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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Kowal

Breaking a foot vs Breaking a streak

On January 1st, 2020, I started my run streak. My goal was to run every single day for the year. The run had to be a minimum of 1 mile to count. I had actually started a run streak in November but I had missed a day on the 27th of December, so I decided that starting on January 1st with the goal to run every day for a year. At the same time, an old friend of mine, Peter Dabrowski, challenged me to run 1,000 (622 miles). So I started running. I ran early, I ran late, I ran fast, I ran slow, I ran long distances and I ran short distances but I ran every single day and never less than a mile. On September 6th, when we were going to run a marathon for Heroes and Horses and Liam's Life Foundation, was going to be my 250th day of running. I knew I was approaching the 1,000 kilometres and I had decided that I was going to pick it up a little and try to go for 1,500 km instead, before the end of the year. To be honest, I was overlooking the marathon a bit, since it was "only" 26.2 miles and we weren't trying to break any records. So when I was playing some table tennis the day before, I didn't think too much of it, until I threw myself after a ball and managed to hurt my foot. I knew it wasn't great but I didn't know how bad I had hurt it at the time but as the day progressed, I realised it was worse than I thought. When going to bed that night, I was hoping that I was going to wake up the next morning with my foot miraculously not hurting. That wasn't the case. I took some ibroprufen and was hoping that the pain would go away after a few miles. It did not. Every step of every mile, my foot was throbbing but I settled into it and was ok with it. In fact, I even thought I was going to be able to get about a 4.15 time. Then, at around mile 16, the pain shifted and became very sharp, almost as if someone was sticking a knife into it. Between mile 16 and mile 19, I was doing some running, some hobbling and some walking. After mile 19, I could only walk and then, just limp my way back for the last 7.2 miles. It was also on a record breaking heat that day, with the highs of 111 degrees Farenheit (43 degrees Celsius), according to The pain in the foot and the heat made for a lot of swear words. BUT, those days are important too, because those days you train your mental resilience; your grit. Mental strength isn't trained when things are easy! I also want to give a special shoutout to Terrion Ware, who stayed with me for those 7 miles (I can't have been much fun). Here's a quick summary of the run:

Still, it wasn't until I took off my shoe when I realised how bad it was: The foot was pretty discoloured and it was really swollen (towards the end of the run, we could see the swelling of the foot through the shoe). The next day, I went to urgent care to have what I had suspected confirmed: broken.

The next day, when I went out for a short 1 mile run, since I didn't want to break the streak. It wasn't pleasant. The following day, after speaking to some specialists, I realised I should probably let it rest, so that it can heal up, if I want to avoid issues in the future. So, I had to make the difficult decision to break the run streak. So, after 251 days straight of running, I had to stop. It's a little annoying too that I have only 6 miles (10K) to 1,000 km but once I heal up, I'll get the last few miles in.

In conclusion:

1. It hurt a lot more to break the streak than it did to break the foot.

2. Sometimes, listen to the doctor.

3. Don't play the lethal sport of table tennis!

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