March 01, 2011

Running or Something Like It (my first month back)

Hard to believe it's March 1st already, though I kinda find myself sayin that at the beginning of each and every month. In all seriousness though, having not been able to run through what are typically the worst months of the year I truly can not believe that spring is right around the corner (hopefully).

SO, the quick and dirty, though not nearly dirty enough, recap of my first month off of still hurts, lots, though in all the right places from what I am told. In hindsight I still would not have taken the surgery option over the natural healing option, though what I am now dealing with is a direct result of being off my foot for three and a half months. Had I taken the surgery option, and had it been successful, I would more than likely be months ahead of where I am now in the recovery process. Conversely had the surgery gone wrong for any reason I might not have ever run again. Hence I'm very content with how things have gone to date.

What I was not fully prepared for or educated on was just how lengthy the process of reconditioning the specific musculature of the foot and ankle would be. I'm already four weeks off crutches and I still feel each and every step that I take, albeit in my ankle and not in my foot or more importantly within the bone fracture site. It's been painfully slow going, but it has continually moved in the right direction so I have zero complaints. I still feel that I will have a successful top ten effort at Western States in June and hopefully an even better race eight weeks later at UTMB in France. All in all the timing of UTMB is kinda perfect given where I'm coming from right now. It has distinctly become my A race for the year and I am weighing options on hopefully travelling to France a full month early in an attempt to develop an intimate relationship with the course, and with the absolute goal of having the race of my life come the August 26th starting date. THIS of course is a whole other side story...

Feb 1st till Mar 1st:

Week 1: Having finally been told I could start back at it I headed straight to the track (as shown earlier) to see how things would hold up. I ran/walked a total distance of 2km, with a mix of about 1km of very slow painful running and about 1km of very slow walking, alternating as my body demanded. This was both the stupidest and most beneficial thing I could have done all at once. In the days following this 'run' my right leg basically seized up and my right calf felt like it had been assaulted with a baseball bat, Nancy Kerrigan style. My body had dictated the terms of recovery very definitively and I was forced to immediately accept the fact that this was going to be a very long process.

Feb 1st - 6th
T: Above run/walk for 2km
W: off / regret my decision from previous day
T: 1h30m spin session
F: Gym workout with Curb Ivanic
S: Trail hike on Orca's Island of 3.5km which took a full hour
S: off

Feb 7th - 13th
M: 1hr strength session with Curb
T: 1hr trail hike
W: 1hr/26km Road Bike with previously shown crash 
+ physio session with Jenn Turner
T: 1hr spin session at home (so as to prevent another possible crash)
+ 30min trail hike
F: off
S: 1hr spin session 
+ 1.5hr/8km trail hike
S: 1hr spin session (1st time really pushing hard & getting a great w/o) 
+ 1hr/4km trail hike

Throughout these two weeks I was still unable to walk without a significant limp due to the overall muscle fatigue within my foot. It wasn't until almost three weeks out that I finally had a full day of being on my feet without once looking gimpy. Each day felt slightly better and stronger so I was confident it was just a matter of time and not something worth worrying about

Feb 14th - 20th
M: 1hr strength w/ Curb
T: off
W: Physio w/ Jenn Turner at Moveo
T: quick workout at home
F: 1hr spin session which was definitively my best to date as I was finally able to push decent wattage 
S: 1hr/4km snowshoe hike in Whistler
S: off

Feb 21st - 27th 

Having finally progressed beyond limping and also feeling like my overall upper leg strength had returned I focused on getting my first full and consistent week of training in.

M: 1h30m/7km snowshoe hike
T: 1h30m / 1800 vertical foot hike up Grouse Mtn to the 1954 F-86 Fighter Jet crash site on the trail known as Jetboy, followed by a gravity assisted run back down to fully assess my leg and ankle strength which I was pleasantly surprised with over the following 48 hours of basic and expected but not overly debilitating quad pain 
+ 1hr spin session
W: My 2nd attempt at running. 30min/6km painful in ankle but overall ecstatic to officially run once more
+ physio session w/ Jenn Turner
T: 2hr road ride / 51km. Bitterly cold but stunningly beautiful day
F: 1hr road ride / 28km. Again bitterly cold but overall my best workout to date
+ 1hr hike up BCMC at night
S: 30m/5km treadmill run
S: 1h30m Jetboy hike up and run down

(this was taken on Friday afternoon and by Sunday morning everything was buried under a foot of snow, forcing the road bike to once again become attached to the indoor trainer)

All in all, things are definitively heading in the right direction and on an almost noticeable daily basis. When I left the hospital on Feb 1st the Doctor said,
"Your goal should be to run 10km within the next eight weeks"

This was immediately followed by my own thought of,
"TEN KILOMETERS?! I'll run ten by next week and fifty within eight weeks DOC!"

Of course I didn't voice this because I didn't want to get into trouble but realistically he wasn't too far off. I managed 8km on the treadmill this morning and will most certainly complete 10km in a similar fashion by the end of this week (5 weeks out)...though I'm still intending to do 50k by the end of eight weeks Doc!



Adamo said...

Glad to hear there's steady (if slow) progress, keep at'r.
I'm in YVR next week, if the white rain has dried up we should do a spin. Or a snowshoe/hike if it hasn't.

ken michal said...

Yep, it looks about as hardcore as my usual training week!!! ;)

Seriously, I'm really glad to see you at it again! I'm also very happy to see that you're taking your time and didn't run that 50k right away!!! I know you're familiar with the concept of loosing battles to win the war... WSER and UTMB are your wars, Gary!! The force is strong in you but you must be patient, young Jedi!!! :P

I should come up there for a run this week... It will probably be the only time in my life that I'll be able to keep up with you!!!

All Day!

GZ said...

Glad to see you are on the path back ... and that the fire is still there.

Hone said...

Nice. You have plenty of time to get into to shape by summer.

Coming back from injury is like a locomotive in that it takes time to start going and then after a while there is no stopping you!

Chris Reed said...

Hi Gary,
Glad to hear your recovery and training are going in the right direction. I have enjoyed reading your blog, thanks for sharing it. Also, you have a hilarious sense of humor - keep it up.

HollyV said...

so... diez vista?? :)

remember this time last year, when I was whining that I just wanted running to feel normal again, and not-gimpy? lol You're getting there quickly; can't wait to see how this year goes for you.

Fairbanks said...

Keep it up. Been following your blog and love it. Sending good vibes!

garobbins said...

Thanks all! It's always nice to hear that people share in the sense of humor aspect and never take my stuff too seriously. Ultra running (and life) is just a hell of a lot easier when you can find something to laugh at, especially given just how ridiculous the concept of non-stop running for a day or more at a time really is!