This is not a post I had planned. As I write this, I’m sat in my local coffee shop, foot in a cast, crutches to one side, and waiting for my painkillers to kick in. This is not how I would choose to spend my Sunday. Sundays, for me, are spent with my City Athletics crew, getting a long run in before mulling around our favourite street food market, drinking coffee, eating good food and avoiding the inevitable lull of a Sunday afternoon.
But sadly, the universe had other ideas.
On Saturday, I went for a lazy morning’s rock climbing session with my friend Josh. We go quite regularly, and it’s become one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend. That, combined with it being the last time we’d see each other before Christmas, meant I was really looking forward to a climb.
We did a few tricky routes, and then a relatively easy one to give the arms a rest. On the way up, I almost slipped on a volume, but made it to the top no problem- and then came the down climb. Down climbing is the part I hate, because by the time you’re going back down again, your arms are sore, and you have to look down at your feet. I was feeling a bit panicked from the earlier slip, and I couldn’t really find an easy way down. And so I made the decision to jump. I guess you can see where this is going.
I’ve jumped before from climbs. Not usually from this high up, but I’ve done it nonetheless. It was a calculated risk, not some split second decision. But it was a risk nonetheless. I jumped, rolled my ankle, heard a click, and felt pain. That’s all I can say. Pain. You know when you stub your toe really badly and you just have to hop around in agony for a while and wait for it to subside? Well, this is what that was like, except the pain didn’t subside. At all.
Josh was amazing, and grabbed me an ice pack. One of the reception staff came over to fill in an accident form, and to be honest I felt like this was all a bit overdramatic. It was only when I lifted the ice pack, and saw the size of the swelling on my ankle – about the size of a cricket ball- that I knew something was badly wrong. And then I just started to cry.
Fast forward to A&E. I was seen by a lovely nurse who rushed me through on the assumption that it was definitely broken, if not dislocated as well. She was a star, and kept nagging people to make sure we were seen quickly. I had an X-ray, and waited for the results. But here’s the funny thing- the X-ray showed no obvious fracture. This confused everyone, myself included. The swelling was monstrous, and I couldn’t move my foot at all. The nurse even had to double check with me and the technician that they’d X-rayed the right foot. Weird, right?
There was no definitive diagnosis, which is frustrating. My foot was too swollen and painful to be examined, and so I’ve been put in an air cast until a follow up appointment next week. The working theory is that it’s either a fracture that couldn’t be detected in the initial X-rays, or a ruptured ligament. The upshot, however, is essentially the same: a long period of rest. I have no idea how long yet, but it looks like we’re talking months.
Needless to say this is hugely frustrating. I feel like I was making good progress in my running: my paces were coming down and I was working hard to correct muscle imbalances and incorporate strength training into my routine. I was ready to book races for January to keep me focused, plus a goal half marathon in the Spring.
Sadly though, the universe had other plans.
Nonetheless I’m practicing gratitude.
- I’m grateful for the staff at the climbing wall for dealing with me so attentively.
- I’m grateful for the staff at St. Thomas’ A&E for looking after me so well.
- I’m grateful for the NHS for having me in and out of hospital in a couple of hours, completely free of charge.
- And mostly, I’m grateful to my friends Josh and Ben for being there with me, waiting around whilst I oscillated between fits of laughter and uncontrollable sobbing.
It’s a shit situation, but there’s not a lot to be done. After my appointment, I’ll have more information, and I’ll be able to make a plan. I’ll know exactly what I can do, and how to organize my life accordingly. I’ll swot up on what to eat, how to train, and literally anything else I can do to come back from this injury stronger than ever.
But for now? For now I’ll be taking a breather. I’ll be taking it easy on myself, relying on my friends and family to get me through this, and focusing on enjoying Christmas as much I can.
That’s all for now folks! Any advice on this kind of injury would be much appreciated.
Lots of love,