This is some serious dirt. I’m sidelined. As of today at about 2:30 p.m., it was confirmed that I’ve got a stress fracture in my third metatarsal, and possibly one in my fourth and must give up running, potentially for as long as eight weeks. As far as life tragedies go, this one is not major.
But when I first realized the problem (about a week ago), it sure did feel major.
About eight days ago, I went out to do some speed work and was trucking along at a great pace. I felt good so I kept going. I ended up knocking out 3 miles at a 6:50 or so pace. In fact, inspecting my GPS data, I did mile two at a 6:30. That’s very fast for me. And it was very stupid to run at the speed on wet pavement for such a long distance. Now I’m paying the price.
I’ve been a running seriously for about two years, but running at all for the past thirteen years. My time on the pavement or the treadmill is refueling time, therapy time, time with God, time with me. It’s something I truly enjoy and something I do first for fun and second for the health benefits. I look forward to races and get a little flutter in my heart when I step out on to the road with my favorite sneakers on.
When I go three or four days without a run because of a cold or a tendon injury, it affects my mood. I get grumpy and intolerant. I feel antsy and sick and disorganized.
I actually cried over this injury. The Gentleman has graciously helped me formulate a plan. We re-introduced ourselves to the Marine Corps gym just three miles away. I can spend lots of quality time on the recumbent bike (ugh) while healing this injury. We incorporated partner assisted training and researched weight training options that don’t rely heavily on the feet. I’ve ordered aquajogging gear.
I’m still pretty sad. Running is my friend.
This past Sunday, a few days before the doctor confirmed my self-diagnosis, my pastor talked about how God confronts our idols. It’s funny because as soon as I realized I might be sidelined, I asked the obligatory “Why?” and immediately answered myself: “Because it’s your therapy. Because it’s your escape. Because you need it. Because you don’t function well without it. Because it’s your friend. Because you worship it.”
No I don’t have an altar covered in candles honoring running in my living room. No, I’m not the recording secretary for the Hawaii Chapter of a running cult. Running is an idol for me. I’ve come to rely on my daily run for things that only God can provide. He’s the only one who can really give me comfort or joy or relief and here I’ve been expecting a pair of New Balances and a good route to keep smiles on my face. If you want to identify your idols, look at where you spend a lot of time, energy and money. I’ve been pouring resources in to running like I ought to be doing with God.
It’s really not the action itself. It’s how I use it. If I’m bored, I run. If I’m ticked off, I run. If I’m sad, I run. If I’m insecure, I run. In horribly unfunny play on words, I could say that running is my crutch.
And God is a good dad, so he’s swiped that crutch out from under me so I can learn a different way. I need to learn (again) that he’s the only source of security, comfort, joy and calm that really works. I’ll be missing at least three of my 2013 planned races, but I’ll have time for some serious refocusing in my life.
In the meantime, look for the following posts here on Notice the Dirt: “Aquajogging 101”, “How to Tone Up with a Bum Foot” and “Coordinating Pedicure and Therapeutic Boot Colors”.