"We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time." Christopher McDougall (Born to Run)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spoke Too Soon - Pain Returns

If you read my post Beginning Again, then you know that in 2007 I struggled with ankle pain that caused me to stop running. I'm sad to report, the pain came back two weeks ago.

Prologue to Pain
During the first week of May I was at a conference in Fish Camp (just outside Yosemite) for work and basically did not run. I only ran a total of about four and a half miles while at the conference and took one very easy and short hike. I arrived home on a Friday, and departed for vacation in St. Thomas on Saturday. I planned on running Saturday morning prior to leaving for vacation, but I was too tired so I skipped that morning's SFM run. I then spent a week in beautiful St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), where I ate too much, drank too much, and didn't run at all. I did take one six mile hike and managed to get in a decent amount of swimming, but all in all, barely exercised. I flew back from the USVI the following Saturday.

Last Recent Long Run
On the Sunday after returning from St. Thomas (May 15), words cannot express how pumped I was to finally hit the pavement. I ran 11.5 miles that day (SFM scheduled run on Saturday was 11-13 miles). That evening I felt stiff (which is normal). I was sitting on the couch for a while, and when I got up to take Jackson (my dog) out for a short walk, I noticed that I was limping a little due to soreness in my right ankle. I only walked Jackson around the block (maybe 1/3 mile total) but the whole time my ankle was aching.

The "Oh Shit" Moment
Monday morning I got out of bed and immediately took Jackson out for his walk. I noticed my ankle still hurt. In fact, that morning my ankle seemed to feel more stiff and the pain was a little worse. At this point I got a little worried that the epic ankle pain of the summer of 2007 had reared its ugly head. I took it easy Monday, did not exercise, iced my ankle and took some ibuprofen. Tuesday night I skipped the SFM track practice and just went to the gym to do the elliptical, stretch, and do some abdominal work. I had no pain on the elliptical.

Thursday night I went to the gym, spend 20 minutes stretching and using the foam roller as well as the hard black plastic roller. I followed that up by using the bike for about 20 minutes, trying to warm up my muscles. Finally, I got on the treadmill to see whether I could run without pain. I ran a mile and took a few breaks to stretch my ankle and legs. As I got closer to mile two, the pain in my ankle began slowly increasing. I stopped running at only 1.8 miles. It was obvious that I was not ready to start running again. At this point I started getting a little more worried. That weekend I went to the gym but stuck to the elliptical and the bike. I was on my feet all weekend cleaning, running errands, and gardening, so I didn't exactly rest but I did not run (in my head that is a big difference but perhaps not). During that entire week I continued icing my ankle and taking ibuprofen.

1 Week Later & A Discovery
Monday (now May 23) comes and it has now been one week since my ankle began hurting. I ran into my neighbor "H" who is a regular runner and she recommended I go see Dr. Jessica Greaux at Innersport. I went online to Innersport's website and noticed I could make an appointment online (this is huge for me because I hate calling places). I was lucky enough to find that there was an open appointment within the week, so I scheduled the appointment for Thursday.

On Tuesday I was getting impatient and thought I could maybe try to run again. If anything it would be a good experiment prior to my appointment with Dr. Greaux. However, prior to running, I made a relatively important discovery. I noticed that the entire right side of my calf was tender to the touch. One would think I would have noticed this earlier, but for some reason I didn't. It basically felt like someone kicked me in the leg a dozen times with a steel-toed boot. I learned, based on my very adept online research (more like desperate hope that I could get through this without the assistance of a doctor or physical therapist) that there are two peroneus muscles on the outer side of the calf that lead into two peroneal tendons that lead on and around the outside of the ankle. When I had ankle pain in 2007, I never knew about the link between the peroneus muscles and the peroneal tendons.

So prior to heading out for a run that Tuesday night, I took our wood baker's rolling pin and massage the side of my calf where the peroneus muscles are. I then head out for a run. During the run, I stopped every quarter to half mile to massage the side of my calf and stretch my calf muscles. I ended up running 4.5 miles and by the end of my run I was not even in any pain. I am still, of course, unsure of whether this means I have made progress or just found a short-term bandaid.

My next posting will explain what I learned from Dr. Greaux at my appointment at Innersport on May 26.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday's 14-mile run

Departure time: 20 minutes past high noon.
Temperature: 74 degrees but my face was on fire!