Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Keeping On

Several years ago, my dad had emergency surgery, and there were complications during his recovery. Shortly after he left the hospital, he rented his crop land to a neighbor and sold his beef cattle and thoroughbred horses. When I suggested he perhaps was being too hasty in his decision, he said there hadn’t been much to do while lying in his hospital bed but think about how it was time for him to quit farming.

As I’ve hobbled around with some difficulty for the past 10 days with my broken foot in its boot, and spent more hours than usual sitting, I’ve contemplated whether it’s time for me to quit my training regimen. One of the scarier aspects of being injured is that it points out a disadvantage of living alone. Friends and co-workers have been very helpful, but I don’t want to impose of them too much. My children, of course, would come to my aid if necessary, but I hadn’t planned to burden them with my infirmities for at least a few more years. So, while I expect my foot will heal eventually, I’m worried about incurring some other injury that might be more incapacitating. I’ve brushed off past falls while running or biking, but now I’m wondering if I’ve reached the “Age of Decline,” where I should be more circumspect about my choice of activities. That sense of unease will put a big crimp in my training, but not training at all would leave a large void in my life.

My dad’s self-imposed retirement didn’t last long. Within a few months, he bought two Angus cows. Then he bought three more, and soon there were nine cows in the pasture where once there had been nearly 50. Every morning he goes out in his pick-up to check on his “herd.” His day has a purpose, and he still feels like a farmer.

I still want to feel like a triathlete. I still would like to do an Olympic distance triathlon as a solo entry. So last night I did some strength training with a focus on upper body work and cycled for 20 minutes on a stationary bike wearing my boot. I hope that by the time indoor cycling starts on December 1, my footwear will be less cumbersome, but if it’s not, I’ll do what I can to keep tri-ing. Since I won a complimentary entry for the 2010 Pink Power Sprint at the TG brunch, I know there’s at least one event in my future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fate or Coincidently Clumsy?

All fall I’d contemplated doing the Richmond Marathon 8K on Nov. 14. It’s a fun event, I was feeling more confident about my running, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend money for the entry fee. I kept putting off signing up, and last night, the decision was made for me. I somehow wrongly stepped off the edge of a slate sidewalk and hurt my left foot. I knew immediately the injury was most likely not an ordinary sprain, but I put some ice on it and figured the bad news could wait until morning. Today my foot was bruised and swollen and putting weight on it was difficult. After a few turns around my kitchen using a bar stool as a “walker,” I decided it was time for a trip to Patient First. There I learned I’d probably fractured a tiny bone along the little toe side of my foot (there was some discussion between the doctors as to whether the break that showed on the x-ray was new or old, but they decided to treat it as “new”). They put a splint around my foot and ankle, and gave me a pair of crutches and a referral to an ortho foot specialist. I don’t really mind not running the 8K, but I am sorry swimming, biking, and strength training are also temporarily curtailed while I hobble around.