July 4th was coming and I couldn't break my streak of annual Forth to Fourth (of July) Lake, for the Fourth (of July) runs. This would be the fifth consecutive, and the seventh overall. I figured I could grit it out with a few others. I did. Barely. Holy Roots, that hurt. The whole return was a fog of pain. I vowed then that I would hang up the Hokas until I found out what was going on.
The first appointment I could get for an MRI was in early August, so I dialed back, stopped running and started cycling. That didn't cause problems on the ankle. I cruised up to about 80 miles a week -- I do need to maintain my figure, you know -- and waited patiently for MRI day.
MRI day came, and results were disappointing. Newly sprained and existing torn ligaments have combined to become pernicious pain generators. Prognosis: a month in a brace, walking only on flat, smooth surfaces and a revisit in September. That really sucks, since it essentially co-opted my entire summer of trail running. But, if it's going to get me back out there, I can do it.
Fast forward to last week (does that even make sense?), and I'm back in the podiatrist office. He asks how it feels. I say it feels better, but still hurts. He has me sit, and take off the brace, and he'll manipulate my foot around and see what's what.
He pulls and pushes and rotates, and I levitate off the chair. Holy fuck. White hot pain. I'll admit I probably squealed like a little girl at one point. Apparently, old, stupid men like me don't heal particularly quickly, so it's another month in the brace. Unfortunately, I am heading off for a two-week vacation of scramble-hiking and walking, and I will *not* be deterred. Yes, it may set back my running another month, or six, but I can live with that. In fact, I've reconciled myself to the eventuality of never running coming sooner rather than later. If my last run turns out to be my last run -- on the Fourth of July -- I can live with that.
See ya in a couple of weeks. From Panama!