Actually, as far as blog posts go, my time on the Disabled List has been a helluva lot longer than 15 days. My time on the 15-day Disabled List however comes down to my heel. I’ll explain.
Today at a meeting, one of the guys observed that if you are coasting, you are going downhill. I don’t know if he coined that one or not but boy howdy is it true and man oh man have I been coasting. About a month ago, I ran the longest distance I had ever run in preparation for the half-marathon I’ve committed to running next May. During that run, I blew the plantar fascia in my right foot and now suffer from plantar fasciitis. In layman’s terms, this condition refers to an acute pain that feels like someone is driving a rusty spike into your heal. On the one hand, it is kinda cool that I suffer from an “athlete’s injury,” but on the other hand, it supremely sucks to be all of 40 years old and walking around like you lost a couple toes to a grain combine.
The pain started the day after it happened and continued to about a week ago. I’m pretty sure I know when I blew the ligament in question too. About ¾ of the way through the run in question, I was cruising along and was pretty pumped that I was going to complete my longest run ever. As I tore through one of the parks on my route, I ran up onto a picnic table, miscalculated my landing as I leapt for joy, and came down entirely on the heal in question, executed a series of impromptu combat maneuvers, jumped back up and continued the run. I know. Dumbass me.
What followed was two weeks of limping around on the foot in question and gathering intelligence from various people who have more experience than me in dealing with these types of ailments. From talking to other folks who have carried their practice of physical exertion into middle age and beyond, I learned that A) I need supportive insoles, not just those Dr. Scholl’s cushiony ones and B) I’m pretty much screwed because this particular ailment never goes away.
Well isn’t that just ducky.
So the last couple weeks have been filled with sessions of stretching my foot before limping my way through work to come home and plant by tookus on my recliner and watch House of Cards. I abandoned my pursuit of playing piano at least 4 times per week a few months ago as my obsession with writing the book about my journey from almost dying through the darkness and desolation of full blown alcoholism to the salvation of recovery has taken on epic proportions. So I haven’t lost any ground there, but I do realize that that I’m going to pretty much stink at that particular endeavor for at least the next couple years as I trudge my way through 30 year-old Piano for Beginners lesson plans and I need to be okay with that, even if it means limping my way up and down those steep stairs to my basement so I can schlep through the rudimentary sheet music for Fur Elise one more time ( I also need to carve out 30 minutes 3-4 times per week and I pretty gave up on that too when I made the decision to train for this marathon.) As far as the book goes, I was cruising along with 60-70 pages written depending on my editorial mood that day (and font size) when I got hurt and now, I anticipate every little thing with a degree of trepidation because I know it’s going to hurt at least a little. From sitting on the floor to meditate to getting up to freshen my water bottle to going to the gym or running, I’ve never had to plan my next activity or task according to how much it’s going to hurt to do it and how much extra time I need to allot for it and let me tell you, it sucks donkeys and has definitely led to me dropping my semi-daily writing practice, as well as successfully resisting the urge to keep up on my fitness goals and instead coasting my way to being just another one of those people that goes to their job and then comes home exhausted, eats dinner and watches T.V. or messes around on the InterWebs until it’s time for bed.
I’ll tell you right now, if I ever become one of those people, put a bullet in my head. I beg you.
But as far as writing the book goes, maybe I kinda needed something to knock the wind out of my sails and fully internalize that writing this book is a marathon, not a sprint (pun completely intended) and I need to take a step back and settle down a bit. I just wish it hadn’t taken an injury that will forever ensure than I sometimes walk like a drunken sailor to do it.
The other tricky thing I’ve become aware of is the problem of fiscal solvency. See, for a lot of years, I never had money at all because I never had a job that paid well, so I never was in the position to succumb to the temptations that come with a bigger bank roll. These days, I am in the position to give over an extra 10-20 hours of work per week to a decent paying job so as to afford the finer things in life (at this stage, the “finer things” being a marginally better batch of electronics, decent running shoes, a bigger gym bag, etc.) But having a job where I am learning all the time and I continue to improve at (not to mention having 1-2 real co-workers that I get along fine with at a company I like) means I kinda like going to work and if the day stretches from 8 to 9 to 10 to 11 hours, I really don’t mind and look forward to that fat paycheck in a week. But again, the thought of becoming one of those people who gladly gives over their life and their time to their job only so they can have nice stuff and eat out more often scares the crap out of me.
I’ve lost my sense of personal balance because I don’t meditate nearly as much and I don’t exercise on a regular basis and I’ve lost my drive to grind out pages because I wrangle with bouts of depression at the thought that this is my life now and I should just be happy with having a good job with benefits. Maybe I’ll find a girlfriend that may become a wife and maybe I’ll become okay with abandoning my ambitions of completing my book and starting a new one and I’ll convince myself that its not that important that I run the half-marathon and getting in better shape was really the point and I should accept that and move on.
And maybe I should just gather enough money to go on vacation once or twice a year, get a promotion here and there and accept that this is my life and I should be all Zen about that.
Maybe I should just hang up my jersey now.
This is my mind and it sucks sometimes. One little thing like a bum heal throws the whole program off the rails and a month later I wake up and think “What the hell just happened.”
So put me in coach. I’m ready to play today. I’ve lost some time on my run and my arm feels like Jell-O sometimes but I’ve got quite a few good seasons left in me.