Saturday, August 22, 2009

Personal Challenge!

It's six on a Saturday morning. I have been up for a couple of hours working in the early morning quiet before the house buzzes into action (which will happen very soon). Normally at this time on a Saturday morning I would already be two hours into my weekly long run.

Alas. This has been the Summer of Injuries. With the exception of the 100 miles I ran in July I have not done a long Saturday morning run since June. Here I sit during my all-time favorite run time, early Saturday morning, doing my desperate best to NOT RUN, to REST and to HEAL.

My current trouble is tendonitis in my anterior tibialis (tendon that connects the big shin muscle to the inside of the ankle). This is the tendon that pops out and looks like a bridge between your foot and the front of your ankle when you flex your toes.

The pain started half way through the Vermont 100. The last 30 miles of that race were excruciating and slow. I aggravated it by running the Ocean Beach 10-miler two weeks later, and then further aggravated it by carrying 45-pound Ben up and down the lovely trails of Crawford Notch last weekend.

At this rate this thing is never going to heal. SO. I have set myself a new and difficult challenge. I am going to attempt total rest. I am not going to run, bike or swim for a week. And to keep myself accountable I am going to have to bore you here with daily updates of my PROGRESS.

Not Running is not so difficult. Running hurts. I never thought I'd say this, but I am actually getting used to Not Running. I see people running down the street now and I think, "Stop! STOP! Don't you realize, you idiot, that you are absolutely ruining your anterior tibialis tendon! You could be doing PERMANENT DAMAGE!"

I realize that I am projecting here. I know that I am forcing my own jaded solipsism on guiltless and unsuspecting innocents. But it helps.

Not Biking, it turns out, is tougher. Biking itself does not hurt, but I don't think it's doing me any good. My whole shin feels achy and out of sorts for a few hours after biking. So I am going to stop to see if it makes any difference.

Not Swimming will be easy as pie. Starting today at noon, the pool is closed for a week for its annual scrub down. All I have to do is tie myself down until noon and I'm home free. Easy peasy lemon squeazy!

My new Total Rest regime started yesterday, and, as it turns out, not well. The boys and I walked the mile and a half to their six month check-up at the dentist. Of course, they insisted on taking along their favorite animals for moral support. Simon brought his spotted dinosaur (Spotty) and Ben brought his twin cardinals (Cheeky and Sinky).

Because Ben kept dropping his cardinals, I suggested that he put them in the side pouches of my backpack, facing out, so they could have a nice ride and view the passing scenery. Ben uncharacteristically agreed.

When we got to the dentist's office, Simon proudly showed off Spotty to Ruth the receptionist. Not to be outdone, Ben pulled out Cheeky. And when he went to pull Sinky out from the other side of the pack, he came up empty. We had dropped Sinky!

Out jutted the lower lip. Brave tears popped into his eyes and fell. Ruth and I looked at each other. "Go," she said. "They'll be fine here."

So I was forced, FORCED, to run back along our route looking for the little red cardinal in my street clothes and my four-year-old Mary Janes.

Sinky was not on the half-mile stretch of Main Street with all the stores. I went part way up the steep hill back toward home. I told myself I would get as far as the library before giving up. At the library, I squinted up the hill, and there at the top was a tiny patch of red in the street.

I found Sinky!

But now I had to hoof it back though town because I had five minutes before the drawbridge was scheduled to go up. Getting stuck by the bridge would be a disaster. The whole process of putting the bridge up, allowing all the boats to go through and putting it back down can sometimes take fifteen minutes. And my wee boys were waiting for me back at the dentist's office!

Reader, I made it. I was roiling in sweat and all out of breath, but I made it.

It was a grand reunion. And I must say that running in the Mary Janes was not that bad. No support. No cushioning. No pain! Maybe those barefoot folks are onto something after all.

Later in the day we went to the Y to swim in the pool because we don't have air conditioning and it was hot enough here to melt lead. Brian did laps and I played with the kids.

Well. Maybe I did a few laps. But just because I was cold. I was freezing. Shivering. I had to swim to warm up. Otherwise I may have died of hypothermia and left my children bereft and scarred for life.

Oh, and I may have done a bit of aqua-jogging. But I hated it. So it doesn't count.

And I spent three hours constructing a peach pie (we picked peaches Thursday), which turned out not okay, but not great. I'm not a big fan of cooked peaches. They remind me of leaner times.

Can't wait to see what today brings in my new life as a slug on the big couch of life. Any suggestions?


  1. Well, reading is the first thing I go for. Then there is upper body strength training. (And, sometimes that is a challenge to keep the lower body out of it.) Then I make a list of all the things I put off because I'm too busy training and I try to do one or two of those...
    But I'm glad you've chosen to tackle this as "a challenge" --that in itself helps. It's just one more adventure. :)

  2. As soon as you started this story, I knew you'd lose one of those animals! Too funny...glad it turned out OK, though!
    Thanks for the story and good luck with your shin!


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