Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Careless Step

About three weeks ago, I was getting ready for our 2nd annual camping trip to a really fun mountain bike destination with a large group of fellow riding buddies. Almost everything was in order, but I had to make one more trip into the garage to find that "last thing" that I couldn't seem to locate. In my haste, I took one step down the stairs, took another one, which I assumed was the last one, and was wrong. My 2nd step was actually much higher than the last and when I came down, my shoeless foot hit the ground and rolled and I went down moaning in pain. Crap. I knew this was bad and it was immediately sore and badly bruised. Even with immediate R.I.C.E application, I knew that I wasn't making this camping trip. I assumed I sprained it and did everything I could to heal it.

After a few days of rest, some of the pain somewhat subsided, I went for a 40 mile "rails to trails" ride for another trip we had planned the following week. That was Saturday. Sunday, we went to a haunted house for Halloween and some dufus stepped on my bad foot. Hard. The next day,  the bruising was far worse which worried me. Finally,  I agreed to go to the doctor on Tuesday. After x-rays, he confirmed my worst but most unlikely suspicion. I actually had broken my foot. That same afternoon, I was at the sport's specialist for his diagnosis. Yes, it is in fact broken. I explained to him that I had ridden my bike just a few days earlier for FORTY miles so maybe there was some mistake. No mistake he said, X-Rays don't lie. Panic set into my mind. This was 1.5 weeks before I was supposed to do a Point to Point mountain bike race that I had been looking forward to for so long.  Could I still train? Could I still race? Would my cycling shoes be stiff enough since the soles are so rigid? As to my inquiries, he said  "Well, you could.....". So I took that as a "Yes, but the real questoion was if I "should". I walked out wearing a broken foot boot that I could pump up. Sort of a "pumped up kick". I am sure there is a valid medical term for that thing, but to me it was just a boot of shame. I was really depressed and then in tears. How could this happen? Such a stupid little misstep and bam, now all my plans were changing without my consent. The idea of potentially 6-12 weeks without biking was Unfair, Unacceptable. Unfathomable......and now Undeniable.  But, I was not going to miss this upcoming race. Screw that. I was doing it come hell or high water. I may not finish fast, but I was going to finish. Broken foot or not. More tears. Then came the "snap out of it lecture about how some people have it so much worse and I need to stop complaining and whining and just deal with it.". Yep, big brothers always know how to nurture when it counts.

The boot a/k/a Darth Vader's Right Shoe
By the end of the first day, I couldn't wait to get this thing off. It was heavy and bulky and made me walk funny. And, I had to wear it all the time while awake, the doc said. However, he told me that the only time I didn't have to wear it was when I was wearing my cycling shoes, so there was some hope. Those stiff soled dirty shoes were my shining beacon.

My husband was not too happy at the prospect of me training and then racing one of the hardest courses I would to date with a broken foot. While he would never tell me I couldn't do it, he made it pretty clear that it really wasn't the smartest thing to do. After a couple days, the sensible side of me came to rear its ugly head.
How could I even think of racing this event when I have a broken bone in my foot? Sure, riding on a Rails to trail path is one thing, but this event would be on a rugged course with lots of twisting motions of my foot, tough uphills,  rock gardens and probably mud. Not to mention if I had to for any reason walk my bike out, I was done for. Walking out would be really uncomfortable on all the uneven terrain. I reluctantly made the call. No race. Pity Party for me.

I decided that I should skip it and be a good patient and came to the realization that there would be other races. I chose to use the responsible side of my brain and try to just deal with it. After all there really are far worse things in life than a broken foot.  Sigh.....

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