Why is it that I'm so much more likely to turn an ankle while walking than while running? It happened today as I was crossing from the watered and manicured Bermuda on the north side of the Tyson to the parched ragweed on the south. My planned 4-hour run was over before it started. I stood there a minute in the busted-ankle position (hunched, grimacing, one knee deeply bent, with toe lightly touching the ground) and then began the hobble back home. I nice lady stopped to offer me a ride. I thanked her but said I needed to walk it out. By thetime I got to the stop light at Cambridge, I knew nothing catastrophic had happened and that walking a bit might actually do my ankle some good.
I ended up walking twelve miles. Actually, that's not true. I ran the last one and a half. Here's what happened: I walked several laps in constant pain, meaning the pain did not get any better or any worse. It was tolerable, and as long as it got no worse, I could walk forever. It was nine o'clock with a forecast high of over 100 degrees, perfect walking weather! This was my chance to finally finish six hours on the Don Tyson. But then the phone rang.
I admit I started to get annoyed while I had Mrs. DMG on the phone, but I quickly realized the fault was all my own. I had not created conditions favorable to finishing six hours on the Don Tyson. I had announced that I was only going to run four hours. I also informed her that I was taking my phone and that she should call me if she needed anything. She called near the end of my scheduled run just to check on me and ask if--you guessed it--I could pick up some food from Manna when I got done running. "No Hurry!" she said, but when I asked about staying out an extra two hours, her words said yes but her voice said no. We compromised at one more lap, which I daintily ran. I wanted to finish nine laps but didn't want to inadverently finish the race by going over four hours. I wanted to earn the Belaga trail socks I was already wearing by finishing the full six hours, not by taking advantage of a generous rule that gives a finisher's award to anyone staying on the course for four hours. I dropped at 3:57.
By the time I walked home and cleaned up, I was greatful for that phone call. My ankle was not severely sprained but it was not merely twisted either. There will be serious recovery time involved. When I train, I don't want to simply get stronger; I want to experience adversity and work through it. I want to learn something. Today I learned that you can easily walk twelve miles on a sprained ankle. I also learned that it is probably not a very good idea to do so. But what's done is done, and I will gimp again tomorrow.
Cristina enjoyed her food!
[Wife Disclaimer: Mrs. DMG has from the beginning broken over backwards to accomodate my crazy running habit. She has countless times stayed up all day managing the Donald situation, after working the previous night, and working again the next night, just so I could go on a long training run. None of my running success would be possible without her love and support. None of it.]