Thursday, September 30, 2010


TCM is out, can't run, shouldn't start. Surf the Murph's entry fee goes up today, do I sign up or not? I only have 29 days to get back into running shape of any sort and to hit the start line. So the 50 miler is out, 50k is doubtful, 25k is a maybe, volunteering I can do. So I emailed Les and Cindy on Sunday to see if they need another volunteer otherwise maybe I go for the 25k.

And on that note, I thought I would be running by now but I am not ready. I am walking pretty good but the calf still is bothersome on uneven surfaces and when it gets flexed, trails would be troublesome. Tonight, I tried to get on the treadmill, had issues as soon as I hit 4 mph, not good. Thought about trying to just push through it, then I thought again and decided to wait another day or two.

I may still try to go for Surf the Murph but if I do I will just pay the extra entry fee and if I am running in the next week, I think I would be quite happy to do so.

Amended Post - Kel left me a comment and I followed her advice, I am now signed up for the 25k. It at least gives me something to look forward to.

Otherwise, it may soon be time to move to plan b - fall/winter cross training program.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Plantaris Anatomy

I decided to try and look up some additional info on the plantaris muscle/tendon and found a couple of decent pictures (all my info was extracted from wikipedia). If you can't tell, I am my normal self absorbed self with this injury so feel free to skip this but if you ever wondered about Plantaris anatomy it at least provides a summary in pictures.

The plantaris muscle and a portion of its tendon run between the two larger calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius muscle). The Plantaris starts at the knee and runs between the soleus and the gastrocnemius and attaches near the heel.

Plantaris muscle/tendon behind the knee to the heel

In the first picture where I added the arrow is approximately where I felt the original pain when something must have snapped or torn, it is still where I have figured out that it is the most tender to touch and where I feel pain when I move in ways that cause pain. Right now that would be uneven surfaces, inclines and change of direction movements.

Plantaris where it attaches to the heel?

Plantaris location between Soleus and Gastrocnemius

One thing that I haven't chosen to agree with my wife on regarding this injury is the sequence of events that caused it.

Scenario 1 would say that I injured it during the Superior 50 while compensating for a right ankle sprain around mile 2 or 3. I did have left calf pain which started shortly after the ankle roll and it was different than normal and persisted until I missed the cutoff at mile 26.7. I then tore/ruptured it a week later because it was already strained.

Scenario 2 would be no correlation to Superior, merely a coincidence and that I did it by lifting a box out of my car because I am simply getting old. My wife thinks 1, I think 2 but recognize she may be right.

Today, I plan to go for a bike ride and I am debating that maybe this would be a good week to start a car-bike commute to get in some extra exercise. I live 25 miles from work (via car) and a bike commute would be around 28 to 30 miles which on my mt bike might take a bit longer than I could deal with so I am thinking that I might park about midway to work and then bike the rest

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Injury Update

Lots of progress in a week but I am still not where I hoped I would be. My walking is starting to get closer to normal, although I am still limping and can't walk very fast . Certain movements still cause pain and I have been woken up the last couple of nights when I do something that causes pain. So I am thinking running might be a few more days away.

This week, I had hope that I might still run TCM but that may have been unrealistic. My plan was to run 3 miles today, 10 tomorrow, throw in a couple of mid week runs and then run TCM. Today, my reality is that this plan is not possible.

Right now, Surf the Murph doesn't seem too probable either since it is 5 weeks away. I know I will be running by then but to even think about doing the 50 miler would be really, really stupid, the 50k might just be really stupid and the 25k might be doable but still a little stupid. If I rush back from this I might end up with other injuries and I hate not being able to run at this time of year as it is one of the most enjoyable periods we have.

So instead I am thinking, start to cross train right away, get back to running when I can, enjoy the fall with shorter runs or rides. The goal will be to work on getting into a good pattern of running and cross training and then keep at it all winter and hit the spring strong, almost seems like the start of a plan.

Monday, September 20, 2010

And the prognosis is

Turns out that I actually got much better news than I expected. I have an injury of some sort to my plantaris muscle or tendon (could be a tear or a rupture). You might ask, how can that be good news. Well it turns out that the plantaris tendon and muscle serves no purpose or at least not much of a purpose.

Here is what wikipedia has to say about the plantaris muscle:
It is composed of a thin muscle belly and a long thin tendon. It is approximately 2-4 inches long, and is absent in 7 - 10% of the human population. It is one of the plantar flexors in the superior compartment of the leg along with the gastrocnemius, and soleus. The plantaris is considered an unimportant muscle, it mainly acts with gastrocnemius.

Here is some additional info from a site called wisegeek on "what is the plantaris tendon":
Plantaris tendon ruptures occur more often in male athletes, particularly part-time athletes, between 40 and 60 years old.

When the injury occurs, the individual might actually hear or feel the tendon pop and feel an intense, stabbing pain in the calf. Pain accompanying a plantaris tendon rupture is persistent and lies deeper within the calf muscle than if the muscle itself were strained. In some cases, the plantaris tendon and the plantaris muscle have suffered chronic swelling that finally manifests in a rupture, but most of the time, the injury occurs suddenly.
And I was told that I can walk or run based on comfort. When I mentioned TCM in two weeks, my Dr looked at me and said it is a comfort thing. Granted his look was one of subtle perplexity and although I am not planning on running it as of today, if I can start walking normally in a few days, well who knows. At least I have some hope of being ready for the 50k at Surf the Murph. That said, I did just read another article on plantaris muscle injury treatment that wasn't quite as optimistic, it said one should take off 4 weeks before resuming running so I guess I will ponder things as I start to improve.

So as of today, I will simply continue to do the RICE thing and take it day for day until I am back once again on the trails, hopefully sooner versus later.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


With each set back that we experience we have the opportunity to use it to improve or regress. Last June when I had issues at FANs, I choose to regress although I would have argued otherwise as I more or less ignored the issues and still tried to run at Afton and sure enough I could not work through them. I took this set back as an opportunity to improve and went to the Dr for a diagnosis and assistance. I was making good progress when my work became demanding and I regressed again. Now at the time I again would have argued otherwise as I increased my mileage just enough to give me the hope that I could still take on Superior but I did not work hard enough and I quit working on the other things that I needed to do to make me stronger and that led to my failure at Superior. This week as I was processing Superior and letting the ankle improve, I was trying to decide what to do next and I think I was again going to regress further until yesterday.

Yesterday, it appears I was given another opportunity to choose a path that will lead to improvement. Yes, I may have torn a calf muscle (I am still hopeful that maybe my amateur diagnosis is wrong and it is the aftermath of a severe cramp). And yes, I still can't walk normally nor can I straighten the leg or put my heel to the ground at least with any sense of urgency. Suffice to say that yesterday and even this morning I was not a happy camper and I was probably headed towards additional regression as my negative thoughts were flowing. Upon reflection, I am choosing a different path and intend to use this as an opportunity to move forward.

Tomorrow, I will call my Dr with the intent to actually follow his advice. TCM is out and Surf the Murph will depend on what the Dr. tells me. The good news is that I just tried to peddle our exercise bike and I can do that as long as I don't try to fully straighten the leg. Don't worry, I won't try to use the bike today as my plan is to follow the RICE principal and then see what I can find out tomorrow.

Mentally, I am planning on being shutdown from running at least for a while (a week to a month, hopefully no longer) with the realization that my racing year might be over. If it is then my plan will to be to cross train to maintain mental health, weight and to become stronger. It will be hard to not run but there are many other things I can do if I take this on with a positive attitude and use this as the opportunity it needs to be.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some days...................

There is an old saying about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and that you hope it's not an oncoming train. Today, that light turned out to be a train.

First, I will fill you in on my week. My recovery from Superior was not quite progressing the way that I had hoped, the ankle had kept me hobbling most of the week to where my wife and a few co-workers thought I should have gone in to get it looked at. I being me, wanted no part of that, they were concerned that maybe it wasn't a sprain. Anyway, I thought today that my patience was paying off as the ankle was almost normal to at least to where I was planning on trying to run on it. Before I could run, I had to do a few things around the house. One of the tasks was to take old financial papers to the Credit Union as they had offered free shredding. So I loaded up over 15 years of old papers into a couple of tubs and a box and headed out. As I drove up there, I started thinking that maybe my wife and I should run the River Bottoms and if that went well, maybe TCM and Surf the Murph 50 might still be possible.

I got to the credit union and carried over the first tub and dumped it. The guy from the credit union commented on the amount of paper I had brought and I said I had a bit more. So back to the car but the box had overturned and ripped so as I picked it up, I figured I would just dump it into one of the tubs. As I did so, I received an unbelievable pain from my left calf (yes the same calf that bugged me a little at Superior after I hurt the ankle, but I am sure that is a coincidence). It felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat, I thought to myself it's just a cramp. I decided to try and ignore it and finished filling up the tub as I tried to lift it to carry over, I couldn't bear weight on my leg. So I kind of stood there a bit and then tried to stretch it and after a few more minutes, I hobbled over. He commented on my new limp, I explained it to him and I am sure he thought to himself, it must be hell getting old. If he wasn't, I sure as blank was.

So I drove home, almost had to crawl into the house ( I kind of hopped and then did somewhat crawl a bit) and told my wife, I think she wanted to laugh but was concerned. She again suggested the Doctor concept, I again said no, it is just a spasm. So I iced it and then put on my compression socks and will continue to try to stretch it as much as I can. Right now, if I stand, I can't put my left heel on the ground nor can I straighten my leg and pull the foot back towards my knee when I am sitting, so at least I know what I need to work on.

I think it's safe to say, no run today, maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Post Superior Thoughts

I have had a couple days to reflect on my Superior 50 attempt and I have had no real second thoughts other than it would be a really good event to hit in very good shape and healthy.

I was surprised the day after when Karyn and I walked around Temperance River State Park and I had problems walking without pain. We were checking out other campsites for a future trip and walking up a slight incline really bugged my ankle. Here are a couple pictures that Karyn took from the park while we walked around.

Monday at work I hobbled around on it so I may have done a little more damage than I had thought. I remember when I did it I heard a sound but I ignored the sound and assumed I had just rolled and ran through it, I think this was around 2 or 3 miles into the race. It was shortly after that though that I started having left calf cramping issues (it was my right ankle I injured) and not too long after that my back really started getting sore. I ran on for another 9 or 10 miles and then it seemed like I wasn't capable of pushing off with either leg and felt like a really old man (I think I may have proven Steve Q's recent post on injuries (yet again) - see section 3). I remember right after the race that my back was hurting more than anything else except for maybe my pride. I should add that even if I hadn't had these issues, I was in trouble on this trail with my lack of solid training but I think I might have at least made it to the next cutoff. Today the ankle still aches but I think it was a little better when I was walking or going up or down stairs, it still hurts but maybe not as bad (the ankle seems stable, it is swollen on the upper outside of the ankle near my achilles) so I decided to take another day off of running.

At this time, I am thinking that TCM would be a bad idea. As to Surf the Murph, I will be doing it but the distance is a tbd. I do not think it would be wise to do 50 miles and I don't think the 25k would be enough of a challenge so maybe the 50k would be just right. Once I am running again, I will decide.

As to future endeavors on the Superior Hiking Trail, I see a couple of possibilities, no make that three. One - come back next year and run the Moose Mt. Marathon - that way I see the section of the course I missed. Two - run the spring 50k that way I see a large part of the trail that I missed and then go for the Superior 50 again in the fall. Three - give up on running this trail but that isn't like me, so I think I am hooked to give it another go or I could just sign up for the 100 :-), just kidding.

Other post Superior thoughts, yup the normal ones, lose weight, train harder, cross train some, run up hills, run down hills, run faster, run longer and last to get and stay healthy. I think if I do most of these things between now and next year the Superior 50 will be back on the schedule. If I don't please remind me of this post as it would be stupid to try and do it, then again, I am fairly good at stupid.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Superior 50 report

On Saturday I got to experience two things I have never had to deal with. The first was one of the most beautiful trails I have ever seen: The Superior Hiking Trail, the second was not making a cut-off.

First the race story, my wife and I made our way up to Temperance River State Park. We were camping there versus staying in a nice warm inn as we (I) thought it would be fun. We love to camp and haven't had a chance as our daughters do not love to camp anymore which makes it a little more problematic to find the time. We got set-up fairly quickly, drove up to the Caribou Lodge to pick up my packet. I would like to say I was confident going into this race but I was not.

To show you where my thoughts were, here is an email from August 22nd that I never sent:

Larry, I am signed up for the 50 and working through a couple of issues - lack of training and a couple of nagging injuries and was wondering if I can drop down to the marathon? I haven't made up my mind to do so but just wanted to find out if it is an option.

The nagging injuries were my back was sore again and a foot issue. I had gotten the back healthy but between ramping up my mileage and stopping the exercises it had regressed. I decided to go for it despite the poor training and the injuries, why you may ask? Well the main reason is ....... heck, I don't know, I think I just didn't want to believe I couldn't pull it off. I normally can rally a bit and I only needed to maintain something like 16 to 17 minute miles and how hard could that be, right? And what if I had backed off to the marathon and had an easy time? That thought is very humorous now that I have seen the trail. Easy on that trail, is never going to happen, at least for me.

Anyway, it rained unbelievably hard during the night but we stayed mostly dry in the tent. I remember waking up at 2:30 AM, thinking about those poor folks running the 100 and I thought to myself that I sure hoped the rain would end soon. Up at 4, still raining but not as hard as earlier, got dressed, ate some yogurt, had a cup of coffee, made sure Karyn was awake, we left around 5 for the start line. Problem was, I had failed to pay attention to where it was and didn't really take into account darkness along with a fog/mist that greatly limited visibility. We ended up finding the start line but had a few tense moments. I packed up my final things and before I knew it we were off.

My plan was to run with Wayne for a while and then send him on his way. I figured I would be very close to the cut-offs and I knew he would be faster than I was and I wanted him to make it. About 3 or so miles into the race I rolled my right ankle pretty good. I kept going, figuring it would be ok, it mostly was but it did bother me more than I would have liked. I kept the pace slow but manageable, trying to take what the course was giving me. Wayne and I ran together for the first 7.7 miles but separated during the 2nd section, I had taken my jacket off at the first aid station and had some issues getting it into my pack and the pack back on. It took a mile or so but I eventually caught up to Wayne but soon ended up slowing down some and we separated but for the most part I kept things going ok and if I remember I was a minute or so behind him at the next aid station. At the 2nd aid station, I saw Karyn and was a bit cranky as I knew I was in trouble, my back was hurting, then ankle was tender and I was starting to get some blisters. I had also had left calf cramping up, all in all I was falling apart. I took the time to switch shoes, expecting that they would help get better traction in the mud and not aggravate the blisters. I have to admit that I was kind of soaking in the trail, I was loving it, even though it was wet, very very wet and very muddy in places. From that point on my day trickled downhill. I could give you more of my adventure as I watched the hills, roots, rocks and mud take their toll but I think my pictures will give you an idea (they are not very good quality as they were taken from my cell phone and I was a bit shaky at times but hopefully you will get an idea)

Yes this was part of the trail, I took this picture after I came down this section and looked back up at it. It was after the 2nd aid station, I think.

The mist/fog was gorgeous but I think the view would have been even more spectacular without it.

I can't remember which river this was, I took it from the bridge that crossed it.

Typical of the trail but at times the mud/water covered up rocks and roots. I torqued my ankle a few more times and every twist of my feet over rocks and roots caused some back pain. There was a hill that I went down where I seriously was concerned for my safety and sure enough I slipped on one of the rocks and wiped out but no major damage.
I didn't get a great picture that captured the mud but hopefully these will give you a feel.
There were sections were the water/mud was mid calf and I had my shoes get stuck but thankfully I didn't lose them completely.

I went down the path to this lake and just kind of stared at it for 2 or 3 minutes. There were so many sections of this course that I wish I could have just stopped and taken it in but I did want to make the cutoff so I kept moving. But my last 10 miles or so I knew I wasn't going to make the cutoff so I stopped often to try and soak it in.

So my day was cut short from what I expected but my body was failing so I wasn't too disappointed. I loved every minute on this trail and will look forward to returning for another race. I now have a feel for it and will know that my training will be need to step up 2 or 3 levels if I am ever going to succeed on this trail.

What an unbelievably great trail and my thanks to Larry and all of the volunteers for hosting a first class event. Congrats to Wayne, Rick, Jim and all of the other 50 and 100 mile finishers, I am in awe of you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Final Superior Forecast

I need to finish packing, double check my list and then Karyn and I will head north. The race starts at 6:00 am on Saturday and I am expecting to be out there for up to 16 hours (hopefully fewer) but since I have never been on this trail, I am not sure what to expect. Here is the current forecast, guess I should be ready for some rain at least the temps don't look too bad.
Hourly Forecast more details
6 am


Feels Like
9 am


Feels Like
12 pm


Feels Like
3 pm


Feels Like
6 pm


Feels Like
9 pm


Feels Like
According to the forecast, it looks like the rain will head out after 3 so that at least looks good. Am I ready for a 50 mile run through the woods? Probably not but I would have said the same thing before Surf the Murph and McNaughton too and yet I got through both of those. Am I excited that would be a yes? I am about to head up north with my wife for a couple nights of camping and a day of running on the beautiful Superior Hiking Trail. What a great way to spend the weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Superior Attitude

Next Saturday, the 11th, I will be attempting the Superior 50 trail race and I have been more than a bit worried as my training hasn't been great but it has been good enough, the big issue is probably between my ears, you know those negative thoughts. Well over the last few weeks I have been working on my attitude, trying to move in those positive thoughts and let those bad ones go away, you know things like "if you think you can, then you can". I know that if I go in thinking I can't then I won't make it. I will let pain or a bad spell take me out.

Well, my last few runs have felt much better and they are helping me get everything back into perspective. Granted the last few runs have been shorter but it has been cooler which has helped me understand that some of my other runs may have been bad simply because of the heat or for that matter work stress. Regardless, I am now back in a good mental frame for Superior. Matter of fact this song pretty much captures it:

For those that don't want to listen, just read the lyrics and you should understand where I am.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me down
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day

Oh yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day

Look all around there's nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead there's nothing but blue skies

And on that note here is the current forecast for Superior for the weekend, to me it looks like almost ideal running weather.

Friday - Showers possible. Highs in the upper 50s and lows in the mid 50s.
Saturday - Showers. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 50s.

And if it does rain and it gets me down or if I am suffering a bit, I just need to think back in time and listen to this song, it will put whatever I am going through into perspective and help me keep going.
After reflecting on 9/11, I find that sometimes I feel a bit down and I need to understand things, this song always helps me find my way back.


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