Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Run

Distance 28.2km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 6981.2km] Week51 (22nd Dec - 28th Dec)

 Well I managed to miss the Christmas Fanatics Run on Christmas morning due to oversleeping. I used the Android calendar to mark the date and send out an alert but the alert was an email rather than an alarm to wake me.
I should have used the clock function which I must have used on a previous occasion as I found an alarm set to wake me at 5:15am. As it turned out I only woke at 5:50am, 10 minutes was not enough time to get ready and down to the race so I went back to sleep for another couple of hours.
Guilt must have got to me so I went for a run at 8:00am, a bit more civilised. I ran from Grange to the Barcoo boat ramp. It was a cool morning and would have been much cooler at 6am so 8am was quite pleasant. There was a westerly wind blowing and I ran through a very brief shower on the way back. It lasted all of 2 minutes. I ran a distance of 12km.
On the Monday I ran 10km from Grange to West Beach. This was a wet run. It was lightly raining on the way down to west beach but increased on the way back. I made a point of keeping off the slippery surfaces but even the concrete was slippery when the rain increased.
I reached Grange and the rain was quite heavy but it wasn't cold so I took my t-shirt off and enjoyed the rain and walking barefoot through puddles while cooling down.

Boxing Day saw me rushed to the emergency department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with severe pains around the kidneys. The emergency was quiet so I was rushed in and onto a bed and given a intravenous opium dose which eased the pain in around 10minutes. I was discharged a few hours later. It was a suspected kidney stone but that would need confirmation.
It may have been because I was dehydrated due to running in the morning on Christmas Day then drinking alcohol later on, maybe that was too much for the kidneys to handle.

I decided to miss out on my usual Saturday run just in case I caused the pains to return. I ran a shorter 8.2km on Sunday before a gym session.
I have resurrected my back traction device to see if it can rid me of the sciatic problems I have been experiencing over the past few months.
I am hoping to cross the 7000km barrier before the end of the year.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hit and Miss Runs

Distance 59.2km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 6953.0km] Week50 (8th Dec - 21th Dec)

First run of the week was Wednesday, it was a cool, cloudy and wet afternoon and that was fantastic for running.
I had some back pain during the day caused by, and I'm convinced of this, my trousers. 
Ok I'll explain. It seems today that it is getting harder to find clothes that fit correctly mainly because the 'average' human is now a blimp with spindle like legs and bulbous body. This means someone like me with running legs and slim waist has to have the belt pulled tight to stop the pants falling down. The leg fit is ok but the waist is too wide. This tight belt makes my back ache.
I took one of my super pain killers, these are like nothing I have taken before, they are called Zaldiar and almost put you into a state of floating serenity with a little head spinning dizziness thrown in. I take them very sparingly.
So, I set off on my run at 5pm and I feel like I'm in the zone, I'm not sure if I was or just in a drug stupor. I ran 12km on wet roads that felt great underfoot. I know which surfaces to be careful on due to slipperiness. I ran from Grange to the boat ramp at Barcoo, I could have run further to Glenelg but I thought I better be sensible. I did the nose breathing all the way and felt very relaxed the entire run. If I can just fix up my back, get rid of the sciatic irritation I will be very happy.
I put in another 12km run on Saturday (13th) getting out for the run at 7.30am as it was going to be a warm 37C day. The run was a repeat of the Wednesday route but this time harder work because of the heat. The outbound part was good but I was starting to tire on the way back as the sun beat down on me. I would not be able to run on these paths in another hour without my feet overheating. It was good to finish the run at just after 9am.
To finish the week I ran the lake loop of 8.2km on a warm morning. I felt tired on this run, not much spring in the legs. I had gone to the gym on Thursday and the squats had left me with some residual soreness.

Tuesday (16th) Some precise timing required today as Tuesday is the day a small group of us got to see a movie during the evening. I had to calculate a time line to get me there by 7pm after leaving work at 4pm. It kind of went like this:
Leave Work 4:00pm
Reach home 4:30pm
Change & drive to beach 4:45pm
Run 10km 5:45pm
Home 6:00pm
Shower/dinner 6.25pm
Drive to cinema 7:00pm
It all worked out pretty well but a bit rushed at the end as I spent a bit of time warming down after my run. I did find it hard keeping my eyes open at the cafe after the movie.
Friday (19th) a 10km run along the foreshore, a slight south west sea breeze today. The run was ok, I'm still getting the burning sensation around the calf caused by the trapped nerve in my back.
Saturday I ran only a short 7km today along the beach which has nice and flat as the tide was at it's low point for the day. My legs felt heavy. It was not a good run and I ended up walking the last 2km back.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Injured back

Distance 160km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 6893.8km] Week42-49 (13th Oct - 7th Dec)

Well after a long break from writing in my blog I'm back with an entry and a discovery.
My long running saga of tendon soreness around my right ankle has been found not to be an ankle tendon problem at all but actually a referred pain from the Sciatic Nerve.

I mix my running with weight training at the gym to balance the aerobic with the strength. My one weak spot is my low back which I initially injured at the gym 23 years ago. The injury was caused by squats with 70kg+ weight and no warm up, stupid I know but now irreversible. The outcome was squeezed discs at L4/L5, these pressed on the sciatic nerve and I couldn't walk for close to a year.
Eventually is did heal but not back to the state before the injury, it has been an Achilles heel so to speak over the last 23 years. 
Each time I do any heavy spine compressive exercise the sciatica will return. Over the years I gradually cut out various exercises after each one exacerbated the problem, Squats, Calf raises, Shoulder presses, and finally Seated rows.

The discovery that it was a sciatic nerve problem and not an ankle problem came when I began to use the 'Primal' workout idea of doing low reps but the heaviest weight I could lift. I started lifting almost the entire stack while doing seated rows, only 3 x 6 reps though. My workouts went quickly and it felt good until by back started aching. Then to compound the situation, rather than rest it, I decided more would be better, it would strengthen then back......
Well, no it didn't. The disc squeezed the nerve and I took a week off work to recover. The pain though was not in the upper part of the leg but in the back of the lower calf, a burning sensation and weakness in the muscles that control how the foot lands on the floor.

So, the silver lining in the cloud was that the massaging and ankle/calf strength training I was doing was unnecessary, there was nothing wrong with my ankle at all. 
I now knew what I had to work on, free up that sciatic nerve, core strength training and no heavy exercise that could squeeze the discs. 
Throughout the period I have still been running and averaging around 20km per week, sometimes more sometimes less. This last week I have run around 32km in total.

We are in full summer, the heat is here, the hot pavements have returned. I found that out around a week ago when I had a lazy sunday morning in then decided I should go for a run at around 11:30am. The sky was clear and sunny and it was around 28C. The ground temperatures ranged from tolerable on the concrete (40C) up to 50C+ on the blacktop (which I had to sprint over like walking on hot coals).

For my after work runs, when the weather is 25C+ (even at low air temp the ground temp can be hotter than anticipated due to the energy input from the sun) I will run later in the evening closer to sunset. On the weekends I will run in the mornings before 9am.

At the moment I still have the sciatic problem but I have stopped the weight training and am only doing tension exercises, chin ups, planks, crunches. No heavy lifting until it has cleared up. I am still getting the burning in the calf but now I know where the problem lies.