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A random nut sidetracks an avid runner [Column]

In the stillness of the early morning hours it came to a crashing end.

Really, it was a snap. A break.

I was gingerly making my way through Wyomissing Park on my usual Tuesday predawn run.

I say gingerly because it’s the time of the year when the trees in the park drop their assortment of nuts. 

Only a few days earlier I had said to my run buddies that those things are ankle breakers. I was two weeks out from my return to racing and needed to not do anything stupid, as we say.

It had been two years — thanks mainly to COVID — since I had raced, the last time being the 2019 Reading Hospital Road Run half-marathon. I had picked this year’s version of the half-marathon to get back into the local running scene. 

You get a sense where this is heading, right?

I had my headlamp on, as I had for the past couple of weeks. I even took the added precaution of wearing my lighted safety vest. 

I had successfully navigated a short section of the path from Museum Road to Old Wyomissing Road.

I wasn’t declaring victory, still keeping an eye out for anything that would be a problem.

I had passed the couple I usually see walking at that early morning hour and had reached the 1-mile mark of my run.

And then.

I didn’t see it, but I sure felt it.

My left foot came down on a nut. My foot rolled over. 

I heard a snap. The nut? My ankle?

I immediately felt pain in my foot. 

No shooting pain from my ankle like I’ve felt before.

This was different.

Several rounds of my not-so-family-friendly language went unheard in the solitude.

There was no thought of continuing my run. In that moment I knew this wasn’t something I was going to be able to run through.

Another round of exclamations and I was hobbling back to the house, pushed by endorphins and adrenaline.

Those natural painkillers were wearing thin when I got home and went straight to the freezer for the ice bag.

The 20-minute ice job only seemed to tighten my foot, which wasn’t yet showing any signs of trauma. 

I got ready for work, arriving at the office a little more than an hour after the incident — the 10-minute drive was just long enough for things to really seize up. 

I spent the day in the office with my shoe off and foot elevated, periodically icing it.

My wife got a ride to the office to drive me home because there was no way my swollen left foot was going to work the clutch on the Jeep.

I borrowed a pair of crutches from one of my running buddies who is a physical therapist. He suggested — as my wife had — that X-rays probably would be a good idea.

After three hours at an urgent care center, I got wheeled out with my foot splinted and a set of X-rays confirming that I had broken a bone at the base of my fifth metatarsal and would need to see an orthopedic doctor.

Wednesday morning, between juggling a long-dormant laptop that had issues connecting to the office and figuring out what I could and couldn’t do for myself, I got an appointment with the doctor.

The good news was the break was clean and nondisplaced, so I would be spending three weeks in a walking boot while on crutches followed by another three weeks in just the walking boot.

This will be a real test for me. And my wife. 

I’ve never been laid up with those kinds of restrictions. Far shorter periods of forced inactivity have tested my inner calm because I don’t sit well for long periods. I’d rather be running, biking or walking.

It also means I’ll be working at home for a bit. 

I’m a latecomer to that whole setup.

The irony is that during the pandemic I continued to work from the newspaper office downtown, refusing to work at home, and took every precaution against the coronavirus. 

Now a random nut has left me homebound.

Source: Berkshire mont

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