The Ankle Tester

Howdy everyone! Guessing you were expecting a race recap from my recent ultra-marathon efforts. Based on the mere fact this post made it out (barring any devious pre-scheduling ha), you know I at least survived the ordeal. The results of that race are a bit of a mixed bag, so I’ll need to wait a bit before updating everyone on how that went as a whole. Unfortunately, my procrastination this year – which I completely blame on retirement – has caught up with me. I always recap my races in chronological order and depending on how much you follow the mothership side of Intrigued, you may have noticed my annual trek up to Davenport, Iowa to run the Bix 7 has been missing.

Well, that race did happen and along with the recent ultra was one of only two formal races I’ve participated in so far. There is another one scheduled for the end of the month, but that will be the last for ’22. Little bit lighter load this year due to traveling and other commitments.

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

Hit the jump for a recap of the first race of the year.

There were some definite concerns going into this particular race. I managed to severely sprain my ankle a month or so earlier. Was out on an early morning training run right after a storm when I took my eyes off the road for 2 seconds to check out a ruckus just off the side of the road. Left foot came down on tree debris left over from the storm and snap, crackle, pop, outside ankle slams to the ground. Pretty sure those damn Squirrels that were causing the ruckus were laughing it up. Our local long-tailed rodents are downright devious and assuredly caused the commotion in hopes of taking me out for their own devilish humor.

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

Twisted ankles are nothing new to runners, but this one sounded and felt pretty bad. Normally, I can ride them out – keep running on it until it remembers who the boss of the body is and the swelling drains out. This one was having none of that mind over body matter and continued taking hammer swings every time I planted on that foot over the remaining 2 miles.

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

Managed to get back in the car, drive home and assess the damage. Swelling remained, ankle area turning purple and damn if it didn’t still smart. Put a shoe back on it, took some Advil to curb the swelling and gingerly walked around the house over the course of a few hours hoping for the best. It was slowly getting better before I took a step out into the garage. Two small steps and then the ankle completely gave out going completely to the ground again. !#@%!@%#^%^^@ this was going to make me pay. Nursed it for a few days and then started the long recovery road back eventually making it back out for a ginger 3 miler, then 3.5, then 4… you get the picture.

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

Severely weakened, it required absolute concentration to make sure I landed straight. Wobble board exercises, ice, heat, foam roller and other forms of self-inflicted torture to the point I was confident enough to attempt the Bix@6 training runs they have leading up to the race. Making it through that was a huge relief. Still swelling after the run – but holding together up and down their big hills. Not wanting to push it thanks to the more important ultra-run a little of 3 months away, I dropped down to the slower chutes. Immediately negated any PRs, but honestly, that was out of the question before stepping on the street. A forced throttle if you will so I didn’t end up like this!!

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

Linda (who once again tackled the Quick Bix – you go girl!) and I took our traditional pre-race selfie and headed to our respective starting positions. No rain in the forecast and it was actually a bit cool for an end of July race in the Midwest. That would change as the race progressed, especially with all the asphalt that sucks in the heat and blasts it back at you. The waves of people ahead me were making the “inner runner” extremely frustrated – had to keep reminding myself this predicament was intentional. Eventually broke free from the turtles.. I mean start cluster after making it to the top of the Brady St. hill. I still wish people would have the common decency to pick a chute that comes anywhere close to their real time – if you are walking up that hill and likely the even tougher hill at the halfway point – you should not be starting that close to the gun (and then to walk 4+ across yapping to your friends…my ankle better appreciate the sacrifice).

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

…and that it did. I can’t say I have ever felt better coming into the 5th mile of this race. There is something about that spot that has punished me every prior year. That spot is about halfway up the long 2 mile hill back to Brady Street and happens to have a steeper pitch with a hidden bend in it. You push yourself to make it up what you think is the worst of it before having to turn slightly left to see you have a lot further to go – going to take more out of the tank. This year… easy, peasy, bring on the dancing horses. Ankle was slightly tender, but firm on every plant. Cruised up to the top of the hill and for the first time running that race, took in all the sights and sounds as I headed down the steep Brady Street hill that less than an hour earlier was making my lungs burn. Man, I love this race – all the cheering locals, the music at various points and … wait for it… wait for it… WHITEY’S root beer popsicles waiting for us at the end YUMMMMMM!

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

Always a big smile on my face when I see that Linda successfully owned the Brady Street hill as well. You can really tell the different the valve upgrade is having. As a whole I’m calling this year’s Bix a complete success in light of the issues leading up to toeing the line. I can’t remember the last time I had injured myself that bad so early in the training season. The fact that it held on those big Davenport hills gave thanks to a lot of painful rehab therapy and build back runs – also gave a huge confidence boost to my ultra plans later in the year (as in last weekend ha). There are no options for week ankles when you are on the Farmdale Reservoir hills.

Bix 7 Race Davenport, IA, July 30, 2022

As mentioned, the times were slower than previous years – like 3 minutes worth. A lot of that was due to fighting the traffic up the first hill and the rest..well gawking at the crowd the last mile probably didn’t help hehehehe. Another year, another Bix 7 notch in the running log book.

4 thoughts on “The Ankle Tester”

    1. Them popsicles are FANTASTIC! I don’t think Advil has thought of that market yet, but what I have learned is you can down them a root beer float (from Spoon River Drive) and they are far more effective – but if you can get Advil to partner with Whitey’s we’d own the running recovery world!

      Liked by 1 person

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