Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hurt, or Injured?

OK, here’s the deal. The scrape itself wasn’t too bad, since I was wearing khakis/jeans when it happened. One large band-aid covered it pretty nicely. I iced last night and took to bed early, right after putting the boys to bed. I set out my gear for this morning, figuring I’d test the knee by at least setting out to do what I could. When I woke up this morning it wasn’t nearly as sore, and almost all the swelling had gone down. I figured that while I might have been hurt, I wasn’t really injured. So I headed out, knowing that I wasn’t going to do the full 8 on the schedule (remember that thing about not switching runs? Never mind, I was delirious, apparently), but maybe could hammer out 4 or 5. I thought if I could do that without pain or limping that I might be able to salvage the 8 tomorrow.

So that’s the approach I took and it seemed to have worked. The first few steps were a little tender, but once I warmed up, it was OK. I spent the run actually taking inventory of all the times I’ve been actually injured, and thought that this doesn’t really fit into the same type of category. I think I may have done this list before, but I’ll do it again so they’re here on the new site, and just because I like to torture myself like this every now and again. And I especially like to remind myself that this crazy trip I’ve taken to being a marathoner has not been easy, because I’m not particularly athletically gifted. Hell, I’m not particularly capable of walking upright most days, at least not without walking into something or falling down. The fun thing is that I actually went a large part of my life without doing serious damage to my body; all of these events, those that required hospitalization or actual medical treatment beyond a band-aid, happened when I was an adult (and responsible for my own healthcare payments – bah!):

Summer 1990 – I was counseling at a summer program on campus. We were about to load the kids (~150 13-16 year olds) onto a bus to take them to the local skating rink. Right before we left, I missed a step in the entryway at Moore-Hill dorm and fractured my right ankle. No skating for me. Spent the next six weeks in an air cast. The guy who introduced me to running was also a counselor, so I had just started my first-ever “training” that summer. Put that on hold.
Late spring 1994 – I was doing step aerobics in my graduate dorm room (instead of writing the thesis..) and my left ankle gave out. I fell to the right, and braced myself on the bookshelf to keep from splitting my head open on it. I limped to the fridge to get ice for the ankle, and when I reached up my right hand I quickly figured out that it was my wrist that hurt. Broke my wrist and spent the next eight weeks in a bright pink fiberglass cast. It was removed the day before my wedding portrait was taken. I never did finish the thesis since I couldn’t type with my hand in the cast.
August 1998 – Hiking in Aspen, CO. We’d just finished the Braille trail. I was in the parking lot and slipped on some gravel (actually, my left ankle gave out –sense a pattern here). I was carrying Elder Child, who was three at the time, and braced with my left arm. Broke the radius and dislocated my elbow. Spent the rest of the Aspen vacation in the hospital. I now have a plate in my arm there that occasionally will raise eyebrows at airport security. And a nice long scar there, too. Totally humiliated my brother, who along with his wife was an active volunteer with Aspen Mountain Rescue, and had to save his own sister in the parking lot. Of the Braille trail.
September 2000 – I was 8 months pregnant with DinoBoy. We had a crazy black lab that would run with me occasionally, but on this morning, I’d left her at home, so I couldn’t even blame her for cutting me off. About two miles from home, I hit a rough spot on the edge of the curb that made my LEFT ANKLE give out and went down. Landed on my left knee and scraped it up fairly deeply and broadly. Road rash on it took two large gauze pads to cover, and they had to be replaced every two hours because of the oozing. The wound took about six weeks to heal, and left a nice gravel indentation and keloid on my knee. Every now and again, Elder Child will ask if I’m sure we didn’t drop DinoBoy on his head because he’s such a spaz, but I guess this explains a lot.
October 2004 – 18-miler. My first ever 18-miler, while I was training for my first White Rock. I’d done six miles in one direction, doubled back and changed out water bottles. I was headed out for three more in another direction and was feeling pretty strong. I stepped on an errant acorn with my LEFT foot, and that made me twist my LEFT ANKLE. I went down, but actually stumbled a few times and almost recovered. But, nope, I hit the ground. Cognizant of the plate in my left arm, and the possibility of fracturing it again if I used it to break the fall, I instead chose to take the brunt of the impact with my mouth. And my left knee. Broke my left front tooth clean in half and, here’s the good news, I also scraped the keloid off the knee! Yee-haw! Looked like I lost a barfight. Obviously, I didn’t do the 18-miler that week. I instead limped home with my hand covering my mouth, trying to keep the blood from dripping onto my favorite YELLOW tank. Scared the heck out of the kids and Hub when I walked in the door, too. Fittingly, it was Halloween, so I endured all sorts of cracks about jack-o-lanterns and missing teeth.

So, I’m due for a fall, and I’ll take this one. I was really probably more dramatic than I needed to be about sabotaging the big race. I just know what happens if you don’t put in the time and the miles, and I’m bound and determined to set a PR this fall. I’m worried that the mid-week mid-range runs aren’t happening like I want them to, and I’m more than a bit concerned about trying to do 18 miles this weekend with a bum knee. The slight adjustments in gait to compensate can cause all sorts of other issues, and I don’t want to deal with those six weeks out. So I might have overreacted a bit. But I’m playing it safe and continuing to ice this week, and doing what I can.

1 comment:

Downhillnut said...

Hmm. Looks like that LEFT ANKLE could use a little more strength. Next time you are standing around, only stand on the left ankle. Do this as much as possible. Write the alphabet in the air with your right toes. When your left ankle gets stable enough to do this all the time, do it with your eyes closed. Whenever you think of it. Forevermore.

You can obviously let the right ankle in on the fun sometimes, too, but this is an excercise highly recommended to me by my favourite XC running coaches.

Hope you heal up soon :)