Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maybe I'm Finally Back...I Hope

Last week I attempted come back number five since getting injured 4 1/2 months ago and I think I am finally ready to go. I'm shocked that I am actually feeling good while running because the injury I sustained was one that comes with a very uncertain recovery period. I must say it is a pleasant surprise that I am ready to go. I had tried 4 other times to start running again with each episode lasting only a couple days before I realized I needed more time to heal. On this comeback attempt I have been going strong for 11 days now and hit 50 miles last week. I'm pretty sure its all good but it really could be derailed at any time.

Back in mid September I began having a foot pain and tried many things to get it better only to find out that it was mostly likely a stress fracture of the medial sesamoid bone on my left foot and that it could be anywhere from 8 weeks to it never healing with surgery to remove it as the only option. In each persons foot there are two sesamoid bones, they are tiny pea-size bones that are located on the bottom of your first metatarsal area just back from the big toe joint (see picture). Now the problem with these little bones, as stated above, is that once they are messed up they can become a chronic problem with many cases where healing is either very slow or nonexistent.

The time leading up to my injury was by far the best training that I have ever experienced. I had a 15 week average of 115 miles per week and a top week of 127 miles. And the best thing about these 15 weeks was that I was feeling absolutely phenomenal nearly every day and getting great quality in. It has been an incredibly disappointing and painful process to deal with since I was feeling so good and know that I was ready to have that huge breakout that it seems I have been waiting years to have.

Unfortunately the mileage did catch up to me because little did I know I had been running in neutral cushion shoes all of my life while being a pretty severe overpronator. For years I was able to get away with it while running 80, 90, or even 100 miles per week but the combination of the wrong shoes and repeated 120 mile weeks caused an overall breakdown in my foot stability and foot strike which resulted in the stress fracture. Some people think I'm an idiot for running that much especially since I'm not training for the marathon or even a half marathon but I completely disagree. Sure running more miles means diminishing returns with each mile but I have learned over the years that my weakness is my aerobic capacity so I am trying to do what it takes to make up for that. And if that means running 120 miles per week I am willing to do it. Heck, once 100% full healthy I'm hoping that I can build back up to that mileage.

After getting to a point where I could run with very minimal pain I went and visited Cody and that is how I figured out I was overpronating. He put me on the treadmill at the Boulder Running Company Store and got the video camera rolling and was able to tell right away that I was in the wrong shoes. If any of you haven't ever had yourself looked at on video I would highly recommend you head over to BRC and have them check it out, at best they will simply tell you you are in the right shoes. I've been running in the wrong shoes for years and you could be too.

So now I am left wondering what I will be able to make of this track season and I honestly have no clue. All of those miles I put in are surely still with me in regards to my longterm development. I just need to get in some consistent miles now and get back into shape. My plans are to start out focusing on the 800/1500 and if I feel like my fitness is progressing well I would like to ultimately focus on the 5k as it gets into May and June. At this point I'll be happy if I can set a few PRs during this track season, even if just barely. Then just roll on into the summer and start hitting huge miles again with a focus on having the big breakout next year.

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