The Ankle Update

First and foremost…THANK YOU. I knew that our little online running and triathlon community was great, but I don’t think I realized how amazing it was until this week.

Thank you so incredibly much for every single one of your comments, emails, texts, tweets and phone calls. In the midst of all the injury and rescheduling chaos, your incredibly kind and supportive words would bring a smile to face and mean so incredibly much to me. From those who are regular readers and commenters, to those that are commenting for the first time, all I can say is thank you so, so, much.

Now, for an update.

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Woops! Wore my brace far too tight.

When I wrote the last blog entry, I had just come back from the chiro where I was given the bad news. I wasn’t sure what else to do so I sobbed and blogged. After said blog was published, I wrote another email to my chiro with the subject line, “Are you sure?!” This wasn’t really happening, was it?

Chicken Face was away on business and there was no one around to really calm me down. Thus, refusing to believe anything, I Googled for an urgent care that was open late, had x-rays on site and took my insurance. With luck, I found one that was less than 10 minutes away from my house and called to let them know I was coming – they were about to close in an hour and I needed to know if something was fractured.

I raced to urgent care where the entire staff was just sitting there waiting for me. I walked in and they asked, “Are you Page?”

I answered yes and suddenly four people sprung into action.

One woman brought out a wheelchair and I said, “No, no, I don’t need that.”

She insisted, so I sat.

One woman was collecting my insurance and personal information while another guy was asking about what happened. It was a crazy harmony of multiple people doing their jobs simultaneously. They must not have had any other patients or serious cases to attend to.

I was taken to the back to get x-rays and the doctor came back saying that yes it was a sprain, no breaks or fractures, but given the severity of the sprain, she didn’t think I could do the race. However, she recommended that I see a sports doc to know for sure. She then went on to say that she knows how I feel because her son plays football and he got a sprained ankle and he had to sit out for two games. It took everything in me to not, ehem, politely clarify the differences in the two situations.

I came home from urgent care feeling slightly relieved. I ate dinner that consisted of a giant cookie and then went to bed. Sometimes eating your feelings does feel good.

The night, I had a dream that my mom ran the race for me instead. I remember thinking, “But she didn’t train!” but I saw her run past me smiling. I then woke up literally thinking it was all a horrible nightmare, but alas, it wasn’t, and my head was throbbing.

Later that morning, I was able to get into a sports ortho doc. He was an older gentleman who probably touched my feet for a total of five minutes, examined the x-rays and then diagnosed me with a high ankle sprain. When I asked what the difference was he said, “Well, they take longer to heal than regular ankle sprains.”

Lovely.

Then the weird part: he pulled up Google and searched for “high ankle sprain.” Um, what? No sir, I’m not paying you to Google for me. He used it more to illustrate what part of my body was affected, but something about it just didn’t seem right.

I then asked him, “So, can I do the race?”

He looked at me and simply replied with, “You know the answer.”

And then I cried. It was official that Ironman Arizona was out.

I called Chicken Face, my family and my coach to tell them the official, official, news. While I suppose I still could have gone to Arizona to watch the race or just have a vacation, I was too emotionally messed up and didn’t think I would be able to handle seeing everyone else race so we cancelled the whole trip.

I headed back to work and tried to carry on as normal as possible, but then Google sucked me in and scared the shit out of me. Don’t ever Google “high ankle sprain” because you will find things like this:

Just the term “high ankle sprain” is enough to grab the attention of, if not frighten, the toughest athletes. Even if you’re not exactly sure what’s involved, you probably know that it’s an injury that could keep you out of action for months. And you’re right. High ankle sprains are much less common than the garden variety low ankle sprain, which can be serious enough, but they’re hard to treat and can cause long-term problems.

An athlete may be out for as little as two to three days or as long as six months.

I was sending all of these articles to Chicken Face, in which he would reply, “Stop Googling.”

Once I pulled myself away from the mistake that is Googling your symptoms, my friend Carrie (who is a PT and has completed 15 Ironmans) invited me over to her house to take a look at my ankle. Can you tell yet that I’m having acceptance problems?!

Carrie was fantastic and spent an hour with me, asking questions, testing, watching me walking, massage my ankle and even making a custom wrap for me. She gave me hope in that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (phew!) and with time, I’m going to be A-OK.

I didn’t waste any time setting up my physical therapy appointments and I was lucky enough to get in the next morning. I met my PT, Emily, and I couldn’t have been happier. She spent an hour with me, evaluating, learning my story, ultrasounding, stretching and more.  Her perspective was similar to Carrie’s in that if this only would have happened four weeks earlier, I could have taped it up and been good to go come race day. But unfortunately, it happened when it did and I was screwed.

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Per Emily, I need to wear compression socks under my brace as we’re really going to focus on getting rid of all my swelling first and stretching the ankle, then strengthening. I asked her what exercises I can do and for now, I’m limited to upper body, core, swimming (no kicking) and cycling (only if I wear my brace, no resistance and no climbing). Thus, I can’t wait to get Dora back.

I left PT feeling good and anxious to get on the rehab bandwagon. I wasn’t wasting any time and was going to move forward no matter what.

And I am.

The good news is that I think I have literally run out of tears and the only thing I can do now is move forward. If I keep dwelling on WHY? WHY? WHY?!, it won’t do me any good. I was shattered, but I’m not wasting any time picking up the pieces and I’m NOT letting this deter me from becoming an Ironman. This has been a lifetime goal of mine for a long time and I’m not going to let a stupid sprained ankle stop me.

I still have what I call “relapses,” where I’m alone with my thoughts for whatever reason and I start to cry. I know Sunday will be a bit tough as I see all of the photos and results pour in, but beyond that, I have to believe that this all happened for a reason. Plus, I know that far more serious things could have happened and I’m very lucky that it’s only a sprain because I can heal and compete again. I know that when I come back for the next one, I’ll just be that much stronger – like I said before, TITANIUM! As I am picking up the pieces, I’m trying to plan what race I should do, how it cannot cost a gazillion dollars and how to make my family happy. I’ll follow up with my thoughts on that soon, but for now I’ll ask:

DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO GET INTO SOLD OUT IRONMAN LAKE TAHOE?

I would love you forever!

Now, more than ever before, I have to remember my dad’s favorite motto: It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it. I’m now choosing to handle it by not moving on, but moving forward.

Thank you over and over again for all of your support.

Happy Running.

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23 Responses to The Ankle Update

  1. Nicole says:

    Ooohh nooo never google symptoms. I once convinced myself I had breast cancer without even having a lump….No bueno.

  2. Karla says:

    I am SO glad you finally got some answers and have a PLAN!! I hope the PT progresses nicely and you heal up fast! Will be thinking about you Sunday! Hugs!

  3. Cate says:

    Googling injuries is the WORST! I’m so happy you have these awesome people helping you get back in action. Lots of healing and getting-into-sold-out-race vibes coming at ya!

  4. Julie M. says:

    I’m so glad that you’re on the road to recovery and rehab. I’m so so sorry this happened to you, I definitely understand that feeling of, “If I just did this one little thing differently, this wouldn’t have happened.” It’s incredibly tough and you deserved those tears. Good luck getting in to another Ironman! I’m one of those longtime readers who never comments, but I wanted to say that I’ve loved reading your progress and I’m so excited to hear about the day when you do become an Ironman. You (and other running bloggers) have definitely motivated me to run and sign up for my first half marathon on Sunday! Good luck with everything and enjoy being with your family!

  5. First of all I just want to say how incredibly sorry I am to read this news. There are no words. If you get a chance take a look at this article by the Sock Doc http://sock-doc.com/2012/11/ankle-sprains-ligament-damage/#comment-3058
    It’s really interesting and could maybe help with your recovery? Superduper healing vibes/energy/magic being wished your way!

  6. Holly says:

    Call the Lake Tahoe director immediately! Tell him your situation and send him your blog! You remain our inspiration!

  7. I am so so sorry Page. I hope they get you into Tahoe. This is just the worst for you. I’m going to be positive with you. You’re going to be an ironman soon (even though the date is undetermined).

  8. Marlene says:

    You are tough as nails on the inside AND out, girl. I can’t wait to watch you bounce back from this because it is going to be amazing. And hopefully you will go into your Ironman without the hiccups along the way that were holding you back from your full potential this time. I hope you can work something out for Tahoe, or that you select an equally awesome event for your debut. It’s gonna happy and it’s gonna be amazing. Speedy healing to you! Stay strong!

  9. Mary says:

    I think the Ironman Foundation has some slots available for sold out races. Maybe that’s an option for Lake Tahoe.

  10. Christine says:

    love to you page – so true that it’s not what happens, it’s how you respond to it. you are an amazing runner and triathlete and i so look up to you. i can’t wait for you to have your IM moment because you will just shine! get well SOON!

  11. Meggie says:

    yes, dr. google can scare me sometimes and i’m in medical school! my heart still breaks for you, but your can-do attitude will surely help you in the next few weeks. hoping you get into ironman lake tahoe!

  12. Google is the worst for looking up symptoms! I always freak myself out when I read them! Yet, like Chicken Face, I always tell people to “Stop googling!!”

    Also, my work is finally making the switch to iPhones so I can finally use your post on the best iPhone app and play what’s in your iPhone! I hope you get int Tahoe!!

  13. Page, I’m so so sorry :(

    I feel your heartbreak, any endurance sport athlete has been there to some degree. I recently screwed up my IT band and had to drop out of the New York Marathon… which ended up being cancelled… leading me to believe that everything always ends up working out, in a really weird way.

    I believe the same for you :) Hang in there, chin up. You’re a rockstar.

  14. Claire says:

    Call the Tahoe race organizers and explain what happened, share your blog and maybe cry a little bit. Also you are still in that partnership with Oakley right? Maybe they can help you, they might be willing to pull strings to get one of their reps into a big race like that.

    I am thinking of you and your ankle and sending feel better ankle energy your way!!

  15. Glam Ski Bum says:

    I’ve been a silent reader (not commenting) for a while now, following your journey leading up to this Ironman.
    I’m sad to hear that your injury is so serious, but at least you’re not doing the dumb move of racing on an injury!
    Take the necessary time to heal 100%. It seems like you’re in the right hands with Emily!

    Maybe you could manage getting a place for Lake Placid if you mention your blog to the organizers. Would you consider racing Texas or Idaho instead?

  16. Devin says:

    Hi Page, I’ve been a lurker on your blog for a while but had to say that I’m just so sorry to read about your injury. I’m from Tempe and have been a fan supporting family/friends in the Ironman a few times and was looking forward to cheering you on as well!

    Also wanted to thank you for this site – I’m training for my first marathon in February and have gleaned a lot of information and motivation from your posts. Sending you and your ankle lots of positive energy!

  17. Lisa says:

    It is so tough.. but everything does happen for a reason. As for Tahoe.. get a community slot!

    I competed in Ironman Canada in 2011 and I only got 7 miles into the run before I had to call it quits. This was the year it was crazy hot and they ran out of water on the bike course. I hit mile 70 and they had not water for the next 30 miles. I know what you are talking about “the moments of relapse”. I had them and it sucks. Things could have been worse.. anyhow.. I am signed up for Tahoe and that will be the day I face Ironman again. Get a community slot !! Unfinished business. I have watched you start your first long swim, open water swim.. . It has been an amazing experience reading your post! I feel your pain… and I agree.. It could have been worse. Now sign up for Tahoe and become Iron.

  18. Holly says:

    I may have an in for you @ Tahoe…I know I have one for VIneman 70.3, but will see if she can help with Tahoe….will email you results..

    Now, focus on getting stronger and coming back better than ever!!! :)

  19. Nelly says:

    If you do have a high ankle sprain, that is definitely not a good injury to have. Though I guess it’s better than a stress fracture. The recovery time for a high ankle sprain seem to range from 4-8 weeks based on following the NFL players who have suffered them. Most notably, Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots suffered one on 9/15/12, and he’s still not totally back yet I don’t think. Also, Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders suffered one a couple weeks ago, and he will likely be out 4-8 weeks too.
    http://www.healingfeet.com/blog/sports/fantasy-football-friday-the-difficult-case-of-aaron-hernandez

    So I would definitely follow whatever plan people give you for rehab. It might just take time for the sprain to heal properly. And about injury thoughts – you will probably feel weird for a while, until the mental pain of the injury starts to wear off gradually. Just try to keep occupied with whatever physical things you can do. And no matter what people tell you that you should be doing or thinking – just do what you want to do. If you want to be sad, then be sad. If you want to be happy, then be happy. There will be good days and bad days. Just keep hammering on whatever rehab things you can do if any and keep working hard. I thought it was therapeutic to tell my sports doc or physical therapist about my injury story, because they can relate. Also posting on your blog is probably therapeutic. Some people in the regular world don’t understand because they don’t know how much it means.

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