“I’m going to play a tennis match tonight”
“Are you nuts?”
I thought about being coy with my response to the question, but, well, she has a point. There was no use denying what has long been obvious.
Simple and sweet.
Not quite two weeks ago, I turned my ankle while riding my mountain bike. It was an injury that would have been avoided if I chose to listen to common sense, taken the minute or two to put on my bike shoes rather than venture out wearing only flip flops. My bike has clipless pedals, require shoes with reinforced stiff soles and metal cleats that clip into the pedals. The pedals are small. I was in a hurry, late for the race I had volunteered to help marshall, so I wanted to get right to my post. It didn’t matter that my post was deep in the woods, at the back end of the race course, and I would have to ride the rough, sometimes steep narrow dirt trails to get there. When the race was over, I would have to help remove the taped barriers that marked the course route.
The race was a timed race, with participants released into the course every 5 minutes. It was my job to report when a rider passed my check point, provide encouragement to each rider as they negotiated the steep route sections up to my station, then pedaled down a severe drop around the back, back up, then over a straight down drop that comes back over a table top jump. People come up to my post to watch and cheer, ringing cowbells and blowing horns. Riders are usually fatigued when they reach that point in the race, the tough climbs taking their toll on the legs, and there can be some real drama to witness, the struggle to get over the steep rooty section a challenge. Only three riders made it up and over the roots without stopping to walk or run their bike up the rest of the climb. Last year, I brought my trumpet with me, blew taps if someone didn’t make it to the top. That got a bad reaction from a man who lived close by, a veteran who said that taps brought back bad memories.
When the race was finished, I climbed back on my bike and started the task of taking down the tape barriers. I had to negotiate the trails carefully, not just because I was wearing flips, but also because the trails were damp from a light rain that had fallen the night before.
That dampness was my downfall. Each time I stopped to take down some barrier tape, the bottom of my flip flops got wet. With wet pedals and ‘shoes’, I zipped down the side of a berm, then back up the other side. When I came over the top of the opposite berm, my right foot slipped sideways off of the pedal, turning my ankle in the process. Oops. I didn’t think much of it. There wasn’t much pain. However, later on, I noticed a bit of pain on the outside of my foot while I was walking. The foot swelled a little bit, but I figured the swelling would be gone in a day or two, and I would be back to normal. Monday, it was tender. While walking across the parking lot at work, there was a loud popping sound from my foot, with a sharp pain.
Crap. It really hurt. I knew I was hurt. Oh no…it’s the beginning of the spring/summer. Biking plans are ramping up, the outdoor tennis season is starting.
Did I mention how much of a doof I am? I can’t rest an injury. I tried staying off of the foot as much as possible, but I didn’t ice it lest my wife think I was too injured to bike or play tennis. Last weekend, a week after the initial injury, I spent the day walking with her at a spring garden festival, visited garage sales with her that morning (rode my bike in, yes, flip flops). We got home, cooked burgers on the grill and played bags… and I turned the ankle again. This time it swelled up like a stuffed sausage. Lisa insisted I visit an urgent care the next day to make sure it wasn’t more than a sprain. Since then, I have soaked it every evening in a hot epsom salt bath, followed by ice. The swelling is gone. It feels relatively good.
So, when Norm, my doubles tennis partner, asked me this morning if I wanted to play our scheduled match this evening, I said yes.
Thus, the ‘Are you nuts?’.
I didn’t play. She was right in more ways than one. She also reminded me that in a few weeks we will be in Turkey, a trip that will involve a lot of walking and hiking. Screwing the foot/ankle up again will probably mean it will take longer to recover.
It’s nice to have a voice of reason to counter my lack of common sense……