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What Comes Next

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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Dave Wolfe on Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:39 pm

Enjoyed the video. Beautiful area.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:50 pm

@Dave Wolfe wrote:Enjoyed the video. Beautiful area.

Thanks, Dave! I took a few still photos while I was out there, as well. Here they are.



Just after sunrise, heading north from my neighborhood into the country.



At my 3-mile turnaround point, showing the undulating terrain I'd been traversing and was about to head back into. It's a great workout, and very pretty.



An unnamed tributary of Whipple Creek, I think, in the bottom of one of those undulations you saw in the previous photo.



Whipple Creek proper, which runs in its own mini canyon just north of my house. It's a little more than a half-mile to get there by road.

Our drainages tend to be deep and steep, thanks to the fact that this part of the country is sitting on top of about 200 feet of silty flood deposits left over from the Missoula Floods during the last Ice Age.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:40 pm

Low HR Run: 10.27 miles

Weather: Hazy sunshine, mild. 50-59 degrees. Gear: Altra Instincts, shorts, T, jacket (shed after a couple of miles). Fuel: Tried larabar before run, took only water during.

This run almost didn't happen. My stepbrother passed away early Sunday morning, and it's been weighing on me. I delayed my run a couple of hours but decided that I ought to see if the exercise would help. Not much.

I went out on my normal route in the Salmon Creek Greenway, and had some end-of-stepback week pop in my legs, but they fatigued after a while and I sort of slogged my way home with a sore ankle. It seems that the discontent in my body found my weak point and made a point to remind me of it.

At any rate, I got the 10 miles done. We'll see how the rest of the week goes.

Walked first and last 5 miles. Average HR for entire run: 134
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:40 am

Sorry to hear about your brother-in-law, Mark.  You have had your share of sadness lately - prayers and peace to you, Alex, and Alita.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:25 am

Thanks, Michele. My stepbrother had been in declining health for quite some time, so it wasn't a shock. In a way, it makes it harder. We all knew it was unlikely that he'd live to old age -- we'd been watching the beginnings of the process for years -- but there's no comfort to be found in the knowledge that we were right. He was only 51.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  ounce on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:29 am

You'll always have the fragrance of memories, Mark.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:20 pm

Thanks, Ounce. Appreciate the thought.

---

So I really ought to remember my own advice about overall stress loads. I knew I probably shouldn't do that 10-miler yesterday, but I'd hoped the activity would at least distract me. What it did, of course, was push my system stress level up into the red zone enough to leave me unusually sore this morning. Oops. I'll have to be more careful.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Nick Morris on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:14 pm

Sorry about the passing of your stepbrother Mark. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Take it easy and let those sore muscles recover. The last thing you needis an injury.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:25 pm

@Nick Morris wrote:Sorry about the passing of your stepbrother Mark.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Take it easy and let those sore muscles recover.  The last thing you need is an injury.

Thanks, Nick. I appreciate it.

And you're absolutely right on the second part. I'm treating today (and how ever many more days it takes) as the MOST IMPORTANT days in my training cycle -- days in which I try to achieve total rest to keep from blowing up/burning out.

I have an tight and angry peroneus longus muscle in my right leg and foot, a muscle spasm in my lower back, gut issues and a sense of creeping exhaustion. I'm doing my best to hide it from family and coworkers, but there's also a part of me that feels exceedingly whiny. That's never a good sign.

All that means is I need to get horizontal, stat. I'm glad spring vacation is next week, and that I took the whole week off from work. Recovery is in order.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  ounce on Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:54 pm

Welcome to the 50's!
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:54 pm

@ounce wrote:Welcome to the 50's!

Pbbbbttthhhhh......  tongue

Okay, so that's not the whole picture.

I know why I'm feeling so beat up. Take the extra-large dose of life stress on top of a rapid training build-up and add in my experimentation with the Luna sandals, which feel great but must have me landing wrong because I seem to be overloading some of my lower leg muscles. That's not age, that's just too much stimulus on the system. If age plays  a role, I think/hope I'm getting better at catching it before it hits critical mass.

Once everything gets back to normal, I'll assess whether I ought to not fool around with the sandals quite yet.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Dave Wolfe on Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:55 am

Sorry for your loss.

Last year my doctor told me stress was cumulative. - Thanks for talking down to me doc.  -- No Dave I mean that you can't separate the the training stress from the other stress in your life. Oh. And yes, at some point you do start to see age take a bit here and there.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:17 am

@Dave Wolfe wrote:Sorry for your loss.

Last year my doctor told me stress was cumulative. - Thanks for talking down to me doc.  -- No Dave I mean that you can't separate the the training stress from the other stress in your life. Oh. And yes, at some point you do start to see age take a bit here and there.

Thanks, Dave. I appreciate the thoughts.

And your doc is right about how your body really can't tell the difference between "good" and "bad" stress. But tell that to some stressed-out person who is just dying to go work out and "blow off some steam." It's a hard sell.

In my case, I had a muscle (well, two, actually) raise up in protest -- so I really don't have any choice in the matter. Otherwise, I could easily imagine me running myself right into total exhaustion. Guess my ankle is like a canary in a coal mine. Smile

---

Of course, the problem is, now that I'm slightly more rested, my energy is starting to return... which means part of me is saying, "Hey, there! Ignore that knot in your calf that makes you walk funny. I'm SURE it'll get better with a run! Really! It's pretty outside! See! Blue sky! Flowers! Come on!"  Suspect 

Well, maybe if I jog to the mailbox and back...

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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:11 pm

So the jog to the mailbox and back went pretty well, though my ankle/foot/calf-shin lit up a bit afterward, and they got worse later in the day.

But that might have actually been a good thing, because it got me thinking about what might be causing the problem. Stress was overloading my system, to be sure, but that's only going to reveal a mechanical problem -- not create one. So what's the deal? I can't ignore it at this point. If it weren't for the knots farther up in my leg, I'd be worrying about a possible stress fracture. It's that noticeable.

So, what variables have changed? The only obvious change between now and last year's successful ultra build-up was the sandals, and I was ready to blame them, but I really haven't worn them that much -- and my blow-up came after my last road 10-miler, and I did those in my Altras... wait a minute. My Altras?

These are my second pair of Instinct 1.5s. I retired my first pair after 705 miles - not because of any big problem with the structure of the shoes, but because the upper was falling apart. I have only 359 miles on my "new" pair, and I'd assumed they'd last about as long as the others. But as I examined them more closely last night, I realized that while the upper is in good shape, the midsole in the heel has gone squishy.

I examined it more, and I could feel that the heel had become was far softer than the rest of the shoe, so my zero drop in some ways has become a NEGATIVE drop - and an uneven one at that, because the heel is harder on the lateral side than the medial side. Gee. Why would my foot and ankle object to being torqued every time I put weight on my right foot? (Ankle and foot discomfort? Check.) The only way my body could compensate and avoid that torque was to run more on my toes -- stressing the calf muscles. (Angry shin/calf? Check.)

I just dug out my original Altras to test my hypothesis. The heel on the first pair, with all the miles on them, is still rock-solid.

Bingo.

Now, I'd be happy about figuring it out (and I am kind of proud of myself), except I'm not too pleased that it means my "new" Altras need to go into the garbage ASAP. And I need to find new footwear, pronto, unless I want to switch to sandals immediately or go back to my old Altras.

And being that Altra has replaced the Instinct 1.5 with a new 2.0 with a higher stack height and even SOFTER midsole, I'm not quite sure what to do.


Last edited by Mark B on Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  mul21 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:07 pm

Sounds like New Balance Minimus time to me......
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:13 pm

@mul21 wrote:Sounds like New Balance Minimus time to me......

Maybe. I'd tried them before a few years ago and, alas, they didn't fit right.

Still, they're probably worth checking out, though. Shoes can change a lot from year to year. (Take my Instincts for example. My first 1.5s were the first generation. My second pair were a new colorway with an improved upper designed to not fall apart so quickly. I'm thinking they changed the midsole, too, because they never did feel quite the same.)

Before I do anything, though, I need to get this lower leg calmed down. There's something in there that's very tight, and I can feel its tension all the way down to my foot - I even have some tingling now and then. Really annoying.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  nkrichards on Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:13 pm

Sorry to hear about your step brother Mark.  I know that even when things like this aren't totally unexpected they are still hard.  Thinking of you!

Onto running...isn't it funny how we know things but often struggle to take our own advice.  Glad to hear that you did figure out the cause....just make sure you take the time to heal.

Looks like we have some nice weather headed our way.  Smile
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:13 pm

Thanks for the thoughts, Nancy. It's a little hard to believe that it's only been seven days since he passed away. It feels like one of the longest weeks ever.

As to running: Or, in my case, not running. I'm hopeful that things are settling down (skipped a 10-miler today, will skip a 22-miler tomorrow) so I can get back to it before too long. Of course, I'll have to figure out footwear, as well. I've half a mind to go back to my tattered 700-mile shoes ... or switch to sandals full-time and see what happens.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:10 pm

Barefoot Run: About 2 miles

Weather: Overcast, cool. 53 degrees. Gear: Bare feet, shorts, T.

This was a test run, on a simple short out-and-back route with Alita and Alec. We walked to warm up, then started off with some jogging, some slow running and some walking. I went shoeless.

It felt pretty good. My foot started to feel it in the last little bit, when I was on a cambered patch of of asphalt. So this was probably a good test distance. It feels pretty good after the fact, so I'm hopeful. Cross your fingers!
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:14 pm

Well, so much for crossing fingers...



My foot and leg really haven't gotten any better since things went haywire a week ago Monday, and my foot was aching in a weird way, so I bit the bullet and went to my doctor today. He's a GP, but he is a runner himself and has an interest in keeping me out there for as long as possible.

He decided against an X-ray or MRI, saying a stress fracture wouldn't show up this early anyway... and he couldn't elicit pain while prodding and poking my metatarsals, so that suggests he's right. He said it appeared that maybe I tore some small bundles of muscle fiber in my gastroc, and maybe I have some post tib tendinitis. But he's not 100% sure.

He suggested I dust off my boot and wear it to give my ankle and calf muscles a rest, and he's given me a referral to my health system's sports medicine folks, and to PT. He's suggesting cross-training to maintain aerobic fitness (easier said than done) and is hopeful that I can still manage to do my event in June, just not as fast as I'd originally hoped. (Given how slow I tend to go, I had to keep from laughing at that one. Fast? What's that?)

Anyway, his goal is that I be one of those 85-year-olds poking along, still being active and enjoying life, which means not tearing myself to pieces beforehand. (Flexibility, cross-training, proper mechanics, etc.) All a good thing, of course. I'll try to be good.

---

On the positive side, I sent a note to the folks at Altra, and they said my squishy heel issue was a rare problem they've encountered. They offered me a 40% discount on a new pair of shoes, which was nice. The shoes are en route.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:54 pm

Sorry about the foot, calf, or whatever.  Hopefully rest will clear it up and it sounds like you needed one any way.  Stay positive and this too will pass.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:59 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Sorry about the foot, calf, or whatever.  Hopefully rest will clear it up and it sounds like you needed one any way.  Stay positive and this too will pass.

I like your description of the problem, Michele, because that's exactly what it is right now - foot/calf/whatever. I usually suffer an acute injury (like twisting my ankle on a root or something), so I can immediately point to the bruised/swollen part and go: "AHA! THERE'S the problem!" Simple!

For something like this, not so simple. I think I can sort of figure out the process of how it happened (see below), but exactly WHAT got so aggravated isn't so easy to pin down. I could play the string bass on my lower leg muscles right now, and I've got pain/discomfort in places where I *never* hurt. Not knowing is puzzling and annoying.

I'm hoping the sports medicine folks can be more conclusive, though maybe my GP is right: all that really matters is giving it time to heal up, and finding ways to not lose all my fitness while that happens. At least he didn't say I had to wear the boot all the time - he suggested it as a way to rest the offended foot/ankle tendons to speed healing - so I can drive and go to the store without it. Though I did notice that pushing off with my foot while walking without the boot is decidedly uncomfortable. (Makes sense.)

So, here are the contributing factors, as best as I can figure it out:

1. Relatively rapid build-up, trying to get into the 20s fast enough to be ready for the 50K in June.
2. Defective shoes with collapsing super-squishy heel, forcing all sorts of weird adaptations.
3. Apparently (?) bad decision to cut back on stretching a bit.
4. Experimenting with sandals, which mimic barefoot form without the barefoot feedback that enforces a light landing.

All those things probably put me at risk (I was getting some niggles in my calf muscles from time to time), which meant I had nowhere to go but over the edge when a bucketload of life stress hit. I'm blaming the defective shoes (No. 2) mostly, though I'm sure the other factors played a role, too.

I am trying to stay positive, though our current spell of gorgeous spring weather does have me crawling the walls...  bounce bounce bounce
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  nkrichards on Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:51 pm

Sorry to hear that the injury was more serious than first thought.  Hope you have figured out the cause and can rest it without losing to much fitness.  Take care.
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:02 pm

@nkrichards wrote:Sorry to hear that the injury was more serious than first thought.  Hope you have figured out the cause and can rest it without losing to much fitness.  Take care.

Thanks, Nancy! I'm trying it without the boot today - mostly because having that #$@! boot on my right foot was making my mechanics so unnatural that my left knee started hurting! (And my knees never hurt.)

I also did a round of stretching this morning, and all the major muscles feel pretty good, including the soleus and gastroc. My doc, bless his heart, didn't actually probe around to find the offended muscle/tendon and assumed a strained gastroc. I think it's one of the smaller muscles deeper in. Oh well, I'm sure they'll figure it out when I see the sports medicine folks on Wednesday. At least, I hope so.

What a spring vacation! I'm hobbled up; Alita has been sick for three days with an intermittent fever, aches and gut pains; and Alec just strained his neck and is walking around with his head held like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Egad! Can we get a do-over once we recover?
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Re: What Comes Next

Post  Mark B on Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:29 pm

Ah, Monday. Alec and Alita are doing mostly better now -- just in time to go back to school.

It's a gorgeous day, and normally I'd be heading out for a long run. I was supposed to do a 22-miler today, but with my leg/ankle/foot/whatever, it's still not happening. I doing okay without the boot but I can tell I need to be very careful. I hope the sports medicine folks can nail down the problem on Wednesday, but I'm pretty sure it's whatever structure I use to push off with my right foot. Hoping it'll resolve quickly, because I'm going crazy.

One small benefit is that I'm pretty sure I know how this happened. I think my right leg/foot tried to compensate for my messed-up shoes by essentially toe running on my right side, and I overloaded the system. That's the first lesson.

The second and maybe more important lesson is this: when you're in training, and your body is saying you really ought NOT do this run, you should listen to it. If I'd have just turned around when I felt that, or not gone out at all, this probably wouldn't have happened.

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