As much as I like to buy gear, a foam walking boot was not on my wish list. Another pair of Salomon’s maybe, or a new Garmin. But not a foam walking boot. But that’s what happens when you get diagnosed with a stress fracture in the fourth metatarsal.
I’m not sure when it happened. I’ve had a sore foot from time to time over the last few months. But it was sufficiently painful at the end of a run last Tuesday to prompt me to see the doctor who sent me off for an x-ray. He called on Friday with the results but I wasn’t home. I was out running the Highline and having a grand and surprisingly pain free time. When we did connect, he told me to hang up the running shoes for a bit. I saw him today and we discussed various options, settling on a bone scan later this week and getting the weight off the foot with the foam boot and a walking stick, along with 8-10 weeks away from running. And then it was off to hospital to get the boot.
I was feeling pretty crushed on Friday and over the weekend. Rundle’s Revenge is surely out, at least the 50km distance, and Trailstoke too perhaps. But all is not lost by any means.
To begin with, i’m feeling very happy and fortunate in terms of the treatment and support that i’m getting from the Ridgeview Medical Clinic here in Canmore. My doctor’s attitude is very much, let’s get you running again as soon as we can. This is not my first running-induced stress fracture but it is the first time i’ve encountered such a positive attitude from those treating me. I’m also getting a lot of great support from Ms Canmore Runner and my family and friends which helps enormously.
Second, as I walked out the hospital door sporting my new boot, I was greeted by this view…
…and reminded how lucky I am to be in Canmore and that, in the grand scheme of things, 10 weeks is not too long to wait before i’ll be charging (well, run/walking) along the trails and through the trees on that side of the valley. Sure, it’s a drag to be forced to take time off from running, especially at such a crucial time of the year in terms of training, but it’s hardly the end of the world.
Third, i’m not really taking time off running. On the contrary, and on the advice of the doctor, i’m about to embrace aqua jogging or deep water running. I’ve also been given the go ahead to do some light spinning on an indoor bike trainer. In fact, on the basis of what i’ve read so far, there’s no reason for my current form to suffer too much as a result of the stress fracture and having to stay off the trails. There are these great alternatives and I just need to get a little organized.
Fourth, i’ve learned the valuable lesson that it pays to get these things checked out early. That pain has been nagging away at me on and off for months. I should have acted on it sooner than I did. But i’m lucky. My racing season will be stalled and i’ll probably need to re-assess some of the distances I intended to run. But it’s not over before it’s begun. And for that I am very grateful.