Bad luck: a sprained ankle

My training over the past days went pretty well, and I had been looking forward to today’s run: a long run on and around Tianmashan. With 3 friends we gathered at my place at 8:15 AM, and despite a traffic jam we arrived at the hill about 35 minutes later. We started with a climb to the Buddha statue and from there ran to the next top over a concrete path. From that top you go downhill until the path stops and you start running along a small trail through a bamboo forest. And that’s where it happened: I was running in front and suddenly stepped into a hole that was covered with leaves. I heard a tearing sound and felt a terrible pain, and at that moment I knew something was wrong big time. I managed to hold on to a bamboo tree, but the pain was so bad that I had to sit down. The others could not do much of course, but luckily the pain got a bit less after a couple of minutes.

I tried to stand up and realized nothing was broken, something I was very relieved about. But I also realized that we were about as far from our car as we could get, with a hill in between. The best thing would have been if I could stay seated with some ice, but I had to go to the car first. So I bit on my tongue in order not to feel the pain too much and slowly started walking back with the others. After a while it got easier until I stepped on something, and almost fell on the ground because of the pain. I had to sit down for a few minutes again before I could continue. It hurt a lot, but I managed to get over the hill and back to the car. I was very happy that I was wearing my trail running shoes instead of my regular running shoes, the trail shoes protect the foot a lot more and without them I think my problems would have been a lot bigger.

At the car I realized that the right ankle that was sprained is exactly the foot that you use to drive. The other 3 people either could not drive or did not have a Chinese driver’s license, so I decided to give it a try anyway. To make a long story short, it was not a good idea. Driving at a fixed speed was okay, but braking or speeding up was painful.

Because I felt bad for the others that had gotten up early to run a long distance and only spent about 3 km on the hill, I decided to show them Sun Island. This is a nearby island resort, with among others a very nice golf course. I could not walk, so we just drove around there a bit before going back to Shanghai. At home the pain got worse and my foot became about twice its normal size. But after I put ice packs on my swollen foot it now finally seems to get a bit better.

I won’t be able to run for the next 1-2 weeks, however. That means I won’t be able to run the Hanghzou Mountain Race in 10 days…. A pity, I was secretly planning to go there to run the 30 km trail run. But the half marathon in late November won’t be a problem, in 2005 I sprained my ankle less than two weeks before a full marathon and still ran the 42 km race (despite doctor’s advice, and because of this I could not run for 6 weeks afterward – but I did it!).

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  1. What is this obsession about, exactly? 😉 because at this point we're way past the "be healthy" mark. It's about constantly conquering and winning, isn't it? 😉

  2. Of course I always want to win and see how far/fast/high I can go; that's in my nature, not only for sports but also for business. But I see it more as a continuous challenge, certainly not an obsession 🙂

  3. Murphy!!!!

    I cringed hard about four times reading this post (scaring the devil out of my tablemates), because I so what that sort of injury feels like. My goodness! That is such a rotten bummer!

    I can completely identify with the desire to want to continue running despite doctor's advice against it, mind you. I only know that too well…

    Get on the mend, soon, M.

  4. In my experience bad sprains are sometimes worse than a break in the bone. In my younger days, I mostly "played thru" the sprains but no longer – don't think my tendons and ligaments are as resiliant as they used to be. Talk to your Dad about this.