Friday, March 30, 2007

Status Check

I'm feeling a bit sore this morning, but in a "day-after-a-workout" good way. On top of that, though, I am feeling some pain in my ankle this morning. Actually, it started yesterday afternoon and became progressively worse as it got later. It's not bad enough to send me back into hiding for six more weeks of recovery, though, I don't think. Unless it continues to feel painful today, I still plan to try to run on Saturday.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

He saved everyoneofus....

Taa daa! Success!! This morning I sprang out of bed at 4:45 when the alarm clock went off, dashed into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and then rushed down the stairs to gear up for my morning run. I was on the road by 5 AM, feeling good. I had intended to do less than I did this morning, and to go back to W1D1 of C25k, but when I stepped outside this morning I realized I had forgotten to synch the podcast to my nano. Rather than go back inside to get it, potentially waking David in the process (his crib is in the same room as the computer), I decided just to run to music and to dial back my running time by 2/3rds. The actual run was quite short: I did a five minute warmup walk, about 11 minutes of running, and about 12 minutes of cooldown walk. I didn't intend for my cooldown walk to be so long, but my mind wasn't really working and when the Nike+ chip (now secured in its Marware pouch on my new shoes) announced "half-way point" my brain didn't process it as "okay - time to turn around and head back home." It took another good couple of minutes before I realized that I was not on a one-way trip and needed to head back. I attribute this partly to it being so early and my brain not moving as quickly as my feet, partly because I subconsciously wanted to keep going, and partly because I was on my normal route and wasn't used to turning around so early.

I didn't feel much pain, if any, during my run. I think I felt a little twinge in my ankle at one point but it quickly passed. I hardly broke a sweat while running, which surprised me somewhat. Right now, a few hours later, I'm not feeling bad at all - I'm anxious to see how I feel tomorrow. The most eventful part of the run occurred at about the half-way point, when I ran through an invisible but massive spiderweb that must have been slung by spider-man himself. I'm glad the roads were deserted, for I must have looked like a lunatic - running, flailing my arms and continuously trying to brush the webs off of my arms, face, and hair, all the while my headlamp shining, LEDs blinking, and reflectives reflecting. I'm sure it was a sight to behold.

The new running shoes felt reasonably good. I did feel the arch, especially against the underside of my right foot, but I wouldn't describe it as feeling painful or uncomfortable; just noticeable.

Tomorrow will be a rest-day, though it hardly feels like I exerted myself today. Then on Saturday I'll do an abbreviated park run, and all next week I can do my morning runs a little bit later as the kids will be on spring break. Meanwhile, it looks like I have to start eating a bit more: I hit my goal weight last week and so I just want to maintain at my current level, but my body apparently hasn't received that message yet: I'm down another 1.5 pounds, to 164.4 - my goal weight is 167.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cleared for Takeoff

Today was my follow-up appointment with the sports medicine doctor. He took a look at my X-ray films and said that he did not see any evident calcification of concern (so maybe not a stress fracture, after all!) but that X-Rays are not always determinative for stress fractures. Nonetheless, he doesn't think any additional imaging (MRI, CT-scan, etc) is warranted at this time since my pain is largely gone and I have been able to hop up and down without any pain for going on two weeks now. He said he doesn't need to see me again unless the pain gets progressively worse after I have resumed running.

I brought my new running shoes (ASICS GT-2120's) to the appointment and he took a careful look at them and agreed they are appropriate for me. He said that this particular shoe is a well constructed motion control shoe, and looks like it would give moderate support to help correct my over-pronation. He confirmed for me that my pronation is moderate. He also was not particularly concerned about the arch support: he took the shoe inserts out of the shoe to examine them. He told me that based on my low arches (my right is flatter than my left, he told me), I will definitely feel the rise of the insert against the bottom of my foot, but that unless it is causing me discomfort or blistering, it is okay to feel the arch support. He suggested that if it does cause any discomfort, I could consider replacing the insert with a store-bought over-the-counter one which will likely be less archy, but that I should try it as it is first. He said that this shoe was much better than the Nike I had with me the first time, since Nike has high-arch support and is more designed for cushioning than for motion control. He said I don't need cushioning, just the motion control. He also said that I don't have to toss out the Nikes, just that I shouldn't run in them. They're not going to cause me problems if I wear them while out and about, they just don't give me what I need while running.

He suggested that I start back at 50% of where I was when I got injured, that I run 2-3 days a week at first, and that I see how I feel in the day following. If my ankle is hurting and the pain persists more than 24-48 hours, I should dial it back. Otherwise, I should increase at a rate of 15% a week until I'm back where I was before the injury, and then go forward from there. Personally, this seems a little more aggressive then what I've seen suggested on the Cool Running boards. The advice I've generally seen on the board is that it takes two weeks to recover for every week away. Since I've been away for about six weeks, I'm expecting it to take about 12 to recover. I've also seen it generally suggested not to increase more than 10% a week. Given that, think I'm going to take a more conservative approach than what he suggested: I'm going to start C25k over again from the beginning. I do plan to attend my first 5k run, on April 14, but I'll walk it.

Looks like my days of sleeping late (until 6 AM) are over. It is good to be back!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Today I hit my goal weight, finally! Actually, I overshot it by about a pound: I weighed in at 165.9. Now I just need to learn how to maintain. It may prove a little tricky, since I haven't been counting calories or anything like that. I plan to just eat a little more each day, and I'll see what that does. The balancing act begins. In some ways, I think it may prove more difficult than the weight loss, but it's a challenge I gladly accept.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blue Suede Shoes

Yesterday I picked up my new running shoes from Runner's Edge, the running store in Boca. Only the ones I picked up are not the ones that I ordered. When I got to the store, the clerk that helped me the first time was not there. The person that assisted me this time around was just as knowledgeable, and he was not at all happy with the way the shoes I had ordered fit my feet. In his opinion, they were too wide for my narrow foot. He told me that they weren't a good fit and would wear out more quickly as a result. At his suggestion, we looked at a number of alternatives. Eventually it came down to a pair of Brooks Adreneline and a pair of Asics GT-2120's. I went for the latter. We didn't talk price at all (I'm much more concerned about the shoe fitting right than about saving a few dollars), so I was pleasantly surprised that the shoes that I chose were about $35 cheaper than the New Balance 1222's that I had ordered. Since my orthopedist follow up appointment is just around the corner, I'm going to keep these new Asics unworn. I plan to take them to the doctor's appointment and get his opinion on whether he thinks they are good for my feet. If he likes them, they will be my new running shoes. If he doesn't, the clerk said he will take them back. Actually he said they take them back even if I wear them running outside, so long as I don't run through mud and I rinse off the soles before bringing them in, but I don't plan to run before the doctor's appointment anyway.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ready, Set, Go! (Almost)

A lot has happened in last couple of days. Still no running for me, but I can feel the hiatus is drawing to a close.

FRIDAY: I had my X-Rays taken on Friday morning. They took four films of my leg. On one of them, Stacy thinks she can maybe see a small fracture-line near my ankle, right about where it has been hurting. It's very faint, but it's there. We'll see what the Sports Doc says when I have my follow-up appointment with him on the 28th. As for my ankle itself, it really doesn't hurt at all any more. Maybe just a twinge now and then. I haven't tried running on it yet, but I did a lot of walking yesterday - shopping with the family - and I'm feeling absolutely fine today.

SATURDAY: Saturday was very relaxing. We visited our former next-door neighbors. They recently moved about 10 minutes away. We spent the day out at their pool. They put us on their permanent visitor list and gave me a key to their community center, so now I have 24-hour access to their full gym, including a three lane, outdoor lap pool! I have been wanting to use swimming as cross-training, and now it looks like I'll have a way to do it. I haven't done much swimming since high school, but in high school I was in water more often than I was out of it: I was a lifeguard, co-captain of my community swim team, and a Special Olympics swim team coach.

SUNDAY: On Sunday, we went shopping. Stacy and the kids went to Babies R Us, while I went to Runner's Edge, the runner's store in Boca Raton, Florida. Let me just say that I will never, ever again, shop for running shoes anywhere other than a running store. I was so impressed with the level of service. I knew from the moment that I walked in that I was in the right place. There was a line of about four salespeople all assisting customers in finding the right shoe for them. I was first in line when I arrived, and I was promptly seen. The woman that helped me was about 60, I think she said, and she just PR-ed in her latest marathon. She took a look at the script the orthopedist gave me, but before seeing it she had already analyzed me at a glance and told me exactly what she thought it would say on the script. She was dead-on. We tried on a bunch of shoes for sizing, and she showed me how to best lace them (using a lock-lace technique to keep my heel in better). Between the doctor and her, I have learned now so much about my foot and gait. I have narrow feet, low arches (nearly flat but not quite), and I pronate. I am a size 12.5, but one foot is slightly bigger than the other and slightly more pronated than the other (which, by the way, probably explains why it always seems to be my left leg that gets injured). I need motion control shoes. I had been running in entirely the wrong shoes for my feet - Nikes are not generally liked as running shoes, and they have high arches. She had me wear a few different shoes and told me to go running outside with them. I did (no pain, by the way!) and we determined that a particular pair of New Balance seemed to work best for me. I don't remember the model number off hand, and they didn't have my exact size in stock - they are ordering a half-size for me and it should be in on Friday. I can't wait!

While I was there, I bought a Marware pouch for my Nike+, since it won't be able to fit in my shoe anymore. Instead, it will attach to the laces. I also bought a pair of running socks, and a pair of swimming goggles.

I'm still very near my goal weight - I seem to be going up and down, circling one pound away from my goal. This morning I was 168.8, so I went a pound in the wrong direction and have two more to go. But overall, I am so pleased with how it has been going. Here's a picture from Saturday, compared to one taken in September, before I started running. Now that the excess weight is off, I just want to keep it off and also get more toned.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stressed! Maybe...

This morning I had my appointment with the orthopedist. I think it went very well. I felt very comfortable with him, and he was very supportive of my running. He thinks that my injury is probably an early stress fracture rather than a sprain. He gave me a prescription for X-Rays and I have a follow-up appointment with him in another two weeks. He also did a gait analysis and told me that I have low arches and that I over-pronate a bit. He looked at my running shoes (I brought them with me in case he wanted to see them) and suggested a few different types that will give more motion control than what I currently have. He also gave me a prescription for those, to take to "Runner's Edge," the running store in Boca Raton. Finally, he gave me a stretchy band to use in conjunction with some stretching exercises, and he gave me a list and diagrams of the exercises to do. Since I'm relatively pain-free for the last day or so, he suggested that I try some cross-training so as not to lose all of my cardio progress. He suggested biking or using an elliptical. He also green-lit doing any weight training that doesn't cause pain to my leg.

So, the moral of this story is: I should have had the right shoes, properly fitted after gait-analysis, from the start. I know that that is pretty much the number one rule for new runners, but I ignored it at my peril because the shoes that I bought before I knew the rules seemed to be very comfortable. Comfort does not equal correct fit, as I've learned, and now I've paid the price. Fortunately, this is just a small bump in the road and I'm already well on the way to being healed. Still, the windmills of my mind keep turning as I think about how much farther along I could be if I had only done it right from the start.

Monday, March 12, 2007

And now, the Continuing Stooory....

Is it normal to be excited about an upcoming doctor's appointment? I've been anticipating my appointment with the orthopedic sports doctor. My ankle has been feeling a little better this last day or two, and this morning I can actually put weight on it without it hurting!

My ebullience about the appointment was quashed a little this morning, though: with 48 hours to go before DR-Day, I received a call from the doctor's office requesting that I make sure to "bring in my X-Rays" when I come to see the doctor. This doctor has never seen me before. He knows nothing about me yet, or about my injury. His office does know that I am having a problem with my ankle, but only because they finally asked why I wanted to set an appointment after 20 minutes of my first responding to their name/rank/serial no. requests when I called to get on the schedule. Had they asked me to get X-Rays then, two weeks ago, I would have had plenty of time to do so. Now, with 48 hours to go and a full schedule between now and then, it's not going to be possible. So, I have to decide if I'm going to (A) show up for the appointment anyway, empty handed, or (B) somehow get them taken maybe after-hours tonight somewhere, or (C) just cancel the appointment altogether because I'm feeling somewhat better anyhow. If I do get the X-Rays, there's a good likelihood that if it is a stress fracture it won't be evident on the film. And, if I do get the X-Rays, there's a chance that since he's never yet seen me, the X-Rays will be taken at an angle other than what he would have wanted, and he'll wind up sending me back for a re-take.

My current thinking is that I'm going to go to the appointment without the X-Rays. I'll let him examine me and then tell me what he wants done. Then, if he wants X-Rays, I'll go and have them taken. They can be sent to him and he and I can then confer on the phone after he has read them. If he needs me back again after that, I'll gladly come back. Considering the treatment for a stress fracture is largely the same as the treatment for a sprain (RICE), and since Stacy is still thinking that the chances of it being a stress fracture are very small, I've begun to question why I'm even going in the first place. Sigh.

Be sure to tune in next episode, when you'll hear Dr. Bob Say:

DR. BOB: Prepare for surgery!

NURSE PIGGY: Dr. Bob, are you really going to remove his brain?

DR. BOB: No, something much more vital than that.

NURSE PIGGY: You mean...

DR. BOB: Yes, his wallet!

In other, more positive, news: I'm now less than 1 pound away from my goal weight! That means I've lost just about 30 pounds since I started in December, having dropped from 197 to 167.9. I've gone from a 38 waist to a 32. My shirt collar has gone from a 17 to a 16. I'm feeling pretty awesome about that. This weekend I started going through my clothing to assemble a pile for donation. I don't plan to ever need pants with a 38 waist again, and I don't want to keep them around "just in case," since that would seem to lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Completely unrelated to running, but just had to share this with the world: My daughter, Zoe, is so mature for her age that we often forget that she's only 7 - just turned 7 in February. Last year when I drove her to school each morning we would play car games and tell stories about forest animals that dress up for parties. This year, the thing she wants to do most is read one of her "chapter books" (she's in 1st grade, reading on a 4th grade level, as she proudly announces to anyone that will listen). She can devour about half of a book in the 30 minutes it takes to get her to school. And I'm not quite sure, at this point, who is fooling whom with this whole "tooth fairy" thing: I suspect that she is playing along and that she doesn't want to let us know that she knows. Occasionally, though, she'll say things that remind us of how young she really still is: This weekend, for example, we saw Barbie in Fairytopia on television. It's a CGI Barbie movie with fairies. While watching it, Zoe turned to me and said conspiratorily "Daddy - I know the fairies can't really fly. It's just like when we saw the live 'Lion King' show at DisneyWorld - the fairies have strings under their clothing. The strings are attached to their belts, and the strings hold them in the air."

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just Can't Wait to Get on the Road Again

Well, I slept through my intended morning run yesterday, but I got home from work early and Stacy and the kids were out shopping, so I geared up and did my trial walk through the park for about 40 minutes. My ankle was still feeling good after 40 minutes of walking, so I jogged home for the last 10 minutes or so. Still felt good, but later that evening it began bugging me again. I'm going to keep taking it easy for a few days - my sports medicine doctor appointment is on Wednesday, and I don't want to do anything that would delay my healing, but it sure felt good to get back out there again!

Also: I weighed myself this morning, and for the first time since maybe high school my weight is now in the 160's! (169.4)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Mad at Myself

Argh! I'm so mad at myself! Last night I set out my running kit so that in the morning I could roll out of bed and cautiously hit the road for the first time in several weeks. My plan was not to run, just to walk and see how it made me feel. My ankle didn't really hurt at all yesterday, except maybe a little in the evening. I was ready and excited to get back to my routine. After all, I'm so close to my goal now!

The one flaw in my plan? When the alarm clock went off this morning (4:45 AM), I got up, turned it off, and crawled back into bed for another hour's sleep! This is nothing I did in my sleep - I was awake enough that I consciously decided not to run. I am my own worst enemy!

About the picture:

On a close-up view, you can see on the left face, an angry man and on the right face, a woman with a neutral facial emotion. But further back (walk some 5 meters back from your computer monitor), the faces change expression and even genders! If you squint, blink, or defocus, an angry man should substitute for the face of the woman and the left angry face should not be angry anymore.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A New Low

Still no running for me, but at least my diet is going well. This morning I hit a new low. I am now 170.2 pounds, down from my starting weight of 197! This places me just a hair over three pounds away from my goal weight. There was a weird spike of +2.5 pounds the last time I weighed, but this morning suggests that it was just an anomaly. Maybe I was retaining water or something.

Ankle is feeling okay this morning. It hurt when I put my full weight on it while getting out of the car, but it's not hurting at the moment. Dare I say it? "Maybe, tomorrow morning I will walk."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

I'm Still Here

I haven't gone anywhere, but I haven't been posting as regularly since there hasn't been anything new to report. I'm still RICE-ing my ankle. It still hurts. Occasionally it will stop hurting long enough for me to start thinking - "tomorrow, I'll try walking in the morning!" - only to have it begin hurting again a few hours later. Right now I have an ice pack strapped around it. I'm hopeful that it will feel better by this weekend: my sister is coming into town and we're planning to go to Disney with the kids. Lots of walking at the park is in store, so hopefully it won't be a painful experience.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

More Gear

Yesterday my order from RoadID arrived in the mail. I picked up a pair of reflective shoelaces and a little ID tag that attaches to my shoe. Now if only I could get out there and use them! I did do some cross-training this morning, at least: crunches and a little upper body weight training with the Bowflex dumbbells. I'm really missing being out on the road, though.

Friday, March 2, 2007

This is getting tiresome.

Made my appointment with Dr. Sports Medicine Specialist Guru. I'll be seen on March 14.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Last night, Stacy did a little research and found the name of an in-network sports medicine doctor. I'll be giving him a call to get my ankle checked out. Somehow, needing a sports medicine doctor seems like an accomplishment. Three months ago, I would have been completely incredulous at the thought. Stacy says to expect not to be seen for maybe two to three weeks, but I'm hoping for something sooner. I wonder if he accepts walk-ins. (Limp-ins?)