So, the minute I'm pulling back into Akron from my all night ride back from New York, a huge group of 60 trail runners is convening at Lock 29 to kick off the trail running season. Road weary and needing to unpack, I missed the run. I was free on Sunday, but since the ENTIRE running community got their run in on Saturday, I couldn't find anyone to run with me. Boo-hoo. Oh well--a good lone run accompanied by an I-pod is good for the soul too, so I set out to my favorite trail head, Pine Lane, to do a simple 8 mile total out and back initiation trail run. I haven't run a trail since the frigid calamity that was the winter Buckeye 50K running exclusively on roads to train for Cleveland. My shoes still have dozen of screws for which I didn't feel like ruining a good butter knife to remove them (hubby has the tool box). I put on a old pair of road shoes and headed out to what should be snow-free packed earth bliss.
I think Pine Lane is one of my favorite places on this earth. I've run this section so many times, I should have every root mapped out in my brain and run like I'm waltzing with contoured earth and roots, but alas--not three minutes on the trail, I pass a wholesome couple hiking with two toddlers--I try to pass on their left dipping my feet into lush side trail greenery and roll my right ankle. Normally, when frightened or hurt, I let out a spontaneous string of Tourette's like obscenities. Instead, my brain registering the presence of young children, I let out a wordless primitive painful moan, "Ahhhhgggggg." I was proud of this, but I was embarrassed that my painful twist should be witnessed by this family. They were concerned and asked if I was OK. I hobbled further down the trail, trying to get ahead of them to wallow alone in my pain. I started running to deny that this ever happened. I was pissed I turned my ankle so bad not even a quarter mile into the trail. Where did my trail legs go? I had my old fear back, the fear of falling and screwing my ankles up so bad I can never run again. I've rolled my ankle many times--most the time it's just a mild thing, the pain goes away the more you run, so I kept running and turned up the Ipod. Running endorphins have a way of easing the pain, yet I knew by experience, that this could be very very bad by tomorrow.
Once I got to the actual Pine Lane of Pine Lane--the corridor pine labyrinth of twisted roots that tests the ankle agility of the best trail runners, I stopped to assess my ankle. It still hurt. It hurt more going down steps or steep grades, the pain centered on the outer ankle from wrenching it violently inward. I had to make a decision--continue a few more miles to Boston, or turn back now. I couldn't decide, turning around, starting back, but then turning around again. I need to get my trail mileage up for the Buckeye 50 summer edition in July. I decided to head back to my car, imagining the irritation if I had to end up calling Mike to come pick up my sorry running ass from Boston Store. I ran back. It was a good call--the ankle didn't swell very much but it sure hurts. I spend the rest of the day with a bag of frozen corn on my ankle and pondering what to call my "soon to be ex-husband" or my "gentleman caller or smokin' hot cuddle bear, or Big Poppa".