A Bad Break
Knocked out of Hardrock
As I turned downhill, my legs churning underneath, I glanced up at the powder-white Continental Divide 20 miles westward. Fresh snow ...
Illustration by Jeremy Collins
As I turned downhill, my legs churning underneath, I glanced up at the powder-white Continental Divide 20 miles westward. Fresh snow muffled every foot thud, leaving only the sound of my breathing alternating with the panting of my dog, Chief.
That's when my left foot found a patch of ice. It slid, then caught a rock, bringing my ankle to a sudden halt. The trouble was that momentum carried the rest of me downhill.
A sudden pull. Maybe a snap. Did I hear a tear? Like a split-second sound of sinewy meat ripping apart. I bellyflopped several feet down the icy slope, and stopped. My run was over. So were my plans to run the 2008 Hardrock 100-miler.My ankle sat grossly askew from my lower leg, 45 degrees off-center. On the medial side, a golf-ball-sized deformity bulged and traces of blood seeped through my sock. My foot dangled precariously, as if only the skin attached it to my leg.
I began to crawl down the jeep road, stopping every 50 feet to cry out for help. Silence. Soon my tenderized kneecaps could feel each granule and pebble. My ankle didn't hurt ... yet. I had to reach the main road, at least a mile away. Chief stuck beside me, occasionally licking my cheek to encourage me.