Labor Day 2011 – I was a runner. Not a runner that anyone else wanted to be, but a runner none-the-less. My longest run was 5 miles, & it was slow. I had extra cushiony shoes to deal with the extra cushion that I was wielding, and my back almost always hurt when I ran. I persevered, and kept running! On Labor Day I was rearranging furniture for the hospital unit that I worked (and still work) on, preparing for us receiving new flooring. After a long and sweaty day, I came home to my husband and our three dogs and five cats. Being a very silly person by nature, I decided to play and roughhouse with the dogs. I’m running around the living room, dancing and singing, hyping up the dogs, and attempting to get our husky mix to do this tail tuck funny run that she does. Then it happened…
We had given the dogs some heat hardened deer femur chew bones at Christmas, the year before, they had barely made a dent in them. In my silly game playing, I failed to notice one of the bones sitting on the floor. I stepped on it. I realized that “I’m going to fall,” and am fighting to keep myself upright, when my foot and ankle gave in. My second metatarsal cracked, my fourth snapped and shifted, and 4 tendons decided they no longer needed to be attached. In a split second, I fractured my foot in 6 places. I hit the ground with a house shaking crash, and then I see my husband’s head peek over the chair I had fallen behind, and he asks me if I’m okay. “Give me 5 minutes to figure it out. If I’m still nauseated in 5 minutes, we may have a problem.” After 10 minutes, I’ve dragged myself upright & to the couch, and my foot appears to be…bubbling? I look at my husband and say with a grimace, “I think I’ve really fucked myself up this time”
Forty-five minutes later, we pull in to the emergency department at the same hospital where we work. Two hours later I’m discharged with confirmation that my foot is indeed fucked up, and I’m going to require surgery to fix it. Two weeks of bedrest with my foot elevated later I have surgery, having 2 pins & 1 screw inserted; 2 more weeks of bedrest, & 2 months of being completely non-weight bearing follow.
I haven’t run since.
I have spent the last two and a half years attempting to find shoes that baby the injury, and are comfortable enough to stand and walk in for 8 to 12 hours a day at work. So to start running again, I should find the squishiest and most padded shoes available, right? However, when I won a pair of Skora running shoes in a contest, about a year ago, I figured I could start again with a minimalist running shoe. So I started walking with Henry in his stroller in the Skora’s. You know what I learned? A lifetime of heel striking and minimalist shoes do not go together! So now I’m beginning again, and this time I want to figure out how to make it work.
I’m currently reading “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and it is reminding me of all my back aches, injuries, and knee issues I have suffered with in my attempts to run. Maybe it isn’t my back that’s the problem, or my knees. Maybe it has been my feet all along. Maybe this is the perfect time for me to start running again, with a new mindset on midfoot striking and staying off of my heels. Letting my feet become stronger and more flexible by moving slower, using smaller strides to protect my feet and my body. Maybe this painful injury was exactly what I needed to start again.