Back On Track

29 11 2007

Hmm, well my lower back was absolutely killing me yesterday after placing bread in the fridge the ‘wrong’ way.  It was very painful to even roll over to sit up. Slept not so well last night, but felt somewhat better this AM. At least I could walk around without looking like I need a cane. Now I just got back home from an appointment with the chiropractor who helped me out with my sore neck two months ago, and things are feeling great. I avoided seeing a chiropractor nearby yesterday, and the wait was worth it. This guy is not your typical back-cracker. He’s rather cynical of the traditional practice of chiropractic, and focuses more on deep connective tissue rehabilitation and massage. I was used to the 5-7 minute ‘adjustment’ sessions, but I just spent 75 minutes having my back muscles worked over every which way without a single ‘pop’. I told him I was skeptical about whether I could run my race on Saturday, but by the end of the session he was confident that I’d be ready to roll. Of course I’ll wait until Saturday to decide for sure, but the way my back feels right now, giddyup! My expectations won’t be high given how light my training has been this month, but just the idea that I should be able to complete a 5k within 72 hours of that crazy back spasm would feel like a tremendous accomplishment in itself.


Change Of Plans

28 11 2007

I was supposed to be going for an easy outdoor 5k today in preparation for my Dec 1st race. Unfortunately, whilst putting bread in the fridge, I just threw my lower back out. You have got to be kidding me! At least I can use the same ice pack I picked up for my left knee pain (which seems to be doing fine). I’ve had a history of throwing out my back/neck while doing stupid things; case in point: this is not the first toast-related injury. However, this now makes three separate incidents over the past three months. First, I injured my upper back after two days behind the wheel at the start of September. Then just a couple weeks later I wrecked my neck while stretching and changing positions in the middle of the night. Both of these got better with time and a few visits to the chiropractor. I wish I could remember whether I felt significantly better within three days or not, to give me an idea of whether I might be able to run/walk/crawl on Saturday. If there’s any lingering pain in my back, I may have to call it off. Argh! I’m not entertaining the notion that “running is bad for your back”; I’ve thrown out my back/neck on average about once a year for the past 18 years and only been running for 8 months. I do agree that if my back is susceptible to injury, then running probably is an added stress. I think I need to be a bit smarter in terms of prevention like doing exercises aimed at strengthening my back muscles, as well as working on stretches to help my flexibility. Making toast shouldn’t hurt this much!

Ramp Or Taper?

26 11 2007

The physio rehab on my left knee has been going well. Still no definitive x-ray results though. Since re-injuring the knee on the 17th, I took a full week off with no running. The timing has been particularly annoying because I’ve got a 5k race on December 1st, so on the 24th I ran 30 minutes on the treadmill at a slow pace (covered 5k in 30 min). Then today, I decided to run outdoors on a flat gravel pathway but just for 3k. Given that I have run only about a third of my October mileage this month, I feel like I need to ramp up this week to get ready for the race. But at the same time, if my knee is still tender at all, I don’t want to wear it out. I think I’ll do one more training run on Wednesday and then take two days off leading up to race day. Something tells me I shouldn’t hold out hope for a sub-25:00 5k, but I did just set a new 3k PB of 14:21 today when I was trying to take it relatively easy. With any luck, there’s still some residual benefit to be mined from my October training even after I’ve been coasting all of November.

Let’s Get Physio

20 11 2007

Well, my run this past Saturday was a little bit of a disaster. It had been two full weeks since my left knee injury; one week off entirely, and the second was symptom-free on the treadmill. About 4k in to my Saturday run and in the middle of a long climb, I could tell my knee was still messed up. Once I made it to 4.43km (half of my intended 5.5 mile Ryan Shay memorial run), I reversed course and backtracked instead of facing the longer and steeper hills had I continued.  By 5k the pain was every bit as bad as it was two weeks before and I resorted to walking. This was tremendously frustrating, but the ‘smart’ (i.e., rational) thing to do. Of course, as soon as I started walking I was seeing more and more runners on the path. Once demoted to a walker, I felt the double humiliation of no longer being worthy of the Runner’s Nod/Wave, while also progressing slow enough to draw “Hello”s from dog walkers and stroller-pushers. So, whenever the path would approach any semblance of flatness, I ran again. The flats were virtually pain-free, but any incline reawakened the daggers in my knee. With this combination of mostly walking and brief running spurts, I made it back home in a surprisingly quick 57:00 for 9k. This was helped greatly by a first 4k in just over 20:00, which I think is a new PR for that distance. My short-term goal is to get under 25:00 for a 5k, but that’s all moot if I’m injured.

I want to treat this injury as effectively as possible and it seems serious enough that two weeks of taking it very easy didn’t fully alleviate the problem. So today I went and saw a physiotherapist for the first time. While there is a little bit of hamstring tendinitis towards the outside of the knee, this wouldn’t be the source of the severe pain. The physio recommended x-rays to see whether I might have a little bone fragment floating around back there after I bashed the kneecap in at the end of October. That’s a little more serious than I thought, but at least it would be a logical explanation for why I can walk and run on a treadmill with no problems but the hills kill my knee. It will be a while before I know, but in the meantime they put me on this muscle-twitcher device that provides pulsing electrical stimulation to the area to reduce inflammation. Weird sensation, but so far so good. I’ve been told to take it easy, but I’m just keeping my fingers crossed I can get a few decent training runs in before my next race on December 1st!

Ryan Shay Memorial Run – November 17th

16 11 2007

The Complete Running Network is promoting the Ryan Shay Memorial Run for tomorrow, November 17th. Shay was the U.S. elite marathoner who tragically died during the olympic men’s trials two weeks ago Saturday. There is no formal organization to this run. The concept is simple – dedicate your Saturday (or Sunday) run to Ryan’s memory by commenting on the CRN post HERE and let others know you have done so. Ryan died at the 5.5 mile mark, so that is the suggested distance but it is obviously the thought that counts and any distance will do.

I will be returning to my main training route, which happens to be almost exactly 5.5 miles.

It’s A Small (Running) World

13 11 2007

My left knee seems to be almost 100% back to normal now, but I’m still taking it easy and running on a treadmill instead of outdoors this week. This blog has been up for a little over a month now, and it’s been a great venue to meet fellow running fanatics and read their blogs too. Since this is my first real attempt at a public website, I’ve been blown away by the variety of visitors I’ve had from around the world (even with my modest 200 or so hits in the past month). Barring any glitches in my Statcounter, this blog has been visited by runners from:

  • The Bronx, New York, USA
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Sydney, Australia
  • London, England
  • Trento, Italy
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tromso, Norway
  • Fredericia, Denmark
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Santiago, Chile

…among others. Hello! Maybe I’m being a little slow to realize that the web really is world-wide, but it’s awesome to have you all as visitors. I hope you enjoy your stay and I would love to hear about your running experiences too!

Mini Rehab

10 11 2007

Well, unfortunately it’s been a slow week for running as well as posting. At the end of October, I smashed my left kneecap down on a rock while kneeling to position myself better to take a photograph (my other hobby at the moment). This resulted in some bruising, but otherwise I didn’t notice any effects until I was about 7k into my usual training route on November 4th. On a long climb, my left knee started hurting a bit and an outer rear tendon around my knee felt like it was sticking/clicking with every step. I kept running for a while, but pulled up short and walked the last k home. I took the next three days off entirely, and then hit the treadmill for some low-intensity training. The knee felt fine when running on the treadmill, but it’s still a little tender and feels ‘clicky’ when I get up from sitting down for a long time. I’m itchin’ to get back on the streets, but I think I’ll have to be good and stick to the treadmill for the next few runs. I’m registered for a race on December 1st, so I don’t want to blow it and be a no-show. The weather’s making it easy to stay indoors though – our first major snowfall is coming down as I type!