So I had grand plans for writing an inspiring, excited, nerve-riddled post about how much I planned to push myself tomorrow: run a smart, controlled race and push hard at the end, laying my heart out on the line.
Then Friday morning happened.
It started off innocently enough. It was very cold for late October – low 30s in the morning – and NF and I bundled up while saving our best warm layers for MCM possibilities (we packed every option). So I was probably overdressed, but it was just an easy 3-miler. We kept it very easy, in the 9:1x’s, very relaxed.
We were a quarter mile from home when it happened. I can’t even really tell you what it was that happened. There was a large rock on the sidewalk I had noticed on the way out, but that was on the wrong side, so I think more likely it was a bad patch of sidewalk. But regardless, I did something that caused my left ankle to roll – hard. I shrieked and started to cry, not even entirely because it hurt (it did), but mostly because I saw my marathon flash before my eyes. All those weeks of training. All the stretching and foam rolling and rest and maintaining a balanced diet and abstaining from some of my favorite things and pushing through tempos and mile repeats and early wake-ups and, and, and…
I sat down on the ground and tried to wait for the pain to subside. He wanted me to try to walk but I knew I needed a minute for it to dissipate, for it to stop throbbing so badly. A couple minutes later, he helped me to my feet and we headed home. The pain dissipated but didn’t disappear, and when we went inside I put on a hoodie (since I knew I’d get chilled – fast) and put ice on it immediately. I also popped a couple ibuprofen within the first couple hours.
Since then it’s been just trying to do all the right things for it. My guy has gotten a lot of rolled/sprained ankles, so he knew that I shouldn’t judge it by the first day. He had an early meeting before we hit the road, so after I showered up and iced a bit more, I headed to the drug store to get a few things we needed, including a new ace bandage and a soft brace (I lost my other one – plus I think it was a wee bit small). I wrapped my ankle in the ace bandage fairly tightly (though not throbbing tight – just compression-tight) and was able to walk on it fine. No pain. It hurt worse immediately after icing since it was stiffen up, but I knew this was still for the best.
When we got to D.C., I unwrapped it, and it was pretty swollen (hadn’t been swollen in the morning at all, even a couple hours after it happened) and bruised. I iced more and treated my mental anguish as well.
After a little touring around, we came back to the apartment where we’re staying with friends, and I took off the ankle brace I was wearing all day today (almost slept in it last night but it was too hot). Still swollen but the bruising seemed to have lessened. And it still didn’t hurt. NF has three types of resistance bands, and started me on the lightest just to test my strength and mobility, and check for any problematic pain. I did a few sets of 10 reps in every direction, as well as some calf raises. No pain. The only troublesome point was at the very top of a calf raise, I could feel tension below my ankle bone, but that’s at least partly just stiffness from being so immobilized from all the compression and swelling.
So where does this leave me?
I’m going to try to run it. I’ve been training so long and hard for this (not to mention all the carbs I’ve been eating this week – ha). But I plan to leave my stubborn pride at home. Every pain-free, successfully completed mile will be a gift. If I can run it – even if it’s slowly – that will be a success at this point. But if I experience pain that doesn’t dissipate after a few minutes, or if I’m badly altering my gait to compensate, I’m drop out.
Those are hard words to write, let alone say out loud.
But I would rather live to fight another day. Just don’t mind me if I end up weeping at the sideline at the hard-fought decision to DNF should the time come.
Fingers crossed. Getting to the start line healthy is the hardest part of any marathon training cycle. Here’s hoping for a little bit of luck.