Category Archives: Injury

Where for art thou?

You’ve probably noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve posted some real content, so what’s been keeping me so busy that I haven’t been able to post?  Here’s the quick and dirty:

 1.)      In early August I pulled my left hamstring and missed half a month of training.  No training = no running to talk about, so I deferred to posting pretty pictures and videos to cover the gaps.

2.)     The last two weeks of August were ridiculously busy in family-land.   My wife took the kids on a few 3 day trips, as well as taking a few trips of her own with some girlfriends, meaning that I was either on my own or doing single-parent duty.  Both of these produced great stories, but also a multitude of fatigue, which translated into a lack of communication on my part.

3.)      I also took some extra time over the Labour Day weekend and spent some quality family-time swimming, climbing, midnight canoeing,and trail running.  One of my runs lead to an awesome, impromptu, adventure run which I’ll be describing in agonizing detail shortly (in glorious HD!)

 I guess what I’m trying to say is that for most of August I was either injured or living life to the fullest.  Dichotomy much?  This is my life, I guess I should be used to it by now.

Anyway, I’m back to running and I’ve been trying to get my neighbours onto a serious half-marathon training plan with mixed results (much like last year).  We’ll have to see how things turn out, but at this point it’s looking dubious.

 Hope things are good your end, Cheers!

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So how have you been?  As I’ve alluded to over the past couple of posts, July has been a bit of a gong show, nothing major has happened but AGAIN I find myself trying to find some motivation and direction.  My vacation was good, I managed to keep active throughout the week with trail runs, bike rides, kayaking, swimming and lots of walking, but by the end of the week I was simply exhausted.  The week after that was filled with catch-up tasks from our week away and in conjunction with the summer (hell-on-earth) temps, my training took a significant hit.  Once it cooled a bit I was able to get back out on the trails which felt awesome.

Shortly after I tried to do some speed work one day at lunch, and by mid afternoon the nagging pain in my left hamstring told me that I had pulled it.  As an aside, I’m really starting to notice my need for a significant warm-up before workouts lately.  I used to be able to simply crank out my run as soon as I was out the door, but now it takes me a full kilometer to get into the groove.  Jumping right into 100m sprints simply to save time leads to injury kids, write that down, that is gold.  You’d think that after hurting my back deadlifting without a warmup I’d have gotten the message…apparently not.  Dumbass

Long story short, since then I’ve fallen off the wagon.  Once injured I packed up the tent and went home, and looking back it’s kind of embarrassing how easily I gave up but it’s in the past and all we can do is learn from it or ignore it.  On that note, I’ve started back running again and hoping to remember what I’ve been taught by experience.

Have a great weekend kids

Injury – Timeline Dissection

Howdy all, miss me?  Care to join me in a trip in the Way-Back machine?  I think I’ve finally pieced together what happened this spring, and how exactly I hurt my feet.  If so, strap yourselves in kiddies, it’s an ugly trip 😉

In January of this year I had to buy new shoes, and after trying a few different brands/styles I settled on the in the Saucony’s Kinvara 2’s.  Through the winter and spring of 2012 I put 390km on those shoes and they served me well.  I ran a 30km race to a major PR and was happily ramping back up to give the Ottawa Marathon another try in late May.  This is where the things went suddenly pear-shaped.

In early May (with the marathon approaching) I decided it was probably time to start breaking in the new shoes for race day.  My older Kinvara 2’s were starting to hurt my knees and the new ones looked so primed and ready to rip it up, although after a handful of runs in the new shoes my right foot started to hurt…BADLY.  What I thought was a stress turned out to be a mixed bag of Cuboid Syndrome and calcification on the cuboid joint from older (and repeated) sprained ankles.  What really raised my eyebrow though was the piecing pain in the forefoot of my LEFT foot at exactly the same time.  Convenient, yes?  Many a vulgarity were uttered, specialist seen and corrective measures were taken.  Also, just to make things more fun, within days of all of this I managed to miss a stair and bashed my right forefoot into the stair footplate bruising it horrifically as well!  Welcome back Murphy’s Law, it’d been a while since we’ve talked, I thought you had forgotten all about me….damn.

So what caused all of this?  In March we took a trip to Myrtle Beach, and seeing how shoes are on average 30-35% cheaper in the US than Canada I took the opportunity to stock up with another 2 pairs of Kinvara 2’s.  Unfortunately, as far as I can tell the forefoot rocker on the new Kinvara 2s caused the head of the 3rd & 4th metatarsal to push together and pinch the nerve that runs between them.  After waiting for my feet to return to normal, I decided to do a little investigation and see just how much of the issue was the shoes and how much was my feet simply not-cooperating.   I slipped on the shoes again, and within 4 steps I could tell that the shoes weren’t going to work.  The crunch-pop in my left foot immediately returned and knew that any further use would only set me back another few weeks.  Why?  How?  Hadn’t I been running in the same shoes for the past 3 months?  Short answer: I have no idea.  The shoes SHOULD have been fine, but somewhere between the Around the Bay in March and my new Kinvara 2s in May my foot physiology changed and rendered these new shoes unusable.

New Balance 730

Eventually I started running again, but exclusively in my trail shoes (New Balance MT101).  No pain, no issues, just flow, it was awesome…but I still needed road shoes, ones that fit this time.  Knowing that New Balance shoes worked with my feet, I did some research and finally decided on the New Balance 730s.  Low to the ground, light (7.3 oz), 3mm heel-toe drop, and a generous forefoot, these were the shoes for me.  So far I’ve put a handful of runs in them and it’s been green lights all-around.  As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not much one for in depth reviews of shoes, but I’ll see what I can do for you…

Anyway, it’s all water under the bridge at this point, I’m back running and hopefully these new kicks will do the trick….Now if I could just nail down a few goals for the summer I’d be alllllll set.

Have a great weekend kids, get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Not Dead

Click to see the animation

Hey Kids, this is a quick note to let you all know that I’m not, in fact, deceased.  There hasn’t bee much to post throughout my injury rehab, but now that I’m nearly back in black there should be more opportunity to post….as soon as I out run this avalanche of work that has suddenly accumulated on my desk.

Have a good one kids, and remember: listen to your body and don’t do anything stupid!

Aqua Jogging? Water Running? Stationary Swimming?

Water running is: “flotation assisted running motions performed in a body of water”.  So how does Water Running (…errr….Aqua Jogging?…Wet Sprinting?…whatever) work?  Easy – strap a flotation belt to your waist, jump in the deep in and haul ass like you’re being chased by hungry beavers and you’re wearing wooden underwear.

Most pools should have flotation belts that you can use, however if they don’t the belts seem easy enough to find online.  The majority of times I’ve used this training technique the pool has been setup for adult laps (as lurid as that may sound it’s actually pretty benign), however you should be able to do this during an adult or family swim period as well.  If the pool is setup for laps, jump in the ultra slow lane and ensure you aren’t impeding anyone else’s swim (if you aren’t sure where to go, ask the lifeguards they will know where you should/could fit best).

“How fast? How long? How hard?” (raises eyebrow) excuse me?

Since grinding away a 45-60min water run is nearly as boring as doing a treadmill run, I suggest treating your session as a speed or fartlek workout.  Set timed intervals of “sprinting” with rest periods between e.g. – 60sec. hard, 60sec. recovery, 120sec. hard, 120sec. recovery, etc.  My typical workout has been a 10 minute warmup, then alternating 5min. of strides and 5min of higher cadence “peddling” motion for 30-40min total, and 10min cool down.  By alternating the strides and high cadence I reduce the risk of injuring myself further plus I work different muscle groups….plus it’s just more interesting than staring at a brick wall for an hour.

Without a surface to push off with your feet it can difficult to mimic a true running stride and since you’d probably like to make the best use of your time while you’re there it’s important to find a way to do this.  I found that my natural tendency was to pump my legs up and down in a stair-stepping motion which really doesn’t do much for your running fitness.  After some experimentation I found that using strides and cycling motions better worked the “running” muscles.  When using strides ensure you pull forward hard enough to feel it in your quads, then pull back with the hamstring and engage the glute muscles, FEEL THE BURN!  As for the higher cadence sets I focus mainly on “landing” my feet directly below my body, and moving my legs quickly.  This tends to be more of a cycling motion than the strides but as long as you are keeping the movement light and quick it gets the job done.

Hopefully a few weeks of rest will let my stress fracture heal and I can get back to hitting the trails, until then I’m there will be some water running in my future.

Have a good one kids, stay healthy!

Murphy’s Law & Stress Fractures

I have a secret…I’ve been denying yet hinting at this for a bit, hoping things would turn around but they haven’t and now I’m left with a realization: my right foot is screwed. I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to develop a stress fracture, in the top of my right foot.  It’s sore to the touch, and behaves pretty much like the one I had last year, unfortunately there’s no way to tell for sure without an X-ray.  Even if it’s not fractured the treatment is pretty much the same: Rest, Ice, Time off, Wait. To say I’m pissed off would be an understatement, but I’m trying to keep my outlook forward facing and productive instead of sad and pitiful.

So where do I go from here? As I’ve said previously, the marathon is in 2 weeks so I can start tapering now with little effect, but it’s still more aggressive than what I hoped to be doing this time of year. Tapering doesn’t simply mean “no running”, it should be a gradual decrease in effort and mileage leaving you primed for race day, so what’s a crippled runner to do? Answer: Cross train like it’s your job!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pacing/training my neighbours in for a half marathon in the fall, and last night I had to send them on their merry way without me. I was planning on riding my bike alongside them but they left too late so I ditched them and headed to the local pool for some water running. “What’s water running?” one might ask; it’s running with a floatation belt in the deep end of the pool.  It’s ridiculously monotonous and you occasionally want to gouge your eyes out with a fork just for entertainment but in terms of maintaining a training base it works like a charm. By taking all the impact out of running, and the added resistance of the water you can still work your legs/core while rehabbing an injury. So the pool will be my home for the next two weeks.

I’m 95% sure that my foot won’t be fully healed by race day, but here’s hoping that something good comes my way… hey, if I crash and burn at the very least there will be an interesting blog post to read 😉

Stay healthy kids

Common Running Injuries

For future reference…hopefully not the NEAR future…

My Achin’ Back!

What would a training cycle be without a non-running-connected injury to report?  At least the shin splints that bugged me a little while ago were running related…

Back Story (HA!)

In the fall I started lifting weights 1-2 times a week to jump on this cross-training bandwagon I had heard so much about (I felt so trendy!).  Generally I’d hit some weights on a night where I was leashed to the house for one reason or another, then fit in some bodyweight exercises (pushups, chin/pullups, planks, etc.) in front of the tube or between some of my daily tasks (putting kids in baths & bed, doing dishes, cleanup duty, yada yada yada).  Everything was progressing well, I was taking it slow and focusing on form over performance until I was sure I had each exercise dialed…that was until 3 weeks ago.  During my last weight session I was in a bit of a hurry trying to squeeze everything in and get to bed early, so instead of completing a proper warmup I dove right into things where I had left off from my previous workout. Being the rational, intelligent, talented fellow everyone knows and loves I figured I’d be fine…I’m sure you can see where this is going…during a set of deadlifts the bar weight pulled my center of gravity over the front of my feet (instead of the heels), my back rounded and I felt a sudden twang in my lower lumbar region.  Workout aborted, I was on the couch with an ice pack tramp-stamp within 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to last week, my back had been fine (a little tight) since the incident but I was able to run without issue, and even return to bodyweight exercising…that was until I played hockey one night.  At one point I lunged for a puck that was just out of my reach when that familiar sharp pain rushed in and kicked me in the spine.   Wonderful…

In the past I’ve had issues with a tilted pelvis….wait…what?  Yep, when I started running my body reacted in all manner of wonderful wacky ways.  My lower back/glutes would get tight and my pelvis would tilt; left side higher, right side lower, which in turn caused my IT band to shorten and probably explains the hobbling mess I reverted into by the end of the Ottawa Marathon in 2010.    Since that time, I’ve tried to strengthen things by Cross Training off and on, and things were coming along.  Until now.

As far as I can tell, now my pelvis has a posterior tilt/rotation caused by weakened/injured lower back muscles and tight hamstrings (from all the cross training goodness), which feels like someone is sticking razors into my lower back when I sit for too long.  Luckily I have a desk job, and sitting all day is the majority of my day…(sigh).

For the time being I’ve simply been trying to loosen things up with a combination of stretching, romantic sessions in the hot tub, and then making sweet love to my foam roller.

 

It usually works for a bit , but every day has been a different experience in terms of pain/immobility.  At least tonight I get to visit my Athletic Therapist/Osteopath buddy for a treatment.  Maybe he can put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

How about you?  Ever had an “other sport” injury hamper your progress?

Take it easy kids…

Three Things Thurs…errr…Friday

So, Three Things Thursday didn’t really fly this week…actually it wasn’t supposed to fly at all, but by the time I had time to write something this week, I had too many subjects to discuss and it was Friday.  So be it.  I’ll push few things off and post up the easily digestible tidbits that are on my mind right now?  Sound good?  Too bad…

1.)    There’s something I’m been ignoring the past couple of days that I need to deal with.  Something that’s been whispering at me to “pay attention!”…that “something”? (sigh) slight, nagging shin pain.

Unfortunately, I’m no stranger to shin splints, I’ve had them a few times, usually when I switch between shoes a lot but with my long weekend runs being on snowy days I’ve been opting to do them on snowy trails instead. The runs have been a blast, great scenery etc. but switching back and forth with my road shoes has probably been a bit hard on the old shins. Additionally, I’ve been looking for new shoes as my current ones (Brooks Racer ST4s) are quickly becoming hazardous to my health…foot health.  As much as I’ve enjoyed them, I think it’s time to move on.  I should have done it earlier, but it’s hard finding time to fit everything, so now I’m finally MAKING time.

2.)    On that note: I went out and grabbed a pair of Saucony Kinvara 2s at lunch today.  The last time I tried on Kinvaras I found the outside of my big toes rubbed the side of the shoe and figured that my foot simply wasn’t built to ride in one of the most popular shoes on the market, no biggie.  So what changed? I went up half a size and they suddenly fit pretty well so I bit the bullet and grabbed a pair.  I had a $10 off coupon, and as a bonus the store had stocked the shoes in the wrong spot so I got them at the Kinvara 1 clearance price (they were aware of the mistake and gave me the K1 price before I even noticed the discrepancy).  Sweet, 30% off!  I usually prefer to support small independent running stores, but this is one benefit of visiting a large multi-sport franchise store.  I have a longer post on buying shoes coming up (next week?) and a I hope to have my initial review of K2’s included…maybe 😉

3.)     Saturday marks the running of The Boring Runner’s Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual 5km and although my shins are being problematic I’ll be giving the race a go.   Do I race it, or take it easy….that all depends on how I feel in my warm up.  I’m supposed to be putting in 26-28km this weekend and I’d hate to blow it all away with a failed 5km run.  Regardless, it’s all in good fun, so check it out if you feel like mixing things up this weekend.

With that, I’m out kids, have a great weekend!

Progress Report – Week 5

Fitness

Frustrating week last week!  I was able to put in two decent runs, but while doing some pushups Thursday night I re-injured my rotator cuff.  On top of that, while playing hockey that night I somehow wrenched my lower back (SI joint area) and have been unable to do much exercise since.  It makes it a little difficult to hit weekly work out goals when you can barely bend over.  After a few easy hockey practices with the kids my back loosened up quite a bit, but even now I have stiffness when leaning/bending in certain directions.

I’m going to try an easy run tonight, but I won’t be doing pushups or shoulder related exercises for a while. Weight workouts will be focused on injury prevention, but limited by pain indicators.

As for the longer-term fitness goals, I decided on & signed up for the 2012 running of the Around the Bay 30km.  This will be my 3rd running of the race, and I’m feeling pretty good about it…in fact I’m leaning towards actually racing this one!  I’ve got a decent plan from an online coach, I’ve been maintaining a decent base and the speed work I’ve been doing has shown some really positive paybacks.

More goal race planning to come in another post.

Diet:

As for diet it pretty much mirrored last week…AGAIN!

Life:

Played some, but again, not a lot.

Overall:

2 weeks left, I really need to pull up my socks, Any suggestions?

Have a good one kids!