February 08, 2008

Dealing With Injuries

Yesterday morning I was out with my good buddy Aaron Heidt and we were shredding 20cm of fresh snow at 7:30am! We glanced back over our lines intermittently to see how perfect they were. The 'left - right - left' pattern was completely balanced and symetrical for hundreds of meters at a time, and it would have been absolutely perfect...if we were actually skiing and not out trying to get a trail run in! The low level snow just won't seem to subside this year. It's been one crazy winter here in Squamish and all along the B.C. Coast. We must be smashing the previous snowfall records for the coast because there's been white stuff on the ground for months, verses just a few weeks in the first few years I lived in Squamish.

While I was chasing my buddy Aaron up the Crumpit Woods hill I contiually watched my heart rate climb, 160, 163, 165, 168, 170. My max HR is only around the 180bpm range so I was putting in some serious effort to keep him in sight. I enjoyed the chase however, as I am all too familiar with running and training solo. What I did not enjoy was the continually growing pain in my calf muscles. I've been dealing with strained-stressed calf muscles for over six weeks now and was doing a very good job of ignoring it and hoping it would go away on its own.

By the time we topped out on our climb my body was starting to shut down. Aaron effortlessly dropped me before coming back around and saying,

"What's up? You seem to have hit a wall this morning?"

That's exactly what it felt like because I had finally been forced into accepting the fact that I am somewhat broken right now. With numerous big races just around the corner I am going to have to come off of my running until I can fully recover, and that really sucks!

It was not the happy, endorphin filled start to my day that I'd been searching for.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at work and utilizing a tool called 'The Stick'. This for all intents and purposes is a rolling pin for your muscles. Ten seconds with this device and I realized how serious my injuries were. My legs were so tight that I could hardly even touch them wihtout surges of pain. It's not like this just happened over night of course! I have been pretending this was not occuring since late December, and during the final 3km of last weekends 10k Yeti snowshoe race I was fully aware of the fact that I was doing more harm then good to my own body. I very nearly stopped, but was doing so well in the race that it was not even an option to pull up with but a few km to go.

Throughout my first four years of racing I have been able to get by on a simple five minute leg stretch once a day in the shower. It took me six full weeks to come to terms with the fact that this is no longer the case. With each season my goals and distances grow, and hence the strain on my body becomes greater. I won't be able to recover from this one with time and time alone. I have to take a very proactive stance and get on top of this immediately, for not only is this affecting my calf muscles, but the tension is pulling on my platar fascia foot muscles, and the P.F. is like a runner's kryptonite.

To top it all off, I woke up feeling pretty sick today! Maybe it's the best thing for me right now. As long as I stay on top of my streching and 'rolling pin' recovery then hopefully I can make the most of what otherwise seems like a pretty shitty week...in a beautiful town, in a wonderful country, on a gorgeous planet...


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