Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Warrior

Running has taken a back seat on the bus of my weekly activities. The eight or nine students that would inconsistently run with me at school has dwindled to zero. Now it is difficult to justify going out for a run by myself while on the job. (I have been eating at lunchtime but maybe I should make some adjustment there.) Tuesday and Wednesday evenings I teach Adult Spanish classes and the other three weekday evenings usually find me running errands, taking care of household chores, engaging in a little human interaction with my people. Elliott of course needs some daddy time and it can't all be in the seat of the running stroller. I have managed to escape a couple of times on the weekends.

Yesterday, I was able to enjoy an Indian summer afternoon - sunny, seventy-five, and calm. I ran open space trails and some pavement for an hour and a half covering nine miles and today I it looks like I should be able to go for a FiveFingers run. That will probably just be three or four miles because my feet and calf muscles are having to get accustomed to being minimally shod all over again.

I am anxious for all the minimalist shoes to hit the market. As I've mentioned in a previous blog, I ended up with Achilles tendonitis just 44 miles and 18 days after being sold on a pair of New Balance boats. It can't be a coincidence. It sounds like finding the right pair is not going to be easy either. Here in Boulder, Colorado, definitely one of the running capitals of the country, the running shoe stores are saying they might carry one or another; clearly I'm going to have to shop different stores to compare them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Unceremonious 1000th Mile

I finally reached 1000 miles for the calendar year yesterday on a 7.1 mile run. I had anticipated reaching 1000 in July and maybe even two thousand by the end of the year but a stress fracture will put an end to grandios running dreams. I enjoyed a half hour 3 mile Vibramed trail run this afternoon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Parenthood Paranoia

Elliott has been a dream child. He wears out his grandpa-like dad and mother-like mother because he is on the go from the time he wakes up until after we'd like to be asleep. He's even foregoing naps of more than about 20 minutes. He's never been sick (knock on wood), not even a cold, since he was born even though we've all had our turns at being ill in one way or another. He understands Ruth and I regardless of whether we speak to him in English or Spanish and his vocabulary at 18 months included words from both languages with almost an equal number from American Sign Language.
...................Elliott with Lego phone

Little by little over the past month it seemed as though these words were going away and everything seemed to be replaced with his pointing at something and saying "teen". He also seemed to be a bit indifferent to my presence. I was noticing but not really processing it until Ruth mentioned about four days ago that Elliott's language seemed to be regressing and that there were some other behavioral things that concerned her. I said I thought the same thing. I woke up at about 2AM Wednesday morning and fired up the laptop and googled "language regression" or something similar. I learned that nineteen months of age is the median age for language loss related to autism. I didn't read much beyond that. I felt an unfamiliar wave of devastation come over me. I woke Ruth up and neither one of us slept much more than an hour before morning.

I made an appointment with the pediatrician for Friday and Ruth began some intense infant interaction and documentation. She worked at prompting him to produce words that we knew that he had been using. She was encouraged by her day with him. I played some hide and seek with him and when he would find me or I would find him he would run up and hug me around the legs.

I had read at some point that older parents, children born between October and March who had jaundice at birth were more likely to have autism. I also remembered reading at some point about other characteristics of the disease and I know that Elliott hadn't been exhibiting any of those traits. We started to review his behavior and nothing was alarming. We felt a bit more at ease.

We felt more at ease once we met with the pediatrician and after answering his questions and recounting our observations he declared with lots of confidence that Elliott was a healthy normal child. We had been letting a little cartoon called Pocoyo that we stumbled upon on Youtube and Sesame Street entertain him so that we could attend to household chores,etc. He seemed to enjoy them and was mesmerized. Although he enjoyed the video input it was only a receptive (in)activity. We wonder if we were just letting him get away with his one word. We've engaged him continually for all of his long waking hours and when he's said "teen" for something we've made sure to state the word for whatever it was. It would be convenient to think he's been saying "thing" but I don't think so.

This morning he wanted to go outside. While in the driveway, I said, "Let's go to the mail box." He started off toward it with me in tow. I lifted him up to open it. "Nada," he said, Spanish for "nothing". What's wrong with Elliott? Nada.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Navigating Uncertainty

I broke seven miles yesterday for the first time since breaking my foot. October in Colorado provides perfect conditions for afternoon runs. The sunshine highlights the autumn colors and with the temperature at 65 and no humidity it is hard to beat. I wish I could plod along more confidently though.

I'm facing a couple of concerns. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis were first felt after 44 miles spread over 18 days (two weeks have passed and I have somewhat kept it at bay through downtime stretching) in new New Balance 1226 high mileage trainers. I had believed that I should protect my feet somewhat as they acclimated to running again after seven weeks of relative inactivity. I want to return to barefoot running again and have worn the FiveFingers twice for a total of 5.4 miles. The concern there is that it doesn't seem as though the foot that had the stress-fractured second metatarsal has returned to normal yet. An indication of this is that I my three middle toes claw when I put pressure down on my forefoot. I've done some reading with respect to the possible causes and there are a couple of possibilities consistence with my case. It can occur when the foot and even seemingly unrelated parts of the body experience a trauma. It can occur when a foot is relatively flat and the pressure causes one muscle to pull harder than the one that would otherwise balance it out. Both of these seem consistent with my case; After seven week of not using the foot I suspect that the arch may have lost some of its form.

The dilemma then, is deciding how to approach the recovery. Orthotics, or at least a supportive shoe are often recommended to support the arch and hence allow the muscles to pull in a balanced fashion so that the toes don't pull up and back. Does this just allow the foot to continue in its weakened state? I'm concerned that if I were to run more in the FiveFingers expecting to restrengthen the foot that I may end up doing harm by pounding on the recovering forefoot and also cause injury by repetitive movement of parts that are not operating in the correct position relative to each other.

I've been addressing the problem much as I approach the transition to minimalist running: by doing the longer runs with shoes, the shorter runs in the Vibrams on softer surfaces, and general walking around in bare feet.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nap, Beer, or Run

I had intended to get out for a run this morning but Valerie's birthday party was to begin at 12:30 and there was some house cleaning to do and some errands to run so it didn't happen. Once the party began there were chips to eat, then a range of Chinese food and Chantilly cake to consume. After all that I was more torn between having a beer or a nap. I opted for the nap but ended up reading the Bart Yasso article in November's Runner's World. After reading that, it was hard not to get up and go for a run, which I did. Sometimes we have to go for that run because there may come the day we can't. I also feel we have to run for others as well. Thank you to everyone who carried the torch and kept the running gods happy while I was out of action.

It was a cool day all day and dusk was even cooler. My legs had good energy which counteracted all that my stomach was carrying. I ran neighborhood streets, concrete bike paths, and open space dirt trail. It felt as if I was running normally again. I did five miles at 9:20 pace. I'd go out again if someone were to invite me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Too busy to run much not such a bad thing right now

Being busy and having obligations is probably not such a bad thing at the present time. I can now run normally; I just don't have the time. I don't feel any discomfort in the foot that had the stress fracture so consequently my gait has returned to normal, normal for wearing running shoes that is. When I walk barefoot I still have the sensation of having a wad of tissue stuck on the bottom of the inside of a shoe so I haven't returned to minimalist running yet.

I managed to get in four outings of a little over three miles each this week. I had mentioned that I felt the onset of some Achilles tendonitis. I didn't notice it on the mornings of the three days after the days I didn't run, but I felt it this morning after only running 3.2 miles yesterday evening. Everything in the backs of my legs is tight. I had forgotten to stretch last night. The stretching had been helping; I need to continue.

The weather has been good for running so if I were to have the time I'd probably be increasing my mileage too quickly. I have a tendency to do that. I'm 25 shy of 1000 for 2010. I was a little shy of 900 on July 13th when the fracture occurred. I may go for 7 or 8 miles tomorrow knowing that I may have two or three day rest again after that.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Not Fair

After forty-nine days of not running because of a stress fracture of the second metatarsal in the right foot I ran a little almost every day of September. I only truly ran about three times. Almost every day was a run/walk with beginning runners of high school age on flat suburban streets. Our outings were between 2 and 2.5 miles. The longest they've been able to run without having to walk a bit has been 1/4 in about 3 minutes. The three true runs still were only between 3 and 4 miles and about 10 minute pace. The total for the month was 63 miles; close to 30 of that probably shouldn't even be counted because it was the walking part of those walk/runs.

I had been averaging 45 miles a week May through July so it doesn't seem right that I'm starting to get ACHILLES TENDONITIS IN MY LEFT FOOT! I noticed it a couple of mornings ago upon arising. I discovered my calves and area through the backs of my knees are were very tight. Who would have thought!? I'm hoping that by continuing to keep the mileage low for a little longer and lots of stretching throughout the day I can keep it at bay. Three or four years ago I had it for months and it didn't go away until I stopped running for an extended period of time.