I broke my foot completely a second time in February of 2011. The first time had been September of 2010. In between those two times I had two surgeries on my foot. February’s breakage would make it surgery number 3 on my foot. By that time I had had essentially 6 months of only light activity.
I started going a bit stir crazy. Running was out of the question, but summer was approaching and if I had wanted to race the mountain bike I needed to be training then. And if I wanted to race and keep up with the peleton I had to be training at a decent intensity at that time.
So, what did I do-I shot for the moon. I did the unthinkable. I signed up for a 50 mile mountain bike race held that August. I had never mountain biked more than 30 miles in my life. I was on crutches and in a cast, soon to be a walking boot. I wouldn’t be in a shoe for another two months. But, I needed a goal. More importantly I needed hope that I wouldn’t be back where I had been for the last six months.
I enlisted JWail as my inspiration. He signed up too. He had never raced before period. He was going for the big guns.
We started back country skiing together as soon as I was in the walking back as training. I would literally take my foot out of the walking boot, wrap gauze and duct tape around the incision and screw, and stick it in my backcountry ski boot. We would do about an hour to an hour and half until the pain would set in. Upon getting back to the car, I would take off the ski boot, unwrap the foot and put it back into the walking boot.
In the mornings before work I rode the bike trainer with the boot on. It made for some heavy pedaling. By April vacation, we packed up and headed to Zion National Park where I completed multiple 3-4 hour rides. Again, I put my foot from the walking boot into a bike shoe and back into the walking boot.
Probably not the smartest thing to start training like this. But, honestly I didn’t know what more I could do to let myself heal. I had tried the conservative-listen to the doctor approach-for six months and still ended up back at square 1. I figured if I worked out hard, then RICED for the next how many ever hours, I couldn’t be hurting it any more than it already had. More than anything I needed hope.
By the end of June, I was racing the local mountain bike series and putting in a long ride of 30-40 miles out on the trails each week.
And in August, I did this:
It wasn’t my fastest time. My body forgot what it was like to deplete itself, but I persevered. I also suffered from quite a bit of swelling and tendonitis in the foot. I decided to go back to the doctor, but a different one this time. I went for the second opinion that I should have had a year before. He assured me that the bone was in one place and that tendonitis was common. He also explained to me why the fracture was common in my foot and how it could potentially happen again.
It was reassuring and since then, minus minor bruising and swelling, I ran and biked on. In the past year since that last doctor’s appointment I have run 3 half marathons, a full marathon, and 7 mountain bike races. For those of you with broken bones or injuries at this time, there is hope. Continue to do only what your body will allow you and start planning for the future.
How far out from an injury did you plan your next race?