“See ya later, bye”, is what comes to mind when I think about 2019 coming to an end. It wasn’t without its triumphs though, but the overwhelming majority of this past year has been a complete and total shit-show. Allow me to provide some context for clarity. The year started off with good intentions. In January I was 200lbs, ran the Shark Bite Half Marathon and set a PR (personal record). I followed that up in February with my second full marathon, in March I accomplished a 42 mile mountain biking camping trip that I had been planning since my last overnight ride the previous year, and in April, I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Now, please understand, I am not fishing for accolades or looking for a pat on the back, believe me, my running times are not very impressive and I should have completed my bachelor’s degree 30+ years ago like most everyone else on the planet, but if you know me, you know I usually take the long way around, so it’s pretty much par for the course. Having said that, this is where the shit hits the fan. After my 42 mile mountain bike ride, I started having issues with my neck and mobility on my left side. Turns out that I somehow managed to pinch a nerve in my neck. Great. This turned into four months of literally doing nothing. No running, no riding, no lifting weights, nothing, except of course, eating. I became quick friends with Double Stuff Oreos and any other empty calorie snacks that came my way, it was a long four months. Prior to getting injured, I was eating better than ever. I cut way back on processed sugar, soda and for the most part, eliminated junk food in general. I couldn’t remember the last time I had taken Ibuprofen and I found that by eliminating processed sugar from my diet, I would also significantly reduced the amount of joint pain I would otherwise experience. However, all of the progress I made would quickly disappear in the months to come.
I don’t idle well and being glued to the sofa for four months turned into a step-by-step guide to self-destruction. The weight came back, I was tired all the time and all of the gains I made in the gym and running were now nowhere to be found. The cycle continued until I completed my physical therapy in June. I was finally able to start running and riding again, but not at the speed or distance I was able to prior to being hurt. However, I was released from house arrest and regardless of how slow or short my runs and rides were, I was still able to get out of the house and at the time, that was all that mattered. It felt good to end the toxic relationship with the sofa, but my new found freedom was short lived.
After eight weeks or so of trying to get back into my normal routine, I was able to do the longer training runs and also began incorporating trail runs as my wife and I signed up for the Grand Circle Trailfest in UT coming up in October. Trailfest was three half-marathons in three days through Zion, Bryce Canyon and Horseshoe Lake. I was also experiencing pain in my heels but more so in my right heel. I eventually went to the podiatrist and was diagnosed with Insertional Achilles Tendonitis, or basically tendonitis where the Achilles tendon meets the heel bone. His recommendation was to take a break for thirty days and give it time to heal, but where was I going to find thirty days in a row while I was training for three half-marathons in three days??? He didn’t care, he just told me to find thirty consecutive days and stay off my heel. Needless to say, I tucked my tail between my legs and begged the sofa to forgive me. Unfortunately, she did and shortly thereafter we picked up right where we left off. This time around, the sentence was not as long as the previous one, but the damage was already done and it was getting more and more difficult to get back on track. After thirty days, I was once again released from the grasp of the sofa. I was only able to complete one morning run before we headed out to UT for the Trailfest, but away we went.
While UT was amazing, one of the most beautiful places I’ve even been, I did bring home a souvenir. My heel pain continued and felt like it was getting worse. I didn’t want to continue running and ignore it only to potentially find out later that I would be out for an additional six months because I didn’t give it adequate time to recover.. After much lamenting, I decided to get an MRI to put any speculation to rest and find out exactly what was going on back there. My primary care physician, we’ll call him Dr Great-Guy suggested I see an orthopedic in Flagler, we’ll call him Dr Walks-on-Water. Dr WoW is young, athletic and a runner himself, he will certainly be able to understand my mentality of not wanting to be out of commission for too long. We decided to schedule the MRI, but the earliest I could get an appointment for the results was January 2, 2020, FIVE weeks AFTER the MRI. Come on Dr WoW, you can do better!
That brings us to current day, December 31, 2019. The last day of the year. I still have not been running or riding as much as I normally do, my diet is downright offensive, and the graph line of my weight history loosely mimics that of the most recent SpaceX rocket launch, pretty much straight up. However, I do see light at the end of the tunnel. I receive the results of my MRI on Thursday, January 2, 2020, so that will give me a definitive answer as to what is causing my heel pain.
Today is January 2, 2020 and I received the results of my MRI today. I have been cleared for take-off!! YAY!!! Now that I have officially been released back into the wild, I will have to take things slowly to help prevent a recurrence. The very first step will be changing my diet. Back to weighing portions and eating more fruits and veggies. I will also be eliminating soda and eventually all additional processed sugars. I am so happy to be able to return to my life already in progress. First thing tomorrow morning, I am going to file for a separation from the sofa, but I will not burn any bridges this time. I’m not planning on getting injured again any time soon, but I suppose we really never know what the future holds. I’m just going to take it slow, ease into it and try to get my body back into the habit of being active again. I’ll post updates on my progress as I go along, so feel free to leave comments or ask me any questions.