Hey look what I got in the mail the other day! Finally...my Death Race Finishers Coin! 8 months post 125km Death Race and how fitting...I receive my finishers coin and my freak injury finally appears to be on the mend:).
My closest buddies know all of the crazy details (thank you for putting up with me:) of my bizarre ankle injury but I thought I would bring the rest of you up to speed so you know why I have been doggin' it over the past 3/4 of a year.
If you had told me I would be just starting back to hills and speed 8 months after that dam race...you know I would never have done it! Even though it was a blast and an amazing experience...
I felt amazing during the race...my support team, Jen, and I were celebrating because I did not suffer any injuries during the 20 hour adventure. I felt great after the race! Well, OK, it was hard to climb in and out of the VW van the next day but I think that is to be expected after your first ultramarathon:) BUT...turns out there was a bizarre injury brewing...one that didn't turn up for 7-10 days post race.
I got... wait for it...
Now now now! Not THAT kind of OCD! Osteochondritis Dissecans. Or an Osteochondral fracture...specifically... to the medial dome of my talus (inside, top of my ankle bone).
This is kind of a rare type of fracture, more common in children, and not one that you would pick if you had to choose one. It usually happens during a bad ankle sprain, when the foot goes over and the talus and the tibia (leg bone) smash into each other...where they shouldn't. The damage can cause loss of circulation to the bone...which results in slow death to the bone tissue...eventually causing lesions, fractures or worse- chunks of bone falling off. There are varying degree's of severity.
How did this happen to me? They don't know. I don't know. But 'they' (surgeons) came up with a theory that it happened during the race when I rolled over on my ankle. I took a roll about 45k into the race...I remember it clearly now. It wasn't bad at all. I walked it off and carried on for another 80k without any issue. They figure the continuous running may have compromised the circulation after the bones made contact during that sprain. It took a while, but after 1-2 weeks the bone tissue died. That is why I had no symptoms for a week or more. Then the shit hit the fan, the ankle locked and I was off my feet, in tears of pain, unable to walk or work fully for weeks.
Why me? Who knows. It is a freak fracture and one that could happen ANY time you roll your ankle. It is a bad kind because it is in the joint- not just the long part of your bone. Joints are full of fluid. Bones don't set in fluid. Not very fast anyways.
Long story medium. Took 6 weeks until I got some answers. X-ray...nothing. CT Scan...nothing. Chiro, physio, sports med doc...? Last September, while camping in the middle of nowhere north Island, I happened to meet a retired pediatric surgeon who worked in one of the busiest childrens hospitals in California... He diagnosed me on the spot. Amazing.
Brilliant man who has more experience than you can imagine with OCD. He was hopeful that I would recover on my own after 6-12 months. He thought the MRI would show the severity and determine if surgery was required.
Got the MRI which confirmed his diagnosis and ruled out surgery as an option for treatment. The local surgeon was not too optimistic and wouldn't guarantee me a complete recovery...thought I might have to get used to living with early arthritis symptoms ...kind of glass half empty if you ask me...
I was just starting to walk without a limp and a locked ankle at that time. It has been a long slow and very painful road to where I am today.
I started running for 1 minute in November.
This past weekend I went for my first successful mountain run...chasing my billy goat friend, Liz up up up the downhill biking trails. My legs were burning...my lungs were on fire...it was the most amazing feeling and I loved every minute of the suffering:))
I'm listening to my body and giving my ankle at least a full year before I try anything crazy on my two feet again...so, if you see me doggin it out there...you know my story!
Your legs are a gift, not a given...but you know that, don't you?
GO MAKE THEM BURN!