Saturday morning, while getting dressed for a wedding, I slipped on my go-to pair of heels, and within two steps my left ankle decided that this was a day for formal tennis shoes, instead:
Yes, I do have a pair of “formal” tennis shoes, to the dismay of pretty much everyone I know who has a vagina and/or interest in shoes in general.
But even after I changed shoes, my ankle still hurt. In fact, my ankle still hurt on Monday morning, and I was still blaming it on the heels. But deep down, I knew that just putting on a pair of high heels and wearing them the length of my bedroom was not enough to injure my heel. I’ve had this happen before, back when I used to figure skate.
Pictured above: all the trophies and accolades I won figure skating.
It’s my Achilles tendon. It has tendonitis. And it’s flaring up at the absolute worst time.
Because I have a lot of new blog readers, I have to kind of provide some back story. For my entire adult life, I’ve been what some people, you know, people who are like, doctors or other health professionals, would call “morbidly obese.” Or what my fellow women might call, “Giiiiiiiiirl, you are not as big as some people I know.” By the way, that’s when you can tell if you’re really fat, when your friends stop saying, “Shut up, you’re not fat,” and start saying stuff like, “I’ve seen women at the fair who are way bigger than you,” and “If you can still buy clothes at a store, you’re probably okay.”
Now, I had no real problem with being fat, because I could eat whatever I want, I could wear pants with elasticized waistbands, and I could tell as many fat jokes as I wanted. In a lot of ways, being fat was liberating. I flew from Grand Rapids to New York in a row by myself, because no one, absolutely no one, was wanting to sit by a fat lady when there were other options. Also, when I got stuck at the Newark airport on the way home, I was able to fashion a pretty good-sized tent to sleep in out of one of my dresses. I loved being fat, except for the pain in my joints and the fact that my pants, no matter what size they were, always fell down.
But then I watched my grandfather die from, in laymen’s terms, “Heart all fuckedupness”. I think, in terms of “ways to die”, that one looked like one of the least fun ways to go because it took a long time and seemed painful. I spent a year in total, crippling depression, thinking, “Well, that’s my genetics. That’s going to happen to me.” I figured the diabetes both my paternal grandparents have and my maternal grandfather had was basically a foregone conclusion, so I might as well just get used to it. I hit my highest weight, which was in the 260s. Every day, I watched the numbers creeping closer and closer to 300lbs. I started to think about stuff that seemed perfectly normal to me, and realizing how fucked up it all was. Stuff like drinking two twenty-four packs of Diet Coke per day. Stuff like the fact that the last time I had surgery, I couldn’t run on a treadmill long enough for the stress test that I was required by the hospital to take because my weight made simple surgery “high risk”. Stuff like worrying if the airline was going to make me buy two seats the next time I had to fly.
I started making some changes in my life. I quit eating out of boxes and cans, and cut aspartame out of my diet completely. I started using a product called ViSalus. (I am an independent sales consultant for this product now, but I’m not going to give you a sales pitch, you know if you need to make changes or not, and if you’re wanting to know more, you can always email me.
) I started running, because it was the cheapest form of exercise. I didn’t set out with any particular goal. I thought it would be cool if I could run a mile without dying from my admittedly weight-complicated asthma.
Since the last week of January, 2012, I have lost a total of 36lbs. I run three miles a day, four times a week. I no longer walk with a cane. So, you know, bonus there. I’m feeling the healthiest I’ve felt since I was twenty years old. So, I decided to run a 5k. I was, in fact, going to run the Borgess “Run For The Health Of It” 5k. See, Borgess is the hospital where my grandfather got the news that he was going to die because his heart was all fucked up. Borgess is the hospital where I couldn’t run long enough to get my heart rate over 90bpm. I felt like if I conquered the Borgess 5k, it would prove to me that I’m really capable of doing this, I’m really capable of being a healthy person who isn’t going to get a viking funeral a la What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Unfortunately, that race is on Sunday, and my Achilles tendon is in the shape of a walnut sticking off the back of my heel. An angry, hurty walnut.
I am not going to be able to race, and it feels like a bigger personal defeat than if I had woken up this morning weighing a hundred pounds more than when I went to sleep last night. This was my goal. This was my pinnacle. This was my sole motivation for the past three months. And I’m not going to get to do it. I had visions of putting up a triumphant blog post on Monday morning, complete with pictures of a sweaty, smiling me with a number pinned to my chest. And instead, I’m going to just be at home, icing my stupid ankle.
Intelligently, I realize that there will always be another race. That my progress isn’t for nothing just because I’m not running this specific 5k, and that the smart, sensible thing to do is to let myself heal. I’m still at 210 lbs., so I’ve got a lot more to do before I reach my goal. But this one… the timing of this really just sticks in my craw.
However, once I am healed and able to get my run on again, you better believe that I am going to crush the first 5k that staggers into my path. Because I’m a fucking champion.