This week I have found myself asking some serious questions about my desire to run and my loyalty to my Vibrams.
On Friday I woke up unable to walk.
After the latest bout of tendonitis, I took just over a week off and was working on stretching and rehabilitating exercises. I was actually ‘taking it easy’, as I am frequently told to do and more often than not fail to. But here I was, resting, recuperating, actually trying to be good. And I felt better for it. So I took myself for a few shorter runs; easing myself back in with a couple of 6ks, not going too far or too fast.
Then on Thursday, Fil and I set out along the river for an 11.5k. This last run was obviously an error. I have to admit I felt a niggle in my foot 7k or so, but pressed on to finish, albeit at a gentler pace than usual. Walking home afterwards I’d be lying if said it wasn’t a bit sore, but nothing prepared me for the agony of the next morning. It hurt. A lot. It took over half an hour and a few tears to walk the usual five minutes to the tube station.
Luckily the surgery at work could fit me in for an emergency appointment and some prodding and poking later I was in a cab on my way for an x-ray with a possible stress fracture.
The results of the x-ray are due next week. If it is a fracture my trip to Slovenia on Wednesday to see my latest book printed, which I have been so excited about, may be off. This would break my heart.
All this begs the question, is it worth it?
I love running. I love being outside, and getting the endorphins going. I love sourcing new routes, or re-treading old favourites. I love smiling and nodding at other runners in solidarity on wet, cold winter mornings, or chilly nights. I love the feeling after a run of euphoria, satisfaction and achievement, of seeing my distances increase and my times decrease. I love getting out and clearing my head of all of the stresses and strains of the day, or gossiping all the way around a route with my running friends.
But I don’t love the constant pains and niggles that come with it.
Even if it isn’t a fracture, (which I’m determined that it won’t be), I won’t be able to run for at least a month. The knowledge of this has made me cry, more than once. They are a mix of tears of pain and hopelessness. Anyone who knows me knows how much running means to me, how much a part of my identity it is and how much this news has struck a heavy blow.
Is running worth all of this?
Yes and no.
Should I go back to more traditional supportive trainers to potentially help protect against injury in the future?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that tonight I need a gin and tonic and to do some serious thinking about how I’m going to negotiate the next six weeks if I do have a stress fracture. I also need to reassess going forward, how I can train sustainably to prevent me from finding myself here again.
4 thoughts on “The darkest of days”
I suppose every runner is wondering if he/she should go for minimalist shoes or barefoot running, and nobody really knows…
Maybe the next generation will know the answer, thanks to us!
Maybe try running just on a softer surface like grass or sand?