The ankle has improved markedly over the last three days, so I'm starting to work my way back into my routine. I did a short 15K session on the bike yesterday to see how it would handle the stress, and it worked out great. I stayed close to home and avoided any big hills to be safe, but there was absolutely no pain even with a few hard sprints mixed in to test it out. The upside to cycling is that the cleats lock the foot into moving along a single axis, so it doesn't stress the joint quite as much as walking or running would. It allows me to warm things up an exercise them without too much risk of re-injuring them, so I figured it was the best way to get back into it.
Since swimming doesn't really use the legs all that much, I've pretty much stayed up on my training on that front regardless of the injury. As such, I headed out to my regular Tuesday session today and was pleasantly surprised when I saw the signs notifying us of the change to their winter schedule. Since the swimming lessons are done for the year, they've got more time for their other sessions and this pool has been moved up to a little over two hours. As I didn't know about this ahead of time I couldn't take full advantage of it, but I was able to squeeze in a few more minutes.
Either way, I headed out with the intention of warming up with 5x50m and then 5x100m, then moving to 800m sets to work on my endurance. Once I got going, however, I got into a comfortable groove so I elected to just keep going and see how long I could hold out. In the end, I managed to knock out a continuous set of 2,750m and only really stopped because I was running out of time and needed to do a cooldown. After that, I did a slower 250m set to cool down and finish off before getting out of the pool (doing a total of 3.75K).
Thanks to that, I'm now putting some serious consideration in skipping the Try-a-Tri distance and giving the Sprint distance a shot first. The last race of the season is near the end of this month, but the Try-a-Tri distance was sold out. As such, to do the shorter distance I'd have to do a race within the next couple of weeks which doesn't give a lot of time to get back up to speed. Doing the longer distance would mean a more grueling race, but it would also mean more time to prepare for it. As before, the running and cycling shouldn't be a problem, but my biggest hangup was the 750m swim (vs 400m) stage that starts it off.
With that said, being able to swim a distance in a pool is a bit different than swimming it in open water. Primarilly, in the pool you get a push-off every 25m that gives the arms a bit of a rest, and you don't really have to deal with a horde of people in your way. Further, the 750m distance is the shortest path around the bouys, so without any significant experience in open water sighting I'll likely end up doing a good deal more. On the flip side, the bouyancy of the wetsuit (if I go that route) does apparently make it easier, and the ability to draft off of other swimmers can help as well. How much those various factors balance against one another is my main concern at this point ;)
Either way, I'm likely going to do a walk this evening or tomorrow morning to test things out, and if all goes well I hope to get back to running tomorrow afternoon. Starting out with the Running Room groups is probably my best bet, as my body has never been good at slowing down so being able to go out with a slower group should help to keep my pace under control ;) If that goes well, I'll start the process of rebuilding my running slowly and hopefully get battle ready within the next couple of weeks!