On Trying to Stage a Comeback

Yep. I ghosted again. Sorry blog.

Last time we chatted, I was training for a marathon. Well, I completed my marathon. Finishing in 4:36:56 at 64th of 121 in complete and utter agony. Everything was going well. It was a gorgeous morning for a run; I had plenty of sleeping the night before and was able to eat a solid breakfast before hopping on the bus. I had fuel sources and a full hydration belt. I was covered in Body Glide. I had been training since January (if sporadically at times). I was ready. Except I wasn’t.

You hear about the wall. It’s the thing people warn you about most. Around mile 20, folks typically hit that point where they thing their done and can’t go on. Not me. I was fine. Mentally, I was fantastic. I had a series of mantras ready to go for when I finally hit the wall.

I never really hit the wall. Instead the miles and miles of running downhill (a total elevation drop of 2600ft from 6000 to 3400) on the side of a highway took it’s toll on my body, and at around mile 22 the wheels started to come off. When I say the wheels came off, I’m not talking simple muscle fatigue. I’m talking quads and shoulders cramping up and bones breaking. That’s right. I finished my first marathon with my first metatarsal stress fracture.

My muscles recovered within a day. They’re fairly used to taking a beating. What I came to realize about 3 days after the race was that what I thought was some serious muscle fatigue in my foot was a stress fracture in my 5th metatarsal. I wound up in a walking boot for 6 weeks followed by two weeks of additional rest as my soft tissue adjusted to being back in regular shoes. Fast forward to this week. 8 weeks later. I’m finally back in the gym, slowly but surely trying to work myself back into shape.

Plenty of people talk about how you go through a period of mourning after an injury and all of the stages of grief. I’ve had to come back from injury before, I know first hand due to everything from simple (ha) tendinitis to torn muscles and knee surgery. This was different though. This was the first time I spent significant time being 100% sidelined and dependent on a medical device. I walked out of the surgery center with my knee. I spent quality time on the rowing machine with my quad. Being in a walking boot was so different. Granted, I was still mobile and didn’t have to go full cast so I could take it off to shower and deal with wardrobe, but still.

Coming back from previous injuries, I was fearless. I knew that ready to go and would get back in shape in no time. Not this time. This week I took my first tentative steps towards getting back into shape, and I can tell it’s going to be a long journey. My bone is fine, completely healed as far as I can tell, and likely stronger than before knowing how bones heal. The soft tissue is experiencing some soreness as it readjusts, but that’s to be expected. The fear of re-injury though, that’s going to be my biggest hurdle. Sure, I’m back at the gym, but I haven’t even stepped foot on a treadmill. I longingly stare at the trails and rec paths, but the closest I get is taking my dog for a walk. I’ll get back to running eventually and I miss it terribly, but for now I will focus on getting some strength back and making sure my muscles are balanced and ready before taking those first tentative steps on the road.

I’ll keep you posted!

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