Break’s (not) over

I’m not sure how to count this break any more, because last week (week six, I guess), I ran twice. Last Wednesday, I slipped out of bed to an early alarm while my husband took a rest day. It was warm and drizzly rain out, and he probably figured I was going to do a yoga video or something. But I had something else in mind, something I had been plotting since the night before, but was willing to change my mind on if I woke up in a different mood.

But I didn’t. I slipped into my running shoes, grabbed my head lamp and watch, and snuck out the door for two quiet, rainy, happy miles. I saw two big clusters of deer, and an orange cat watching over one of the groups. I took a break at the top of a hill to catch my breath, and I didn’t feel bad about it.

Tuesday I had gone to OrangeTheory, for one of their Hell Week workouts, and decided to follow this and the Wednesday run up with a spin class on Thursday, hoping for some Halloween fun. Sadly I was sorely mistaken, as there was no Halloween fun (the instructor didn’t so much as play “Thriller”), and the instructor, who I hadn’t had before, was not at all to my liking. He was the drill sergeant type, barking out “motivation” and walking around the room, inspecting our gears and RPM. I’m sure there are others who need and appreciate this kind of focused attention and motivation. I am not one of these people, and will not be taking his class again.

Thursday night I had gone to bed with the idea that I might run in the morning with – gasp – PEOPLE. But I woke up with a wine and Halloween candy hangover and went back to sleep. I considered a few solo miles Saturday, or trying to accompany Shannon on a few of his miles – his last longish run before next Saturday’s marathon – but sleep won out again, And again, I didn’t feel bad about it.

But tentative plans with Chrissy turned into firm plans for Sunday trails, and I was thrilled about it. Sunday morning dawned sunny and chilly, and we were having a great time: taking it easy, walk breaks as needed, chattering away about work and life and our upcoming trip to New York, and bumping into two other girlfriends, Catherine and Maricia, during our loop.

But shortly before we were done – less than a quarter mile to go – I rolled my ankle. Hard. I caught the side of a rock hidden by leaves (I think), and rolled my left ankle out and took a few hopping steps as I tried to catch myself, making it worse. I let myself down to the ground to take a breathe, before Chrissy helped me up and helped me walk the rest of the way.

Still smiling at the end of the run 🙂

The pain subsided as I got back to the car, and kicked back up on the drive to Five Points where I got Shannon. He insisted on taking me right home, getting me in comfy clothes, wrapping my ankle in an ace bandage and putting ice on it, and having me elevate while he took care of Sunday errands. I spent Monday at home on the sofa, icing on and off all day, keeping my foot up, still wrapped. Sunday night when I had unwrapped it before bed, I saw just how much my ankle bone had disappeared into the balloon-like swelling.

Fortunately, it seems to be the type of sprain that looks worse than it is. I can bear weight on it, and walk awkwardly — I’m keeping off it as much as possible but it doesn’t hurt to walk, it’s just too stiff to do so very smoothly. Yesterday at work I had a shoe very loosely tied over my left foot, and even that wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. I couldn’t fit a sandal on over the bandage Tuesday morning, and the temperatures are dipping down later this week.

Zippy was very helpful while Shannon wrapped my ankle in an ace bandage.

I cancelled a couple of classes I had signed up for already (OrangeTheory and Pilates), with the hope that I can reschedule and make up the classes later this month. But right now it’s day by day to see how this ankle recovers.

I woke up this morning to find the ankle swelling had gone way done (though not completely gone), and I was able to get a soft sleeve brace over it. Tonight I think I can begin gently working on re-mobilizing my ankle. I had hoped to be running around the Chickamauga course on Saturday, trying to catch Shannon and Laura as much as possible, but I’ll be playing that by ear, and more likely walking to one spot (MAYBE two if possible), or taking the spectator shuttle to a late spot to see them twice (the benefit of a double loop course). “At least I’m not planning on racing this weekend,” is what I should be thinking, and I am for the most part. But now that I want the break to be over, at least to start working running back in…here I am: injured, and unable to run.

So as I am in the midst of week 7 of this running break (I guess), I’m grateful to be healing, to be able to be patient — or try to be. It may be another couple of weeks before I can think about trying to run again. It may be longer. But I know for sure now that, no matter how long I stay away, by choice or by necessity, running really is still there for me when I’m ready to come back.

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I'm a 35-year-old writer and runner. This is my running blog.

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