Sunday, I went for a little run with my neighbor, Jim. Jim ran his first marathon last fall in Denver....some of you were with me back then and may recall I paced him a few miles here and there throughout the course. He's gotten wickedly faster since his running debut a couple years ago - which reminds me that speed comes slowly, it is not an instantaneous thing you get just because you start doing a few Yasso's. Patience. It's not one of my strongest virtues. Nor many souls I know. But if you have it, the rewards can be plentiful.
Anyway...I wanted to run about 11-12 Sunday, my last long run before SF. Jim wanted to run 14 (he's running Denver Marathon again this fall) so when I got to mile 6 in the park near my house, one of my favorite places to run for the sheer beauty, I told him to go on ahead and I'd meet him back at the bike path, a couple miles away, and I'd just run slow and enjoy the scenery in his couple mile absence. So he went straight and I turned back ....and suddenly, my heel was on fire. When he met up with me, I ran another 3 miles with him, pretending everything was ok, when it wasn't. Finally, when I got to mile 10, I told him I was stopping, I wasn't feeling well, and for him to go on and I'd be ok. So he did and I forced myself up a giant hill home, limping. And thinking. Patience.
I had a little soul searching in this painful 2 mile home and decided it was time to stop being whiny and fearful like I have been, it was time for Jill to be proactive.
Some days the heel cooperates, other days it does not - especially on a long run. I can walk around the house all day barefoot or in flip flops and nothing, but put on a pair of running shoes and go 10 miles and wham, there it is. I have not gone to the doctor due to a barrage of insurance issues so I've just tried to train around it, letting IT control me and thus, I haven't been able to train like I want to/need to/love to/crave to, to run a successful marathon. I've been very inpatient, trying to will the pain away and get on with the running life I so love. But my running's been anything but a wild love affair these past few months, so it's time to shift this patience thing to a different direction and now focus it on that thing called healing.
I'm still going to San Francisco, and I'm still going to run. I'm not sure if I'm going to run the full or if I'll stop half way and call it quits .... but I do know that it's going to be my last run for awhile until I can get this heel problem fixed and healed once and for all.
I had a massage gift card given to me for my birthday I had not used yet (thanks, Julie :) ) so yesterday I went and got all the kinks smoothed out of my legs and as I was lying there, cringing at my overly tight ITB and hamstrings as he tortured the stiffness out, I started reading an email from my friend, Jim, after I had told him of my plans upon my SF return (is it sacrilegious to read email while getting a massage on your Blackberry??) and he told me: I could hear you favoring the heel that last mile as it was striking differently and figured the whole episode was doing a number on you. He went on to tell me that I needed to focus on getting healthy so I could train properly, reminded me how tired I was of not able to run to my potential due to the pain, how I can use this time to get back the strength and conditioning I've lost (and miss greatly) by weight training, swimming, cycling, etc., or whatever I am allowed to do, and focus on my nutrition again , something I have not done while whining about my heel (misery loves company)... and just get back in tune with the body I no longer recognize.
I won't lie, tears started to flow as I read his words....I'm certain Mr. Massage Man thought it was his magical hands - the guy probably went home and told his wife he was so good he made a woman cry on his table. Ha. Teach me to read my email while getting a massage. But Jim's words were true and as hard as this is going to be for me - I mean running has been a major part of my life for the past 35 years - it is the right thing to do. It's taken me 3 months of trying to do whatever was in my power to make it go away and I just can't. It is beyond my control now and I cry "Uncle". Insurance kicks back into Jill's life in early August - I'll be first in line at the doctor's office that day.
The truly sucky part is not that I may end up having to miss a fall marathon or the best training season for me (fall), ok yeah that is sucky, but I made a commitment to run the Colorado Outward Bound Relay Aug 20 - 21 and I'm pretty sure I am going to have to bail. My friend, Dennis, told me I should still run it and bag SF, as the team needs me. But the problem with that is now my healing is prolonged a month - if this thing takes months to heal, then I want to start the healing process now so I can come back and train when given the ok that much sooner. Ya see, I still have high hopes I can maybe at least train for a winter or spring marathon so I want the healing process to start the second I cross the SF finish line. I got an email from my friend, Matt who is a teammate on the relay, and I felt better about the relay after that. He was understanding but hopeful I'd still be able to run it. We'll see.
Yeah, I'm a little sad, but I will be fine. Part of me is nervous I won't have what it takes upon return. Maybe a part of me feels like the running world is going to leave me behind. But I feel a sense of relief actually. I'm going to get this thing fixed, no matter how long it takes. Things in the personal life are beginning to look up, too; I believe there is some deep link in our lives because when things are going well in one area, it tends to fuel the other.
Yesterday it was a record 100 degrees. Today it was overcast all day and the temps only reached 72, despite the local weather Gods stating last night it would be 95. A pleasant, welcomed surprise. This evening as I write, giant raindrops are falling outside my bedroom window, relatively unheard of in Denver. The rain makes me feel the magic that comes with surprises. It reminds me of being a kid, and the joy and possibility of never knowing what was going to happen next. I'm not sure why adults seem to think we always know; it's so stifling.
But I'm excited for the surprises that come with my healing patience; I'm excited to see how strong I truly can be!
And don't y'all think I'm leaving blog world....nope, you're just now going to get continuous posts about my rehab and all the killer ab work I'm doing - you're gonna be so jealous of my ripped abs by golly. And when I come back running....oh the posts you'll be reading!
BTW, if anyone's seen my iPod, can you tell me where it is? I'm thinking I'm going to need it to drown out the heel screams. It's blue, believe it or not. And it's been missing since Sunday.
Run strong, friends. I'll be thinking of you all and carrying you with me as I dig down deep in San Francisco this weekend! I leave you with this great poem by Robert Frost, which one of my awesome clients sent me today, when he knew of my struggle (thanks, Chris :) And sorry that blogger won't let me place it a line-by-line format. Err!!):
For every parcel I stoop down to seize, I lose some other off my arms and knees, And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns,Extremes too hard to comprehend at once. Yet nothing I should care to leave behind. With all I have to hold with hand and mind, And heart, if need be, I will do my best. To keep their building balanced at my breast. I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;Then sit down in the middle of them all.I had to drop the armful in the road, And try to stack them in a better load.