Injury and Opportunity (Plus a Gross Pic)

The Cast (by iconolith)

Two Fridays ago I broke my ankle in the most boring way possible, slipping on ice. Not just ice, mind you, but ice that I saw and made an effort to go around. The biggest surprise of all was just how damaging a little fall could be. This one broke my ankle in three places. I was running that morning and had even made a conscious decision to stay off the trails because they were getting pretty treacherous. The packed snow was turning to ice and weakening in some spots from the warm temps. Despite all precautions, I still managed to go down, so it must have happened for a reason. I’ve decided to make the best of the 3+ months recovery time and examine how I can get the most out of it.

Before I go any further I want to thank Troy for getting me to the hospital so fast AND hanging out for 8 hours while they reset my ankle three times. I also have to thank the guy who unlocks the Birch Hill Ski Trails each morning (sorry I don’t remember a name!). He saved my bacon by stopping and giving me a ride back home -just moments after I fell. I’m not quite sure how long I would have had to wait along the road if he hadn’t come by, but I certainly couldn’t walk.

Anyway, this recovery is a great opportunity to begin from a fresh base and rebuild my endurance while focusing on the details. Right before this happened I was winding down a two month low heart rate (at lactate threshold) training period. I was starting to see some very positive results from this, so I plan on picking that strategy up again when I’m allowed to run again. At first I was afraid that going from running regularly to not at all would wreak havoc on my body, but I’ve adjusted my diet and have been focusing on eating all whole foods – so far so good. I’ve also been diligently watching the calories I’m taking in, making sure they are high quality.

I expect to lose a good deal of conditioning in my legs over the next few months, endurance particularly. Although the left leg is now working double-time, my right does little more than keep this cast from hitting the ground -so I’m on a fast track to having asymmetric ability in each leg. As soon as things are stable and on the mend I plan on working in some cardio via my upper body. It seems important for recovery to keep up circulatory health. I’ve been collecting ideas for body weight resistance exercises that can be done at a high number of reps while not producing any stress on my ankle. It turns out there are a lot of options for working both upper body and core. Yay!

The biggest drawback I can foresee is actually sweating in this cast I have to wear for months. There’s a lot of potential here for grossness. I get a new one in about a week, but must find out if it gets changed again before the next surgery to remove the hardware they installed.

And last, but not without impact, the gross pic. This is a huge motivator to get my heart rate up and blood circulating through my body again.

Gruesome Bruising (by iconolith)


  1. “…working in some cardio via my upper body… I’ve been collecting ideas for body weight resistance exercises that can be done at a high number of reps while not producing any stress on my ankle…”

    Got kayak? Paddling upstream on the Chena can be a fun way to get in some core and upper body work. Let me know if you want to borrow a boat that will fit that cast. Hope your healing path is a smooth one.

  2. Good call, John! We definitely have kayaks (two Liquid Logics) that are perfect on the Chena. A spray skirt and a trash bag with some duct tape should do just fine keeping the cast dry. Awesome idea 🙂

  3. You’re outlook inspires me, Christen. I am taking my setback as an oppertunity to gain more strength via weights…starting tomorrow after my last final exam for the semester.

    Lots of well wishes to you,

  4. Thanks, Heather! I hope you’re back on trail quickly and that strength training helps to stabilize you and reduce the stress in your back. It sounds very painful.

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