The grim news: My marathon days are numbered

This post has been in the works for some time. I haven’t written in more than a month, and the last post I was even working on, dated Sept. 2, is now hilariously outdated. It was about whether I’d run the Lake Sammamish Marathon or the Seattle Marathon, or both.

I just scrapped that one. Truth is, I am going to sign up for the Seattle Half-Marathon, and hope I can finish that race in one piece.

The situation is that my left ankle, fractured in a serious car accident in 1975, is missing most of the muscle and ligaments it once had. The bones now connect in a deformed state, x-rays show. Surgery isn’t going to help, says a University of Washington Sports Medicine doctor I saw this past week. Rehabbing the ankle isn’t an option either, says Dr. Carol Tietz, though I can rehab other body parts (my hips and thighs) to make running easier on my ankle.

Bottom line, the ankle I have now is pretty much what I will have for the rest of my life. Fourteen years of running may not have been the best thing for it, especially the 19 marathons and 26 half-marathons and 127 races overall since 2001. I want to get to 20 marathons — but I also want to be able to walk as normally as possible in later years.

Dr. Tietz told me that if this ankle was hers, she’d skip the 20th marathon. But, she added, “I’m not a runner.” As it was, she told me I could continue running, prescribed the rehab treatment for my hips and thighs that will help my ability to run, and gave me an ankle brace that works well.

I plan (hope) to run marathon No. 20 next spring. I had intended to do it Nov. 28, the Seattle Marathon, but after having to cut short several of my training runs this past few weeks, I really needed to see a doctor. Next stop, my physical therapist.

I’ve done three runs totaling 12.1 miles since my doctor’s visit Oct. 4, plus considerably more walking and cross-training than usual, and know that my running days are numbered. It’s not so much the pain, but the awkwardness of how my left foot lands and doesn’t completely roll into the next stride. Also, on some days when I run, I can feel my ankle bone rubbing against something odd within my leg, making a weird noise and creating a sensation that I don’t like. I break into a walk when that happens.

Why run at all? I am addicted, and I am not quite ready to “retire” into bicycling and swimming. But I will be in the not-too-distant future. Just let me cross the finish line of marathon No. 20, and I likely will be ready.

Till next time …

About monteenbysk

I am not an elite runner or bicyclist, though I am friends with many. I run, walk, and bike for fun and the health benefits. I can get you to the finish but probably not to the Boston Marathon (and especially not to the Tour de France).
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3 Responses to The grim news: My marathon days are numbered

  1. Pingback: Tough running year ends on a high note | Monte's running commentary

  2. Pingback: Resolution Run 5K: Nice start to 2011 | Monte's running commentary

  3. Pingback: Running/walking or walking/running — I’ll get to the finish line somehow | Monte's running commentary

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