Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quick Update

A handful of ya know that I had a little ankle mishap on the mountain Friday morning. After a few weeks of laying down a foundation focused on working on my climbing/power hiking up hill (my focus for the next 3.5 months), I set off for 3 miles of climbing, followed by 3 miles of enjoying the run back down. The climb went great, I was feeling really good, even ran a few sections of the uphill. I was really on cloud nine as it was clear that the past few weeks of what would look like a series of absurd outings to most others was actually paying off big time!  The climb from Mitchell Canyon up to Deer Flat is usually a total suffer fest for me, and I was actually able to run at times. Not only that, but about .33 miles from my turn around point, a nice, cool sprinkling began to fall. It was awesome. I reached 3 miles, put the camera away, tightened up my sports bra straps (tmi??), adjusted my pack, and started flying back down.  For about 1/2 a mile. My left ankle rolled underneath and out to the left, but mostly underneath...and there was a big pop right on top where...I guess you call it where your ankle becomes your foot?? There was instantly pain, a tingle-electric feeling, and then it felt like someone was pouring warm water down my ankle and foot.
I badly sprained my right ankle years ago, it it swelled up within minutes, looked like it had a baseball underneath the skin. That being said, I figured I had 2 options, a slow, painful, walk down off the mountain, possibly w/o a shoe depending on the swelling. Or, suck it up and run/hobble down, keep it moving before it has time to get stiff and more painful.  I was not in an area where there are people.  Some trails I know it's a matter of maybe 30 minutes to an hour before someone comes by...this isn't one of those spots, which is actually why I love it. Anyway, point being, I was on my own. After saying a few things...and hammering away at the ground with my water bottle, ( I was not happy), I ran it in.  Now, granted we are talking miles in the 12 minute range, downhill, but that was as quick as it was going, and it actually wasn't horrid. It wasn't pleasant, but it got done.
4 days later - today is the first day I was able to not be up on it. Due to prior plans/arrangements/commitments...I've walked on it nearly all day, everyday, for the past 3 days. I've been wearing the tightest boots I have to try to keep it compressed/supported, but it just means I feel it swelling as the day goes on.  It has been varying degrees of swollen, and hasn't felt great...but no bruising, which tells me it's gonna be fine. I'm not sure why, but it does. And while I say swollen, it's not like baseball swollen, more like stuff sticking out where it shouldn't be. I've iced it, and worn flats, and elevated it when I can, and despite really hating to miss today's run, I'm staying off it totally.
I have not been specific, nor will I be, about the "why"... but if anyone's watching the Strava runs, you can pretty easily figure out I'm training in a different, and specific way, and I've been vocal here that my focus is on strengthening my climbing. Specifically power climbing, then making the transition to running. Brian and I have specific things on the horizon, and climbing will be key. Thankfully, speed is not the focus.  I don't see this set back having an impact on long term plans.  It is plenty annoying, though. And, I just gotta say, it's pretty poopy to do that climb Friday and then have the thrill of the downhill swiped out from under you.  Good thing it's in my back yard, I guess. It'll be there, waiting. Here's a few from the awesome climb up -

Above, lots of hog prints everywhere, and stuff dug and tossed onto the trail. Love it.

I really was super happy the first 3 miles up. It was a great climb for me.

That is a side view of Eagle Peak. There is a killer single track trail along that ridge-top.

 This adventure starts at the far end of that valley, around the bend.
 Below, one of the things I noticed this climb - I no longer climb on my tip-toes. I've worked on this over the years, but specifically the past month. If I run 25 miles, and come to a 1000 ft climb...I need to use my quads/hammies/glutes... and you do that by dropping your heel and pushing off w/your whole foot. I have always climbed on my tip toes and burn up my calves, adding to my slowness on uphills. Especially is this important in longer events when I'd rather rely on a group of muscles rather than one. It was a pleasant surprise to realize I was automatically dropping my heel w/o having to think about it. Progress.  (and, I was wearing a killer new running skirt.)
 All above pictures were on the climb up. Below, this is after two days, in the morning when it looks it's best. That bulge is where the pop was, and where the pain is. It's not huge, but it shouldn't be there and I'm taking it easy until it's gone or doesn't hurt.

PS - I guess that wasn't really a "quick update"...I really need to work on these post titles.


  1. Oh no, so sorry to hear you are injured! I hope it heals quickly. Good point about focusing on pushing off with your whole foot when hiking uphill in order to tap into the strength of the bigger muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, glutes) instead of just burning up your calves - this is something I need to work on, too. Being back in New England there aren't a lot of places to work on climbing, period. I don't live near any mountains and even the "difficult" hikes around here don't seem so difficult compared to what I got used to in CA!

    1. Thanks, Brenda. I thinks it's pretty minor, but in an effort to keep it that way, I'm giving it this week. I loved reading about your pain free trail run! You may not have the same sort of hills, but I'm sure running with ice on the trails,and what looks to be pretty technical trails, is fun and just a "different" kind of difficult! Congrats on the new job, too!