Injured Ankle Saved by a Bag of Orange Flavored Ice Cubes

It has been over 5 weeks since I ran the Santa Barbara Marathon and I still don't have another marathon planned at this point.  I have my eyes on some local races, but nothing official as of yet.

Problem is, through the holidays and now into the new year, I don't have my act together yet.  Instead, I've had a string of built-in excuses for not committing to my next race.  I spent a few weeks recovering from the marathon.  Then came Christmas and New Year's...two very natural excuses for lack of training.  And since the new year, I've already battled and...knock on wood...fought off...2 sore throats that I thought were leading into full blown colds.*

But I have still been running pretty much every day, about 25 to 30 miles per week, during my hiatus from more structured training.  Just enough to keep me lean and in good spirits.

This Saturday after learning of the coming onslought of rain we are currently experiencing (yet another good excuse for slacking on the training by the way), I decided it would be a good idea to fertilize the lawn.  It was indeed a good idea but I still procrastinated until 4 p.m, at which point I drove to Home Depot and picked up what I thought was enough fertilizer for the entire front and back yard but later discovered was only enough for the front.  Gardening let's just say is not a forte of mine.

My injury is in the anterior talofibular ligament area...from what I can tell.So in any case it was 5:30 p.m. and I was hurriedly spreading the fertilizer by hand while across the street the new neighbors were moving in. As I walked down the front steps, the combination of rushing, multitasking and sheer stupidity caused me to trip on the steps and practically twist the area above my left ankle like my 4 year old might twist one of Gumby's appendages.

I immediately felt pain and my initial reaction was to serenade my new neighbors with a fine "G%^&  f^&^&%4 d()$&0 ef$&)95ing d#%^nit" (to paraphrase) as I winced in pain.  It actually felt like I went into shock. For another split second my mind sidetracked on the thought that the fertilizer was now all over the steps and sidewalk and I better clean it up before my new neighbors think a bunch of messy slobs live across the street.

But then I realized that I better get up RIGHT NOW and walk it off. The pain was excruciating and I thought for the first time in 16 years my running would be put on hold due to an ankle sprain.  So I kept walking towards the freezer in the garage, which was completely full of food. A bag of frozen peas would have been good, but no such luck.  Mostly things like frozen pizza boxes and TV dinners that wouldn't wrap nicely around my ankle.

But underneath the boxes I found a bag of ice cubes apparently from Trader Joe's that had some type of orange essence in them. I didn't have time to ponder the repercussions of using this bag for injury relief by my wife (who I hope does not read this post). The bag was frozen solid so I repeatedly slammed the bag against the concrete garage floor to break up the ice.  The next 20 minutes, off and on, I iced my thrashed ankle.  The spot was inflamed but I was able to gingerly walk on it and soon do my civic duty of cleaning up the mess on the sidewalk.

I am convinced that this bag of orange flavored ice saved me.  The frozen DiGourno Pizza would not have been nearly as effective.  But, I'm sad to say, I did not snap a picture of my icy savior. Instead, I quickly dumped the rest of the ice and disposed of the bag.  I did sample the ice and was not impressed.  In fact, I could barely taste the orange essence. But I digress.

Later that night I iced the ankle more and it was inflamed and became difficult to walk on.  I popped one Aleve tablet and within 30 minutes the inflammation was way down.

That night and the next morning, I tightly wrapped the ankle with an elastic bandage. I was actually able to run on that ankle the next morning. In fact, after a very tentative first mile, the ankle seemed to feel better as I worked into the run, as if my body was rewarding me for running through this act of stupidity and carelessness.

So I here I am today, thankful that quick thinking and a bag of orangy ice cubes saved me from the brink of injury.

But I guess the most important reminders and lessons are:

  • Think about what you are doing and don't multitask. (I didn't do this)
  • Take action when you're injured. (I did do this)
  • If you're gonna get injured do it in close proximity to a bag of orange flavored ice. (thankfully this applied to me)

*Some of you may be wondering what I did to fight off two colds. Basically all I did was down thousands of milligrams of Vitamin C throughout the day. I find that having a supply of chewable Vitamin C makes it much more likely for me to stick with this regimen.