Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stress Fracture Recovery Summary

On July 13th I got a stress fracture in the second metatarsal of my right foot which was confirmed 8 weeks later when it showed up on a follow up Xray. I had been averaging 45 miles per week with lots of mountain trail running and "barefoot" running thrown in. Two weeks before the break I had reached 70 miles for the one week. I dropped to 30 the next week and the following Tuesday the fracture occurred.

I went 49 days (7 weeks) without any running, very little bicycling, and some short walks. I wore a Cam-walker for about five of those weeks and it was very helpful in making the foot pain-free without making getting around too difficult. I rode a motorcycle a lot, which was easier than putting it on and taking it off for driving.

I ran three times that first week after the 49 days, all less than 3 miles. The following week I had a cold and ran a short distance a couple of times toward the end of that week. Last week I ran 6 out of 7 days but 2.3 miles was the maximum and most of those "runs" were run/walk because I'm running with teenagers who are beginning runners. I had one scare in there when the foot felt extra achy and a tad swollen when I went out for three more miles on my own in Vibrams one afternoon after running with the students.

Yesterday I didn't run, as mentioned, and today I ran 3.9 miles at 10 minute pace on pavement with the temperature at 90 degrees(it reached 96 today). There was no pain and I didn't feel as if I needed to favor the foot. I've been going around my normal business all day and it has felt normal.

I'm going to continue to take it easy, continue to run in shoes on smooth surfaces for a couple more weeks and then reassess. Most of this has been mentioned in previous posts, but I thought that if someone finds this looking for insight into what they can expect with a similar stress fracture he or she could just read this one summary.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tender Foot

I'm a little concerned about my right foot that I stress fractured a little over two months ago. I starting some easy jogging a couple of weeks ago and took a week off from running because of a head cold. My little running group of students at school is starting to grow so I've been going out with them. So far we've been going two miles and alternating jogging and walking. The eight who have gone with me so far are enthusiastic; I must say though that I was rather startled that two had a cigarette along the way yesterday. More say they are going to join us.

A couple of days ago after work Elliott needed to go for a spin so I took him out in the running stroller. My foot was feeling pretty good so I wore the FiveFingers and continued with the walk/jog pattern. Oops. By the time I had done a mile and a half of that I realized I better just walk.

There wasn't localized pain, nor was it sharp, but there was some generalized discomfort that developed and I was uncomfortable with that. This has persisted for the past couple of days and outings with the kids so I'm going to limit my running to the couple of miles of walk/runs that I'm doing with the students and wear the Asics with an orthotic.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Running Shoes for a Barefooter

I may run barefoot but I'm not crazy. I figured some shoes might be in order for the recovery period of my metatarsal fracture, plus winter is not far off. I was near the Boulder Running Company yesterday and stopped in to see what was new. I think the young woman (from her physique, clearly a serious runner) was intimidated at the prospects and responsibility of finding a shoe for me after I told her I couldn't go breaking any more bones. She was going to hook me up with Mark Plaatjes (South African marathoner) but I ended up with another fellow who seemed to zero in on the twisting motion that had been creating the callous under my second and other metatarsals. I ended up with a pair of New Balance 1226 2E's after trying several pairs. To me, they are not unlike the Asics Evolutions that I've had. I guess I'll see. A friend asked me, "Another pair of shoes you're not going to run in?"

I tried them out yesterday, running 3.1 miles at 10:45 pace pushing Elliott in the running stroller. Everything felt fine at the time. This morning there was some pain on the top of my foot above the non-break end of the metatarsal. Over the course of my normal activities today this pain subsided.

I plan to hit the urban streets tomorrow with students although we most likely will be doing a mix of walking and jogging. Sounds perfect at this point, although mentally I feel as if I could to do a 50K trail run...even though I never have.

My shoe plan is to use the 1226's for pavement, the NB MT 101's (not yet purchased; I'm concerned that the D width will not work for me) for rocky trails, and I noticed that the new FiveFingers seem much more foot friendly, so those for routine trail runs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Less Running

After surviving three runs last week on a recovering stress fracture I only ran once this week but went for a few walks of about a mile and a half. This was due more to a cold than the foot. I know some people feel running helps them through a cold but it often seems to make it worse for me. It feels like the infection is able to extend to the farther reaches of my airways.

I spoke with my doctor on Thursday and he felt that running two to three miles if I'm pain-free was ok, and that I shouldn't increase more than 10% per week and if there is pain, I should not try to run through it.

At school, I had 25 kids sign up for running but on the first day that we could go one girl showed up prepared to go. We went two miles mostly running a block and walking a block. She was enthusiastic about continuing the runs so I felt that it was a success. It seems most of the other kids need to get organized to have clothes to run in at school. I found out that students have to pay $5 if they want a locker and so most kids are going without. I'm going to look into getting the fee waived if they participate in the running program. I also wrote a grant for $750 to help buy the participants running shoes. That may sound like it wouldn't go very far but I think with working a deal with a store or online closeouts plus funds from a student activity account they should be able to end up being free.

The hope is that little by little, more and more kids join in and it becomes the thing to do.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What's your advice?


Elliott and Almond Butter

Twenty-five students from the alternative high school where I teach have signed up to run with me. I am thrilled, but also worried. All the runners I know love running. How do I help these kids to know that which we have all come to love doing? I don't want to ruin it for them. All of them will be new to distance running.

My instinct is to have them go slow, at a pace they feel they can maintain for a bit and then walk until they feel they can begin again. How far should we go the first time? What is a reasonable goal? A mile out and then walk back so that we can put down two miles? I want to tell them to run whatever pace, time, or distance that they can that will allow them to be willing to come back and do it again the next day. It seems like trying to get someone hooked on a drug I have to sell that may not be all that enjoyable at first. Any suggestions are welcomed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Exercising Caution

After running two miles on Wednesday pushing Elliott in the running stroller at 13 minute pace and having the stress-fractured foot after seven weeks of repose survive I decided to go out again Thursday. I pushed Elliott, I wore the Nike Frees, and ran 2.7 miles at 12 minute pace. The foot survived, although afterwards it felt a little achy, kind of like how your feet can feel after ice skating.

I felt that a rest day was in order for Friday so I didn't run. Yesterday, the foot felt better than it had even before I ran on Wednesday so I decided it was OK to test it a little more. Again, I took Elliott along and ran in the Frees. I chose them because they provide the most comfort for the foot and by no means was I pounding the pavement; my gait was more like a shuffle, almost barefoot style. I felt comfortable with a faster pace and averaged 10 minute miles and even found myself passing a bicycle on one of the two hills on the route.

After that run there seemed to be a bit more general discomfort and even some pain focused where the original fracture occurred. Moving the foot around this morning and pressing down on the floor with firm pressure on the ball of the foot I still feel localized pain so I expect that I will make today be another rest day. If I run tomorrow I'm sure I will keep it under three miles and more at about 11 minute pace.

I gained just about a pound per week while I was down. That makes sense; I didn't change my food consumption much and I would have needed about 30 miles of running to keep off the pound. I have gotten commitment from about 25 students at school who say they will run in a club/group. I presuppose that many of them are interested in weight loss or control; I will show them the math and use myself as an example for taking those seven pounds off. I'd really like to shoot for twelve pounds.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Ran

It has been seven weeks since I presumably got a stress fracture in my foot. I went to the doctor today for a rather inconclusive consultation. She was ok with ordering an Xray so my foot did pose for some pictures. I received a voicemail saying they had something to report just before I go home which was about two minutes before they closed so when I called back it was already after office hours. So I have to wait until tomorrow.

I'd been cruising up and down the stairs at work without any discomfort so when Ruth asked if I would take Elliott for his second stroll today I decided to jog. I wore Nike Free because I felt the Asics Evolution 5's were a contributing factor in the fracture in the first place and I certainly don't think the foot is ready for its nakedness to be striking asphalt. At 0.3 miles I had a rather painful almost lock up of the knee (knee cap, odd) so I walked a half a block. It did it again so I walked a little more then tried again and finally it didn't give me any more problems. My guess is that between wearing the boot for almost five weeks and favoring it the rest of the time things might not have been tracking how they should.

I ran more or less pain free, but the foot definitely felt different from the other. Including the walking and stopping for the knee I ran the two miles in 26 minutes. I'm sure I looked like an old man shuffling along out there pushing his grandchild, ...pretty accurate except that Elliott's not a grandchild.