Running into Roadblocks

I’m pissed, y’all.

Actually, I’m not sure if “pissed” covers it. I’m downtrodden. Deflated. Whipped. Any word you can think of that brings to mind images of roadkill: that’s how I feel.

I spent three glorious weeks running around my neighborhood, working through what I thought was a reasonable 5k training plan, and now (to borrow a term from the Health Care Professional glossary) my right ankle’s gone all noncompliant on me.

It was all part of my big plan to avoid death by wild boar, to feel something like a normal-bodied person, and to try (and hopefully succeed) at something I never had before. I had my best friend on one side, my husband on the other, newish running shoes on my feet, and a chart that detailed a different walk/run pattern for each day of the week. I even bought a stopwatch to time myself, and a pair of gloves and a hat to keep from freezing to near-death. (Really, it’s been in the 20s here.) I even received an early Christmas gift from my friend: a simple white globe ornament with a single encouraging word printed in red: “RUN.”

Everything was progressing well — until the end of last week. I was just starting to fall in love with the process of completing my walk/run intervals, passing through my front door, and realizing, “Holy shit. I actually just ran for X minutes.” I loved checking off the little squares next to each day’s routine (and until last Saturday, I didn’t miss a single one). I loved driving past other runners on the street and thinking, “Yeah, I can do that.” Most of all, I loved how simple it was all seeming. All I had to do was put on some shoes and walk out of the house — no class times, no membership fees, no directions to follow and no sphincter talk. Just the air in my lungs and an emergency granola bar smashed in my sports bra.

Then last Thursday, I picked up on a weird stiffness in my right ankle. It seemed to disappear after I walked on it a bit, but that didn’t stop me from complaining about it. “Maybe you need physical therapy,” my best friend suggested.

“Eff that,” I thought. “I see enough Godforsaken doctors in my life, and I’ve only been running for two weeks. I’m not going to make this any more complicated than necessary.”

So, I got up early the next morning, ran a combined 24 minutes . . . and haven’t been able to walk normally since.

My primary care physician suspected a stress fracture. She ordered an x-ray, which didn’t show any current breaks — but did highlight all the times I turned my ankle walking home tipsy from college parties in icy conditions and 2-inch platforms.

That was several days ago, and I’m still wrapping my ankle, eating ibuprofen like Reese’s Pieces, and limping everywhere I go.

I don’t want to be the girl who gives up at the first sign of difficulty — and I know I can try again once my ankle starts to feel a little less stabby — but I’m irked nonetheless. As people with diabetes, we’re constantly being reminded of the things our bodies can’t do as effortlessly as others’ can: heal, for instance, or make babies, or churn out perfectly calculated levels of hormones that are crucial to the digestion of food and the creation of energy. So when I was running, it wasn’t just the endorphins that were giving me that little high — it was defiance. (In fact, I might have yelled, “I’m doing it, jerks! Watch me go!” at two or more sidewalk-lounging cats during a solo run.)

Yesterday, my husband and I set up our big fat fake Christmas tree. I filled it with all the banged-up and bizarre ornaments I’ve collected over my 31 previous Christmases, and I saved a special spot for my new “RUN” globe. Sure, it’s kind of depressing to see it hanging there among the glass birds and little white lights — all while my ankle throbs uncontrollably. I’m trying hard, though, to see the word “RUN” and not read it as another thing to add to the list of stuff my body can’t do.

Instead, along with “Lower my A1c. Again.” and “Fight Zombies,” it’s got to be another item on the list of Things I Can Totally Kick Ass At. I just have to keep trying.

8 comments on “Running into Roadblocks

  1. k2 says:

    OK Lovebug, elevate your ankle, ice it and do what your Dr. tells you!
    Your not giving up, your “run” has just taken a detour of sorts!
    Take some deep breathes, listen to your body,and hang in there!
    Remember, slow and steady wins the race – and flip your Bitch Switch whenever needed!

  2. Lorraine says:

    I’m so sorry Jacquie. I hope it heals quickly and you are back to running again soon.

  3. Renata says:

    I hope you are able to run again or like you said, don’t give up you can find something else. I just went through a similar situation. Old school swimmer, tired of being out of shape…starting swimming again and loving myself for it. Even signed up for some ocean swims..started to notice I was having a hard time breathing every time I went to the pool. Ended up in the hospital with what I am now guessing is a chemical allergy. Honestly the pool has chlorine…now what the hell do I do? I completely get being deflated.
    I look forward to hearing what your next step is.

    • Renata, this is totally something that would happen to me. And people will tell you things like, “Oh, you can find a saltwater pool!” or “Install your own pool in your backyard!” I hope you can figure something out easily.

  4. Tina Kicklighter says:

    Chirp up, friend! This is just a temporary setback. You will run again…and kick ass while you’re at it! Your adoring fans are pulling for you!

  5. Karen says:

    I know how tough it is to have a setback . . . . but I know you won’t give up. Rest your ankle as long as you need to. And maybe take the training a bit more slowly when you start up again. But you CAN and WILL do this!!! I know it for sure!!!

  6. mrgcohen says:

    Cycling. That was my cure when I was hit with stress fractures. Plus there’s great publicity

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