Saturday, May 13, 2006


Five miles yesterday easy and eight miles this morning in 50:17. The leg is feeling better, but probably only 90%. I haven't had any sharp pains in the last few days, but I can tell that if I were to move the right way I could certainly cause them to come back. It's possible that I could be back to more regular, 10+ miles per day running in another 3-5 days. Good, good, good.

I have definitely lost some fitness, which will take a good week to ten days to get back. The miles this morning felt clunky until the last few, and my heart rate is up by about 10 bpm at marathon pace. I'm not getting the same bounce from the rest this time around. Now I need to stay healthy and get back to the consistency that got me where I am.

I did end up going to see a physical therapist, which unfortunately was a waste of my and her time. And my money. My goal going in to the appointment was to get a firm diagnosis, short-term symptom relief, and long-term strategy for avoiding more problems. What I got was alignment voodoo. I thought I was at a friggin chiropractor. What she didn't ask was telling. No questions about history, volume, shoes, surfaces, hills, intensity, or previous injuries. The first and only question was, "So your left calf is hurting?". Assuming it was a prelude to treatment, I went along with various hip rotations, drops, adductor lifts, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouths, and even some fiddling with my shoulders. (!) WTF?

The cause of my left calf problem turned out to be that my right shoulder turns in and restricts my ability to fill the upper lobe of my right lung, which, with every arm swing rotates my left hip outward laterally, reduces the function of my adductors, causing my inner thigh to be weak, and by extension causing my calf muscles to compensate for that weakness.

That's all fine and well. How is it going to help me run 6, 8, 10, 12 miles today? It's not. So we get through all that crap, and the appointment is over. Any questions for me? Yeah, I have a ton of questions. Do I have a muscle injury or an achilles injury? What can I do to run on this leg today without pain? Why do I have trigger points up and down my left calf and not my right? What can I do to get rid of them? Is it possible my injury is from a change in volume, surface, intensity, or shoes?

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! To be continued...


Blogger Mike

Are there some other runners out there you trust who can give you a short list of sports PT's who aren't witchdoctors? If you're running 8 miles at 6:17 things are definitely improving (yeah, no duh), but your questions at the end of the post are troubling. I think getting off that treadmill will strengthen lots of those secondary muscles, but maybe time (and a slow, steady return to higher volume) will ultimately tell. I'm glad you're back on the roads at least.

5/15/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Eric

The list is pretty short as is. There are probably five or six in the area that focus on sports medicine, and two of those are local. One of them was the voodoo queen. I'm seeing the other this morning.

I haven't had a chance to write about my last few days yet, but they have been good, and pain free. And as much on the road as possible.

5/16/2006 04:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Fatboy

What kind of trails do you have around there? The older I get, the more I'm a believer in trail running as supplemental training. You don't get the pace you need for optimal cardio work, but on your easier days, you can go longer, beat yourself up less, and the eccentric movements caused by jumping over rocks, weaving around turns, and fleeing for your life from hungry bears can build you up as a much more well-rounded athlete.

Earlier, I made a reference to gymnastics. Some people call them plyometrics. Once your leg can handle more explosive movements, I strongly recommend incorporating those activities. Road-running is so specific, you really neglect the "supporting cast" muscles that help keep you uninjured.

If you want to come to Boulder, I can hook you up with Mark Plaatjes. He's the best in the business. Most "experts" have no idea about running. My trainer at UVA told me "Gee, if it hurts, stop running. Crazy runners."

5/16/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Eric

Getting to trails is a challenge due to my schedule. We have a nice state park about 25 minutes from here with a 2+ mile dirt loop through the trees over some rolling hills. It's perfect, but getting out there during the week is impossible, and getting out on the weekend is difficult. The driving turns a simple 12-14 into a three hour tour, and a long run becomes a half-day excursion. In fairness to my family, I have the hours between 9pm and 8am to do the running thing. Any exceptions have to be cleared through the front office. :)

That said, I am looking forward to getting out there on the trails as much as I can this summer and fall. I have always tried to run on the grass boulevards when I run the "roads". This reduces the pounding and recruits the stabilizer mucles, and like you mentioned, plays a big role in keeping me injury free. My big mistake this time around turned out to be spending too much time on the treadmill. It stressed my hamstrings and calves differently, leaving those muscles unprepared for the rigors of the same mileage off of the soft treadmill deck.

I would *love* to get back to Boulder. The last time I was there, I thought it would be my last time anywhere. What was the name of that fourteen miler we did? Running over the big pipe. That was insane.
Cripes, I'd better leave some for the blog...

5/16/2006 01:18:00 PM  

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