Monkey Attack Update and a Different Kind of Runner

The Old:
I am a little over two weeks post-Flying Monkey Marathon.  The Monkey Attack that I suffered 10.7 miles in continues to plague me.  (See previous post.) 

Five days after the race, I spent Black Friday at the walk-in clinic.   Both my wrist and my ankle were still swollen and painful, and I was concerned that I might have a broken bone in my hand or wrist.  On Thanksgiving Day, I poured a glass of tea, and my wrist could barely support the tea pitcher.   A gallon of tea was painful to hold.   I also walked a mile (I'm doing a mile-a-day challenge through New Year's) and walking was surprisingly painful.  That's when I decided to go to the doctor the next day.   Three hours and many x-rays later, I knew both were just sprained, not broken.  I was given a wrist brace and an ankle brace, but both were painful to wear, so I only made it two days in them. 

So, now, 16 days post injury, the wrist is probably 90% well.  I was able to do 5 chin ups at the gym, so if it can support my body weight, it must be doing well.   I only did the hands facing me version, which is gentler on the wrist.   I will try a true pull up in the next few days. 

The ankle is STILL swollen and painful just in front of the ankle bone.  Also, a ligament or tendon near the top outside of my foot hurts when I point my toes or move my foot to the outside.   The ankle randomly hurts going down stairs, then I hear a click, and it's usually better.   I have run two miles twice with little pain, but the ankle immediately blew up a little bigger and hurt the rest of the day.

I've had so much conflicting advice from physical therapist friends, an orthopedic doc friend, and a trainer who knows her stuff well.   One says no ibuprofen, no icing--it inhibits the body's natural healing response.  The doc said alternate heat and cold, but didn't specify when.  Another says since it's still swollen, ice it.   The consensus was rest from the pounding of running for two weeks and compression, which I've been doing.   Keeping the range of motion is important, so I write the alphabet in the air with my foot.   They all agree I should  "let pain be my guide" when I start back running.

So, I've been walking 1-3 miles a day to recover while attempting to maintain some type of fitness.  I've cycled twice--10 miles with intervals (one minute hard pace with 3 minutes recovery X 3) and a 12 miler kind of up tempo.   Those were both a 50-60 minute workout, my "long run" equivalent of the week.   When I cycle, I try to keep the RPMs at 90+ to mimic the optimal running turnover (90 is the "perfect" cadence allegedly).   I enjoy the cycling.   Walking is ok, but I don't really break a sweat.  I'm not setting my treadmill for 14:30 miles or anything.   I'm walking about a 17 minute mile.   Walking fast makes my tendon ache.  I've been doing  40-50 squats most days, a few push ups, a few pull ups.

The first day I ran, I felt ok.  I ran about an 11 minute pace for the first mile and then sped up in the second mile finishing with a  9:30 pace for the last little bit, which is where I want to be.   I think my average was somewhere around 10:40.   I was pain free for .5 and then had mild pain for 1.5. 

Yesterday, I walked three miles, then attempted to run two.  I was pain free for .7 and then minor discomfort/pain for the rest.  But the problem was my energy level/breathing.   I would feel like I was running about a 9:45 pace and look down and it was an 11:45 pace.  When did THAT happen??   I still managed to average a 10:45 pace overall, but a few weeks ago, a 10:45 would have felt effortless.   This day, my breathing was labored like I was running a 10K or something.   I was working really, really hard to maintain pace.  The fastest pace I could get down to was about a 9:30.  I had a severe case of DLS--dead leg syndrome.   It was disheartening.   I thought maybe the two weeks of rest would leave my legs refreshed and recovered. 

Ok, looking back at all this, maybe I haven't been taking it easy enough?   I'm attempting a 3 mile run in the morning.  Today I only got in my one mile.   I walked .6 and jogged .4.    I had more than usual carbs last night.  Maybe I will see a difference. 

I knew the Monkey would take a lot out of me, but I didn't expect this much!    I did read on a website that an extremely hilly marathon takes a couple more weeks of recovery than a flat one or one with just a few hills.    And an ankle sprain can take 3-5 months to heal, so there's THAT.   This will be a great lesson in patience for me, if nothing else. 

The New: 
When my ankle is better, I'm going to start back with Crossfit!!!  I'm actually REALLY excited.  

2012 was about running, running, running.   I have faithfully recorded every mile I've run, and I'm well over 1000  miles for the year.  I ran two marathons and an ultra marathon and five half marathons.   I PR'd my marathon in April by 9 minutes and PR'd (by just 11 seconds) my half in October.     But I've come nowhere close to the times I was putting up for 5K's and 10K's when I was doing Crossfit.   You'd think all that running would translate to faster times, but it doesn't.     Maybe in 2013, I'll get back to the basics, get strong, and get my one-mile, 5K, and 10K times down some.

I know one thing I'm planning to do (I hope I can stick to it!):  I'm going to ditch my training log.  I need to let Daily Mile go.  I get too wrapped up in what other people are running---how fast, how far, how often.   I forget that this is a singular sport.   I get obsessed by my weekly and monthly mileage and feel disappointed in myself if it's not what I wanted it to be.   

I will run roads and trails, I will run for fun, I will do races.   Some I will take more seriously than others.  I will NOT record every mile, every pace, every split. 

I'm still a runner, but in 2013, I think I'm going to be a Different Kind of Runner.