Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It does pay to get some professional medical advice.

As part of my routine physical, I asked my doctor about the pain in my right calf. Although I though it was an issue with my gastrocnemius, the injured muscle may actually be the soleus:

He said it is more prone to injury and also takes longer to heal. Sounds about right.

While there is no guarantee of any result, at his advice I'm going to start physical therapy next week at a place called Cherry Creek Wellness Center. While they have clinics all over the Front Range, they also have one in Lone Tree just a short drive from work.

I've been treated for all kinds of ailments. Nuclear medicine diagnosis: yep. Steroid shots in my foot: check. MRI: had one of those. Physical therapy: Never.

It will be interesting to see what results but hopefully after four weeks I'll be on my way to healing up. Perhaps, if I am very lucky, I'll even have a shot at still running the marathon. Maybe.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

...More Serious Than I Thought

After more than two weeks away from running, I decided to head out last evening and see how everything felt. I had a plan: wear my new IT Band strap, walk for a few minutes before I started running and keep it short.

By the time I was done walking, the wind had chilled me pretty good so I was glad to get moving. At first, everything felt okay, but not great. From a cardio standpoint, I felt really good. No racing heart, no burning lungs. It was nice to see that my time riding on the trainer for hours and hours had paid off.

After about a mile, the bike path that is usually part of nearly any run I do has an uphill and that was the first time I felt the distinct pain in my right calf. Well, not the very first time, but the first in a while. As I encountered inclines from that point, the pain became more and more pronounced.

The last mile had to be run-walked out of fear that I might actually hurt myself so bad that it would require a trip to the ER.

Oddly, the pain went away within seconds of walking. I think I have it figured out why. Running is different from walking in that for short periods of time, both feet are off the ground. You are effectively launching yourself off your back foot before the front strikes. Essential in completing this motion is the recruitment of calf muscles. When at least one foot is always in contact with the ground, this recruitment is lessened.

Whatever has happened back there, it's clearly going to take some time to heal. So what does that mean? The following:

  • The Horsetooth Half Marathon is officially off the race schedule. That sucks, but I don't want to pay an entry fee for a race I'm not 100% confident I can even start, let alone finish.
  • Running is suspended through, at least, the end of March.
  • As a result, my ability to run the Colorado Marathon on May 5 is very much in question. There is always the possibility that I'll heal up sooner than expected and even some experts who claim long runs of under 20 miles prior to a full marathon are possible. If it gets to that---a big IF I might add--I;ll re-asses. Perhaps I'll be able to pull it off. But I'd say the odds are less than 50/50.
  • I have my annual physical next week so I'll check in with my doctor to see if he has any other solutions and confirm that I can still ride the bike. Doing that has not caused me any new pain--not during nor after workouts. 
  • Missing the race and eating the entry fee both suck. But then again, the purpose of this is to be ready for triathlon season. So far, the earliest race for which I am registered is not until mid-June. I'm guessing I can be ready by then.
In the ultimate irony, my brother has more or less the same injury which you can read about here. No we're not twins and when he stubs his toe, I don't feel it. But clearly we both ran into similar problems as we attempted to train for longer distances.

There's more to come. I'll follow up soon.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Does This Thing Work??

My IT band problem seems to come and go depending on the day. Most days I wake up with it's a little stiff and sore but as I move around it loosens up and I'm fine. That said, there are other times when it really hurts and I went around.

Running has been suspended for over a week now and I'd like to think I'm making progress toward healing, but I really can't say for sure. With that in mind,I wondered about some kind of implement to hold my knee steady.

A perusal of the reviews on Amazon seem to indicate that folks using a strap support their IT band were seeing a lot of success. One person noted that it looked about as useful as a magnetic bracelet but in fact made a difference. Indeed,they were many stories similar to my own.

I decided it was worth an investment of $15.95 to see if I don't get some benefit when I resume running in another week or two.

In the meantime I continue to spend a lot of time on the bike--nearly 70 miles over 4 hours last week--and will spend even more this week. Hopefully it's keeping my cardiovascular conditioning stable. I guess the real test of that will be when I start doing long runs again!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This Injury…Is Gonna Need A Little More Time

Saturday was a beautiful day on the Front Range. Temps were in the high 50’s with breezes present, but nothing too cold or too strong.

I had a leisurely morning and a little after 11:30, I headed out on my 19 mile long run.

Not long after starting, really within the first mile, the pain on the side of my right knee began to make itself known. I initially figured this was just the result of a couple of steep hills on the early part of the course. It ought to abate after I got to flatter terrain.

For a while, on the flats, it did. The pain was there, but not all that noticeable. Then it came up again, but this time as I ran down the hill. Not good. Just in front of four miles, I began to feel sore in my right groin muscle. Clearly that was from compensating for the pain in my knee.

I turned around and began a run/walk home finally calling it quits at five miles. Despite a new pair of motion control shoes, I’m clearly not over what has become both a strained lateral gastroc muscle and a pretty bad case of IT Band Syndrome. This is particularly frustrating because from a cardio stand-point, I feel pretty good. Who knows how exhausted I would have been after the full 19 miles, but I hardly felt spent after five.

Nevertheless, the smart thing to do is to stop running. That’s not easy with a 26.2 mile race looming. However, the prospect of a DNF and having to get a ride to the finish in the SAG wagon is even less appealing.

The plan for now will be to replace my runs with cycling workouts in the hopes of just maintaining my cardio. I have no illusions that I’ll make any gains, but if I can pick up where I left off in two or three weeks, I think I can still be ready by May 5. Additionally, past IT Band injuries are usually the result of weaker glute and hip muscles. I would not have thought that would be a problem for me given that I ride so much, but there it is. On a daily basis, I’ll be doing a series of exercises to strengthen these muscles. Specifically, I’m going to lie on my side with legs straight, and lift the upper leg up past 45*. Three sets of ten per side ought to do wonders for me.

That’s about all I can do now. I have my annual physical in about three weeks so if this is still a problem at that time, I’ll ask my physician about it. Hopefully, this will be a problem that is receding into the past.

Thanks for reading and, of course, I’ll continue to update.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Race Schedule Revisions

There have been a few date changes and a race that I have decided to drop. Here’s where things stand now:

This one is still on. It’s been an open question coming so close to my full marathon, but I’ll just use it as a taper event with no concerns about time. Given the steep hills, taking it slow ought not to be a problem.

Definitely still on. No way have I been doing all these long runs not to test my mettle in a full race. I am hoping for decent weather!

I’m dropping the Ordinary Mortals race off the list. Part of the appeal was doing the first possible race of the season. I guess it might still be, but a week after the marathon is just a little too soon to be racing again. I understand why the organizers moved to May. It still ought to be a great race for folks in Southern Colorado.

No changes here. This is my season opener again. I like the organization and execution Without Limits brings to their events. I might get tired of it, but I’m not there yet!

Well…yeah! I put this date in ink on my calendar every year. 

Yep. I’m registered for the entire series so there’s no question that I’ll be doing all three. The 5430 Sprint is only three days after I get back from a vacation to Europe. That could prove challenging, but I’m up for it.

Another one for which I have registered and am therefore committed. It’s less than a week after my previous race, but I really do want to race more this year. Plus, a small part of the bike course covers where last year’s HITS 70.3 was supposed to go so that’s a plus. 

This was one of my favorites from last year. Great organization, fantastic venue and lots of food and one of three Saturday races on the docket. It’s also the closest to home. I completed my early registration and saved a few bucks.

Its place in the order has not changed, but the date is now September 22 which is two weeks later than past years. I don’t think that should have much of a weather impact. Even if the bay gets a little cooler, in a wetsuit, it ought to even out. 

Another one for which I registered very early to ensure a spot and save some cash. This will be interesting, to put it mildly. Later in the season by several weeks, site unseen, and multiple transition areas all factor into making this perhaps the most mysterious of my races. I do hear a lot of good things about it, however, and I've been to Austin before and think it’s a great town.

Dropping one race really makes the schedule no less ambitious. What’s more, I think I’ll benefit from a short time span between TriRock and IM Austin.

As the season draws nearer, the schedule is gelling more and (short of any major event) I’m not anticipating any more changes.

Whatever your schedule is, good luck and thanks for reading!