Now I Know Why They Call It A "Stress" Fracture.

I run about 20 miles a week—sometimes more, sometimes less. But that’s been my average for a while. I love running. I run to avoid depression. I don’t take pills. (Not that I’m against doing so!). It’s just that running works for me. I run because it gets me high and makes me unbelievably happy. I can’t imagine not being able to do it.

A few weeks ago, I started to notice some pain at the top and center of my left foot. I continued to run, of course, because, if you know anything about runners, we tend to be a stubborn bunch. It was fine. I mean, it hurt, but I ran through it. I ran and iced and elevated and then last Sunday I hit Central Park for a NYRR 4-miler and finished in great time (for me). I was so proud of myself. I came home and immediately signed up for another race. Sure, I could barely walk at the time, but I figured I had time to get back to normal again. I guessed it was just a bruise but I made a podiatry appointment just to be safe. This time I even stayed off of it. I used the elliptical machine and lifting weights instead.

Today my doctor ran a series of x-rays and I have a stress fracture—a bloody painful one. When she touched the magic spot, I nearly puked. So, she put me in a soft cast and gave me a boot. She told me to stay off of it. (Yeah, right! Have you met my son?) But, worst of all? I can’t run for 8 weeks. I can’t even use the elliptical machine.

Of course, with every fairly uncool event that takes place in my life anymore, there’s always an element of humor involved.

You see, I live in Brooklyn and I have a car, so a depressingly large chunk of my daily life is spent abiding by the alternate side parking calendar. Naturally, I was concerned.

“Can I drive?” I asked her.

“Yeah, because you don’t need that foot to drive.” She joked.

“I drive a stick.”

“Oh gosh. Well, the more you use it, the longer it will take to heal. So, I would suggest you not drive.”

And you know what my first thought was? I wondered if she might write a doctor’s note so I could get out of having to move the car from one side of the street to the other, as if the NYC government was going to take pity on the fact that I am wearing a cast. You could be a headless person without hands and the New York State Department of Transportation would continue to ticket your car.  Hell, you could be giving birth and they’d give you a ticket and make you pay it. (YES, THAT HAPPENED TO ME! The birth part, not the headless bit.)

The NYSDOT does not care about my left foot.

When I left the doctor, I couldn’t call Toby because I knew I would just cry into the phone, so I texted him instead. I told him what was going on. Here are those texts:

Me: Stress fracture. I look like a freak. Huge boot and soft cast. WTF have I done? Can’t run for 8 weeks.

Me: Can’t do much of anything. This is going to make me into a crazy person.

Him: Will take care of ya. CAN YOU MOVE THE CAR?!!?

The first thing I did when I got out of the subway was move the car.

But seriously, people: what I am going to do without my antidepressant?


  1. read a lot of good fiction:) That’s what gets me through when I am too sick, or it is too cold (Canada) to run outside. Or non-fiction, The Glass Castle is unbelievable!


  2. Ridiculous, raunchy, and crude comedy movies. Lots of them. It’s not as good, but it keeps you laughing!


  3. Have you thought about taking up drinking?

    ;) I kid.

    That really sucks. I developed a really bad case of plantar fasciitis one time and the pain was so bad I wanted to pass out; I didn’t run for a month. I can’t even imagine what an actual stress fracture feels like.

    Feel better!


    1. Oh, I drink. Will be having some wine this evening, you better believe it! :]

      Thanks, everyone.


  4. Ack. Sorry about this, Michele! I took quite a break from running after we moved, but that was only a few weeks and because we were just so busy, I couldn’t even find time to run.

    Having said that, my old doctor in Ireland told me it was probably a good idea to ease off my running (my knees- too much running in my youth). I can’t NOT exercise, and she suggested swimming. So, I got myself signed up for some swimming lessons. I start next week. I am sure my knees will thank me.


  5. I 2nd the swimming, or, as long as it doesn’t make you feel like a senior citizen, try aqua aerobics. You don’t even have to know how to swim or get your hair wet. I remember it being a great work-out and really, really comforting to be surrounded by water. Hope you heal quickly!


    1. Sadly, I can’t get my foot wet for 3 to 6 weeks either, so there will be no swimming while I’m healing. But thanks for the suggestions. I would love to do that, thing is, I also have to wear earplugs in the water (can’t get any water in my ears) so if I have to hear instructions, I won’t. This has held me back from doing a lot of swimming in previous years. But maybe I’ll just tell them they have do deal with me because I’m special needs. (I am!)

      Thanks again, everyone.


  6. Oh no, so sorry to hear about your foot! That sucks…8 weeks is a long time when running is what makes you happy.
    To fight the depression that is gonna try to come in, make sure to get outside as much as possible even though it is hard. Maybe find some floor exercises to do as well (some beginner pilates stuff would be excellent as there is never any pressure on feet or knees).

    I’m cracking up that both of you first thought of the car. What a PIA.

    Get better soon. Make more lollipops. :)


  7. So sorry to hear about your foot. I hope it heals quickly. Probably your doctor already told you this, but make sure you take calcium and vitamin D. It will heal quicker.


  8. Make a art board full of funny pictures of happy times (people) in your life. This will take time, creativity and give you something positive to look at upon completion.

    Question… did you always like running or did you develop liking it? I want to be a runner (jog) but sortof have a hate/love relationship with it and never have pushed through to LOVE I usually give up then start all over months later.


  9. MommaA: I started running regularly when I turned 30. Before that, I ran like maybe a dozen times a year?

    I ADORE it. Truly. Truly love it. Yes, I hate when I have a bad run, but overall I love it. And I do actually get high from it.

    The problem has always been, something always happens that stops me literally dead in my tracks.

    I got pregnant with Emory when I was 32 and couldn’t. (TOTALLY WORTH IT though.) Then I started again when he was about 6 months old. I kept going. Then I got pregnant again and miscarried. (I ran up until I miscarried, though.) That made me stop for some reason. I just couldn’t muster the desire. (I should have kept running because I probably would have gotten out of the funk from that a lot sooner.)

    Anyway, I started again in January. So, no excuse! But I took last July all the way to January off because of the miscarriage—a time I probably should have been running the most.

    That’s a very long answer to your question. When I should have written this: Keep at it. If you can do it at all, start slow, work your way up. Do a mile at a slow pace. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you grow and change and speed up. The key is to not overdo it. There’s no competition. Just jog. :]


  10. I have no idea what to do without the running, tell me if you got ideas. I can’t run these days either.

    But, I have no idea why you have to move your car around all the time?


    1. Street cleaning. :[ I mean, it makes sense, but it’s a wholly bitch.


  11. Oh, that much?! Gosh. Well, it’s NYC I guess.

    (Check out my new question in the community, you’re featured in it. ;p)


  12. So sorry to hear about the fracture. Ouch. Hope you heal quickly!


  13. Oh babe. I’ve so been there. Except mine were bilateral tib/fib (read: both shins) so I was off running for EIGHT MONTHS.

    Yes, it will be awful. You will hate every minute of it. Can you swim? Can you water-run? They have water-running vests, which are pretty much life-vests, so you can run upright in water–zero impact!

    Was your doctor an ortho, or was this just a regular doctor? Not that your regular doctor can’t read an x-ray (and speaking of which, it’s a hell of a bad stress fracture if it’s even VISIBLE on an x-ray. Good god, woman!) but rather that a good sports ortho will have all sorts of handy tips for how to not go insane and get your workout in, rather than joking about not needing that foot to drive.

    Other than that, yes, I suggest drinking. Heavily. Although you should also remember (I know this from personal experience as well, sadly) that you are no longer burning 20 miles’ worth of calories a week. Translation: light beer.


    1. Firecat: I love you. Always make me laugh.

      Regarding the showing up on an x-ray. Yeah. Well, the good thing about being stubborn is I waited long enough for the healing process to become visible. It usually takes about 2 weeks to have anything show up—which is why they used to accuse soldiers as making it up to get out of war! nuts. Anyway, as you are already aware. :] If I had gone sooner, they never would have seen it. And then I would have kept running, because I’m a gangster—a really dumb one.

      So that’s good, I guess? Also good is it’s already begun to heal, so I’m making my wait now 6.5 weeks. heh


  14. How about Yoga? I am a runner too and Yoga lifts for my compound leg muscle sprain really helped it! (Couldn’t run for 1 month but the Yoga helped me relax)


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