Wednesday, April 23, 2014

American River 50 Mile... unplanned rest

On April 5, I awoke before dawn and drove over to the starting area of the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run.  This was to be my third consecutive AR50 and I was looking forward to it.  The new course change placed the start line only 5 it is miles from my home.  I arrived, quickly began mingling with friends and at 6 AM, we were off.

I was feeling great and was cruising along comfortably and efficiently.  I had met some new friends while running and was really enjoying the day.

That all changed suddenly at mile 10.  During a short, steep downhill section of trail, I planted my left foot awkwardly, possibly on the rounded edge of a stone.  My ankle rolled harshly and abruptly.  Intense pain surged throughout my ankle and lower leg, accompanied by a loud snap.  I yelped in pain, my momentum sent me hopping towards a nearby wooden post, which I was able to use to brace myself and avoid a fall.  Immediately, I feared what this might mean for my upcoming races; Miwok 100k and Comrades.   I hopped off the trail and say down to evaluate the severity if the injury, hoping I would be able to continue.   After a minute or two, I got on my feet gingerly limped along the trail, wondering if I would be able to walk it off. With in a few more minutes, it was clear that my 100th race would be my first DNF (did not finish).  A lump, roughly the size if a baseball had formed on the outside of my ankle.  I continued limping down the trail to the next aid station, three miles away.  I chatted with friends, who all gave their condolences and wished for a fast recovery, as they passed.

Roughly an hour later, I arrived at the Willow Creek aid station, where I dropped from a race for the first time.  Doing so felt horrible.

At the Willow Creek aid station

I had called Candace from the trail, awaited her arrival and headed to the emergency room.  Fortunately, no broken bones or complete tears were diagnosed.  A grade 2 sprain, 7 weeks out from Comrades, a 56 mile race in South Africa.

The E.R. Dr. wanted to aggressively treat my ankle in an effort to get me running again in time for Comrades and put me in a splint cast.  

No fun, it just didn't feel right knowing that I should still be out running.

Since then, rehab and recovery has been at the forefront of my mind.  

I've been taking one of these, daily.

Lucy and I got plenty of quality "lying around" time.

Three days later

7 days later

15 days later

16 days later, looking quite a bit more normal.

I had a follow-up with the podiatrist today, April 23, followed by my first physical therapy appointment.  The Dr. approved me to start transitioning out of the boot into a shoe, starting with 1-2 hrs/day while using a light brace/wrap.  She is confident that I'll be able to line up at the start of Comrades, but to bring my boot to Africa, as while I'm unlikely to do any long term damage, I am likely to aggravate the injury and wind up swollen and sore.  That sounds like fantastic news to me!

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