Dog Days of Summer

Full disclosure: earlier this spring, I made a half-hearted attempt to restart the blog, with the goal of weekly posts. I made it a whopping two posts. You could say I'm attempting the same thing now, a few months later. Sometimes it just feels good to put thoughts to pen to paper. Either way, no promises.

Just over five weeks ago, I broke my ankle. After several weeks of my best ever training, I had put in several 7-hour days on the bike and that very day, I ran a total of 22 miles, plus an easy swim, and felt amazing throughout. I have never felt more confident in an Ironman prep than I did those last few weeks, and Ironman Wales was still over eight weeks away. It's my kind of race and I was already ready. My goal was top five.

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I was just about to tuck myself in for an early bed that Sunday when I took Lucy out for one last potty time. In the condo where I'm living, I don't have a fence, just a few little flagstone steps out to a common shared area. I leashed Lucy up, walked her out and tripped over one of the big steps out to the grass. I went flying, completely bruised my left side and startled Lucy (she ran off—but not far), and heard/felt a very loud and painful pop from my right ankle. After some screaming and lots of sobbing, I crawled on my hands and knees down a flight of stairs and went to bed snuggling a bag of frozen peas.

The next day, I tried to stand to get out of bed and immediately fell down into a worthless puddle. I couldn't put any weight on the ankle but figured it was a really bad sprain. Still, not one for excuses, I thought I should just go "get it checked out" before I had to email Michael to let him know I skipped the easy bike on tap that morning.

There wasn't a lot of swelling. I could kind of/sort of walk on the edge and so hobbled my way to an urgent care doctor the next morning, driving with my left foot, about 7 Advils deep (next time I'm calling a friend or taking an Uber). The initial exam was fine and no big deal based on my pain levels; everything I told the doctor pointed towards just a sprained ankle and quick recovery. 

So I was in shock when the radiologist told me I had broken my ankle. Knowing my high pain tolerance, I should have guessed better but I didn't start crying until I left the office and got back to my car, now with a temporary fiberglass cast cutting off circulation to my right foot and a pair of crutches to help me get around. I didn't start calling doctors until later that afternoon; I was still heavily in denial.

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Thankfully, I managed to roll my ankle inward, versus outwards—which is what 99% of people do (clearly I'm special). Because my avulsion fracture was of the medial malleolus and not the lateral side of the ankle, my doctor said I didn't need surgery. Had I fallen the other way, I would have needed surgery and it would have been a much bigger deal. #silverlinings.

Two days later I made it to CU Sports Medicine and got a second evaluation and left with a boot and what felt like a life sentence: 4-8 weeks in the boot and no running, biking, hiking, leaping—pretty much everything that brings me joy, you name it. 

But I could swim! So that's what I've been doing. Plus some pool running and some lifting and this week I started to take my boot off and try to bike (in a brace) and hike and will be working on strength exercises to ease back into running. I am already a master at modifying exercises to be single-leg-friendly (hint: a bosu ball is key).

 Running "laps" in the neighborhood pool

Running "laps" in the neighborhood pool

So yet again, I am starting from zero.

I debated sharing my story this time around, but I know that we all tend to share the gold-tinged experiences—the smiles, the podiums, nothing but the good times. To be honest, the last few weeks have sucked—big time. The accident has been isolating. I've dealt with some serious depression. I've thrown away hundreds of dollars due to the accident (hospital bills, cancelled race flights, unused coaching bills). I got bumped down to a slower lane at masters and at Siri's swim. I can't run and can barely bike right now. .I took all of my progress the last few months and tossed it into the flaming dumpster.

A few weeks back, I showed up to swim practice after a short break and Michael joked that he "missed me". Honestly, my only response was, "I miss me too". Because you take someone away from something they love so much and something that makes up so much of their life and honestly it's debilitating. I don't recognize myself without sport in my life. 

I watch everyone with the consistent builds, the high TSSs and productive off-seasons and kick myself for one freak injury after another. I keep telling myself: at least my set-backs have not been chronic injuries? It's been stitches from a bike crash, a weird slipped saddle and subsequent hamstring injury, a broken ankle... walking the dog of all things. I try to stay positive and focus on the fact that this last incident has taught me to treat my body more carefully and to take my vitamins, add the protein powder to my smoothies, get eight hours a night, meditate a little more and stress a little less.

So once healed, can I be more confident in my come-back? I'm hoping so. Either way, if anyone knows any ways to human bubble-wrap people when not training, I'm all ears. Let's add it to the ever-growing arsenal.

 Thankfully you can still cheer while injured: spectating Boulder 70.3 instead of racing. 

Thankfully you can still cheer while injured: spectating Boulder 70.3 instead of racing. 

What I'm Reading

"‘Should I Quit My Day Job to Write a Book?" - except replace with "turn pro", "start a full-time blog", "become a triathlon coach"

"Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”

"Habits of Highly Effective Athletes: Stay in Your Lane" ...duly noted. 

"You’re not world class if you’re not actively about inclusion." Steph Curry on empowering women and girls in sport.

"How to Turn Your SUV into a Camper" Wanderlust and car camping is on my mind. Maybe I should just buy a tent? 

What I'm Cooking

Something amazing I've been doing for the last few months is making more meals in advance, whether actual meal prep, or just a buffet style prep where I cook rice, roasted veggies and chicken ahead of time so I can throw together a quick and healthy meal during or after a busy day when needed.

Most often, I try to set aside two hours on Sunday to make a few days worth of meals (typically three) and it usually includes overnight oats, a salad and then a dinner. This week it was: Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chick Peas and Lemon Tahini and Pineapple BBQ Chicken with Broccoli and Coconut Rice. Both are A M A Z I N G. The first is vegan, btw, if you're into that.

What I'm Doing

Last weekend I got to crew for two friends racing the Leadville 100 Run and met a few awesome internet friends in the process, but other than that... not a whole lot. However, I did start back with my coach and structured training this week and Sunday was my first time on a bike since the accident. It was painful but boy does it feel good to get out.

I have a whole lot of PT exercises to keep me entertained and I've weirdly been enjoying a lot of rowing and strength training, since those are some of the things I can do without bothering my recovering broken ankle. My strength training had been spotty prior but honestly I have I loved it so much, I can see that being a practice that sticks around, even after recovery. See—silver linings to an injury!?

Thanks for reading! I'll see you next week... or maybe not.