Injuries – that’s my middle name

About a week and a half ago, I jammed my toe and tripped while going down some stairs at home. It was near the bottom of the staircase, and the fall didn’t hurt, but my toe didn’t come out of it so well.

footI posted the above photo on Facebook and an acquaintance, Jim Hoppe, a very experienced distance runner, commented that competitors in the Leadville 100 often have similar looking toes after the race and use drills to relieve pressure under the nail. He recommended I use a ¼ inch bit. I replied I’d done it before, unsuccessfully using the back-door method to fix a tooth in the very back of my mouth. I posted a photo as proof.

drilledTo be real, this is a gag photo taken when I was a college student.

I just finished a three-week layoff for a minor calf muscle tear, so now I get to have more time off. If the toe is broken, I’m looking at about five weeks. It’s the second time I’ve broken this toe.

When I was a 19-year-old, I entered the mile at an all-comers track meet at Spokane Community College. It was mid-June, school had just gotten out, and I’d been running only a short time because I’d missed the outdoor track season with yet another injury – a stress fracture.

At the meet, I told my longtime friend, Dave Dixon, who ran for the University of Idaho, that I wanted to get under 4:20 during the summer. He expressed doubt, knowing that I just resumed running.

I finished the race in 4:29, and Dave said to me afterward, “Maybe you can get under 4:20.”

A few days later, Dave and I were horsing around, wrestling, and my foot got slammed against his foot. Broken toe – end of sub-4:20 quest.

When I was younger, I was disappointed and frustrated when I got injured, and it happened over and over. I’ve had stress fractures in both tibias, both fibulas, both feet, and believe it or not, both femurs – all on separate occasions. I’ve had tendinitis, shin splints, a torn meniscus – twice, and multiple episodes with lower back pain that ultimately ended in back surgery. Three times in my running career I’ve had to lay off from running for a year or more.

However, when I get injured these days, instead of disappointment, it’s a shoulder shrug and an “Oh, well”. Though I never realized the times I was capable of, I’m grateful for all the friends I’ve met through running, and that I’m healthy, usually uninjured and can still run.

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