My ankle injury bothers me to this day, because I always want to know WHY something happened. I go into “fix it” mode immediately and my friend Becki and I sit around for hours (and I mean HOURS) contemplating what biomechanical flaw or issue caused the injury. I have to chuckle to myself when people asking me about my “partying” in college, because mainly, it would be me, Becki, and a few others talking about how hard we would have to train to hit the qualifying times of elite running groups, what epic ultra marathon route Becki wanted to take to run home when she graduated, and if Without Limits or Prefontaine is the better Pre movie.
Eventually, Becki and I decided that the root of the problem was not a biomechanical error, but a traumatic injury. I ran a fast 400m session on a square track and felt my ankle tweak. It felt almost as if it was thrown out of alignment. I would eventually find out this was me partially tearing my tibio-fibular ligament. One week later, all hell broke loose and I did not just feel pain. I felt the huge opening in my fibula with every step I took on a long run with my friend, Nicole. I pride myself in loving pain. If I was being truly honest, I would tell you that I was attracted to running because of all the pain it puts your body through. I tore my adductor in a 15k in college during the final kick of a race and did not even take a day off. This lead to a stress fracture in my femur (lesson learned!) and I still ran through that for a solid month before admitting defeat. I finally gave up when I found myself in so much pain I could not walk to my Chemistry class across the street. Smart? Certainly not, but I learned that I can somehow warp pain into being “okay” in my head. This ankle fracture was not like my femur. I could not even finish the 3 miles back to my car.
|Here is an MRI image of my ankle. The white you see is the sign of injury on the fibula. The white higher up between the fibula/tibia bones is the original cause of the ligament giving up on its job. White = inflammation.|
Many weeks spent in a boot, thousands of dollars spent on active release therapy, more resistance band exercises than you can shake a stick at, and a move across the country, I can tell you I am tired of thinking about my ankle. The problem I had this winter is certainly related to overuse and my body appreciated the time off. I now know from experience that every time I have a layoff, I come back stronger and faster, because I was almost always overtrained by the time I needed the layoff. I have also learned that fracturing your ankle has the ability to change your bio-mechanics. I have been a “super supinator” my whole life, but now my left ankle pronates just a little bit. For most people this amount of pronation is very minor, but it is such a drastic change from my former biomechanics, it has caused a myriad of problems. I have been an ASICS Gel-Nimbus girl for most of my running career, but my new best friends are the ASICS Gel-Kayano. This may not be a permanent switch, but until my ankle is stronger, it needs a little help from a trustworthy shoe friend. I am hoping that with a shoe change, some time off, a lot of range of motion and strength exercises, I can get my left ankle back up to the high standards my right ankle has set for it.
Now, this finally leads us to the point of this blog. The latest ankle setback has left me with a very short build up to the Paris Marathon. Before this past year, I have been pretty injury free. I think I have had some major problems, because I am always trying to throw myself into 115 mile weeks my first week back, due to a marathon on the horizon. To top this all off, I am a little bored. I feel like I have been in marathon training for a while now. My legs and mind need a new stimulus. I have consulted the people I trust the most in the sport and everyone is in agreement that a speed segment is in order. If I want to run at my best in a fall marathon, I need to strengthen my body and develop my turnover through a 5,000m - 10,000m segment. Not to mention, it is a world championship year and I am dying to see what I can do on the outdoor track for the first time in my life. I do not like being seen purely as a half marathon-marathoner. I am practically giddy with the excitement of the unknown and look forward to sharing my progress and development. Will it result in a world championship experience? I hope so. If it doesn’t...well, I haven’t entertained that idea yet. I’m still in the honeymoon phase of this training segment.
On that note, I have watched Brad Hudson coach runners of all abilities to the best 5,000m-10,000m times in which their bodies are capable of running on that day. For this reason, he will now be my coach as I trust he can do the same with me. It is a huge relief to relinquish control of my training schedule to someone I trust will do everything possible to get me to run as fast as I can and who shares the same dreams for me that I have for myself. As icing on the cake, any athlete of Brad’s will tell you that he is a friend first and a coach second. Coaches can be intimidating, especially when you have to relay bad news about an injury, but Brad exudes friendliness and I am confident that this will get me back on the path that leads to my dreams. Plus, who runs practically all out without a coach to tell them to do so? Not this woman!
Since I am a track “newbie,” I would love to hear about everyone’s experiences with track and their favorite meets. I am hoping for a 1500m-10,000m PR this year. Some of those will be automatic since I have never run the distances! Good races and bad races, I would love to hear about your experiences in the world of track and field!