Friday, March 21, 2008

Back to running?

Back to some slight running this week. Due to all the pain being gone now, I finally ventured out and ran 10 min on the track on Wednesday. How did it feel? Well, the foot was fine, but the rest of the body was like "WHOA"! You forget what it feels like to begin again after running for so many years.

My last break was back in 1996-97 when I tore my plantar fascia a bit at the Richmond 8k. With that I took off a few weeks, tried to run again, aggravated things, and then went off of it once and for all for about 6 weeks. With that injury I learned all about active isolated stretching and reflexology, and that for every injury there is a cause. To heal an injury you need to figure out what has caused it.

I found out that most doctors treat the symptom. They truly don't the time to figure out what caused the problem, and for some doctors I'm sure they really don't care as long as you pay them. Why? Because most people just want a quick fix, and that's what doctors have learned. They might have wanted to find the cause, but have since discovered that most people don't care. They just want to be fixed…..NOW. And our society and it's commercialization is to blame. But I kind of get off track.

That last injury was caused by doing too much racing and training, not enough stretching (and I'm sure core strength), and my calves were getting tighter and tighter. So my foot injury was caused by my dereliction to duty, and my poor calves had no recourse but to engage some of the foot muscles to the point where they also said 'no more please!'

Our body is one big kinetic chain of events. I can compare it to a classroom with happy kids. The teacher walks in, but she's in a grouchy mood, and before you know it her angst has infected the otherwise happy classroom. Now everyone is grumpy and acting up. Just like the unhappy human body. When you abuse one part of it, sooner or later the rest of the body will react, and not in a positive manner.

So what caused my stress fracture? It's a long story, but I believe it has to do with a purchase of a pair of shoes back in April of 2007.

The Newtons (you can almost hear Seinfeld – "Newman")

The latest and greatest invention to help you become a more efficient runner (read faster here). Concept is good, but what if you are already efficient? Anyway, I wore the shoes, and as the weeks went by my feet started to get tighter and tighter in the forefoot area. I massage my own feet, and get my good friend (chiropractor by trade) to loosen the joints. This helped.

I race. I race a lot. Did I stretch? Did I work on my core during this period? Nope. I just raced and trained a lot.

In July I am at a race when all of a sudden I feel my left calve muscle getting tight. Finish the race (no problems), and then I spend the next week working on stretching and rehabilitating the leg. And then I race on it again. Everything is great until one mile to go on the run when it really starts to tighten up. I finish the race strong, cool down on the bike, and the next thing I know I can hardly walk. My Achilles is talking in a VERY LOUD WAY.

So….2 plus weeks off of not running later, and it's at a time I'm supposed to be in full blown IM training. Well, at least I can still bike and swim.

I fix this injury (90% of it at least), and continue to train, and then finish my 'A' race in November. No real issues, but then again there is still that little nagging soreness down at the Achilles to remind me that things still aren't quite kosher in Israel.

I take a week off, do some fun training, and then get back into the swing of things a month later. And with this new training I also engage in some fun, explosive, plyometric exercises with my swim team one too many days in a row.

Now I decide to fix this Achilles issue once and for all, so I visit our local ART doctor. He starts to work on the Achilles, and then the next day I feel part of my foot feeling like it is cramping. What happens is sort of like watching an egg roll off of a table. You see it happening, but you don't do anything to stop it.

I keep running, and before you know it that cramping feeling moves over to the middle of my foot and BANG! Now it's swollen at the top of my foot. I research to try and figure out what it means. I find out that all the symptoms suggest that I now have a stress fracture on my second metatarsal (second toe). And this means at least 6-8 weeks off of running. I finally get talked into seeing a doctor to confirm this, and two sets of x-rays and a bone scan later I find that 'yes, Virginia, you have a stress fracture!'.

One boot later, and some ultra-sound treatments daily, and it looks like I'm up and running again. Although 10-15 min isn't much. It's about all I can take right now.

What did I learn from this?

  1. Shoes are not magic, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Although I do like the cushioning of the shoes, I am going to forego buying another pair (I have three by the way)
  2. Plyometrics are good, but only in small doses.
  3. That ask the doctor to use the tuning fork before prescribing a bone scan. Why spend a lot of money when the damn fork will tell you it's stressed out? (this is something I need to ask the doctor about).
  4. It now takes an extra 2-4 weeks for things to heal now than it did back in my late 30's.
  5. I have more patience now than when I was 35. I know I'll run again, and taking this past 9.5 weeks off is probably not a bad thing in the long haul. After all, the most I've taken off in the past 20 years (after Max was born) was 6 weeks.
  6. There are worst things in life than a stress fracture. Seriously, this is a flea bite in the scheme of things.
  7. I am more competitive then ever, and ready to rock and roll! (cross your fingers)

Slow going from here on out, but that's all right! As Roy Rogers sings….."I'm back in the saddle again!"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Swim Workouts 3/18-3/23 + NCAA’s

Talk about an exciting meet! Saw some really fast swimming this past weekend, probably one of the fastest D2 meets in the last 4-5 years. The University of Missouri (in Columbia) is a pretty nice college town. They have this great rails to trails course where it seems everyone in the community uses it, not to mention all the other parks that connect to it. Plenty of places to run (too bad I still can't run).

Final tally for Max though:

2nd in 1000 free – 10:14

4th in 400 IM – 3:58

5th in 500 Free (.6 separated him from 3rd)

6th in the 1650 – 15:42 (13 sec time drop)

Top scorer for his team, and his team took 3rd Place! Coach paid him $20.00 to carry his teams trophy (big butt piece of work) and not scratch it on the plane, etc today.

Note to self for next year – when working with Fly/Breast turns to make sure that the athlete starts with hands on walls, kick really fast, and perform the turn really fast – good drill

Workout #1

Group A

Group B


Distance (A/B)



Easy swim – throw in drills


5 x (300 + 200 + 100)

5 x (150 + 100 + 50)

Group A: 300 is at LT – free, 30 SR, 200 is 50 swim/50 drill, 30 SR, 100 is all out, 1 MR (repeat set 5 times).



Group B: 150 is moderate effort free, 100 is drill choice, 50 is FAST – all w/30-45 SR




Cool down easy drill or swim



Workout #2

Group A

Group B


Distance (A/B)



Warm up – 25 swim/25 drill choice


5 x 100

3 x 100

25 kick w/board + 50 swim free + 25 kick w/board (you drop the board off at other end of pool at the end of the first 25) – 20 SR


15 x 100

15 x 50

In sets of FIVE (3 x 5) Set one is 50 ez/50 fast, set 2 is 25 ez/75 fast, set 3 is hard effort – all w/20 SR, 1 MR between sets



Group B: Set #1 is easy, Set #2 is 25 ez/25 fast, set #3 is 50 fast – all w/20 SR, 1 mr between sets


3 x 200

1 x 300

Pull w/paddles – breath every 3rd to 5th stroke (alternate)




Cool down easy