Confessions of a recovering runner. Part 3, The shoe’s on the other foot, or, Second verse, same as first?

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.


Read-In Week 2012

As Read-In Week 2012 wraps up, I was delighted to have visited my daughter’s elementary school as a guest reader. It was something I did last year when she was in Kindergarten, and I wanted to do it again, this time with her Grade One class. As it turned out, the school wanted me to read to a couple of other classes as well. Soon one class turned into five classes and, long story short, I was in for an extended storytime. Just as well, as I was having the hardest time trying to narrow down my selections. Working in the Children’s Library has its advantages. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to read to each class, but I knew that it wouldn’t be until I got started that I would know for sure which books I would pull from the sack. I was a little worried going in, but I had my coffee, I had a sack full of books, and I was ready to have some fun! Here, then, is what turned out to be my “set list” for Read-In Week.

My itinerary for the morning

Special Needs Class (Grades One, Two, and Three)

Opening rhyme: “One Is a Giant”

One is a giant who stomps his feet,

Two is a fairy, nice and sweet,

Three is a mouse who crouches small,

Four is a great big bouncing ball,

Five is a king who wears a crown,

Six are the children who all sit down

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Mortimer by Robert Munsch

Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash

Grade One (part one)

Opening rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

We’re going to the moon!

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

We’re going to the moon!

If you want to take a trip,

Climb aboard my rocket ship.

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

We’re going to the moon!

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,

Blast Off!

13 Words by Lemony Snicket

Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown

Grade Two (part one)

Opening rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”

Nothing by Jon Agee

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas

Grade Two (part two)

Opening rhyme, “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”

Beware of the Frog by William Bee

Nothing by Jon Agee

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Grade One (part two)

Opening rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”

More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt

Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown

Where the Wild Things Are (recited) by Maurice Sendak

My wonderfully indecisive sack of stories

By the end I was spent, but I was so glad I went. It was fun to read to the students, and they did a great job interacting with the stories. One of the highlights of my visit was having my daughter help me read 13 Words. I read the story while she was responsible for the thirteen feature words. I was so proud to have my daughter stand beside me in front of her Grade One class reading words like despondent, haberdashery, and mezzo-soprano.

I wish to thank the students and staff of Lorelei Elementary School for inviting me and making me feel so welcomed. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning and I hope I can come again.