Monday, April 4, 2011

One Step Forward...One Step Back

A couple runs, some treatment, a fall and a couple more days off.  In other words, more of the same.

Eager to get back to regular, pain-free running, I made an appointment  Thursday with a local chiropractor/massage therapist that a woman at a local health club highly recommended (and who had her office inside the club).   

Just prior to the Friday appointment, I dashed out for a quick run around the Meadow View Loop at Elk Meadow Open Space.  With Maya on a leash, we ran the 5.63 mile loop in 47 minutes (658 feet o' elevation gain).

A few minutes later, I was showered and sitting on a massage table explaining the bedeviling collection of aches that had enveloped pretty much the entirety of my left mid-section. 

Over the next 45 minutes, she poked, prodded and pressed her way into discovering which of my muscles were the offenders causing my 2+ weeks of crappy running.  During this time, she used a combination of Active Release Therapy, massage, cold laser treatments (supposed to reduce inflammation) and adjustments (hips) to try to realign my then-misaligned pelvis and sooth my inflamed muscles (muscles with names like gluteus medius, periformis and others I can't begin to remember).

When I stood up at the end of the session, I was still sore, but felt better for the work.  I finished the day with a long course of stretching and ice.

Next up was an early Saturday morning rendez-vous with Woody and Joe Z. at Mt. Falcon for a go at the v1 (version one) route, which is essentially running every trail in the park starting from the lower lot.

Just past the prescribed hour of 5:30 a.m., with headlamps illuminating the trail in front of us, Joe, Woody and I set out up the Turkey Trot trail.  The first steps felt good, a definite improvement.  I remember thinking I was on the mend and pain-free running was just around the corner.  All good…until it wasn’t.

After about a minute of running, I decided to take the headlamp off my head and carry it instead.  In the 10 seconds it took to move the light, I managed to catch my left toe on a nice, big rock, which sent me lunging forward into the darkness.

Before I knew it, I was flat on my back, head facing downhill, taking stock of the damage. Naturally, all the torque from the fall was centered on my left side.  And, of course, I fell on my left hip.  Yep, in a split second, I undid all the good the chiro had done in 45 minutes the day before…and made things worse.


Well, no point in wallowing in self pity when a beautiful sunrise and 14 miles of excellent trail lay ahead.  The only catch was I had to get my ass up off the ground before I could start running.

With a couple of grunts, a couple dozen yards of walking to shake off the effects of the impact, we were off, chugging up the early steeps on Turkey Trot.

After a lot of early lingering hurt from the fall, I settled into a manageable level of discomfort and stumbled up to the picnic shelter in 36:18 (including time spent laying on the ground). 

After re-grouping, we ran the rest of the v1 route, pausing at major junctions to stretch and take stock.  Pain-wise, things were manageable, but stopping was not a good thing. Stiffness would set in almost immediately.  Over the course of the run, descending became the hardest part.

By the time we returned to the picnic shelter for the final descent back to the parking lot, I was resigned to watch Woody and Joe disappear before we even got to the second bend in the trail.  I brought up the rear, running down the steady downhill at a sorry 8:50 pace.

Shortly after turning left to finish up the descent down the Turkey Trot Trail, I passed Tim L. and Jeff, who were headed up.  We all paused to exchange greetings.  Tim asked if I was running with the two guys ahead, I sheepishly admitted I was, fighting hard not to offer unnecessary explanations about why I wasn’t actually running with them.  (Jeff – good to meet you at long last!) After a couple of minutes, I continued on and found Woody and Joe soaking up the view of Denver and beyond from a grassy vantage point.

We wrapped up the run together after disdainfully pointing out the rock that grabbed my toe two hours and 35 minutes and 14.23 miles prior. (2,897 feet o' elevation gain).

The rest of the day was a rough one.  If I owned crutches, I would have used them.  Man, was I sore.  I walked a couple of miles after I got home and later that evening to keep the circulation moving and spent the intervening time laying around reading and playing games with the kids.

Woke up Sunday morning still hurtin’ somethin’ fierce.  Day off.

Got out of bed this morning in a bit better shape.  Went back to the same chiro/massage therapist late morning for a repeat session.  The knots from Friday were mostly still gone, but new inflammation from the fall was obvious.  So, more prodding, cold laser treatments and a hip adjustment were on tap.  Taking the day off and focusing on ice and stretching to see how things go.  Plan to visit the chiro again on Wednesday.


  1. I think your strategy is smart (of getting rid of the niggling injuries) -- except for the tripping part, d'oh!

    If you had to pick which aspect of your treatment was the most helpful (massage, some specific ART, hip alignment, etc.), could you pinpoint something that felt the "best"? Or is it really about the combination?

    Good luck!

  2. Mike - hard to tell which bit did it, since she did it all both times. I think the ART stuff was especially helpful initially. The chiro joint cracking stuff always freaks me out a bit...and the hip adjustments are particularly wrenching. Still, it seems to be helping.

  3. Jim - Unbelievable is right. I'd say you're way overdue for a break at this point. Time for some trouble-free running.

    I figured you were hust hanging back because of existing issue(s).

    36 to the shelter ain't that slow; I was breathing pretty hard to get 41. Always room for improvement (different shoes, maybe? heh).

    Again, good to say hi!

  4. I would have lied and said I had no idea who those fast runners ahead of you were.

    Seriously though, hope you heal up quickly! Spring is quickly approaching the high country. My only advice would be to stretch like a mother during your down time. Seems to work for me.

  5. Good advice, Jaime (the stretching part...not the lying part - I never lie...wait, was that a lie?). Thanks!

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