On the Run: Week 10

You know how in movies and on television they show life-altering accidents in slow motion, and you, as the audience, are caught in this drawn out moment of OH MY GOSH THIS IS HAPPENING?

on the run
  • Days Until Anthem Richmond Marathon: 14
  • Miles Run: 312.78
  • Hopes Dashed: Reply hazy, try again

You know how in movies and on television they show life-altering accidents in slow motion, and you, as the audience, are caught in this drawn-out moment of OH MY GOSH THIS IS HAPPENING?

Well, I’ve witnessed a life-altering accident (a pedestrian being hit by a car) and can tell you that, for me, it was just like that. It slowed down, it was drawn out, and it was OH MY GOSH THIS IS HAPPENING.

This, though, this was not that.

It happened in an instant. One moment I was running down Semmes Avenue on the back side of a twenty mile run. It was the last long run before I began to reduce my mileage in preparation for the Richmond Marathon, which takes place in a little less than two weeks. The next moment, well, I was still running, but something was not right.

I had twisted my ankle–just a little, just for a moment. I’d certainly twisted it more severely and at much worse angles before, but something about this twist caused severe pain in my foot. Pain that I tried to run through, because most of my hurts work themselves out as I warm up or adjust my gait. But this pain didn’t. At first, it felt like someone was simultaneously pinching the bottom of my left foot and left ankle. Then, like someone were punching them both. Then, like someone were driving a nail up through one into the other.

I made it five more miles on that tortured foot and ankle. I mean, I was parked ten miles away and couldn’t come up with a solution, beyond “Get to where you’re going”, so I kept running until I couldn’t anymore. I was halfway down Monument, just to where it crosses over 195 (I was headed to The Village, where I had left my vehicle) when my run turned into a walk and the moisture on my face morphed from sweat into tears.

I then made it one additional mile before giving up the walk and settling my sobbing self onto the curb and calling for help.

My teen daughter, who’s not been driving for terribly long, was charged with finding me sitting on the sidewalk between cars, because, at this point, I couldn’t even stand. She slowly creeped up and down Monument until I caught sight of her and waved both hands and my good foot in the air, the international symbol for “Jogger Down.”

I didn’t go to the doctor, right away. After all, it was Sunday, which limited my medical choices. Besides, it was the tiniest twist, really. Instead, I went home to ice and elevate, a routine to which I’d grown accustomed, as it was the same one I’d been employing for shin splints.

After a good little while of that, though, I started getting peckish, and decided to head to the kitchen to scrounge up something to eat. I stood, and immediately howled from the pain. I knew I had to see someone, right away.

I went to my local urgent care that almost never closes but doesn’t charge an ER copayment, you know the one, and got the full workup. The doctor pronounced me sprained. She also informed me that the x-rays were alarming, showing that the problem foot was arthritic, rife with bone spurs, and, even more sexily, had a major bunion which was knocking my toes out of alignment. The other foot was likely also full of janks, but couldn’t be x-rayed, because it wasn’t the problem I’d gone in for.

The doctor laughed when I delicately said “So…how long until I can run again, because I’ve kind of got this marathon thingy coming up.” Laughed. Actually laughed.

Now, I’ve got a referral to a bone specialist. “The best,” the doctor said, “My personal doctor, in fact.” I’ve been instructed to not do anything until I see this guy. You know, the best. So best, in fact, that he can’t see me for a full three weeks and even that was because he had a cancellation.

But not doing anything is depressing. You thought shin splints had me down? They were a natural high, compared to Mr. Sprained Foot. Every day that passes, and sees me limping around, is one day farther I get from my marathon dream. The tears shed on Monument Avenue were just the beginning. I’ve cried eleventy jillion since then and I don’t see my face drying, any time soon.

All I want is to run.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

10 comments on On the Run: Week 10

  1. Forget the bone specialist, go to Commonwealth Sports Medicine and get treated by a runner.

  2. My runner’s heart breaks for you!

  3. Liberty on said:

    you are lame

  4. OH MAN. I am not a runner, but I watched my husband run a half this year and knew how proud he was that he had finished it (and how I was that he didn’t die.) I can’t even imagine the disappointment your lame foot is causing you.
    COME ON FOOT. Shape up. Mama’s got somewhere to run to.

  5. Karen on said:

    Yes, I agree that you may want to call a sports medicine doc. The diagnosis (hopefully)won’t change, but a sports medicine doc will fit you in if you tell them you’re scheduled to run the marathon.

  6. Cripes, I’m seeing horrible news all over lately. Jennifer — as someone who lost 18 months to injury, I can tell you that you do run again. The time spent isn’t all sitting on the couch, either. There are many things you can do (aqua jogging, even) that don’t impact your feet, but still rev you up the way a run does. Do see someone. Rest. Give it time. You still can run this thing. Just let your body heal in the meantime. DO NOT PUSH IT as you feel yourself getting better. If you were up to 20 miles, you can do the race, assuming you can run. Your lungs will hold out. Richmond has such a generous cut-off that it’s still possible.

  7. Welcome to the “derailed by injury” club. I’m not just a member, I’m the president :(

  8. TheNextMartha on said:

    I admire you so much. I’ll keep thinking good healing things for all of your foot except the bunion. I’m just not going to think about people’s bunions.

  9. Your pretty head. Meet my shoulder.

  10. Brie on said:

    oh dude i am so sorry! :( i am sending you (and your foot) all the good thoughts, and hoping you will be back on the road soon.

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