It finally happened. I am injured. I’ve proudly toted my non-injured runner title for years and I had it ripped from my proud little hands on Tuesday night. Tuesday was a double work out day, with Pilates in the morning and a zone 2 effort 1 hour 5 minute run at night. I didn’t get home and out the door for my run until about 6:20 and I remember telling Mike, “I’ll be home around 7:30.” For some reason when I said it, it felt wrong. Like something was going to happen. Maybe it was because it was dark and I get scared at night sometimes running alone. Who knows but for some reason it felt like an omen!
The run started great. My legs felt fresh and my heart rate was staying nice and low. I felt like I was flying. When I first started training by heart rate, my Zone 2 runs were practically shuffles, coming in near 11 minute miles. However, during this run I was easily staying in the mid-9s. I started to think about the possibilities – could an 8 minute mile in Zone 2 be possible!?
As instructed, I was focusing on form during this run but I was also letting my mind roam with scenarios. My typical route takes me through a neighborhood, onto the coast highway along a path and then eventually, if I want to run more than 5 miles, I have to run on a bike path which borders the highway on the left and a gravely/sandy/rocky area on my right. Well, when my Garmin beeped 3 miles I happily looked down and saw a pace under 9:30 min/miles. My happy-pace distraction mixed with the fact that it was very dark and I was trying to run to the side of the road to avoid getting smashed by a car from behind resulted in my right foot stepping off of the nice paved bike path onto the uneven, rocky terrain to my right, twisting my ankle and falling, not so gracefully, onto the pavement. I’m sure some snarky driver along the 101 laughed at the silly runner wearing a headlamp eating crap.
It happened so fast that I barely could think about what happened. I just knew my ankle hurt and my knee hurt. I didn’t cry. It didn’t hurt that bad and maybe I was in shock. I just looked down at my ankle and thought, CRAP! I moved to the side of the road so I wouldn’t end the night by also being run over by a car, and sat for a second. At first I thought maybe I could keep going. Then I looked down and saw that it was swollen and I knew my run was over. I wasn’t fretting a ton yet because I couldn’t tell how swollen it was. I called Mike and had him pick me up. I walked about ½ a mile down the road to the restaurants in Cardiff which sit on the water and are lit up and waited. It wasn’t long until Mike arrived and he didn’t seem fazed. He told me I’d be running by Thursday and I hoped he was right. The first person I thought to text was Page, since she sprained her ankle just weeks before her first Ironman. She urged met to REST most importantly and also RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
When we got home I took my shoe off and confirmed that it was indeed quite swollen. I spent the rest of the night RICE-ing and trying not to feel too sorry for myself. I started thinking about the Phoenix Marathon being 8 weeks out. The fact that I had a very key workout planned for Wednesday and a 2 hour 40 minute long run Sunday. I already feel behind going into the marathon and this was another setback. I started thinking about not doing the race at all, calling Maria and telling her that I quit and was over running. I tried to ignore these thoughts but they were there. I started sympathizing with pro-athletes who get career-ending injuries. I started wondering what people who don’t have a passion outside of work feel like? Maybe that’s why some people are workaholics. I also reminded myself that I was being dramatic and that I was lucky that I had such a minor injury. It could be worse – I could end up like Hank from Breaking Bad (we’re on Season 3 – watching this show also helps remind me that my life is not bad) or Arizona from Grey’s Anatomy (this is the show I watch on the trainer – also behind) or I could have just gotten hit by a car out there. My problems aren’t big problems.
Day 2 didn’t bring much more encouragement. I woke up disappointed that the swelling didn’t magically disappear and honestly I let it ruin my morning. I bought an Ace bandage which seemed to help. I limped a bit but not a lot and there wasn’t any bruising so I took these as great signs. Maria suggested aqua jogging and cycling until the swelling is gone – definitely no running until then. Maria is optimistic that this will not set me back and that I can still race Phoenix and have a good race. Needless to say I’m hoping that she is right!
This morning I woke up and the swelling was way down – a ray of hope! There is less pain and it’s easier to walk. I’m walking with no limp at all. There is some bruising showing up today but not anything scary. I’m healing and am beginning to become more optimistic. Time will tell – tomorrow I will try the trainer and Saturday I’ll have my first aqua jogging experience! From what I’ve heard it’s magical 😉
If you hate feet, stop reading now. Here’s Day 1 , Day 2 and Day 3 of the ankle: