Monday, October 3, 2016

Ragnover: It's a Bone Spur (and it's BROKEN)

On Thursday morning, I arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan along with 12 of my teammates, to start my 14th Ragnar Relay.

Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been reminding me of all of the races I've done in the past - from DC to Adirondacks to Vegas, Wasatch Back, and Great River. They've shown up in my feed. 6 years ago today, 4 years, 2 years.

Standing in my hotel room, looking around at my Ragnar family, I felt happy, warm, and entirely present. It's a beautiful thing to have for so long - people who have loved you that long. It seems like every time someone joins our team - I must have known them forever.

Lactic Acid Flashback: Ragnar DC 2010
Team Rated Ragnar: Ragnar Michigan 2016
After my first 6.3 leg, which ended with me bursting into the van screaming "HOLY SHIT I FEEL AMAZING," my left foot began to feel burning. I've had plantar fasciitis (PF here forward) nearly my entire life. I know that pain. It had been bothering me more recently, but I chalked it up to well, nothing. It just was what it was and I'd be fine.

Foam rolling, icing, bracing, KT tape, all those things - I'd done and had alleviated symptoms.

Before my second leg, I got out of the van, visibly limping, and dragged myself to the exchange point. It was raining and in the dark hours of the night.

"I can do this, I do not feel pain, I am fine, don't bitch out." I said to myself as I walked to that start line.

For 8 miles, my heart took over. If I stopped to see my team, my heel started to hurt, but I remained focused: my legs didn't hurt. My heart rate was resting at an active, sustainable pace. I was going to crush this one, too.

I racked up a few kills and felt the great peace of running fast as I crested a hill with a mile to go. This is the most beautiful moment in a runner's life - when you see your team, when you hear their voices, when your body supports those dreams you have to run like a mother fucker for what could be eons.

I handed off to Morgan and walked around, cooling off. I called Chadd to tell him how right he was - that the distance was nothing, that I felt great, that Crossfit was paying off in spades. My legs felt good. I could go on forever.

I jumped in the van and 10 minutes later, when ready to jump out and cheer for our runner, pain shot through my left leg. I know the drill of getting out of bed with PF. I tried to tenderly get myself to walk, shake it out. I just needed to warm up, right? RIGHT?

I took the entirety of Morgan's run to compress my legs.

Elevated Legs - Have Compression, Will Travel
I iced. I taped. I took ibuprofen. I stretched and rolled.

Teammate Stretching. That gorgeous wolf is my best friend.
By the time I'd woken up from my very brief nap, my team had decided how to split up my remaining 6.3 miles. If you aren't a runner, you can't understand what that heartbreak feels like. If you are a runner, then you'll understand why I was in the portapotty 10 minutes later crying hot tears.

The reality was that I couldn't walk more than 2 steps. 

Sometimes, you carry your team. Sometimes, they carry you
Without crutches, I couldn't even cheer for my teammates. I couldn't get out of the van. I couldn't experience those last few moments of Ragnar, running around the finish line area. When you're surrounded by people who are literally there to run, it's maddening. 

Crossing the finish line was made possible by one of my dear teammates, Simon.
Have teammate, will ride. 
With crutches, it was easier to spend time with my team. The next morning, with inflammation down, I could walk a little, but the pain was localized and still excruciating.

I tried some natural healing.
Very cold, very clear lake water.
I took the first appointment my podiatrist had. I expected a lecture about bad shoes, flip flops, appropriate stretching, and maybe some orthotics, a prescription for PT and some advice about taking time off.

Boy was I wrong.

Technology is cool, even when it's telling you bad news.
That, my friends, is an x-ray of my left foot. If you zoom in, you'll see that little sharp point at the bottom of my heel - that is a bone spur - made possible by years of PF. If you were to zoom in closer, you'd see a small grey line, indicating where I've fractured that. 

The good news is that it isn't separated, which would likely require surgery.

The bad news is that I have literally fractured a piece of my bone that isn't supposed to be there. 

The diagnosis is 6-8 weeks of recovery. At least 2 on crutches to ensure my bone doesn't separate. 2 more weeks of transition time off crutches. Then 4 weeks still in the boot to finish healing.

Things I'm missing:
- Crossfit DC Smackdown
- Petersburg Half Marathon
- Spook Hill 4 Miler
- Norfolk Nauti 5k and Half Marathon

I'm giving myself 24 hours to feel like shit over all of this, then I'm getting down to business. 

1 comment:

  1. The amazing highs and sad lows of being an athlete of your caliber. Regardless, I am so so proud of you. xoxo