Saturday, April 30, 2011


When it comes to my running I have been known to make questionable choices as least when it comes to injuries. The one choice I have never made is to rest until an injury is pain free. It is possible upon reflection that they may have led to longer injury rehab periods.

So as of this weekend I am shutting down my running, I will walk, bike or figure out something else to keep me sane. For how long? I am intending to wait until I am pain free. I am hopeful that it will only be a week or two.

What led me to this, well last Monday I saw my Doctor, we had a good conversation. He told me to run with a brace as he knew I would not stop running based on our past conversations concerning my running rehab patterns. I think his preference was for me to stop running or if I insisted on running, run on pavement for no more than 3 or 4 miles.

It was also influenced by my Thursday run with Wayne and Karen, I wore the brace but I had pain the next day. It may have been complicated by playing two softball games after the run. Not sure about that but I guess it is possible.

So I will try to play softball this week (Thursday, only 1 game) and see if that increases the pain or makes no difference. If the pain changes then I will have to take time off from that too. I had retired from softball last year so that I could focus on running without complicating it with softball aches and pains. That didn't work out quite as planned. So I agreed to play again with my old team since I knew I shouldn't be running long for a few weeks. I have to admit I had fun playing a game again that I have played for over 35 years.

Good news is I am up over 5 seconds for balance on the wobble board.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wobble board blues

I started to title this post as you have got to be kidding me but instead went with the wobble board blues.

Why, I just read this about using my wobble board:

"Once you can stand on the wobble disk for three minutes without falling, you are ready to move on".

Three minutes, are you kidding, me I can only balance for 3 seconds and those are not of the one mississippi type, they are more like 1,2,3 if you know what I mean.

So I guess I have a lot of work to do.

One other thing I bought the GoFit Wobble board from

and it comes with a core performance DVD that "provides challenging exercises led by Mark Verstegen, trainer of professional athletes", can't wait to watch that to see how much more this humbles me. That is if I watch it. Will keep you posted.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Doctor's prognosis

I went in this morning to have my ankle looked at and got some good news.

My Doctor said that the ankle is stable but weak. His theory is that I re-injured the deltoid ligament when I sprained the lateral side of my ankle. Probably not as bad as before but enough that with my ramping up my trail mileage it is irritated and causing swelling which is leading to the pain.

He tested it in all directions and only found issues along the deltoid ligament (slight pain but no indication of a complete tear). He said my ankle is basically not strong enough to manage the minor tweaks of trail running without it complaining by swelling and hurting. Apparently the deltoid ligament helps stabilize the ankle against plantar flexion, external rotation and pronation and prevents external rotation and valgus stress to subtalar joint (he said some of this but I got the rest from a presentation on Deltoid ligament injuries, way beyond my limited understanding of the body). So running on the trails was causing too much rotation and by increasing the trail mileage it just added to more wear and tear that the ankle couldn't handle. All of that aside, the good news is that it is stable so I can run on it.

Ok, there were a couple of caveats, he said I need to run in the ankle brace for the next 6 to 8 weeks and I should pretty much wear it all the time over the next few weeks while I work on tightening up and strengthening the ankle by using a wobble board or a boso ball. He wants the swelling to go down (no unsupported and/or unnecessary ankle rotations). Since I just bought a wobble board, guess what I will be using? I would be remiss to point out that I can't stand on it without hanging onto something so I have some balancing work ahead.

He also said I could get a MRI and it should confirm his beliefs but he didn't think it was necessary and mentioned it might show some other issues such as early arthritis or other soft tissue issues concerning cartilage and the ligaments. He said it was up to me, I asked what would change by knowing and he said assuming no surprises probably nothing. So I skipped it for the time being, he said if after a few more months of following his instructions, if there are still issues then he will want a MRI.

So my ankle brace and wobble board are my prescription, I just need to follow his orders and I will be back to normal soon enough. Looks like I will be shooting for the Chester Woods 50k followed by the Afton 50k. If it takes me longer than I will just focus on Afton. If it takes even longer, well than Surf the Murph but I am betting on Chester Woods.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Future plans?

This morning instead of running Chippewa I am looking at races I can do in May and June with the goal of hitting Afton trained and healthy.

So what races am I looking at:
  • Stillwater Marathon (5/29th)
  • Chester Woods 50k (6/4th)
  • Minneapolis Marathon (6/5th)
  • William O'Brien 10 miler (6/26th)
So there are a few races between now and Afton that might be interesting to run or I may just hit the trails and avoid the masses.

Granted the precondition is I need to get the ankle figured out so I also looked up the Doctor I go to and will call for an appointment. I have a few theories as to what is going on but I will ultimately let him make the diagnosis. I do know that the last four races I have run in, the ankle has been an issue (one of the races was when I first injured it, the other 3 are ones I hobbled through) and I am kind of tired of dealing with it. If he tells me something that precludes being able to get right back to training, then I will focus on a fall event.

Long term, this injury has been a set back but that is ok as my goals over the next few years are only to get back into marathon to 50 mile shape. Then in late summer of 2012 run Superior and then maybe in the spring of 2013 see if there are some longer events I want to go for. I will remind myself to be patient

and to remember that my goals are to be running for the rest of my life not just a race in 2011.

Friday, April 22, 2011

No Chippewa

Decision is made.

Long story short, I have pain, I shouldn't do it. I just asked my daughter and she said, if you have pain you should wait until you are pain free. I said to my daughter, I don't know about that. Took a step and had sharp pain and had trouble going down the stairs. So that pretty much made the decision. I kind of feel like a wimp but 31 miles of wondering which steps won't cause pain is just the wrong way to be running. I am not sure what the issue is but 31 miles on it probably won't help.

Maybe I will try to go out to Murphy tomorrow and run some, then again, maybe not.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Decision time?

Time to decide what I want to do this year with regards to my running? Ok, I thought I had it all figured out in early January when I set some goals but when I sprained the ankle a second time, my goals took a left turn or was it a right turn?
I am thinking about what I should do as McNaughton went mostly ok but not great and my recent runs haven't been good. I am hoping that maybe it's just been a bad week or so of running and that I had a bug or something. After Sunday's run, Chippewa should be out but I have learned to not let a single bad run bug me too much. So I ran last night in Lebanon Hills and felt a lot better. I had some pain in the ankle but managed 6 miles and felt almost like a runner. The calf tightened up a bit too but was manageable as well. So I will see how the ankle holds up over the next day or so and then make the call. It seems solid but I still get pain at times and it is still a little swollen on the inside of the ankle. How long does it take for swelling to go away?

I hate to not run and rehab the ankle more as to me that just would prolong a long span of not running and if it is fine, well then I should run on it. On the other hand, running on the ankle could lead to another injury and set up the end of the season before it begins.

I hate these types of decision so I think I will wait another day or so before I make it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Runners World - Trail Special

I was really worried when I saw the mail and noticed a special edition Runners World titled "Trail", yes I still read Runners World. I thought to myself, I am doomed, soon all of the road runners in the twin cities will read it and decide that they should give up their roads and come to the trails.

I scanned the titles:
  • Best Train Runs
  • Off-Road Gear Guide
  • Run your first race
  • Simple 30 day training plan
  • 2011 event guide
  • The Crown Jewels - the 25 best trail runs in America
  • A guide to America's top trail running towns
If these titles are backed up with great info, not good.

You see, I like that a lot of my trails aren't populated with people, I love zoning out and soaking in the trail. I like that trail runners are a little different than road runners too. Well, it was nice while it lasted.

So I opened the magazine and proceeded to scan through the articles. As it turns out, I think we will be just fine, the articles look ok but they don't divulge a lot of information at least about Minnesota.

Did Superior make the 25 best trails?
nope. Ice Age did though, so keep that in mind when you head over to Wisconsin.

Did any Mn races make the event guide?
nope, closest one looks to be Keyes Peak Trail Run (never heard of it before)

Did Minneapolis make the top trail towns?
yep but they only mention Afton, Wirth, O'Brien, Dodge, Nerstrand and Winchell Trail System and not Lebanon Hills, the river bottoms and Murphy so my trails are safe. Matter of fact I had to look up Dodge and Winchell as I didn't think there were a whole lot of trails there.

What about races listed with the trail towns?

Heck 2 out of the 5, I haven't heard of and of course those 2 are the races series and they have races on some of my favorite trails, check them out and it will make sense but No "Surf the Murph", No "Superior Trail races", No "Zumbro", No "In Yan Teopa", No "Voyageur", No "....." well you get my point.

So I think Runners World delivered at least for those of us that live in Minnesota, our trails and races are safe from the masses except they did put in a link to the Upper Midwest Trail Runners (let's hope the roadsters miss the link :-) If you want more links to the races above or places to run, check out the Upper Midwest Trail runners link.

I do have to admit though that since they mentioned some races that I haven't heard of, it's not that bad of an issue.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Potawatomi Recap

Had a great time with Wayne, Karen and Rick while down at McNaughton Park this past weekend. Technically the race is now called Potawatomi Trail runs, we thought they should add "FKAM" to their shirts somewhere (formerly known as McNaughton). The weather was an issue on a couple of fronts but that happens, Rich and his team of volunteers put on a first class event and seemed to be better organized than last year. The weekend of running gave me insight to a few things, first what does it really take to run a 100 miles, second do I still want to run one and last, where am I physically.

Disclaimer: I am not going to write anything about the races everyone else did, I am going to wait for Rick, Karen or Wayne to do that. So if you want the details on their races, email, call or bug them as you deem appropriate. As to me, I stopped after 40 miles with the belief that 10 more miles would have risked too much and another buckle wasn't worth it.

First question - "What does it really take to run a 100 miles?"

A lot of training, luck, desire, a decent course, good weather conditions and you have to sign up.

Second question - "Do I still want to run a 100 miles?"

Yes in a way but after watching the weekend, I lack the training, real desire so I am not thinking of signing up anytime soon. So my answer is now a "no", maybe in a few years I will think about it again and decide to do what it would take but for now, I am not close to being able to take it on.

Third question - "Where am I physically?"

My ankle is iffy, pain during and afterwards. I knew going into McNaughton that it would be a good test and I expected issues and I had them. Good news is that I put it through 40 miles and it was not unbearable but not enjoyable. I iced and wrapped it between runs but in my last 10 miles I was getting a little more concerned as fatigue was taking hold and the pain seemed greater but it may have been that I was just tired. The pain is more of an ache than sharp pain so I probably just need to back off and do some additional rehab or go get it checked it by someone who knows more than me.

Beyond the ankle, I still need to work on my fueling, hydration and feet, no disasters at McNaughton but some concerns.

I also need to work harder at my running by doing more than just enough to get by. We had some great conversations on the car ride home about the training we all do and I think we all suffer a bit from just doing enough to get by. For me, it might be enough for a marathon or a 50k but I need to do more for the 50's. The concept of running with a purpose be it speed, strength or long come to mind. Maybe even some cross training and losing some weight. I may make it sound worse than it is as I did do some training and I have lost weight but I am not where I should be.

So where does this leave me?

Thinking a bit about what other runs I may do for this summer and running in general.

Right now I am 50-50 on Chippewa, my ankle and conditioning probably don't tee me up for an enjoyable day. If I blow out the ankle, my summer might be shot. Beyond my Chippewa decision, I just don't know.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Roads or Trails?

Here are a pair of new trail shoes after 7 miles on the roads

And here are they after 6 miles on the trails

If you like the way they look in picture 2, then you are a trail runner for sure. If you like picture 1, then you should stick to roads. I love the trails and hate when my shoes look like picture 1. Unfortunately my trails still have a lot of snow on them as you can see from the picture below.

This picture is from the south side of Jensen Lake (Lebanon Hills), lots of snow yet to melt but there a few sections of the trail that have no snow but only a few. I am thinking maybe by the end of the week, the trails will be clear.


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