Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Five and Counting

This is the view from where I sit with my desperately-needy-for-attention leg being presently pampered with compression socks, two bags of ice and a side dish of anti-inflammatory medication coursing through my system. This is Tuesday. The marathon is on Sunday. Last check, that leaves me five days to mend. Here's the two minute cliff-notes on what led to this little predicament.

Friday. September 15. My second 20 mile walk. At mile 10 the beginnings of a blister began on my left foot. In an attempt to cushion the blister I compensated by developing an unnatural foot strike that strained the major muscle group that begins under the big toe, moves up the center point of the top of the foot and then takes a curve left toward the outer calf and up the leg. Go to Mapquest.com if you need more precise directions. At mile 14 the discomfort set in and by mile 18 I wanted my mommy or strong mind-altering drugs that would prevent me from caring about what was happening at ankle level. Mommy or drugs. Whatever I can get my hands on first. These are my two default choices when pain, emotional or physical, is acutely present.

In the nine days that followed my LSD (which is anything but S when accompanied by my sister who wouldn't know S if it hobbled up and wacked her on the behind) I didn't go on any training walks at all. Instead my left foot was iced and simmered, electrically shocked, topically cortisoned, massaged and stretched by the physical therapist. Hurray, improvement! The swelling reduced, the soreness eased, and the stiffness loosened.

Yesterday I went to the physical therapist for a final visit before heading up to Portland in the evening. Following the appointment I went on a four mile walk. At mile 2 (13:50 mpm) the ankle began to tigthen. At mile 3 (14:05 mpm) it felt like it was being gripped by a vise. After waddling through mile 4 at a snail-burning pace of 18:00 mpm, I was back to the physical therapist for an unplanned appointment and an equally unplanned lecture.

I've worked with two separate physical therapists in the office, Maria and Derek. Casual, easy-going, well-trained and qualified. Good people aside from their 'no-whining' rule which they'll eventually relinquish once I wear them down. In addition, there's someone else in the office, an older refinely-dressed gentleman who apparently thinks he knows everything just because there's a Dr. in front of his name. Whatever. So Maria, whom only minutes before I really really liked before she decided to rally the forces, called Dr. Mr. Smartypants over for a consultation, at which time he made the suggestion that I reconsider walking in the marathon.

Reflecting back, I believe that's pretty much the same moment when I noticed a swarm of pigs flying by outside the office window. I didn't mention the pigs to Dr. Mr. Smartypants nor the loud "Are you out of your Hippocrates-loving mind?!" imploding in my cerebral cortex but instead I smiled warmly (or was it patronizingly?) and using words limited to two syllables so as to heighten the odds of comprehension said "That's. Not. An. Op-tion." He countered back with a continuation of the original Mighty Dr. to Lowly Patient lecture but by that time all I could hear was "Blah-blah-blah. Blah. Blah-blah-blah-blah."

Insert disclaimer here. I'm not actually so cynical or disrespectul concerning medical professionals. In reality everyone at the physical therapy office, from the receptionist to the aforementioned Dr. Mr. Smartypants are professional, warm, and really wonderful. My quips are solely about increasing blogger-tainment value for if I'm not amusing, how can I keep you from abandoning me?

So, these are the facts which have me bouncing back and forth between being upbeat or downcast, optimistic or pessimistic, half-full or half-empty, ying or yang, salt or peppa'.

Yes, I'm concerned that this crazy foot thing is going to keep me from my singularly-focused goal of the past nine months, a goal that I've worked toward and obsessed about nearly every day. I'm anxious about how my foot is doing at every particular moment and how it will be on Sunday morning? Will I be able to finish the marathon? Will I have to concede somewhere on the road and if so, where? How far can I go? I'm frustrated this is getting in the way of those last leisurely tapering walks I fanticized about nearly as much as I did the actual race, and of taking a little away from the full-throttle fun and excitement of race week. And I'm worried that if things don't get better this is never going to happen for me because I have no intention of dedicating the same amount of time and energy in the future to train for another full marathon. Half, yes. Full, nevah. In the eloquent rhetoric of contemporary culture, this sucks!

But given all that, there's no need to hide sharp implements or position trampolines under the windows of every tall building because the concern, anxiety, frustration and worry are way in the background of my overactive mind. What has the bigger part of my emotional energy is the Doris Day serenity that 'what will be will be.' I'm going to do the very best I can do to nurse my foot back to good health and on Sunday morning whatever I have is what I have and that's what I'll worth with. I'm grateful that this is the biggest problem I have to deal with today in a world filled with uncertainties about things that are far more life-threatening and dream-shattering than possibly not being able to finish a long walk on a Sunday morning. I'm excited about meeting online walking friends for the first time and cheering them on to reach their goal and of participating in all the pre-marathon hubbub. I'm so appreciative of all the support and encouragement that's been lavished on me over these months leading up to Sunday, and I'm proud of what I've achieved in even getting to this place in the first place.

My intention and plan is to finish every single step of the marathon but if I have to say "uncle" somewhere out on the road, I'll be content knowing that I did everything I could do. How can you give more than your best?

In other words, I embrace my inner Polly Anna while releasing my inner Eeyore. Besides, the photo above is a very real view from where I sit but so is the photo to follow...so really, how can a girl complain too much when something this stunning is right outside the window?


1 comment:

Jules said...

Ah, the big dance is almost here!
I will pray that the "evil twins" and other pedal ailments lay low for the big event.

All the best ~J