If I don’t go for a run soon, someone may get hurt.

If I DO go for a run soon, I may get hurt.

What a dilemma: a Sophie’s choice for runners.

It has been exactly four weeks since I ran the marathon—and what a month it has been! Not only did my friend and I have the chance to jet off to Rome by ourselves, I also landed a job as a writer. Oh yes, I also had multiple doctor’s appointments to find out what was wrong with my foot.

After the marathon, I walked around like Frankenstein for a few days. By the time I could walk downstairs the correct way (as opposed to backwards), I was deep cleaning the house in preparation for company. Though I iced and elevated my foot at night, it didn’t seem to be getting any better.  I knew (with my typical positive outlook) I had a stress fracture. With the prospect of Rome only a couple days away, I finally went in for an x-ray.

 No stress fracture. Whew!

The doctor told me to take it easy, so I immediately  proceeded to walk 9 hours a day for the next 4 days, with frequent rests for gelato, espresso, fine art, and “I ♥ Roma” bags.

 My foot improved.

Another x-ray upon return validated the absence of a stress fracture. In addition to extra bones in my foot (which the doctor found amusing), I also had something ironically called Neuroma (get it? Roma…Italian for Rome?). The doctor told me no running for 2 more weeks, which is why I am sitting here in the sunshine with my feet propped up.

I don’t know if I can stand another week of not running.

Not running gives me time for introspection, which, considering my melancholy personality, is probably not the best thing for me. I have been pleasantly distracted by having a houseguest. I’ve also been busy with my new job as a travel writer (and the book my colleague and I are writing). And yet, there is a void where marathon training used to be.

I miss it.

This morning I looked out over the countryside. The sun was turning the shorn wheat fields golden, and there was enough crispness in the air to make for a perfect day for running.

I lifted weights instead. I don’t know why, but lifting weights doesn’t give me the release that running does.

So, I turn to writing and philosophizing.

Running a marathon seems like a ridiculous thing to do: a way of beating yourself up, as my husband so politely put it. Which makes me consider why I did it in the first place, and why I’m still not satisfied? Part of me thinks I should learn to be content. Another part  says I should always strive for more. After all, life is about learning. If you become content with how things are, you can never  truly grow.

As for me, I’m still not quite the woman I want to be. Though I have come a long way, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. My dreams are still only partially fulfilled.

But maybe it’s not the fulfillment of dreams that is important. Perhaps it is the continual striving towards a dream that shapes us more. Once dreams are fulfilled, there is nothing to look forward to but more dreams. No matter what the fairy tales claim, dreams are not filled with the donning of a glass slipper or a kiss from a prince. Rather, dreams are collected in bits and pieces, like shells on the seashore, during our walk through this life.

My life is a work in process. Whether my book is published someday, or if I qualify for Boston, the graceful process of life has worth in itself.

Will I run again?

Will I need surgery for my foot?

I have no idea.

In the meanwhile, I will continue collecting the little fragments of my dreams until one day, I can glue them all together.