Remember when I did my first triathlon last month? It felt amazing. I was totally on top of the world. So much so that the very next weekend I did the Run Now, Wine Later Virtual 5k through Will Run For Bling. My intention was just to do a nice, slow, steady run… until the little voice on MapMyRun came on at the end of mile two and told me my time… which was by far the fastest I had ever run two miles. Even though my intention was to go slow and steady, I had gotten so wrapped up in my music that apparently my pace was way faster than I had intended. Suddenly I realized I could not only PR this run… I could absolutely crush it.
So… I sprinted.
I finished the 5k seven minutes faster than my previous PR. Seven minutes. That is a ridiculous amount of time to shave off with such a short distance run. There aren't even words for how amazing it felt and I walked a few laps around the culdesac panting, still in shock that I had run that last 1.1 miles so fast.
As I walked into the house I began to feel it… cramping in my feet, unlike anything I had ever felt. I drank my post workout shake and got in a shower – stretching and rolling my feet. It did not matter. The damage was done. I spent the rest of the day barely able to walk. The next day I was still in pain so I reached out on Facebook and a few friends said that it was probably plantar fasciitis and I should look into getting a deep tissue massage for my calves to release them. Let me tell you… that sounds a whole lot more pleasant than it actually is.
Fast forward two full weeks from the Run Now Wine Later and two agonizing deep tissue massages to release my calves and I was feeling great. So I headed out for a run with Midge – again thinking I would take it nice and slow since I had her with me. While she walked I would run to the stop sign and back… then walk with her a little ways… then run to the next sign and back… and then walk with her. In my mind, I was doing great intervals – which is what you are supposed to do when you are easing back from an injury. Clearly it was not “easing” enough and the next day I literally could not even put weight on my left foot.
I have begun a new treatment with a new doctor who made me promise not to run… at all. Like… for “several months.” I would be lying if I said I did not cry in the doctor's parking lot after my first appointment. I had made so much progress in the last 6 months with running, I felt totally defeated and like I was going to have to start all over again. I was crushed.
That was two weeks ago, and I have stayed diligent to my word of not running – even when I was getting rained on – keeping my tennis shoes on at all times with custom inserts, icing and rolling my feet, and having the sound therapy treatments he suggested done – which are just about as painful as the deep tissue massages were. At my last appointment, I was whining over how sad I was over not being able to run. The doctor did not give in… he was very diligent that I am to not run for any reason. Period.
But he did say I could start to walk.
It seems silly that being told something as minor as “yes Lynsey, you can go for a walk” could give me so much happiness. It was like a glimmer of hope that I will, in fact, be able to get past this constant pain that I have had for over four solid weeks now and that I will be able to run again some day. Running has just become my “thing.” It is my hour a day that I can tune everything out but my music and the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. It is my daily dose of solitude and feeling good endorphins… a sense of accomplishment as I walk into the house pouring sweat. YES of course I adore my classes, but there was just something about the accomplishment of running that had become my therapy. And I have been missing it.
Martin Luther King Junior said “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” And that is what I am going to have to do. I can not run… but I can walk. I can still get my time to decompress, to still work up a sweat, to get lost in the music of my iPod, and to feel the accomplishment of the miles I cross… just.. at a much slower pace.
Needing to channel my frustration and focus on something else, I set myself another BOLD Goal (since it is highly possible my goal of a half marathon in February has been blown) this time short term and with a focus on healing while still doing (kinda) what I love. In the month of September, my goal is to WALK – not run – a total of 100 miles. I will go slowly, making sure not to injure myself anymore, and in fact, to help rebuild the tissues in my feet so that some day I can break into a run again. I do not care how many hours it takes me – I will go slow and enjoy every step. My friend Jill shared this awesome image, which I have printed out, and I will color in the sections as I complete the walks for the entire month.
Whether you are walking or running – a seasoned runner or just starting out – I would love if you joined me in covering 100 miles in 30 days – that is an average of 3.3 miles each day. It may sound like a long way, but I promise you – after a few days of doing it, you will come to love your walks (or runs) not to mention see your body change if you are not used to this much activity. Plus it is about time for the leaves to start changing and the temperatures to start dropping, so it is the perfect time to create this new habit. Who knows… you may love it so much you keep going. You can print out your own 100 Mile Shoe and keep track of your miles here. And if you are in Pensacola, come walk with me at the Friends of the Poor Walk on the 26th and we can color in our miles together and celebrate being almost finished with such a BOLD Goal!
I am still super frustrated about my injury, but after four weeks (and a few tough love talks from my friends) I have come to realize that no amount of complaining is going to make it go away. So I am settling into the process of healing, going slow, and doing what I have to do to get past this. “If you can't run… then walk…you have to keep moving forward” That is exactly what I intend to do.