I’ve been really agitated and bitchy the last few days. Travel plans falling through, not feeling important with some friends, and just some long-term internal issues that I am still working through. You know, life. We all have stuff on our plates that brings us down.
Yesterday I felt like I couldn’t do anything to get my travels plans for Portland and San Francisco on the right track. Yep, I scored an awesome flight and that is where it ended. I’m in Portland and I don’t have a place (yet) to stay for the week. That will work itself out. I’m not overly worried. Slightly worried, but not overly. At this point though, I might trash going to San Francisco unless something happens today for that to work itself out.
But do you want to know the real reason why I am a basket case?
I hate Portland. Let me rephrase that… I HATE PORTLAND.
Almost two years ago exactly is when my life would be forever changed. Here is the short story of what happened to bring you up to speed if you are new around here.
I went to Newport, Oregon to visit Rogue Brewery on my cross country road trip where I was running half marathons around the US. I did a beer tasting and camped out that night as I was headed to Portland the next day for Portland’s Rock n Roll Half Marathon Expo. In the middle of the night I had to use the restroom. I groggily put on my shoes and stepped out of my tent.
That first step I felt a stinging pain on my left heel. I didn’t think much of it. The next day though I was having difficulty walking. I iced it and thought I had stepped on it wrong and that it would go away. I taped it up with KT Tape for the race the next day.
My ankle really hurt at the start of the race so I knew I wouldn’t PR that day, but I thought I would still do well. This would be my 2nd half marathon in two weeks. On Mile 4 my leg felt like it was on fire. On Mile 7 my left leg went out completely.
As I fell, my shoulder screamed and the pain in my leg was like nothing I had ever felt before. Big, fat ugly tears poured down my face as I screamed in a way I didn’t know was possible. People stopped running – it was a moment that seemed frozen in time. This girl came over to me and helped me up and her boyfriend was on the Medical team. She phoned him that he were on our way to him, about two blocks up the road.
At Medical, he looked at my ankle and said – Suck it up, Buttercup. You just have a spider bite and that’s why you fell. He rubbed BioFreeze into it, gave me some pain meds, and someone handed me a shot of tequila (still don’t know where that came from).
So I sucked it up and ran 6 more miles crying the entire way. I left Portland the next day not able to walk and mastering a one-legged hobble. At that moment in time, just the word Portland made me freak out and start to cry. I was an emotional Hot Mess.
I drove out to Astoria and sat in a little coffee shop for a week, basically crying in a corner. It was sad and pathetic, I know. For two weeks I continued traveling in a lot of freaking pain, not able to walk, but sucking it up, because I was on this journey of a lifetime. Finally, two weeks later I went to the doctor and had it looked at.
I tore my left Achilles in two places – on the right side it was a tear about two inches up on my heal and on the right side it was like string cheese. Oh, and remember my shoulder? I tore my right rotator cuff. Because my leg hurt so bad I didn’t even register the pain in my shoulder. I was diagnosed that I would probably never walk again without a cane or some other aid. I was also told I would never run again.
I’m sitting here shaking as I relive those moments. Some of the lowest in my life. My cousin, Dr. Trevor Miller told me to get my ass to Indiana and he would get me walking and hopefully running again. And that, he did. I am eternally grateful to him. Hours and hours of therapy and many painful tears later I was walking. That first time I ran 50 feet again will be forever etched into my mind as the comeback of the century.
I went on to run four halfs in four weeks (really effing stupid) and three more in 2014, before my legs screamed no more. The last half I was in almost put my back in the hospital. I was done running long distances. My right knee and leg were in pain because of how much they had to compensate for my left side.
Just a few days ago, I ran my first race of any kind in over a year. It was a 5k and my time was terrible, but I am trying to not be afraid every time I lace up my shoes. Let me tell you… I am TERRIFIED every time I put on running shoes. My legs still hurt, but I’m working on making them stronger again. Mentally though, it takes everything I have not to break down when I am out there running.
Here is the story in its entirety… VERY hard for me to read:
So here I am back in Portland for the Craft Brewers Conference. I’m super excited to be here for this event. But I am scared too. The minute I walked off the plane I realized why I have been so agitated and on edge. It is this city. I hate Portland. I hate what it represents to me. PAIN. Lots and lots of mental and physical PAIN.
It is time for me to fall back in love with Portland. I am going to spend this week letting this city try to win me back, mend my broken mind and heart. Portland… you up for the challenge?
If you are at CBC – reach out and say Hi. Hand me a beer and a hug – both are needed! 😉