Although I’m still awaiting the results of my MRI, a trip to the podiatrist on Tuesday confirmed my suspicion of a metatarsal stress fracture. I’m now boot-bound for the immediate future, and am likely looking at 6-8 weeks before I can start running again. The good news is that I can continue to swim and I may be cleared for cycling and pool running in a few weeks.
I’m upset, of course, and disappointed that I probably won’t be able to run the Hot Chocolate 10-Miler and the Fred Lebow Half Marathon that I am registered for in January. It’s been ages since I’ve raced the shorter distances, and I was really looking forward to getting back to training in earnest. I had also planned to run the Shamrock Marathon in March, but depending on when I’m cleared to resume full training that may not be feasible either. It’s certainly not the end of the world, but as any athlete knows, injuries are incredibly frustrating and it’s easy to get a bit depressed on top of the physical trauma. I know my own tendencies in that department, so I’m working hard to reframe the situation into something positive.
I’ve realized that one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with injury for me (and I suspect for many runners who are a bit Type-A) is the loss of the structure and routine that training provides. When I’m working through an injury and can’t do my “real” workouts, I usually tend to do somewhat aimless sessions just so I can feel like I got my exercise in. This time around, I’m trying to approach time the time away from running as an opportunity to address some weaknesses that I never seem to have time for otherwise. I’m setting specific goals and building a training plan to get there. I want to improve my upper body and core strength with weight training twice a week, complete a 30-day chin-up challenge, and build up to swimming 500m with this training plan. The hard part, of course, is garnering the same level enthusiasm I have for my running. Getting better at things you’re bad at is unglamorous, eat-your-veggies kind of training–the sort that is hard and ugly and generally not much fun. Rather than running around the park with at least a modicum of grace, I’m flapping around in the pool just trying not to inhale water. The learning curve is steep at this end, but so are the incremental gains. In 6-8 weeks I may just have a new set of skills.