Sunday, May 23, 2010

New day, same result

I did it again. I cannot seem to stop the avalanche of problems that seems to grow and grow each time I try to do something.
I ran in the Ragnar Relays this past weekend, starting the run at 11 am Friday morning at the library in Branford and running with my teammates to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. I ran three legs of the race, starting with the third leg Friday afternoon. I ran in my Vibram 5-fingers, thinking that this should be a good time to run easy in them. It was pretty warm by the time that I started but not so bad that it was oppressive. I actually enjoyed the temperature while I was running. Unfortunately my Achilles did not think it was so enjoyable. The leg was 6.8 miles long and by the time I got through 2.5 miles of that, I had a dull ache in the heel of my foot. It got worse. By the time I had finished, the pain was radiating up the back of my leg in my calf.
I strapped a cold pack on the foot and swallowed a couple of ibuprofen tablets and hoped for the best. My teammates were concerned whether I would be able to run again, but I told them not to worry, I would keep up my end of the bargain and still run my legs. I was also supposed to run another leg due to another runner having to drop out beforehand due to injury. I was not so sure about that one. I did not have to worry, since the team captain made an executive decision and took that leg away from me. It was a good thing that happened.
The second leg that I was running was 7.6 miles long. I did not wear the Vibram's, but instead wore a pair of shoes without the insoles. My leg started around 11 pm which was nice with a half-moon in the sky, mostly clear skies and comfortable temperatures. My heel hurt from the start, very painful in the heel and up into the calf. It took about half the run until I could figure out how to reduce the pain. I shortened my stride (about half of my normal stride) and it helped immensely! I was able to run the rest of the run pretty well, with the only problem being on the downhills, where my stride wanted to lengthen naturally. I just had to concentrate on keeping it short.
The third leg occurred at 6 am Saturday morning. What a beautiful morning for a run! It would have been that much better if I could have actually run normally. Nothing I did produced any relief from the pain. I had put some Sports Cream with heating on the heel before the run, I started running with a shorted stride right away and I had taken another couple of ibuprofen before the run. Nothing helped. The van with my teammates had parked at the half-way mark of the run (6.4 miles total) but just before I saw them, I had been telling myself that I was going to give it up when I did meet them and let someone else run for me, because the pain was that great. But when I crested the small hill and saw them parked there, the only thing that came out of my mouth was, "Nope, I am doing fine. See you at the end". Just like me, stubborn jackass! I could not let someone else finish something that I had started.
So I finished. I was cooked. The heel felt like it was on fire and the calf felt like someone had shoved a knife in it and was continually moving it around. I have not gotten much better since then. I am right now wearing an ice pack wrapped around the heel/calf. When I got up this morning, the heel was quite swollen and very, very tender and tight. My plans to run this coming weekend at Nipmuck are shot. I am pissed off about that as I was really looking forward to a good trail run. I am not going to schedule any races for the rest of the year. I have to get healed, healed to the point where I do not get injured running in a race. The one thing that I already have scheduled is the Lake Winni relay, which I will use as a goal and when I run it, a barometer for how I am doing. As much as I do not want to, I will probably forgo doing any ultras this year (unless late in the year when hopefully everything is going well). I have my annual physical (once every five years or so) scheduled for tomorrow and I will see if the doctor will send me for some physical therapy. I have to get back to what I love, the woods either by myself or with some fellow trail runners. I have to renew my efforts to stay off the roads. I have to stay sane.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It has been awhile, again. I have been running in the Vibram 5-fingers for a couple of months now and I have to say that I am enjoying them. I really like the trail pair, the Treks. They are very comfortable and grip very well. The only problem with them is that when they get wet, I end up getting blisters (since I am running without socks). But overall, I do not regret making the change. I probably could have eased into it a bit more than I did. So this is the reason for this post.
I tweaked my left hamstring again two weekends ago while running with Pam, Davnet and Grace at Hartland Park on the Saturday. I ran about 3.5 miles on Tuesday evening and it felt okay, but not anywhere close to 100%. I did not run anything else until Saturday. Now Saturday is the L & M Hospital 3.5 mile race that starts one block from my house and I normally run, walk or just hang out every year. But my friend Melanie was the race director for a race in Westerly, a 5K which I have never run so I decided to make the journey there and try an easy run in my Vibram's.
The race went well, so well that I ended up running a sub 7-minute pace. During the race I had no problems with the shoes. But afterward was a different story. When I went out to get in a cool down run, I had to stop because of the pain on my left foot. I had a huge blood blister that I did not feel while racing, but after cooling down, wow, it was there. But that is not the major problem. About an hour after the race I noticed a pain radiating along the outside of my right foot. It got worse. I iced it for a bit and took some ibuprofen and I have not run since. I wanted to run the following day in the woods, but the person that I was supposed to run with did not show, so I decided to not run. That was probably a good decision. If I walk around barefoot, the pain is barely there. Once I put a pair of shoes on, the pain returns. I have not run nor have I ridden the bike. It is getting better, but since I am on my feet quite a bit during work, the foot is quite sore by the end of my shift. Hopefully I will be able to run soon, at least get out for a short jog to see how it reacts. I cannot seem to get away from being injured. I just want to be able to run, especially out on the trails.