My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
Three weeks ago today at this very moment I was still only halfway through the three hour surgery that would repair my three broken fingers on my non-dominant hand. Now that 21 days have transpired since that fateful day, I can honestly say that I have completely decoupled the concepts of repair and healing.
The plastic surgeon has repeatedly told me that it was a complicated break; multiple dislocated, compound fractures are never an easy fix, to be sure. However, three weeks ago when I was once again lucid, I definitely had different expectations for where I would be right now, today, in terms of healing. The reality is far different from those naive ideas, and I find SNL’s “Lowered Expectations,” playing in my head with regularity. Now you also know that I am a fossil, and as a senior student aptly pointed out to me in class one day, “Older people don’t heal as quickly or easily.” I am “older people,” so maybe I will never heal totally.
So, what’s the problem, you might ask yourself. This is great practice at patience, right? The problem is this: One year ago from right now I was approximately 25 lbs heavier than I am right now, and a lot more negative. It took me a long time to mentally come around to getting back into shape after my second child. I also had a few false starts. Then I found running again and that’s the problem. Running has improved my life in myriad ways, and now two renowned doctors are telling me that I can’t do it anymore. Why? I might fall and do more damage.
It does seem like a weak reason, but it has me pondering the 21K Tarahumara race that is set to take place one week from tomorrow. I am already registered, but my longest pre-accident distance was 16K in the last week of December. I have been picking away at walk/run intervals since then, against the doctors’ orders. Since healing is moving at a snail’s pace, it also has me wondering about signing up for any future goal races. How can three fingers on my non-dominant hand take running away from me? After all, they are just fingers.