Monday, August 21, 2006


Busy in the pool and busy around the house. Busy, busy, busy. The picture is the former front porch of my house, now destined to become a library/study, albeit a very small one. It's only about 140 square feet, but it still took me over a year to make the time to strip it to the studs, reframe the windows and the entire north wall, wire the lights and outlets, insulate, wrap, and sheetrock the room. Actually, I finished everything but the sheetrock wayyyy back last year, and I have dragged my feet on that part of the room for many months. It is unbelieveably nice to have it done.

I didn't do it myself. That would be something like hauling around a 250 pound TV. In the last few weeks I came to know a fellow runner who also hangs sheetrock, and he was able to finish the entire room in the time it took me to hang one sheet. Literally. With the hard part out of the way, I am looking forward to taping, texturing, painting, flooring, and trimming the rest of the room. After the marathon.

Speaking of the marathon, I'm still in the pool. Today is day seven, which I would normally be really excited about due to its proximity to day ten, which is when I planned on starting to fold in some running. Unfortunately, the leg isn't coming around. I did about ten strides at nine minute pace yesterday, and the limp is still there. It has improved to the point where there is no pain when walking or up and down stairs, and I can even do one-leg squats. Weight bearing is still causing some pain though.

I went back to the athletic trainers at my alma mater for treatments yesterday, and finally found a therapist, an attitude, and a plan that works for me. Or at least it puts me back into things mentally. The PT there was able to identify the painful spots, and do some interesting treatments on the muscles to relax them. The really brutal one is Neuroprobe. In any other context, this is a torture device. I'm pretty sure Saddam had a couple of dozen of these things laying around his palaces.

The 'concept' is to stimulate points in the muscle with electricity, which has the effect of interrupting the spasm/pain cycle, relaxing the spasm, and relieving the pain. A ground pad is attached to your stomach, and a wetted Q-tip is placed into the wand that distributes the pain. My plain talking therapist told me, "Neuroprobe hurts. A lot." What it really does is inject three-inch-long, red-hot needles directly into your muscles and wiggles them around for fifteen seconds. You quickly forget how bad the muscles hurt before and focus on the new pain. I call it childbirth for men.

My wife disagrees.

It's a good kind of pain, though, and I can visualize it helping, which is part of the cure. I have been flipping through the Kevin Beck-edited Run Strong, and seeing a lot of things I will need to start paying attention to in my old age. I've stopped almost all of the weight training and stretching that made me so durable in college, and so far it's paid off in two extended injury time outs. Over the winter, I will be much more focused on durability than I have been in the past several years. There is no point to training this hard if injuries stop me from doing it consistently.

Here's my pool/x-training from the past six days:

8/16: 25m elliptical, 60m pool run
8/17: 25m elliptical, 35m pool run
8/18: 25m elliptical, 45m pool run
8/19: 15m warmup, 6x5m hard w/ 5m jog recovery, 10m cooldown. 1:28 total (pool).
8/20: 1:30 medium effort (pool)
8/21: 30m elliptical, 35m pool run

Hopefully I'm feeling much better today. I'll find out if the repairs are working in a couple of days.


Blogger Mike

The room looks great, Eric. Makes a guy who complains so much about painting feel pretty sheepish. I was really looking forward to hearing that you were out of the pool and back on the roads, but I guess this will have to do for now. I'm glad you're getting some treatment, and you must trust this therapist to allow him to torture you this much.

I'm sure the stretching/strength work would help, and since it's winter there 8 months of the year you will have some time inside to do so. Get better soon buddy.

8/22/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Greg

Taping is the easy part? Hah! Good luck with that.

I must say that your description of your PT sounds horribly painful. Maybe you should try leaches next?

Here's hoping the pool will work out as good as it did last time you were forced into using it.

8/22/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Lawrence

I just ordered the "Run Strong" book from Amazon. Do you find it any good?

Hope your recovery is quick.

8/22/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Eric

It will be a nice little room when it's finished. I've started slacking a lot on the projects since having the kids and running a lot. In the years B.C., my wife and I built a 30x22 garage, 240 feet of custom fencing, and laid a bunch of cobblestones in paths and patios in the backyard. Still working on the basement, the front porch, and a bunch of other little will never end.

I do like the therapist I found quite a bit. She's no nonsense, and is very pragmatic. Find something that works and fix the problem. Much different than the first guy I saw. He was more of a 'bill them into submission' kind of guy.

Greg, I don't know if you're a big fan of the old Saturday Night Live, but there was a skit with Steve Martin and John Belushi where Martin was the Barber in medieval times. Belushi had been run over by an oxcart and broke both of his legs, but rather than setting the bones, Martin suggested that Belushi's problem would be cured by 'a good bleeding'. A friend of mine reminded me of that skit, and I thought it was perfect.

I am a master drywall taper. I am a master drywall taper. If I repeat it enough, it will be true.

Lawrence, I do like Run Strong. There is a lot of good advice covering a broad range of topics, all of which are important to some degree. I have been able to get something out of every chapter, so I'd consider it a must have for a runner's library.

Thanks all for the well wishes. Much appreciated!

8/23/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Fatboy

It's strange that the injury is so persistent. It sounds like you're doing the best you can. It's too bad you didn't find this therapist during your achilles turmoils.

Good luck!

8/23/2006 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger trophycase

When you're taping don't be afraid to make a mess. We call the pros seagulls, because... well you'll figure it out.

Run Strong heh? Is it for beginners as well.

I've only been running for a couple months now. I'm planning a marathon in the new year some time (loose plan) r not, it's really not that important. What is important is that I don't get hurt.

You seem to have a lot of people giving you advice, so What's the safest way to train? Do you shuffle along for the long distance, or run short distances?

8/25/2006 02:48:00 AM  

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