Almost a year

SantiagoIt’s been almost a year. And though much has come and gone in the course of that year. I’ll keep the news update down to just two highlights.

First, the good news. I realized my longtime dream of walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I began in one of the most popular starting points, St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France, and over the next month, made my way to Santiago, mostly by foot (I rented a bike for about 125 km, and took a train for another 80 km when I was behind schedule.) The Camino was an adventure of hiking across the Pyrenees, the long Meseta plateau, the Cantabrian mountains, of crossing dozens of rivers and streams and roads, of passing through more than a hundred cities, towns, villages, and hamlets, and of meeting some of the most wonderful people in the world. As many pilgrims do, after resting an extra day in Santiago, I went to Fisterra (Spanish Finisterra “World’s End”) to complete my Camino at edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Much more can be said about it, but for now, I’ll leave the subject with the admonition that if you have a chance to do the Camino yourself, do it!

Now, the bad news. I have a broken foot. That’s putting it dramatically, but it’s technically true. I still have a bone chip from the broken toe that I mentioned in the “metatarsalgia” bit in my last post. (The doctor who informed me that I had broken a toe neglected to mention that I still had a bone chip trapped between my metatarsals.) He suggested rest as therapy.

Indeed, resting it was actually was helpful at first, and when I began Camino training, I discovered that toe socks seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for me to be able to hike well. Yep, I walked the Camino with a bone chip in my foot.injinji

When I returned, all seemed well. I was in the fittest condition I’d been in since my late twenties. I starting training for another marathon, but trouble started showing up with toes in my left foot cramping towards the end of 13-, 10-, 8-, then even 5-kilometer runs. The trouble was undeniable when on a Labor Day 5k, I was on pace to PR (make a personal record) but had to walk (and limp) the entire last kilometer.

That led me to see a podiatrist. The first one I found was not very helpful, but now I am working with a different podiatrist, in whom I have much more confidence. However, neither have been keen on operating as ligament damage might not be as simple to repair as merely removing the chip.

So, not running for the last eight months has been a difficult challenge for me. I only started running for five years ago, and when I began, it was like I had been given a new lease on life. But during the winter, I found myself eating comfort food and gaining thirty pounds.

But things are changing. My diet is back on track, I’m losing weight slowly and carefully, and with my podiatrist, I’m exploring how best to rehabilitate my foot. (This weekend, I was able to walk fourteen kilometers.)

As I return to blogging, I’m reading and taking my own advice on the most essential skill: returning”