My broken toe: the tale, the humor and eventually submitting to alternative exercises to running
While deep into season four of popular Netflix series ‘Narcos’, I realized that I was thirsty. Now, for those of you who don’t speak Spanish, you’d know that one does not simply get up, walk to the kitchen and casually keep an ear on the TV sound. You need to be in front of the TV to not miss a thing and read every subtitle.
Then, suddenly, an English scene came on. My throat was so dry and I’m sure that, if I was to speak, I’d sound like character Peter Gregory when he makes that ‘awful noise’ when stressed in Silicon Valley (0:25 on this video).
Upon hearing the English scene, and being the opportunist and ninja warrior that I am (not!), I decided on a quick plan – jump up, pass the coffee table on the left as that’s the shortest route, bolt straight into the kitchen, dodge my husband, Brendon, who was in our tiny kitchen, yank open the fridge, grab the orange juice, grab a glass in the cupboard next to the fridge and return to the living room with my bounty all under (hopefully) 20 seconds. We have a small apartment. It was like a scene of ninja warrior playing off in my head.
The moment I launched from the sofa, I made a quick left for the kitchen and BANG, my middle toe had hit the leg of the coffee table. Of course, my belief that the little toe exists to check that furniture is in place in the home was shattered in an instant. My life was a lie. My husband jerked up his head and observed his wife utter words that no mother will be proud of. Seconds later I just collapsed in a pathetic pile on the floor and just managed to utter ‘ice’ when Brendon asked what happened.
I proceeded to put my foot in the air, ice it and, well, that’s it really. I didn’t think much more of it.
Over the coming days it was sore, uncomfortable, changed many colors and hard to walk on, but that is what one would expect from an injury, right?
Fast forward 4 weeks on
I was on a plane and when we landed after the 14-hour flight, my toe was suddenly very swollen. My toe looked like a fat sausage that wanted to escape its casing. I was due to run a half marathon in a week and thought I’d better get it looked at. My former, trusty physiotherapist Louis Olivier wrapped my toe, did a bunch of tests and wiggles and confirmed that it was, in fact, doomed. He was certain that it was broken but since they won’t really be able to operate on it, I did not see the point of going for X-Rays.
Knowing that I had a half marathon in 2 days with my mom, who I ran the Comrades Marathon alongside in 2015, and whom I hadn’t run with in over 2.5 years, tears welled up in my eyes. In a lame effort to try and cheer myself up, I uttered ‘I guess I’ll just do the responsible thing and run the 10k instead of the half marathon’. I was the only one who laughed at my joke.
I did line up for the 10k that Saturday and can categorically state that it was a huge mistake. It was a battle between returning to familiar territory and experiences (which is very necessary when you’re a recent migrant and are settling in) and screwing myself over. I ran, it hurt, I walked and did my worst time ever on a 10k. I did not run again since that day and decided to really rest. My heart and soul, however, was very happy as I got to run with my mom again.
But wait, it gets better (and funnier)
A week after the race I accidentally dropped my iPhone on my injured toe. Yes, out of the 10 available toes to drop it on, my phone gravitated towards the broken one in slow motion, and I watched it fall on its face and crack my phone’s screen.
This obviously caused some further injury which I was very upset about, but quickly laughed about. Later that day I also dislodged my thumb and tripped on the sidewalk, and concluded that the universe was, in fact, against me.
I had no choice but to finally submit to looking into alternative exercises when I returned to Sydney.
Alternative exercises to running
I’m not a medical professional and can only share with you what I have looked into for my specific situation. The following is what I reckon are good options:
- F45 – This 45-minute high-intensity training helped me improve my marathon PB by 26 minutes when I ran the Sydney Marathon this year (check out my race report here). F45 has an awesome vibe and I especially love the crowd at F45 Torrensville in Adelaide. You rock!. I’ll take up F45 again in December when the risk of injuring my toe again is lower (and when that strange pink color is gone)
- Yoga with Adriene. I love her videos, they are free and you can do them in the comfort of your own home. There’s a reason she has over 4 million followers on Youbute. Tune in and you’ll see why (and see her cool dog Benji in some videos)
- Aqua Aerobics. I haven’t signed up for this yet as the facilities around our home are extremely expensive, but I reckon if you have access to this it will be a good exercise to keep you going.
- Stretching. She said the S-word! The word most runners loathe, but I know that had I stretched as part of my routine for Sydney Marathon 2018, I would have knocked off another few minutes as my hamstrings felt like lead from 12km’s onwards.
No other humans, animals or egos were hurt in the process of me hurting myself accidentally all three times.
No further injuries have been obtained to date (but I did manage to cut off half my left eye’s eyelashes on Friday…don’t ask…that’s a story for another day)
See you on the road!