Catching Up

Hello friends, long time no talk! As you can probably guess whenever I go silent for extended periods of time, that little flare-up I talked about in the last post turned into a full-on “take six more weeks off” deal.  Same second/third metatarsal bullshit.

I’ll get to the injury stuff in a second, but first I’ll update you all on the last month of my semester.

Team Thanksgiving was its usual shambly self.  The turkeys were a success!

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The senior class

Real Thanksgiving was fun, too- lots of wine, family, friends, and shenanigans.  We all ate ourselves silly per usual.

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In terms of school (oh yeah, I’m a college senior), I finished my Hispanic Studies major with my last senior seminar (but will be taking a Spanish class pass/fail next semester because I’ve taken Spanish for sixteen years now and don’t know what it’s like not to!).  If you’d like to discuss the social and religious hierarchies in the medieval Iberian peninsula, let me know 😀

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I also took Data Visualization and Simulation, Operations Management, Psychology of Decision Making, and Strategic Cost Management.  I would say that Cost was my favorite class- the professor was amazing, accounting case studies are exactly what I want to do in my career, and it was just a great class.

At my college, finals are spread over two weeks.  I had 3 exams and 2 papers over the course of those two weeks,  but unfortunately massive snowfall and ice caused the first day of finals to be postponed to Saturday!  I begged off for a wedding and took the exam on Wednesday instead.

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Hibernated in my cozy room with a view of the snow outside

My friend and I road tripped to Blacksburg the weekend in between to go to our friend’s wedding!

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We went out on the (student-less) town the night before and had a blast.  It was snowy and cold and beautiful.

Other finals-era highlights included a brioche French toast brunch with some teammates…

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Wine and cheese night with some other friends…

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A super cool farmer’s market in Blacksburg…

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And copious amounts of banana bread consumed.

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Because we’re super extra, my brother and I spent 3 hours making butter chicken a few days ago.  Mostly him.  We even made homemade naan!  It was amazing (and it better have been, with two sticks of butter, a cup of spices, and a pint of heavy cream!)

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Christmas was nice- we went to church on Christmas Eve, made homemade pizzas, woke up and opened stockings and presents, and made an amazing dinner.  Lots of champagne and stuffing and desserts… and my stepdad even made a turducken!  Stuffed with sausage!  Can you say animal product overload…

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Christmas morning breakfast:

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Ok, back to the sports stuff.  This whole time, I’ve been cross training.  I do enjoy swimming and think it’s super beneficial to runners, but staring at the wall spinning away on an uncomfortable stationary bike is not what I signed up to do as a Division I runner.  I saw the sports doctor and got another x-ray, and we discussed the structural issues in my foot.  Yesterday, I saw another orthopedist for another opinion and got another x-ray.

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hello darkness my old friend (the boot)

At this point, it’s not really a sports injury anymore in the same vein that you think of when you think of a stress fracture caused by running.  My problem is that my massive bunion causes the weight that should be absorbed by my first metatarsal to be loaded onto the second and third metatarsals that are not built to sustain that load.  Therefore, they keep breaking.  Additionally, my first metatarsal joints are too flexible, and the sesamoids around that bone are in the wrong place.  There’s pretty much like seven different “problem spots” on my foot stemming from this bunion.

Some of the doctors I’ve seen think I should get bunion surgery, and some think that we should “band-aid” the problem until my eligibility is up/I’m ready to be done with competitive running.  I really don’t know what to do.  It’s not like I’ve been running competitively this year, anyway.  The chronic, constant, unpredictable pain SUCKS.  This quote from Instagram sums it up perfectly:

“Chronic pain is interesting, too. It’s this nagging presence in your body…something is not right, but you learn to live with it. You learn what it’s like to roll out of bed in the morning and feel it. You know what stretches make it [temporarily] feel good, and which positions make you feel like you belong in a geriatric hospital. From an emotional level, some days are better than others. Some days you want to guzzle an entire bottle of wine and hysterically cry over a bag of Doritos. Other days, you’re optimistic, and can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

-@itsamarython on Instagram

Competitive running and I are not in a good place right now.  I am a competitor– I don’t like spinning my wheels (literally) and cross training for what seems like no reason.  I train to race and see how hard I can push my body.  Training for a race as opposed to nothing at all makes it so much easier to remember to take your easy days easy/light, too, so that you don’t screw yourself over for actual competition!  I really don’t do well with this goal-less limbo that I’ve been in for the majority of 2018.

On a more positive note, my core and functional strength are really solid right now.  I feel strong, like a well-rounded athlete.  The additional muscle weight and lack of racing leanness make for some horrible days where I tear myself apart and spend far too much time comparing myself to a) my past self, and b) other people…but then I remember how good I feel in my day-to-day life and how I’m generally not a walking zombie from running 60 miles a week.  Also, it’s not like being “race weight” would solve all my problems- I was equally as self-critical when I was 5-10 pounds lighter and could run a 6k in low 21 minutes!  We tend to view the past with rose-colored glasses.

I don’t know where my athletic journey (and the rest of my time in the NCAA) will lead, but I do know that I’m starting to have the “real-world itch.”  I’m going through an intense minimalist phase, getting rid of as many possessions as I can, following home decor feeds on Instagrams, exploring my faith, thinking about my future career and finances and the DC area.  I’m excited to be more than just a broken athlete who dabbles in cooking!

Next up: my 2019 goals, fears, aspirations, etc.

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