When I was living at altitude in New Mexico this summer, I would often joke that as soon as I got back to sea-level I’d run a 5K, set my ‘post-high-school’ personal record, and then retire from running forever.
I guess I should be careful what I wish for.
The week I returned, I had an allergic reaction to the dog that my roommate Phoebe rescued over the summer. Suffering an asthma attack is not the ideal way to start a cross country season, but I got on my inhalers, and once the dog was made to live outside I started feeling better. Luckily, this wasn’t the precipitous end to my running career that it could have been.
My first race back home was a nice 3 miler on a flat and fast XC course on mowed fields and some trails. I ran it in 18:16, much better than anything I’ve done since high school. It wasn’t easy, but it showed that I was in good racing shape. The following Monday I decided to go for an easy nighttime recovery run. About 1 mile into it, BAM!, I twisted my ankle on a stray piece of wood and hit the sidewalk like a wet bag of groceries. After rolling around on the ground for five minutes I stood up and began the long, awkward, and excruciating hobble back to my house. (N.B. – If you ever happen to drive by someone dressed in running clothes who is limping alongside the road clutching their leg in agony, consider slowing down to ask them if they need help).
It’s been a week since that run. After 4 days of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, the swelling reduced, but left in its wake some nasty bruises. Now it’s still bruised, and I can’t move the ankle through its range of motion without pain. This is the worst ankle injury I’ve had in years, and it stinks to be taking so much time off at the beginning of cross country. I feel like everything I worked for training over the summer is gone… Is it?