Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Angry Ankle

Contest prep is hard on the body, no doubt about it. Every year, I've battled some sort of minor inconvenience like a sore shoulder or a pulled hamstring. This year, I battled something far more painful and challenging: a sprained ankle.

I don't know how or when it happened. Shortly after I began running outside, my ankles started hurting. I figured it was just an adjustment period and just pushed through the pain. After awhile, the pain lessened and I thought everything was fine. Then I found myself slightly rolling my left ankle and feeling tweaks of pain. The pain increased until it was extremely painful to run or even walk. I then discovered one night that my ankle had swollen to the size of a golf ball.


Apparently, I'm great at ignoring warning signs.

For the next two weeks, I diligently iced my ankle every night and took ibuprofin throughout the day (which I hate having to take!). I didn't let it deter me, though, and simply wore a lace up ankle brace during cardio and my workouts.

Speaking of cardio ... running was out of the question. So we moved all my cardio to the elliptical. Since we don't have an elliptical at home, I did some sessions in the fitness center at work and some at my gym, much to the surprise of the morning gym regulars. (I got a lot of, "What are YOU doing here so early?!" and "Who are you, again?" questions.)

One of the trainers at the gym pinpointed the issue as being in my upper calf. After working on my calf muscles for a few days, my ankle started feeling a bit better. Just in time too, as I ended up having to go running for cardio while at FitCon in Texas.

I'm so grateful to my gym family for all the support and encouragement they gave me while my ankle was giving me issues. People are still continuing to ask me about it and to cheer me on. And also thank you to J for his never-ending support. He has the difficult position of being in two roles at the same time: boyfriend and trainer. Sympathizing with me while at the same time helping push me toward my goals.

We didn't know how long my ankle would be injured or if it would get worse, so we decided to push even harder with training and diet and try to get ahead a bit in case the ankle sidelined me for awhile. So my training and cardio got more intense, and the diet got even more tightened up. I didn't argue, though. I didn't want to fall behind!

My ankle is feeling a LOT better now (thank goodness!), although it's still not 100%. I still have some twinges and shoots of pain periodically after I've been sitting for awhile and then get up to walk or when I step wrong. I look at the situation as just another challenge that creates a life lesson - we're always stronger than we think we are.

In the words of Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman:
You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment!
When I stand on stage in four weeks (EEPS! Time is flying!), I'll know that I overcame obstacles and injuries to get there, and it'll make the moment even sweeter.

Have you gotten injured during prep? What happened? Did it set you back? How did you recover?

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