Monday, March 12, 2012

Week in the Rearview Mirror: March 4 - March 10, 2012

Wow...what a difference a few days makes. This week certainly started off well, but took a header towards the end that I'm hopeful I can deal with somewhat quickly. Although the left calf was sore and a bit tight early in the week, by Thursday it was much better, and by the weekend was almost completely resolved. However, Thursday was not without its excitement...

Just shy of the 3 mile mark, I had a run-in with a dog...the owner was out with the dog and (unlike the picture above)..... no leash. This dog (on the leash) has lunged snarling at me several times in the past, looking like it was going to pull the rather large man over in the process. As the dog was snarling and snapping at me, I thought I was going to have to pepper spray the dog at one point, and suggested as much to the owner. However, I could sort of tell that she (Carly, the dog) was more scared, protective, and a bit curious (if not a tad aggressive in the way she displayed those feelings) than actually dangerous. The event scared me for a moment, then made me mad for a bit, but eventually (since the owner couldn't catch her and his lumbering attempts at doing so almost looked comical) I just turned off my headlamp and sat down. The dog came to me in short order to be petted (only moving to avoid the approaching owner with the collar), and it all ended well.

At least the owner now knows I carry pepper spray, and I WILL use it if I feel threatened (although I really didn't want to hurt the dog). Stupid pet owners...not the dog's fault at all. The leash laws are in place to protect the dogs as well as others. What if a car had been coming down the road at that point. Either the dog or myself could have been hurt or worse.

Come on people...really..?

You'll take your dog out for a walk in a light drizzle before dawn, but won't protect the dog and others by attaching the leash..?

And is repeating the phrase "he won't bite you" really the extent of your responsibility as your dog snarls, snaps, and lunges at others..?

Oh well, the run was good anyway...little did I know that the week's turning point (and by turning point I mean downturn) was ahead. On Friday morning, I got to experience it, although it may have been setting up for a while. I apparently have a new enemy to battle with in my never ending quest to run healthy.

I noticed at the beginning of that run that my lower left leg was stiff and sore, sensitive both to the ground contact as well as the running motion, and my lower back was sore from some planks. In retrospect, I think this threw off my gait just enough to re-aggravate my right instep / arch. At first I thought that perhaps the shoe was a bit too tight, since it came on very slowly, so I stopped at about the 2.2 mile point and loosened the shoe. It seemed to get a bit better, but I could still feel it and it got worse. At about the 2.9 mile point I stopped and tried to adjust it again. I was able to continue along this line until the 3.5 mile point, where I tried one more time, but within a few steps it just hurt too much to continue. I decided to stop the run and walk back home so I wouldn't further injure anything.

I took Saturday off, and tried again on Sunday morning. I could feel the soreness in the instep / arch from nearly the beginning, but it got better quickly. The left calf didn't present any issues, but at the 2.3 mile point the arch REALLY started to hurt again out of nowhere. I got to the top of the hill (the furthest point from home on this route wouldn't you know), and stopped. I tried to loosen the shoe, but it was a complete "no go". Running on it sent stabbing pains through my foot with nearly every step. Slowly walking the 2.2 miles back home was no fun either, as it would occasionally send a shooting pain through the inside of that foot, and even sent stabbing pains up into the front shin muscle causing it to sort of cramp three or four times. I iced it when I got home, but this is going to take a while I'm afraid.

I know that no one really "likes" to deal with these types of things, and the timing is never really "right". That being said, there isn't really a lot of time before the race I wanted to do (and paid for already), but I don't intend to kill myself in order to make that race happen...there will be other days to run. I suppose this is good in at least one way though. If this does NOT resolve in time for the upcoming marathon, there is absolutely no way I would be able to run the full distance and damage it worse. In the last couple of runs I've learned that once it starts hurting, running is impossible within a mile or less. So here is to hoping that a couple of (several..?) days off in a row, and a much more gentle return will do the trick. How fun :-).

It well could be that I just (once again) tried to do too much after that long of an effort. I just wish it didn't "feel so right" in those first few runs after the 20+ mile efforts. It lulls me into a false sense of well-being that apparently has no basis in reality, at least for me.

Here is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles)
Sunday Walking 1.02
Running 5.01
Monday Rest Day
Tuesday Walking 1.01
Running 6.12
Wednesday Cycling 21.68
Thursday Running 6.66
Friday Running 3.54
Walking 1.29
Saturday Rest Day

These are my time and distance totals for the week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 3:18:00 21.33
Walking 0:46:47 3.32
Cycling 1:23:30 21.68
Overall Total 5:28:17 46.33

In cross-training, I've continued with the pushups and pullups on alternating days, and the March planks challenge is coming along. I started doing a set of 10 x 1 min planks with 45 seconds of recovery between sets every other day. It is still hitting my lower back, so there is a lot of work to be done to get that weak area strengthened. I also attended Yoga on Thursday and Saturday again....I really like this surprisingly, and I find new challenges with it all the time.

Happy Running Everyone !!!


  1. You always post the funniest cartoons!

    Re: dogs, yeah, the owners are often irresponsible...think their dog is part human. I got chomped pretty good once.

    Re: arch enemy. Sounds like a muscle strain (aka 'sprain') in some little muscle in your foot. Have you tried RICE-ing?

    Hope it heals up fast!

  2. I love the "arch enemy" cartoon!

  3. Hey Michael,

    The payment for your upcoming race is a sunk cost......if you can't run it, you can't run it and that's that. Hopefully, you'll be able to train and prepare without pain.

    I know it's anathema, but take a few days off and try again.....far be it for me to be giving you advice, but there it is! :>)

    Hope you feel better soon!

    1. Bill, I will gladly accept your advice any time...just keep it coming. My current plan calls for no running or walking (for exercise of course) till Thursday, then I'll gently try it from there (and do a loop course closer to home when I do try it :-).

      You're right, the race is a sunk cost, and I need to be focused on the bigger picture....just needed to vent a bit I guess.

  4. I hope you feel better soon! a DNS is definitely upsetting, but it sounds like you have a good perspective on things. No race is ever worth risking long-term damage!

  5. Loose dogs are the worse! I actually carry a weighted baton when I run with the stroller because I'm not messing around about aggressive loose dogs when I run with my kid. I'm the crazy neighbor :)

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