Slowing Down

As I mentioned in my last post, it was a huge disappointment to end up with a severe ankle sprang just a few days before what is one of the most important races of the year for me.

I spent the first week after my injury wallowing in my mire and eating lots of chocolate.  I tried to continue with my 10,000 steps a day, but it soon became obvious that this was more than my ankle could tolerate right now.  The doctor kept telling me, “You’re going to have to lay off.”

The first thing I did was to cut my daily step goal in half to 5,000 steps.  This is equal to a couple of walks around the block each day, which is enough to make my ankle feel better, but also enough to make it want to swell.  I’ve also been concentrating on my eating.  No more chocolate and back to Bright Line Eating.

This time of year is always a big switch in schedules for me.  Our running group has quit meeting three days a week and it’s now back to school time, so there’s a big switch up in our daily activities anyway.  This year’s switch up has been bigger than expected.

I started a project last summer of going room by room, closet by closet, and drawer by drawer getting rid of things we no longer need or use.  We have gotten rid of so much “stuff” and have so  much more that needs to go.  I’m continuing that project as I can.

The time that I spent running in the past is now spent doing strengthening exercises for my ankle every day.  I’ve discovered that they can easily be done while sitting in the recliner with the footrest up, so that makes them more comfortable and enjoyable.  After those are done in the morning, I then spend time getting my electrodes placed and then wrapping my foot in some way to help keep them in place.  I use a TENS unit all day every day, 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off.  Yes, these are my electronic shock treatments.  At night I’m sleeping with a compression sock to help with the swelling and a brace which immobilizes my ankle and helps with the pain.

I’ve had to face one of my biggest fears:  If I stop running or exercising, I’ll never start again and go back to being a couch potato.  I’ve finally decided that this is not true.  Where I am now is temporary.  I’ll do what I can, slowly increasing my activity, until I’m back to where I was.  It will probably take months, but that’s ok.  There’s nothing like having goals to work towards!

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever
circumstances I am.  Philippians 4:11

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Finished

Just as this past week was the end of summer for most, it was also the last week and big finale for our Couch to 5K group.  The last week we do a taper down, which means we back off on our running so we can run with fresh legs for our 5K.  The 5K our group was to run was the Bill James 5K/10K Classic on September 9.  This is the same run our group finished with last year.

Monday’s run was a little odd because we met two hours earlier than usual due to it being a holiday.  Tuesday night, we met at our regular time.  To show the newbies how far we’ve come, our coach had us do the running schedule from day one which was run for one minute and walk for 90 seconds.  We did this several times, and our mileage ended up being right around a mile.

I went home that evening and looked at my Fitbit to realize that I had 9,000 steps in.  I told my family that I was going to go walk around the block in an effort to break the 10,000 step barrier.  It was starting to get dark.  My daughter was concerned about my walking in the dark.

I went around the block at a quick pace.  It was getting late, and I wanted to finish and get to bed.  I was about 3/4 of the way around the block and was walking on the street on a stretch where there is no sidewalk.  I looked to my right to a group of people talking, and at that time my foot went half off the pavement and half on the curb.  I completely rolled my ankle and felt it pop.  I almost fell, but managed to recover.

My first thought was, “Oh, no.  This is really bad.”  However, I continued to walk and amazingly enough didn’t have a lot of pain.  I immediately went home and put some ice on it.

The next morning, walking around the house wasn’t too bad.  I decided to put my shoes on and try to do some walking around my neighborhood.  That was a completely different story.  It was very painful.

I decided to pay a visit to my sports injury doctor.  X-rays revealed that the tendon on my fibula has pulled some of the bone away.  The official diagnosis is that I “sprang the heck out of it.”

This, of course, was a huge disappointment.  Not only did I have a race coming up in three days, it was the big finale for our Couch to 5K group!  This was an event that I wasn’t going to miss, so I decided to focus on what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do.

I went ahead and went to the race with electrodes attached to my ankle and compression socks to help not only keep the swelling down but to also help wrangle the cords.  When I arrived, I went to the registration table and asked them to change my registration to the one mile walk.  I knew there was no way I could even walk three miles, but I was convinced I could walk one.

The race started, and everyone quickly left me in the dust.  I hobbled along the best I could.  This race was an out and back.  By the time I got to the turn around point, I was meeting 5K runners.

I did the best I could for that day.  I walked the one mile and had plenty of 5K runners pass me along the way.  I borrowed my daughter’s pompoms and spent the rest of my time cheering my fellow team members across the finish line.  For some this was their first race ever.

For now, running and anything else that requires being on my feet is on hold.  I’m finished.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
  II Corinthians 12:10

OD5K: Officers Down 5K

We had a great time on August 26 running the Officers Down 5K.  This was the first year for our community to host this event.  Here is their mission from their website:

It is our mission as The Officers Down 5K to celebrate officers who put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities safe and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty. While officers give to the community on a daily basis, it is now our time to give back.

Officers Down 5K was founded in 2011 with a goal to bring the community together on “just a day” rather than just when an officer is killed, to show support to the men and women in blue.

The race did not start until 10:00 am, so packet pickup was the morning of the race.  This was a disappointment.  I prefer to pick up my packet the day before so that I have everything, including my bib, ready to go before the race.  Packet pickup also is usually near the actual event, so that gives me a chance to preview the race route.  Instead, a friend and I made a special trip out the day before the race to preview the route.  It reminded me of the last race we did on July 4, so I felt like I really knew what to expect.

Since the race had a late start, I was able to get up on race day and eat a full breakfast!  After breakfast, I got ready for the race and went ahead and headed down to the event.  I arrived by 8:30, and decided to do some walking before the race.  I’ve been walking lately before my runs and I do think it makes a difference.  The event took place in a large parking lot, so I made several laps around.  After 9:00 rolled around, more people and friends and relatives started arriving, so we congregated and chit chatted.

The opening ceremonies began with the Star Spangled banner.  Then there was the kids’ fun run.  Once the kids were done, it was our turn.

The race was a simple out and back, which I like.  At least on the way back, you have a good sense of how far you’ve gone and how far you have to go.  I immediately noticed that their mile markers seemed to be a little long.  Whether or not that would effect the entire race, I didn’t know.  I’ve participated in races where the mile markers were off, but the entire course overall was accurate.

Fortunately for us, we have had a mild summer, and particularly the last month.  It was 65 degrees when I got up and about 70 degrees when the race started.  That is unheard of this time of the year.  Often in August, we don’t see 70 degrees, not even as a low for the day.

Unfortunately, with the race starting at 10:00, that put the sun right overhead bearing down on us.  It made the run very warm, but tolerable.  Besides that, it was a typical city-street run with your gradual hills rolling up and down.

Since this race was not timed, and the course seemed to be long, I kept an eye on my pace and my time.  At the 3.1 mile mark, my time was 40:55, which is what I’m recording for this race.  This would be an unofficial PR for me!  My average pace overall was 13:08, which is very good for this old, slow lady.  (Let’s not mention that there were officers running in full uniform that finished long before I did!)

All participants received finishers’ medals.  After the race we were given sack lunches from two different local restaurants!  There was a raffle for some gear, and we got to see a K-9 demonstration.  We also got some really cool swag at packet pick up.

With the damage from Hurricane Harvey there’s a lot of focus on giving and donating to good causes.  Participating in some kind of run each month, regardless of the distance, is a great way to give to causes you deem worthy.  That’s why you won’t see me doing “fun runs.”  Some months have more runs to choose from than others, but I try to choose runs that benefit organizations that I am comfortable giving to.

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  Matthew 6:3-4