Monday, May 28, 2007

L'Chaim 5K Run for Israel

Um, I ran a race today.

I wasn't planning on it, but my roommate told me about it last night, and was interested in going. He's not a runner, but a few of our friends were going, and he thought it would be fun. Once he said he was going, I jumped in as well.

The truth is I'd already run 6 miles with Akiva yesterday. It was the most I'd run since I hurt my ankle, and the fastest too (9:15 miles). So I figured I'd run this relatively slow.

Of course, once I was racing that went out the window. Sort of. The horn (actually a shofar) was blown, and most people took off at full speed - as if they were running the 100 meter dash. I tried to stick to my usual slow pace, but it was hard to pace myself in this setting. By a half a mile in I was passing a lot of people. I ended up running the first mile in 7:54 according to the volunteer on the course.

The temperature was about 80 degrees, and the course was pretty hilly. It was definitely tough out there. All those people that had started fast were dropping like flies. I was reeling them in one by one. Mile 2 went by in 7:58 (according to the volunteer again).

Over the final mile, I could see a friend of mine about 20 seconds ahead of me. I'd actually been watching him the whole race, but now I started trying to catch him. I was passing everyone else, but could not make any progress on him. I later found out that he was racing another friend, and they were really dueling at the end. They both ended up finishing up about a minute ahead of me - separated by 0.3 seconds!

So even though I couldn't catch him I did pass a few more people in the last tenth of a mile. There was one more guy I wanted to catch, but he was looking back at me, and stayed out of reach. He ended up finishing 8 seconds ahead of me. Mile 3 was went by in 7:30, with 0:47 for the last segment.

My final time according to the timekeepers (no shoe chip) was 24:11.9 for a 7:48 mile. Not a PR, but given that I haven't really been running fast in 5 weeks, and that it was hilly, and that it was 80 degrees - I'm pretty happy with that.

As it turned out I was 29th overall, out of 364 people. In my age group I was 4th. The guy that I couldn't catch was in my age group, and he got a trophy for 3rd place. Arg! I congratulated him, and he recognized me as "the guy he beat out". He was a nice guy. It turns out we're both moving up to the 35-39 group next year, so maybe they'll be a re-match next year. (We would have been 1 and 2 in that division.)

I'm scheduled to run a NYRR event next week. It's a 4 miler in the park. I'll probably take a couple of days off now to rest up after this weekend.

As for my ankle, it really doesn't hurt to walk or even run. I'm still wearing an insole in my shoe, so it felt weird as I was walking around before the race. But during the race, I didn't feel it. I still have pain when I move my ankle in certain directions, so it's not fully healed. I'm a little nervous, but still hopeful that it will heal completely in the next few weeks. (It's already been five weeks!!) I'm going to physical therapy twice a week, but that's mostly to prevent future recurrences. I'm working on stretching out my calves, strengthening my ankle stabilizers, and working on my balance. It's actually pretty interesting, and I think it's going to help in the long run.

One other piece of news. Some of you may remember that at the end of my Coogan's post I pledged to run 1,000 kilometers this year. (The "mini-Tinkoff 1000"). This race puts me over 500K for the year. (See updated results in the sidebar.) So even with the injury, I'm still well on track.

Hope you all had a nice weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Birthday Boy

From my secretary (with her email blanked out) this morning.

Yup, another birthday. Ho hum. I didn't make my 20 pounds in 20 weeks goal (see sidebar), but the injury didn't help. I'll get there with a little more time.

Speaking of my injury, I took off the Unna boot on Wednesday. My ankle is definitely better. Some sideways motions still hurt, though I suspect my therapy exercises are exacerbating that. The tightness on the bottom of the foot is better, if not still a tiny bit present. I'm not sure the boot did anything, but the week of waiting probably did.

I ran 2.5 miles really slow today, without too much problems. We'll see how the next few days go.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Injury Update

I tried to make it to an orthopedic surgeon, but his office day was the same as my operating day. I did, however, talk to him on the phone. He felt that as long as it seemed like it was getting better, he didn't usually do any further workup until about 6 weeks.

I still wanted to start physical therapy, so I asked one of the physiatrists to prescribe some PT for me. He was happy to do it, but asked me to see one of the "foot experts" in their department.

And that's how I ended up with this:

That my friends, is an Unna boot. It wraps around your foot, and stays there for a week. (I have to shower with a plastic bag on my foot!) I've put on tons of these, although always for other problems. It was so weird to be getting one myself. While she was putting it on I must have said about ten times, "I can't believe I'm getting an Unna boot".

The physiatrist who put it on felt that it would provide some "relative immobility", kind of like a semi-flexible cast. In addition she put some extra inserts under the insole of my shoes. Because of my theory that the peroneal tendons were being overused, the purpose of these inserts was to change the angle of my foot, and take pressure off the tendons.

She also had me get some X-rays,

which were negative.

So anyway, because of the Unna boot, I couldn't actually get any therapy last week. I also can't tell if it's working. The pain I was feeling before isn't really there, but that's because I'm walking abnormally. My foot bothers me in other areas, and the "boot" itself is annoying. So far it's been on for 4 days, and I'm going to try and last another 3. Wednesday I hope to take it off, and see how I feel without it. I'm also supposed to see the therapist that day as well. (To be honest, I'm concerned that I'll be stiff from wearing this for a week, and that I'm actually doing more harm than good.)

In the meantime, I clearly can't run. (Actually, I could probably still run with this on, and considered running this morning. But I'm trying to be the good patient and do what I'm told. For now.) So that's kind of annoying. I really feel like I'm losing a lot of my fitness. I've been lifting weights a little more, but I'm pretty limited. I couldn't even bike or swim if I wanted to.

A few more days....

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ankle Anatomy

(Another post about my ankle. I know how much it sucks to read about other people's injuries. Believe me, I'd rather be posting a race report from yesterday's marathon. Unfortunately, that's not how it turned out. But if you want to just skim through all these "injury" posts, I won't be offended. It's probably what I'd do.)

I think what's so annoying about this injury is that it's not an overuse injury. It's not that I was pushing too hard and got hurt. It was totally accidental, and not really a true running injury. I wasn't looking where I was going, and I stepped off the curb funny. It's so frustrating that a stupid little mistake like that has ruined my running (and by extension much more than that) for weeks.

The truth is, I've actually been doing a little more running. The weather's just been too nice. My "ankle" itself feels a lot better, but the bottom of my foot has been bothering me. It's not terrible when I run, but walking a lot is a pain.

After reviewing some of my old textbooks, I've re-learned some of the anatomy in the area.

Sprains happen when the ligaments that stabilize the ankle joint get stretched or torn.

Judging by the degree of bruising and swelling I had, and the fact that I was never too unstable, I'm guessing I had a type II sprain.

Initially, it definitely hurt along the top side of my foot, mostly where the top right ligament in the picture is. (The anterior talofibular ligament.) It's still a little sore there, but now the problem is more on the bottom of my foot. Particularly when I walk a lot, it's sore on the underside of my foot, opposite the arch.

Looking at a more detailed diagram, I think that what's hurting me are my peroneals.

The ligaments from the above diagrams are colored in yellow. The peoneus longus (long) and brevis (short) tendons are colored in red. As you can see they insert on the bottom of the foot, towards the base of the little toe. Which is where it hurts me. Apparently, these muscles get used more heavily when you have an ankle sprain, in order to compensate for the lack of stabilization. I think the muscles/tendons are sore because they're overused or tight, or something like that. It's not tender to touch anywhere, it just hurts when I walk. That's why I think it's muscular and not a fracture.

In any case, I'm quite certain that what I need is physical therapy to work on strengthening or stretching these muscles. I've already had an informal visit to my therapist friend, but I think I need to do this more formally. I'm going to try and schedule an appointment with some sort of sports medicine doctor, and then hopefully settle into a more regular PT schedule.

I'll keep you posted. (Even if you don't want to be!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I'd like to think I'm slowly getting better, but my ankle still hurts when I move certain ways. I'm still not running, in the hopes that I'm preventing myself from worse injury. I'm not really sure that's true, but for now I'll hold off.

The weather was beautiful today, and it was hard not to go out for a run. Instead I put on my rollerblades, which I hadn't used in a couple of years. My brother's staying with me for a little while, and he brought his blades and a hockey stick. It was really fun shooting the puck (ball) around again. I don't think I got as good a workout as running, but it's better than nothing.

Tonight was the first official barbecue of the "Tuesday night BBQ series". It was good, but not good. If you know what I mean. At least I stocked up on Slim Fast today. I also did some weights today. Got to start somewhere.