First Published, 10th April, 2015
Three weeks ago I broke my foot. I jumped off a rock during a training session and my foot slipped on a tree root as I landed. My landing was so heavy that the force of my bodyweight went into the back of my foot. I heard it crack and felt it tearing. I shouldn’t have been training, I was too tired to be throwing myself over rocks. That stupid mindset of “I should always be training…”
It’s not ideal, that just two and a half months into my life in Japan I break something. I’ve never broken a bone and so it’s been another new experience. In a few seconds everything went from being completely normal to being in a lot of pain, going to hospital, having X-rays and a cast put on, then being handed crutches and going back home.
The first time I used my crutches for any considerable distance was ridiculous. After about a minute I was exhausted. The first time I “walked” home, it took my fourty minutes. After two weeks I did that same distance in 25 minutes. They are getting easier to use. It’s amazing how fast the body adapts. I guess my arms are getting stronger and my body is becoming more coordinated.
The novelty of wearing a cast on my foot wore off after a few days. Apart from keeping my foot safe it didn’t help me move. I have been wrapping it in a plastic bag when I shower. I made it slightly more entertaining by getting the kids to sign it, so it’s been graffitied with English, Hiragana and Kanji. Doing everything on my left leg is hard work and I’m surprised it’s still in one piece. I am becoming a pro hopper and I have never been grateful for pistol squats.
So now I am a foreigner blonde hair, blue eyes and a broken foot, hobbling on crutches. I am even more of something to be stared at now. “Walking” home or to a massage or anywhere, I get stared at. But then someone moves out of my way so I can easily get past them, or a car stops, or someone smiles and I remember I am in a place full of so much kindness.
Speaking of kindness, I have once again been surrounded by support from people who’ve made sure I can still do the things I need to do each day. This has been wonderful and awful at the same time, because the guilt of being such a burden on others hasn’t felt good. But the amount of care I’ve had, I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Of course my training has changed and will continue to be different. Lower body training is not an option. So working on rings, training core and more in depth stretching are what I’m focusing on. That’s one great thing about the body. It’s made up of so many parts that when one part breaks, the rest of the body adapts and you work with what you’ve got. It’s really really wonderful having arms.
I don’t want to admit that I’ve struggled as much as I have with my foot. I wanted to be that person who says, oh well never mind. I am not. Even thought I know it’s temporary, even though I know it could have been SO much worse, the frustration of everything being slower and taking longer and depending on people like I had to when I first got to Japan has been really hard. I feel like my body has spectacularly let me down. Or maybe I let it down. Either way I didn’t listen to it, but I am learning a lot more about what it needs and how to take care of it.
Yesterday my cast came off and now I start rehabbing my foot. I know it will be a slow process, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t care about when I am able to cartwheel again or even jump. All I want is to be able to walk. On my own, without crutches, on both legs. That is what I am most looking forward to. Things will get easier and the rest will come.