Friday, November 2, 2012

No remarks on my ugly feet or weirdly long toes. You're supposed to be checking the bulge on the outer side of my ankle.
Those are the peroneal tendons. I never knew I had them until they slipped out of place. Now, with every step, I get this popping and snapping sound accompanied by a good dose of pain. About 50% of the time, Peroneal Tendon Subluxation requires a surgical solution. Let us not dwell on that, however, since I'm crossing fingers and tendons that I can just ride this out with some RICE and a little Motrin. The real issue, of course, is that I had to bail on my weekend 26.2 and I won't be seeing pavement from the seat of a bike anytime soon, either. I am to "avoid any and all weight-bearing activities for the next three weeks."
Of course, I'm not about to skip three full weeks of working out. Not only is it bad for my fitness and my mood, it's also really bad for my blood sugar. I took a couple of extra rest days this week, only to find that I was going through insulin like water.
And, speaking of water...
Yup. The pool. For the moment, swimming is the only option.
Let me preface this by saying that I am an abysmal swimmer. It's actually the reason I no longer do triathlons. I am all flailing appendages, slapping in to random lappers in the pool as I stare at Band-Aids and clumps of hair floating in the water below me.
But there I was, yesterday morning, at the soul-crushing hour of 5:00, trying to propel myself through chilly chlorinated water. At this time of day, it's pretty much me and the geriatric crowd, many of whom are superior swimmers. So, there I am, irritated and unhappy and trying to do my workout while an elderly woman with pale, varicosey legs dangling out of a skirted one-piece hands my ass to me. As if being beaten by the equivalent of Betty White with a swim cap and flippers is not bad enough, I have no idea how my blood sugars respond to this sort of exercise, so I had to keep hopping out of the water and checking myself.
With every stroke, I reminded myself that I have THREE MORE WEEKS of this before me. That I'm missing a marathon to do THIS. That my fitness on land is waning pathetically while I am stuck at sea with the Golden Girls.
But here's the thing... We don't always get to choose our circumstance.
November is diabetes awareness month. Training, like diabetes, is all about making adjustments. When you are injured, you have to take a circumstance that sucks, make adjustments, and get the job done. A lot of people are diagnosed with diabetes, and decide to throw in the towel on their health most generally. Likewise, a lot of mediocre athletes get sidelined by injuries and decide to stop training, let go of their base, and start again when they like the situation presented them. I'd rather control those things I am able, and perform at my personal best. That means looking at the big picture, committing to a plan, and moving forward...even if it is a slow breaststroke to the other side of the ice cold pool.
And, like all challenges, there is a silver lining. I've learned a lot about my body since I became a diabetic. I've gotten more in touch with what I eat, how I perform, what I need to do to stay healthy. I've become more compassionate to others, and I've been given the opportunity to talk with young people discouraged by a diabetes diagnosis, and to give them a little of my own optimism about having the disease.
Similarly, all this time in the water is working new muscle groups, and probably increasing my fitness more generally. I woke up with sore shoulders and tight abdominal muscles this morning, which is a sure sign that I'm getting in a good deal of needed conditioning. Still, I can't wait to lace up my running shoes in December.

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