Terrible Timing AND Base Running
I am about to go to a running and writing retreat called Wilder in Oregon over the weekend – one that I am super pumped about, had to apply to get in (twice because I was rejected the first year), and is led by Lauren Fleshman – and I CAN’T RUN right now. I haven’t run since Saturday, August 12th. And guess what? The reason I can’t run has nothing to do with running! I was playing in a softball tournament game on Sunday, August 13th and had a wicked collision at home plate with a catcher that really stood her ground. The entire team thought I would get home easy, no need to slide (it is slow pitch so I don’t do much sliding anyway), and apparently the outfielder threw a laser to home plate that beat me by enough for the catcher to have the right to block the plate. It all happened very fast and next thing I knew she wasn’t moving and BAM – collision. My left leg from the ankle to the knee took the impact, and that was that – swelling, bruising, and limping. And lots of ice.
I put off going to the doc, assuming nothing was broken because I could bear weight, and just iced and elevated. Things seemed to be getting better throughout last week, I just still couldn’t land or push off my leg – two things important in running. When I tried, I got a sharp pain below and to the outside of my knee, more in the fibula/peroneus muscle region. Then, over the weekend it started to get worse, more pain when walking, it even hurt to kick my legs while swimming on a rafting trip for Jeremy’s birthday. All the while, still no ability to land or push off on my left leg, and lots of pain going up and down stairs.
Time for the Doctor
I gave in and went to the doctor Tuesday. She said there was bruising down my peroneus muscles, and it is still swollen. She was also confident there was no fracture in the fibula or tibial plateau, more likely a tendon , or bone bruise – which can take weeks to heal 🙁 I got x-ray results back yesterday – no fracture! The official write-up said “patellofemoral effusion” aka bruise and swelling according to my good friend and DPT, Courtney Yon. Also thanks to Courtney, I will be going to physical therapy September 8th and seeing a doc who specializes in helping runners “return to running.” Hopefully the PT’s eval can help figure out exactly what I did, heck hopefully I can run a little by then! Considering bone bruises can take weeks to heal, that is me being optimistic.
At least Lauren Fleshman made me feel ok about being injured…
The positive news is that I can still go to the retreat and participate in as much as possible, including the writing and yoga. We received an email from Lauren and the first line was “here’s the most important thing: Whatever fitness you have right now is enough. Whatever amount of writing you’ve been doing is enough. If you are injured, we will be creative. If you are blocked, we will open up. This is your retreat, our retreat, and nothing is perfect and everything is as it should be. All you have to do is show up as you are.”
That is pretty encouraging, right?
The negative news is that the retreat is for runners who write, and writers who run. I will be missing half of that equation and I am really bummed out about it. Particularly to have an injury NOT from running – can’t even remember the last time that happened! I am also really bummed to currently have no idea when I can expect to heal and be able to run again. For now, I need to be patient and wait until that PT appointment.
But Patience ain’t easy
Even in the last 10 days I felt like I am missing part of myself. My summer training went great and I was so eager to carry that over into Fall races, but instead I feel the fitness slipping away. I have been lifting regularly, doing elliptical, and spinning since none involve impact on landing or really pushing off, but it is a strange feeling to be able to do everything but run and jump (and traverse stairs like an adult). Back in 2015, while training for Boston Marathon, I really messed up my IT band. After the race I didn’t run for over a month while going to physical therapy in the meantime. However, I was more patient with that experience because it was caused by running and my own structural weakness coupled with high mileage. This time – it was a freak accident nearly outside of my control and the timing just sucks.
Please send positive vibes because I need them to help me keep my head up. I know this isn’t the end of the world, but it still stinks. I leave for Oregon tomorrow. Part of me imagines that I suddenly wake up pain free and can run 8 miles with these other bad a** people attending Wilder. But most of me expects to sit out the runs, while focusing on the serenity of the wilderness around me, the flow of ink from my pen, and the beautiful moments that are sure to occur. A runner who writes, just currently not running 😉