Monday, April 30, 2012

Building the Base (Again)

Three months ago, as I was tapering for RR50 and coming off my best training cycle ever, I was one of those runners that never thought about being seriously injured. Being that I exercised discretion and caution in my training. I carefully built my base, slowly progressed my long runs, stepped softly when it came to speed work and did all the stretching, rolling and so forth. Sure, I had experienced little aches and pains here and there, but nothing that a couple days of rest didn't clear up. That was before the stress fracture (styloid process fifth metatarsal) and several weeks of no running at all. 
There were the two weeks on crutches, two more weeks before easy walking (just to get around the house), then easy stationary cycling for 20 minutes for a week before graduating to actually riding a bike. But the doc said to keep my butt in the saddle. Over the next couple of weeks I did several 13-20 mile rides before I finally did some serious walking seven weeks after the diagnosis. Then the process of making the comeback began. With a single mile. That's right, I ran 1 mile. For three days and then took a rest day. Then I did 1.5 miles the same way. Then 2 miles and this weekend I did 3 miles. Next weekend I should be able to do a 5 miler. I have noticed that the base is pretty intact (for short runs) but a small hill killed my pace Saturday and left me sucking air. I have much work to do. My plan (doc approved) is to work up to three 7 mile runs before expanding things and adding a long run and some tempo work. I will continue to cycle on my off days as well as the core/strength work (for injury prevention and running economy). My routine has been to run, then cycle for about an hour before finishing with a 30 minute power hike (on hills). An added bonus is that our pool is finally open which means I can find a way to mix that into things as well. 
The fracture site is still tender to direct pressure (from the side) and I have found that some shoes work better than others. The same can be said for inserts. Superfeet are OK but Soles are a problem. The doc said I have the good fortune of having an enlarged styloid process on both feet. Supposedly a sign of higher intelligence or something. I will have to monitor and manage it as best I can. For life. To me that means doing what I can to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in my lower legs, keep my core fit and allow for recovery as needed. Another t-shirt I don't want. 
I was able to grind out a sub 24 minute 3 mile run this weekend. I am on for my first race (although I won't be setting any PRs) this Friday at the Gold Rush 5k, followed by the Joplin Memorial Half on May 19 and then the Hobbs Tail Twister 50k (trail) on June2. All of these will be a way for me to see some of my running friends and to get out and have some fun. I don't foresee and real racing until the Heritage 5k in August. It will be a happy day when I can run for an hour but that is still a few weeks away. 
On the upside, I see this as an opportunity to "re-boot" things. Starting from almost scratch I can change some things that might need changing or just to experiment. I plan on using less shoe more. Huh? By that I mean wearing things like my Brooks Pure Flow and ST Racers more in training and I'm looking forward to the new Saucony models due out in June that have lower heel/toe drops. I want to add strides and hill work and more cross training. I miss running with my buddies. This past weekend I just drove to the Square knowing I wouldn't be running with them. Just wanted to chit chat for a few minutes and make sure they remembered me. I was asked if I wanted to run the Des Moines Marathon in October. Sounds inviting but no commitment. At least not yet. Any technical trail runs are out for the near future. Likely for the remainder of the year. Gravel roads I can do but rocky terrain still hurts. 
I simply have to remind myself that patience comes first. I will build back up one block at a time. Carefully and calculated. Slowly but surely. I want to come back faster, stronger and more durable than before. 

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