TEN days. My initial prognosis was two weeks. But, earlier tonight, I RAN my first trail run since the fall – the physical fall, mind you – ten days ago. Let me, first of all, take a minute to recognize how lucky I am to be able to say that. Second, I would like to say that the past ten days have felt like two months.
Hold on, gotta take the heated pack off and put the ice back on. Nope, despite a GREAT night on the trail, not done rehabbin’ just yet. Gimme a sec. . .
OK, back. A hem!
Still, I think this whole debacle has been a good thing for me to experience; and I’m not the only one. Ryan told me so this morning as I was warming up for our workout, today including “impact training” to test my knee’s capabilities at this point in the healing process. Needless to say, it PASSED the test, just in time for ‘Trail Run Tuesday’, tonight in the form of eight miles at Apex Park:
Maybe it was the fact that I had only gotten four hours of sleep last night – first icing, then alternating between icing and heating, has been eating up about an hour and a half of every evening since that fateful day – or maybe it was because I was already feeling good about the day following my workout and Ryan’s official ‘thumbs up’ to hit the trails. Whatever it was, it worked.
Unlike my trail run at Herman Gulch last Saturday, my fall and boo boo were the last things on my mind. I knew that I might still have to hike the downhill sections, or at least take them pretty easy, but I also knew that I had to get through plenty of incline before I could even begin to think about how to hack the potential joint impact compliments of the trail decline.
I stubbed my left toe on a rock. Twice. The same incident on Saturday stopped me in my tracks and nearly had me in tears. What went through my head today? You’re dragging your feet. Pick them up. And, just as quickly as one could think such fleeting thoughts, these left me.
I carried on through the ‘Enchanted Forest’ – yes, that’s the actual name of the trail – then on to Hardscrabble, Grubstake Loop, Pick N’ Sledge. None of it felt as hard or hurt as badly as I remembered that last time we had met, which was, incidentally, four days before my fall.
Then came Argos Trail, all downhill, some of it pretty technical - a.k.a. lots of jagged rocks smack in the middle of the trail, some of it unavoidable as you head back down the mountain, that can make running a little tricky - and two more stubbed toes, this time the right foot - which you’ll recall was the same toe I stubbed about a half second before what felt like an award winning ‘WTF’ face plant – one leaving me airborne.
So much as a routine and insignificant slip on a few loose pebbles on Saturday made me gasp out loud and fling my arms in the air to regain my balance. What went through my head today? Ooh, careful! Almost there, just stay focused. And, just as quickly as one could think such fleeting thoughts, these left me.
I finished just shy of exactly four minutes faster than my previous meeting with Apex two weeks earlier - at which time I had two fully functioning knees – grateful that I had listened to Ryan’s rehab advice despite its induced frustration, very nearly back to my old running self, and ready to get back to business. August 18th, here I come. . .
Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., conducts child development research and works to influence child development policy at the University of Denver and is a long-time road and trail runner. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.