Not a lot can be said about 2002 in terms of running. Around November, when I am still walking with a limp so marked that at least one colleague (who also happens to be my future husband, but that's another story) thinks that I have cerebral palsy, I go to a physiotherapist to see if she can stop me limping and somehow get me back to running. It will still be a while before I realise that all the exercises in the world won't make bone heal faster, but to her credit she does help with the limp and even encourages me to try a little jogging on the treadmill at my gym.
Fast limping is what it should have been called. And someone should have stopped me before I got addicted to it, but no-one did, so that leads us to....
Off to Darwin for work. Long work hours and relative isolation mean that my ability to limp fast on the treadmill becomes something of a driving force in my life. Drum roll...........stress fracture in my left femur. Back to the bike, daily swimming (tropical climate is good that way) and down into a deep depression about possibly never running again. X-ray still shows a clear fracture line all the way round the tibia, and a butterfly segment on the medial side. Not healed yet.
Back to Sydney and back to the treadmill after 6 months no running/fast limping at all. I'm being very conservative by now, but I can't do more than 1-2km because of pain. On the bright side, I once again meet and now start dating my future husband, who is surprised at how much my cerebral palsy has improved and impressed with the fact that I no longer look like a depressed skeleton.
The year ticks on like this, not really running, until at some point I start wondering about the sharp, shooting pain that is my main problem when trying to run. It feels very much like it might be neurological - so I swipe some local anaesthetic from work and inject it around where the nerve injury should be. My gym is a weird place, full of bodybuilders and steroid heads, so I don't actually stand out with my needles and syringes in the change room......and then once again I attempt to run.
Better! Not great, but enough that I can convince my new orthopaedic surgeon to explore around the scars on the inside of my leg, and sure enough he chops out a moderate amount of neuroma, or damaged nerve tissue. And thus the year ends, with my x-ray still looking much the same.
Finally, things are starting to look up. Future husband is a runner and with much coaxing, he gets me back out on the road in early January. We run 5km together at a snail's pace and I start to think, this guy is definitely marriage material!
I get seconded to country placements all year AGAIN (now doing formal training in General Surgery) and 6 months later in Orange the same thing happens again......not much else to do = too much trying to run --> stress fracture, this time in my pelvis. The metal rod in my right leg is screwing with my biomechanics and there's nothing I can do about it. More bike and stepper at the gym.....it's the story of my life.
Finally, in September the x-ray shows almost complete union of my right tibia! I'm still side-lined by the pelvic stress fracture, so it seems like a good time to get the huge metal nail removed from my leg. This operation leaves me in a surprising amount of agony afterwards. But by now I have started to learn that when it comes to healing, nothing is as simple as it sounds. Off to the gym once again.
In early November I decide it's time to try again, and I venture out into the quiet streets around where I'm now living in Canberra. By December I'm running 4-5 km at a time, just gently, and loving every second.
Then something unexpected happens.
Oh. My. GOD.