Thursday, January 17, 2013

Toe Jam

Two summers ago, I jammed my big toe at one of those giant party warehouses with wall-to-wall trampolines.  I really had no business jumping from a trampoline into a giant foam pit to begin with, given my history of neck issues - or the fact that I'm forty-something but, whatever. 

I made the mistake of hesitating mid-air on the trampoline, and came back down on my pointed big toe; essentially, jamming it back into my own foot. After I landed in the foam pit, I had trouble climbing out because the pain was intense. However, I have both an enormous tolerance for pain and I am incredibly stubborn. I did it twice more and both times, I hesitated and jammed the same toe in the same way. Maybe stubborn is synonymous with stupid? 

I've run at least four half-marathons since that summer. My foot has never healed right and is chronically painful, ranging from mild soreness to excruciating pain.  I had casually mentioned something a year ago to my family doctor, and he said something about how soft-tissue injuries take a long time to heal. Six months later, it's still very painful so I went back to see my family doctor recently. After an x-ray, he diagnosed it as arthritis and referred me to see a podiatrist. 

After an additional weight-bearing x-ray, the podiatrist agreed with my general practitioner: arthritis, with the bonus diagnosis of bone spurs and calcification as a result of the trauma. He told me that my range of motion on my healthy left toe is 70 degrees as opposed to my right toe, which is 30 degrees. He also prescribed orthodics. I have an appointment in February to cast and order them.

Although it's not really indicated, he said that he could surgically remove the bone spurs and shave down ::shudder:: the bone calcification. He could also reconstruct (holyhell) the bones on my foot to mechanically correct (WTF?) the rest of my foot by bringing the bones (OHMYGOD) that come into my big toe in line with the rest of my foot (months of traction) so my big toe thrusts  forward less (heh, he said 'thrusts'), which will end the perpetual cycle of (buzzzzz...white noise). THERE IS NO WAY I WILL DO THIS.

You won't be surprised at his next recommendation, but I'm a knucklehead so I sure was: he advised me to stop running. Sure, I'll do that...after I run the next three half marathons I have already paid for. The final race of the three I won a lottery to enter; it's across the country and I've already paid for the airfare. So, yeah. I've got some unfinished business...then I'll stop.

I'm sure that I am in a stage of denial over the whole thing. I convinced myself that after these three races and I 'retire' from distance running, but my long term plan is to cross-train more that I will run occasionally...a few times a week, no longer than 3-4 miles.

The first of the three races is in three days and is the Tinker Bell half marathon. I am sure there will be stories to share around that experience; the least of which will be that I am running with one of Girl Doll's best friends, who has never run farther than a 10k in her lifetime and hasn't trained at all - but thought it sounded fun. Teenagers have awesome confidence like that.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will post some highlights and favorite memories of my 15 year running career. In the meantime, I'm off to kick Tinker Bell's ass. 

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