A few years ago, my sister-in-law sustained an ankle injury while running. She runs a lot, especially when compared to me. I remember hearing about her injury woes and the damper it put on what she wanted to do, which was be physically active and exercise. I can now officially empathize with her — kinda.
Two weeks ago I was exactly one mile into a run when my left calf immediately seized up. Sure, the muscles in my legs were tight before the injury, but I attributed that to the fact I had just climbed a hundred feet or so on my run. It was on the way down that my calf decided my run was over. It was an immediate and sharp pain and I could barely stand. I tried to stretch it out a bit but to no avail. I hobbled home (while listening to John H. Groberg talk about his mission in a random conference talk from 2004) and applied the R.I.C.E. first aid idea.
I had a hard time walking for three days or so. I self-diagnosed the injury as a grade 2 strain (grade 1 is temporary; grade 3 is surgery). That was a Monday night. I didn’t do anything physical that entire week. I did a bit more the next week in terms of being up and active. But it wasn’t until nearly two weeks later on a Friday that I attempted to run again. Jen dropped me off at a trailhead and I took off for what turned out to be 2.75 miles of fun. I could feel some tightening but nothing extreme. As it tightened up, I stopped to walk before running again. However, I was feeling pretty good about myself at this point. I wasn’t “there” yet in terms of my recovery, but I thought I could do more.
Fast forward a few days, to this last Wednesday night, and I decided to go on a run again. I had gone nary a quarter mile when I totally rolled my right ankle. No big deal, right? I’ve rolled ankles about 100 times in various sporting activities. I walked it off for 100 yards or so and felt like I could run again, although somewhat slowly. About a mile into the run, however, I realized my calf was tight enough that I was on the brink of another grade 2 strain. I think my favoring my left leg due to my rolled ankle put more burden on an already-tender calf muscle.
So here I was again…over a mile from home, hurting, and wishing I had just stayed home with a bowl of ice cream watching something on TV.
After a night’s sleep, I woke up with a pretty swollen and sore ankle. And a sore calf. I’m a real sight to behold as I climb stairs.