Monday, January 30, 2012

Yes, No, Maybe, I Don't Know

The correct answer is:  I don't know.

My calf issues is definitely the same issues that's arise before.  I've taken off last week and plan to take off this week at least until the weekend.  The schedule calls for a 10 mile run on Saturday and then 20 miles on Sunday.  According to the schedule, this would be my last 20 mile run (or in my case, my last attempt at 20 before Hyannis), the last three weeks have progressively fewer miles leading up to the marathon - the taper.

I've been using ultrasound therapy on my calf for about a week and I really think it's made a difference.  If, as I suspect, the recurrence of this injury is related to built up scar tissue in the calf, this should be effective in reducing that.  The first time this injury occurred, it took about two weeks to heal up, the second time took closer to three.  I'm not really sure why it took longer to heal the second time around, but it may be because my calf didn't fully heal the first time around - although one has to wonder how I would have been able to run all those miles, including a 19 mile run, between the second and this last injury if it indeed did not heal up fully.  It may be that this scar tissue just persisted and it was just a matter or time, or may be my calf was stressed just the right way when running on snow and ice covered roads on the Sunday before the injury occurred (January 21st).

As I see it, my options are as follows:

1) Attempt to run the 20 miles this Sunday, with a few miles on Saturday if not the whole ten to prep for it.
2) Throw out the schedule, continue to rest for another week, and run the 20 miles the following weekend (February 11th or 12th), with maybe a few miles before to prep the legs.  I would still get my two week taper in before the race.
3) Switch to the half marathon and just rest longer.  I'm not concerned about not being able to finish a half marathon.
4) Just forget the whole thing and move on.

The smart thing would probably be the latter, but I'm not quite ready to call it quits right now, and I'm not all that interested in running the half marathon - I think I'd have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth and just wouldn't enjoy it - that be especially true if I did run the half and felt I could have kept going.

The goal is to make it to the Hyannis Marathon and complete the marathon, with all things considered, option #2 seems to be the best chance I have to reach that goal.  On the other hand, my calf is feeling a lot better today and might be set to go this coming Saturday/Sunday.  I suppose one other option would be to blend options 1 and 2, I could try a few miles this weekend, run some light miles during next week, then attempt the 30 miles on the weekend of February 12th.  If I run this weekend, I'll know right away if the calf is not ready, that's is how it's gone before.  I'll continue to do the ultrasound therapy, stretching, and Epsom salt's soak, and try to get in some weight training for the legs too.

So, I still don't know, and I guess I really won't until the the middle of February.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Training Note from Mudsville :/

Things are not going well.

Below is what I posted to just a moment ago:

Not good. Went out for my scheduled 6 mile run and started having some right calf pain. This seems to be lower than what was plaguing me at the beginning of my training. I wasn't sure if it was the beginning of pull (as before) or if it just needed to loosen up, I was able to kinda hobble-run back and for a moment I thought maybe it was going away, but then it came back maybe a little more painful.

I'm really not sure what I'm going to do at this point. I'll stretch, roll, soak, etc. and see if it loosens up, but if it is the beginnings of a pull, then I think I need to start considering just bagging the mary on Feb. 26th. If my training up to this point had been solid, I'd just take the time off before the race to recovery, but my training this time around has just been plagued with issues.  This week was/is a step-back week, next week (Feb. 5th) will be my last scheduled 20 mile run - i.e., my last chance to get this distance under my belt before the 26th.

As I'm writing all this down - reading what's going through my mind - I'm thinking the smart thing to do is just to bag it and let my issues heal up. Maybe I'll do the above recovery things and take off from running until Saturday, then see how my two weekend runs go (6 mi and 12mi) before I make that call.

Things are looking grim in Mudsville.


I'm really not sure what I'm going to do.  There are several alternative options, such as, switching to the half marathon if I can or maybe look for another marathon a couple of months later.  I need to mull over it all some.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Update on Foot Injury and Road to Hyannis Marathon

My foot is doing fine.  By Tuesday morning, that bright reddish spot, shown in the previous post, seemed to have dissipate across the top of my foot and the color was close to my natural skin color.  By Wednesday, unless I pointed it out to you, you would not have noticed it at all.  There was some tightness in the foot, which I only really noticed when I flexed my foot.

I saw my bone doctor this morning for a follow up.  He did his exam and he thinks it is/was a bone bruise and he said I should build up the running slowly and at a slow pace (he knows I'm running a marathon at the end of February).  I did some more internet searching this morning and I'm not convinced it is a bone bruise (though it could be).  From what I found online, I think it could be Bursitis, and I think the same treatment recommended by my doctor for a bone bruise applies.

I'm not sure what the cause was in either case.  I've been running minimalist/barefoot for 2.5 years and this has never come up.  I have a suspicion that it might be related to doing some of my running in Merrell Sonic Glove trail shoes this winter, which are a minimalist shoe, but unlike the Vibram Fivefingers, which are best described as a foot-glove, the Merrells are definitely shoes.  While my injury occurred while wearing my V5F Speeds, I can't help but wonder if my form had gotten a little sloppy as a result of wearing the Merrells.  Specifically, I'm wondering if, without the feedback I get while running barefoot and in V5Fs, was somewhat muted and started to land harder on my forefoot.  I did actually notice a similar pain at the same location while wearing the Merrells on a run weeks before, but that pain seemed to go away by the time I reached the end of that run.  I should also point out that I really only suspect that running in the Merrells as the cause as it's the only thing I've been doing different recently.  It could also be that the cold has something to do with it (as indicated in the "Who is at Risk" on the Bursitis Page).

I don't have another follow up with my doctor and the pain is gone.  I have about 40 days before the Hyannis Marathon.  I have a 20 mile run scheduled for this Sunday.  In fact the remainder of my training schedule looks like this:

Monday  |  Tuesday  |  Wednesday  |  Thursday  |  Friday  |  Saturday  |  Sunday  
Cross      |  5 miles    |   10 miles       |  5 miles      |  Rest     |  10 miles   | 20 miles -1/22
Cross      |  5 miles    |   6 miles         |  5 miles      |  Rest     |  6 miles     | 12 miles -1/29
Cross      |  5 miles    |   10 miles       |  5 miles      |  Rest     |  10 miles   | 20 miles -2/5

Cross      |  5 miles    |   8 miles         |  5 miles      |  Rest     |  4 miles     | 12 miles -2/12
Cross      |  4 miles    |   6 miles         |  4 miles      |  Rest     |  4 miles     | 8 miles   -2/29
Cross      |  3 miles    |   4 miles         |  Rest          |  Rest     |  2 miles     | Marathon-26th

Right now, I believe my biggest challenge will be to completed the remainder of my training and make sure I can run on the 26th.  That means that if I need to reduce milage or even eliminate runs from my training schedule, then that's what I'll do.  What I don't want to eliminate is the two remaining 20 mile runs as I feel more than anything else, it's these runs that get me ready for running a marathon.  I may have to shift things around to get these done.  Tomorrow I'll attempt to run the scheduled 5 miles, what happens on the following day that will depend on how that goes, and so on.

I successfully completed my 5 mile run today (Tuesday) - no issues what so ever.  Ironically, I actually ran in my Merrell Sonic Gloves, but I focused 100% on form.  I had to make several corrections to my form several times during my run, even as I attempted to maintain a constant state of awareness regarding my form - if that makes any sense ;)  I discovered three key deficiencies in my form that I believe snuck into my running form due to a muting of the sensory feedback I get when running barefoot or in V5Fs.  Once I ponder it some more I'll write up a post about it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rocky Road to Hyannis

I've not posted anything lately as my training for the Hyannis Marathon has not progressed as well as I would have liked.  I've had a couple of injuries, some unexpected family obligations, and the holidays, well, I didn't really factor in the holidays when I set up my schedule.

Back in October I posted about my first injury, which was likely related to a complete lack of anything resembling a post-marathon recovery plan i.e., stretching, icing, soaks, more stretching, etc.  You can read about it here: Ouch - Post Marathon Note.  At the time, I was not overly concerned about this injury as my training was still a couple weeks off.

When my training started, I didn't get most of the runs in during the first week -  I figured it wasn't a big deal as I'd just finished running a marathon (see previous post).  Weeks two and three went alright, I manage to get in a few more barefoot runs due to some unexpected warm weather.  Week four was going OK until that Saturday, I went out for a scheduled 6 mile run and at about 1.5 miles, my right calf pain was back.  Since this had just happened to me, I immediately stopped - no trying to test it out after stretching it as I did the first time.  On the following Wednesday, I tried to head out for a short run - I got about 500 feet.  Not including that failed test, it ended up being 17 days before I ran again.  My first post injury run was 4 miles barefoot on a treadmill, during which time I was hyper aware of every little twang or twinge coming from my right calf.  I did a few more miles on the treadmill the following day, then rested for two - so far so good.  On that Saturday I ran 8 miles in my V5F Speeds and on Sunday I did 14 miles instead of the 16 as indicated on my training schedule.  On the following week I got in all my scheduled runs including a 17 miler - It seemed like I had gotten past the injury.

With 9 weeks left until Hyannis, my schedule fell apart with work obligations and Christmas preparations - I missed two 9 mile runs and only ran 5 miles when my schedule called for 12.  With 8 weeks left my week was going OK, though I moved my scheduled 19 mile run to January 2nd so I could celebrate New Years Eve and attend a New Years Day brunch, which lasted most of the afternoon.

This past week I managed to run 50 miles mostly because I ran those 19 miles on Monday.  I only ran 3 of my scheduled 5 miles on Tuesday, completely missed my 10 miles on Wednesday, which I had planned on making up on Thursday, but only had time for 7.  I got in my scheduled 10 miles yesterday and today, well, today was suppose to be 20 miles, which I was geared up to get done, but I only managed 11.4 miles.

During my run I started to have some pain in my right foot at about mile 4.  I continued to run believing that this pain would go away - I had a similar pain in the same spot a few weeks ago while wearing my Merrell Sonic Glove running shoes (another post entirely).  I had assumed it was related to running in the Merrells as opposed to barefoot or in some kind of Vibram Fivefingers as I typically do, but that pain eventually went away before the run ended.

However, as the miles passed on today's run, the pain remained persistent.  Making the decision to run less than my scheduled 20 mile run was difficult as a part of me was telling me I just didn't want to run 20 miles.  This run did feel like it required more effort than the 19 mile run had on Monday.  This is not an unfamiliar feeling, your body is designed to conserve energy and to do that it resists any kind of exertion - that's a big part of running longer distances - it takes mental focus to mute your body's desire to remain static.  Being aware of this, when I made the decision to change course I didn't really think anything was wrong with my right foot, but I knew as the pain continued it would become more and more difficult for me to override my body's desire to end this run.  I also told myself that if the pain went away by the time I got near the end (which would have been 14 miles) I could continue on to get some additional miles in if not the remaining 6.  At 11.4 miles, the pain in my right foot seemed to be overriding most other thoughts in my head and I just decided to call it.  

When I got home I started to examine my foot and, with the help of a google search, I think I've identified the area of the pain to be at the joint located between my proximal phalange and metatarsal bone of the toe located next to my pinky toe.  But, I think there's a possibility that it could be a stress fracture located on the metatarsal bone just behind that joint (Foot Bones).  I think I might be seeing the beginnings of some bruising, which, according to more google finds, appears to be a possible indication of a stress fracture.  Although that could also be from me pressing around that area to identify the pain.  I'll know soon enough.

If it is a stress fracture, well, that means more rest, which does not bode well for the remainder of my training.  I can do other workouts (x-ski, bike) to try and build up the endurance needed for the marathon, but the best training for running is running.

When my calf injury reoccurred and my training schedule was off track, I knew I would need to adjust my pace and finish time for the Hyannis Marathon, but I wasn't concerned about not finishing or worse, not even making it to the starting line, now......  Maybe I'm over reacting, but with the way things have been going since Smuttynose, well, I'm not so sure.


So here's what my foot looks like this morning.

So it could be a stress fracture, or something else.  Either way I need to let it heal which means time off (again) from running.  A poster on Daily Mile suggested alternating hot and cold soaks at 7.5 minute intervals - I'm not sure what that would do, but I've seen similar recommendations for post run recovery (I often to ice bath soaks for long runs).  My guess is that by alternating temperatures your body reacts by increasing and decreasing blood flow that has an effect similar to expansion and contraction, which in turn creates a flushing effect - like a said, just a guess.  I'll need to look into it a bit more.

Update 2!

I've done a little online searching and my symptoms are a classic indication of a stress fracture, although I'm not experiencing the sharp pain described.  I'm probably going to have to get this looked at by a doctor, which is NOT something I want to do.  But what's worse than just seeing the doctor is that it seems it can take awhile before I can get the results of an x-ray or worse, if the doctor can't see anything in the x-ray I might need an MRI, which takes even longer to get results - what the hell.

It sounds like the minimum amount of time for a stress fracture to heal is 4-6 weeks followed by a gradual increase in activity (i.e. running).  The recommended treatment for a stress fracture is rest and avoid putting pressure on the bone.  I don't really think I need to go to a doctor to tell me to rest for 4-6 weeks.  The benefits to seeing a doctor is to find out if maybe the injury is something else that maybe doesn't require the rest period and will allow me to run the Hyannis Marathon, or worse, like an actual fracture, although I don't think it is.

As things stand right now - boy I don't like saying this - I have a stress fracture and won't be able to run my next marathon.

Update 3!

I have an appointment with a bone doctor at 4:30 today (Monday).

Last Update on this Post!

OK - The bone doc did an initial exam, asked some questions, and ordered up some x-rays, which they did there.  He said nothing showed up on the x-rays that would indicate a stress fracture, but they don't always show up right away on x-ray's or even MRIs.  But, he doesn't think it's a stress fracture, he said it could be a burst blood vessel or a bone bruise.  I have a follow up with him next Monday.  So, while not a 100% "OK", it's pretty good news.

My Hyannis Marathon ambitions - which right now are showing up and maybe completed it with a respectable finish time - are not yet dashed :)