Back to Square One

Although I’ve got one more Argentina post to share this week, today I’m going to talk about running. Or, more specifically, hobbling. After taking nearly 3 weeks off thanks to my hurt back (which became my hurt/numb leg and foot), I felt like my back had progressed to the point where I could try a short run when we got back from our trip. I honestly couldn’t wait to strap on my HOKAs and go for a run. I really wanted to get my marathon training back on track, and the mental break had me raring to go! I didn’t expect a miracle – the amount of wine I drank plus 3 weeks off was going to hurt, regardless – but I wanted to give it the old college try despite lingering numbness in my right foot. I know that sounds crazy. I can’t feel my foot, but I thought I could run on it? Well, yeah. I didn’t really feel pain, I just didn’t feel anything, so I thought, “we’ll see.”

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If all else fails, find some goats to pet! Fortunately, there is no shortage of goats in rural SC.

As it turns out, the ability to feel your foot is fairly important while you’re running. Who knew?! But even more than that, I can tell that the nerves in my entire leg are screwed up. It’s hard to explain, but I didn’t feel like I had the ability to control certain muscles, and I could tell, for example, that my right calf was simply not engaging. All of the work was occurring in my hamstring and up, which certainly did not feel very good. I could run for maybe a quarter mile before the numbness and general weird feeling (I won’t call it pain since it didn’t hurt) would get too intense, and then I would walk. I was convinced that it would “warm up” and go away because I am an idiot who ignored the fact that it never once did that in Argentina. I ran/walked 3 miles, came home, and almost cried. What of the Casper Marathon? Training was going so well and now I can barely hobble.

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I finally figured out how to use the self timer on my phone, so you can expect groundbreaking photos like these occasionally.

So what did I do the next day? Well, I decided that my leg must just need some strengthening, of course. That’s how we fix everything, right? Physical therapy and exercises? So what better way to do that than to go to a Barre class when I have not been in 3 weeks! Can you guess where this is going? Hint: somewhere horrible. Could barely move for two days afterwards, so I guess we can cross that off the list of things to do.

At this point, it’s time to be concerned about what is going on with my back, because it is causing the nerve issues in my leg. If I were dealing with back pain, I would know how to proceed – I know the exercises I’m supposed to do, stuff like that. But losing feeling in my foot to this extent is something totally new, especially for this long, and I don’t know what to do. The problem is, my surgeon lives in Colorado and I live in South Carolina and don’t trust any doctors here. I put a call in to my surgeon and I’m hoping to hear back from him soon about what to do next and who I should go see.

Ironically, I celebrated the one year anniversary of my back surgery on Friday, April 24. My surgery changed my life so much for the better, and I would honestly say I would do the same thing again every year if I had to. Nine months of pretty much complete freedom from pain after 12 years with it? Yeah, I’ll take that. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely frustrated, though. I was doing so well, and I really have no idea what happened besides I guess a mileage/fieldwork overload, or maybe just some bad luck. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. I just want to get better soon.

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