Where I left off last year having missed a half marathon waiting to find out if I had a stress fracture turned out to be just the beginning.
I did infact have a stress fracture in the left 4th metatarsal of my foot. I was pretty pissed off because I knew that meant I was also going to miss another half at the end of June.
I dusted off my old mountain bike and begrudgingly started to ride it around Stanley Park Road and some days I’d go around twice cursing that damn Prospect Point hill all the way up. I also got a pass for the Vancouver Aquatic Centre (major hidden city gem) and started to water run or aqua jog as some call it. Water running for an hour is boring in general but it’s horrible at this particular pool, the only suitable place to do it is in the dive tank and you can’t see for shit. Adam went with me a couple times on the weekends but he couldn’t actually run in the water so he just swam next to me and I realized for the first time ever that water running isn’t easy. I learned how to do it sans water belt with my high school track team and have used it on and off whilst sick or injured whenever I’ve been running.
It was a long six weeks.
After what felt like years in runner time the sports doctor gave me a month of rehab running on the track. The first week I ran 3 days and 1 km on each day. By the end of the month I hadn’t ran over 3 km at one time but I was able to return to my regular miles.
On only my third real run Adam and I were on one of my favourite routes, at two points you run under Canada Place, it is dark under there but I left my Oakleys on because I have transition lenses in them and it wasn’t until the way back under that right after Adam had warned me to watch my step that I turned my ankle over, badly. I sat down on a curb and starting swearing at myself through tears and of course blamed not having removed my sunglasses even though people run at night and stuff so it being a bit darker from my glasses shouldn’t have mattered. Physio said that if destroying it completely was a three then I’d done a full two on it. It was bruised and swollen straight from one side to the other. The physio brought me a picture of a foot and started to point to things and used words like crushed and torn and it wasn’t the best day I’ve had at physio. I think the best news was finding out that it was likely going to take me out for longer than my stress fracture had. It did, a lot longer.
I was able to ride my bike again at first but no water running just a plethora of boring exercises, but I did them, every. fucking. day. When I was able to start water running again the aquatic centre was closed for cleaning for the entire summer and into September. Brilliant. This left me with the outdoor, Second Beach Pool which I had water ran in back in the early 2000s but I had a mini freak out because I figured times had changed and that people would get mad at me for what looks like simply treading water in a funny way up and down the slow lane. I got over it and went; it was actually fun again because I could see the rest of the pool and the aqua fit class started right when the pool opened so there was music, the time flew by. This is where I also forgot that you can tan under the water a HARD lesson I should have already learned after missing the bottom of the back of my legs in The Cook Islands and suffering a seriously bad burn while snorkeling.
I don’t even remember how many weeks I was out for exactly but I was eventually cleared to run, short, slow rehab runs again the only difference was they weren’t on the track this time. Everything was going well and I was building my miles back up and getting excited to race in the inaugural Eastside 10k in mid September which was actually more important to me than my halfs had been because I really wanted to be in the first one. The race was my first actual 10 km run in months. By this point things were going good enough that I signed up for a 10 km race in November with hopes of getting revenge on a bad race the previous year leaving me with many training runs that are much faster but don’t officially stand up as PBs.
One morning I woke up with a very dull ache in my heel, I didn’t think too much of it and went for my run figuring it was a kink and that it would be fine, it apparently wasn’t fine and now my heel hurt, badly. Physio said it was likely that some scar tissue left over from the sprain had irritated some nerves. Oh my God, FANTASTIC!
I missed yet another race and at this time started to stress because I have a half marathon on February 16th and the idea of seriously missing three half marathons was enough to finally have me say enough and this time I sat on my ass and did not ride my bike or water run. I was really fucking OVER being injured. OVER.IT. All I did was the exercises given to me at physio.
By the time I was able to start running again I was a week shy of the minimum 10 weeks needed to get ready for the half. I knew my ankle wasn’t going to let me run more than 3 days a week yet and I didn’t feel it was safe given some other small things that were popping up to do any real speed or hill training, I thought it best just to concentrate on getting the runs done.
For one, my left tibia has been bugging me since October, I thought it would go away during the time off for my heel but it started to hurt right away again. Physio is going to be teaching me how to tape it if it doesn’t get better pretty quickly. I also just got a cortisone shot in my ankle about two weeks ago because it’s six plus months on and it still isn’t 100%.
It’s just over a week until race day and I’m getting extremely nervous, doubting my decision not to do hills or track workouts, feeling upset with myself because I ran a faster paced 8k than I’ve been able to run my last two 5ks at. Feeling like I can’t even run that far because I haven’t since 2002 thanks to all these injuries I just got through explaining. I of all people know how hard I am on myself but I haven’t raced well in so long I’m just really nervous. And I know the races I did last year that sucked were last year and this is a new year but I can’t help it, I’m feeling super insecure. The only goal I set for this race was making the start line and I have 3 runs left to complete before that can happen. It does look like I’m going to make it. I just feel like I worked through so much that I deserve a good race, but running doesn’t work that way, just like life and really I just wish I could fucking relax.