Since my brother’s wedding in March, I’ve been having some issues with my left ankle. Or maybe it’s the heel of my left foot. It’s not super-serious. Most of the time, I don’t even notice it. But at the beginning of every morning — and sometimes at the end of an extra-active day — I feel a creaky stiffness with a dull pain around the ankle and/or heel. Typically limping to or from bed.
Here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure the injury could heal, perhaps completely, if I would simply lay off it for a couple of weeks. I’m just not willing to do that.
My running regimen doesn’t seem to affect the injury all that much (two weeks off after my last half-marathon did very little to change things). The injury rather seems to be aggravated by a very specific type of activity: sharp planting and pivoting –just like what one does in basketball or soccer. And these are sports that I play, several times a week, with my boys. Shivering cold or sweltering heat, my boys are constantly begging me, “Dad, can we go to the Fairchild Fields and play some soccer?” “Daddy, can we play basketball in the driveway?” “Daddy, can we? Can we? Huh?”
I love the physical activity — ankle issues and all — but even more I love the time with Elliot and Cor. The way I figure things, I’m never going to get another chance to enjoy this period in their lives. The weather conditions are (at least relatively) favorable in this stretch from March to October, and the boys love to play with me as much as they can. They yearn for both quality time and quantity time. And how often in my life are these circumstances going to coincide?!? Elliot’s 12th summer and Cor’s 6th summer are precious commodities that I want to steward wisely. Am I foolish to ignore my body’s pain signals to maximize this time in my boys’ lives? Maybe. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I’ll let the ankle heal up in November.