The photo above is from my most recent run, on a Friday afternoon at Montrose Harbor. I ran 4 miles right along Lake Michigan and I felt strong. The best part? My foot didn't really bother me at all, either during the run or after. When I see myself in this photo, I see someone who is starting to find her identity as a runner again. The word "suffering" immediately reminded me of my rather unceremonious end to marathon training and the chronic injury it left me with.
Really, I guess the first chapter started in July 2016. But then at the very end of August of 2016, it got really bad. And the diagnosis wasn't good, either, a chronic partial tear of my plantar fascia. Just writing that out makes me physically shrink in discomfort. It was a month (the start of a few months) of no running, of deferring my marathon entry, of trying to take it easy at work while I waited for the ultrasound that would seal my fate, which also lead to 3 weeks of physical therapy that, surprisingly, worked like magic.
And in that, my physical suffering was, for the most part, almost totally reduced. The emotional and mental aspects of dealing with chronic injury have been another thing entirely, and that has been a hard thing for me to deal with... the knowledge that while I can work 50 hours a week and run 4 miles (4 miles where I trended faster than I have since August) and live life without pain, my left foot will never be normal, really. I'll be dealing with this for a long time.
I feel like that sounds rather despairing. It's not that bad! It's just not something I've dealt with until now. I am optimistic about my running future. Though the suffering and pain I dealt with was awful and challenging, and the adjustments I've had to make in my life over the last 6-8 months to sort through all of this have been a bit tough, I know that I am a stronger person because of all of it. This weekend is my first race of the 2017 season, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K (my 4th time doing it!) and I'm feeling good. I've learned a lot, and I'm looking forward to running that marathon in October.