Tuesday, 21 January 2014

My Left Ankle

The last two years, I have been pretty lucky with injuries. Lucky in that I was never told: "You know, swimming is a great, low impact cardio workout." Lucky I did not have to discuss the merits of pool running with a belt compared to without a belt. That might be about to change.

A month ago, when my ankle hurt, I was able to think it away - I had just started up running again, and the body tweaks. A couple weeks ago, I thought the joint was stiff, maybe needed some more loosening up. A week ago, I stopped mid-run and hobbled back to Lucy's.

The ankle is a sneaky little guy, as it will hurt sometimes when I walk, and be sometimes painfree when I do 20km semi-trail runs. It will be unable to hop one moment, and then capable of intense yoga balancing the next. If I didn't read so many runners' blogs with all the gory details of 6-months-off injuries, I might not even be too concerned.

I am not good with injuries at the best of times, and this might not be the best of times. I am lucky to be under the very watchful care of Ramsey, who is doing his best to keep me both healthy and sane. Unfortunately, as the patient is occasionally batshit crazy and doesn't always take the advice ("Don't use Doctor Google. Stop thinking about whatever you are thinking about relating to your injury."), this job is fairly intensive.

The job also entails pretty much saving me from myself. When assigned to do stationary bike, it involves capping me at 45minutes (not the 90min of intervals I did my first day "off"), or keeping me from getting a new exciting injury from excessive swimming.

There are pretty much two ways the injury could go. I am either crazy, or have a somewhat legitimate and fairly serious injury (I hope my Mom isn't reading this right now).

I am a type-A virgo redhead
Basically, my kinetic redhead energy is sufficient to cause pain in my ankle. This isn't the first time I've had an injury that was mostly healed my meditation, so it's a fair cause. We had a mindfulness session on Sunday. At the end of it, Ramsey tried to send me home with the meditation CD, with instructions to do a "loving kindness" meditation. I told him that I had a similar one already, nothing else needed. He informed me that I didn't have a 48-minute one (fair point).

I have a stress fracture of my ankle or something else involving chlorine
Oh man, I need to stop doing google searches for this at 1am. The little guy hurts enough I got both and X-Ray, and a bone scan, which ensure any children I have in the next ten years will be born with an extra leg or with gills.

Things that have helped

  • Seriously, the 48-minute loving kindness meditation (or any form of meditation). I have never been so nice to my clients. It also kept me from google for at least half a day.
  • Yoga. Sometimes. The classes where I am not surrounded by people doing handstands. The classes at 10am on a weekend where the instructor doesn't congratulate people on getting up "early".
  • Wine. It hasn't actually helped, but I don't think it has made things worse, so it goes here.
  • Biking. I do exactly 45minutes at the West Van Community Centre. As I can't stand up or go too hard, I watch "American Horror Story" on my phone as I bike to help elevate my heart rate. I do not know how comfortable my fellow 6am bikers (average age: 70) are with this
Things that have not helped
  • praying to the ankle gods, offering to give up my biggest vices (chocolate, wine, men, bad TV).
  • google searches of "recovery time ankle stress fracture".
Welcome to the human (athlete) race
The thing is, pretty much every one of my friends has been injured at some point. I distinctly remember how I would smugly send over pool running programs (the same one I am now studying), say how swimming "wasn't so bad", and talk about how biking is a good workout...actually, who am I kidding...biking is the bane of my butt and uterus and the most uncomfortable cross-training activity out there. But the thing is - it happens. And I'm lucky enough to have friends who will swim with me, pool run with me, yoga with me, drink with me, until this whole thing is figured out. And in the end, I'm grateful to have this clarity: I love to run, I love to sweat, I love to hurt. 

And in a week or half a year, I'll be doing it again. And in the meantime, I'll do what it takes to get to the place I want to be. My legs burning as I see the light through the trees, close to the top of a mountain, or the last 400m of a race, or an easy Wednesday as the sun sets on the seawall. In the meantime...well, who wants to join me in the pool?

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