I stopped to stretch. I was about a mile into the six mile run I was planning to run in training for my upcoming half marathon. The pain in my heels wasn’t going away. In fact, over the ensuing days, I would diagnose myself with what every runner dreads to be diagnosed with: Achilles’ Tendonitis.
Achilles’ Tendonitis can be brought on by a number of things, such as sudden change in terrain, intensity of mileage, the quality of your shoes and a sudden rise hill work. It could have been any of these things for me. After a summer spent running and climbing over the rough terrain of the Rockies native to Colorado Springs, Colorado, my body had a lot of adjusting to do in the slightly more level region of the nation in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, I had worn and worn out the same pair of shoes over the course of the summer. But with my paid registration for The Huntsville Half Marathon in a couple of weeks, I didn’t want to call it quits.
So I didn’t stop. I kept running. The pain increased to being a constant companion at all times instead of when working out. Finally, afraid of injuring myself permanently, I made myself stop. I dusted off my road bike, used the new Kinesis, “K-Tape” to tape up my heels and hoped for the best on my race day.
Achilles’ Tendonitis is characterized by a dull aching pain in the back of the heel where the Achilles’ Tendon, the largest tendon in the body, is located. At times, the skin can feel aflame on touch. In certain cases, a nodule of tissue will form and a clicking sound can be heard with the motion of the heel. Once permanently damaged, the Achilles’ Tendon does not heal.
Race day arrived, and pushing the risk aside, I ran. After weeks of being unable to run like I wanted to, it was time to run. The K-Tape I had so carefully placed on the back of my legs quickly came off after the first mile or so. But I kept on. I found people who were going the same pace as me and made a few friends. Only during the last few miles did my strength began to waver. I started walking for just one second, but a passing girl urged me on saying, “Don’t stop now! We’ve only got one more mile!” Encouraged, I kept on; the end in sight. My time was 2:09. It had been a good run.
Here I am, over a month afterwards and I am unable to run. A demanding work schedule and inadequate sleep have prevented my body from getting the rest it needs. My Achilles’ do still ache among other issues such as a tight IT Band that keep me from running, let alone functioning normally. When a superhero or the protagonist in a story gets hurt, you always read in one line how “Wonderwoman had a broken arm and after an umpteen number of months she recovered.” It is amazing how much one line can be understated! They never talk about how the character was emotionally injured or how much it drove her crazy to NOT go out and save the world. Sometimes healing can hurt.
Sometimes healing can hurt.
It is not just the running. I feel like my life is full of Achilles’ Tendonitis right now. I want another job, I want to explore more, I want to spend more time with my Siberian husky, I want to stop ignoring how big my little brothers are. I want to run and be great. But things like exhaustion and closed doors get in the way from the high level of performances I aspire to. It is the same dull aching pain.
I sound a little like another twenty-something you might know.
“I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.
I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I’m comin’ back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I’m gonna build things. I’m gonna build airfields, I’m gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I’m gonna build bridges a mile long…”-George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946).”
But what did George Bailey end up learning on a Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls? That sometimes-actually all the time, life doesn’t turn out like we dream it to be. And that if you don’t take the time to appreciate what God has placed in front of you right now, you could be missing out on a wonderful life.
“…It’s not about where we’re going, but how we live on the way there.”-Holly Monaghan
My friend and fellow adventurer, Holly Monaghan reminded me recently through text,“…It’s not about where we’re going, but how we live on the way there…even though you feel like you should be somewhere else, I believe God has called us each to walk our own long, tiring, and boring road, in order that we may find others lost beside our path.” My former Youth Pastor, Wayne Price, echoed her when I carried his groceries out to his car for him, clocked-in, doing a job I no longer enjoyed. I had just finished up Kevin DeYoung’s JUST DO SOMETHING (2009) (see last post, JUST DO SOMETHING). I was telling him about my plans to shake the dust off of my feet and get off the long road to nowhere. “Everyone’s somewhere kid,” he said before he patted me on the back.
Even though somewhere looks like nowhere, it is where I am. Achilles’ Tendonitis and all, and it is still a wonderful life.
Capra, F., Goodrich, F., Hackett, A., Swerling, J., Stewart, J., Reed, D., Barrymore, L., … Artisan Home Entertainment (Firm). (1998). Frank Capra’s it’s a wonderful life. United States: Republic Entertainment.
DeYoung, K. (2009) pg. 36, 46, 100, 101. JUST DO SOMETHING: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Chicago, IL: Moody.
All other photos mine.