Fitness maintenance and injury pummeling

When I was in Chicago over the weekend I found myself frequenting old (The Chicago Diner) and new (Life On Mars) vegan restaurants and during conversation writing out this blog address on various scraps of paper to hand out. I regretted not having legitimate promo pieces for both the blog and corresponding sponsors, so with that in mind I’ve created and ordered little mini business cards to give out to friends, businesses, projects, etc. in the future. They will arrive in a couple weeks, which will be when we kick off the latest campaign in vegan athlete world domination…or something. So yeah, if any of you want to get in on the sponsorship goodness, do hit me up.

On to more important matters.

I went through work today with my leg choked in stretchy medical fabric, hoping to wrestle my swollen muscles into submission. When that obviously wasn’t going to work I contacted the coach and made an appointment to stop in for a recovery plan. There’s a reason Matt is the man, well, there are LOTS of reasons, but his knowledge of sports injuries and subsequent recoveries is certainly one of them. I could probably never explain how frustrating it is to have a sidelining injury, what with the pain, confusion, ineffectual voodoo magic and everything else that accompanies a sudden slowing or stopping of running. Sometimes the mental frustration is worse than the injury itself, so let me tell you it seems nothing short of miraculous to walk out of the Athletic Annex after visiting with Matt and although the injury itself is no better than when I walked in, mentally I felt ecstatic, if only because I know had a good assessment of my injury and a plan to bury it deep in the ground. First and foremost we ascertained that I did NOT have a stress fracture, which is most important of all. Though we didn’t name the injury itself, it is most likely made up of swollen muscles due to a combination of overuse and poor shoe support. That means, above all else, we have a way to reduce the swelling and pain and get back to running. The fundamentals of the plan are as follows:

1. Establish arch support – Matt hooked me up with a new pair of Adidas Sequence’s and supportive inserts to wear exclusively, during work and around the house. When I’m back to running, these will replace my Nike Lunar Glides.

2. Stick to soft running surfaces – It’s difficult to find soft running surfaces when you live center city, but I do my best to find packed dirt or any stretch of grass. When I start back up though, I’ll be seeking out grass and making my way out to the canal towpath for the most forgiving surfaces I can find while I rebuild strength in that leg. The more supportive shoes will help with that.

3. Reduce inflammation – My muscles are swollen like Violet’s face after she ate Willy Wonka’s chewing gum and that is a primary source of the pain. In order to reduce that I’m doing heat and ice intervals at 10 minutes each, which amounts to dipping my leg in a bucket of water filled with ice for 10 minutes, then transferring it to the bathtub which is filled with hot water for 10 minutes and back 2 more times. The heat I can deal with….the cold HURTS. But it’s what I’ve gotta do to facilitate the healing. I’m also continuing my new diet of snacking on ibuprofen.

4. Flexibility – I’ve been given a couple more effective calf stretches than the typical wall presses I’ve been resorting to, which can actually make the muscle tightness worse instead of better.

5. Cross training – Much to Michelle’s chagrin, I’m to dust of my bike and hit the roads doing intervals of standing up riding and sitting down riding. Anything to get the heart rate going, sweat rolling and quads burning. This is no problem….it was what I did every day before I rediscovered my inherent passion for running. Michelle has been prodding me for years now to get out there with her and I’ve obliged from time to time, but now me and her are going to be tearing up the Monon. Perfect timing to now that the weather is supposed to change for the better starting tomorrow. I’m not sure who’s more excited to get out there and get sweating, me or her.

Beyond that, I’m to continually gauge how the leg feels and do a short test jog for about 20 feet before I attempt to do a sufficient run. When I am good to go it was suggested that I get on a treadmill for it’s forgiving surface among other reasons, which also plays into my plans quite nice as next week I’ll be in North Carolina visiting August and staying in a hotel, which means I’ll have access to their treadmills. Funny how that all works out.

So that’s where we stand right now. I’m injured, but we’ve got a plan and that plan is to get recovered without setting myself back or losing fitness, gaining it if at all possible. I’ve made too great of strides recently to let it all slip as we continue to build up to May 8th and beyond. I could go on about the injury and the psychology that played into its creation, but right now I’d rather not worry about that and just move forward. Thanks Matt!

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4 responses to “Fitness maintenance and injury pummeling

  1. Yes…THANKS MATT!! :O) Weeeeeeee…here we go!

  2. How was Life On Mars? Haven’t eaten there yet but I’ve heard good things about it.

    I’ve never experienced your training volumes, but cross-training seems like good advice. I’ve been injured before doing single sport, but since cross-training I haven’t seen much injury. Except, of course, when I got hit by the car. If coach Matt has any prevention tips for that, let me know.

    plant power?

    • Life On Mars was, taste-wise, really frickin good. Atmosphere is lacking, but it seems to be a makeshift, walk in and out deli, so I didn’t expect much. Prices were incredibly reasonable too. Definitely check it out.

      I hate the idea of cross-training, if only because I worry about neglecting the finer necessities of actually running. I know it’s probably better, but it’s hard to gauge if I’m getting the proper workout when I’m doing something besides running. Of course, that doesn’t make much sense if I’m injured to the point that I’m NOT running. Regardless, I’m still on the bike for now, then transititioning to the treadmill and back to the roads, hopefully sooner than later.

      As far as not getting hit by a car…I think that involves riding no-handed with two shotguns pointing in opposite directions. Good luck with that.

  3. Two shotguns. Brillant. Coach Matt sound like he knows what he’s talking about.

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