So there I was, about eight miles into my Sunday run when *CRUNCH*, my foot hits the kerb in an awkward fashion. A pain shoots up my leg. I limp a few paces. Fire seems to radiate from deep within my ankle. I hobble. I think about stopping.
And then I think “What would Jurek do?” And I keep running. For another four miles.
The pain is there, a constant companion for the final third of my run. I pass crowds of people making their way to the Wireless Festival, oblivious to the fact that they’re in my way. Clueless pedestrians unaware of their surroundings are something I’ve gotten used to over the past few weeks, but today is bad. Maybe it’s because of the ankle. Maybe the festival. I should have picked another route.
The run started off great. I cover the first four miles in 31 minutes, a nice steady pace designed to get me around the course that lead from Stamford Hill, around Finsbury Park (where the festival was being held), through to Camden Town, around Regents Park, past London Zoo, Baker Street (which was teeming with tourists, but at least they get out of the way), Great Portland Street, back through to Camden, and then past the park and home again.
The one thing I forgot when planning my route? A rather long hill on the approach to Camden. It’s not so steep really, it just seems to keep going. Forever.
I ran around Midday, wanting to run in the heat rather than the cool of the evening, thinking that this would be better training.
I ran, and ran, and loved every minute of it, a smile broad across my face, as I passed people out shopping, and raced cars that were stuck in traffic, their stop-start motion tracking the same few alongside me for a good mile or two.
And then… I stepped into the road to round a couple who were oblivious to my approach, overtook them, and then leapt back onto the pavement, I made contact with only my toes, my entire body weight missing the pavement, and my foot sliding back off the edge. The pain was enormous. This was the same ankle I had sprained slightly last week, and was putting me off at running club.
I did a weird skip step for a few paces, unable to put much weight on the foot. I took stock of the situation.
I was in trouble. I had no money with me, and no phone. The ankle was damaged, no doubt about that. How bad? No idea. And then.
“What would Jurek do?” The thought came in loud and clear. And so did the answer.
He’d suck it up and get on with it. He’s run a lot further, with a lot worse. This is nothing.
And so I breathed a little deeper, and ran. Once I was back in a rhythm, the pain hardly registered. And when it did, it served to keep me going. 13 miles, 1h49m. When you consider that the first 4 miles only took half an hour, you can appreciate how slow the last four were…
I got home, climbed the stairs to my bedroom and that’s when it really hit. Now it was painful. As the day turned into evening, and the evening into night, my ankle continued to swell, until it was about the size on a cantaloupe.
I awoke on Monday morning, and assessed the situation. The swelling had subsided somewhat, although it was still twice as big as the other ankle. I stood up, and found I could walk on it without too much trouble. And then I went to work.
And all I can think about now, is not how much it hurts, but how I need to get back out there and run some more…