Friday, July 31, 2009

Stress Fracture and Das Boot

Finally... This morning the sports doc confirmed what I suspected all along, I have a stress fracture in the right ankle. That sucks, yes, but I've been over that for a while. I'm actually pretty damn happy now. No joke! It's great to know for sure what's up and that I can formulate a game plan.

However, the game plan won't be decided for sure until the MRI is done next week and they can see the severity of it. The physician's assistant did point it out on the x-ray though. Hopefully, I'll just be out 6-8 weeks. Long time, but I can deal with that. Was glad it was this and not another soft tissue related injury, which are a lot trickier to treat a lot of the time.

I also feel even better now about dropping at Western States. I was feeling the stress fracture about three weeks prior to the race. Makes having to quit at mile 43 because of this issue (and subsequent quad pull because of the altered gait) a bit easier to swallow.

In the meantime, I get to where this really cool, medieval looking pneumatic boot. It's actually pretty comfortable. The little gray oval you see at the top is the air pump which you press to fill the bladders around the foot to hold it in place.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Data Gathering

Microbeads of sweat had already formed on my skin from the warm, humid air before the run even started. This was comforting, as I knew the heavy perspiration I'd experience during my run wouldn't entirely be from being out of shape from taking the past month off. On a similar note, I was glad I decided not to wear the heart rate monitor. I wouldn't have a sound excuse for diluting that information.

The appointment with the sports doctor is Friday, and I wanted to test things out to see where I was at with the ankle injury so I could perhaps explain things better. At times walking around, I can feel it, especially going downstairs, but to call it painful would be a stretch. Still, it's been there. As a result, I would be very careful during today's run, not hesitating to stop and walk home if needed. The results ended up being somewhat mixed.

I was shooting for around three miles, but predicted I'd get 8/10's of a mile into the run before the ankle became too painful or uncomfortable and then I'd shuffle home. However, I didn't even feel the ankle at all until I was probably 3/10's of a mile into the run. Even then it was so slight, I was wondering if it was psychosomatic.

8/10's of a mile into the run and I was sure that the ankle discomfort wasn't mental. Still, it wasn't bad and I felt I could go on.

Two miles into the run and the discomfort had ramped up a little and was now more consistent. This increase had continued at a very slow rate, almost like a faucet dripping, since I first felt it.

5k later and I was home. The ankle didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would, and I was somewhat encouraged at the time. Somewhat. But the obvious red flag was that it did continue to get worse as the run went on. It would have no doubt have continued to do so, and anything more than what I did today probably would have been really stupid. I can imagine if real hills were thrown into the route, it would have been even less pretty. Speaking strictly for myself, I don't really see much of the point in running unless there are real hills. When I can run them again with no problems, I know I'll be healed.

Here it is about a half an hour after the run. I have since showered and walked around a bit. The discomfort has escalated even further. Not super painful, but clearly there. Not a good sign and any encouragement I had felt a little while ago has since been erased.

Looking forward to the doctor's appointment on Friday to hopefully finally get a true verdict so I can better plan out a return. I'm still highly suspicious it's a stress fracture, but I remain open-minded to some sort of soft tissue injury. Still, I've had my fair share of those, and this clearly feels different. Pain is right on the bone, in fact. But guesses are far from facts, and hopefully the sports doc will shed some light on things.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, very humid, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Still Alive

Just a quick update on things. On the ankle front, after a lot of unneeded ballyhoo with the primary care doctor, I FINALLY got the referral to the sports doctor. Appointment is on July 31st so the long wait continues. While the sitting around and waiting part sucks, at the same time it's clear the ankle still needs some rest. Still, it'll be nice to know what's going next week and develop a subsequent game plan.

In the meantime, I crewed for some friends at the Vermont 100 this past weekend. I was primarily crewing for a friend of mine from Cleveland, Steve, but there were plenty of chances to jump in and help my fellow Trail Monster Running compadres as well. Not so desirable outcomes for most, but that's sometimes the case with ultras, or any race for that matter. If all races went well, it'd get boring pretty quickly.

I'll write a full report on that in a few days. Steve actually wants me to do a report on him and has asked me about it a couple of times. He insists on me being brutally honest (hee hee). Steve did go sub-24 for the buckle, but it was close (23:46:22). The whip had to be cracked several times to get him going. The gory details soon...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Update on Stuff

Not much to post lately, as I'm on the DL. Not a good time to be injured, as it is summer and I'm off work until the end of August. The side hobbies, like fly fishing, are getting more attention to keep the insanity at bay.

The ankle is still bugging me. The time off isn't appearing to help matters and I'm still suspicious of a stress fracture. I've been wrestling with the primary care doctor to get a referral to see my sports doctor... but long story short, they move very slowly. Did manage to have an x-ray and which apparently didn't show the stress fracture, but from what I understand x-rays are often inconclusive and a bonescan or MRI needs to be done to see for sure. So, waiting to hear back form the primary care doctor for the next step. Would be nice just to see the specialist first, but the health care plan that allows that costs way too much. Lovely.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Vibram Five Fingers and the Ankle

Short run at Pineland today to test things out. Original plan was to go barefoot, but Ian offered to loan me a pair of Vibram Five Finger Flows (originally owned by Chuck). Having never tried them before, I thought this was a great chance to test them out.

I really liked them. I noticed my stride was different right off the bat, striking more with the forefoot as opposed to the heal. It felt comfortable, efficient and natural. I liked it. Really liked it.

Unfortunately, the ankle started barking, and doing so loudly. Same thing I've been experiencing the past month, but more pronounced. It's a sharp pain in a localized area just above the inside ankle bone on the right foot. I'm making a doctor appointment first thing Monday morning to get X-rays. I suspect it might be a stress fracture, but who knows.

Ran 2.4 miles @ ~9:30/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, overcast, humid.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

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.