It's never a good idea to do a really hard workout a few days before a race, but it was 70 degrees in Minnesota in March and I just had to take advantage of that, so I headed out to Afton State Park. So did a million other people and their dogs. I decided the thing to do was to run the loop between Nigel's hill and the KOA hill (almost exactly 2 miles with 260 feet of climb).
I felt good, so I hit the first hill hard and cruised down the steep Nigel's, averaging under 7 minute miles. Then I pushed uphill as hard as I could, maxing my heartrate half-way up and keeping it there for a bit. I was feeling a little wobbly on the downhill and I was already having trouble focusing my eyes, which usually only happens when really tired. The third time, I rolled my right ankle (always the right one), but not too badly. The fourth time, I was suffering in the heat, not having acclimated from the previous cold weather and, of course, I didn't bring water with me. On number five, I caught a tree root on the way down and did a header, but after scraping off the dirt, had only scraped some skin off my knees and hands. Number six was brutal. Number seven, I was getting worried, but wanted to make it to 20 miles - after all, this weekend's race isn't the goal and I need my long runs.
Number eight was when it happened. The trail on the downhill bends a bit to the left and I just kept going straight - I was too tired to brake - and I went down into the ravine, windmilling my arms while trying to remain upright - and there was a sickening CRACK! as I rolled the ankle again. I ended up in some raspberry bushes, arms and legs at odd angles, trying to extricate myself. I couldn't put any weight on the ankle. I felt around the ankle, which was already swelling and turning purple, and there was a protrusion just above the ankle.
I crawled on my hands and knees back to the trail and waited for someone else to come by. All those people in the park, and I'm out there waiting for someone, anyone, for what seemed forever. I picked up a long stick, wrapped my arm around it and used it as a crutch and hobbled the three miles back to the car.
Looks like I found my excuse for not doing well early this year. Oh, and April Fools!
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
2 hours ago