“A rupture in the plantar fascia.” That was the verdict from the podiatrist almost a week after walking around with a painful limp on my right foot. He then informed me it would take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for the rupture to heal on its own. Resting, wrapping, and icing would help the healing process. Reasons for the strain consisted of improper shoes, over stretching of the band due to high impact exercise, and improper landing of the foot.
With three weeks left until Eugene, and after shedding and abundant amount of salty tears, experiencing heart ache, disbelief, anger, and finally acceptance, I now know I cannot complete what I set out to do back in October. Crossing the finish line at Hayward Field is no longer the goal.
I’ve experienced disappointments in the past. In elementary school, I came in the third place for a poetry contest after forgetting my lines despite the fact I could recite them in my sleep. At the age of 21, I failed my driving exam three times in a row. My first failed attempt at running a half-marathon in under 2 hours was also disappointing.
This time around though, the disappointment is far more painful than the aforementioned experiences combined. It is so strong, it feels like my insides have been carved out. The pain doesn’t just stem from the amount of time I have devoted to training it’s the stage of life in which I find myself.
Generativity vs Stagnation
Erik Erikson was a psychologist who established the model of psychosocial development stages, each stage defined by a psychological “crisis.” Erikson believed that each stage in our personal development requires the mastery of a specific task. Successful mastery of each tasks leads to positive personal growth “and the opportunity to develop the virtues of hope, determination, courage, competence, loyalty, love, care, and wisdom.” However, if unsuccessful, the outcome creates a conflict within our identity that can lead to maladaptive behaviors.
At the age of 38, I find myself questioning my footprints and what I can offer to the world. I’ve given up my career as a School Psychologist because I believe staying home for my daughters is what they will appreciate. When my grandmother passed away, what I valued most was her presence. It was her whom I saw when I first came home from school. It was her who stayed home with me when I was sick. It was her who prayed with me at night and walked me to school. Her presence was a gift for me.
Giving up my profession has been difficult. It was an integral part of my identity that I worked really hard to earn. When I walked away from it two years ago, I decided to focus on becoming more than just a recreational runner. For years I secretly pined to be an athlete and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to live out my dream. Unlike the many confident singers who clearly can’t sing but still end up audiotining on American Idol, I’m completely aware I’m not an athlete, but I know I can be the very best non-athletic me. The injury has brought to light that I’m not getting any younger. Opportunities I took for granted as a teenager and well into my early thirties are now opportunities I want to seize. Opportunities where I can leave my mark and feel like there is a sense of value to my mortality.
But for now, I wait. I wait as impatiently as a child who sees 24 hours for Christmas to come as infinite amount of time. Except now, I don’t take time for granted, and I must continue to cross train so that the last four months of training do not slip away.