After my foot doctor appointment a couple weeks ago — I was optimistic about my outlook. As a quick refresher for those following at home, I was told the pain in my ankle was from peroneal tendonitis — with the possibility of a tear. The doctor didn’t think it was a tear so he gave me some stretches, told me to keep my mileage down to about 3-5 miles at a time and to see him within a month.

As much as that gave me answers, I knew I wouldn’t have concrete answers until I got outside to run. Especially a race. It’s one thing to run on a treadmill, but outside and a race is another story.

I needed a test.

So the Frigid 5K was that test.

A post shared by Josher (@ketowalla) on

I’ve done this race a couple years ago. I would have done it again last year, but I was working the race. I might sound basis having worked for the race before, but it’s honestly a fun winter 5K. Not only is it a fun 5K race, but you can also plunge yourself into Utah Lake after your run.

I’ve done the plunge before, but I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to do it this year. I’ve been paranoid about getting sick, especially with the flu going rampant. And, while that might be sound reasoning — let’s be honest — it just makes me sound much older than I am. I might as well eat Raisin Bran for breakfast and yell at the neighbor kids to stay off my lawn.

I didn’t rule it out — but, I figured I’d decide once I got to the pier. I just hate being cold. And, I hate swimming in lakes and oceans — not because of a irrational fear of sharks, but because of a very rational fear of swallowing fish and water animal poop. The thought that everything that lives or swims in water poops grosses me out.

But, that’s a story for another day.

A post shared by Josher (@ketowalla) on

After carpooling down to Lindon (moved here for this year due to construction at the Provo Marina) with my friend Lizzi, I was noticing that I felt pretty good. I was really trying to listen to my ankle to gauge the effort I could give the race. And, it felt fine.

I knew once I started running that could change, but I felt that if I pushed my effort as much as I could without aggravating the ankle I could have a strong run. So that was kind of the game plan as I stood on the start line.

So I pushed.

The first mile actually felt like a breeze. I knew I came out of the gate too strong, but there was a part of me that ignored that because my ankle felt fine. I knew my training couldn’t hold up that speed, but I decided to just keep doing what I could. I felt the need to test the ankle and energy levels.

There were a number of times I thought about taking a walk break, but I kept telling myself — “let’s see what you can do!” I only really stopped three times — once to readjust my pants (it happens), at the aid station to get water and at Mile 2.5 to take a selfie (because I had to share it on Instagram).

The stops were very much brief.

Around Mile 2-2.5 I really started feeling the dead legs. I knew it was a combination of my exceeded effort and quad fatigue from leg day the day before. I’d like to think it was because of leg day, because I felt like I could have done more.

My ankle was feeling really good at this point. Almost too good. Like “it might have fallen off at Mile 1” good. But, it was still there — and much of the lack of pain I credit my foot doctor’s advice to get inserts and wedges in my shoes. It’s made a WORLD of difference.

As I made my way toward the finish line I got a glimpse of the clock and noticed I was well under 40 minutes (my somewhat pre-race estimated time). This made me excited because this very much exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t have been happier.

I crossed the finish line in 0:37:59.5 — not a too shabby result for a gimp, eh?

Almost immediately I felt it in my quads and legs. But, I didn’t care — I gave that race a full effort, my ankle wasn’t killing me and it genuinely made me optimistic about my 2018 running.

I stayed around the finisher’s corral to cheer in other Addict II Athletes teammates and runners after my run. I was so proud of Lizzi who I saw running past to a sub-50 minute PR time. A goal she was not expecting to reach so soon. I couldn’t have been happier for her.

After the race Lizzi was planning on jumping in the lake. I still wasn’t fully committed to say yes or no, so I went down to the pier to at least take pictures of her jump. Which was AMAZING!

But, then I totally got sucked into doing it.

And, here’s the proof …

I was ill equipped for the jump. I brought a change of clothes, but I left them in the car so I had to make one of the coldest walks of shame to get warm. It was absolutely awful. It took me until about 3pm Saturday afternoon to get warm.

But, I am glad that I did it.

My next race is the Sweetheart Days 5K here in Bountiful this weekend. I don’t really have a set goal for that race, mainly because I am still processing this race. But, I feel like I have a good shot at a faster time. And, if my ankle holds up that should be a real shot.

I am loving the focus on 5Ks right now. I’ll get to my half marathon training when I get there, but while I am focusing on my ankle recovery — I’m digging the 5K. I’m feeling optimistic in the training and how that will affect my half marathon running this summer.

But, now onto February!

A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on