I was having a great day--3 miles in at a 9 min pace, 58:30 for 6.2. I noticed in mile five though that my right ankle was a little queasy, not terribly painful, but definitely uncomfortable. I made it to 6.2 okay, but in later in mile six and in mile seven, my ankle was definitely hurting me. I couldn't put weight on my right foot, could not push off, and therefore, my whole stride was out of wack. Right then and there, I had a decision to make. Keep walk-shuffling as the pain grew worse? Grit it out? Flag someone down to help me? Waves of runners were passing me, and I didn't see the point of trying to run through the pain, which was not severe, but plenty annoying.
After mile eight, one of the race volunteers (many of them on course on bikes) spotted me and asked me what was wrong. I hobbled over and sat down. Race was over for today. I told Derek (a local high school track coach, and might I add, quite a handsome young man) that I thought I had an ankle sprain. He called for help, and I sat and waited for one of the personal trainers who was also a volunteer to arrive. Derek asked if this was my first half; I told him, "no this was supposed to be my eleventh." We talked running for a bit and he filled out a report on me, but knew I was not in trouble from the heartbeat/blood pressure perspective. I was not in massive pain, just in the kind of warning signal pain that said to me, better stop now and take care of this. The trainer (whose name I have forgotten, forgive me, handsome trainer man) helped me peel off my compression sock (he noticed that I wasn't yelping in pain while taking it off, a good sign) and checked my ankle and got me ice for it. No massive swelling but definitely tender, pretty much only in one spot (on the right, just below my ankle bone). I got a van ride back to the starting line at Prairie Heart Hospital.
Back at the start, in the medical tent, another volunteer taped my ankle. I could see all the bright shiny penny medals around finishers' necks, and felt a twinge of jealousy. But there's always another race (in fact, I'm signed up for races in May and June). I think this is a relatively minor injury, but I knew deep down that I was taking a big risk toughing it out. And what would be the point of that? One of the reasons I run is that I enjoy the sensation of my body in motion, and to run a race where something was definitely out of wack was not what I was up for today. Now I'm back home, and I'm resting and recuperating with more ice. And chocolate. If this had been last year, I would have been mega-disappointed and filled with anger at myself and other factors(did I run too much this week and make myself susceptible to an injury? Were the brick sections on the course to blame for my unstable ankles?) The answer to both questions is probably yes, but there's no use getting mad at myself (or the brick streets of Springfield) for this injury, which I hope won't take long to take care of. I hope I get that finish line penny-pic with Abe and Mary Todd next year!