Michelle Kempton in Emergency
Michelle Kempton in Emergency

Last night, I dreamt I was running. My lungs felt strong, my body light, I was barely touching the ground with each step, every movement felt effortless and pain-free. Then I woke up, stretched my tired body and felt the twinge of pain from my ankle fracture.  Reality hit me – it had been six weeks since I last ran and it’s been over a year since I felt euphoric while running. Why would my subconscious torment me with this dream? Maybe my mind was telling me that my body is ready to run.

I haven’t given up hope that I’ll run again. It’s impossible to forget that when the run is good, it’s really good. I want that feeling again. I started this blog to document my recovery from an achilles injury last year. Slowly I began to run again, but before writing my happy ending, I had a freak accident. While walking, I stepped on what I thought was solid ground but fell into a leaf-covered ditch severely spraining my outer ankle and fracturing the inside ankle bone.

For the first couple of weeks, I was basically out of commission. At first I was on five days of bed rest, then I started using crutches, then began limping around on an ankle twice its normal size. My plans to run three races in Barbados a week later were cancelled. So was my role of instructing a running clinic in January. Since the new year, I have been wondering if my pain has subsided enough to try running again.

I’m trying to be patient, but after last night’s dream, I decided to run five minutes on the treadmill. It’s only five minutes, but I’ve got to ease myself back. My ankle was uncomfortable, but I didn’t experience the sharp pain that I was expecting – a pleasant surprise. I’ve decided to err on the side of caution and not play Russian roulette with Mother Nature by running outside this winter.  Since I’m fortunate enough to be able to run again, I’ll do it inside on the treadmill. It’s not that I want to be inside – I love the crisp air of winter running, but I feel like I have no choice. I can’t chance a fall on the ice and the reality is, I live in Canada so the probability is high.

Diagnosis: Sever sprain and ankle fracture
Diagnosis: Sever sprain and ankle fracture

I might also have to accept that at 40 years old, there likely will be aches as I grow older and running might not be as easy and pain-free as it used to be.  I know one thing for sure, running is an important part of my life that I  can’t live without. I need to decide what level of discomfort can I manage and I still want to be a runner. Round two of my recovery starts now and I seriously hope this blog doesn’t have a trilogy.

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