Friday, August 29, 2014

The Health Junkie: The Health Junkie: DISASTER ? MANAGING PAIN AND IN...

The Health Junkie: The Health Junkie: DISASTER ? MANAGING PAIN AND IN...: The Health Junkie: DISASTER ? MANAGING PAIN AND INJURY : Disaster! was my first thought as I did a recovery run through the woods yesterday....

The Health Junkie: DISASTER ? MANAGING PAIN AND INJURY

The Health Junkie: DISASTER ? MANAGING PAIN AND INJURY: Disaster! was my first thought as I did a recovery run through the woods yesterday. I had not run since the Trail de L'Escoussier 3 day...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DISASTER ? MANAGING PAIN AND INJURY

Disaster! was my first thought as I did a recovery run through the woods yesterday. I had not run since the Trail de L'Escoussier 3 days before and was feeling a little tired after 4 hours and 4,500 feet of climb. The race was on very rocky technical terrain with severe mountain gradients but I survived, apart from aching quads..... and then yesterday I am doing a short tempo run with two of my clients Alex and Tara who are training for a marathon, and boom! over I go. The track was virtually flat and then I hit a tiny rock and a seconds later I was in the dirt with blood everywhere. The blood of course was not the problem, I heard a 'pop' or ' crack' just as my foot hit the ground. It looked bad and I suspected the worst (see photo, one hour after).
One hour later
It was late so I arranged an X-ray and appointment with a specialist for early the next day. I did the usual R.I.C.E. protocol in the meantime. The crazy thing was that the trail was virtually flat and I'd run it 100's of times ... guess that's why they call it an 'Accident'! The human body is extraordinary in that in the course of a year my foot probably strikes the ground, when running, about 2-3 million times and on all manner of difficult terrain and yet one step wrong and bang. It always amazes me that your eye to brain to foot coordination is so incredible  (if you actually weigh the odds) so I suppose I should be grateful that this sort of serious injury happens so seldom. However I was still very worried last night.
Anyway, good news ... sort of. Its not a break but a torn tendon, now I know these can sometimes take longer to heal than a break but I have to stay positive and besides a break would have meant a definite 6-8 weeks out of action. The Doctor said rest up 2/3 weeks and then slowly start running again if no pain. Does any of this matter?
Well Yeh! I am booked  (and paid all flights etc) to run the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in 6 weeks time so now my training is shot to bits as even if I can run I'll only have done some light jogging as opposed to hard-core mountain training.
This is my ankle today 24 hours later (see picture) Ouch!
24 Hours later
So lets weigh it all up. I have to stay pragmatic and assess the risk. Obviously my fitness will have declined by then and my running adaptations for severe gradients will also have weakened but I had been hitting it pretty hard up to now so maybe I should look at this as a very long taper.
Firstly I have to assume that the tendon will heal quickly, I am not used to sitting around so maybe the rest will help all my muscles repair and rejuvenate as I would have done a 3 week taper anyway.
I know you can't get back the training you've  missed so close to an event and its not only useless per counter productive to even try so I will hopefully just do enough runs to get my overall fitness and strength back on track.
If and when it heals I will use a 'support band', both for practical and emotional reasons  (because often the fear of further injury can play on your mind and your running form). In the meantime I am wearing an  'Air Cast' and just resting for 4 days with an 'Ice compression cast ' elevated, every few hours. I have cancelled all client training commitments till then and we'll just have to see how it goes.
I have also introduced a strict nutrition injury protocol, such as increased, protein, BCCA's, glutamine, extra fish oil and zinc and many specific vitamins and vegetables. The research on this is quite impressive so I'll do whatever it takes to aid my recovery quickly. I don't take any painkillers or Ibuprofen (NSAIDS) ... not because I'm a weirdo pain junkie but because they interfere with the natural process of healing. The body is amazing, feed it correctly and let it do its thing.
Helen my physio did a late night house call to give me more bizarre equipment (a huge Air caste) as well as precise exercises.... plus a warning on Facebook that if anyone sees me out and about to report back to her immediately. (Don't mess with Helen !).
Pain, accidents and injury can happen to anyone, anytime (not just strange ultra -marathon runners), my wife had a similar 'pull' last month just walking down the steps to the shops but its 'How' you deal with the injury that is key.
I am  aware that to many people even to contemplate running the Canyon alone with an injury such as this is crazy. Possibly, but I believe that life is always testing us for our level of commitment and I have no intention of wimping out. Managing injuries is a subtle balance and I will listen to my body but the fact remains that I intend to .... and will run the Grand Canyon in October come hell or high water.
Patience is important but attitude is everything - Watch this space!
PS A big thanks to all the messages of support that I have received  from friends and clients ... it is truly uplifting.


 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Health Junkie: TRAIL DE L'ESCOUSSIER

The Health Junkie: TRAIL DE L'ESCOUSSIER: Thought I'd do a quick video of my latest race .... says it all really. Only 22k but 4,500 feet of elevation gain in 3hrs-52mins and a ...

TRAIL DE L'ESCOUSSIER

Thought I'd do a quick video of my latest race .... says it all really. Only 22k but 4,500 feet of elevation gain in 3hrs-52mins and a very technical trail. Deliberately hit the mountains hard to trash my quads...which I succeeded in doing as I'm feeling it 2 days later! All good specificity training for the big GC in 6 weeks time. Enjoy.

CLICK HERE  ---------  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fxHaerW3Nw



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Health Junkie: GETTING HIGH - MERCANTOUR RACE REPORT

The Health Junkie: GETTING HIGH - MERCANTOUR RACE REPORT: When you are running a race that you know nothing about it always seems harder and longer (and higher) than one that is familiar, that'...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GETTING HIGH - MERCANTOUR RACE REPORT

When you are running a race that you know nothing about it always seems harder and longer (and higher) than one that is familiar, that's just the way it is, you accept it and off you go.
Of course when running in the mountains it is beautiful and spectacular ... and always challenging. (which means tough). The other thing I always forget when running in the Alps is ... its in the Alps! ... which means huge climbs and descents. In this race it was straight up immediately, and I was thinking couldn't we have just a few nice easy miles along the river first to get warmed up but unfortunately no, just  a vertical 2000 feet ascent through the pine trees. Eventually we hit a ridge and ran along that arriving at the aid station one and a half hours later.
  This being a French aid station it was a just few pieces of banana, orange and cake plus water and coke. I filled my water bottle and was out in 30 seconds.
The weather was fabulous, about 67 degrees which was perfect plus in the first half of the race its in the trees so it was shady and cool. Next followed a perilous switchback descent of about 2 kilometres ending up at a raging torrent.
The only way across was to get wet and wade through, it was freezing but refreshing.
 The French are very good trail runners, very fast and quite fearless whilst descending at speed however they never stop talking, even when running down the side of a mountain, its hilarious.
   Next began the exhausting run/hike to the top of L'Encombrette at 8,500 feet. This was about 9 kilometres
and took another 2 hours and it was straight up all the way with no respite. I knew it was going to be hard and was one of the reasons why I chose this race because of my Grand Canyon preparation. After an hour I was very tired but its relentless and you just keep going, it takes a lot of of both mental and physical discipline. When I looked up at what was to come ahead of me it was a daunting site, stunningly beautiful but daunting nevertheless. Half way up, a super fit young guy overtook me, put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and said 'Courage'. This show of mutual respect drove me on and 4 hours into the race I arrived at the summit.
 What a site! It was just simply awesome, beautiful and stunning all in one. I stayed a few minutes just to take it all in, got myself together and then began a super fast descent to the Lac d'alloss. It was 14 kilometres to the finish.  I was amazed that after all that climbing I could run so fast, I was quite
pleased with myself. I really enjoyed this part, descending easily and at speed surrounded by the best of nature in its rawest form, it was fabulous and made all the hard parts worthwhile. I hit the aid station near the lake 40 minutes later and was in and out even quicker that the other one. I know from experience to take all your own stuff, I had so much food in my bag I could have survived a week up there!
    The trail softened as we hit the tree line and ran through meadows and forests bursting with smells and aromas from  all the mountain fauna.
  The last few miles I began to feel a little tired , I kept asking anyone I met, 'How far to the finish?' and the reply was always the same, 'about 3k'.  Bloody long 3k I thought to myself.
  I arrived in the village of Val d'alloss a bit ragged but I put in a 200 metre sprint finish and crossed the line in 6 hours and 10 minutes, which was just about what I had anticipated. It was only 30k (a 3/4 marathon) but we climbed over 6,000 feet of vertical ascent so it was quite a test of stamina and endurance. Sue had spent all day in cafes and restaurants having had a lovely restful day in the Sun. I know some of you will agree that she made the right choice but each to their own and mine had been a memorable journey of both hardship and joy and I am grateful for that. It was just another step towards my ultimate goal, October the 9th in Arizona is coming up fast, I will be ready.
PS (I made a short video of my run which you might enjoy, so just click on the link  - 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAv_YqlfK1c