Can I type that again?
It’s been a tough 8-9 months for me. After running 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Running Festival last February — I had the audacity to believe that I could do 100 miles at the 2018 event a year later.
It actually really wasn’t a belief, it was a confidence that not only was it possible — but, beyond doable. I was excited to tackle this feat that 2-3 years ago felt beyond impossible.
So I signed up for the 48 hour event with hope and expectations that I would bust out 100 miles. I was hoping and expecting to reach that 100 mile mark much sooner than 48 hours. I just wanted to give myself a buffer and the peace of mind that a cut off wasn’t looming far behind.
Needless to say, I was ready and wanting to tackle this beast of a goal.
And, then April 1st happened.
I was running the Run Emigration Canyon Half Marathon here in Salt Lake City and within a half mile of summiting Little Mountain as I was descending down the canyon — my ankle met a pothole.
I didn’t think of it much in the moment. I’ve had a lot of aches and pains through running over the years and when that happens I just rest it, ice it and give it some time to heal. I made it to the finish line sore, but still optimistic about my race and time.
But, the pain never went away.
And, I was stupid and kept running.
When I made it to the orthopedist I was expecting the worst. Luckily, it wasn’t the worst. It was just a bad sprain that also took off a micro-sized bone — that wasn’t of concern. I would just need to watch my distance (no marathons for a while) and do 4-5 sessions of physical therapy.
So that’s what I did.
The orthopedist and therapists told me throughout the summer that the sprain’s effects would probably bother me for a while. And, it did. Well, it has. I lost a lot of my consistent speed, which was frustrating.
But, I felt improvement. And, I was still optimistic that my long term goals wouldn’t be affected by the stupid ankle.
In November when I was wrapping up my race season before leaving for Europe, I felt really good about where I was physically — not just with my ankle, but weight-wise as well with my keto diet. Once I got home I planned on ramping up my miles and running time to where I needed them leading into Jackpot.
It was a great plan.
But, then Rome happened.
I love Rome, but on the first day of our visit I made a joke that the number one injury in Rome was probably sprained ankles from the cobblestone streets.
I shouldn’t have made that joke. Because the next day, I tweaked my already injured ankle stepping down on a pothole (well missing cobblestone) in that cobblestone street. I knew within a couple hours it wasn’t good as I limped back to our Airbnb.
Throughout the trip the pain was pretty consistent and no matter how much Aleve or how many stretches I would do — I was dreading the reality of the situation. But, I didn’t want to make a decision of finality then. I wanted to enjoy my trip.
But, when I got back and attempted a four hour training run, I knew. I knew this wasn’t going to happen. I knew that 48 hour, 100 mile attempt wasn’t happening at Jackpot. I had to cut my run short after about an hour.
I haven’t said much on the blog or in person to many people about it the past month, because I’m still processing the failure of the attempt. I guess, I’m also somewhat hoping a miracle would happen and I would wake up with a pain free ankle.
The reality of the situation is, I’m finished. No 100 miles. No 48 hours.
While I failed at this attempt, I also have to remember — that doesn’t mean I’m a failure. I’m only a failure if I let this failed attempt completely stop me from working on this goal. That’s not going to happen.
While coming to terms with this failed attempt, I’ve already been scheming about how I can bounce back. Do, I just defer to 2019 — or do I look toward another race? I’m not going to let this attempt deter me from the goal.
I’ve been very tempted to tackle Across the Years down in Arizona over the New Year. I could do 48 hours there on one of six days of the event (three days before the new year, three days after) and bust out 100 loops on a 1 mile loop.
I’m not sure yet? But, Across the Years and Jackpot 2019 are my best options, especially as I look at training and race schedules for 2018/2019. But, that’s a whole different post for another day.
The point is … I’m not giving up on this goal.
But, I am learning a whole lot about patience and timing. Ultra races are beasts and not easily done by the everyday runner. I feel like I can go out and do a half marathon any day I feel like it and be good.
But, ultras … are so, so different. And, I’m fine with that. I know what kind of athlete I am. But, I am also the kind of athlete that won’t stop dreaming or scheming to go further and faster.
I have an appointment with another orthopedist next week. Mainly a second opinion. But, also to accept the fate of my ankle. I do have a fear it’s something a bit more serious. But, I don’t know … I’m not an orthopedist?
My WebMD skills are what have me a bit worried — the diagnosis has me guessing anything from a higher grade sprain, Peroneal Tendonitis to even amputation or death. But, again, I don’t know … I’m not an orthopedist and I get paranoid using WebMD.
I feel like there’s a good chance it will be more rest, possibly a boot and no running for the next 6-8 weeks. That would mean no Sun Marathon, Jackpot Running Festival (even a lower timed race) and a few of the 5Ks I have planned afterward. While, I’m trying to go to the worst case scenario … I’m a planner and want to have a couple different scenarios in mind depending on the diagnosis.
But, more than anything, more than the 100 mile run, I don’t want to miss out on my 180th race in July. I have 10 races to go and if I had to miss two, even three, races during rehab I could make those up before July. But, more than that and I’m worried.
But, I’m not going there for now.
Well, until after my orthopedic appointment.
But, the bet is still on. While seceding this failed attempt, I am not giving up on this goal. I am going to run a 100 miles. I have to.
I just have to.
And, I will.