I’ve procrastinated writing this post because, frankly, I’m not even sure what my current “status” is regarding the recovery of my metatarsal stress fracture. Recovery has taken A LOT longer than I anticipated. As the title suggests, it’s been one step forward and two steps back. I’ve been pretty calm for 10 weeks of no running/cardio, but now I feel almost hopeless. Am I ever going to run again? I don’t even remember what it feels like!
My parents are rolling their eyes right now, but I know they would be thinking the same thing if they hadn’t run, let alone done any cardio, in more than two months.
Here’s a little timeline of my injury/recovery:
October 3– my last run, first notice of pain.
October 3-15- complete exercise break (nada).
October 23– MRI confirms stress fracture. Booted.
October 23 – mid November- wear the boot, only do upper body weights.
**Here’s where it gets “interesting”… my OTHER foot starts hurting now. The one not in the boot. I start going crazy.
November 18– Orthopedic says I don’t have to wear the boot but to treat both feet as “in recovery”; he says there are zero signs of injury on the X-ray (for both feet); start physical therapy.
Thanksgiving break (Nov 20-28)- wear the boot on the non-diagnosed fractured foot (my mom said it’s the “good-bad foot”) because it started flaring up; stayed off my feet as much as possible.
November 29 – December 2- feel OK enough to ditch the boot. I wrote here that I was out of it.
Since then, with doctor’s approval, I’ve “experimented” and done about 10-20 minutes of very light cardio (elliptical or bike) 2x a week. After and during each time I haven’t had any pain, but occasionally, my “good-bad foot” felt weak, delicate and like something was “off.” My originally injured foot feels normal, so that’s good. The feeling isn’t concrete or consistent enough to chalk it up to an injury. It could just be the twinges that come with recovery.
I’m still in PT and doing my exercises daily, which include mostly one-legged balance moves and calf stretches, but I’m not seeing significant progress. At least not as much as I had hoped to see at this point. I suppose my reasoning for limiting the cardio is two-fold: 1) I’m just being extra extra cautious and don’t want to push past that “iffy” feeling, 2) I don’t have the motivation right now to get my endurance back. Plus, 20 minutes on a bike feels like a marathon. I know cross-training is a crucial step toward running so I’ll have to buck up soon.
I wanted to be running by Christmas. And by running, I mean up to 3 miles. That is a far-fetched dream now and I’m thinking I have to DNS (do/did not start) the Princess Half Marathon at the end of February (I signed up in July). I miss so much about running and I’m in such a slump when it comes to motivation to do the workouts I CAN do. The last three months haven’t been what I envisioned for my last “fitness” semester in college. I’m disappointed I had to give up my Spinning class and that I can’t run some of my favorite loops around town. Hopefully this will one day be just a small afterthought, but for now, it’s still very much at the forefront of my mind.
Here’s my non-plan plan: when I get home next week, I’m going to hopefully start using the AlterG treadmill at physical therapy. I will continue doing 10-20 minutes of light cardio a few times a week, monitoring how I feel after each session and adjusting the length of sessions as needed. I hope to start doing run-walks (1 min on, a few minutes off) in early January. Baby steps.
I know I’m on the road to recovery, I was just not anticipating it would take this long.
On the bright side, my upper body is stronger than its ever been. It might not be a big visual difference to anyone else, but I see muscles I’ve never seen before. More importantly, I have a lot of blessings and excitement in my life, particularly in the next two weeks, so I haven’t been dwelling on my recovery too much. I know running will happen…eventually. I’m hopeful the new year will bring a new, healed start.
I now officially end this “sad” post. There are lots of fun things happening this week, and I’m not just talking about my graduation. Stayed tuned for a fun giveaway!