My last long run was on Sunday, August 4.
On Wednesday, August 7 I sprained my ankle. I joined the gym, rode the stationary bike twice and managed to do something to my knee. So then I couldn’t climb stairs, do squats or lunges (so no PT exercises) or ride the bike because of my knee. And I still couldn’t run because of my ankle.
We withdrew from the Trilogy. Neither of us were feeling very confident about our training anyway. Brian had already decided he wasn’t going to do all three races. I still wanted to try, but even before I sprained my ankle, I knew it would be a stretch. After spraining my ankle, there was no way. Luckily, my sprain came just in time for us to cancel and get a refund.
I was disappointed to not be running the Trilogy (again!) I’ve been wanting to run that race forever. But even if I only lost a couple of weeks of training (which I couldn’t afford to do) it was going to take me a long time to feel confident on the trails again. And the trails at Trilogy are some of the most technical trails I’ve run on.
On Tuesday, August 13 I went for a short run. It went fine. I still couldn’t do my PT exercises because it hurt to bend my knee deeply. But the knee felt fine running. So did my ankle. I took the next day off and then ran again on Thursday, August 15. Everything was fine during the run, but I had some weird bruising afterward that freaked me out. So I didn’t run again until Wednesday, August 21. I still wasn’t able to ride the bike, so I did nothing at all, which had driven me crazy. So I did some hill repeats that day (it just felt so good to be running again!) and may have pushed a little too hard because I did something to my hip (it may have been my glute, but to keep things simple, we’ll just call it my hip). My ankle felt absolutely fine, though. As did my knee. And there was no bruising, so I cancelled the doctor’s appointment I had scheduled for my ankle.
The pain in my hip was tolerable. I could still run. I just couldn’t run far or fast. So I did nothing but short, slow runs for two weeks. I went out that weekend, (August 25) hoping to do a long run with Brian, just around town. My hip still hurt though, so I turned around after just two miles. Feeling depressed and beyond frustrated, I went online and paid a nominal (less than $4) transaction fee to switch from the Odyssey 40 miler to the 1/2 marathon.
By the middle of the next week the pain in my hip mellowed into tightness/slight discomfort. So I planned a 14 mile run on the technical trails at Sugar Hollow for that (Labor Day) weekend. I was feeling a bit like a caged animal by this point. It had been four whole weeks (a month!) since my last long run in the mountains. Once we were out there though, I quickly began questioning my decision. I was so scared of twisting my ankle again and all of the climbing was making my hip pretty cranky. We turned around early and ended up with just under 12 miles.
Even so, I was feeling so much better. I knew I could at least manage the 1/2 marathon the next weekend. Plus I’d spent some time in the mountains and even got to enjoy some time at Snake Hole.
Things were looking up.
That last week before Odyssey, I kept thinking that maybe I could switch to the full marathon. I even went online and tried to switch, but apparently they only allow you to change your mind once. My ankle felt 100% better (well, maybe 95%). Much better, anyway, than it had when I ran a 50k two weeks after spraining it in 2017. And while that (admittedly) hadn’t gone well, this felt much different. This sprain wasn’t as bad to begin with and I’d had two more weeks to let it heal. I was a little worried that I’d lost fitness taking so much time off and not having done any long runs for the last five weeks. But people typically taper for a week or two before an ultra. Three weeks of tapering isn’t unheard of for a marathon.
So I’d taken a 5 week taper. A stretch maybe, but reasonable to think I could still run a marathon, right?