I have a new appreciation for people with injuries, mostly because I now have some too. Mine are pretty minor and will heal quickly, but they’re still really frustrating, interfering with my important half-marathon training at a time when I can’t afford to be taking it this easy. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be sidelined for months at a time, but I know that it happens. All I can say is, I’m sorry you have to go through it. I can barely handle a week or two.
The backstory: 4 weeks ago I went for a long run (about 15 kms) and ended up with a problem with my 4th toe. I run on the outside of my left foot, something that is made worse by stability shoes that I have always been told I need (I pronate a lot with my right foot). Stability shoes did improve my knees years ago, so I generally wear them. But apparently the higher mileage means they cause other problems, namely, a bad blood blister on the outside of my toe. So the following week I switched to a neutral shoe (the ones I race shorter tris in) for my long run, this time, a little over 17 kms and my longest run ever to that point. That led to a massive blister on my 3rd toe, again, on the left foot. A week later when I upped my mileage to just over 20 km I wore my stability shoes again and ended up with an even worse blister on my 3rd toe, and feeling like the toe was pretty badly bruised. Not sure why. My stability shoes are not too small, nor are the toe boxes narrow. I have very narrow heals, and so my feet move a lot in shoes, even using lace tricks (which do help a lot). So my toes often take a pounding, which is exacerbated on downhills, but it was a pretty flat course, at least compared to what I’m used to running. It’s less bad if I run naturally, i.e., on the outside of my foot, but apparently, I wasn’t doing that, although I wasn’t consciously trying not to. I know, you’re thinking ‘blisters, that’s not an injury’, and you’re right. But that’s just the beginning. I was so exhausted after my trip that I took a small tumble down a few stairs on my second night back home. Mostly I was fine, but I somehow did a number on my big toe of my left foot during the fall. It was bruised and battered. I was actually worried I had broken it, but it wasn’t swollen enough for that.
The next morning I couldn’t get my shoes on and had to wear flip-flops despite the pouring rain. Students around campus were looking at me like I was crazy (as in, just another kookie professor), which wasn’t fun. But I didn’t have much of a choice. Walking was painful enough - there was no way I could run, so my planned speed workouts didn’t happen last week. But I did ride my bike to/from work a few times, so I got in a bit of exercise. And a fall, with more injuries. It was stupid, a slow-speed tip over. I only have one panier and it’s heavy. I am still getting used to the cleats and shoes on my commuter bike (which I love, it’s a Norco Indie Alfine with electronic shifting!, but it has mountain bike style cleats, not SPDs like my road bike). I was trying to get my right foot out and shifted my weight too much to the left for having the panier on, and boom, over I went. I was just starting out from a stop sign, and had to stop as a car came hurtling as it crested a hill on the cross street with the right of way. Luckily, the cars were all going slowly, so damage was minimal. It could have been a lot worse. Lots of people stopped to make sure I was OK as I got up. At that point it was mostly my pride that was hurt. But I did a number on my left hand and couldn’t use it the rest of the ride home (which was another 20 minutes) and skinned my elbow.
The next morning my hand was a little better, as in, I could move my thumb, but it was really really bruised. I also had an emerging deep bruise on my left hip and another on my shoulder that took a few days to really show themselves. But I thought that my big toe was better, and so on Friday morning despite the bruises from the fall, I joined in my son’s school walkathon, about a 5 km round trip in the rain. Turns out that wasn’t such a bright idea. I thought I might be able to run again this past weekend, but the walk has delayed that for a bit longer, my toe was really hurting the next morning. But on the bright side, I probably did less damage to it on the walk than I would have done had I gone out for a run. And I didn’t have time for a run this weekend anyway. Saturday I spent running around to various family activities, including my husband’s first cyclocross race. He’s been inspired by my tri racing, and was looking for something he might want to compete in. He didn’t finish due to a pulled muscle part way through, but it totally hooked. I love that he has found his own activity, although I really want to try it too. It looks really fun. And my son took part in the kids race which was so much fun to watch. It was extra special because my Dad, who is very active but lives quite far away, was visiting and so got to see one of his grandkids in action.
We’ll be back out at the next race in 3 weeks as long as the pulled muscle has healed. And I am really hoping that my toe hurries up and gets better. I have a half marathon to do in 2 weeks! Sunday I spent trying to rest, as it’s clear that I am fighting my first cold of the fall. I’m pretty sure the cold is winning unfortunately. I really don’t need to have that on top of it all. But as I said, these are all really short term things, and I have a new-found appreciation for people battling longer term injuries who don’t give up. Kudos to you!