On Saturday, we did a lot of walking. Not 10k of walking but definitely more walking than I've done in the seven weeks that I've been keeping off my foot.
Halfway through the day, my foot started to ache. There were two spots along the top of my foot that I could clearly identify and that were clearly aching. No pain per se but an ache. The kind of ache that went away as soon as I took a break but that came back again after I walked some more.
As we walked, I watched countless people effortlessly running along the Rideau canal and I felt a moment of unbelievable sadness. When will I run again?
We walked along the route that, this coming weekend, will host the Ottawa marathon and half marathon and I tried hard not to cry. When will I run again?
I learned from my stress fracture two years ago. I immediately stopped running when my foot was first injured. I did not rush back after a few days without pain. I did not push my foot to do more than it wanted to. I decided not to run the Women's half marathon in June. I decided I probably wouldn't be able to do the Welland triathlon in June. I went into recovery mode and my mental health hardly took a beating.
Seven weeks of no running and very little walking. I shouldn't feel a thing by this point other than a happy foot. And the first day of walking caused my foot to ache.
Sunday morning I woke up and didn't feel any pain or aching at all. We headed out for a few hours of cycling and it felt fine. We walked around the Byward Market - no problems. We headed out after dinner to take some night photos and walked all over the place. Not even a twinge.
What to make of that??
Well, it depends what 'ism you talk to.
Pessimism: your foot is broken and is not healing properly. Probably because you have diabetes. You have done irreparable or serious damage to it. The times you don't feel any pain or ache are probably because you have lost the ability to feel pain in your foot - remember, you have diabetes. You will not do any triathlons this summer and the Tel Aviv Half may turn out to be your last half marathon. So be careful you don't get a swimming injury next or you won't be able to do anything.
Optimism: it's FINE! It's only been seven weeks and you're supposed to wait eight weeks after a stress fracture. This week will be the turning point and it will be fully healed and ready to run by Saturday. You'll probably feel so good that you can build up your mileage quickly enough to do the Welland triathlon on June 22nd. Zero to 7.5k in four weeks - that's nothing for a strong runner like you.
Realism: Well, you have stayed off your foot as much as possible for seven weeks. You've done what you were supposed to do to let it heal properly. Now your feet are not used to that much walking and the aches you felt on Saturday are probably just aches from doing an activity you're not used to doing. Not from an unhealed injury. The fact that Sunday felt ok just reinforces that fact. You should probably give it until this Saturday and then ease into the back to running program. Aches are ok at this point. Sharp pain is not. Take it easy. You won't be able to run Welland but, if you're careful, I bet you can do the Olympic tri in July.
Guess which 'ism I am going with?
Realism of course. It's my middle name (most of the time).
Of course, being realistic also means that I know that there is always a chance that things could still be problematic. So I'm keeping my appointment on Friday with the sports injury doctor I saw when I had my first stress fracture. We'll see what he thinks about the whole thing.
Hopefully, on Monday, you'll be reading about my first two days on the back to run program.