With numbness in my right foot, I stopped running and started to walk. After 10 seconds of thought, I stopped the run workout on my watch and turned around. I had set out to run 7 miles but only ran 1.57 up to that moment.
After walking for 20 seconds, I started jogging. With numbness in each step, I persisted at a slow pace. I slogged my way to a total distance of 2.59 miles. Upon returning home, the numbness subsided and didn’t return for the rest of Christmas Day.
Why I Quit
The numbness that I felt was eerily similar to what I felt on September 11, 2018, during my first-ever 4-mile run. My right foot was numb during the entirety of mile four. My lack of injury experience propelled me to keep running.
That evening, upon standing up from the living room couch after eating dinner, the numbness returned with a vengeance. Every movement was a struggle. I washed the dishes and then returned to the couch to watch my sad Detroit Lions. The numbness grew with each passing minute.
After one hour of suffocating numbness, I started to crawl on the living room carpet. I needed ice but the 40 feet between me and the freezer were daunting. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I’d crawl one foot and then stop. My body screamed after each step. After 20 minutes of crawling on carpet and tile, I reached the freezer. I tossed dozens of ice cubes into a plastic bag and crawled my way back to the couch.
I have no idea if the ice (and later a bag of frozen peas) helped. I was in pure agony for 5 hours. The numbness slowly started to subside around 1:00 a.m. Getting ready for and then crawling into bed took eons. I didn’t sleep much that night but woke up numb-free.
David Goggins and his book Can’t Hurt Me is the #1 reason why I became a runner in early 2019. It’s why I’ve run at least one mile 195 days in a row as of February 1, 2020. But I’m not as insane as he is. I refuse to allow myself to piss blood. I refuse to numb myself into oblivion.
I refuse to repeat my idiocy. Sure, I ran four miles for the first time in my life but four is only a number. Numbness is much more. I was an idiot for running that fourth mile. I say all this in hindsight. I hadn’t experienced any kind of injury while running up to that point. I wasn’t a runner back then. I didn’t think much of my numbness while running 15 months ago. I felt it but was able to put one foot in front of the other and so that’s what I did. I ran.
This memory played through my mind the moment my foot became numb during my 7-mile run attempt on Christmas Day. The numbness was eerily similar to what I felt 15 months prior.
I was itching to run 7 miles, if not more. With not a single car in sight and temperatures above freezing, the day was perfect for running around Reeds Lake. I ran around this same lake for my 10-mile run on Thanksgiving Day.
The scene was set for me to run 7 miles for only the 2nd time in my life. Until it wasn’t. As badly as I wanted to run, I refuse to numb my foot again, especially on Christmas Day.
I quit on Christmas Day and will never regret it.