I’m now into the 4th week since the break. The left foot recovery has remained pretty static for the past week – still a little swollen, red and warm. It remains uncomfortable to walk in any other way than very slowly with a sandal whose forefoot strap holds it together. It may just be turning the corner as of this evening. Bones repair in time and I expect a full recovery.
Break plus 20 days:
What is more terrifying for me is my right knee, which is getting no better as I languish. If anything it's getting worse by the week. For as long as I can remember it has always crunched when I have straightened my leg but it was never painful. During last year it became increasingly niggly, with dull pain down the front of the knee during events when descending. However it was never severe enough to stop me and I did not complain; the euphoria of each event dulled any discomfort. It did not recover during periods of lay-off towards the end of last year / beginning of this. Eventually, sitting down with knee at right-angles became uncomfortable and descending stairs became increasingly painful. It must have affected my running and caused me to put more stress on, and damage, my left foot. The VFFs finished the job nicely on 8th February after barely 3 weeks of occasional use.
Now into my 4th week of enforced sedentary existence with zero running, the knee has worsened to the point where it constantly reminds me that something is very wrong. Even walking (which is naturally slow, brief and easygoing at the moment) is uncomfortable now. Climbing stairs has become painful but descending stairs is the real ordeal. Within the space of a month I’m suddenly reduced to hobbling around like an arthritic OAP and it’s not nice. I feel out of control of my destiny, trapped with no way out. The very thought of running is far-fetched nonsense at the moment. I’ve been living on borrowed time for long enough. Now even the glucosamine, chondroitin and omega fish oils cannot paper over the cracks any longer. Unlike the busted foot, THIS isn’t going to get better on its own.
I await an appointment for an MRI scan to tell me what the damage is. Assuming it's damaged cartilage of long standing (I can't see how it could be anything else), the best scenario might be some peripheral tidying up to stop tendons twanging across it, thereby restoring full running, walking and sitting capability. Magic! However I really cannot help myself being overwhelmed by a worst-case scenario of the cartilage within the joint being so compromised it's beyond repair, spelling the end of my running career. The only thing that kept me fit, healthy and sane will have been snatched away from me.
Three weekends worth of events have been lost so far, with one per weekend to follow until further notice. My running diary is in tatters – a write-off. I don’t know when I will be back, if at all. It was good while it lasted. Even cycling is painful so I can’t return to that as an alternative to keep the fitness up. (Even sitting here typing this is painful.) When I look to the horizon and see only a big black cloud with no light on the other side I am reduced to tears of self pity and nostalgia. It’s the end of life as I know it. I'll retire to the couch in front of the goggle box with my feet up, comforting myself with booze, peanuts and crisps as I watch my legs waste away and my waistline do the opposite.