I am writing this on a warm sunny Saturday afternoon at a outdoor courtyard of a local tavern.  Meanwhile, in an alternative universe, I would be somewhere in the Catskills of New York getting ready for the Escarpment Trail Run. But in this reality things didn’t turn out the way I expected. Two weeks ago I was bounding down The Thousand Steps on Jack’s Mountain near Mount Union when momentum got the best of me and I rolled my ankle. To be specific, I was running down the next to last flight of stone steps when gravity took over and I began to bound two to three steps at a time. When I reached the bottom landing and my right foot landed, my ankle buckled. When it bent, I knew I was going to be in for a round of misery. Also when I fell, I lifted my arms out in front of me to break my fall. In doing so, I re-injured my right hand that I overextended at Hyner in April.

Now looking back at what happened, I was lucky since the landing was probably the best place to have fallen. If you are familiar with The Thousand Steps, it is just rocks and boulders for–like the name implies–a thousand steps.

About a day or two after the sprain, I already knew that the likelihood of me healing before Escarpment in two weeks would be unrealistic but I kept some hope, However as the days went by and my ankle was still tender, I knew if wasn’t in the cards.

This would be my first DNS (Did Not Show).

I wasn’t really frustrated with my decision not to show for the race until the weekend of the race. I spent much of my time looking at my watch and asking myself, “If I was in the race, I would be (insert activity, location, action) at this time. For example, right now its close to 5pm and I would be at the pre-race party at the race directors’ home near the race. In fact I just private messaged two friends that are there right now, asking them what’s going on. Though curious, I am rather thankful they had not replied.

Anyhow, I guess there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Two days ago I went on my first run in ten days. It was a “walk-run” of four miles. It went very well even though it is surprising how much my other ligaments and muscles felt tight from over-compensating and non-use. The next day, back of my legs in both legs were sore. Then today I ran for four miles at the track–entirely pain free. Hopefully, I will be back to “easy trails” by next weekend and back to normal on technical trails in two weeks–just in time to maybe pace a friend at Eastern States 100. I am slated to crew and as a back-up pacer.

A side note: I was considering of giving my entry away to a friend however on one hand, if I was wearing my race director hat, I would not want anyone run in place of anyone else. It is kind of a “code of conduct” that race directors should abide. Then on the other hand, why have a registration go to waste? But the more I thought about it, the race director in me won out. Even more so, the person I had in mind that would have ran in my place is an outstanding runner and has been tearing it up lately. He could have ran it and ended up in the top three. I don’t think it would have been fair to him if he did very well and it would “not have counted” in the official results.

Anyhow, as I go through the stages of grieving, I think I might go some good and “give back.” I am going go to sleep early this evening and drive an hour to Indiana, PA in the morning and cheer on and maybe volunteer at a local trail race. Perhaps the trail gods will smile upon me again and I will be good to go for the next race.