As a runner, being injured blows. Plain and simple. But, even though I’m still technically injured, I’m not singing the broken-runner blues anymore.
About five weeks ago, I rolled my foot while running down Mt. Bierstadt near Georgetown, Colo. I had been enjoying a great training run up and down the steep mountain trail, but halfway down my right foot landed a small rock that subsequently slid, causing my foot to roll over in a diagonal fashion. Yeeowwouch! I knew it was at least sprained, but I also felt some “crunchiness” as it was rolling.
I stopped for a few moments and realized I could still put pressure on it, so after walking for three steps, I continued running, albeit slowly and very gingerly. Hoping it was just sprained, once I got down the mountain, I stuck my whole foot (shoe and all) into a cold mountain stream to keep the swelling down.
After a week or so of treating it like a sprain, I finally went to see my trusted foot and ankle doctor, who took X-rays and confirmed that I had broken my cuboid bone. (The cuboid bone is a small, oblong bone situated midway through the lateral side of the foot at a key attachment juncture of the peroneal tendon.) So for the past five weeks, I’ve been walking around in a rigid walking cast (aka, “the boot”).
The bad news is that I haven’t been able to run since late July and I’ve missed two of the races I had been channeling my training toward for a few months. With three solid weeks of training under my belt at the time of the injury, I had finally started to feel mountain-fit for the first time this summer. So much for that.
But on the positive side, I’ve taken time to regroup, started new core strength and general strength programs and have been swimming like a fiend and road biking as much as possible. (Those are the only activities my doctor has allowed me to do. Swimming is OK because the soft, smooth motions in the water don’t involve weight-bearing movements—I avoid pushing off the pool wall with that foot—and road biking is OK because my foot is secured in a stiff carbon-fiber shoe.)
Truth be told, I also did a brief workout on an EliptiGO running bike the other day. (I kept my boot on during the ride to be safe.) I’d read stories and watched videos about runners who had raved about the newfangled apparatus, but had to try it to see for myself. The best way to describe it is that it’s a little like riding a bike with a running motion and definitely a great low-impact all-body workout.
As it turns out, taking time off from running has been a good thing. It’s allowed me to sort of go back to square one and start with a blank canvas. In doing so, I have reminded myself that having a well-rounded approach to training—one that includes copious amounts of cross-training—really suits me best.
My most recent set of X-rays showed the bone is healing, but it take a few more weeks until it is 100 percent. I’m excited to run again soon and am eager to start a new half-marathon training plan, but I’m not going to rush into it. I can ditch the boot as of today, but I’m probably not going to run until Oct. 1 to be safe.