Below is a longer more drawn out version of my relationship with bone broth. It's cliche, but I took my health for granted and literally ran myself into the ground. I'll never let that happen again.
Hopefully by reading about my ridiculous mistakes, you'll avoid some in your life. Any maybe even try some bone broth!
After running my first two mountain ultra marathons during the summer of 2013, I decided two things: first that I love this crazy sport. And second, that I was a good enough athlete to compete at a decent level. I'm extremely competitive by nature, and tend to either go 100% in on things or not at all.
I made grandiose plans to compete in more Pacific Northwest trail races the following year, in 2014.
I trained my ass off all spring, enjoying success in early season races. Things were going to plan. Fist pumps all around! I pushed my body harder and harder, training like a madman and racing too often.
I was addicted to the thrill running in the mountains and winning races. I took my training and racing quite seriously. Because... well honestly I don't want to be average at anything. I struggle with this. And my ego usually wins out.
Everything came crashing down at one race in July. Every race prior that year had felt effortless compared to this five and a half hour jaunt through purgatory.
From the beginning, I had no spring in my stride. No energy.
I got through it, but was embarrassed of the result. I felt as though I let everyone down. I sacrificed a lot of personal relationships for training and racing. The least I could do was perform to my potential.
Week by week I knew something was off with my body. I certainly did not bounce back like my previous races. Mostly general fatigue and feeling like I needed a nap every day.
I rested for a month, then got back at it. We’re all invincible right? Warning sign ignored.
Fast forward another month. Training is going fairly well, I’m getting ready for the biggest race of my year and I roll my ankle bad coming down a local mountain.
Fashioning a walking stick, I hobbled the 10km down the trail to my car in severe discomfort.
Applying your typical RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol I returned training after a few days... while my ankle was the size of a grapefruit. I had to right?
I’d been thinking about this race for 12 months, and wasn’t about to go in anything less than 100% fit.
Turns out running up and down mountains when your ankle joint is as stiff as a board isn’t advised. One run in particular I vividly remember a weird sensation on the bottom of my foot.
It felt as though I’d sprouted wings on the sole of my right foot. Oh and it hurt like hell.
Googling treatment and diagnosis for this ailment, I kept training while trying to rehab it. Are you noticing a trend yet?
Long story short: after running through it for too long, I ended up with a tear in my plantar fascia the size of a dime. I’ve been trying to fix it ever since.
Avoid this injury if you can. At this point I can confidently say that I would take just about any other lower body injury over this (broken leg, torn achilles, etc), with the exception of maybe a completely blown out knee.
I haven’t run for 17 months (save for a month when I thought it was healed early last year).
You hear people say that they’ve tried everything, but I think I actually have. Every sports doctor, naturopath, chiro, physio can’t figure out why it isn’t healing. I've spent more money than I care to admit on medical procedures. But I neglected the bigger picture.
My body was broken.
I gave up on the idea of running and focused my energy on fixing my body as a whole.
This included delving into a more functional medicine-based approach to rehab. If you’re unaware, the basic premise in functional medicine is that you go after and treat the root cause of an issue (illness, injury, etc) not the symptoms.
So there I was consuming everything I could around functional approaches to health, wellness and movement.
I experimented with different natural dietary approaches: herbs, spices, balms, soothes... you name it.
One thing I read about was bone broths. This supposed magic elixir made from simmering beef bones to extract the minerals, collagen, and marrow. The health benefits were so outrageous I thought it was a joke.
Cooking weekly batches, I started drinking this stuff like water. I couldn’t get enough of it.
After a month or so, I noticed some changes in my body. You never know how the body will react. You just have to keep throwing things at it to see what sticks.
Fast forward to now, my foot is not fully healed but I finally have some answers to the questions I’d been asking for over a year.
It’s progressing in a more linear timeline now, as opposed to no progression for over a year.
I’m not going to sit here and say that bone broth was the only thing that fixed my broken body, but I truly believe that it helped kickstart the process.
With that I hope you’ll invest in your long term health by giving my bone broth a try.