to twenty weeks of non-running (how’s that for a wild guess, right?) that these people are suggesting is on my horizon. Except that it’s not.
Since last weekend, I’ve gotten somewhere around 60ish miles in, and it wasn’t until Monday, or so, that I started feeling this weird twinge in my right leg – the inner shin between the ankle and the meaty part of my calf, to be exact. Since it hurt worse in the mornings or after long periods of stillness, I assumed it was tendon; but, as the week progressed, the pain worsened until yesterday, every time I’d stop at a red light and start running again, it felt like someone was stabbing a knife into a bruise on my bone. I immediately text my
running doc hero to get his advice. His advice: come see me tomorrow at noon, and bring your shoes. Let me tell you that this is never a good sign! At this point, my run is now a walk and my walk is now a limp. I agreed to meet him.
My brain turned on sometime before 5am today, but I lay quietly for a while before giving in to the morning, at which point I sat on my bed half-dressed trying to dump the words that were sitting in my head out onto the paper. Forty-five minutes later, no less monkey-minded, but finally fully dressed, I headed out for a run. Stupid? Yes, probably, but again… whatever. I was going to see the doc in a few hours. This run. This run was one of those runs that makes you feel fully alive and free because it’s finally chilly enough to almost need gloves, leave the handheld behind, and feel your heart beat because you’re feeling so damn good, not because it’s rebelling against the insane Oklahoma humidity. This run was one of those runs that requires you to take a picture of your watch at the end (see above) and immediately send it to one of your best friends so that he can share in your excitement because he gets that good numbers equals a good run. And he’s good like that. This run was one of those runs that makes you second guess your appointment with the doctor because of course you can’t run like that if you’re injured! Except that you can.
I sit down on the table in Dr. Tom’s office, and immediately my thoughts turn to how much I don’t want to be there. I adore him. He completely rocks in all the ways. Damn, do I hate being in his office, though. We’re chattering about ugali and writing and yoga and about eleventy-seven million other things when he starts poking around on my leg. He’s slipping questions in every few minutes, and I’m trying my damnedest to answer and then move my mind away from the words I’d just spoken. I don’t know…. Maybe I was thinking that if I didn’t sit with them too long, they wouldn’t be real. Buried underneath those faulty bullshit thoughts, though, I knew what was coming. Before I could even stop myself, I offered up that “Two people have mentioned shin splints: Jonathan Lambert and some complete stranger who saw me hunched over it at the Myriad Gardens yesterday….” The rest of the conversation went a little something like this:
Dr. Tom: “Oh, Adi… I wish it were just shin splints.”
Me: more silence
Me: more silence until I couldn’t stand it anymore, and then “Are you thinking stress fracture?”
Dr. Tom: “I’m not thinking stress fracture.”
Here’s the thing…. I’m not the best at addressing things going on in my body as soon as they start happening. Rather, I tend to employ the “suck it up because things will work themselves out” method. Since I’ve been pretty dedicated to the idea of running Rocky Raccoon 100 well, though, I’ve turned into some sort of good-Adi alter ego, and decided that fixing the pain is better than suffering through it. As soon as the word “fuck” left my mouth, this new and unprecedented smart side of me turned on in full force and I refused any sort of bandaid option. I asked him to tell me how to heal this thing the fastest because I was prepared to take a running hiatus now if that meant I could be on that course in February. It’s early enough in the training that I can do that. With unquestionable confidence that he will have me running again before Rocky (because he’s good like that), he laid out what I need to do and not do for the next two weeks until I come back in to be reevaluated. After half a roll of tape and his famous custom made wedges stuffed into my shoe, I hobbled toward the exit with an appointment card and an unyielding will not to lose my shit on the way to the car.
I still wasn’t quite sure what to do with this information, so staying true to my methods (those methods being extreme sarcasm and healthy doses of dry wit as defense mechanisms), I sent the following text to my friend, and then prepared myself for the questions that were sure to follow:
I've got two tickets to Porter Robinson and a stress fracture.
Within the hour my phone rings, and in my head, I’m halfway through a string of ways that this can be a positive thing before I even utter the “hey!” to the person on the other end. And that brings me to the point of this whole saga: positivity. Otherwise known as Pollyanna-ing the shit out of things – a phrase I’ll explain in another post. By the way, you actually can hold your breath because my right tibia has now gifted me a shit ton of extra writing time, which is first on a very important list of Pollyanna-isms.
1) I’ve been struggling with writing for several months, now... writing of the creative nature, that is. I can churn out some meaningful words, sure, but lately, they’ve been less personal to me and more so to those close to me. I’ve got this self-imposed policy that I won’t publish anything that makes anyone else feel vulnerable or exposed. Fortunately, this particular situation will make me just narcissistic enough to do a lot of internal focusing. <-- just a little taste of that aforementioned sarcasm.
2) I’ve been battling some plantar issues for quite a few months now, but since I could run through it without getting injured, I just dealt with the pain. And as I wrote that last sentence, it occurred to me that there is a bit of obvious irony in it. In any case, I’m forced to rest and it should actually heal.
3) I’ll be back in the pool again. Okay, so I actually loathe swimming laps because you smell like bleach for the next twenty-four hours, and can’t chatter or laugh when something funny pops in your head. Well, you can, but not without choking. Still, though… swimming is really, really good for you, and doing things that are really, really good for you has to be positive, right?
4) I’m now forced to lead left when I handstand. This has been a four-year battle for me. I ALWAYS lead right because it’s my stronger side, and I like to feel strong in yoga. Funny how that works. No more, though. For the next few weeks, my left leg is going to do the work, and I truly will be bringing balance to my body. Funny how that works.
5) It made me realize that I don’t get near the calcium that I should. Of course as soon as I left the doc’s office, I immediately sat down to research all the ways I can speed this shit up, and naturally, consuming the appropriate amount of healthy bone minerals (calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium, in case you’re wondering) tops most of the lists. Before going vegan, I never thought about how much of those things I was getting. As it turns out, after going vegan, I didn’t think about it either. Now, I do.
6) It reinforced, once again, what truly incredible people I have in my life. I don’t tend to lose sight of that, generally speaking, but it’s always good to have a reminder, even if it’s in the shittiest of forms.
So, here I sit, eleven hours into a three to twenty week injury treatment plan, and I’m actually feeling good. I made it to the other side of my “fake it till you make it” attitude, and can unequivocally say that Pollyanna-ing the shit out of this stress fracture is the first step to healing and that it will be another one of those lessons from the trail that translates to life off the dirt.
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