auto-rehabilitation

Ouch.

Did you hear me? Have I said it enough times?

My right foot and ankle have become the center of my universe and I’m so bored thinking about it and talking about it. But I can’t stop. It’s been 19 days since I injured myself during the Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon, and I’m still not ok.

Throw in a nearly pointless doctor visit and some kind of intense chest cold and my calories burned count is next to zero for the past couple weeks. This causes me a deep unrest and a surface-level sadness that I keep swatting at like a fly.

Really, deep down, I’ve never loved my life more than I do right now. And as frustrating as the sprained (?) ankle is, I know I’ll get better and continue to do the things I’ve recently learned to celebrate: swimming, biking, running.

Sans solid medical advice, I’ve hit up Dr. Google once again and found a couple exercises for strengthening a sprained ankle. I alternate a cold pack and a hot epsom salt soak with some difficulty, since we don’t actually have a bathtub. And somehow don’t seem to have any kind of bucket or pot that will accommodate my long, slender, aching foot. I’m taking either rx strength naproxen or ibuprofen. The nurse practitioner gave me a prescription for Mobic, but my face gets really hot and I feel weird after I take it, so I stopped.

A note on the nearly useless doctor visit: no clear instruction was given on how much to use or not use my ankle for training. I was told not to immobilize it, but after repeated questions, I was unable to elicit a direct answer on when and how to exercise. That’s why I’m, carefully, making it up as I go.

A swim early on proved to be extremely painful. But I have an additional lake and pool swim under my belt now and find that, ultimately, the motion in the water seems to be helpful, even though it stings in the moment.

A very brief, non-strenuous bike ride was about the same. The motion seemed like it may be helping, but it was pretty painful.

I ran two miles on Monday! God, I miss running so much it’s like missing a dear friend. Today is National Running Day, too! But since I’ve exercised four days in a row, I’m giving my ankle a rest today and may start back to using hand weights.

The run was really tough. I did a five minute walking warm-up, and just the shoe hitting that outside ankle bone was killer. I moved into running and tried not to hobble, relaxing into a more natural stride. The first mile was pretty great and I was glad to see that, in the cardiovascular sense, I’m probably not too far behind where I was for the tri. The humidity was excruciating and there was some nausea involved, but I was still SO happy to be out on the sun-baked pavement. I debated going through with the second mile or not. It seemed both like a dumb idea (since I was in pain) and like a great idea (because I miss running and want to stay fit). I ran through the second mile, maybe pushing myself a bit too hard. I switched immediately to a walk the second my runkeeper told me I hit the two mile mark. Oddly, walking felt worse, maybe because it was more drawn out.

That evening I felt like I made a huge mistake (Arrested Development style). I woke several times throughout the night in pain. But the next day, it seemed like the run had actually done some good. I swam that afternoon with the least pain I’d had experienced in weeks.

Upon further reading, I’ve learned that I should try alternating running with walking, and I’m using the strengthening exercises I found.

Dragonfly (three days away) is out. I decided to go ahead and ex out Gearhead, too, which is ten days away. The last thing I want to do is get to a point of partial recovery where I can at least be active again, and make things worse by racing hard with a body full of adrenaline. The nurse said that complete healing would probably take at least six weeks. With that in mind, I’ve got Mighty Mite in my sights at one of my favorite state parks, and am super excited about it. I’m looking forward to a few fun things in the meantime, including a canoe trip and LuvMud Island, which I’m running with a team. All this time on my ass better result in a great costume idea!

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