Yesterday's post elicited a number of emails and comments from running friends. Nearly everyone of them started with "boy I am sorry about the news" and finished with "you should find another doctor."
While I thank everyone for their support, I don't think my doctor is wrong. Nor do I think I honestly represented what she told me.
Now here is what she actually said.
"I have been thinking about you and your dedication to running...let me put it this way, you never would have been allowed in the army during WWII." She went on to say that the mechanics of my feet (which are flat as a board) are not conducive to distance running. Additionally all those fancy pictures say that the other issues listed after the cyst on yesterday's post are most likely not directly due to my acute ankle sprain but rather thanks to the over 4,000 miles I have run in the past three years.
In other words, I have been beating up my feet and it really isn't a fair fight.
This is not news to me. Since I was a kid, running wasn't easy for me. I was slow and big. I was always one of the last to finish the mile in gym class and I was in the bottom third of the football players during sprints and other such torture. My ankles always hurt when playing football and when I would push myself to work out when I was in college. But ever since I got better at running back in 2010, these problems weren't really a problem.
I ran uninjured until I hit 45 miles per week. That was too much. In addition to the flat feet, I was born stubborn. When combined with my flat feet and running, it became a dangerous. I kept running through pain which lead to this situation.
I was scheduled for the Oakland Running Festival's full marathon but that is off the table. However, I will be running the NYC Marathon. And my doctor is alright with that. She doesn't want me running Western States and neither do I. But with the time between now and November 2014 I have to fix my cyst, drop some weight, and regain speed. She is going to be on my team to make it happen. But she has told me I need to be smart and safe.
She did say running like I have been will lead to serious long-term issues like arthritis and foot destruction* and it is possible that running with feet like mine might cause these problems regardless. She knows I want to run but she did say I most likely shouldn't. That said, the smart and safe line was used and I am going to find hope in that.
So, I think I found the right doctor.