Today, it's a monumental task to even walk to class.
My relieved return to normal training was an all-too-brief reverie. Reality soon shattered it--after a few runs, I could barely walk without excruciating foot pain.
Monday's MRI identified the culprit--a stress reaction of my 5th metatarsal. In an MRI, normal bones should show up black, but this one lit up white. Had I run any longer, the base of my toe might've fractured. The picture also revealed a very strained achilles tendon, which had likely been compensating for the weakness in my bone.
I'm now confined to a walking boot and crutches, but that's the least of my worries. The physical pain pales in comparison to the emotional battle. After my last injury, I vowed to do everything right: I gently eased back into running, cross trained half my workouts, and continued to do strengthening exercises. I felt bad enough that I had fallen short of my goal once already. I felt like I was falling behind--I couldn't help but feel wistful as I scrolled through updates of old teammates competing in college cross country races, or completing full marathons in impressive times. I wanted to be them for those moments. I was angry at my body for failing me. I was angry at myself.
Similar emotions have definitely resurfaced. I feel incapable, frail, and embarrassed that I've fallen short again. What if I actually can't physically handle a marathon? What else can I do to prevent injuries if I'm training carefully, eating well, and sleeping enough? Why do I keep hurting myself?
But what's happened has happened, and I can't change it. I can only adapt. There's a tough road ahead, especially if I want to tackle another race in five months. But first, I have to take care of my body.
While the result of my second attempt is deeply disappointing, it wasn't futile. The workouts have led me to discover trails I had always dreamed of exploring. Rehab has allowed me to meet the incredibly kind and patient sports med team at Amherst and connect with other injured athletes. Training has pushed me to run the farthest and feel the fittest I have in my life.
It might look like a sad ending, but this story is far from over.
As a liberal arts student/endurance athlete/violinist/fashion enthusiast, I find beauty in many spheres. Consequently, I have no idea where life will lead me. Here is where I document my journey to creating myself--soul-baring reflections, embarrassing photos, and all. Feel free to join me for the ride.