Next Up: Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race, 42!

Ha ha ha. No, seriously. I mean, I’m not going to try to run 24 hours. Or, I don’t plan to, at least. Sure I’m out of shape from the long hiatus, but not as much as I thought I would be. So here’s the plan:

Since I imagine the overall pace will be slow, there’s a good chance I could pretty easily hang with the leaders for an hour or two. Long enough to make them a little nervous. Once I feel done enough, I’ll take off the Garmin and hang out at the tent we’ll have set up on the course, and eat brunch. Then a nice stroll around the lake for a few laps, maybe running a bit with friends and whoever. I could probably do that for hours, since it rather mimics my day at work. After that, who knows. probably a few more runs, then done for the day.

Assuming we stay the night, I’ll wake up early and run some more, then hike until the 24th hour.

I figure this should net me a grand total of, oh why not, 42 miles. Both for galaxy-hitchhiking and palindrome reasons.

The surface is clay for the most part, and looks quite barefootable. I might be wrong, though – that path could be uncomfortably gritty. If that’s the case, I’ll be bringing a few footwear options. Because, what’s a barefoot blog without some mention of shoes? Since there’s really no reason not to, I’ll be bringing almost every shoe I own:

Merrell Road Gloves
Xero Shoes (formerly known as Invisible Shoes)

Those links, by the way, go to my review of each shoe. You should (re)read them, because I just went through all the trouble to find the links. It’s the least you could do. Like you had anything else planned for the next few hours.

Obligatory calfankilles/Talus with Malice update: it’s pretty much fine. Not perfect, what with the little bone pebble and all, but totally tolerable and not damaged. You guys must think I’m psychosomatic.

It’s good to be running again.

NSAIDS Week Complete

I ran sixteen miles in five consecutive days (avg 3.2 miles/day). The runs weren’t entirely pain-free; my right ankle would get a dull ache every once in a while, but it goes away quickly. The little talus pebble never got pinched in the joint. That’s good!

I suffered no side-effects from the high dosage of ibuprofen. I rarely take medication for anything, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Those waters were calm for smooth sailing. That’s good, too!

A note about the NSAIDS, and my opinion about them specifically and how the body functions generally: the reason I was prescribed NSAIDS was not not mask pain telling me to stop damaging myself. Rather, it was to get my body’s inflammation response to a non-issue (Os Trigonum) back down to normal levels.

The body is not very intelligently designed. We see things upside-down, the functionality of the heart relies on one single aeorta, and our immune system has a scorched-earth policy to any possible evil-doers that makes the military industrial complex look like a gathering of hippie kittens frolicking in rainbows. And whales have hip bones! Not that that has anything to do with what I’m talking about, I just think that’s a neat fact. So, based on my feeble understanding of what’s going on with the ankle, my body had been treating a minor, un-healable issue that is causing no damage as if it were a hostile enemy, sending the inflammatory response to make me stop running (successfully) and repair something that doesn’t need fixing (unsuccessfully). The NSAIDS hopefully changed that response, and I should be able to continue running without them like usual.

I know people have strong opinions re NSAIDS, and I’m sure it’s frustrating to learn that I, well, don’t. I think most of the time inflammation is good (the muscle stiffness after hard runs) and is important not only for recovery, but for athletic improvement. I base this on no scientific knowledge whatsoever, it’s just what I think and why I don’t take anything to ease post-run soreness. However, I also think the body is capable of working against itself, and the inflammation response can do more harm than good. In those circumstances, NSAIDS can help. Understand that TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch), and there might be a cost in side-effects. Life is full of tradeoffs, and I’m suspicious of any proposed solution that claims the TANSTAAFL rule isn’t applicable.

Remember though, where my own biases are currently aligned on this issue. I was seriously worried I wasn’t going to be able to run again. I was worried that maybe my shoelessness was the culprit. So when a doctor, a foot and ankle specialist, tells me with confidence that not only can I run again, but that I should run again, and that I should run again as barefoot as I please, and that all I have to do is get my inflammatory response under control by taking a few pills for five days, well, sign me up.

Tomorrow will be my first run after the NSAIDS regimen. Hopefully I’m good to go.

Even though I’m out of shape and keeping my mileage short, I am so relieved to be running again. I need the routine. My brain feels like a puzzle who’s pieces finally fit right again.

Doc Says I’m Not Broken, Resume Running

I sure hope no one was looking forward to a long, drawn-out saga of recovery from debilitating injury, because Dr. Hewitt is confident the calfankilles issue can be resolved with a brief regimen of anti-inflammatories. The issue, it seems to be, is a variation of Os Trigonum Syndrome. He was confident enough of his diagnosis that no MRI or even x-ray was needed (and won’t be unless the pain continues), however if I were to have one or the other, the Dr. claims it would have shown a piece of extra bone getting pinched in the back of my ankle joint. The cause of the possibly errant bone chip is speculative, but likely due to a combination of ankle twisting and that whole Rock Jump business, on a talus that had a cartilage nubbin.

This news is obviously a big relief. It’s easily treatable, it’s not damaging, and my generally shoeless disposition is not to blame.

This is, of course, assuming Dr. Hewitt is right. Since he told me to go ahead and start running again as barefoot as I want, I’m going to assume the guy is a genius.

So what next? A week of short easy runs are in order, I think, and lots of ibuprofen for the next five days. If this does the trick, I’ll start looking for a 5K in November to focus on. Can anyone recommend a good training plan for that distance? Not that I’ll follow it, although who knows I might; I’m just curious on what if anything folks have to say on the subject.

Anyway, I’m not out of the woods yet, but it seems to be a tiny gathering of trees to have been lost in for such a long time. The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, and discretion continues to be the better part of valor. Not sure how or if that last one fits in, but it’s true regardless.