Two Years and a Half Marathon

Posted by on August 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm :: 7 Comments

In a couple weeks it will be two years since I had my peroneal tendon repair surgery. I decided that running the Provo River Half Marathon, which is 13.1 miles, would be an excellent way to celebrate this anniversary. I ran this baby years ago, before I hurt my ankle, but since my injury made running more than about half an hour too painful to stomach, I haven’t even considered running it since. It therefore seemed like a very fitting way to commemorate my ankle being back in the big time.

I have been training for the last few months with Jason for this race. We started our training by jogging our usual 3 mile runs and then upped the distance we traveled each run by about a mile roughly every week. This strategy seemed to work very well though I did get a few complaints from Jason when we progressed to 9 and 10 mile runs; he had never attempted to run anything that long before. Although a half marathon is a somewhat daunting undertaking, surprisingly we were able to find a few crazies interested in running this long race with us: my dad, his friend Steve, and my friend Fran.

Looking down from the hills above

Looking down from the hills above the runners were a beautiful stream of color.

The Provo River Half Marathon was last Saturday. We had to meet at the finish line at 5 AM to catch a bus up the canyon to the starting point. Man that was early! The bus drop-off, which was at the top of South Fork, was already crawling with many of the 2,000 race participants by the time we got there.

I saw a couple of unusual things while we were waiting for the race to start. First, a deer that wasn’t afraid of the masses of people at all was wandering around and actually trying to get people to pet it. Never seen that before. I also saw a man turn around in a field that was just off a section of a road where over 1,000 waiting runners were clumped together; he pulled up his shorts on one side and urinated. Sure, I don’t think anyone got a good view of his parts but come on! There were trees everywhere so all he had to do is go a few more feet into the trees and no one would have been able to see him. Seriously dude, no one wants to see you taking a whiz. Have some dignity man!

The race started at 7:00 and the first 10 miles down the canyon were lovely. There was a nice cool breeze and the sun was still hiding behind the mountains so it was very pleasant running weather. The last few miles things got a lot more challenging. At that point the sun started blazing down, the wind stopped, and it became very hot. The increasing temperatures combined with the strenuous ten miles I already had behind me resulted in some serious dehydration that last stretch so when I finished the race I wanted nothing more than a tall glass of water. I have been a runner for many years, certainly long enough to know from experience not to drink a whole bunch of liquid after a tough and dehydrating run like that. Unfortunately, my thirst won over my common sense and I pounded down a bottle of Gatorade a few minutes after I finished the race even though I thought it would probably make my stomach hurt. To my surprise I felt fine after chugging it…until I got home about half an hour later. Then, all of a sudden, my stomach started severely protesting its lot in life. This wasn’t the first time I’ve felt sick after a run though so I thought it would pass. I guess in a way I was right because it did eventually pass but only after I had thrown up almost all of the Gatorade I had stupidly drunk.

Besides the last few miles being a crap fest and my post-run vomiting episode, which was a first for me, the race was an enjoyable experience and I don’t think I would be opposed to doing it again. I was about 10 minutes slower completing it this time than I was the first time I ran it but I was a lot less sore afterward this go around. I may be older and slower now but I guess my muscles are tougher.

All the determined

All the determined people I ran with did excellent! Jason was the fastest. With his long legs he came in at 2 hours and 6 minutes. Everyone else finished within 10 minutes of him, except for me. I completed the race at 2 and a half hours almost exactly.

How did my moody ankle hold up? It handled the race pretty superbly. I had very little issues with it while I was training and during the race itself it didn’t complain at all. After the event it started swelling a bit and it is still a tad more swollen than normal even now, days later. The overexertion also made it achy for a couple days after I put it through that race madness but all in all I’m happy with its performance. This race reminded me just how much my ankle has improved. It is much more resilient and content than it was last summer when I was training for just a 5 mile run. Now, a year later, I’m able to run 13 miles with no pain and just a few days of swelling and tenderness afterward. That may seem like a hollow victory to those of you who have two fully functioning ankles but from where I’m coming from it seems like a pretty sweet success.

So final ankle analysis at the 2 year mark? The doctor told me all the swelling in my ankle should go away after a year or two. Here I am two years out and it is still swollen, though less so than it used to be. My ankle also doesn’t have its full range of motion back yet; it continues to get that rubber band feeling when I stretch it from side to side. But I’m playing soccer again with very little discomfort and running longer than I have been able to in a decade. So, although I wish my repaired ankle performed and felt like my other one, I am so grateful to not have any restrictions on my activities anymore that I don’t mind a little aching or inflammation now and then so much.

7 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    Jason took that first picture with his iPhone as he was running. That’s why it looks so bad.

  • Chris Maven says:

    Dear Rachel,

    It’s been 2 weeks since my surgery and things are progressing well.

    I had my peroneal brevis tendon repaired — right foot. It was flat like a fettuccine and scarred from multiple small tears. My podiatrist rolled it up, stitched it, and made it round again.

    After reading your blog, I was inspired and extremely well prepared for daily life after the surgery. I got all my meds, extra pillows, ice packs, the handicap parking decal, tons of books, movies, and magazines ahead of time. I even stocked a separate bathroom with everything needed for 2 weeks of baths and then some.

    Rather than crutches, however, I opted for a knee walker. It’s a scooter like device where you rest your knee on a soft pad, hold on to a handle, and propel yourself with your good foot. It even has a basket on the handle to store bottled water, phone, meds, books, and snacks.

    With the roll-about, I’m able to go grocery shopping, the library, and even the gym (I use strictly upper body isolated equipment like Technogym). More importantly, I’m able to prepare light meals for my family and pretty much take care of myself.

    In 2 weeks, I’ll be boot-walking and driving again.

    Thanks so much,

    Chris Maven
    Jacksonville, Florida

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Chris,

    I hope you are continuing to recover from your surgery well. I’m so glad that my blog helped you prepare for the aftermath of surgery.

    I’ve never heard of a roll-about but it sounds like a great alternative to crutches.

    Good luck!

  • Jeff Fuller says:

    Rachel,

    Thank you so much for your blog. It is really inspiring to me. I had the surgery a week ago and know that I’m a long way off from running again, but seeing this gives me hope. You have so many helpful hints.

    I have started a peroneal tendon blog of my own with a link to your page. Here’s a link to mine: http://myperonealtendonrecovery.blogspot.com/

    Thanks again,

    Jeff
    Atlanta, GA

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Jeff,
    There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t envy where you are at right now; those first couple months after surgery are really rough. But I promise, after what seems like a period of infinite misery, your ankle will be practically as good as new. Good luck! I look forward to keeping up with your progress on your blog.

  • dale says:

    thanks fjor the blog I am having surgery soon and I am very anxious to say the least. feel like my life style is coming to and end but your comments and results are so helpful

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Dale,
    It is very scary. The uncertainty of the results and the length of the recovery time are quite intimidating. I won’t lie, it was a hard experience and I hope I never have to go through it again but I am very glad I had the surgery done. My ankle is at least manageable now even if it’s not perfect.
    Good luck to you! I hope in the not too distant future you, like me, will be glad you had it done.

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