Friday, July 16, 2010

The Running Gods Have Struck me Down

For the past three days I've discovered the occasional thought coming into my head about where I'm going to run today, or how far I'll go, how much hillplay will I do, whether I'll go shod or barefoot...and it's about then that I remember that the bare foot is sadly swollen. I can walk without the crutches, but there's no pretending nothing is wrong; I can step down over a line that runs from the heel to the little toe. Any misstep with weight over the center of the forefoot reminds me of why humans invented have developed narcotic painkillers. I've been taking Naproxen, not for pain relief because it's easy enough to avoid pain, but rather to reduce inflammation. Are swelling and inflammation two different conditions? (Photo included in previous post of swollen foot compared to normal)

I should be able to attend to many to-do list type tasks while I'm not running. An hour or two, or three a day running does cut into time for chores and when I pose the question to myself: Would I rather run or figure out how to get the squirrels out of the attic or Would I rather run or restain the deck I keep (kept)choosing "run".

There is some issues I'm facing now. The main one is to limit what I eat. I had been holding steady at 176 after having come down from a lifetime high of 206 when Elliott was born 16 months ago. I can actually lose weight better by not running because I eat when I run. So I need to record calories and limit them to about 2200 a day. Another issue is whether I do some kind of alternative exercise. I suppose I should be able to walk normally in a week or so. I could pedal a bicycle as well but currently I can't imagine being able to pedal with the requisite pressure to actually make it be considered exercise.

The third issue has to do with where do I begin when I return to running. Let's say I begin to run again in eight weeks. Do I start as if I were a beginning runner? Can I accelerate the return to my former self? How much conditioning and strength does one lose in eight weeks? Will all that barefoot conditioning be lost? Do I start over again? If my foot broke, was I actually "conditioned"? Is there a chart or formula that has miles run per week before suspending running combined with weeks off that tells you where you can expect to be? So, let's say as in my case I was averaging 45 miles per week and I take three weeks off, where would I be? Eight weeks? Is eight weeks with an injury different from eight weeks without?

I had gotten to the point that I was rather undaunted by the prospects of almost any run (OK, maybe not 50 miles with thousands of feet of elevation gain in ninety degree weather); I was very pleased with my conditioning and my muscles were never sore or even tired. I was always ready for another run. That conditioning was in some sense an illusion. The weakest link is a little bone smaller than my pinkie finger. How can I have a better sense of where I really am physically and when I am at a point that I'll break? Should I just look at the data and see that I went from an average of 30 per week for a year to 45 per week for six week with a peak of 70 and realize that although I felt great, a spike in mileage like that is risky? After that 70 mile week I was actually pondering the prospects of going for 100 in a week. And I didn't think I ever got a runner's high; clearly I was high.


  1. Do you still have your Y membership? You could swim.

  2. If came to that I might as well just hold my head underwater!