Two weeks ago I was running my first race in about 18 months. Ironman Arizona in 2014 was really the last time I toed the line. I started grad school, took on triathlon coaching, and since then moved across the country. I knew that I couldn’t also handle consistent workouts, so I dropped my fitness. I found a good chunk of weight and had planned to spend this summer getting back in shape and racing again. I am slated to finish grad school by August so I figured starting to run again in the beautiful PNW was a good first step in that direction.
It all quickly came to a halt last Saturday morning. I was shooing the dogs out of my office and down the stairs and we were all fighting for space and I slipped and crumbled. I’ve never felt that amount of pain and after I stopped screaming I knew something was seriously wrong. Luckily my husband was home and we were off to urgent care. After the doc took all my info and xrays, I got my foot wrapped, a shiny new pair of crutches and he said he didn’t see a fracture, but to rest my foot. I also got instructions to see their foot + ankle doctors and that the radiologist would be double checking my xrays on Monday.
Monday afternoon the urgent care doc called me back. You should really hear the message he left me where he had to admit that he was wrong and the radiologist found a fracture. That almost makes up for the fact that he had no bedside manners. Either way, I was instantly devastated. After my husband, who now was working out of my office because I can’t drive, got me cupcakes. I was a bit cheerier. Pity sweets ftw! I made my foot + ankle appointment for their next available spot (Thursday) and was told as long as I kept icing/advil/elevating my ankle, I was good to go.
I was a good little patient and rocked my directions like a boss. I didn’t google my injury and I didn’t freak myself out over the millions of possibilities. I waited for the expert with all the information to come up with my plan and help me out. That’s not to say I wasn’t anxious, I just knew everything else was just wasted time and effort on speculation. Thursday finally came and I went to my appointment, a bit nervous. When the doctor came in we started talking about my pain and he started manipulating my left ankle (which is the good one). The way he was manhandling it, I got super nervous about when he started touching the right one. In fact, even after he promised he wasn’t going be so rough, I was still anxious and hyper sensitive (sorry doc!).
Turns out there is a little bit of a grey area on whether or not I have a fracture. When I got the xrays done, I had no mobility and in the one angle, the tibia and fibula overlap in just the perfect place where the fracture appears to be. (In my opinion, where all of my pain was on Saturday after the twist, it lines up perfectly with the fracture in the location on the xray so I would lean towards yes) The other kicker? The type of fracture is extremely uncommon. It’s not on the ankle bone sides where it would normally happen, it’s actually on my posterior tibia (the back of my ankle). Most likely what happened is that when I twisted and went down, my ligaments pulled so hard on the back of my tibia as they were overstretched, they tried to take my bone with them. It’s also extremely uncommon because it’s not coupled with a break higher in my leg. My doc said he’s only actually ever seen one other person have a fracture like mine in his career. I like to be a statistical anomaly.
The plan? A boot. For 6 weeks. I can start walking on it and weight bearing as long as I don’t have pain. And we’ll do another xray in 6 weeks to make sure I’m a-ok!
So how do I feel? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit upset. I am. For sure. However, it is what it is. It’s not the end of the world and it’s really just an inconvenience. Life doesn’t stop just because I’m healing. I’m going to take a little bit longer to get to where I’m going, but I’ll get there. It’s caused me to slow down a bit, enjoy the drive to work (as I’m the passenger) and really appreciate my health. I’m incredibly lucky that it isn’t worse and I’m going to be just fine. I’m also blessed to have so many friends who support me with their encouragement, texting to check in, stopping by to bring me donuts or sending me cupcakes from afar. And my husband has been my rock without complaint. I’m surrounded by an amazingly awesome community. I’ll just spend the next 6 weeks rocking recovery, focusing on athletes and really nailing the last few grad school classes. My goals are still there, there just a bit shifted 🙂