I haven’t posted in a while. The past few weeks have been up and down in terms of pain, pain management, and finally dragging my butt to the podiatrist to figure out what’s going on. After reviewing my X-rays, my doctor informed me that I’ve developed several bone spurs in my big toe joint. These were caused by my having a condition called hallux limitus, which just means my natural bone structure limits my big toe’s mobility. Every time I hyperextend my toes and push off – running or hiking uphill – I’m jamming the joint. The spurs grew in response to the repeated jamming. Luckily, I still have a lot of healthy cartilage in the joint. I’m foregoing the corticosteroid injections for now and have opted to wear…dun dun dun…a BOOT for 4-6 weeks. This is to prevent me from hyperextending while doing even mundane motions so that we can get the inflammation down. Once we get that cleared, it will be time to transition to full-time orthotics, both for exercise as well as routine wear. Ugh!
I’ll be honest, I was hoping it was just some tendonitis and that this would all go away relatively quickly. Learning that I have spurs means it’s likely something I’m going to deal with forever, unless they become so painful that I need surgery. While I’m doing my best to not dwell on what could happen in the future, it’s really fucking hard not to let myself succumb to the suckiness of my current situation. I was soooooo looking forward to spending the summer playing in the mountains, and I’ve already had to postpone or cancel a lot of those plans to allow myself time to heal.
I’m permitting myself to be upset, but also trying to make a mental list of all the ways I can still maintain fitness while my feet heal. I can swim, bike, and weight lift (with the caveat that I need to have both feet planted firmly on the ground. No lunges, split squats, or even the elliptical). The only cross-training I ever do is rock climbing, which is also out. It’s frustrating that I can’t do the things I enjoy most and find the most cathartic. I’m anxious and disappointed that I might not be able to properly train for my CCC qualification races. Planning and training for a race that’s two years away takes a lot of discipline and is a huge commitment, and while I haven’t truly gotten into the thick of things in terms of training, it still stings to get sidelined. I always knew that things would come up and that life would get in the way at times and I’d have to adapt and take things as they come. But I always thought it would be minor enough that a week off and some ice would have me back on the trails.
I know I have plenty of weaknesses that I can now focus on while I’m benched from running: strength training, core, glutes… it’s hard to motivate myself to do the things I’m not good at because they feel hard and who likes to continuously fail at new things when we could just do what we like and are good at? Hopefully, as strength slowly builds and things I totally suck at become even the slightest bit easier, I’ll be both humbled and grateful that I had this opportunity to make my weaknesses a bit less weak. I’ve got a goal I’m still chasing, so I need to put in the work so that I’m as prepared as I can be come race day.