The Rolled Ankle Disaster

We interrupt my race day tip series for some frustrating/depressing/altogether frightening news.


Yesterday, I did a 40-minute trainer ride and then made my way out for an easy, IM pace 30 minute run. It was light out and was going to be the easiest run of my training yet. I stopped at a stop light where there was another runner and her light turned green before mine, so I decided to head down the opposite side of the street than I usually do.

So there I was, running on flat asphalt and five minutes into my run, it happened.

My left-ankle rolled in to the right, then back out to the left, I screamed and instead of just wobbling to the ground, I did a full barrel roll to the ground.

It was almost as if the entire thing happened in slow motion because I remember just thinking, “NO, NO, NO!” in my head, but outside I was screaming, “F***, SHIT, F***, SHIT!”

I remember screaming it multiple times when the other runner and two old women who were walking came up to me. They asked me if I was ok and I was just crying and saying, “I have a big race! I have a big race!” My vocabulary was stellar.

Obviously, my logic was lost and I hobbled over to the sidewalk where I continued to cry and rock myself back and forth. The old ladies stayed there and kept asking me if I was ok and I just cried and said I was fine. I was definitely not fine, but I just wanted them to go away.

Thankfully, I had my phone with me (I always bring it with me) and somewhere between all of the tears and mental torment, I called Chicken Face to come pick me up. I couldn’t walk home.

As I waited for Chicken Face, I called my mom and texted my coach and Aron because I didn’t know what else to do. Tears pouring – I have ruined everything and am utterly confused.

I ended up working from home to ensure that I RICE’d (rest, ice, compress, elevate) properly and took enough ibuprofen to feed a small village. I am doing the same today. My ankle swelled up on the right side, but the real pain is on the left side. I can put weight on it today, but I can’t really walk normal. Also, the good news is that there’s no bruising.

If it seems like this is all I’m talking about on social media, it’s because it’s all I can think about.  It took only two seconds, although it felt like five minutes, to make me question what I’ve worked on for an entire year. I keep replaying it in my head asking, “Why? Why? WHY?”

If only I had taken my normal path.
If only I had left a second later.
If only I had looked down just a moment earlier.
I have never really fallen running …why would this happen now?!

Over the day and through the night, tears were plentiful. I’m extremely nervous about whether or not I will be healed in time for the race which is just days away. From my knee injury, to getting sick, and now this, my mind and confidence are beaten down. Why did all of this have to happen?! Chicken Face said that it’s making my mind tough, I say it better make me damn titanium if I can get through this!

So what’s next? I’m working from home to RICE again today. If I’m not making a bit more progress by tomorrow, I’ll head to the doctor. I’m nervous about if I can even get to the start, and if I do, I’m nervous how I’ll perform given the time I’ve taken off for the knee injury, getting sick and now this. One thing is for sure: the road to Ironman isn’t easy, but I’m still hoping I can get there.

Any advice for severe rolled ankles?

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34 Responses to The Rolled Ankle Disaster

  1. Kim says:

    OH NO PAGE!!!! Just remember how strong you are, you can rise above this! xoxo

  2. Marlene says:

    I gasped when I saw the thumbnail pic on FB! Partly because it looks awful (sorry!) and partly because I thought SH*T F*CK SH*T F*CK HER RACE!

    Talk about bad timing. I am sending all of my healing vibes for you to be back on your feet in no time. Once you get to the start, I don’t have a doubt in my mind that you will get to the finish. SPEEDY RECOVERY and BIG HUGS! :(

  3. alyssa says:

    Rest is best! My friend Rad rolled her ankle & had a flying-headfirst fall from a pinecone 3 days before her Marathon Maniac-qualifying race. She did what you did… RICE & didn’t even stand on it if she didn’t need to… And was good! Can’t say it was healed in 3 days, but enough to get her through. You’ve got plenty of time to RICE it & I think you’ll be fine! Take care!

  4. Lazychick says:

    Page, I’m so sorry this happened to you!!i don’t have any suggestions tithe rolled ankle, I will leave it for the coach and doctor, but I just want to send you some good vibes! I followed your training for a year and would really hope you can make it to the start line safe and sound!! Chicken face is right, whatever it is, it will make you stronger! Hang in there! It may not be as bad as you think it will be!!

  5. Layla says:

    You poor thing! You have had one battle after another this year! But you’ve made it through each one, and come out stronger. My first thought was: At least it wasn’t worse. Don’t take that the wrong way, because I’m NOT trying to say a twisted ankle is no big deal. It’s just how I always find myself looking at things — yes, if you had left the house second later it might not have happened, but maybe by leaving one second earlier you avoided getting hit by a swerving car. You’ll never know what you avoided. (I had a hard time reminding myself of this when I fell two weeks ago, resulting in two dental visits and a bunch of money.)

    It sounds like you’re doing everything possible to take care of yourself and get to the starting line. You’ve conquered so many obstacles, so I’m rooting for you to conquer this one, too. We are ALL rooting for you. *hug*

  6. J says:

    Oh no!! I have done this before and I know you will be ok. Keep resting it and icing. I usually make sure to wrap mine in an ace bandage too. That will help with the swelling. Its going to be tender and not fully functional but give it a few days and it will be better. I rolled my ankle on the sidewalk a few years back and didn’t take a day off – which was probably a BAD idea but I made it through. So taking the time off and resting properly will ensure that you will be able to run!

  7. Debbie Falls says:

    Oh no Paige! I think all these road blocks will just mean you’ll cry more at the finish line.

    I think I’ve read you see a chiropractor? Go now!! One of the guys in our running group was doing a training run for WS100 when he fell and sprained his ankle just days before the race. He saw our chiro (Wayne Coleman-Hands On Chiropractic) and he was able to adjust his ankle a couple times and he was able to run the race. Maybe your chiro could help?

  8. Susan SRMS says:

    ART!!! Active Release Technique asap! My son rolled his ankle playing basketball and ART really shortened the healing process.

  9. Meaghan says:

    Sending you lots and lots of love from the East Coast..
    Silver lining – you have over a WEEK to get this better and to the start line. Baby it like you’ve never babied anything in your life. RICE RICE RICE!!!
    And please let me know if there’s anything I can do!

  10. Oh Page I am so sorry this happened! I would recommend submerging your foot in an ice bath. You’ll need a bucket large enough to move your foot around in, and it needs to be as cold as a regular ice bath. Try to simulate writing the ABCs with your foot for about 10-15 minutes. It’s freaking hard and very painful, but it works wonders. I hope the swelling goes down quickly!! **BIG HUGS**

  11. Oh dear! Color guard and cheer left my ankles pretty weak and easily rolled so I know exactly what you’re going through. I rolled my ankle right before my first triathlon and I was scared to death that I’d have to skip it.

    Something I learned from massage therapy school – rolling your ankle usually means that you’ve hyperextended some ligaments and tendons, and the best way to get the inflammation down is to definitely elevate it but massage is REALLY important at this stage. If you know of a friend or can go to someone who specializes in lower leg or sports work, they can speed up the healing process tenfold.

    I would definitely also consider finding some topical creams that include arnica or caffeine. This will help with the swelling and inflammation. As a last ditch resort I would also consider steeping a few wet green tea bags and just soaking your foot and ankle in that. Green tea leaves are pretty magical but it has anti-inflammatory properties, especially when applied right to the skin. (It even helped me after my wisdom tooth surgery.)

    Stay healthy! You only have a few days left to go! I’d even consider staying off your feet altogether and reading a few chapters from the book “You are an Ironman.” Every racer, no matter the sport, usually lets their guard down the week before a race and does something like this. You’re not alone! :)


  12. Linzay says:

    Oh no!!!!!! I fell stupidly running last weekend, too and my knee is killing me. And I have a half marathon on Saturday :( And I don’t know if I’m going to run. I have all the same what if’s going through my head…what if I had run on the treadmill like I wanted instead? what if I wasn’t with my friends and was paying better attention? But you’re super strong and I know if you keep it elevated and keep icing you’ll be fine in a few days and this will be a great taper to get you ready for IM :) Just keep your head up!

  13. Kristine says:

    Sending you as many HEAL FAST thoughts as I have!! Ice, Ice, Ice!

  14. Nelly says:

    Oh no, that is a huge bummer. Looks like your race is in 10 days? I think you will get to the starting line okay. If your race was in 3 days I don’t think you would make it. Though I bet you won’t be able to run at all (or very little) until the race day, but maybe that works out since you are probably tapering. I would ask Coach Paul what to do for it – but what you’re doing sounds like a plan to me – ice it as much as possible to reduce swelling, as well as taking iburophen to reduce swelling too. And another persons suggestion on ART is a good one – it may speed up the healing process by breaking up the scar tissue in there from the sprained ankle.

    You may remember this – but I sprained my ankle pretty badly when a guy hit a soccer ball off it in 2011. Based on looking at my post, it took me 5 days to feel normal it seems like. (that may have been a little quick, 10 days is probably more the answer) And my ankle may have been in worse shape than yours I can’t tell based on your photo above. So I think you’ll make the starting line.

  15. Monika says:

    oh no! poor ankle. I rolled my ankle once doing laundry. I had just come home from a 15K where I PR’d and then missed a step with my laundry basket in the way and hard rolled my ankle. It was 4th of july weekend and I didnt want to go to the ER so I didnt see a doctor for about 5 days. I was lazy on the icing too. big mistake. ICE ICE ICE BABY!

    Keep your chin up! You’ll hear your name announced as an Ironman soon!

  16. RoseRunner says:

    I am so, so, so sorry this happened, at this time, it is very devastating and unfair. From the Page that I know, I believe and hope that this will just be a crazy memory and story (can you BELIEVE THAT happened!?) to tell after you have conquered the Iron Man.

    While you are working at home, is there anything I can bring you? Seriously, I’m 5 minutes away. More drugs, ice, heat? An ear, a shoulder to cry on?

    (love your new blog formatting)

  17. Natasha says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a little while now as I too am training for IMAZ. You’ve been an inspiration and a great source of comfort – it helps to know I’m not the only one who has experienced the ups, downs and total meltdowns of training. I can’t imagine what I would do if this happened ten days out. Keep your chin up (and ice on your ankle). My fingers are crossed that I’ll see you at the start line!

  18. Nicole says:

    I am freaking out for you while reading this! I am sending you a million get-better vibes. I would do all the anti inflammory stuff possible – including anti inflammatory diet. Can’t hurt, right? That’s my usual go-to! Anyway I am hoping, hoping, hoping that this resolves ASAP!!

  19. Kristi says:

    Hang in there! I sprained my ankle pretty badly before IMFL in 2011. My brother in law is a foot surgeon and he put me in a boot immediately, had me use crutches for 3-4 days and also started me on STRONG anti-inflammatories. Additionally, I iced it, elevated it (just as you’re doing) and had it massaged at least every other day. I also wore a compression ankle sleeve almost round the clock. I got lucky and made it through race day just fine (well, the ankle didn’t bother me – its Ironman – it will hurt). Crossing my finger this is the case for you too!

  20. Oh no! You poor girl!! Hang in there… you’ve got a few days. Sometimes all it takes is a BUNCH of ice and rest. Stay off it as much as possible. You’re doing great! I think it’ll work out ok! Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

  21. Andrea says:

    That looks so painful! I’m sure the pain is the least of your worries. I hope recovery goes well for you and that you’re hitting the pavement again soon.

  22. Sarah says:

    I am so sorry this happened. So I did exact same thing 5 days before the Avon walk for breast cancer. 39 miles and my ankle was so swollen. I went to acupuncture for 3 sessions and I was amazed at how amazing it worked!! After first session all swelling was gone. Find a good acupuncture place and you will be good to go! Good luck.

  23. Dianna on Maui says:

    Damn girl! You did yourself up good. Looks like you are doing everything you can do right now. Can you get an X-ray AND MRI in the next few days to rule out more serious injury? If nothing more than a sprain take it easy – you are in the taper. Your fitness is already there. Tape it up GOOD with KT tape (use the pro version) and throw some in your runspecial needs bag in case you need to retape during your race.

    Wishing you SPEEDY recovery!!

  24. I was flinching reading your post. I hurt my “good” ankle this summer and beat myself up for being stupid. But I hope you don’t! It’s happened, try to forgive yourself. But I’m crossing my fingers for your quick recovery!

  25. Oh my goodness, Page. I’m seriously sending all my healing and positive vibes your way.
    I truly hope it gets better, over the next few days. Just RICE. And then do it some more. The good thing is you’re in serious taper so don’t have to worry about missing workouts.
    BEST WISHES. Please post an update in a couple days.

  26. XLMIC says:

    Shit! I agree with the previous comment about arnica. That stuff is amazing. So is hemp cream and traumeel. Massage! Keep it gently loosened. Let it rest and heal. Despite the knee thing and such, you ARE prepared. The hard work is in the bank. Stay sane and as loose as you can. I’m totally sending you ‘GET BETTER’ energy! I think you can still rock IronMan.

  27. Britt says:

    Oh no!!! Rest rest rest! Everyone is sending you good thoughts!! My friend used the anti-inflammatory diet and saw results within a few days.

  28. clair says:

    You’ve done your training. As long as it’s not broken, consider this a little enforced rest. Try to stay positive and know you’ll be good to go come race day.

  29. Jessica B. says:

    Sending lots and lots of positive vibes your way!

  30. Holly says:

    We need an update! I’m thinking of you constantly from Illinois.

  31. Houston Runner says:

    Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no! I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m saying a prayer to the Ironman God. He HAS to pull through for you. Keep your spirits up, please. A good attitude does help the healing. Rest, ice, and BELIEVE this is going to happen. Hang in there! You’re so much stronger than you know.

  32. Nicole says:

    :( i would definitely get an Xray

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