On May 22, 2017 I slid hard into 3rd base on my softball team. I first felt my right shoulder blade hit the ground and then immediately felt my left foot – specifically my ankle, on the outside part. I knew that I had done something bad in that moment and said as much to our 3rd base coach. My wife told me, before she went to her internship at the hospital that day, “Don’t hurt yourself.” Well, imagine her surprise when she learned I was just downstairs at the ER getting my ankle x-rayed.
I had broken my fibula, the outer bone of the ankle. Fortunately it was just the tip and not all the way through. It was dangling off the end of the rest of the bone like some kind of limb on a tree. The pain was intense and the ball of flesh that enveloped it was large, tender and quite precise.
After about two weeks I went in to see a surgeon – the team doctor for our local minor league soccer team to be exact (which was purely luck of the draw for me). He walked into the room and said to me, while looking at the x-ray, “This is good break!” Inside I thought to myself – oh, no, surgery again. (A year earlier I broke my left pinky finger, playing, you guessed it, softball.) When I looked up and he realized that I was thinking surgery he said, “No, I mean this one is good in that it won’t need surgery.” He told me that he had seen this type of break many times before and that the best course of action was to treat it as a bad sprain, which we did.
Tomorrow is the culmination of months of physical therapy, exercises, rehabilitation and trust of my body to get better. Tomorrow I’m running in my first long race since breaking my ankle almost a year ago now. Not only that, it’s the longest run I’ve done in my life – in an official race anyways. Usually I run the half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles (I’ve run 8 of those and will attempt my 9th in two weeks). Tomorrow’s run is a trail run of 18 miles, mostly downhill with the reward of a soak in a hot spring at the end. Plus I’m running it with one of my very best friends which makes it all the more worthwhile. The weather is supposed to be cool but not raining. Gear is out and ready.
Here we go!