And Just Like That, My Season Is Over

And Just Like That, My Season Is Over

Mar 18

I really (like REALLY) wanted to write about the Wolfpack Hustle #MarathonCrash race today.  This past weekend was absolutely epic, with Sunday’s bike race along the abandoned streets of the LA Marathon course (in the middle of the night) being one of the funnest and most intense events I’ve ever participated in.

But unfortunately, this week starts of with some soul crushing news for me on the injury front.  The race season that I had planned out for 2013 (which just started for me 2 weeks ago), is officially over.  My right foot just refuses to cooperate, and I’ve been instructed by my doctor to shut it down.

In August of last year I was diagnosed with a ruptured Plantar Fascia and stress fractures of the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal.  I spent 6 weeks in a boot, took it off, still felt pain, and wore it for another month.

In late December I felt good enough to start training again, albeit lightly,  and I started up as slowly as humanly possible.  During my first week back, I ran on the treadmill twice, only 3 minutes at a time.  Over the course of the past few months I’ve been gradually increasing the distance/duration, reaching a peak of 8 miles of running at Escape From Alcatraz a few weeks back. I did everything the way I was supposed to, but as I’ve increased the training volume, my foot went from feeling ok to sore to painful pretty rapidly.

In late January, when I first started experiencing soreness, my doctor (the 3rd one I’ve seen for these issues), diagnosed me with Posterior Tibial Tendonitis.  It was not necessarily unusual for this to happen after an injury like the one I had sustained. My foot mechanics had been altered with the new lack of arch support (post PF tear), and these new mechanics were putting stresses on my foot in ways that I’d never been exposed to, and subsequently I got tendonitis.   I had orthotics made, and the plan was to give them a month to see how my foot responded with some additional arch support.

It responded by getting worse.  The soreness was turning into pain, so my doctor finally ordered an MRI to see what was going on, and the news is not what I wanted to hear: Stress Fractures.

While my 2nd metatarsal seems to have healed, the 3rd one is still broken.  My doctor is making me do what SHOULD have been done the first time around, and that’s to go non-weight bearing for the next 2 months.  Crutches and a boot, shoot me now.  I’m so unbelievably frustrated, at both my body and the medical profession.  There is so much I want to say about my previous doctors and how they’ve completely botched this process, but I’m going to bite my tongue. Why my previous doctor didn’t make me go non-weight bearing back in August is beyond me, but chalk it up to what I’ve come to expect from the medical professional community:  cockiness and arrogance compounded with schedules so jam-packed that most doctors don’t have the time or energy to give you the time you deserve.  I just spent 2 hours in your waiting room, finally getting to see you at 4 for a 2 o’clock appointment. You could at least give me more than 5 minutes of your time for the $40/co-pay I just forked over and subsequent insurance payment you’re going to cash in on.  But I digress……

So where does this leave me?  My 2013 race schedule how now been turned upside down. Ironman California 70.3 in 2 weeks is out.  As is Ironman Honu 70.3 in Hawaii in June (this one hurts!).  I am all swim, all the time for the next few months, which means I’m setting my sights on the Distance Swim Challenge 12.6 mile Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica swim in August, assuming that event is still something that exists.  I’m registered for the Malibu Triathlon in September (both an International relay team and individual classic), so that will have to be my target for a return to triathlon (with maybe a sprint or two leading up to it depending on where I’m at).

Despite the absolutely craptastic nature of this news, there is a silver lining.  I have been plagued by pain in my right ankle for years, dating back to around 2008.  In fact, prior to the surgery I had to reconstruct the ligaments in my left ankle, I had been seeing a foot doctor for my for pain that I was experiencing in my right ankle any time I participated in a sport that required any sort of lateral movement/pressure.  It was during these visits that my doctor determined that my left ankle was on the verge of a complete ligament tear, so he decided it was more pressing to fix the left and that the right would have to wait.  This doctor said that eventually I would need to do the same reconstruction of my right ankle to get rid of the nagging pain I was feeling, as I had a history of chronic ankle sprains with both ankles.

Something didn’t feel right about that though…..the pain in my right ankle was very different from what was going on with my left.  I wasn’t about to go thru another 9 month surgery/recovery process for something that didn’t feel at all like what the doctor said it was.  So I put it off…….I could still run and bike, so I figured I would just live with it.  I moved away from surfing  and snowboarding (which were both a huge source of ankle pain) and spent more and more time riding/swimming/running, keeping the ankle problems at a minimum in the process.

The MRI I had last Thursday revealed a fracture in the talar dome, in the exact spot I’ve had the ankle pain all of these years.  The fracture has never been able to heal because I’ve never take the pressure off the bone by going non-weight bearing.  It took 4 doctors and 5 years, but I’ve finally found out why my ankle has been hurting me all of this time.   Sometimes, you gotta trust your instincts and in this case my instincts were completely correct (regarding the ankle surgery and what I felt like was a misdiagnosis).

In theory, by fixing this stress fracture in my toe I will also be fixing the fracture in my ankle.  I’ve been dealing with foot pain for so long that the thought of being pain-free sounds absolutely wonderful.  So despite the sour news of having my race schedule cancelled for the near-future, I’m looking forward to emerging on the other side in a position to train with a spring in my step, without a limp, and without pain.

Now I just need to figure out how to walk my dog while on crutches…….