the slow road

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tomorrow marks the three-week point since the sprain.

I can't believe it's taking this long to recover.

Yes, I'm running again, but as you can see (in what can only be described as yet another awkward photo of my ankle), I'm still swollen. Also, the area right around the bone still hurts to touch.

So I'm taking things extremely slowly right now. I'm trying to increase mileage a little at a time, vary terrain gradually and not run on consecutive days so I can give my ankle some rest between workouts.

Last week, I only ran nine miles, and I stuck to roads and the track -- flat surfaces and as even as possible. So far this week, I've run three miles and managed to introduce some hills without any problems.

In between runs, I'm doing a lot of cross-training. I went to a pretty intense spin class tonight -- the instructor wanted to work as close to lactate threshold as possible, and I left feeling rubbery and like I wanted to barf (but in a good way, of course). I'm also still going to my Pilates reformer sessions once a week, lifting weights and trying to swim whenever I can.

And I'm working on ankle strength -- standing on a Bosu ball while using free weights, sticking a yoga block between my feet and doing relev├ęs, balancing one foot at a time on a foam roller that's been cut in half.

I'm not going to lie -- rehab feels interminable. I constantly have to talk myself out of freaking out, getting anxious or becoming depressed. I hate the fact that I've missed out on weeks' worth of trail runs with my training group (and this includes runs in awesome locations like Shell Beach and Mt. Burdell -- and I'm going to miss China Camp this Sunday), as well as speed workouts with the track group. I'm worried I won't be ready in time for Chesebro and that I'll be too weak to pace Derrick when he runs his first 50-miler in April.

To cope, I have to keep reminding myself that no matter how many concerns and insecurities I have about future events and training, none of them are as major as this: If I rush out there too soon, I could hurt myself again or keep this injury from healing properly, which would only set me back even further.

So I'm trying my best to be patient. I'm telling myself all this work, all this slowness, is like money in the bank. And when I'm ready -- when the swelling and the pain are completely gone -- it's all going to pay off.

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