Monday, February 22, 2010

Houston, We’ve Got a Problem

I’ve been letting the little aches and pains go for the past month. Since I’ve been increasing the mileage it was only expected that there were going to be a few things what end up hurting. My right ankle’s Plantars Achilles-it is that seemed to be mending is back but different this time around. Instead of bothering me on the medial (inside) of the ankle, it’s now on the lateral side. My heel feels slightly bruised on the bottom and the back of the heel is tender to touch. I’m calf stretching and ball rolling and failing miserably at making it any better.

Enter now the right side compensation issues. First it was just trigger point knots in the gastrocnemius (calf muscles). Occasionally, the tightness would emulate shin splints but isolating the trigger point would relieve the tension at the front of the shin.

Running on ice and snow also engages the adductors in unusual ways. Last winter, I felt like I was constantly running with a groin pull. As soon as the sidewalks cleared up so did the sore groin.

This year, now that the distances are climbing I’m not recovering sufficiently between runs . The aches and pains are becoming chronic. Last week, I eased off on Thursday’s workout and did cross training only.

During Saturday’s 8km run it took some time to warm-up. The calf of the left leg just wouldn’t loosen up. The first kilometer hurt. By the third the pain was tolerable. Hills hurt more when I compress my stride length and have to push off to maintain forward momentum. We totally messed up the route, not that it really matters, but I think we ran more hills than originally planned. I was able to maintain a decent pace once we got going. Overall we finished 7.65 km in less than 40 minutes with a 5:07 pace.

I skipped hockey on Saturday night and went to a movie instead.

Sunday’s run was scheduled to be 19km through the park system. Not too much of a chance of getting off track on this one. My one concern was the path behind the Children’s Museum. Last time we ran through the park there was a two kilometer stretch of frozen slush that hard on my ankle.

On our first walk break, (back to the 10 and 1’s this week) we were right in the middle of the frozen mine field. My left leg was not doing well. I couldn’t push off with any strength at all. Walking just seemed to make it worse.

The second walk break was no better. My first thought was to only run the shorter 16km route. The more I thought about the less I liked the idea have having to negotiate the mine field on the way back. The walks were not helping me either. I opted to abandon the group run and get out of the park system. I explained to Bob my thoughts and let Marc know I was crossing the bridge at the gold course and heading back via Riverside.

Getting across the bridge was easy. Climbing the hill to get to Riverside Drive was agony. I glanced once at the watch. I was on a 6:18 pace. No matter. There was no ice. If necessary, I could walk up the hills.

Once I was able to get going, I hurt; surprisingly my pace was below 5:30.

Slowly my left calf began to ease. My right ankle complained more than it had in a month. I’m surmising my mechanics were so off that neither side could compensate for the other.

I made a judgment call at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Heading north, I opted to take Oxford Street back to Richmond. This way I avoided the climb across the Queens Street bridge.

At the one hour mark I was actually starting to feel capable of running further. I resisted the urge to extend the run and went back to the store. To my surprise just over 13.5 km with an overall 5:21 pace.

I limped in to the store. My left leg adductors were shot. Lifting my left leg was pure agony. A bit of stretching, some warmth, some walking. I’ll live.


Libby Jones said...

Are you seeing a medical professional regularly? I try to see my amazing sports chiropractor weekly when I'm racing a lot and every other week when I'm not. It offers an unbiased unemotional opinion of those little aches and tweaks and a regular "tune-up" to keep me from developing additional referred pain or compensation pains.

Jeff said...

I just booked an appointment with my physio-terrorist. I'm likely going to investigate deep tissue massage after I talk to her about my tightness issues.

Libby Jones said...

I bet that will be very beneficial to you! Good luck! And way to go being aware of what your body is trying to tell are way ahead of a lot of runners, and those are the ones that end up terribly injured. It's a hard skill for a runner to learn!

holly said... what is up with you? do i need to come back and chit chat to distract you from all you body aches! hope it all gets sorted are working so hard! good for you to read your body and not do the full will pay off in the end! see you soon. h

Jeff said...

Hey Holly!

I'm not sure where this is all leading. My pace times are OK, but maintaining them isn't pleasant. It might have been the hills we've been running. Being old and frail, I may not be recovering between them. Dunno.

Now is not the time to overthink the how, but address the issue and come up with a corrective plan. Too bad I couldn't get in to physio until Friday.

With all the snow we're getting, Tuesday will become a light cross training day at the gym and not a tempo run. I'll make a decision about Wednesday after I see how I feel, I've already decided to skip Wednesday hockey this week to rest the adductors.

If I didn't hate the cold so much, I'd tell you that I'm "just chillin'" this week.