Humans have an incredible capacity for managing chronic pain. We shove it down or ignore it or incorporate it into our baseline and carry on. I suspect that the long distance runner’s capacity for pain is even greater than that of the average human. Statistics on running injuries report that up to 70% of us will have an injury in any given year, yet we run on. Suffice to say, we know something about pain.
In the middle of my 20 miler yesterday, it occurred to me that I was no longer in pain. Any pain. In the ten months post-surgery, I have struggled with and complained of persistent deep calf pain. During a run, I would warm up, but the dull ache remained. Stretching or foam rolling was excruciating. But yesterday, somewhere around 2 miles in, I realized that I was comfortable. After so many months of ignoring the pain in my calf, the realization that it was absent actually put a smile on my face.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked me when the pain stopped. He recently had surgery on a tendon in his foot and is about 6 months behind me recovery-wise. I told him I’d let him know when it did, not what he wanted to hear, but honesty seemed like a better choice. At the time, I wasn’t convinced it ever would. We’ve shared a similar recovery trajectory; promised an easy recovery, experiencing one wrought with delays and setbacks. He may have broken my record for weeks in a boot/on crutches over predicted. I was happy to see him today to announce that in fact, I wasn’t in pain anymore. I expected that day about 8 months ago, but I’ll take it however it goes.
So today, I add a new milestone to my recovery: finally pain free, 10 months post-surgery.