Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Breaking Bones

Yep, I've done it again. I broke another bone.
Since last writing, I just nicely started to get into the thick of my marathon build for the October 18 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. On August 9, I did the Fergus 10 km, which was a good kick in the pants. I had an excellent base with a great cross training routine and was succeeding in completing the mileage with appropriate long runs but wasn’t quite hitting the interval and tempo workouts. I knew, when entering the race that it would not be fast. Add the bad time of the month, a 30 km long run three days prior, and a hilly course and you get 10 km at a pace slower than marathon pace. I let it go but knew it was time to get down to business. With 10 weeks to go, it was time to focus and push a bit harder to increase the quality of my running. Consequently, I then had a great 160 km week, which included a solid 6x1.2km workout and a personal best treadmill tempo/long run of 40 km@3:57/km with 13k@3:35/km. Then on Monday, at the end of an easy run, I stepped on a rock. When going over it, it hurt and felt like it was happening in slow motion. But I easily made it home and didn't think much of it. It was a bit sore to walk for the first few steps when getting up after sitting but otherwise seemed fine. On Wednesday, I completed a solid 6x1 km workout, more or less mentioned the sore foot in passing to Rick, and looked forward to a well-deserved day off and taper for the August 23 Edmonton Half Marathon. Still, just a bit of pain. It wasn't until my Friday physiotherapy treatment when I realized it was an issue. Both Paul and Patricia determined that the pain was coming from a bone in my foot. It was an easy discovery when they simply pressed on that specific bone, from the top. Very specific pain. Coach Rick was there during my treatment session and we agreed that I had to make the call. If it didn't improve, and got worse, we had a red flag. So I boarded my flight to Edmonton and decided that my easy pre-race day run would be the determining factor. I was so glad to have my good friend Mary Davies as my roommate. It's tough to go through these things alone and away from home. On Saturday we did an 8 km with a few pick ups in the morning and I knew my answer. When I saw elite coordinator, Brian Torrance, I asked him what I would do if I had to drop out of the race. Not a good sign. I emailed Rick that my foot now hurt with running, and was even worse with the strides. I couldn't even imagine putting on racing flats as I knew the walking pain was more while barefoot than with shoes.  So, like a good coach, Rick kindly recommended that I not start. The truth hurt. It took most of the day to process it, going through the denial and anger, fully knowing it may mean changes for my fall marathon. As the day progressed, I chatted more with Mary about it, and enjoyed dinner out with her and Rhiannon Johns, also in Edmonton to race the half. Later that evening, I finally informed Brian and Rick that I would not start. A long way to go to not even start a race. But I was certainly not having another out-of-province-run-a-half-marathon-break-a-bone-requiring-surgery repeat. No thank you. So on Sunday morning I headed to the start line to cheer for Mary and the others and assist John Stanton and the race crew with some announcing and giving medals at the awards ceremony. After the race, I had a nice walk back to the hotel with the women, including getting to know the race winner, Jess Petersson. I then said good-bye to Mary and struggled through a long and teary day, travelling back to Brantford, finally arriving home at 1:00 am. Rick had already been in contact with Dr. Dill who I would see first thing the next day. Monday morning I had an X-ray, which was normal then later a bone scan, which clearly showed a problem. I've never looked at ultrasounds or X-rays like I know anything but this time it was very obvious to my untrained eye. Trouble. The nuclear medicine chief and orthopedic surgeon met to review the results and it was determined that I had an acute break, likely from the rock, rather than a stress fracture. So, Rick, Dr. Dill and I had yet another conversation about my return to running. It certainly wasn't as serious as my 2014 femur fracture. In fact, Dr. Dill explained that an acute fracture often heals much quicker than a chronic stress fracture. So, we decided to postpone any racing decisions, meet again in two weeks, and focus on cross training with pool and bike workouts similar to my training plan. It's kinda crazy that I could walk out of the appointment with no limp, looking completely normal. When I came home and told the kids, it was almost like, "Ya, another broken bone. So what's for dinner and can we go swimming now?". So we headed to the pool and I started my two week non-running training plan. No use in feeling sorry for myself. As a believer, I know we don't always get what we want nor do we ever need to understand why these things happen. I told the kids that God can use us in different ways and even though it's odd, I can keep breaking bones and having great comebacks to give Him the glory. Again, I have peace about this and am only seeing this as the glass half full. I know I have been known as the marathon mom who got faster with 3 kids. Now with a third broken bone (fractured ribs in 2013), we will have to see if I am now also the marathoner who got faster after 3 broken bones. 

Fergus 10 km. Image: Tony Saxon, Mercury Staff. Story here. 

Coach Rick's athletes after Kip completed the Edmonton Half Marathon. Great job, Kip! 

L to R: Jess Draskau-Petersson (from Denmark, living in Colorado), myself, Mary Davies (from New Zealand, living in Houston) and Rhiannon Johns (from Canada, living in Indianapolis) after the Edmonton Half Marathon. Way to go, 1(Jess)-2(Mary)-3(Rhiannon)!

Beautiful scenery we enjoyed from downtown Edmonton.

What a great friend! Great race today, Mary. You are in the perfect spot for your fall marathon!
Pathetic-looking ice apparatus but it gets both top and bottom of the foot. Ice, time and x-training is about all I can do now.

Family selfie taken to cheer me up while on my way home from Edmonton. 
Micah broke his arm in July. Enough DuChene broken bones!

A love/hate relationship with this road now? This is where I returned to running in August 2014, after my femur fracture and where I stepped on the rock, breaking my foot in August 2015.