Righty-o. About three weeks ago I had a spectacularly shitty day at work, so I went for a run with Jeremy to take my mind off it, and 600 metres in I stacked it on some gumnuts on the concrete path, spraining my left ankle (grade 1 tear), and ripping the shit out of my right shin as I scraped it on the concrete. It hurt like fuck.
The timing was quite shit for two reasons: 1) because the Saturday beforehand I had gone to the Canning River parkrun pacer day and chased the 25 minute pacer, notching up a 25m10s, which is 11 seconds off my overall parkrun PB. What was more impressive is that I’m at least 5kg heavier than I was when I managed that, and I’ve not started training for Six Inch again, so that was just off a few long runs and fartlek sessions. 2) was because the only race that had appealed in recent times was King of the Mountain, a 16km trail race uphill from Helena Valley to Mundaring Weir, and that was July 3rd, two weeks into my healing period.
The swelling has now almost completely subsided, and I’ve now run on it four times – Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and today, parkrunday. My instructions were to try and only run on softer surfaces for a few runs.
Sunday’s run was a slow 2.5km, predominantly around the oval near our house, with reasonable success. The soft underfoot would allow me to accidentally step on a gumnut and have it pushed deep into the dirt and grass rather than tilt my foot to jar my ankle. Even still, every leaf on the ground was a gumnut in my mind and thus dodged.
Tuesday’s run was 3km at darkrun with less success, looping back after 1km and returning to the start via a lot of grass instead of the regular path and then 1km around the grassed picnic area. My immediate suspicions were well-founded, and the niggles I had were relieved by use of my spikey ball underfoot, foam roller on my quads in particular and using the muscle stick down the strip of muscle on outside of my left shin.
Thursday’s run nearly didn’t happen because it bucketed down in the afternoon and evening but when we got home it had stopped raining for a while. Because soccer training was on the oval was lit up so I felt comfortable to do laps of the oval. I stayed fairly steady on speed until I hit 3km, when I picked it up a bit and after another lap I threw in a sprint, then eased off after about 80m, jogged for a bit, then another sprint. I headed home and stopped the Garmin on 4.2km feeling immensely pleased.
There was no increase in swelling on Thursday night, but Friday morning the ankle was sore – a dull, but noticable ache that felt like it was inside the ankle structure rather than from the muscle on the outside. I ibuprofened once and the rest of the day I was fine.
This morning was Pioneer parkrun, and I was pretty trepidatious. There is so much tree cover there are usually hard nuts and sticks everywhere on the course, so having been told oh-so-helpfully “you’ll be fine, just as long as you don’t roll your ankle again” I really didn’t want to do that. This was going to be my first run back on majority hard surfaces and also the first hilly terrain I’d tried to run on, so the possibilities of something going a bit wrong were higher than I’d prefer.
Jeremy and a number of our Pioneer friends have noticed that if you run Pioneer a lot it can test your left ankle due to the excessive number of sharp left turns on the course. With this in mind my aim was to be kind, avoid rolling my ankle, walk if necessary and to stop if I needed to (at Pioneer you actually return to the start area 5 times during the course from various directions, so you can choose to cut your run short if required).
The second full lap I had to walk most of the stretch of grass behind the duck ponds, such was the amount of mud and slipping. The way I describe niggles is that you can ‘feel’ the affected area. So when my hamstrings are a bit tight, their existence is obvious, but when they’re fine they operate normally and I can’t consciously feel them. So while I could feel my ankle the whole way round, it was like a steady low grumble that can be acknowledged and then ignored. It only shouted “Oi!” when I hit the sharp left U-turn just before the final boardwalk section on my final 200m home.
34m05s and crossed fingers hopefully no issues tomorrow morning.