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~ Just responding to the Ride ~

September 28, 2010

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”

So, tomorrow will be 1 week since I laced up and ran.  I miss it something awful but, I know that I simply need to step it up and get a proper diagnosis for my heel pain.  I will go out on a limb here to say that as runners we almost all do this.  We feel pain somewhere in our body and think Ok, it will go away, let me just take a rest day and pop some advil.  And then it goes away so we joyously run.  Then the pain comes back.  So, we do the same thing, this time with some frozen peas, some foam rolling or perhaps we use that old tennis ball lying around for some self massage.  Or even make use of that STICK.   Hurts so good, right?  Then weeks go by, and the pain worsens.

That is where I am at.  1 week of no running.  Hurts to walk and hurts way more to run.  I already had an x-ray that showed nothing out of the ordinary.

At first after some internet research, I thought perhaps I had this:

What is a calcaneal stress fracture?

The calcaneus bone is the big heel bone at the back of the foot. Due to overuse a stress fracture can occur in the bone. It is common for soldiers who have to do a lot of marching or road runners.

What are the symptoms?

  • Insidious, gradual onset heel pain.
  • Pain is made worse by weight bearing activities.
  • Pain is reproduced by squeezing the back of the heel from both sides.

Often an X-ray of the injured bone will not show any sign of fracture until the fracture has actually started to heal (2-3 weeks later). It is also possible that a stress fracture will not appear on an X-ray at all. If a stress fracture is suspected then you should rest completely for 6-8 weeks. Crutches can be helpful.

Not so sure now.  And of course, I am hoping that I do not have a calcaneal stress fracture.  I just don’t know what the heck I am dealing with, but I will know shortly.  I have a referral and appointment with my sports orthopedic doctor on Oct 6th.   That was the very earliest appointment available.   If he decides to send me for an MRI, I will go.   Those MRI’s are scary, by the way.    Lots of noise and creepy.   Ok, I am a baby about it, but I will go if I have to.

With 33 days left until Marine Corps Marathon, I can only say at this point ~ unless told otherwise I am still running it.   BUT, wise words from my coach:

That’s tough to not have a definite answer, but keep positive.

He said lots more, but this is what hit home for me.  I can sit here and stare out of the window at the cloudy, windy, rainy day and think, that sucks.   Or, I can stare out of that same exact window and think “well what can I do, on a cloudy, windy, rainy day that would be kinda fun.   This weather doesn’t suck.   It only sucks if you think it does.   My heel pain doesn’t really suck.   It doesn’t.   Not going to sit here and list all the things that could be worse.   I could do that easily.   So, instead I thought about what I could do instead.   Instead of running and following my awesome training plan, I’ve been faithfully doing my core work and once the cool and windy and rainy weather clears up, I will ride my bike.

And then I thought about what I could do instead of Marine Corps Marathon.   Sure, if it ends up where I cannot run MCM, I will be extremely disappointed and upset BUT, I move on.  I can’t stay in that upset place for too long.   I won’t allow it.   I will graciously bow out and wish good luck to all those who are fortunate enough to run MCM.   On my most favorite of holidays too.   So, instead.   There has been talk for a bit on twitter and Dailymile of a 50k trail race in Susquehanna State Park, Maryland on March 19, 2011 at 9am.  It is called The HAT Run.

I registered last night, along with many of my friends.  Yes, its a trail race.  Yes, its an ultra.  No, I never did it before.   Yes, I ran 1 trail race in my life.  A 10k and I got lost.   Yes, it may sound farfetched and crazy mixed in with a bit of insanity, but this is what I want to do.  There is no way I am focusing on pacing or time or anything really.  Just want to have fun.  I will walk a lot, run when I can and smile the whole way.

So far, of the few friends I have told, I have gotten nothing but support.  One of my friends, who has been running trails, has even offered some great advice.   Not looking for approval at all.  Don’t need or want it.   Each of you can think what you want and I am totally cool with that.   Just know that I am here to support each and every one of you in whatever you choose to do from 5k walks to 50k trail races and I really hope I get your support back.

I am quite looking forward to my new endeavor.   Training for it?  Of course I will.   I am making the best out of the situation.  It’s what I do.  It’s how I was brought up.  My mom does it, my sister does it and I do it.   I am staying focused and very positive.  You will hear no complaining from me.

I am going confidently in the direction of my dreams.

A good friend shared this with me and I want to share it with you:

Trying to maintain control in this life is a bit like trying to maintain control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly you grip the bar. There is a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and fully feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take you rather than fighting them. When you fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, your whole being becomes tense and anxiety is your close companion. When you go with the ride, accepting what you cannot control, freedom and joy will inevitably arise.

As with so many seemingly simple things in life, it is not always easy to let go, even of the things we know we can’t control. Most of us feel a great discomfort with the givens of this life, one of which is the fact that much of the time we have no control over what happens. Sometimes this awareness comes only when we have a stark encounter with this fact, and all our attempts to be in control are revealed to be unnecessary burdens.

We can give in to our fear and anxiety, or we can surrender to this great mystery with courage. When we see people on a roller coaster, we see that there are those with their faces tight with fear and then there are those that smile broadly, with their hands in the air, carried through the ride on a wave of freedom and joy. This powerful image reminds us that often the only control we have is choosing how we are going to respond to the ride.

How are you responding to the ride YO?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 7:55 pm


    I love how you are focusing on what you could control than what you can’t. Injuries do happen. Even the elites get hurt and need to drop out at times. But that is not where the focus is. The focus is on the “what I can control” and that you are doing now.

    And look at you all signed up for another big race, that is awesome!

  2. September 28, 2010 8:37 pm

    You know I am right there with you. I am having not running either. But I am trying to feel smug about it. Haven’t I become a wise lady? I know my limitations. Some days I believe myself, others I want to cry. Good luck getting an answer Michelle and thank you for sharing this.

  3. ally permalink
    September 28, 2010 9:04 pm

    love ya girl, youre brilliant. We will get through this together!!

  4. Ron permalink
    September 29, 2010 12:07 am

    Funny. This was posted right after I took pills & wore a brace so I could run through the pain. Maybe you run MCM, maybe you don’t. At the end of the day you’re still you. In my book, that’s worth a medal every day.

    All the best,


  5. September 29, 2010 12:50 am

    As you know, I love your attitude. I hope that you’ll get answers soon on your heel.

    I wish I could join this group for the 50k, but I’ve already committed to the Shamrock Half Marathon again and at this point in time I have some big-time goals for that. One day we’ll do the same race … one day! 🙂

  6. September 29, 2010 1:52 am

    Great attitude Michelle – I’m with you on the HAT run – sole goal is to have fun!


  7. Michelle (mksinmd) permalink
    September 29, 2010 2:27 am

    Great post. This is how I try to live my life and it is how I got through a major health issue a few years ago and my divorce. You cannot control what happens but you can contriol how you act and react to the highs and lows of life.
    I do hope your heel is well enough for MCM and it is good to have the next goal on the plan too!
    Go Michelle!

  8. September 29, 2010 2:31 am

    Good attitude. You have to take these things one step at a time, although for now those are only figurative steps.

  9. September 29, 2010 11:37 am

    Great that you figured out your next goal and I’m sure you’ll have a blast trying to reach it!

  10. September 29, 2010 2:44 pm

    Sorry to hear about your foot, Michelle. I hope it heals fast! Sounds like you are giving it time to heal!

  11. September 30, 2010 12:12 am

    Dang, sorry to hear about your calca- calcena- calcinu- um, heel bone. Hope it turns out to be OK & you can do the MCM. But you’ve got a great attitude about it: if you can’t do it, you can’t do it, so look ahead to your next event. I’ve seen some runners very determined to run a particular race no matter what, s0 they do it even though they’re injured, and end up hurting themselves.

    A trail ultra would be a good test of your fitness & a good endurance-builder, and might even be easier on your calca- … heel bone.

  12. September 30, 2010 1:57 pm

    Michelle, I haven’t been keeping up closely on DM with everyone’s training, so I did not know you had stopped running, although I remember you had been having some heel pain. I think you were wise to stop running for now. I saw a quote recently that went something like, “Definition of a runner: Someone who when they get hurt will try anything to treat it except to stop running.” And it’s true. Like you said, we try to do all kinds of things but still keep the running going. Well, I am very impressed with your attitude and I think signing up for the 50K was a great idea and you have a great plan about how to approach that race. Hope that your appointments go well and that you heal soon and are back out there on the road running again before you know it.

  13. September 30, 2010 3:52 pm

    So sorry this happened. You will be back. Thank you for this blog post. I loved it and having been out of running since late July, it really helps to get others perspectives on handling it. I wrote a post on my own travails and was surprised at just how many people it resonated with – hang in there!

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