Archive for the ‘Injuries’ Category

Week Two

Posted: December 28, 2015 by Roberts in General Post, Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , , ,

It seems only fitting that the first obstacle to getting back on the fitness wagon would be a sprained ankle. Another sprain. Wednesday before the sun woke up, the ground was covered by a light rain. The ground was soaked, the streets were glistening, and puddles littered the ground. While crossing a large intersection, I stepped into a small puddle. Hidden under the water was a crack in the road. With a single misstep, my ankle rolled and I tumbled down. During the fall, I had a flashback of my fall the previous year in November. Strangely enough, on the other side of the same intersection was where that fall had occurred. That intersection might just be cursed.

While crawling through the intersection all I could think was, “not again. Please don’t let it be bad.” As this scene played out, the man that lived on the corner was getting into his car. Luckily he offered to give me a lift back to my house. Though it was a short three quarter mile run, it was a long three quarter mile crawl. Not my first injury, and most likely not my last. To console myself, I decided I could take it easy with the Christmas holiday over the weekend.

A holiday plus no running, equals terrible results. Sadly, for my weigh in on Monday, I wiped out all my work from the previous week. I’m currently in a competition with my neighbor, whom ever loses 10% first, the other must babysit. For that whole week, I was well in the lead. Now, however, she’s winning. I can’t let this happen. I really don’t want to watch a total of six children (my own three, plus her three).

What challenges or contests have you used to motivate yourself?


Sunday…my return to the great outdoors…at least to run.  Or at least that was the plan.  In order for me to leave the house for a run my wife needs to be home to watch the kids.  They are a little too small to leave behind while I travel the sidewalks of the neighborhood.  So instead I hit the treadmill again.  The scheduled run was 8 miles.  After the successful sessions with the treadmill, I decided to increase the difficulty and do the scheduled 8 miles.  Not the best move on my part.

After two miles, I had trouble keeping up.  If I only had a couple miles to go, I would like to think I could have pushed through it.  Self-delusion is strength of mine, it seems.  Mission aborted.  So my excuses were: I am tired…I aimed too high for my first long run…etc. 

That evening I decided make another attempt for an 8 mile run.  This time outside, and this time at my pace, not the infernal torture device that is my treadmill.  It was my first outdoor run since the sprain.  I checked the temperature, 32 degrees.  Perfect.  I geared up; running pants, jacket, gloves, hat, GPS watch, and IPod.  It is going to be a great run. 

It started slowed, but I moved my way through the neighborhood.  OK, I can’t expect to be right back to top performance after eight weeks off.  At mile two, I cramped up.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Last time, I pushed through it for a mile until it subsided.  Well, that was then, this is now.  By mile four I was done, and couldn’t push any further.  Time to go home.

By the next day my ankle felt as bad the week after I sprained it.  It seems the concrete is harder on my ankle than the treadmill.  Go figure.  Am I doomed to the life of a treadmill?  The treadmill means no interesting encounters.  If I stay inside I won’t see turkeys, storms, a live sitcom,or porn.   I pushed myself too hard too soon.  It seems that 8 miles on the hard concrete was too ambitious. 

Now I need to hold off on the training for a week.  I need to let the ankle recoup.  I plan to change my training from a marathon to maybe a half, or 10k.  It will limit my miles, and slowly build back up.  I wanted too much.  Foiled by the sprain again!

Next Run: Who knows?
Next Race: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K


The Seven Stages of the Bench

Posted: January 18, 2012 by Roberts in Injuries
Tags: , ,

During the last six weeks, much has happened, and yet very little has happened. To bring you up to date, I have not run since my sprain. Today marks the fifth day in a row that I have been brace free. At the end of each day, the ankle is a just a little sore from walking. Since I have been unable to run, I feel myself slowly going mad. Since I have no reference point, I can only compare it to what I believe withdrawal would feel like. My days are riddled with sweating, runny nose, muscle aches, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, cramping, goosebumps, and shivers. Ok, not so much…just in my own overly dramatic mind.

These past couple weeks I have noticed how addicted I am to running. That’s the first step to recovery, isn’t it? But I don’t want to recover from this addiction. I want to fall off the wagon and get back into it. When I will this ankle work again?

Not I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination; merely an enthusiast. The days are getting colder and I find myself thinking with each passing day how great my pace would be with the dropping temperature. It is aggravating, to say the least. After thinking about it, I am going through the seven stages of grief for my ankle.

Stage One – Denial: I actually asked the doctor two days after the spring, “I have a 5k this weekend, think I will be able to run it?”

Stage Two – Guilt: Many times I was caught saying, “I should have known better and paid more attention.”

Stage Three – Anger: Watching other runners over the following weeks got me jealous and irritated. A friend has started running, losing weight, and generally improving his health. I hate him for it, since I can’t!

Stage Four – Depression: I tried to add alternative exercise routines. It wasn’t the same. I felt like I was cheating on running. I became unmotivated and gained weight from overeating and not exercising.

Stage Five – The Upward Trend: I threw myself into work (thus the lack of posts). I put in longer hours and tried to find other ways to spend my energies.

Stage Six – Reconstruction: If I can’t run again, maybe I can take up cycling. It gets me outside, and it won’t stress the ankle if it never gets back to normal.

Stage Seven – Acceptance: NEVER!!!!!

My plan is to put in a run this Saturday if the ankle can handle it. The risk is great, the reward is immeasurable. How I have missed the outdoors and the pavement. My watch keeps asking me when we are going to run again. Very soon, watch…..very soon.

Keep on running.

How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Posted: December 11, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

A sprained ankle is the most common sport injury, though not the worst.  If not treated properly, it could stall an exercise routine or sports career by several months.  Initial treatment is vital to the long term success of recovery from the sprained ankle. 

First, to review, there are simple steps that need to be taken after a sprain has occurred.  It is commonly referred to as the R-I-C-E method.  Acronyms make things so easy to remember, don’t they? 

R – Rest:

Stay off the ankle whenever possible.  At first it may seem impossible to use the ankle.  Over time, as it recovers, there is a danger of stressing the ankle before it has fully recovered.  Exercise during the first few days should be limited to swimming and cycling.  Never push yourself beyond what your ankle is capable of.

I – Ice:

Icing should be done in 15 – 20 minutes, once an hour.  Icing should be done as soon as possible after the injury.  Icing is most effective for the first 48 hours to fight swelling.  You can use a Ziploc bag of ice (with a little water), ice pack, steak or a bag of peas.  Ice needs to be applied soon and often.  Just do not ice for more than twenty minutes, as frostbite does not help the injury.

C – Compression:

Compression can be done with an Ace bandage wrap or a brace purchased from any drug store.  It should be snug, but not constraining.  Compression is important when the foot is not elevated and will have any strain placed on it.  Moreover, wear shoes, not sandals or flip flops.  The additional support can only help.  At the end of this article you will find a video demonstrating how to wrap an ankle properly after an injury.

E – Elevation:

The ankle needs to be elevated when you are not walking.  Elevation refers to a level higher than you heart.  This, in addition to the other guidelines, will reduce and minimize swelling.  A couple pillows or a folded thick blanket under the ankle should be enough elevation.  This will help in circulation of the blood through the ankle. 

Ligaments of the ankle.

Image via Wikipedia

Follow these guidelines, and the damage can be minimized.  The next step is to see your doctor or a trained professional.  The damage that has occurred can range.  There are two types of sprained ankles, inversion and eversion.  An inversion sprain is the most common and occurs when the sole of the foot is forced to face inward, thus straining the ligaments on the outside of the foot.   This type of injury represents 40% of all sports injuries and 80% of all sprains. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) is the most commonly injured.  The rarest ligament damage is to the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL).  Sprains are classified under a three level graded system.

Grade I:                The ligaments of the foot have had no macroscopic tears, most likely and over stretching.  There is mild pain and tenderness.  Swelling is present and there is not loss or a very limited amount of loss of mobility.  There is stiffness and difficulty walking.

Grade II:              A partial tear has occurred in the ligaments.  Pain and tenderness is moderate.  Swelling is present and the joint is stiff.  Minor bruising is present.  The ankle is having trouble supporting weight and is painful to attempt.  The joint is instable and mobility is an issue.

Grade III:             There ligament is completely torn.  Pain is severe and tender to the touch.  The ankle cannot support weight at all.  There is gross instability of the joint and is essentially unusable.  The bruising is extensive.

Do not self-diagnose.  After a sprain, consult a doctor.  Your doctor most likely will advise you to have an x-ray to check for a break or a fracture.  What may seem to you a simple sprain may in fact turn out to be serious damage.  Injury can range from strains or tears of the aforementioned ligaments, small fractures, breaks, avulsion fractures, or even osteochondral lesions.  Due to the wide range of potential issues, consult a professional.  Once the doctor has diagnosed the issue, rehab can begin. Good luck in your recovery.  For some rehab ideas click here.

How to wrap an ankle.

Sprained Ankle: Rehab and Exercises

Posted: December 1, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

If you are dedicated to an exercise routine or a running schedule, a sprained ankle can put not just a damper on your plans, but halt them completely.  The question is, how do you not skip a beat, but not hinder the healing process.  By now, everyone should know of the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method of care for the ankle.  After the swelling has gone down and the ankle’s strength is returned, what’s next?  It’s now time to move on to the rehabilitation and strengthening of the ankle.

Before trying to work out with a sprained ankle, have it checked out with a physician.  Don’t play the guessing game.  If you have a fracture and you don’t allow it to heal properly, you could permanently ruin your ankle.  Healing should always be your paramount goal.  Even if your physician confirms it is only a strain, push yourself no further than the limit your ankle can handle.  There are two kinds of exercises to discuss, rehabilitation and non-rehabilitation exercises.

Rehabilitation Exercise:

The ankle is a complicated system of bones and ligaments that provide support and balance for the body.  The first goal of rehab is to regain this function.  This is done through range of motion exercises.  These exercises should be preform three to five sets a day.

  • While your leg is stretched across a bench and your foot hanging off the edge, use your big toe as your pen, write  the entire alphabet
  • While keeping your foot flat on the ground, shift your knee side to side
  • With your leg out stretched, wrap a towel around the foot, and slowly pull each end towards you stretching the foot muscles.  Repeat twenty times.

After regaining a range of motion (after a few days of rehabilitation) it is time to regain strength.  Even though you have not used the foot for a couple days the body has already started adjusting and learning to use the strength of the other leg to compensate.  We need to fight this and not lose strength while you heal over the coming days and weeks.  These exercises should not be attempted until you are able to stand on the foot without pain.

  • Create a loop with and exercise band.  While sitting in a chair, slip your good foot through one end of the loop.  The foot of the bad ankle slips through other end of the loop.  Slowly stretch the band with your legs until you find your limit.  Repeat twenty to twenty five times three times a day.

As stated earlier, balance is a primary function of the ankle.  The final stage of rehabilitation requires retraining or reminded the muscles of the ankle how to balance.   Once the ankle has strengthened, repeat these exercises three times daily.

  • Standing with your arms out stretched, balance on the injured foot.  Hold this for 30 seconds.  Repeat while increase the time by 15 seconds each time for a total of 3 sets.
  • While standing on the injured leg, slowly crouch down by bending the knee of the injured leg.  Return to the standing position.  Repeat ten to fifteen times.

After each of the rehabilitation workouts, it is good practice to ice your ankle.

Non- Rehabilitation Exercises:

There are a few cardio exercises you can do to maintain your general health or fitness.  The rule of thumb is to make sure that if you feel any strain on you ankle, STOP.

  • Stationary Cardio Bike with the injured foot on the ground and the good foot strapped in tight
  • Stationary Cardio Bike with both feet strapped in
  • Elliptical Machine (Late in your recovery)
  • Shadow Boxing
  • Using a Heavy Boxing Bag
  • Rowing Machine
  • Deep-Water Running (may even get you closer to a new PR)

Avoid any routines that require stress on the ankle as this can prolong the healing process.  Having a sprained ankle might slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you.  Keep on moving!


A Tragedy of a Run and My Pal Al.

Posted: November 28, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , , ,

Distance: 9.72 Miles
Pace: 10’39” .

This was an exciting run, to say the least. It started late, but not too late.  My plan was to run eleven miles. As you can see from the statistics above, that didn’t happen. The entire run felt great, right up until the end.  No question about it, cars with high beams were not my friends on this night.  This time it was personal.

OK, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but it did end my run for the night.

My pace was uniform, decent for a long run, and other than the occasional car turning on their high beams, it was a good run. With the winter setting in, night has been coming earlier and earlier, and it always surprises me just how early it is getting dark.  I watched night fall about one-third of the way through my “afternoon” run.

On the last stretch home, the road is without street lights or sidewalks.  This is the part of my run that has always worried me the most.  The only saving grace is it is only one and three-quarter miles, straight away.  Normally this is a quiet road, with very little traffic.  However, this time my biggest fear about nighttime running came true.

I could see a car approaching me for quite a while before he reached me.  He should have been able to see me too, and apparently he did, because he turned on his high beams.  This, of course, turned off my night vision.  I stepped into the underbrush to allow him to pass.  When I returned to the road, I stepped right into a pothole that I could no longer see, twisted my ankle, and fell on the ground.  Using my right hand, I narrowly avoided taking a face plant into the concrete.  I was crouched down, unable to move, on a dark road.  To make matters worse, another car was quickly approaching from the same direction as the previous one had.  I don’t think he saw me, since I was so low to the ground.  I crawled off the road slowly, and the car passed by.

Finally, luck was with me.  Shortly after my fall, a car pulled up from behind to see if I was ok.  He had seen me fall and wanted to know if I needed a ride.  His name was Al, and he was heading out to get some Chinese food.  He saved me from the long hobble home by driving me the last mile and a half.  I don’t know if I would have made it otherwise.

When I got home, I realized I had lost one of the water bottles that fits into my hydration belt, as well as my $70 heart monitor.  Talk about adding insult to injury – literally!  At the end of the day, I am thankful that a stranger name Al stopped by and picked me up.  I don’t know what makes me angrier – losing my heart monitor, or not completing my run.

Update: On Monday morning I drove by the spot where I tripped and found both the bottle and heart monitor.

Next Run: 7 Miles (Tuesday)
Next Workout: P90X (Disc 09 & Disc 12) (Wednesday)
Next Race: Burlington Race for the Hungry 5K


Distance: 6.08 Miles

It was an interesting run.  My legs have not fully recovered from this weekend’s run.  They were still stiff.  For the run I choose to listen to  the Mortal Kombat movie soundtrack.  It is an oldie but a goodie.

While waiting for the satellites to find me, I listened to the first track, A Taste of Things to Come.  It would be a lie if I said it didn’t start to psych me up.  Before the 49 second song had finished, the watch was synched up and I was off.

Mortal Kombat (soundtrack)
Image via Wikipedia

Each track played in order, one by one.  Goodbye, Juke-Joint Jezebel, Unlearn, Control, and then Halcyon + On + On by Orbital…

With the soft melody of Orbital playing in my ears, I reflected back to a couple days ago.  Anne, my mother-in-law, recently sent me an article from the NY Times, The Once and Future Way to Run.  It discusses the evolution of the runner and how we lost our way.  It touches on how ancient man once hunted merely by running down its prey; not to ambush it, but to bring it to the point of exhaustion.  Mankind was at one time built to run, and run great distances.  Now?  Well, now we are suffering from an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and numerous other maladies from our poor health.  I raced under the same sky our ancestors chased their prey under.  Well, not the same sky.  The stars have shifted some in the thousands of years.  The air is filled with more pollutants.  The light of the stars is drowned out by the constant lights of civilization, even on our suburban street.  How the world has changed in a few thousand years.

In our quest is to protect ourselves from the world around us, we have only made ourselves more susceptible to it.  Christopher Mc Dougall, author of the article, touched on the fact.  Take the shoe, for example.  As we find ways to prevent ankle, knee, and joint damage, we only find ourselves more prone to injury.  How many amateur runners do you know who get shin splints just from running their first couple times?  What should be normal muscle strength is lacking.  I was the same way.  Pro runners, and innumerable articles will tell you not to land on your heel, yet most still do.  I still run wrong.  How could we allow ourselves to be so weak?  The ability to run a few miles should not be abnormal.  We as a species are designed to run.  It is amazing what your body is capable of adapting to.  If asked if I could run ten miles last year, I would have said no.  Now, of course I can.  Why not more?  Do not allow yourself to be weak.  Find your strength.

My four-year old daughter can run and sprint around the hardwood floors, never stopping.  She doesn’t tire, or complain of pain, and can take corners around the kitchen island without issue.  The idea of such play would tire others out.  When do we lose that as we grow?  I am trying to find what was lost.  Every time I place one foot in front of the other, it draws me closer to that what was lost.  I challenge all who read this to find that feeling and strength for yourself.  It is there.  It is waiting.  Now go find it.

Next Run: 2 Miles (Wednesday)
Next Workout:  P90X (Disc 01 & Disc 12) (Wednesday)
Next Race: Burlington Race for the Hungry 5K


Running of the Turkeys

Posted: November 6, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, P90X, Running Log, Workouts
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Distance: 9.00 Miles
Workout: Chest & Back – Disc 01  / Ab Ripper X – Disc 12

Today’s run was meant for Saturday, yesterday.  I needed to push it back for a day.  My family and I got back at just before sundown after running our errands.  Any run more than eight miles starts and ends on a dark road with no side walks, moderate traffic, and very limited sight range.  In short, a potential death run.  I have almost been hit traveling that road at dusk, let alone at night.  That compounded with my general soreness offered the perfect set of excuses to wait a day.  Of course that means Sunday would be fill with a nine mile run and two sets of P90X.

Female wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) take...

Image via Wikipedia

This route takes me down an interesting trip.  The first set of buildings are industrial, a construction company, piano repair, and landscapers.  As I approach the end of the first mile I enter a semi-rural area with farm houses and a couple of summer camps.  As I took a bend I encountered a flock of eight to ten wild turkeys. Once they saw me coming, they ran away from me, directly along my route.  Just the strangeness of the scene prevented me from focusing on the run and my pace.  I was running with turkeys!  Not until I took my turn did the surreal Running of the Turkeys end.

My turn led me into your standard suburban neighborhood.  People were out blowing the leaves off their lawns, and kids were jumping in the piles.  Everyone was friendly as normal, and gave the customary wave or nod.

The final stop on my travels before I turned around took me to a neighborhood where the houses are still being built and selling for close to or over a cool million.  The neighborhood has playgrounds, yet many houses already have jungle gyms in their back yards.  The houses are vast, with three to four car garages.  I don’t fault the people who live their to having the ability to afford them, it just seems so strange to be so close to the other neighborhoods.  The school system is not the best, and the taxes are high.  It just seems like a strong set of reasons for those houses not to be there.  But what do I know? I am just running by them.  I enjoy looking at them as I run.

If I could only have been one minute faster on the entire run I would have made a decent pace for myself.  Sadly, the entire run I thought I was way off.  If only I had known I had to only push just a little harder.  The lesson here, push no matter what.  You can’t always see the opportunity before you, when you do it might be too late.

I have decided not to post every P90X workout routine anymore.  I am going to still keep up with the routines.  There rarely is anything interesting that happens in them, other than I completed the session.  If something interesting did happen, it most likely was a weight smashing into my face.  I most likely will not be in a position to write about it at that time.  I’ll try doing a once a week update if I am noticing an improvement in my strength and weight.  For weigh ins, I am planning on only posting at certain milestones.  With the P90X strength training and the holidays coming up, I don’t know how quickly the weight will melt away.

Next Run: 6 Miles (Tuesday)
Next Workout:  P90X (Disc 01 & Disc 12) (Wednesday)
Next Race: Burlington Race for the Hungry 5K


Multiple Injuries

Posted: October 13, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance: 3.03 Miles
Pace: 10’54”

There really isn’t much to say. After a mile and half in, I pulled my hamstring taking a corner. My pace dropped an entire minute instantly. I started wondering if I could push through the pain, only to be surprised by a stomach cramp. I wanted to scream at my body, “what is wrong with you?” I pushed until the third mile and had to end the run. The ever increasing pain was on the verge of unbearable.

I had to take the Walk of Shame home, my head hung held low from a failed run. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Just make sure the number of wins outweigh the losses.

Every run should be a learning experience, and the bad ones have the most to teach. This was my first hamstring pull, and now I need to learn how to “fix” this problem.

Next Run: 8 Miles
Next Race: TBD

Back in the game and a new format

Posted: October 3, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance: 12.12 Miles
Pace: 10’44”

After this past week of failures, I was given some advice by a friend and fellow runner. He recommended I push my next run back by a day and do some cross training. Swimming was not an option so the elliptical became the solution.

I have not spent any time on this machine for over a year. I pushed for 60 minutes. It was easy and boring. It was nothing like running and that is the point. At the time I wasn’t sure how this was going to help; I just had to wait.

The day of the run, it took time to mentally prepare for the 11 miles ahead of me. I am crazy. I hit the road. The entire run I kept telling myself, “you’re doing good,” or “this is a great pace.” I wasn’t sure if it was on not; it didn’t matter. The road is all that matters.

To avoid what happened my last long run, I wore a water belt and brought energy gels. My plan was to take some and Gatorade every mile and a half. Next time I might bring water and Gatorade to mix it up.

On my final approach to my house I looked down at my watch to see make sure I would be over 11 miles.  If I did my math right, I would be just past 11 miles, and within striking distance of 12.  I decided to run past my house to the corner and back.  If I can do 11, I can do 12.  I miscalculated, and finished at 12.12.  Looking back I should have just pushed for one more mile and finished out my first half marathon.

After signing off my watch, it informed my I had broken three PRs.  I beat my 5k, 10k, and distance records.  I could not believe it.  I thought I was just trying to keep myself moving; it was actually a good pace.  As my four year-old likes to remind me, “No limitations.”

The only injury this time another busted toenail.