Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Aftermath

After going through the five stages of grief, I'm now at acceptance and am analyzing what's next. I'd like to apologize for my whiny DNF post, though it was how I was feeling at the time so I'm at peace with it. Though it may sound like a lot of consilating bullcrap, the DNF is going to be a great motivator on several fronts.

First off, I need to get everything in order. I need to let the injuries heal and decide what caused them to begin with and how to address them. There have just been way too many problems with injuries this past year. Something isn't right.

I'm just about done with "Born to Run". I'll do a full review once I'm done, but holy crap, this book is a huge eye opener and a great read. But I bring it up because I can't help but wonder if it's shoe choices that are the root of my problems. Or, simply put, shoes themselves.

I'm going to experiment with barefoot and Vibram Five Finger running and see if it helps. Why? Read "Born to Run" and you'll know. I know of several people it's helped out immensely, including Chuck. I used to poke fun at him for his barefoot and VFF anticts, but I'm sold, at least for now, and Chuck is my messiah. There are several others like Chuck. Ian is also experimenting with it lately. Given my injury history, I'm really looking forward to giving this a shot.

Keep in mind this isn't an either/or change. My plan is to incorporate barefoot/VFF running into normal running slowly, and ramp it up gradually but even then I don't foresee it replacing shoes entirely. One thing at at time though. I plan on giving it a shot this weekend once I heal up a little more.


Sparkplug said...

Jamie, I don't think your DNF post was whiny at all! You did awesome to continue until you did and work through the pain, and should be proud of yourself. And like you said, now you have to rest up and you'll be back at it stronger than ever, there's no question in any of our minds!!

Blaine Moore said...

Jamie - I recommend grabbing a pair of non-running vibrams to use as your everyday shoes (the running pair will get stinky and muddy in short order.)

I've worn regular sneakers or dress shoes twice in the past few months (once at a wedding, another time at a BBQ w/one of Erin's professors, and this is obviously not counting running shoes) and it's been great.

It gives you an opportunity to build up some foot strength without the stress of trying to run too far or too fast w/o shoes all at once when you haven't got the muscles for it yet.

Trail Monster Running said...

I learned last night (not surprised really) that anything new should be approached slowly and carefully. I know you're strong enough to run 100 miles, but be sure to take your new approach to running 'one step at a time'. I ran 5.5 miles in VFF's last night and my calves are sore today, not that bad but I should have taken a more incremental step up to that distance. If there is anything good that can come from this injury it's that it will give you the chance press reset, ease into the barefoot stuff while you're recovering and it will come more easily that if you were to push your way into in from a fully fit position. Good luck. I hope you can join us at Twin Brook soon for a barefoot jaunt through the grass.

middle.professor said...

Jamie - you grew up in south south and probably ran around barefoot a lot more than a typical northern kid (no southern jokes guys - we did it because it was warm year round, not because we couldn't afford shoes). So if your lucky, you may already have reasonably strong feet.

Lots and lots of track and cross country coaches have their runners run barefoot as a way to finish off practice. This has been common forever. But it's a good way to think about strengthening the feet incrementally. But you have to pick your spots. End your run by a soccer field - then take your shoes off and go do a mile in the grass barefoot.

And to emphasize Ian's point: most modern running shoes have high heels and, consequently, the calf muscles don't lengthen as much (as would barefoot) when the heel touches the ground (indeed, this is the reason for the high heels because biomecahnics thought that overstretching the calf muscles was the cause of achilles tendinopathy). So if you run in shoes with low heels (like race flats) or barefoot your calf mm. will stretch much more than it's used to. If you combine this with forcefully toe-ing off (using your toes to push or accelerate you off the ground) you will be looking forward to a whole lot of calf pain. Sprinters half to push off because this makes the fraction of a second difference in a 100 m race. But endurance runners don't need to and you'd have to have muscles made of steel to do it 90 times/minute for 1, 2, or 24 hours. So just lift your leg at the hip rather than pushing off with the toe.

Trail Monster Running said...

Jeff - Have you seen Jamie's calf muscles?

Paige said...

Very cool :) I kinda want to give those a shot, too, but alas we are in the same boat...too much freakin' injury in the last year! You should really wait to start running in VFF's until you're fully healed, otherwise you could really do some damage to already vulnerable areas. I think Blaine's suggestion (of non-running VFF first) is top notch and a great place to get started. My humble opinion :)

Damon said...


I just ordered some VFFs as well. I tried to get some in CA at Auburn Running Company, but they were out of almost every size. I got some online and I'm going to use them for weightlifting to start.

And, I also didn't think your post was whiny. You and I just fell into the 40% who didn't make it for one reason or another. Things happen sometimes that cannot be immediately resolved. So, we analyze them, respond to our analysis, and hopefully prevent the problem next time around.

middle.professor said...

I have - calves of steel! Or at least kevlar. Certainly more than my famine victim boneless chicken legs.

Ryan said...

You prepared for WS and you experienced WS the good and the bad, congratulations on reaching this goal. I recommend trying the Vibram 5 fingers, my weekly running routine includes at least one run in the Vibrams. I like to mix it up, barefoot running, hill repeats, intervals, tempo runs and long runs.

Keep on truckin Jamie!

RunSueRun said...

Hey Jamie, I'm just back in CA and online after playing in the eastern mtns. (Tuscarora Trail--OMG!... Report on my blog soon). So sorry to hear about your DNF at WS, but of course you made the right decision. And you're right about DNFs being just another part of ultrarunning. Will be interested to hear how the barefoot running goes. :) Heal up quickly buddy!

Ultrathoner said...

DNFs suck... but they are part of what we do. Sometimes they are necessary as part of the learning experience before we can go up to the next level. Don't be too hard on yourself. There's always next time!