Friday, June 17, 2011

The Truth Hurts

Upon viewing the picture of me and the Redhead flashing our awesome lower leg swag yesterday, Spike had this to say:

"Worst three-legged relay team ever."

You should leave the legal profession and go into comedy. I'm serious, dude.

P.S. Way to poke fun at CRIPPLED* PEOPLE!

*not crippled for life, just temporarily. The runners will rise again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Thoughts: Meet Frankenboot!

I knew I was not going to get away with doing nothing after the revelation about my plantaris rupture. My usual tactic of "pretend it's not there and it might go away" (hey, it's worked before!) would not suffice.

Two out of two doctors surveyed said:

"You must wear the boot."

Say hello to my little friend
I will be hauling Frankenboot around for two weeks. It's not uncomfortable (yet). It doesn't make my foot sweat (yet). I described the way it feels as "my leg is being hugged." It's not glued to my leg 24/7.

Nevertheless, it is not ideal. I keep telling myself that two weeks of annoyance now means I will be able to run again in the near future. In the meantime, I will be doing some SERIOUS upper body strength training. My arms are going to be RIPPED.

I sent the Redhead an email yesterday when I learned I was going to be strapped into a boot. If anyone would understand, it would be her; she's been carting around Das Boot for a month. The subject line of the email said:


That pretty much sums it up.

We went out to lunch today, which presented an epic picture opportunity. Even in the midst of mutual disappointment and exasperation, we know how to find a silver lining.

Plastic and velcro are IN for summer! Institutional gray or funereal black, take your pick!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Canal Days 5K: Dead F-ing Last! (And Proud of It)

I have begun a new phase in my running career, or, my running career which is defined by not running for the forseeable future. Thus, I downgraded my desires for Saturday's Canal Days 5K (New Haven, Indiana; small-town festivals RULE) from "running really slowly" to "walking." It turned out I was the only walker. The small field took off at the start and I watched the clump of runners quickly leave me behind. I wasn't alone, however; I had the sweep vehicle accompanying me the whole way. "Vehicle" in this case was a golf cart belonging to the New Haven Police Department, piloted by an amiable officer with whom I made jovial small talk for the duration of the race.

I had vigorously mowed my lawn with my reel mower on Thursday afternoon, and my calf had reminded me all day Friday it was not happy about being treated badly. It was still complaining as I began briskly walking the 5K, and I was forced to limp almost immediately. It was uncomfortable but not unbearable, and I forged onward. The afflicted area sent out a few major bolts of pain, but nothing, nothing like what I had felt during Cleveland or the weeks afterward.

Bringing up the rear in a race was a novel experience. I have finished last in races before, though not since 1989, when I dragged my exhausted ass across the finish line of the OHSAA Cross-Country Regional race on an 85-degree day in late October. This time, however, I wasn't part of a high school team that was trying to qualify for the state meet. I was out for a stroll on a cool, if humid, summer morning.

Law enforcement held up a HUGE line of cars at a major intersection until I passed, which caused me much embarrassment as there were a lot of pissed off motorists waiting for me to hobble by.

I waved and smiled at a lot of people who were waiting for the Canal Days Parade to start in downtown New Haven. I felt like a mini celebrity!

Let me just state for the record: walking three miles seems to take FOREVER. I was glad when the high school came into view and I knew I was almost done. The Engineer was there, too, and when he saw me coming he ran out to meet me and we crossed the finish line together.

I wasn't dejected or mopey about my 50-minute time nor the fact that I had finished dead fucking last nor that I couldn't run. This is what it is, and I have to accept it as such and look towards rehabilitation and healing.

Another bright spot in the morning was seeing Holly (Rust Belt Runner) again. She told me about this race a while back, otherwise I would not have known about it. I was planning on heading to Indiana last weekend anyway, so the logistics worked out perfectly.

At the finish line there was a huge box of free T-shirts for a Craigslist-like service provided by the local newspaper. Since I love random T-shirts (trucks, bacon, Cryptosporidium, particle physics, to name a few) I couldn't resist grabbing a hot pink one. I will now be able to advertise Bobslist in southeast Michigan.

In a few hours the Engineer and I were on our way south to Indianapolis for the Independent Music and Arts Festival. Last year, it was a brutal 95+ degrees and sauna-like humidity. This year, it was MUCH nicer.

Of course, there was beer: first, lunch at the Brugge Brasserie (mussels were eaten), followed by a visit to Sun King Brewing.

I left with one growler filled.

The next item on the running agenda is...well, more not running. Slow rehabbing is where I'm heading, I believe.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Well, this explains a few things

Today I learned about something called the plantaris tendon. I never knew this little strip of tissue existed before 8:30 this morning. Now I know far too much about it.

Lower leg of doom

See that thin blue strip? That's your plantaris tendon. Yours is probably fine.

Mine, however, is ruptured. Oh, and my medial gastroc and soleus muscles are torn. For even more fun, I even have a touch of the achilles tendinitis. Why not toss that onto this steaming pile of crap as well?

I can pinpoint the moment this bad boy let go: mile 6 of the Cleveland Half on May 15. It felt like someone took my right calf muscle and ripped it in two. Like any overly stubborn runner, I powered onward and finished the race. Dropping out for the dreaded DNF is not in my vocabulary, even though I could barely hobble forward. I finished that race in 2:28, my slowest half ever. But I finished.


I still haven't run since that day. I was hoping to run this coming Saturday with the Engineer at the Canal Days 5K near Ft. Wayne because my leg has felt great, almost normal, for several days. I mentioned this at my appointment today and the radiologist was like "That's not a good idea."

While I won't need surgery, I may be in for a round of physical therapy. I will see my sports medicine doctor at the end of the month for a follow-up and I will hear what she has to say. Right now, however, the course of action can be summed up thusly:
  • No running
  • No running
 I'm in for a lot of elliptical, biking, rowing and strength training. 

These recent revelations make the following picture, taken near the end of the Cleveland race, quite bittersweet. I was in a tremendous amount of pain, and I knew I was almost done. I hadn't seen the Redhead yet and I was worried I had been too slow to see her at mile 7 (I didn't know she never even made it there, having gone the wrong way to spectate). I started to hear some crazy person yelling into a bullhorn and when I got close enough I saw that, yes, it was indeed the Redhead, on the sidewalk at mile 12.  Oh, happy day!

I think this is my new favorite race picture ever
I didn't know it, but this would be my last race for a long time.

Interestingly, this injury (the tendon rupture and accompanying gastroc tear) is colloquially known as "tennis leg" because it happens most often to tennis players. Why it happened to me I have no idea.

I'm holding out hope I will be able to run when I go on vacation to Cape Cod in six weeks. That's all I want: to run by the ocean.