On Running

Another post so soon!

A few people have asked why this running blog changed into a regular blog. Simple answer: I am not running right now, but I have not lost that spirit or the love of writing.

Here’s what happened. After being a big runner up into my teenage years, I stopped due to the development of supraventricular tachycardia. I got an ablation that fixed that in 2012. I began running in 2014, beginning with the C25K program. I worked up to 10K and ran a couple races. I didn’t think of them as “races” but as “Can I make it all the way?” runs. I quickly found that I am not a competitive runner and preferred trailrunning over everything else, and that was just fine with me. On good weeks, I’d run 3x a week 5-6K each. I had thoughts of training for a half-marathon but never did.

In early 2017 I began getting heart palpitations that happened all the time, even while just sitting around. These still happen somewhat frequently but are mostly controlled by medication. The palpitations themselves are not dangerous, but when I get them they make me really dizzy and it’s hard to run that way.

Also, while I was still running regularly, my left foot and ankle increasingly became sore and weak, leaving me in pain and also losing balance on the trail. I had a couple crazy falls. I told my doctor, but she didn’t really suggest anything. In May 2017 it came to a head when we were camping up at Saltery Bay. I had had a run that morning around the camp ground and over a rocky beach, and then later we decided to do a hike on the Sunshine Coast Trail. We were climbing a steep hill when my ankle just seemed to give out. I figured I just needed more ankle support. On a trip to Powell River that weekend we found some good hiking boots. I tried hiking again with them on, but my ankle was in pain. The weekend after that I did the Sun Run but had to walk some. I had simply overdone it, I think.

It seemed to have taken a long time for my doctor to do anything. At the same time my left leg had swollen. I got several ultrasounds, and there was no edema or any other sign of what might be causing it. In the end, after visiting a physical therapist as well, everyone decided the leg was not swollen just slightly bigger. It’s hard to tell, but I can tell. I’ve never gotten any sufficient answers on why this would happen. I still managed to hike and do the occasional run–it seemed if I stayed off my ankle, it would start to heal. But as soon as I’d run somewhat regularly, it just weakened again. So I stopped it.

Finally a few months ago, after no improvement, I asked my doctor to order an x-ray. I did that, and it turned out I have arthritis in that foot and my bones look older than they should. I guess this is injury-related since no other place on my body is always weak and sore like this. My doctor referred me to a foot and ankle specialist, who I visited last month. Wow, she was amazing. She covered everything. I got some blood work done, and the only thing showing up was a vitamin d deficiency. So I am trying to remedy that right now. The next step is an MRI, which is scheduled in a couple weeks. Once she gets all the results back, I will see her again and she will decide the next step. Update: The MRI showed tendon tears, which take forever to heal, so running is out for a long time.

I have accepted that I may never run again. I also have lower back issues from a fracture a few years ago, but I am lifting light weights a few times a week to try to strengthen my back–regardless, I was running with that issue anyway. Oh, also in the last couple years I, my sister, and daughter have all gotten tested for Ehlers-Danlos (of the hypermobility) and have it. No wonder I found it so easy to do all those backbends, backflips, etc. when younger. Whee? My doctor said “don’t worry about it”. And my sister says “stop running”. Ok.

So, it’s been a long wait and see. My specialist told me I cannot run right now until she determines what’s happening. Someday, she said, I might be able to run with an ankle brace. For now, however, she is looking at bones, muscles, fractures, disease, and even any sort of indicator of cancer (for instance, she noticed a strange gap in my left foot that might indicate a mass). She said, depending on what tests show, I may be treated for vitamin deficiency, have surgery, or steroids, or whatever it takes. I’m just happy I found such a thorough doctor.

So in the meantime, I am not running. I am barely able to hike right now. I can do it but know that later that night I will be in crushing pain.

I’m one of these “accept what I cannot change” people and don’t let things get to me. At the same time, I do miss running. Being on the trails was one of my happier alone times in life, ever ever. Even if I can never run again I will always remember that freedom and alive-ness.

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