Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Arkansas and Rest

I got out early on Thanksgiving for a 10-mile run on the Ouachita Trail, a 223-mile trail that runs from Pinnacle Mountain in west Little Rock to Oklahoma (FKT - 76 hours, 34 minutes, according to an article in Trail Runner Magazine).  I was in Little Rock with the family to visit my brother, his wife and their brand new baby boy, Zack.

I lately have been cutting back on the running to try and deal with a flare-up in my left plantar. My last run was on Saturday, November 20th, which was a swell jog on the upper loop at Bergen Peak. The problem was that after that run, I paid for it and was hobbling for a couple of days.  Fast forward to Thanksgiving and the foot was feeling better, so off I went, bright and early for a really nice (and warm) run on the leaf-covered trails the wound from the base of Pinnacle Mountain along the hillsides on the north side of Lake Maumelle.

The run was great. Had the trails to myself and even had a wildlife encounter I'd never had before. About midway through the run, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and stopped to watch a juvenile raccoon scurry up a tree, pausing to peek around the tree at me from time to time.  Seeing a raccoon, of course, is no big deal. However, this was actually the first time I've seen a raccoon not in a city, not in my yard, not in a campground and not trying to gnaw its way into the hold of my kayak on a remote key in the 10,000 Islands Wilderness on Florida's Gulf Coast.  This was just a raccoon in the woods. Hard to believe it was a first for me, but there you go.

That afternoon, the foot pain was back...and back with a vengeance.  I was hobbling the rest of the day/night. It still hurt the next day, but was easing just enough to hike up to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain with JP, jP, CP, by brother and stepbrother.  Beautiful day. Would have loved running up the mountain.  It's short, steep and rocky. Made me wonder what the FKT for an ascent is.  My guess is something like seven minutes.

Anyway, I've decided I need to take this foot thing more seriously, as well as a lingering bit of pain in the groin/lower abdomen (sports hernia?) that has been persisting since pre-Run Rabbit Run 50 in September. So, I'm laying low for a bit.

Right now, for the foot, I'm exploring options. I did a visit to a PT before Thanksgiving, which provided some easing of pain, but not nearly as much as it did last year when I was dealing with this.  That says to me that the foot now need more focused attention than it did last year.  The regimen now includes much stretching, rest, ice and some regular rolling of the heel on a golf ball and small hand weight.  I figure I'll try a short run this weekend, to see if there's any improvement.  Right now, just walking around, it feels fine, with just some mild tenderness in the heel.

For the lower ab thing, I'm trying some stretches and core exercises. I probably will make an appointment this week to see a doc for a diagnosis, then figure things out from there.

Made a trip to the gym yesterday to get the heart rate up.  I walked a whole half-mile on the treadmill, did a round of lower body weight work, including some really fun dumbell squats on one of those Bosu ball things (half fitness ball/half balance board).  I followed that work up with 12 laps in the pool, which wore me out and reminded me yet again that I really don't much enjoy lap swimming (swimming is hard!).  But, it was damn good exercise and I know I can only get better.

Forgive the injury whining. This stretch has been a first for me. I've run pretty much injury free for years. In fact, the only other injuries I recall beyond last year's plantar problems are a partial ACL tear and a groin tear, both from playing competitive club ultimate in my late 20s/early 30s.



  1. Bummer. Have you tried the towel on the floor toe curls?

  2. If you're going to be injured winter is the best time. Speedy recovery.

  3. GZ - not yet...but that's part of the plan, along w/ calf stretching/strengthening.

    Thanks, Todd.

  4. +1 to what Todd said. Getting through this will make those "healthy" runs that much sweeter.

  5. That's frustrating. Heal fast!

    It doesn't take much for those tendons to flare up. If I even slack off on my calf stretches after runs for a couple of days, I start to feel that plantar fascia complain in the AM.

    >[raccoon] trying to gnaw its way into the hold of my kayak on a remote key in the 10,000 Islands Wilderness on Florida's Gulf Coast

    Yikes. That could have been your big chance to play Survivor: 10,000 Islands Edition.

  6. Sorry, but you're doing the right thing by not pushing it harder. Is it possible there's a gait alteration linking the two injuries? Good luck with the sports hernia pain as well and let me know if you learn anything. I've felt gradually (but not completely) better by avoiding speed and core work, but won't trust it fully until I get on the track again. As others said, at least it's winter! Looks like you're good with swimming and weights.

  7. Mike - I've postulated the same thing about the gait change. Time will tell, I guess. Trying to be a patient patient, but today's warm weather was not making that easier!

  8. Jim, sorry to hear about the nagging injury. As frustrating as it may be, I'm pretty sure some resting and patience now will go along way later.

  9. Jim, It seems I remember from your entries that you are in Boulder from time to time, and I would highly recommend you take a chance to visit Dr. Richey Hansen the next time you have a chance. He is simply put a wealth of knowledge and expertise on running injury, practices ART and chiropractic and is highly effective at healing. My wife and I see him consistently and he has helped us both through a lot of different stuff. In addition, I just saw from a review he posted, that Bill Fanselow (2nd place at steamboat) recently started seeing him with excellent results. Anyway...hope you're recovery is fast. Here's a link to Richey's site/contact info if you want to check it out:

  10. Aaron - Many thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely check him out. Thought about giving it a go last weekend, but fought off the desire to get out (twas hard!) and decided to give it another week. On a biz trip out East right now...good excuse to give it another week. Will let you know if/when I connect w/ the doc.

    Jaime - thanks for the sympathy. I know you've been dealing w/ a few nagging things, too. It's all temporary...