Hello, world. My name is Cait Fergus and I am Kris's older sister. Kris is pretty much on her way to London right now for a summer job and once she gets settled, she will be writing to you about training for the marathon and managing her diabetes while abroad. She asked me to write to you while she's in transit.
I was a long-distance runner in high school and I have kept it up ever since. I don't run marathons like my sister, but I am a runner who considers two miles a warm up and a cool down. But recently, my foot hurts. It hurts a lot.
I was in grad school when the pain increased. I have always had a little pain in my foot because of a hereditary angle to my toes, but maybe city-living in Boston and New York for three years--walking everywhere and all that cement made the pain more noticeable. I saw a weird bump at the base of my left big toe. I went in to the student clinic at BU. They told me I had some cysts--typical for a toe with a bunion that large...
BUNION!? Gross! Really? I thought that was a kind of wart--not a bone and tissue thing. "Will it get better if I ice it or something?" I asked. Nope. I had two choices. Live with the pain or get surgery.
Right now I'm living with the pain. I have moved again to Chicago (yet another big city), and I have had to be creative to keep fit while not running my feet to excruciating pain. Kris asked me to share some of these things with you. As a general tip, if you have a bunion and are not in a time or place in your life to have surgery, keep active by doing things you can do barefoot:
1. In-home (or back yard or beach), barefoot work-outs. I have been doing a 30-day at-home Crossfit workout by Clean Eats in the Zoo (cleaneatisinthezoo.com). For some of the outdoor running, you can jog in place barefoot as long as you keep it challenging.
2. DANCE! Be totally ridiculous. Learn dancing from music videos (Beyonce is a fave) or make up dances to songs. Rock out in the privacy of your own home or back yard. Unless you're an exhibitionist--then go ahead and bust a move at the beach. I have made a really challenging ab-workout laying-down-dance to Adelle's 'Rumor Has It". It's hilarious. I'm not quite brave enough to make a YouTube channel of these things, but maybe soon.
*I typically like to use songs with really peppy beats and workout in time with them. You want a dancer's body? Move to music. Focus on your form.
3. Swim and do water aerobics. Or just play in a pool. Pick any sport you like and make it work in the water.
4. Get ankle-weights and lay on the floor. Imitate running, biking, slow walking, dancing. Depending on how you are laying, these are also ab workouts.
Other than that, just play. Kris and I are lucky to have two crazypants nephews (and a niece on the way) to play with. Chasing them in the sprinklers, kicking a ball in the yard, picking them up and swinging them over and over and over and over (etc) again is fun and a great, wholesome way to stay active too. Also, my fiance and I bought a soccer ball recently and we make up "Kick the ball" games in the park. If I'm playing, I don't notice my foot hurts. Or I'm in the grass or sand so it's easier.
I still run on days when I can work from home and ice my foot for a few hours after, but I miss how I used to be able to lace up my running shoes and run on just about any surface. For now, I just have to make do with what is going on with me and my big ugly bunion. I have managed to stay fit and even become more fit with my alternatives to distance running.
I have learned many things from my sister Kris. One is that life can present you with several bricks on your journey. You can let the bricks form a wall in front of you, you can chain the brick to your ankle and let it sink you, or you can look life right in the eye and say, "Go ahead. Give me the brick," and you take it, and you learn how to walk with the brick. It doesn't get easier; you just get stronger.