Broken bones

“Heather,” my mom told me sternly this afternoon. “You owe me an update. Think of all those people who read your blog. They want to know how you’re doing.”

I sighed in response and said something to the effect that no one was reading my blog these days. She looked even more sternly at me and said emphatically,

I read your blog.”

I cast my eyes downward. Point taken.

Where do I begin? If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to start with what happened today.

Today I reached an important milestone in what I have lovingly begun to call The Great Comeback of 2010. You see, today I ran 13.5 miles. Thirteen point five miles! All at once.  Tears burned in my eyes at mile 12 and my throat ached with emotion. When I turned the corner on  to the final stretch a grin spread over my face. Wow. I had forgotten how great it is to finish a long run on a Sunday morning.

Now normally I wouldn’t consider 13.5 miles a very long run. However, my running life has been so transformed in these past months I hardly  recognize it. The 13. miles I completed this morning is the longest distance I’ve run since September. The fact that I ran it a perky 8:20 min/mile is tasty frosting on this runner’s cake.

There have been no marathons, no races and no fun runs in my life since September.  Not even a track practice.  That strained tendon in my foot that I blogged about all those months ago? It sidelined me bigtime. I suspect the strain was really a stress fracture and that whatever the problem was, it was more serious than I let on. While I could walk without difficulty, running was a painful and arduous experience.  I was forced to throw out all my running goals for the fall/winter. My shoes stayed in my closet, the blog went stale and my weekly mileage plummeted. It was a dark and dreary time.

In November things got a bit better. I put in a  few miles. Without my former speed, strength and endurance I felt pathetic. It was like I was convinced that if I couldn’t pick up from where I left off then I didn’t want to run at all. What a terrible attitude.  I  wanted desperately to be the runner I used to be, not a runner with a weak foot and low mileage. In December I had some harsh talks with myself, adjusted my attitude and ran slowly. Oh, so very slowly. But you know, at least i was running and at least it seemed like my foot might finally be better.

Then on January 6th I was hit by a car.

I was riding my bike to work  when a truck failed to signal or look to see if anyone was in the bike lane. He turned right. We collided instantly. It is an awful feeling to know that you’re going to be hit and that there is nothing you can do to avoid it. My bike was either run over or dragged into the wheel well, I’m not sure. I ricocheted off the truck and fell to the ground. The driver got out of the truck, saw me crying, saw me clutching my left arm and then promptly got back into his truck and fled the scene of the accident.

I was taken to the ER. I broke my left hand. Here is a picture

Broken hand, my right hand next to it for comparison, days after the crash

Here is a picture of some of the bruising.

Bruising on the palm

Besides the broken hand and some severe abrasions I was extremely lucky. Let’s not even think about how much worse it could have been, OK?

Since the crash I’ve had to deal with a temporary cast, a not-at-all sexy arm brace and very limited mobility. I could hardly type, sign my name (I’m left-handed) tie my shoes, wash my hair, shave my right armpit or button my pants. Every morning before work I played a game I invented called “Will it Fit?” It involved pulling out a long sleeve shirt and seeing if it would fit over the cast/brace. Sadly, much of my warddrobe did not win “Will it Fit.”

Despite the injuries I decided to continue running. I ran on a treadmill –  for weeks. It was mind-numbingly boring. My arm ached with the blood that rushed into my fingers. The brace took on a “unique” odor and my hand would hit the console every so often and send shockwaves of discomfort into my broken wrist. But you know what? Not once did my foot hurt!

So this weekend, with the OK from the doctor, I ran outside for the first time in over a month. It was an amazing feeling. Somewhere deep inside me I feel like I might finally be coming back.


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
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28 Responses to Broken bones

  1. Ana-Maria says:

    Thanks for the update. Such a bummer about the foot and the hand, but knowing you, the future is bright. You are going to get even faster. I had 2 stress fractures and I know exactly what you are talking about when you describe not wanting to run at all when you first returned to running, and not wanting to blog. Glad you are passed that phase now. Looking forward to frequent posts from you, I love your blog!

  2. Glad to see an update, but very sorry to hear about the hit and run/broken hand. I hope this is the beginning of a great comeback for you!

  3. MCM Mama says:

    Oh Heather, what a rough winter you’ve had! I’m glad to hear you are getting back out there and able to start picking up the distance again. Looking forward to reading all about your comeback!

  4. Matt says:

    Thanks for the update… I’m sorry to hear about your setbacks, I’m just glad you’re recovering so well. Please keep posting to your blog! Your writing is highly motivational and a blast to read!

  5. Hey, I read your blog! So I was interested to know your whereabouts the past few months.

    Sorry about your accident and setbacks! I know you’re a high achiever and can identify with your rush to get back the fitness, the speed, and the rush from running and racing. It must have been hard sitting on the sidelines.

    I’m glad though that you’re on your way to recovery. Just take things slow and appreciate the little victories that come along the way. Don’t evaluate your progress as what you could have done a year or two years ago, just be happy with how far you’ve come along now. You’ve definitely been transformed because of your experiences and I dare say you’re a much much better runner now for it!

    Take care!

  6. Susan says:

    Yikes! I hope everything is healing up nicely…I’m so sorry to hear about your winter whereabouts. I’m glad you’re okay though!

  7. Katie says:

    Glad to hear you are getting back to running! I’ve been checking your blog every so often to see what’s up. I was happy to see a post today=)

  8. Mark says:

    Hi Heather, thanks for the update. I read your blog a few times a while back and added it to Google Reader. It showed up today, and I was surprised. Sorry to hear that your absence was due to two sets of broken bones (much better had it just been because you didn’t feel like blogging!), but glad to see you back, your return to running is another good reminder for people to appreciate their health and what they can do. Good luck with future success!
    Also, great job to your mom for prodding you back to your blog.

  9. aron says:

    I am glad you updated!! Definitely have been thinking about you and I am so sorry you have had to deal with these setbacks, but I am happy to hear that you are on the road to recovery. Keep the updates coming!

  10. Dave says:

    I read your blog too 🙂 Sorry to hear about the foot and the accident. The foot sounds like it’s better. I wish a speedy recovery for your wrist. Take care!

  11. al says:

    I stumbled across your blog and it turns out I’m also going through something similar. Although it is my first time preparing for a marathon I was recently had a knee sprain that has thrown all my momentum and training out the window. Its depressing for now, but it is good to see another runner make a comeback. Do you recommend any other running blogs?

  12. Marc says:

    I’d recently been wondering what happened to the updates, actually. So sorry to hear about what happened. I’m glad you’re making a comeback. It seems like a lot of people are having running hurdles that they need to overcome this winter, including me and my sledding accident around Christmas. Now I’m just hoping to finish the Eugene Marathon and have thrown all time predictions out the window.

  13. Boses says:

    Good to see your blog updated. I love the optimism and humour of your writing. Good luck into the future.

  14. anne says:

    Great to hear that you’re running again! I love your blog & have been worried about you with no posts for so long! Take is easy coming back & stay healthy!

  15. so sorry to hear about the hit and run and your broken up body. how scary!! there was a guy here in vancouver that was actually killed this past year from something similar. i’m sure you will come out the other end even stronger than before. you’re a fighter!

  16. Maura says:

    Yay Heather! I’ve totally missed your blog and am glad you’re safe, healing, and back to the longer miles. Here’s to getting back on the trails soon.

  17. pdxguy says:

    As a long time reader of your blog (and fellow runner/cyclist in PDX), I’m glad to hear you’re back posting, but I’m sorry to hear of your accident. As others have stated, take it slow and enjoy the small victories on your path to being the awesome runner you were before the setback.

  18. Levi says:

    Hey Heather,
    I am a friend of Marvin and Radell I met you at CIM 2008. I enjoy your updates whenever they make it on. Sorry to hear about your problems, I had a similar incident with a truck as well in Marina Del Rey, my bike was trashed but I got away without any serious injuries. Something like that will change the way you ride for a long time.
    I hope to see your road back to your normal speedy self be fast and pleasant, and read about it all here on your blog.

  19. Layla says:

    First of all, I’m so glad the truck didn’t do even more damage!
    Second, it was a pleasant surprise to get home from my 13-mile run this morning (my longest since early October), go through my blog feeds, and see a new post on yours. I’d kept thinking, “She’ll be back.”
    Third, nice job on the return to running! And running on a treadmill with a throbbing hand? Well, I think all of your readers already knew you were pretty hardcore. I can’t say I’d like that very much, though.

  20. Kristi says:

    Hi Heather,
    I love your blog, and I’m so glad your back! I’m sorry to hear about your hand – that’s awful. And the driver got back in his truck?! Yay for being back to running, though! I can’t wait to hear what happens in the great Comeback of 2010 🙂

  21. Kate says:

    You have the BEST running blog — so glad you’re back, both online and on the roads! Best of luck and keep posting. (:

  22. jones says:

    was wondering what happened since you haven’t updated your blog, glad you’re back. 🙂

    you have good reads! very funny. 🙂

  23. luau says:

    I am new to your blog…just stumbled across it…that said, I am happy to hear you are running longer distances again and that you are on your way back. Good luck getting back to where you were, but even if you don’t, this post has earned you a new fan!

  24. Scott says:


    It’s good to see you are back at it. I really enjoy reading your blog. You have a way with words that make your blog a pleasure to read. Your mom was right, you need to keep it updated – for our sakes!!!

    One thing bothers me though and that was no one asked to see if you were able to identify the truck, license plate, anything of that a-hole that hit you. I felt taken advantage of just reading about it! I’m just glad nothing else happened to you. I guess you need a new bike now…


  25. Lisa says:

    Hi, I just discovered your blog. How scary your experience must have been!! I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt and are on the mend.

  26. Jhamfrens says:

    Missed you a lot for the past four months. Welcome back 🙂

  27. diane says:

    I’m so glad to see you are back! I am a reader of your blog and you are very inspirational. I had big plans to run my first marathon in June-the Newport Marathon, but a serious health scare which resulted in surgery sidelined those goals. I’m hitting the road again, but there’s no way I’ll be prepped enough by June for a marathon. So, I’m setting my sights on the Portland Marathon as my first. Reading about your recovery and your perseverance gives me the motivation to continue on, even when things look bleak. Right now I’m starting completely over with running, and starting from step one is very humbling, but reading about your journey is a huge inspiration to keep me going!

    I am so sorry to hear about your bike accident. Seems too often these days I hear about Portlanders falling victim to hit and run accidents. Anyway, good luck with your recovery, and I’ll be excited to read your future posts!

  28. Katherine Wills says:

    I hope you dont mind me contacting you but I am writing a book on Outdoor First Aid here in the UK and was wondering if you might give me permission to use the photograph of your broken hand?

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