archives archives
horizontal rule

Sunday, August 25, 2002

i didn't do any more running this week, because it seemed to be staying fairly stiff after running last tuesday. as usual i have been continuing to bike and aquajog, since biking keeps up my cardiovascular fitness and aquajogging works the same muscles as "normal" jogging. in general i've been trying to aquajob and bike as many times a week and for the same duration as my normal runs, estimating a conservative time of 10 minute miles. so, this weekend that meant that last night i jogged in the pool for the equivalent of 16 miles or roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes. i usually can keep a fairly good clip in the pool and was surprised this morning to find very little residual tightness in my knee and calf. since i felt pretty good, i decided to bike with the rest of the crew this morning while they ran their 16 miler, which meant i got 40 miles under my belt.

amazingly, despite the 16 miles last night and the 40 miles this morning, i'm happy to report very little pain. indeed, all things considered, i'd say i was nearly pain free!

i'll see how i feel in the morning, but this week might be the week that i work back to running full time. it'll be interesting to see how all my cross training has affected my conditioning.

about 32 miles into my bike ride, i made one of those mistakes that you only get to make once. if you're lucky.

i was trying to make up time by keeping a 20 mile an hour pace in a bit of a head wind. coming up to an intersection of the trail with a 2 lane road, i looked both ways. twice. quickly. too quickly. and in missed a car that felt like it came inches from hitting me. hard.


i didn't even have time to hit my brakes, which is good, because if i had, i'd probably be dead.

i look back - my adrenaline virtually squirting from my pores - to see a shirtless, moustached, burly man leaning out his window of his late model brown chevy sedan, gesticulating wildly and obviously cursing, although i couldn't hear him over the blare of the ipod . inexplicably, i shout "FUCK YOU!" and tear off down the bike trail.

i get maybe 10 full pedal rotations down the trail and i come to my senses. inebriated from the effects a hellish cocktail of 10 parts adrenaline and a splash of the donnas , i'd become an asshole's asshole and felt immediately, immensely despicable. to top it off, i was positive that i'd meet the moustached man at the next intersection.

i was right. just as i get to the intersection, the late model brown chevy screeches into view and he starts to get out, looking dangerously close to wanting to duke it out. in a bit a fancy verbal footwork, i deftly deflect his verbal jabs the situation starts descescalating. "yes, in fact, i'm dumb." "no, sir, i don't normally swear at complete strangers who almost kill me because of my dumbness and honestly i have no idea why it came out of my mouth." and so on.

as it turns out, he lives nearby. three people have been killed at the same intersection doing exactly what i did. enjoying a fine summer day, blowing through a seemingly dead intersection in the middle of nowhere.

7:00 PM

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

little. tiny. baby. steps.

i ran a mile today! while i'm not a hundred percent by a long shot, i can tell that the aquajogging and running has been having a positive effect on my conditioning and the physical therapy is slowly fixing all the various broken and misaligned pieces.

i think for the remainder of the week i'll start mixing aquajogging with land running and see how things go. things are slowly looking up.

4:05 PM

Monday, August 19, 2002

well, still no running today, but i did bike around 10 miles for a little "light" cross training. my knee felt a little stiff today, but close what i would have expected given my workout yesterday.

i think tommorrow might be the day that i get back to running. no, silly - i wasn't crossing my fingers.

7:04 PM

Sunday, August 18, 2002

i still haven't been running this week, but i might as well be training for a triathalon. today i biked around 30 miles and then ran 14 miles. in the pool. yes, at my running speeds that equals over two hours in the pool. with. no. breaks. and no, the aquajogging thing isn't getting any less boring. if anything, it forces a certain mental toughness that will hopefully make jogging seem like a breeze.

anyway, with the physical therapy, constant biking and running in the pool things are starting - ever- so-slowly - to look up. after reintroducing myself to the wonders of icy hot, i think i might be ready to jump back into running. possibly tommorrow. i'll wait and see how my knee and calf feel tommorrow morning after all the activity today.

7:29 PM

Saturday, August 17, 2002

myths and truths of stretching exposed! yes - there will be a quiz:

"Despite limited evidence, stretching has been promoted for years as an integral part of fitness programs to decrease the risk of injury (1-6), relieve pain associated with "stiffness" (5), and improve sport performance (4-6). Many different stretching recommendations have come out of the medical literature, and new research has challenged some long-held concepts about common stretching practices. As a result, misconceptions and misinterpretations are common--not just among patients, but among healthcare professionals, as well. Thus, many clinicians are at a difficult crossroads when making sound recommendations to patients."

"In general, PNF stretching has resulted in greater increases in range of motion compared with static or ballistic stretching (26,50-56), though some results have not been statistically significant (57-59). "

o.k. since you're not going to read the whole study, here's the nutshell:

"In general, [proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation] stretching has resulted in greater increases in range of motion compared with static or ballistic stretching (26,50-56), though some results have not been statistically significant (57-59)."


"PNF refers to any of several post-isometric relaxation stretching techniques in which a muscle group is passively stretched, then contracts isometrically against resistance while in the stretched position, and then is passively stretched again through the resulting increased range of motion. PNF stretching usually employs the use of a partner to provide resistance against the isometric contraction and then later to passively take the joint through its increased range of motion. It may be performed, however, without a partner, although it is usually more effective with a partner's assistance."

yes, that's right. it can be fun for the whole family!

9:50 AM

Sunday, August 11, 2002

yup. still injured. it's been an up-and-down week, with some fairly substantial downs. i decided to stop my armchair theorizing and saw a chiropractor, my regular doctor and a physical therapist - and got three different opinions on recovery times.

my doctor [ actually a physician's assistant ], didn't say much beyond telling me to stay off it for two more weeks and take some anti-inflammatories. the chiropractor and the physical therapist, both pointed to basically the same causes, but differed in how long they thought it would take to recover. apparently, i've had a number or prexisting injuries that have silently been conspiring against me. that they didn't reveal themselves until recently is just part of the cruel joke. essentially, i didn't actually pull my calf muscle, it was just creating a "natural splint" to prevent me from really breaking something, due to an "asymetric dysfunction" between my left foot and my right hip.

nope. no amount of stretching or mindful running was going to prevent the cumulative effects of a car accident where i put my knees through the dashboard, skateboaring induced blown ankles, and the miscellaneous bad mojo that comes from falling off the side of a mountain in new hampshire. that i was able to run pain free for this long is a testament to the power of compensation, but running 10 miles has a way of revealing all those nasty accomodations you've developed over the years. obviously, the question is whether or not i can put things back together again in time for the chicago marathon .

the chiropractor didn't think i'd be running a 10 miler before january, but since i've always been a little suspicious of chiropractors, i decided to go and see the physical therapist. to my chagrin, the pt pointed to the exact same asymetric forces, but was fairly confident that i could still get back into good form in time to run the race in october. so, after some fairly hardcore cranking, pulling, manipulating, popping and shifting of ankles, knees and hips, he proclaimed that i should be able to get out and run a half mile. i was stupified. immediately, almost all the pain was gone. at that point, i could have believed that he could part the red sea. i went home and decided that the following day, i'd try walk-running a few miles. i didn't make it three tenths of a mile before everything fell apart so badly that i wasn't sure i was going to be able to limp back to the house.

luckily, by the time i got to the house, most of the pain, primarily in left knee, had subsided. however, it was the first in a number of experiences that would batter my resolve to keep motivated. this cycle played out a few times over the week. i'd do the self-help exercises, given to me by the physical therapist, go biking for a cardio workout, wake up the next morning feeling strong and pain free - only to take two steps back if i tried to run even a city block. most of the pain in my calf has gone away, and it's now my knee that's causing most of the problems, presumably due to the pt putting my knee back in the position that it hasn't been asked to be in for around ten years.

so, things are looking like they might take awhile to fix and i'm taking things a day at a time. i've been cross training on a bike to keep my cardio fitness up. while everyone else was running 12 miles on saturday, i biked around 30 miles at a pretty good clip. unfortunately, while biking is good for a maintaining cardio fitness, it doesn't use many of the same muscles as running. based on articles like this , i've decided to also start aquajogging :

"Additional support for the fitness benefits of water running is provided by a study from the exercise physiology lab at the University of Toledo, in which trained runners ran in the water five or six days per week for four weeks. These runners had no change in 5K performance time, VO2 max, lactate threshold or running economy after four weeks of water running. Thus, there seems to be very little question that water running is an effective way for runners to stay fit. "

the downside. as is alluded to is this discussion from ultra trainers , aquajogging is stupendously, mind-numbingly boring. if you think running is boring, imagine staring at pool tiles for two hours. ugh.

we'll see how this goes. i've seen alot of positive evidence regarding aquajogging , so hopefully it will help me keep up my conditioning while i put everything back together again.

7:32 PM

Sunday, August 04, 2002

there's no denying it. i'm injured. after the ten-miler last saturday, i tried to run 4 miles on monday and could only manage to hobble for 2 miles before i threw in the towl. in retrospect, i probably should have listened to my body and not even bothered with the 2 miles.

the symptom? a strained calf muscle :

"Calf problems are usually due to micro-traumas that occur with every run. A typical muscle that is exercised multiple times a week is injured on the microscopic level with every workout. These micro-injuries require to heal. As the muscle is used and the microtraumas occur, an inherit tightening or contracture takes place.

This is the body's attempt to protect the muscle to allow the necessary time for recovery. The downside of this is built in protective mechanisms that there is a reduced blood flow to the muscle, this reduced blood flow furthers the contracture or tightening.

This cycle usually leads to injury or chronic tightness and stiffness that limit a runner with regard to mileage and hard workouts. AS soon as the muscle tightness is mildly improved, most runners feel the need to get back out on the road or track as quickly as possible. This is taking a muscle that is just starting to recover and asking it to perform when it is not capable of doing so and the cycle continues."

in hindsight, i clearly wrote about impending damage after the 10 miler :

"... making the bad mental mojo that much more difficult to counter, i had to stop and stretch every mile or two because my calf muscles decided to go into slow motion charlie horses...."

in my ignorance, i was actually making the microtraumas worse by overstretching the non-damaged tissue during the lng run. strangely, the hardest part has been keeping myself from running and reinjuring myself. i've been biking around 10 miles a day, to get some conditioning, which i suppose is better than nothing.

i've been following some of ozzie gontang's [ maintainter of the running faq ] advice on massaging calves :

"First work out the knot in the calf. Sit down. To find it, put your belly of the calf muscle over the knee of the other leg. Move the knee back and forth in the belly of the calf and you should find the knot. Remember when a muscle is sore and contracts, in the contracted state it doesn't let you know it's sore, until you start to feel around.

Put your calf muscle over your knee, a railing, the back of a chair. Remember it's the back of the calf muscle. You put the belly of the muscle over the back of the chair, or railing or knee. Slowly (lovingly) rotate it back and forth, that is side to side about a inch. Slowly move(slide) the leg up or down the back of the chair, etc. so that you "lovingly massage side to side the entire belly of the calf.

Remember it you go too deep, too fast, too hard, you will only get the muscle to tighten up even more---getting the opposite of what you want."

interestingly, ozzie mentions in a few usenet posts that strains on the shin can eventually cause problems with the calves, so here's my little theory that i've constructed. after running in maine in the hills, i started feeling some relatively mild shin splints. i then made things much, much worse by making the naive decision to run 8 miles on a running track. rather than helping my shin shins, i actually put my inside [ left ] leg shin under severe strain. the strain on my shin eventually created excessive microtraumas in my calves, which led to gradual tightening of my calf. i ignored [ or rather was ignorant of ] the warning signs and overstretched and exacerbated the problem.

in the end, as always, nature won.

this week, i'm scheduled for a professional message to help get the knots out of my calf, i'll continue my biking and hopefully, maybe, start running again. slowly.

2:21 PM

Thursday, August 01, 2002

so, maybe my little marathon training isn't so hard after all. at least not compared to the badwater ultramarathon :

"To most athletes or would-be athletes, finishing a 26.2-mile marathon may seem like a huge accomplishment. But for some hard-core runners, it's just the beginning.

Many elite runners compete in so-called ultramarathons, covering 50 or even 100 miles. But some consider the Badwater Ultramarathon the true test of the committed runner -- 135 miles through the deadly summer heat of Death Valley, beginning at the lowest point in North America and ending halfway up the tallest peak in the lower 48 states."
6:27 PM

just in time for summer - look snazzy and support the site at the same time by buying some snowdeal schwag!

"I think you devise your own limits for your own personal convenience. There are some people who wish to have limits, and they'll invent as many boxes for themselves as they want. It's like, you know, men invented armor. They wanted to protect themselves from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and so forth. And people do the same thing psychically and psychologically. They build their own armor. They build their own rathole, whatever it is. And they choose their existence. Whether they do it consciously or whether it is helped along by a government or an education system, somebody is helping to shape this imaginary box you live in, but it doesn't have to be there."

--frank zappa

runner's world / joe henderson / chicago marathon /

valid xhtml 1.0 ?

Powered by Blogger Pro™ Independents Day

This site designed by
Eric C. Snowdeal III .
© 2000-2002