First run since I hurt my back (again)

I ran 4 miles this morning (just now actually).  My back was a little twingey  (sp?) at first but much better once I got going.  I kept the pace slow and light, being careful not to lose form.  Even at the slower pace, I felt a little sluggish.  A week off running, sitting around (not eating right), does not help.

I’m still angry with myself for not going to the gym and using the machines.  Although the first few days were not good for much of anything, I could have gone as early as Wednesday or Thursday.

I got back on the scale this morning and found I’m not up much, maybe a pound.  But knowing that I’ve lost some fitness (and muscle mass), that pound is probably much more that it looks on the scale.  For the first time, I realize that a lower number on the scale can be just as bad as a higher number.

Lots of stuff I want to do today.  Clean out the bedroom closet.  Write 1000 words in the novel.  Clear off the computer desk in the basement.  Lift some weights at the gym.  Enter my food and exercise to MFP.  Do my back exercises.

Oh yeah, my back exercises.  Did I talk about this?  When I hurt my back very badly a year or two ago, I got exercise sheets from the physical therapist.  I saved them and my wife put them in little sheet protectors with 3-ring holes.  I kept them very safe in a pile under all the junk in the living room.   When I was cleaning up yesterday, I found them again and (finally) put them in a three ring binder.

See, those exercises are supposed to build up my back muscles to help prevent me from hurting myself again.  Oddly enough, I have not been doing and (believe it or not) my back keeps getting injured.  Therefore, my (very clever) plan is to do the exercises along with my regular workout and keep my back healthy.  Damn smart I am, huh?

still better

Today was pretty good.  I’m just about walking upright, just getting tired during the day.  I had one sharp twinge from by back when I got out of bed but almost nothing all day.  I’m thinking on Saturday I will try an easy short run.  One more rest day tomorrow.

better but broken still

My back was still sore today.  I still walk a little hunched over, but if I stop and let myself ease into a more upright position, I can walk straighter.  The problem comes when I need to get up from my desk and go somewhere quickly.  I kind of do the hunched-duck-and-run thing.  I had to do that leaving someone else’s office.  It looked really odd.

I bought some gels tonight.  I had been avoiding them because I don’t like using them in races or long runs.  But I think I need to.  I’m too hungry at races.  I think I burn through fuel faster than I expect to.  Maybe need to work on eating before the race/run too.  I still think plain pasta does not digest well.  Rice was pretty good, so I will probably go back to that.

Long time!

I am starting to sound like the bloggers to let their blogs die.

“It’s been so long since I posted…”

“I promise to post more often…”

“I’m so busy these days..”

Blah blah blah.

Anyway, I’ve been doing very well with myfitnesspal.com.  I’ve lost about 20 pounds since the last posting in June.  Keeping a closer eye on the calories really helped me cut back what I was eating.  I found I underestimated the calories in most foods when I just used my Excel spreadsheet.   Using the MFP database helped me track things more accurately.  I’m very happy with the change in clothing size.  :)

I ran the New Haven Road Race 20K yesterday, but missed my PR by about 2 minutes.  So very close.  I had a chance to meet with Dianna and Jank, for our annual meet-up.  Seems odd that I only see them once a year.

Sadly, I pulled my back again during the trip in New Haven.  I had felt it tweaking a bit during the race, but wrote it off to moving things at work.  Later, when I was getting a quick shower, I leaned over to grab my duffel back and SNAP!  I bit my tongue from the shock.  I spent today in pain walking around work.  Tylenol and ibuprofin doesn’t touch it.  I’m hoping that it will be better tomorrow.

I messed up with food again on this race.  For some reason I was hungry at race start.  Fortunately, Dianna gave me some Clif Blocs but I should not have been hungry.  I had eaten my usual bran cereal, but added a banana and a giant asiago (sp?) cheese bagel with two wedges of Laughing Cow cheese.  Not to mention the monstrous bowl of pasta/chicken at dinner (courtesy of Dianna).  It was far more than I usually eat.  So why the hunger pangs?  I don’t get them during the week.

I was thinking about running the Saratoga Palio, but I’m still on the fence.  It’s two weeks away and (prior to my back injury) I think I could do a good job on the race.  But it’s $60.  And now my back hurts.  Hmmmm.  I wanted to use it to see if I can get this pre-race food thing corrected.  I want to try more gels when running.  Also stuffing my face the night before and on race morning.  Maybe I will just pay the money and run it and see what happens.  Easy workouts this week though.

 

back again

Sunday I ran in the Celebrate Life Half Marathon in Rock Hill, NY.  As with previous times, this was a fabulous race.  Very hilly compared to others I have been in, but each year the hills seem smaller.  Except for the giant hill at the start.  Heading up that one I took my time and saved something for the end.  My time was halfway in between my best and worst, so I was pretty happy with it.  My former running partner was volunteering and it was a nice relief to see her smiling face at the halfway point.

As my reward for a good race, my back blew out on Wednesday morning.  Yea.  I’ve been in the house ever since.  Today is the first day I can actually stand up straight.  I can sit for very long and can’t stand for very long.  And quite frankly, I’m really sick of lying down.  I’ve managed to stretch out almost flat on the reclining sofa, so that I can type and lie down at the same time.

Last week I stopped at a used bookstore that I had seen many times but was never there when they were open (Fri, Sat. Sun).  So I went for a short visit during lunch.  The place looks like it was an old barn or small house.  The insides are are stuffed from floor to ceiling with old books, loosely organized by topic.  Children’s.  History.  Fiction.  Etc.  The foyer is packed full of unsorted books.  Just the smell of the place is welcoming, if you like the smell of old books.  The place was heated by a pot belly stove in the middle of the main room.  The basement was filled with paperbacks and the upstairs seemed to house mostly non-fiction with topics like Geography and Government.  I would estimate there were at least 20,000 books in that building.  If I spent all day there, I could not read every title.

I pulled a few books to take home:

Run Fast – Hal Higdon – I always wanted that one but never got around to buying it.

The Complete Book of Running – Jim Fixx – Another one to have in the running library.

Twelfth Night – W. Shakespeare – This was a small hardcover version published by Yale University Press in 1954.

DreamThorp – Alexander Smith – This was published in 1864.  I like the hard leather cover and the gold inlaid design in the front.

All that fun for only $14.  Seemed like a good deal.  There were a lot of other books I wanted, but some were too expensive.  An old torn up bible from 1800 but it was $100.  Too rich for my blood.

My writing has ground to an abrupt halt.  I’ve painted myself into a corner.  I’ve been trying to just get words down on paper (figuratively), but the plot has changed so much that the beginning doesn’t match, and motivations of the characters seems very odd now.  In fact, the entire premise seems horrendously illogical.  I was being guided by what I felt each character would do next.  But when I go back to the beginning, their early behavior doesn’t fit.  I guess that means that I didn’t know my characters well enough at the beginning.

Margaret Atwood gives this advice:

“Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.”

Good advice.  Its so very hard.  I hate to go back and cut out things I liked.  I had heard it was Faulkner who said to “kill your darlings”.  He is referring to cutting things from your writing that you find so appealing that you can’t be objective.  Maybe its a scene or some dialogue that you can’t give up because you like it so much.  I guess I just need to be cautious that I don’t keep something in that doesn’t fit.

Which brings me back to the problem.  The current place in the storyline no longer fits with the beginning.  Its hard to describe without telling the story (which I’m not ready to do yet), so let’s use a Star Wars analogy.

In Star Wars, Luke is looking to 1) rescue Princess Leah and 2) avenge his father’s death.  But what if his original goal was to marry Leah.  Once he rescued her, then he would simply be trying for the rest of the movie to get her to leave with him and run away to the Chapel O’ Galactic Bliss, which 1) doesn’t make for a good movie and 2) makes the whole Death Star assault seem like a pointless diversion from the main topic.  Fortunately George Lucas was smart enough to change the plot and delete the wedding scene.

This is basically where I am.  No, there’s no wedding.  But I have taken the characters someplace away from their original goal, and now their actions conflict entirely with what they wanted.  I know this happens in life, but I don’t want it to happen here, simply because by the time they reach the end of the book, the closing scene will not make any sense at all.

Lots of rambling.

So, I need to retrace to where I started and decide if I started wrong or if I took a wrong turn.  Nothing really gets cut, just saved elsewhere.

back to the ortho?

Left foot:

 

Right foot:

See that lump about two inches to the right of my left ankle bone?  That isn’t there on my right foot.  It only sticks out when I turn my foot like that, but I think its not supposed to do that.  The skin over that spot if kinda dry, like its been that way a while now (light callous from abrasion), so I don’t think it happened from this fracture.  But I think it may the cause of some of the issues.

My foot still is sore to walk in bare feet.  And it still hurts to rotate my ankle.  I snowshoed up Mt. Marcy last weekend and felt no pain at all.  I think it has to do with the way the snowshoes rotate.  It probably kept my foot from twisting at all.  I did pinch a nerve in my left foot though (falling apart all over), so its still kinda numb.  Annoying but livable.

Maybe I need to go back to the ortho and suggest we take a more aggressive approach.

Sigh.  Getting fatter by the day.  :(

familiar territory

Heading to the ortho tomorrow.  I will push for an MRI.  Usually they want to get their fee for the X-ray first, but X-rays don’t show stress fractures.  I don’t want to wait two weeks, only to come back again.

It all feels too familiar.  Except this time, I am going to the ortho the day after it happened, not weeks later.  Hoping for the best.

word problem

At 1:00 pm, you start a 15 mile run.  The weather is sunny and 42 °F.  At mile 9 you begin to feel soreness in the arch of your left foot.  The pain is remarkably similar to the precise pain you had when you had a cuboid stress fracture a year and half ago.  By mile 11 it is too painful to run and you begin to walk, which is still considerably painful and makes you limp.  You walk/limp the remaining 4 miles back home at a pace of approximately 17.5 min/mile because there are no shortcuts at this point and you do not have a cellular phone to call your spouse for a ride.

Upon arriving at home do you:

A) fall to the floor in the hallway and cry hysterically

B) throw your shoes down the hallway and into the bathroom where one lands in the toilet

C) eat half a pan of lasagna

D) all of the above

12 more

I ran 12 miles yesterday afternoon.  I kept putting it off all day.  My legs felt tired all day and I debated riding the bike instead.

My right leg has a funny pain in the joint below my knee.  I only feel it when I twist funny or move my foot in a certain way.  If I stand with my feet about 6 inches apart, and then move my right foot out to the side about a foot and drag the ball of my foot along the floor (like I’m trying to brush sand into a little pile next to me), I feel the pain in the bone/joint below my knee.  Inside, not at the surface or near the kneecap.  I’m thinking something got tweaked on a run.  Hopefully its nothing more.  Since I had the stress fracture, I’m very nervous about anything that feels like “bone pain”.

Saturday I rode my recumbent bike instead of running the 5 miles.  My leg seemed to respond well, in that there was less pain and much less frequently.

So I ran on Sunday in Saratoga.  Horrendously cold.  My belly was frozen.  I had to guess the number of loops to make up 12 miles and ended up about a half mile from the car at the end.  It was a good length to cool down, but I was damn cold by the time I got back.

The run went well.  I like the long steady hills going into and coming out of the town.  I averaged about a 9:30 pace, which is where I want to be for the long runs.

I’m kind of sore today, so I will try some light stretching.  Tomorrow will be the big day to feel the pain from the long run.  I will use the recumbent bike again tonight, instead of my usual switch-off of Tuesday’s 3-miler.  No scouts this week, so I can run on Tuesday instead.  I think the cross-training is better right after the long run.

still sore

I ran 6 miles on Thursday night and rested yesterday.  Today my legs are KILLING me.  It feels like I just ran 15 miles last night and my legs are crushed.  Nothing is healing, there’s no recovery at all.  I don’t get it.  Last fall I felt nothing after the long runs.  Felt awesome.  Now it sucks.

I’m narrowing down the possible causes:

1. New shoes – the should I bought last fall are much stiffer than the Adizero’s.  I think they are quite flat and light, but the sole definitely does not like to bend.  Maybe it is affecting my stride?

2. More new shoes – last fall I also bought a new pair of work shoes.  My old shoes were flat.  Not like boat-shoes, but definitely did not have a heel.  These do.  I noticed when I walked in them the first time, it felt funny.  Like I was hitting the heel very hard.  I used to own a pair of cowboy boots, and when I walked in those, the heel would hit first and made my knee kind of lock as I walked.  It gave me a funny gait.

Anyway, the point about the work shoes is that I spend A LOT of time walking at work (when I’m not off-site), and I wonder if having the heel on the shoes is counteracting the effects that the running flats are having on my Achilles tendon.  The flats lengthen it, but the work shoes let them heel while in a shortened position.  That might explain the calf pain and lower leg pain.

3. Fat – oh yes.  My good old friend, fat.  I gain 15 pounds since the marathon (which is what I do often), and I know that affects the force on my legs when I run.  Although, I was this heavy last spring and I don’t recall having these issues.  But still, its a factor.

4. Lack of sleep -I’m stretching here, but less sleep lately because of work stress may contribute to lack of recovery.

So those are the causes I can think of.  I need to come up with some actions here to fix the problem.  I’m trying to work on the fat problem.  I’m off the candy (finally!), but still a little stuck on carbs (crackers!) at night.  I think I will wear my dress shoes at work for a while (their both black) and see if that helps.  The dress shoes have a lower heel.

I can’t do much about the running shoes at the moment.    Its hard to find flat shoes these days.  Lots of people tell me the flat shoes they wear, but when I try to find them in my size, they are discontinued.