My birthday is coming up and there are only two things I wanted…. To spend time with people I love and strong ankles.
When my husband and I were running in Tennessee in October, I had a pretty bad ankle roll. Not a terribly uncommon thing for me, really. I grew up clumsy and did gymnastics, so I was an ankle rolling mess for most of my childhood. It hurt and I knew it had weakened my ankle, but I got through the rest of the run and lots of hiking, so I was feeling ok.
I ran a full marathon on roads in October and my ankle felt strong. I thought it was all healed up and I’d be ready to switch back to trail running for my trail marathon in December. So…. The weekend after the Indianapolis marathon I set out on a 10 mile run on a favorite trail with some great friends! And then…. You guessed it, HUGE ankle roll. The kind that pop when it happens and your eyes tear up. The gal behind me saw it and was a bit disturbed by how painful it looked. It hurt. But, we were halfway through a 10 mile loop trail. And I could run on it. I got through the rest of the run and it hurt, but not terribly. Then I stopped moving, and then it started to feel like it was swelling to the size of a cantaloupe. I came home and rested, elevated, and iced. I’ve been through ankle rolls a million times and I figured it would clear right up!
It didn’t. After resting all day Sunday, the swelling hadn’t gone down and there was the added bonus of discoloration! Ruh roh. By Monday I took my still swollen and discolored ankle to the doc, got some x-rays and braced myself for bad news. Thankfully, there wasn’t any!!!! I could even run, only on roads, and I was given a set of ankle exercises that I needed to do to get back on the trails.
So, I’ve been running on roads only for a month now and DILIGENTLY doing my exercises. Today was the day. I was either going to get through the run with strong ankles or I was going to have another bad ankle roll and the trail marathon wasn’t going to happen. No pressure, right?
My friend who has a birthday two days before mine and I had planned the run, both of us wondering how it was going to go. She had been doing shorter faster distances and not a lot of long runs. I had been going long, but only on roads. 18 miles of trails was going to hurt, or be awesome.
The good news is….STRONG ANKLES FOR THE WIN! Even with a leaf and stick littered trail my ankles held up beautifully! I think these exercises need to be part of my life forever, because it turns out they work. The goal moving forward will be to not blow them off now that my ankle is stronger (dumb runners, we always do stuff like that). The trails were tiring but beautiful, and the company was delightful.
As I get older, I don’t really need THINGS for my birthday. What I want more is time with the people I love and doing things that I love to do. Those are the best presents anyone could ask for.