I hit the wall.
I do not have a bunch of great pictures to share.
I do not have an amazing run to share.
I did not make any new friends today.
I have been hurt worse, but if I break something or really tear something, I won’t finish this run across. That’s not an option.
At the advice of Chuck and Dean, who have a lot more experience with crazy long runs than I do, I sit. My legs are elevated and I’m icing the muscles on the outside of my tibia and my ankles.
Looking back on this day, I have a myriad of emotions, and know that there were many choices I could have made that were different than not running, not moving in any way, and resting in the RV all day and moving a plantar fasciitis splint from one foot to the other throughout the day. I only had one one of these weird contraptions, so I couldn’t splint both feet at the same time.
The splints were made of rigid plastic, moulded across the front of the foot and leg and formed into an approximate 100 degree angle. One end of the splint sat on the top of my foot, while a soft velcro strap secured it from the middle foot to the toes. Another large velcro strap secured the splint to the front of the leg just below my calf. This kept the foot locked at that angle.
Although the splints weren’t made or marketed to shin splint sufferers, my theory was that by taking the pressure off my gigantic feet to keep them in an upright position, would not only alleviate the pain, but would give the tibialis anterior muscle time to heal without constant pressure. Since my feet and ankles were pretty swollen and bruised all the way around, I figured a little rest couldn’t hurt either.
My fear, of course, was that the delay would set me back considerably. I had a lot of miles to travel, and I only had so much time before, my wife and kids would rebel. They might take matters into their own hands if I took much longer than my target end-date of May 24 – 54 days after the day I started. I had visions of my 4-year old daughter knocking on the door of the RV with a sour expression, a leash, and a choke collar perfectly sized for my neck.
I had to get moving.
As one might imagine, there are tons of emotions that come with this run, and I’m working through everyone one of them as I go. Surprisingly, I do not think that I’m actually spending enough time digging deep into them however.
My default emotion is snark. This is going to be tough.
I’m an athlete. I accept that I am an athlete. Despite that I have participated rigorously in athletic pursuits for 25-30 years, I struggled with applying that honorarium to myself. I am honored to be referred to as an athlete, because I always thought of it as a badge, worn by those who are worthy of respect and praise for their physical prowess – one that I hadn’t earned.
I have never felt strong enough, fast enough, agile enough, and certainly not coordinated enough to put myself into the same categories as my heroes and many of my friends. Real athletes are people such as Bernard Hinault, Paula Radcliffe, Scott Jurek, and Caballo Blanco; the team sport superstars like John Elway and Diana Taurasi; and the wild and impetuous ones that created their own epic events, like Charlie Engle and Jennifer Pharr Davis. How on earth could I label myself as an athlete, when these were descriptors saved for the gods and goddesses of the sports world.
However, after much introspection (and a Google search) I realized that an athlete is exactly what I am. Paraphrasing and completely mashing together definitions that I have found, I am an all-around-sportsman. Perhaps, not at the highest levels, but I work hard at multiple sports, in order to be somewhat competitive. I train. I eat well – most of the time. I focus my energies, my time, and identify myself with all of these endeavors. I am an athlete.
But this realization only helps me feel slightly less of an imposter when attempting a massive athletic feat that many think is outside of their abilities. My natural talent is no better than most people I know. I differ only in that I sacrifice comfort for accomplishment. I choose to spend my time moving for long periods of time, but not necessarily fast. I choose to increase my time and distance. It’s a choice that others have just not chosen for themselves.
So, on this day, I chose to do none of these. I chose to sit on my ass and do nothing. I chose to stay inside. I chose to complain. I chose to whine.
This ain’t living, and I’m pretty pissed off (and embarrassed) about it. Being human is stupid and I’ll have no part in it!
Recognize weakness. Find every motivation to overcome. Keep Moving Forward.