Days after the race, I was completely drained. I did easy cross training the day following and an easy run the next day. During the easy run, I felt some discomfort in my right ankle. I ignored it, and just chalked it up to be a bit of normal post-race soreness. That following Wednesday, I had a late night at school and took the day off. I thought that was the perfect formula for rest before my speed work scheduled for Thursday. When Thursday came around, I was completely exhausted. I was on about five hours of sleep, still sore from the race, and mentally checked out. I had speed intervals on the agenda, and I felt like I would have no problem pushing through once I hopped on the treadmill. I did a fifteen minute warm-up and then moved into my intervals. With each interval that passed, my ankle just became progressively more uncomfortable. By the fifth interval, it was REALLY hurting. I pulled through the next two, and by the time I approached my eighth I thought my ankle was going to fall right off. I slowed the dial down on the treadmill, and hobbled through a ten minute cool down. As soon as I climbed off the treadmill, the pain set in. I could hardly walk and was in excruciating pain. As I was limping through the gym, I immediately got the, “UH-OH”s and the “Oooooo that’s not good”’s from bystanders. ***DISCLAIMER: WHEN YOU SEE A DEDICATED RUNNER INJURED, NEVER EVER EVER SAY THOSE THINGS.*** I tried to smile it off, but I couldn’t. I knew I was in big trouble. I could feel my Glass City Marathon P.R. slipping away…
I immediately called my friend/coach/therapist/coworker Laura to share the bad news. She calmed me do, assured me that it was going to be okay, and told me to R.I.C.E. (REST. ICE. COMPRESS. ELEVATE). I then walked into my house and the pain just kept getting worse. After more melt downs on the phone with my sister, I went to bed that night hoping the pain would be gone the next day.
When I woke up that next morning, the pain was still there. I could not apply any pressure to my right ankle without pretty extreme pain, and I was walking like LL Cool J circa 1995. I ate my breakfast, poured some coffee, and limped out the door. When I got to school, my school Mama, Munn, met me in my classroom. She took a look at my ankle, and insisted I see the high school’s athletic trainer. She made arrangements for me to meet him after school, and after a day of hobbling around I did just that. He looked at it, and was pretty confident it was tendonitis. He assured me that I would be fine for my marathon in two weeks, and told me to R.I.C.E. it for the next two days with no running. He kindly wrapped my little ankle with some KT tape and I hobbled away. Taking two days off did not sit well with me knowing that I would be missing my last solid 18 miler before the marathon, but the pain was too bad and I knew I had no choice.
All day Saturday, I was glued to the couch and R.I.C.E.’d the whole day. By Sunday, I attempted to get in a few miles on the treadmill but the pain was awful. So, I resorted to an hour and fifteen minutes on the bike. The pain significantly subsided by Monday, but I took one more day off and stuck to the bike. By Tuesday, I had an appointment scheduled with a well-respected, highly recommended chiropractor. I got in five easy miles. The pain had dwindled, but my form was a hot mess. I literally galloped through what seemed like the longest five mile run of my life. By Wednesday, the pain was very minimal and the galloping became a bit more manageable. After this five mile easy run, I saw the chiropractor. He looked at my ankle, watched me walk, and concluded that I had an ankle sprain. He assured me that I would be fine for the marathon, massaged it and adjusted it, and had me schedule another appointment with him the next week. He encouraged me to do my speed work out on the agenda for the next day, and gave me the confidence to power through with the remainder of my training leading up to the big day.
That following Thursday, I had 1 mile tempo intervals on the agenda. With the positive words of the chiropractor in my head, I hobbled through the work out! The pain was gone, but the hobbling was still there. He informed me that I needed to gain strength back in my ankle and that I was going to be okay. I felt in my heart that I was going to be okay, and was gaining confidence back in my goals for the marathon! But, just as the ankle issue seemed to be minimized, I started feeling dizzy. My nephews had been plagued with the norovirus, and soon thereafter my little brother came down with it. I could feel in the deepest pit of my stomach that I was experiencing the early symptoms of it, but if I thought if I stayed positive and calm it might pass.
When I woke up that Friday morning, my palms were sweating. The dizziness was out of control. I felt hungover, although I hadn’t had a drink in well over a month. I could not even worry about my ankle, because I was so worried I was going to vomit. I did what I could to ignore it, but by that night at 9pm I was projective vomiting. I had come down with the norovirus! I was up all night, and could hardly move the next day. I had a ten mile run scheduled for that Saturday, and with my jacked ankle and now the stomach flu there was no way I was going to complete it. Once again, I had a total melt down. How is it possible for all of these obstacles to get in my way when I am the fittest I’ve ever been in my life? How devastating will it be if I have to sit out for the marathon I’ve worked so hard to conquer? With everything I’ve been through, how could this be happening to me? Why does everything in life have to be so hard? Life is just not fair sometimes.
After counselling from my love ones, I sucked it up. Life is tough, but following Christ’s example I’ve learned that I am tougher. I took the rest I needed Saturday. Sunday, which happened to be Easter Sunday, I spent at church in the morning with my family and made it to the Metroparks that afternoon as the gym was closed. Despite being nutrient depleted and dehydrated, I had to get in that last 10 miler before the race. With my little brother on a bike next to me, I completed ten sweaty, arduous, exhausting miles. I wanted to throw up multiple times throughout the run, and wanted to quit at the end of each mile. But, I powered through and got it done. I knew if I could stay healthy the rest of the week, hydrate, and stay positive, I would be fine for the marathon the next Sunday.
The next Monday, I saw the chiropractor again. He took a look at my ankle, and said the sprain was still there but it was significantly better than the last time he saw it. Again, he massaged it and adjusted it, reassuring me that I would be fine for the marathon. He kindly introduced me to his associate, and told me to see her later in the week if my ankle still felt uncomfortable because he was going to be out of town. I knew at that point that there was nothing left to do besides rest my ankle, gain back the calories and hydration I lost from having the norovirus, and to have faith in all of my hard work. I was VERY nervous knowing that I had not completed a legit long run since the week prior to the half marathon, but all I could do at this point was give the race all I had and see what the outcome would be.
...to be continued...
...to be continued...