Last October 31 I was on a run to get training miles in. It was nine to ten in the morning. I was hurrying so that I could make it home in time for church and then we had plans for the evening. It was the only time I could get the miles in that day. But it ended very differently than planned.
Not too far from my house is a irrigation canal and horse path. I've run that trail for years. It was on this run, I understood just how vulnerable I am when running alone.
A man in his mid-to-late twenties jumped out of the bushes on the other side of the canal and hurried over to the low end of the water. He jumped over that part of the canal and ran up the embankment and began to chase me.
When I saw him jump from the bushes and hurry out of them, I picked up my pace. I immediately felt in danger. That was the fastest I ever ever run in my life!
I felt certain that if I ran and never looked back, I would be safe. I knew that if I saved my breath for the running, I wouldn't slow down; I would have enough air to keep my pace and increase evermore.
Nearing the end of the path I could see an elderly woman coming our way. She was moving in such a way that I knew she was not in an physical condition to walk any faster, let alone flee for her life. I yelled with all I had in me, "Stop! Turn around! It's not safe!"
She did turn around and headed toward the street which was not too far away by then. I knew that there was no way she could increase her speed. Knowing this, I knew I would have to stop and say with her. There was no way I would leave her there alone.
As I drew closer to her I yelled, "Is he still behind me?" She yelled back that he wasn't and that he'd recently jumped back in the bushes. As I got closer to the lady I stopped and walked her pace with her and before long we were back on the main road.
Her home was nearby, so I walked her home. We then called the police and made a report. To my knowledge the man was never caught.
I am blessed to have made it out of that situation, however I didn't escape injury free. I ran so hard, so fast, and for so long that once the adrenaline dissipated I was in horrible pain in my left foot.
Over the following weeks and months, I had gone to urgent care a couple of times. I was told repeatedly that I simply had inflamed soft tissue in my foot and that the pain would subside after a few weeks. The doctors didn't see anything in my x-rays that would suggest otherwise.
So I reduced my activity (which is aggravating to do as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor). But every time I resumed activity my foot would hurt.
By the time early February came I got another x-ray and then sent the image to my podiatrist brother-in-law, who lives in another state. I told him the story and about the pain and asked him what more I could do.
He responded by saying, the doctors just aren't x-raying from he correct angle and that it is a common miss from non-specialists. But that he could see the distal end of the first metatarsal was definitely broken (joint of the big toe) and more.
I was able to get into a local podiatrist very quickly and they took another x-ray from the missing angle. We found that indeed there was a jagged break all along the joint. There was also multiple breaks in the medial sesamoid bone that resides under that joint.
After seven weeks in a walking cast, the jagged break was healed. However, the sesamoid bone was not. My doctor modified my shoe insole and put me back into my shoes. I was also outfitted with a bone stimulator to try and help the sesamoid heal.
I have had a number of extensive conversations with my podiatrist and found ways via his advice to be able to continue to teach all my group exercise classes and support the people I personally train. It's been tricky, but I've made it successfully through.
I am now at the point in my healing that the only way to truly return to full activity without pain is to have the sesamoid surgically removed.
I've decided that at this time, I will not pursue surgery. I don't know how my multiple sclerosis (MS) will respond to that, or how I will be affected in extremely more reduced activity. I am moving now and I still want to celebrate that and take full advantage of it.
Activity is what has mitigated my MS symptoms and issues. I figure, maybe if I have an MS relapse down the road that then I will do the surgery, as I would be down anyway during that time. And right now, I am only restricted in split lunges, calf raises, running, and things like that where the pressure is too great on that joint area.
In the end, I am safe. I am not recovering from any injuries more serious than this foot issue. I also believe that I was led to that path. Had that elderly woman been alone further down that path... I just hate to think what would have happened to her.
I am blessed. Though really frustrated with my fitness, I am glad that there's nothing else I am recovering from.