After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Friday, June 21, 2013

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: June 21, 2013

I have been injured before and unfortunately, in all likelihood will be injured again (whether it is running related or not) and things that I have to re-learn every time.
That during the recovery process:
  • it will take longer than I want
  • that I have to be patient and
  • accept the FACT that I will not see improvements every day.
There will also be setbacks and days that for lack of a better word – suck.

However, I also know from experience that better days are coming and as long as I am fairly smart about how I train, that I will get back to where I want to be.

Unfortunately, yesterday was one of those days that simply SUCKED!!!
What Caused It?

It was the culmination of Monday and Tuesday’s physical therapy sessions. Anyone who tells you that you don’t need recovery time from physical therapy and all the hate and discontent they cause in your body - is nuts! The PT’s definitely are getting rid of all the scar tissue that has built up in my legs, but at the same time I need to remember that I need a little recovery time from all the digging and prodding they do.

Wednesday probably did not help; I started the mobilization techniques in Bruce Wilk’s “The Running Injury Recovery Program, which was basically more physical therapy and self-manipulation with a golf ball, tennis ball and The Stick. I added in my foam roller and Thera-bands for good measure.

Then I made the mistake of wearing my compression ankle brace overnight on Wednesday, through noon yesterday. While this compression brace was great while I had significant swelling, now that the swelling is gone, all it does is dig into the exact spot on my Achilles tendon that hurts. Not good.

I had planned to run a great 1.0 miler yesterday, but the way that my leg was feeling, I decided to bag the run – probably the hardest thing that I did all day, because I really, really wanted to run.

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

Since my left leg was really bothering me, yesterday became a rest day – believe it or not I actually listened to my body. No mobilization work, no stretching, no running, no yard work and only a few easy walks with Bennie.

Sometimes, the body just needs a day of rest to consolidate the gains it is making. Yesterday was that day for me.

What did I learn or remember because of a day that sucked in the recovery process:
  • That our bodies need recovery time after physical therapy
  • That I cannot do 3 days in a row of PT and mobilization work
  • That wearing an ankle compression brace is not a good thing when it presses directly on what hurts
  • That I can be smahter once in a while
  • That during the recovery process will have good days and bad days, but that the good days will outnumber the bad and that the bad ones do suck.
  • That The Running Injury Recovery Program is difficult to follow, but worth the effort and I have learned a lot of information that is and will help me recover better than I have in the past.
Sometimes we just have to remember that the best therapy – is simply to rest.
The reality is that

Bad days suck, but when coming back from an injury we all will have them.

The important thing is to stay focused on the long-term goal of letting and helping the injury heal – without doing so much that we re-injure it (instead of doing too much on during a single day or week, while trying to make up for lost time i.e. gotta start that marathon training today, even when I can’t run a pain-free mile yet).

Remaining positive and knowing that there will be many more good days than bad will help us through those periods of self-doubt and the days that suck.

Recovery from injuries does not happen overnight and we have to remember that recovery from them do not happen in a straight line.

Just the same - Ah hell, I just want the damn thing to heal so that I can get back to normal running for me!!!!

Patience grasshopper it will happen, only not as fast as you want it to.

What do you do when you are having a day that really, really sucks while you are recovering from an injury?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Injury Update and Physical Therapy Started 6/19/13

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: June 19, 2013

Storm clouds ahead
I saw the Ortho on Monday, who at first seemed almost disappointed that my leg had gotten so much better in such a short time – no surgery and fun for him here. 

Surprisingly, the doc wasn’t all that upset about when I stopped wearing the aircast – he just muttered “I didn’t think you would wear it until today.” 

It was nice to not hear any grief from him about that.

He “ordered” 4 weeks of physical therapy 2 x week and a brace to wear, which I can’t get locally, so I am not worried about it. We talked for a couple of minutes with the requisite warnings about:

  • Don’t do too much too quickly.
  • Do less than you think you can, at first.
  • Don’t do anything to make the injury worse.
  • Do what the Physical Therapist tells you to do.
  • Come back in three weeks without any new problems.

These are the usual warnings that I hear from all the good doctors I have had tell me, about how I need to return from my injuries – nothing new here.

Then he started to ask me about my how fast I ran a 5K before being injured, because a friend of his was doing one this weekend. When told him, he said, “Wow you are a lot faster than he is, that probably also means that you are pretty competitive in your age group.”

I told him I did all right locally and after he asked, told where I have placed in races this year.

His comment back, was “so you are a competitive runner”.

I told him “Yeah, you could say that.” with a chuckle - now you guys know that I am not all that competitive (sarcasm).

That look you give when someone cuts in front of you for no reason ;-)
At which point he said “Competitive runners like you scare me as a doctor, you guys push yourself way too hard and sooner or later, you end up seeing me with a lot worse injuries, than the original one, I have a feeling you might be in this group”. Along with a few more comments along this line, which I stopped listening too and tuned him out.

Although looking back with 20/20 hindsight that he might be right - at that moment I mumbled back – “I don’t plan on seeing you again, except for our appointment in 3 weeks”.

I feel that he either purposely or inadvertently challenged me – either way, the doc seems to think that I will come back too soon and push too much, then really have some problems. I plan to show him that he is wrong.

However, to his credit he never said I should not go back to running like my last Ortho strongly recommended or should I say told me, this one seemed resigned that I wouldn’t listen to advice or orders like that any way. Which I would not have.

Going to be Conservative

I had planned to come back from this injury a lot more carefully than I have in the past and the doc’s challenge, just makes me want to prove him wrong – you know that competitiveness that I have about be challenged and proving people wrong. I would love to be able to go back in 3 weeks and offer to go for a run with the doc and see what kind of shape we are both in.

As part of this plan to be smarter about my recovery, I have bought and read The Running Injury Recovery Program and workbook by Bruce R. Wilk, I listened the most recent Runner Academy podcast where Mr. Wilk talked about his book and philosophies which helped me understand better some of the stuff in the books.

While I might not agree with everything that he writes and says, he does this recovery from injury stuff for a living and for the most part, it really seems to go well with many of the philosophies that I am developing towards my running. Including some of my evolving opinions and observations about minimalist running shoes and whether they work for me or not.

I plan to use parts of Wilk’s program in addition or should I say in conjunction with my physical therapy sessions.

Speaking of Physical Therapy, I was lucky!!!!

I went back to my old physical therapist, who is also a runner, on Monday (right after the doctor appointment) and they had a cancellation for 1:00 PM, so I got in right away and then I had the second visit yesterday. I think having those two session that close together was the kick start that my body needed and was really helpful, while I am sore today, my legs also feel better.

During the initial examination, which I felt was much more complete than the doctor’s. I found out that both of legs from the knees down, are about as flexible as 2x4’s on a good day. That my right foot does not come close to zero on the bend it up test, my Tailor’s Bunionette was pretty minor.

However, there is a ligament on the bottom of my right foot that is inflamed, which is probably more of an issue than the T/B and is most likely causing the majority of my gait change on that side.

My left foot barely makes it to zero and that there is lots and lots of scar tissue in both legs. In addition, my hips are slightly out of alignment and my calves are so tight, that for her to even make a dent in them, she had to use her elbows, pushing in with the other arm and body weight. Yes there was pain involved while she was doing that.

The good news is that I have above average strength in both feet/calves and surprisingly my hamstrings are not as tight as my lower legs, because I had decent flexibility on the leg lift, going a little past vertical.

So to put in the technical terms that the PT used, while she was laughing at me (remember she has beat on me before) – “Harold your legs are a mess and even worse than the last time I saw you!”

I have a feeling that she was thinking of using a different word in front of mess, but was attempting to be somewhat professional, so I said it for her and she just laughed and said yep.

During the treatment part of the visits, I know that they definitely found some major scar tissue in my left leg (which hurt like hell for them to find, but definitely feels better now), trying to unkink my calves with elbow magic and all the other torture devices that they are using to get me back to better than I was before.

I think that for my next appointment on Monday, I am going to bring a stick or a chunk of leather to bite down on, so that I don’t scream quite so much, loud grunting is okay! ;-).
The reality is that

I have no restrictions and can do as much as my tolerance for discomfort allows, which means I can do most everything that I want. However, I am still a little sore after physical therapy visits and this amount of soreness is letting me know that I need to still be careful.

That being said, both the doc and PT have said I can start running when I want to, as long as I go slowly. So today, I am going to run/walk a mile and start using The Running Injury Recovery Program as part of my recovery.

Wish me luck or is that smart training.
How do you usually plan your return to running after an injury?
Do you just start running again and not worry about the how part?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Inaugural Quarry Road Trail Series Race - Race Recap 6-4-16

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: June 6, 2013

On Tuesday, we had the first race of the Quarry Road Trail Race Series and I did not run!

This was a planned no run race. I committed to the race director – Patrick last month, that I would help him out where ever he needed me to help.

This means that my Quarry Road Race Series recaps will be from a different perspective than usual – instead of writing from a runner’s perspective, I will be writing from a race volunteer’s perspective.

What a gorgeous night for a run, in the woods a light breeze (that had a couple of pretty good gusts) to keep the bugs reasonable and temps in the mid to upper 60’s. It made me wish that I could have run!

What did I Do?

Pat put me on the registration table, due to my limited mobility.

I had purposely never volunteered to work the registration table before, I am not crazy about dealing with money and avoid it when I can, just one of my idiosyncrasies. So I was glad that Jean another Central Maine Strider was there doing the registration also. She definitely knew how to manage the registration process and showed me a few little tricks/tips to help make things run smoothly, (as long, as the wind doesn’t blow too much and spread your papers all over the field).

After a couple of minutes I figured out what she wanted me to do and we got a good routine going. The best part was that everyone who was registering was patient and seemed like they were really looking forward to the race.

There were quite a few people that I knew going through the registration line. Unfortunately, I did not really have a lot time to socialize; we were busy registering runners. There was no pre-registration and we had 57 runners for the 3K and 10 for the 12 and under fun run and had between 30 and 45 minutes to get it done (no computerized registration, everything was done by hand).

Then as part of the registration process (which I really didn’t realize before) is that the volunteers who do the registration have to also get things setup so that the results can be posted in a timely fashion once the race is over. Again, Jean showed her expertise and we got things prepared, just after the race started.

This meant that we had about 10 minutes to relax, before the first finishers of the 3K would be done. At this point, a brain break was definitely needed!

Then after the first 25 finishers came in we got busy again, we got the tape with times and paper with the runner’s number in order of finish, we had to collate and post the result on a poster board. Then we did the same routine a couple more times until we got through all 57 runners (definitely not a bad number for the first race).

Now I can see why it is so easy to screw up posting the race results. It was definitely distracting for us while we were attempting to collate and post the results, while runners, parents and whoever, are trying hard to see the results, talk with you about how they did or asking about how to buy a race t-shirt - right then.

From now on when I am at a race, I will move a long ways away from the people doing the results and let them focus on getting that very TOUGH job done before I talk with them or try to look at the results (well at least I will try).

Luckily, we only had one moment of confusion when a father/daughter had put on the wrong numbers and we had to correct it on the poster. Overall and thanks to Jean’s experience in managing the registration/results table, we got through that side of the race – without any issues.

Listening to the runners after the race was over, I really think that everyone had a good time; I did not hear that anyone got lost or took a wrong turn. I saw a lot of smiling, high fives and listened to the runners complain about the hills, they weren’t in shape for this and all the other things that runners (me included) whine about after they had fun at a good race.

Being a race volunteer meant that I got to the race early, worked doing something pretty the whole time I was there and was one of the last to leave. To be honest, doing the volunteer side of the race is probably harder than actually running the race for me. There is definitely less time for socializing or being off by yourself.

As runners, sometimes we take for granted that the registration process is going to go quickly and easily, that the course will be setup, well-marked, aid stations placed where necessary, results posted/available, published quickly and the awards ceremony handled flawlessly.

If you are a runner and you have never volunteered to work at a race before, I really urge you do so, that way you can see the other side of the race – it might surprise you how much there actually is to do to ensure things go smoothly. It continues to surprise me.

One week done and only nine more weeks of being a volunteer at the Quarry Road Race Series in Waterville, Maine. Shhhhhhh but don’t tell anyone, but even though it was a lot of work, I still had a lot of fun as a volunteer at the race and best of all it is something that I can do even though I am injured, to stay connected to my local running community and then write about it here.

More information on the race series can be found here.

Is Crossing That Fine Line Necessary?

Photo by David Colby-Young
After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: June 6, 2013

I have had a lot of time to think, while I am mostly sitting on my butt, waiting for June 17th to get here.

This is what I am thinking about most.

As runners, many of us seem to keep challenging and pushing ourselves to run farther and/or faster.

Which means that we also tend to push the limits of what we should or can do with our bodies, which personally I believe is a good thing to do once in a while, just not all the time.

Pushing our limits when running also means, taking our bodies right up to the edge of a very fine line, then if or actually more likely - when we crossover that line, it usually results in periods where we don’t run, because we have injured ourselves.

Notice that I say, “We have injured ourselves”.

It is all about Choices

I do not believe that too many of us go for a run purposely to injure ourselves by crossing that fine line. However, crossing that damn “fine line” usually happens due to choices we make when:
We choose to ignore the signals our bodies are giving us and keep running – after all we HAVE TO FINISH what we start:

  • We allow pride, ego and peer pressure to influence our running
  • We choose to run faster, than our current level of conditioning (not where we were last month, last year or 20 years ago or where we think we should be)
  • We choose to run farther, than our current level of conditioning (again – look above)
  • We choose to run in places we shouldn’t (we all have) for whatever reason (safety, conditioning, lack of proper gear, etc.)
  • We choose to run in weather conditions we shouldn’t (storms, ice, rain, heat, cold, etc.)
  • We choose to run in equipment that is not right for us (shoes, clothes, etc.)
  • We choose to overtrain or do too much in too short a time period, the dreaded TMTS syndrome
  • We choose to undertrain and still go after some pretty aggressive goals
  • We choose to ignore the potential consequences for our actions or inactions
  • We choose to not take responsibility for the choices that we have made
  • We choose to – well you fill in the blank there are many more to add here if we wanted to.
The above things are all things (risks) that can result in us consciously crossing that fine line. I know I have done all of them plus a bunch more in the past and probably will again in the future.

Running -like the rest of our lives is about the choices we make.

Crossing the Fine Line

Recently, I crossed that dreaded line.

My training had been spotty at best, in the weeks leading up to my injury and I had gone to the Miles for Mills 5K not planning to run in the race.

However, after watching Travis Mills speak, I was strongly motivated to run in the race that was supporting and honoring him, especially when I found out he was going to run.

During the race my competitiveness took over, I pushed hard against my upper limits and ignored pain in my hip and Achilles tendon areas, to finish the race.

Due to the decisions that I made to run in that race and push my limits, now I have to accept the consequences of my actions.

I will be in an aircast for at least 3 weeks and will not know until June 17th, what my rehab will be or if other far less desirable steps will be necessary.
The reality is

that I am getting older (we all are) and my limits are not the same as they used to be – they are lower. The experiences I have had over the last month, really exposed those lower limits and have given me a lot to think about.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to:
  • Review my motivations for running
  • What I want to achieve as a runner – long and short term
  • How my goals fit my current limits
  • How I will train
  • Racing – how does it fit into my running life
  • Running gear – especially my shoes

I am also asking for your help and ideas on things that I should or could look at or something that you may have noticed about me when reading my blog (other than I am old and stubborn), that I need to change or at least look closely at, to see if there are ways to improve how I do something.
What do you think - have you ever gone through a complete review of your running? What was the process you used, how did it turn out for you?

In spite of these setbacks, surprisingly I have had a very positive attitude about being injured, how I am responding to this forced downtime and the uncertainty about what is going to happen. I think it really comes down to the fact that I know the injury occurred because of choices I made, not some random thing that I had no control over.

However, I also know that I will continue to chose to push my limits in the future and as a result will crossover that fine line again, probably many more times.

That is just who I am – an old fart, who according to my doctor has a bad case of AAS (Aging Athlete Syndrome), but maybe, just maybe I can decrease the gulf between reality and fantasy in my running world, train a little smarter and avoid crossing the line at least a few times.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ortho Visit and Injury Update 6-4-13

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: June 4, 2013

I got to see the orthopedic doc yesterday and came away with some answers about what is going on.

Some news was good and some, well, I just have to be freaking patient about it.

So what did he say?

Official Report of the Doctor’s Impressions:

  • Pain in limb
  • Tendinitis, Achilles
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Tendonitis, Enthesopathy
The plan is:

The Doc said: “I explained the pathology to the patient and went over the options including conservative care and he will continue with the FP walker. He most likely has a clinical suspicion of an intra substance tear. If he fails to respond as expected we will capture an MRI. He will simply keep immobilized and ice and compress and in 2 weeks we will enroll Harold in PT so he can accelerate his recovery.”

This is what I heard

Lots of big words that I needed research, so that I could understand and wrap my head around what in the hell the doc was saying. Yes, I asked him to clarify what he was saying, while I was in the exam room, but I did not really understand, until I did more research at home about what was discussed.

The X-Rays were all negative – while not conclusive, they are a positive signal.

From what he could tell from the X-Rays and poking and prodding my foot - mmmmm checking my tolerances of pain – it looks like I didn’t tear my Achilles tendon. However, because of where and the amount of swelling there is on my foot, I might have done something to the Posterior Tibialis tendon, in addition to having some tendinitis in the Achilles .

This is where the patience comes in. I have to stay in the aircast for 2 more weeks and let my leg rest, get rid of the swelling and to let those tendons recover/heal a little more (it will be a slow process to heal the tendons). Yes, this sucks and puts a crimp into more than just running, but I also know that it is the right thing to do.

During this time, I am supposed to keep using my crutches, limit my weight bearing activities to an absolute minimum, ice the hell out of my Achilles and ankle area and wear compression gear.

The Doc gave his recommendations in terms that I understood:

“Stay off the f’ing thing if you want to run anytime soon”. I appreciated his bluntness – in other words, I completely understood what he saying and will do the best that I can.

He also told me that even though I probably would be feeling a lot better by the end of the second week, to keep using the aircast and not put weight on my foot for the full 2 weeks. That will be the hard part for me, especially as the yard work piles up and I inconvenience others in the house, because they have to do things that I normally do.

Right Foot Issues

The original reason that I had this appointment was because of the issues that I am having with my right foot and little toe.

During the visit I learned is that the problems I have been having with my right foot were/are not my imagination; I have something called Tailor’s Bunionette.

Like the Doc said, “since you won’t be running for a few weeks, we won’t’ worry about this until next time”. However, he did not put anything in writing about his impressions or the plan we will be following in the results I received today.

When I got home and researched all the stuff we talked about, much of the symptomology discussed in what I read, described exactly what I have been feeling in that foot.

So I am both psyched and very relieved now that I know or at least have an idea of why my foot hurts when I run (probably too many years in poorly fitting shoes) and have some ideas on how to alleviate the issues (getting wider toe box shoes – is probably going a long way towards resolving the issue) and the doc wants to try some foam pads under my sock liner to see if they help.

Overall, I was pleased with the Doc and the visit, although I heard the word surgery a bit too often, to be completely comfortable with him. I think he likes surgery as the primary option a little too much for the way that I see things. However, he did explain things well, didn’t recommend going to the knife solution as the first option and was pretty blunt about what I needed to do, if want to get back to running as soon as possible.

I need blunt.

Now to get through the next couple of weeks.