I Am Not Broken
Around midnight last night, I decided to wake up early and head out on an impromptu 300 mile motorcycle ride. I took a few moments on Google Maps to plot out my route, and this morning I was off! Normally when my wife and sons are away for the weekend, I take advantage of the time alone and head off on a long trail run or bike ride. But not this weekend.
Four weeks ago I was in Napa for an amazing family wedding experience. Running in foreign places is one of my all-time favorite activities when traveling, so I thought what better way to experience the gorgeous setting but to run to the top of a local hilltop and watch the sun rise. It was spectacular! Downside was, on the way up I busted my pinky toe pretty badly and here I am a full month later and still not able to run or bike.
What happened was, our flight to San Francisco had an extremely short layover in Denver so we decided to only carry on our luggage and not check any bags (a good practice regardless). Space in the bag was tight, so instead of packing my typical go-to shoe, I threw in my Vibram Five Fingers to save space. These silly looking shoes are great on the road. They are very helpful at helping stretch out my, now ever-present, plantar fascia issue. However, these shoes make terrible trail shoes for obvious reasons.
My toe swelled up immediately to double the size, and it was actually pretty difficult to get the glove-like shoes off my feet. I took all of the necessary precautions by icing, elevating and taking an anti-inflammatory. It took everything in me to actually get shoes on my feet during the wedding. After returning home, I got X-rays on the toe and the verdict was "extremely traumatized" but not broken. Whew... I suppose.
***Update 7/17/13: just had follow up X-rays done with a specialist who confirmed it is in fact broke and will be mid-September before its completely healed .***
It's now been a month since I've been able to run or bike at all. This, to me, is almost more debilitating than the injuries themselves. My overall wellbeing, mental clarity and focus are all WAY better when I am running or biking daily.
I have tried to make the best of it, and have seized the opportunity to restart a morning quiet time, as well as work on my writing skills by journalling. It has been going pretty well, but another thing I greatly miss from those activities is the daily sense of adventure they provide. Testing new routes. Besting my previous times. Fighting inclement weather. Writing doesn't quite provide that outlet.
That leads to today, where I find myself on this impromptu motorcycle journey, sitting in a cafe just outside Tuscumbia, AL. Which also happens to be the birthplace of Helen Keller who, at two years old, fell ill and was struck blind, deaf and mute. Which got me thinking about my current physical aliments, and wondering what I actually have to complain about:
- Plantar fasciitis - This has put quite the damper on my current ultrarunning ambitions as I have *slowly* learned how to deal with the injury. It is caused from simple overuse (and possibly an incorrect gate) participating in a sport I absolutely love, and have been blessed with the ability that I have.
- "Extremely traumatized" busted up toe - For Pete's sake, I was running up a mountain side in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and it was my own dumb fault I didn't just wear my running shoes onto the plane.
- Severe migraine headaches - In a single dentist visit two weeks ago I had a bite adjustment, a cavity filled, and a temporary crown put in; all on the left side of my mouth. Being temporary, the crown didn't fit perfectly, so in-turn caused sever migraine headaches. Not my fault, but how blessed am I to have great insurance with a great dentist to fix the issues.
- Bruised ribs - At a 4th of July party, admittedly acting a bit silly, I decided to tackle a friend. But my chest cavity fell straight on his knee which immediately caused me to lose my breath, and subsequently became bruised. Ever since it has hurt to yawn, sneeze, cough, hiccup, and even sleep.
All of these aliments stink. But the truth is I am blessed to be in the physical condition that I am in, and most of these issues are somewhat self-inflected anyways. While I'm not able to currently do the sports I love, I am mobile and able to pursue the things that still breathe life into my soul. Realizing this late last night, that's why I decided to drop any and all excuses and go out for a fun adventure today.
I'll spare you all of the nitty-gritty details about the ride. It was quite rainy at times, and quite sunny at others. There was a number of gravel roads, as well as some long stretches of highway that tested my shoulder and upper back endurance. You can see more photos from the trip on Google+ and check out the route I took on Google Maps.
The point of all of this is simply that physical injury is much a state of mind as it is anything else. If you allow your spirit to be beaten your body will fall in line. I do struggle with not being able to do the things I love as much as I would like right now, but I am trying to be patient with myself, and take advantage of the time to do other things like ride the motorcycle more, or even write a blog post.