16 months. That’s how long it took before I was pain-free in my right foot. 16 months. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve been able to walk around without limping. 16 months. That’s how long it has been since I was able to lace up and run with confidence again. One run. That’s how short of a time it took for the pain to return; only this time, it’s my left foot. Bugger.
About two weeks ago I was feeling good and was heading out on an evening run. During that day, I started to notice a little bit of pain in my left heel; an all too familiar pain that comes from plantar fasciitis. For those of you familiar with my struggles this past year, you are no doubt sick and tired of hearing that term. I can only sympathise by telling you that I am sick and tired of having to mention it. Whether it was a state of denial or simple stubbornness (these, of course, need not be mutually exclusive) I went out for my run that evening. Sure enough, by the time I got back my heel was being assaulted by a sharp pain, and when I got up the next morning, I was back in full gimp mode.
The first thought I had been a mixture of disbelief and mild to mildly severe rage. How is it that I just finished healing and have moved almost directly into another injury? I was pissed! There was a time when I was doing several activities at once. I was running, climbing, and doing muay thai. I used to revel in the perpetual soreness that I felt every day. It was a pain that told me that my body was being challenged. It was a pain that I interpreted as my muscles recovering from their exertion and repairing themselves. It was a pain that made me feel stronger. This pain is different. This is a pain that limits my ability to challenge myself. This is a pain that makes me feel as though my body is failing. This is a pain that makes me feel weak.
As I spent that following day silently cursing my feet, I also became determined not to spend the next 16 months hobbling off my other foot. This time I would address this problem from the start, and do what I could to limit the duration of this injury. I just got back into running, damn it! I will not be sidelined again! As it happened, I came down with a cold the following week which, fortuitously, kept me from running and probably aggravating the injury. Now I’m day-to-day. Some days I hardly notice it at all, other days I stumble out of bed from the pain. Regardless, I am determined to continue running, yet at the same time I am paying close attention to the pain and being diligent in treating it.
I’ve got plans this month of reclaiming my health. For too long I have been slipping back into habits and attitudes that are taking me back to where I was before I started to take my health seriously. I desperately hope that running will once again be a part of my plan. Of course I know that my path to health cannot rely solely on running. The best way to approach one’s health is through diversity and rational planning. It’s just that I enjoy running, and finding a path to health that you enjoy is much of the battle having been won already.