"I am strong...I will just run through this....I will heal as I go and become even stronger.."
"Just get in another mile....you will warm up then and the pain will go away..."
These were the bullshit lines I fed to myself on almost every run for the past 3 months. This is what I would tell myself when my leg was killing me and I did not want to go on....when tears streamed down my face and I felt like a failure...too ashamed to return home after what seemed like only minutes gone...
After all, I have worked so hard. I have come so far. I am getting really good. And I somehow managed to inspire a few people along the way. I mean... people actually read this blog and enjoy it! How can I quit now? I mean...how can I just go "yeah...my ankle hurts so I am going to take some time off...see ya!"?
And how can I not run?! It has become a part of me... a part of what I do just about every day. When I run I get to explore...I get to be in touch with nature...I get to think...I get to escape. I get to dream. I get to be a kid again. Can I not just ignore a little pain for all that?!
"When did I become such a weakling?!"
Now, don't get me wrong...there have been some days when I really thought I was on my way to being 100% OK. I really thought (having never been injured before) that this was the best way for me and my body to get over a simple sprained ankle. I mean...common...it is a fucking sprained ankle. Who the hell bitches about a sprained ankle?!
Turns out I do.
Now...just to "beat a dead horse" even further...we all know I sprained my ankle some three months ago and since then I have made it worse by running a winter trail race..skiing on it...and running trail and road. Each night I have come home...taken some pain medication and wrapped it with ice...waking up with a very wet and cold ankle (not to mention ace bandage and bed sheet). I really did think this was the best way to take care of things. In my mind I really did think my body could heal as I ran...somehow getting stronger and performing better then ever. I guess I hoped I would "evolve" past the injury.
I swear...I was not taking drugs. This really made sense. And it made me roll my eyes at those who tried to give me pretty good advice.
What kind of advice you ask? Well...let's see...first there was:
"You should not run on an injured ankle....trust me....I had the same thing last summer and it takes longer than expected to heal".
Yup..that is the first thing I saw on my FB page after a picture of my post-trail ankle made it up. Of course the first thought that flew thru my head was: "What does he know? He does not know me. This is nothing...I can over come this. Plus...I really doubt he took time off....he lives in the fucking Alps".
Turns out he was right. I should not have ran on it...and it is taking longer to heal then I ever expected. Apparently if you live in the French Alps you know a thing or two about trail running. And I am not being sarcastic.....and when I say "lives in the French Alps"...I literally mean he lives IN THE ALPS. Turns out pretty damn good advice can come from people you don't know...
Moving on...then there was:
"Don't let stubbornness turn what could be a few weeks off into time spent in a boot or surgery or something worse".
That came from a woman who I do not pay to be my running coach but still is in every sense of the word. I think she has literally had to restrain herself from beating the crap out of me each Tuesday at the brewery runs. This lady knows things. I watched her sit out from an injury a few months ago and never really thought I would be in the same position. I never really thought a sprained ankle could be so painful. Now I wish I had followed her advice and just held tables while everyone else ran. She is back and better than ever!
"If you can't run without limping, you can't run. For me, it was a rushed return from a sprained ankle that sent my achilles into its death spiral. Compensation always hurts something somewhere. Give it rest."
Now, when I saw this pop up it caught my attention. I have watched this person and other members in his family destroy the competition for years. He was one of the best at my school. His father coached. His brother ran in qualifying for the Olympics in Oregon this past summer. He himself ran for his university. I always viewed him as unstoppable. The man could run whenever and as far as he wanted. I always admired him...
After tonight's run all these people came into my mind. One is a total stranger. One is a friend who I love dearly. One is someone I have not seen since high school. The one thing they all had in common was brutal honesty that I did not want to acknowledge.
However, I am now ready to accept that I have to take time off. The pain is getting really bad. When I run the whole foot goes numb. The ankle hurts and now the knee is killing me. The other ankle is even starting to give me problems. My stride is fucked. I am actually running heal first...which makes no sense at all. I have changed shoes...changed stride...changed environment and nothing has helped. I ice constantly and it relieves it until the next run. The pain was so bad the other night I had to take a Lortab. Who the hell takes that shit unless they are really hurt or have had surgery?!
We will see how it goes. I am going to have my doctor look at it in the next few days. While I give her a rest I am really going to focus on some cross training and core work. I am not one who can sit around and just "rest". I will do my best to work the rest of my body and hopefully when the pain stops my running will be better than ever. Run The Bluegrass is in like 30 days but I am not sure if I will be able to compete....and that has me really discouraged.
I do promise to get out on the trails to hike and explore. Hopefully during that time I will find new routes to take. I also promise to keep blogging. I can plan ahead for spring and I would love to share that with you all. I really do hope to come back stronger then ever. It really sucks. At 32 I still feel unstoppable.