Its inevitable that those who work out and train to run races will at some point face an injury. I’m currently facing the reality that so many runners also face – a sprained ankle. Throughout all my years dancing I’ve dealt with my fair share of sprained ankle injuries, all with my right ankle, so I knew it was likely that as I started running that I was bound to face problems with my right ankle.
I’m thinking my current injury has been building up. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been battling right calf and inner ankle pain for a couple weeks now. I ran the Jaguar 5K on Saturday, so naturally I pushed myself to do as well as I could. I followed up Saturday’s race with a 5K run on the treadmill Monday night, and knew as I pushed the Stop button on the treadmill that I shouldn’t have run. I came home from the gym to ice and elevate my foot for most of the rest of the night. Then yesterday morning I slipped getting out of the shower. My body finally told me: you’ve done too much and its time to go to the doctor.
So off to urgent care Preston and I went. Two hours and a couple of x-rays later, I hobbled back to the car on crutches. I dropped Preston off at the Metro to head to work, and I drove myself to work.
My immediate thoughts were not on how my sprained ankle would impact my training, but rather how this injury would affect my life at work. As one of my coworkers put it today, “This job (being a teacher) is hard enough on two good feet.” And boy is he right. The last two days I’ve come home from work more exhausted than I think I was during most of my first year teaching. Before yesterday, I never realized how much walking I do on a daily basis at work. I’ve been forced to adjust my daily routine with my students in order to accommodate my current limitations. I’m not the type of teacher who just sits behind their desk all day, as I usually spend the majority of class periods on my feet, moving around the classroom and being engaged with my students. Things haven’t been the same the past two days. I can’t get to a student to assist them with an assignment as quickly or as easily. I have to depend on the students to pass papers out to the class. Going to the copier to make copies requires planning. And that’s just the beginning.
But I’m not going to let this injury get me down, or unmotivate me in reaching my running goals. Despite the obstacles I’m currently facing at work, I’m more motivated than ever to forge forward in my training.
Why? My current injury has emphasized that I need to listen to my body. I need to know when its time to pull back a bit, and when its time to focus more on weight training and other cardio and less on running. One of my coworkers at lunch yesterday was explaining how a short term injury and/or limitation can actually be beneficial to my long term training, as it will not only temporarily redirect my training focus, but this will also force me to allow certain parts of my body to rest, which can later lead to even greater results. Her words left me thirsty to search online for articles that supported her words, and to my surprise I found myself with pages on Google with articles saying much of what she said. The more I read, the more accepting I’m becoming of this theory.
Once I’m off the crutches (which will hopefully be this weekend), I’m eager to get active again. Of course, I’ll take it easy at first, starting with just walking and then very short distance runs. My current injury has me looking to the brighter side of everything – that my injury could be much worse and that my setback could last for much longer. Instead, this short break will give my body time to recharge itself to be more ready than ever.