Biding My Time

It has been a long odyssey.

In March I fell down some bleachers and sprained my right ankle. I managed to keep my running streak alive, although it barely qualified as running at times, and recover to the point where I ran a PR at Bolder Boulder and got into the mid 50 miles per week range.

Then something happened.

I have no idea what that something was, but I started to feel pain in the same ankle. This time the pain was higher up. I tried to just run through it, but ultimately faced a day where I realized it wasn't working.

So I backed off and got serious about resuming my rehab. For 18 days in a row I didn't run 30 minutes. My thinking was that I don't want to push through, be okay for a while, but then deal with my ankle again in 3 months and have that be a life-long cycle.

I have continued taking it easy. Two weeks ago I ran 30 miles and felt good, but it wasn't a high quality 30 mile week.

And now it is fall racing season. Over the next several weeks there are at least 3 races I have run in the past that friends are asking if I am going to run and encouraging me to run. This Sunday is a 10k I ran 3 years ago and finished in 8th place overall. A few weeks after is a race I finished 2nd in last year. And in a few more weeks there is a 5k I got an age group award for last year.

I am not planning on running any of those races this year, although I have not counted out the last one.

I do not want to have to deal with my ankle every 3 months for the rest of my life. I do not want to go through perpetual cycles of feeling good, ramping up my mileage, and then breaking down and having to back off and recover.

I want to recover now. For good.

This is why I am not racing this weekend. My ankle feels pretty darn good. There are days where it feels fatigued, but it hasn't hurt in quite a while. I have set a return date of October 1. At that point I want to spend 2 months getting ready for a December 3rd half marathon.

My thought is that my preparation for the half will focus on quality rather than quantity. I will try to get in one long run that I build to 12-14 miles, 1 moderate distance run, 1 quality workout, and 4 easy runs. I will continue with my ankle exercises and rehab.

Hopefully this will put me on a path to be able to race in December while staying healthy now and into the future.

It has been a long, slow, and frustrating road. But I am hopeful that biding my time and holding back even when I am feeling good will make things better in the long run.