The Quandry of the Half

27 Aug

I rolled my ankle 11 days ago, and in those 11 days I’ve run once. I started biking as soon as I could after the injury to keep things moving, keep my fitness level up, and to try to build the muscles back up in a no-impact fashion. It’s also just an easy way to get to work. So it’s not like I haven’t gotten some exercise in, but in 11 days, I’ve only run once.

The swelling has finally subsided to the point that someone who doesn’t know my ankles well isn’t horrified at first glance. Those of us who have met my ankles before can still see a difference. The inside of my ankle still has the tiniest bit of bruising and is lightly sensitive to the touch… the bruising on the outside has also faded significantly, however it is still definitely painful to the touch. Basically, the sucker isn’t all better yet, which, I’m sure you can understand, is really effing annoying.

I’m sure I have high expectations (and a low-level of patience) for my body’s healing mechanisms. I suppose it is unreasonable to believe that a sprain that caused my ankle to swell up to the size of a soft ball (which is really big by the way, you saw the pictures. Also I have dainty ankles… it’s all about perspective) is the kind of sprain that completely goes away after 11 days. But dear ankle, aren’t you aware that we have a half-marathon to run in 19 days? I mean, did you forget?

About that…

I keep going back and forth on the half.

One minute I’m like: You know, I’m sure I can do it. If I get my mileage back up in the next three(ish) weeks it’ll just be like a normal Sunday long run. I mean, I used to do long runs every Sunday, this isn’t any different, right? So if I start running again this week, I’ll be golden. Probably won’t reach my original time goal, but hey, that’s okay, I’m not a machine or something.

The next minute I’m like: this is it, I’m sidelined, I’m couched, I’m out. There’s no way I’ll be able to get back where I was in time. My endurance will be shot, my training base will be gone, I’m probably stupid to think it’d even be possible. Also, I don’t know, perhaps it’s a real shit idea to run 13.1 miles on an ankle that was so recently the size of a softball and looked like a toddler had broken into the blue and green finger paints and used your ankle as a canvas.

My brain (and my ankle) are starting to lean more towards the second school of thought. First of all, my three miler was not great, it didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t great. Second, my ankle felt worse yesterday than it had in days prior. Not a lot worse, but worse. Third, sometimes I like to think I’m invincible, and in my older age I’m trying to remind myself in more practical terms, that I am not. On the “I’m not invincible note,” I’d like to keep my ankle around for a good long while, and I don’t want to bust it up for good because I was anxious to start running again. In other words, is real ankle damage worth one race?

I am interested in your opinions though. I’m not the most seasoned runner, and this is my first running injury. So let’s do a poll. Vote for answers 1 or 2 in the comments:

1. You can totally do the half, or you know, at least show up, start it, and finish it.

2. This is a shit idea. Take the time to heal and try again later.



5 Responses to “The Quandry of the Half”

  1. Laura August 27, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    1, but ease up on the training. Even if you do no running in the next 19 days, you can pull off the half. It might suck and be slow, but you can do it. Take it as easy as you need to, but as long as your ankle is healed by the half go for it!

  2. Donna Russell August 27, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Jess if you dont go you will always wonder. Look at it as therapy. Go, take your time, pace yourself and dont worry about finishing it. Don’t bring any expectations with you. If I know you half as much as I think I do, you’ll always be asking yourself ‘what if’? Don’t worry about times, speed, etc. Just listen to your body and stay comfortable. Don’t push yourself. Have fun with it. Love you.

    • Joey August 27, 2013 at 8:51 am #

      Yeah, you got this. Just continue resting the ankle. Ice and elevate. And I agree, lower the expectations and you’ll be happy with the achievement.

      Maybe look into getting an Aqua Jogger to keep up the running fitness

  3. Leah Felicity Lucci August 27, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I feel like you’re going to be pissed at yourself for sitting on the sidelines instead of running. Even if you just walk it, you’ll feel better about yourself. Just finishing it will be an accomplishment. Just driving there and doing the first mile with your dad will be an accomplishment. Think about it as being there, even if you don’t finish — just show up.

  4. Ilana August 28, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Fitness-wise, can you participate in the half? Abso-freaking-lutely. But should you? And if so, how hard should you push yourself? I feel like those are questions that only you can/should answer. If you feel up to it and decide to do it while listening to your body, then that’s great! If your body gives you a big “no bueno” on race day, I think that’s a-ok too! There are so many halfs in the fall that, while it would be a bummer to sit out of this one, you’d be able to perk up your spirits with another one in no time! Remember that you are the best judge of how you feel, and you should trust that judgment!

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