Thursday, December 12, 2013

I. Hate. Running.

Really. I do.

Running sucks. It's hard. It can be boring. It can be painful. It can be a lot of things.

I run just about every single day. Sometimes 1 mile. Sometimes 10 miles. Hating every second of it.

But I have a really good reason for hating to run. I was born with a club foot. Symtoms? "The appearance is unmistakable: the foot is turned to the side and it may even appear that the top of the foot is where the bottom should be. The involved foot, calf, and leg are smaller and shorter than the normal side. It is not a painful condition. But if it is not treated, clubfoot will lead to significant discomfort and disability by the teenage years."

left foot before surgery, you can no longer see the bone separation near the ankle
So basically I had the severe case. The top of my foot was where the bottom should have been. The leg itself was turned inwards. My mom was told I would never walk. I was casted as an infant, but this non surgical treatment did little to correct the problem. I had surgery to release some of the tendons in the leg when I was 3. This allowed my leg to grow at a similar rate to the other. I spent all of my "growing" years sleeping in a leg brace. All I can say about this is OUCH! To this day I remember how painful it was, and awkward! Who can sleep in metal leg braces?

I did ballet when I was 4 and apparently complained of leg pain, so after that I was never allowed to do sports, ballet, dance, run, etc. Too much stress on the leg and ankle was risky. I ran around with kids and played, but that was about it.

Then I went away to college. And I decided to take up running. Yeah....

I realized that the pain that I feel all day, everyday, sitting, standing, walking, etc. is somewhat lessened when I am running. Not by much, but somehow running helps alleviate swelling, pain, and general discomfort in the leg.

In 2009 I was in so much pain everyday that I couldn't take it. The bones in my foot felt like they were grinding against each other no matter what I was doing, and I decided to see a surgeon about my options. He told me that no matter what I had been doing, running or not, I would have gotten to that point. Basically, because I don't have most of the muscle most people do from the calf down in the leg, and only about 40% of the intact tendons and ligaments, the foot is having to do extra work to support my body. He told me my option was to have the bones in the top and sides of my foot surgically fused, which would provide more support. Not a permanent fix, but if I didn't do it, he gave me 6 years before my ankle gave out on me. So, we did it.
1st Turkey Trot 5K just after Steve and I began dating :)

3rd Disney 1/2 2012
Prior to the surgery I ran less than 8 minute miles for close to 10 miles a day, everyday. I was wrecked when he told me I may never run again, and if I did it wouldn't be at that pace. I had the surgery June 29, 2009. I spent 8 weeks in casts, 3 weeks in a walking cast, and 5 weeks in a walking boot. I took my first steps on the foot in late October, and I ran my first half marathon on January 9, 2010 with a finish time of 2 hours 14 minutes. It snowed in Florida that day. I was in pain for days after. But I wouldn't change having done it for anything. I ran 3 more half marathons in the 4 months following. To this day I have run 8 halfs and way to many 5K/10K races to count.
Twilight 5K when the babies were 5 months old
Running sucks. I hate training. I hate sprints. I hate bridges and hills. But I run. I train. I sprint. I run bridges and hills every chance I get. Because I wasn't supposed to walk. And I can. I can run. And I am so grateful for those facts, and my ridiculous legs that I can't stand, they look horrible, but they are my greatest feature. They are strong and capable of anything. I can run again, and I just recently ran the fastest mile, sub 7:30, I ever have in my life. Proving surgeons wrong, one run at a time :)

One day my foot and ankle will eventually take a dive, and at that point I will need an ankle replacement and possible subsequent fusions. When that day comes, unless technology improves drastically by then, I won't be able to run and jump anymore. So you better believe I will run every mile, do every burpee, do every squat jump, and take every physical opportunity that comes my way.

Don't take your body for granted. If you have the ability, use it, that's what it's there for!

right leg in foreground, defined calf, left leg in background, no calf muscle

interior scars

exterior scars, no defined ankle, misshapen toes

left vs right

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