First Steps…

The restlessness was beginning to be too palpable.  I really needed to move. However, given all the set backs I’ve suffered with this injury, I  told myself that I was going to follow a proper recovery plan, which involved going to see a doctor, having X-rays done, to rule out any potential fractures etc.  However, waiting 3 weeks for an X-ray consult is way too long.  The facts were that the complete range of motion had returned to my ankle, albeit stiff and slightly painful, and the barefoot runs I had done in the yard and to the mailbox had led me to believe that running a mile wasn’t going to be painful.   So my best “non-medical guess” was that I was ready to take on a few easy runs, and see how my foot felt the next day.photo2 And so the very next day I decided to brilliant logic  with a pair of brand new shoes.

I knew I needed a pair of trail shoes.  My 2014 resolution was to spend more time in the woods.  I was always intrigued buy Merrell’s foray into the trail shoe world.  Growing up, I spent years hiking in the woods, and all of my hiking books had been Merrell and never once was I disappointed. I decided to buy the Merrell Ascend Glove.  Briefly–because this isn’t a shoe review–it’s a light weight, 0 drop shoe with 8mm of cushioning and a Vibram outsole.  Translation, light weight, low profile and no matter what the conditions are in the woods, I’ll basically be able to be Spiderman out there.

As soon as I got home, I decided to try take these shoes for a simple run. A  0.5 mile warm up, 1 mile run and 0.5 mile cool down.  My foot was stiff especially during the warm up, but as I laid into my 1 mile, everything was good to go and I ran a 7:43 mile–not bad considering my age and about 10-15lbs of injury fat.

I woke up the next day expecting the worse, but my foot felt fine.  After a day’s rest I decided to run a 3 miler to see how my foot would react, and again it was fine.

There it was, I had taken my first steps.

Goal Driven:

photoGiven how I’ve felt after 2 runs this week, I decided that I was time to get off my ass.  My brief experience with injuries is that you often find yourself walking a fine balance between no aggravating the injury and challenging you muscles and tendons to aid in the recovery.  This was a fine balance that I had failed at miserably in the past in my quest to pile on the mileage.  However after enough  time off my feet, it was finally time to start challenging these muscles and tendons and get them going.  So it was with that spirit and enthusiasm in mind that I signed up for the Canada Army Half-Marathon on September 21, 2014.  Which gives me a full 16 weeks to essentially go from “no fitness” to “half-marathon” PR.

At this point, aside from using the first 4 weeks to build a base and the next 12 weeks of full training, I haven’t worked out the nuisances of the training cycle. However, I do know that although this is a road half-marathon, I will be incorporating significant amount of trail runs.  The bulk of my hard workouts are going to be running hills and hill repeats.  The logic being that right now strength in my legs is going to be a better ally than speed for this race.

I’m viewing this half-marathon as an experiment.  How fast can my body recover from injury and how will it transform over the next 16 weeks as I start training and retooling my diet on the way to September’s race.    I plan on documenting the whole process here.  Above and beyond the traditional metrics of weekly mileage and pace, I’ll also be tracking the changes to my body–so yeah, getting on the scale and taking the famous mirror selfie.

This should be fun, stayed tuned for next Monday’s Week 1 report.

 

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Beginnings

I started running back in 2008.  At the time, I had a job that had long hours (80 hour work weeks were the norm) and even though I wasn’t obese, I could foresee the consequences of a poor diet and inactivity, if I didn’t get my butt moving.  I just chose running because it was the sport that was the most flexible in terms of scheduling.

Now, I can only speak for myself, but when starting anything new, the beginning is the toughest part. Running was no different.  I suffered miserably through shin splints that I was giving myself headaches by gritting my teeth so badly.  I took several weeks off, rebooted, and trained for my first half-marathon, which I ran in 2008 in a time of 1:56, and I never looked back.

Fast forward to present day.  I’m about to embark on a new beginning:  Starting to run–again.  Back in May 2014, shortly after the Ottawa Half-Marathon, I decided that it was it time to work on my running form.  What resulted was tight/sore calves with resulted in plantar fasciitis which was followed by posterior tibial tendonitis.  All because I ignored my better judgment and did too much too soon in comeback attempt #1.

The area circled in red is where the pain was focused.  If you look closely you'll still see a small mysterious bump that isn't present on the left foot.
The area circled in red is where the pain was focused. If you look closely you’ll still see a small mysterious bump that isn’t present on the left foot.

Frustrated with constantly being in pain when I run, I decided to revisit the lessons learned from my shin splint injuries of 7 years ago, and I simply stopped running.  With all this spare time on my hands I did what all self-proclaimed nerds would do, and thoroughly researched my injury and running form. My findings can be summarized briefly as follows:

  • My injury was caused by a combination of overuse, and flawed running form.
  • My overuse and flawed form revealed muscular imbalances that exist throughout my body.
  • No matter how minimal or maximal your shoes are, no matter how big or small the millimeter drop is on your shoes, if your running form sucks, you WILL be injured.
  • The ONLY way to heal my injury is to start from scratch.  To learn how to run, and address my muscular imbalances as if I were a complete newbie. 

At the risk of sounding cliché, the reason for starting this blog is two-fold: In the short-term, I wanted a medium to help me document my comeback from injured running to happy runner.  The long-term purpose of the blog is just document how I evolve from this point forward as a runner.

Adventures ahead!!!