I run. Kindof a lot, actually. So the pain that I felt about seven weeks ago while a couple of miles into what should have been a 21-mile training run was more than just physical.
Physically, my foot hurt. It didn’t seem to be a cramp that was getting better as I went along, so I turned around and headed back home, finishing my run 16-miles early. I didn’t do much else, but I was limping by the end of the day and for the next couple of days. It was the opposite of fun.
When resting it for a few days didn’t seem to make it that much better, I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedist, who recommended that I take 4 weeks off running and switch to bicycling and swimming in the meantime. That was when the emotional pain and withdrawal symptoms (of not being able to get the high of my choice – the runner’s high) began to set in.
Withdrawal Was Rough…
mostly because I can’t seem to find a good substitute for how running makes me feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I bike commute pretty much ALL THE TIME and really do enjoy it far more than driving. But heading out on a bike ride for the sole purpose of exercise isn’t really my idea of a good time. I find I just can’t zone out and relax on a bike (zone out while sharing the roads with objects that are weighed in “tons”? Not this girl!) the same way that I can while running on the beach watching the dolphins play in the shallow water.
I can also swim – there’s no danger of me drowning in our pool (6 ft deep) or the gym’s pool (4 ft deep). But after surviving a near-drowning experience as a toddler, I’ve always had apprehension about having water covering my face. It’s something that I’ve worked on a lot in my life (failing “Beginner’s Swimming” three summers in a row was quite embarrassing as a kid and caused me to practice blowing bubbles in the bathtub in advance of my final – luckily successful – attempt at the class). So yes, I CAN swim. I’m slow and somehow incapable of coming out of a flip turn right side up. But I can swim, as mind-numbingly boring as it can be. It’s just not relaxing, either.
As It Turns Out, I AM A Runner
Over the years, I’ve hesitated to call myself a runner. Sure, I run. But no one was ever going to confuse me with Paula Radcliffe. So I wasn’t REALLY a runner.
But the withdrawal symptoms I get when I can’t run on a regular basis, have finally led me to conclude that (without a doubt) I am a runner. And when a runner can’t run, you want the problem fixed. Immediately. (Almost) no matter what the cost. And the costs really could have added up to so much more than I let them so far.
- A doctor’s appointment one day earlier if I saw the doc at the hospital instead of the clinic? Ummm… not worth the additional couple hundred in additional copays if I went that route.
- Specialty pain-relief compound medications that don’t have much insurance coverage and might cost a couple hundred dollars? I tried a topical NSAID first for a $35 copay.
- How about fancy imaging studies? I’ve had two x-rays, and an MRI, but luckily didn’t go with the imaging place my doctor recommended where the MRI would have cost over $600, instead opting for the imaging center that was in my insurance network for a $125 copay.
- Will buying a (dozen?) different pair of shoes help? How to decide which one when there are so many? So far I’ve bought and am trying out one pair of new shoes to the tune of $110. May end up with more over time.
- How about gadgets that random folks from the internet seem to rave about, like Correct Toes? Worth the $60? Not so far, I think. But I did bookmark it. =/
- And if running isn’t going to work, is there anything that can be done to make swimming less mind-numbingly boring and help me relax more? Like say, listening to audiobooks (like I do when I run). But that would require a waterproof iPod and waterproof earbuds to the tune of ~$200. I’d also likely need a swim cap and some sort of lap counter. Mr PoP is pushing me to buy all of this, but I’m holding off for now. Even if it makes swimming less boring, I don’t think the audiobooks would stop me from semi-hyperventilating while swimming with my face in the water (ie freestyle), so I’m not convinced this is a great answer.
Seven weeks after my injury, I’m slowly starting to run again (I’ll be ready for that BRK 5K, Mr 1500!), but trying to be careful not to overdo it. And looking at the foot-related out-flows over the past couple of months, I know a part of me was trying to throw money at my problem to make it go away (so far $393 in copays + shoes), but I think I did pretty well at fighting that.
While you can spend a LOT of money trying to fix your problem as soon as possible, the reality is that the one thing you can’t buy is TIME, or rather fast forwarding past the time it takes for healing to occur. And that can be the most frustrating part. Like driving extra miles to avoid sitting in a traffic jam, sometimes spending money in the meantime at least seems to feel like you’re doing SOMETHING instead of NOTHING.
And with all this, I have a renewed appreciation for Tom Petty. After all, the waiting is the hardest part.
In case that hasn’t stuck in your head yet, here you go.
Have you had any problems you were tempted to throw money at? How did you respond to the temptation?