On Saturday morning I took my first few steps outside in the warm Kelowna sun on what was supposed to be a 90 minute run. Well into taper with two races (and a new half marathon personal best!) under my belt and the crackling excitement that comes with feeling fit and excited, I began. I immediately noticed my foot pain. It was about as subtle as a hammer dropping on my foot: a sharp, shooting pain that began in the base of my right big toe and radiated out to my entire foot.

My first thought: run through it. Just a niggle. I ran up knox, I continued on the Apple triathlon bike course, my foot growing increasingly painful. I look at my watch: ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes passed by. I tried changing my stride. I re-laced my shoe. I walked and then ran. The pain stayed stubborn, consistent. At 45 minutes I decided to call the run, right as a woman in a van pulled over and asked me if I needed a ride because I was limping. Not a good sign. I took the rest of the day and tried again on Sunday, with identical results.

Zipped back to Calgary and started the full gamut of getting the foot organized. I took a trip to my chiro, then to my physiotherapist, and then to my massage therapist. I had the foot poked, pulled, manipulated, moved, cranked. I was advised off of it and to transition to water running and swimming until we understood the full extent of the injury. I spent more time than I care to admit crying in the car, trying to understand why right now my foot had chosen to flare up. I was two weeks from an event I had been thinking about since last fall and training for diligently through the winter. The words tossed around by these people- and a multitude of my athletic friends, trying to help- were a little upsetting. Turf toe. Stress fracture. Tendonitis. Fibrosis. 

While I was in the middle of trying to calm my mind and assure myself that five months of tough training  (my biggest block of run training ever at 600km) wasn’t going to be a total waste a much, much, much worse bomb dropped on us: my mother-in-law’s cancer was terminal and her timeline painfully short.

It’s hard to describe the days that followed – and while we are still in these early days of this devastating news- because they are a long blur of sleepless nights and fog-filled days. They are a jumble of phone conversations, texts and emails. They are sitting at my computer screen and being unable to focus, think or speak. It is a new experience of heartbreak; watching the man I love face his mothers illness. We ping pong between making jokes and laughing together, holding each other crying. It’s classic, typical, painful grieving.

As of today it’s nine days from the Ottawa Marathon, my 2nd attempt at the distance. I have no idea if I will be lining up to run the event. As of right now I right now can hardly get myself dressed in the morning.

I do know I would gladly take years of injured feet for a few more months with Karen.

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