29 November 2008

Pending Mutiny

It’s only the social aspect that’s preventing me from staging a mutiny right now. My date with Mac the Knife is only six days out, and between now and then it is going to take a lot to keep me from running at least a bit.

Today marks one month locked in the plastic leg armor. I’ve been a good boy, at least up until yesterday. Not only have I eaten my vegetables and washed the dishes, but I’ve been diligent about wearing this thing. In the morning, in the evening, all day long, I haven’t gone much farther than the bathroom without it. I’ve inconvenienced my wife, my co-workers, and my friends bumming rides and rearranging schedules. I really gave it the old college try to let my tendon heal on its own.

To no avail. Mr. Big Toe is an obstinate one.

Several times I’ve fooled myself into thinking I detected some motion in this half-motionless but oh-so-loved and needed appendage. Usually this would happen in a fit of optimism while crawling into bed. Each time the light of day would convince me it was a pleasant dream, but just that. It’s no more functional than it was the day after Wineglass.

To say I miss pounding out the miles would be obvious. And admittedly, not having to drive 700 miles for the traditional family Thanksgiving through traditional Thanksgiving traffic was restful. But it was a bummer that I’d inspired my college-aged niece and nephew to run their first race on Thanksgiving morning, and I wasn’t there to join them. It also would have been personally triumphant for me to have done so, since the race was in Corning NY, the site of the infamous Wineglass Massacre. I will return to run there again! I think MacArthur said something like that.

All that aside, a month is gone, I’m no better, I’m no worse. There still is not, nor has there ever been, any pain in my foot. I had run for three weeks after the marathon – with an odd gait, but run nonetheless – before being told to hunker down in healing mode. OK, went there, did that, got the air cast. No dice. To my friends who counseled avoiding surgery, well, I tried. So it’s got to get fixed. And it’s going to get fixed. And it can’t really be any more busted than it is now, right?

So how about a glorious week with a few runs?

For a month, I played by the rules. But I admit that I cheated yesterday for the first time. We were heading out to tag the Christmas tree. It had just stopped raining. I know from past experience what a nuisance it is to get mud in the air cast. I said the hell with it and pulled on my hiking boot. And why stop there? Yes, I drove the mile and a half to the tree farm. And I’m no worse off for it. Granted, this was no 700 mile jaunt, and I’ve largely rested for a month, but…

So how about a glorious week with a few runs?

Well, it’s been complicated explaining to everyone I see what it means to be an administrative cripple. Seventy three times over explaining that your sympathy is kind, but I’m not in pain. Thirty seven times over explaining that yes, I can walk just fine, though rainstorms do prompt a desire to be dropped at the door to keep dry, and uphills are a bit clumsy. I’m tired of explaining it.

But just think of the explanations I’ll have to come up with if I’m spotted loping down the road. And even worse, when I’m spotted the following week on crutches after surgery. Oh yeah, that dude, what a fool, look what he did to himself.

Truth be told, now that the facts are out, it’s pretty clear that what I’ve done is not a typical running injury. Nor is it a typical degenerative kind of thing. In fact, it’s a very rare injury. It’s a fluke, which is fine with me. Once beaten, once over this bump in the road, it’s not likely to be a recurring problem. But explaining that eighty six times…

Perhaps I’ll just go for a run…at night, when nobody’s looking.

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