Sunday, February 28, 2010

If it's broken, you have to fix it

I sprained my ankle a week ago running a half marathon. Right at the beginning I twisted it on some cobblestone. Then I ran 13.1 miles on it. Ok, maybe 12.5 miles. I ran low miles twice last week. It felt ok on the treadmill.

Yesterday, I ran the Cowtown 10K. I was looking forward to running a 10K because the last one I ran was long and not chip timed. The one before that was 9 degrees. I knew I was capable of running a sub-55:00 and I wanted that on record.

I ran Cowtown as hard as I could. Brick roads. Crap. I twisted an already tender ankle, again. I ran the rest of it in pain, but knew I was going to beat that 55:00. And I did. I ran a great race, albeit a stupid race, but it was good. I finished in 53:58, a PR and 20th in my age group. Not too bad for a big race.

My marathon plan had me running 14 miles today, my longest run ever to date. I met one of the gals who is also training for OKC at the running club. Right of the bat, each step was a sharp pain up my leg. Maybe it will go away. Mile 8, I have to run down hill. I had to walk it. It hurt. My buddy got really tired at mile 10 and told me to go on. I wanted to get done, so I went on.

Another friend of mine caught up with me at mile 11. She kept my mind off my pain and kept me going until 12 when she was done. I had to go out for another one mile and back. I hit 13 turned to go back and another buddy saw me. He said, "You must have raced Cowtown yesterday, I've never seen you run at this slow of a pace."

Ok, not only did my stupid ankle hurt, now my damn ego hurt. He didn't mean anything by it, he just knew I was not performing at 100 percent. I was hurting and it showed. I knew I wasn't performing at 100 percent but I didn't want to admit it. That was no one's fault but my own. I finished that 14 miles in 2:19:00. A 9:57 min/mile. It was ugly.

I spent the next several minutes talking to a lot of my buddies at RAW. They showed me good stretches to do, because now my damn IT band hurts because I changed my stride in an effort to get pressure of my ankle. They convinced me that I wasn't going to lose my base by laying off this week.

Lesson learned--again, the hard way. I can't wish this away or pretend that it doesn't hurt or keep crying about it. If it's broken, I have to fix it. And that means sitting on the sidelines for a few days. I may get on the stationary bike, but I'm not running. I may do a little walking.

I've worked too darn long and hard to kiss OKC Marathon goodbye for simply not listening. But just like running, this is mind over matter. I need to keep my goal in mind. It's not the little races before then, it's completing a marathon. And to do that, I need to be at 100 percent. Anything less is not acceptable.


  1. I couldn't agree more that we need to fix what's "broke." And, the good news is that you aren't broken, just a little sprained. You will be amazed what a few days off of running, and some ice will do for the ankle. Take it from me: I kept pushing on a hurt leg, and wound up out of the running game for 5 weeks. That SUCKS!

    But, use the bike this week, maybe swim if you have access to a pool. You won't lose a bit of your base - not even if you need to avoid running for 2 or 3 weeks. As long as you keep moving SAFELY you will be just fine - and have some fresh legs to boot when it's time to run again.

    Happy training and keep your chin up! A little rest will do the body good :)

  2. Yes, please please please take care of the ankle. You don't want what happened to me to happen to you. The Austin Marathon was supposed to be my first full marathon, but I overdid one speed workout and pulled my quad muscle during the following long run. It set me back 3 weeks and I missed a lot of hard training. So I had to do 1/2 instead. I would hate to see the same thing happen to you. It broke my heart to cut back to the half, but that was the result of not being more careful. So again, yes, give yourself permission to rest and recover. You won't regret it.

  3. You know once I checked and there is a marathon every single weekend in the U.S. So, should worse come to worse and it takes longer than what you anticipate you can pick another marathon to run. It's not worth risking arthritis in your ankle (which is what happens to ankles that aren't allowed to heal properly - maybe not now but in 10-15 years). Not trying to be mean but try to look at the very big picture, not the next race, or the next marathon. You have your ENTIRE life to accomplish your goals.