Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I like it when things come together in such a way that even I can't ignore them. On Tuesday, four things happened that should help me to start working towards a new goal. What were the items?
  1. Work wasn't fun, I needed a run to relieve stress but I didn't feel like running on the ankle
  2. Diet, eating, weight, lack of normal exercise and stress release, all point to the fact that I need to change something
  3. My wife points out that I need to get over it, accept that I am injured and do something else
  4. Email from Wayne about what defines an ultrarunner from the ultralist
someone asked this on the ULTRA list and here's part of one person's answer:
I think that a true ultrarunner is not necessarily one who has run
an ultra once
or twice and decided that was it, but rather someone who
continues to return
time after time and in the face of adversity (maybe it's
a string of DNFs, doubts
of others, doubts of oneself, etc.).

ultrarunner is a stubbourn beast, for better or for worse :)

So what does it all mean, it means that I have to admit (at least to myself), that I may occasionally be a little stubborn and yes, I have had a couple of DNF's with a bit of some self doubt thrown in but I am not sure any of that makes me an ultrarunner.

I have tried to run through the ankle injury for almost 3 months and it isn't yet healthy so maybe I need to evaluate my approach. By trying to run through it and not cross training and/or modifying my diet, my weight has crept up and my frustration has grown. So starting today, I am going to work on another new plan.

So here it is -

Go forward strategy
1. Define the diet and follow it
2. Develop a cross training plan and start to cross train immediately
3. Accept that you are not just a trail runner or a runner
4. I should post about my future plans and occasionally provide updates on my progress

With regards to cross training, I am notoriously bad but I have options. From home, I can ride a stationary bike, free weights, dust off the old XC ski machine, stair stepper or even do incline walking on our treadmill. At work, we have elliptical trainers, bikes, weights and probably more options. All I need to do is map out the plan and then of course follow it.

So how do I mix in a running goal, real simple. Assume that I will need until Christmas for my ankle to be healthy. So with that in mind, I will pick my next race goal with enough time to train to become a runner again. Again, I should create a plan to get there. I would like to go for Potawatomi 50 down in Illinois on Sat 4/9th, that would mean get up to 50 mile distance in 15 weeks, not sure that makes sense but it isn't impossible it would just take some focus and a little luck. Option 2 would be Chippewa on April 23rd, 17 weeks to a 50k, much more reasonable, of course doing both could work too.

Time to start working on the plans.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Wintery-Fall day

I love running on days like today, ~30F with freezing rain. Although, since I didn't have it today as a runner, I stopped often and took a few pictures with my phone (sorry about the quality), there is nothing like Lebanon Hills on a day like today. It's why I love my trails, my body wasn't into the run but my mind took it all in and I felt peace and enjoyed the beauty of nature.

A few screws in the shoes provide some traction

Some sections were snow covered

Some sections were clear

Some were a little of both

The water is still moving in the creeks

Looking back across Jensen lake on the return

The bridges were tricky, icy and awkward footing

Soon winter will overtake Lebanon Hills and we will enjoy our fourth season of the year. For today though, I got to enjoy a reprieve and I have to admit it does my heart and mind good to still see the ground in late November.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I figured I would provide another injury update as I am still working my way through it. I do think it is slowly getting better (and I do mean slowly, very slowly).

A couple of things I think are note worthy, granted I am self absorbed about it but I think that is normal for runners. The injury is still tender when I run and I have found it is tender to the touch. I have only been running a few days a week so my mileage is low, part of that is the ankle, part of it is the weather, work and all those other things that I let get in my way.

When I originally hurt the ankle, I had a hard time figuring out where it was injured. After the last doctor's visit, he showed me exactly where it was injured and he said it would take at least 3 months to heal. It's always nice to know where you are hurt and to have an idea of what is the normal time frame for recovery.

Here is a picture from wikipedia of the medial ligament where I have tried to point out the area I have pain.
I have tried to do research about this type of injury, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there but here is what I have found.

What is a deltoid ligament sprain?

The deltoid ligament is on the inside of the ankle and provides support to prevent the ankle over pronating. It is rare for the deltoid ligament to be sprained as the fibula bone tends to prevent the ankle from moving far enough to sprain or over stretch the ligament. A deltoid ligament sprain is often associated with a fracture of the fibula or other bones in the ankle.

Oh yeah, one other thing:

Medial ligament sprains are treated the same as lateral ligament sprains although recovery can take twice as long.

Just my luck, an unusual injury with twice the recovery but at least the fibula didn't fracture so I just need to look at the positive side of things. It has been almost 10 weeks since Superior so I may just have a few more weeks before it is healed up, yes, just a few more weeks.

An interesting thing about it, a couple weeks back as my wife and I sat in church, I got to thinking about where he said it was injured. So I started grabbing, poking and pushing around on my ankle to see if I could find a hot spot. Initially, I had no luck, so I switched to poke around the other ankle and it pretty much felt the same, no real issues. I of course thought, am I imagining this when I run, maybe it's actually healed. So I switched legs again and poked one more time at the injured ankle where I thought he had poked me. All I can say is I found the spot as I almost jumped out of my chair from the pain I had induced. I of course continued to rub at it thinking maybe a friction massage would help. Then I thought, maybe my other ankle would be just as sensitive if I just hit the right spot (kind of like a funny bone or another way of saying I was still imagining it). So I switched back, no hot spot, so it wasn't in my head. I poked a bit more during the sermon (ok, I admit it, maybe I should have been listening a little better), anyway after church the ankle was quite a bit sorer for the rest of the evening and into the next day. So my thinking was that the friction massage did some good.

So on Wednesday we went to church again and I was kind of zoning out, and then I thought, I wonder if the ankle is any better. So I repeated the sequence and I had the same success, after church it was still throbbing. Not painful per se, just a mild throbbing that I didn't have before church. So I guess it's really not in my head.

On Thursday, I ran with Wayne and Karen in Lebanon Hills, it was nice to run with them again, I got to hear about Karen's recent 100 down in Oklahoma and the support she got from Wayne, her race report should be interesting, actually so would Wayne's if he would ever get around to doing them again. The ankle held up mostly although today it was sore again.

I am working on doing the exercises that my doctor told me to do. I was asked to stand on one leg, then raise up on my toes and repeat it with my eyes closed. I don't know about you all but I can barely do this on my good ankle. The injured one just kind of wobbles and hurts when I move to the toes so if nothing else I have some very basic things I obviously need to work on. I am also pretty sure that I know what I need for Christmas, either a wobble board or that bozu ball thing as I do need to get this all worked out and improve the leg balance and strength.

So hopefully in just a few more weeks I will be able to post that I am back to running pain free.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Go figure

Last Saturday, we change time, marking the start of having darkness on the drive to work and from work.

Last Sunday, ran in Lebanon Hills, 63F, saw a snake, last one of the year?

Last Tuesday, beautiful day, 66F and sunny, didn't run, ankle and darkness were my excuse, should have run anyway, you never know when winter will descend.

Last Thursday, planned on running, 50F, didn't run because of work and the ankle :-(, or was it simply misplaced priorities?

Yesterday, ran 3 miles, 42F, ankle was still sore but I ran in shorts :-), but was it for the last time this year?

Today, 10+ inches of snow, winter blues officially begin, what else can I say but it's Minnesota.................

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marathon & Beyond - Minnesota Marathons

This months issue of Marathon and Beyond has a nice article called "The Marathons of Minnesota" and they have a link to a pdf of the article so feel free to check it out.

For those that aren't sure how many marathons we have, it appears to be 12, the article got all of the ones I am aware of, feel free to check out each of their websites:

1. Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon - Jan 9th, 2011 - Northfield, MN
- it's run indoors at St. Olaf and is limited to 85 runners
2. Zorbaz on Gull Lake Run for the Lakes - Apr 30th, 2011 - Nisswa, MN
3. Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon - May 14th, 2011 - St. Joseph, MN
4. Med-City Marathon - May 29th, 2011 - Rochester, MN
5. Stillwater Marathon - May 29th, 2011 - Stillwater, MN
6. Minneapolis Marathon - June 5th, 2011 - Minneapolis, MN
7. Grandmas Marathon - June 18th, 2011 - Duluth, MN
8. Half Voyageur Trail Marathon - July 16th, 2011 - Carlton, MN
9. Moose Mountain Marathon - Sept. 10th, 2011 - Lutsen, MN
10. Walker North Country Marathon - Sept 17th, 2011 - Walker, MN
11. Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon - Oct. 2nd, 2011 - Minneapolis, MN
12. Mankato Marathon - Oct. 22nd, 2011 - Mankato, MN

I would be remiss to not note that they didn't include our races beyond the marathon distance but that only adds another 5 or so more. Not bad for a state that is pretty much only noted for two of the marathons (Grandmas and Twin Cities). We are indeed lucky to have so many to choose from.

One thing that occurred to me is that it would be a fun goal to run all of them in a single year. The one issue I see is the conflict between Med City and Stillwater since they are on the same day. I wonder if one of the race directors would give me a late start :-). Even if you don't want to run all of them, check out the article (as it provides a good summary on each of them) and then choose a few that look good and enjoy them.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And so it goes

Ran 4 miles yesterday, can't run today, will see what tomorrow brings.............

And with that here is my quote for this year at least as it relates to my running:

All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune.
Henry David Thoreau

What this means is that not everything this year has gone as planned but I have learned a few things that will benefit me next year that is if I can remember those lessons and find solutions.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Eeyore and Tigger - another injury update

My title for this post is easy to explain, for most of my running life. I have approached my running with the boundless energy and excitement of Tigger (Optimist)

However for the last few months (ok, maybe for most of this year), my blog reads more like the thoughts of an Eeyore (Pessimist).

I know it is probably because of the injuries but whether I like it or not, the last few months have been a bummer so you can ignore the rest of this post or read about my latest injury update.

You see, I had a doctor appointment this morning. When my ankle didn't seem to be healing fast enough, late last weekI decided to get a second opinion, granted I waited almost to the end of the week to make sure I could still do Surf the Murph. I went to a Doctor I have gone to in the past, I should have gone to him right away but I really didn't think I had hurt myself bad enough to warrant a visit to any doctor, let alone one who I trust to treat my running injuries.

He took x-rays of the ankle and they came back clean, no fracture showed up of any sort a few pieces are floating about the ankle but nothing that he was too concerned with. He thought one of the chips might be recent but thought it still looked a few years old. He did show me a few issues I have that many other runners would have which of course I can't explain but suffice to say it was cool. Nice to have a doctor who appreciates runners.

As to the ankle, he also diagnosed it as grade 2 sprain and thought I had strained a couple of ligaments. Unlike the other doctor that I went to he was able to rotate the ankle and press on a few spots and cause me pain, fairly significant pain. I felt so much better to know it wasn't in my head. When the other doctor, poked at my ankle without causing me significant pain, I was thinking I was being a wimp. He rotated it and was happy with the stability and then pushed and poked and then he hit the hot spots, he asked me a few more questions about how I did it. He asked if I rotated to the outside or inside, I said I wasn't sure, what I remembered was it rotating in and then reacting and it rotated out. He concurred and said that I had sprained the deltoid ligament and was tender (minor sprain) at the anterior talofibular ligament. He also said 3 months is what it would take before running would be pain free, not 2 months. I did not ask him if I should be running on it (guess who asked me that when I told her about his diagnosis, yes the same person who asked me all of the other questions that I failed to ask, my wife :-). I am not sure what his answer would be so I figure I can do so with care. As to rehabbing it he said, standing on one foot, eyes open and closed, repeat, raise up on toes, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I also asked about my calf muscle and he said he thinks I tore the gastrocnemius, he wasn't so sure about the plantaris tear or rupture but based on where he was able to cause pain figured that I had injured the gastrocnemius, his comment on it was that it would haunt me unless I did a lot of achilles stretches, in case I missed his comment, he repeated achilles stretches a few more times.

So time to cut myself some slack for all the negative thoughts and instead it's time to get working on a rehab training program.


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