Wednesday, 9 January 2013

#94 Fixing a Hole

Just a quick update to assure everyone that after having been sidelined with injury and unable to run, I haven't gotten depressed, gone crazy or done anything stupid like take up swimming for a triathlon.

In fact, I'd almost admit to enjoying the multiple cross-training sessions I've done which have included either sweating profusely on the stationary bike (to the point of nearly passing out from dehydration) or sweating profusely on the elliptical trainer (to the point that my upper body was painful to the touch... I have a seriously weak torso). I repeated these activities for five full days and even began to look forward to the next session. It was indeed quite nice to be indoors, just a few seconds from home, and in a warm and windless enclosure free from the cold and cruel crutches of Mother Nature in January. In summary, it didn't suck!

Nevertheless, I was sad to miss the BLT workout on Thursday at Monarch Park and the first 30+k long run of the cycle on Sunday. I yearned for the times when running came easily and painlessly as part of my everyday schedule. My foot seemed to be feeling better each day but I was still uncertain as to what lie ahead. So, wanting to better understand my predicament and plan my course of recovery, I got an appointment to see a sports physician at the sports medicine clinic at U of T on Monday afternoon and was hoping for some good news.

After taking my history and a physical examination of the injury, I was entirely relieved to hear the doctor doubt it was a fracture. In fact, she didn't think it was bone at all. Rather, she suggested it was tendinitis (aka tendinopathy), which is the inflammation and swelling of connective tissue which connects muscle to bone. In this case, it was tendinitis of the extensor muscle that is responsible for lifting the big toe. This diagnosis (extensor tendinitis) explains the dorsal foot pain, made worse while walking, and has a far less fearful (and much faster) prognosis than any fracture. For that I was overjoyed. As suspected, the injury likely stemmed from my recent introduction of a shoe (Kinvara 3) with less forefoot support combined with the icy/slippery conditions as well as an ill-timed hill workout (last Monday). Treatment would involve RICE, ibuprofen and strengthening exercises. Just before I left, I anxiously asked the doctor whether I could/should run and she said that it was fine as long as the pain was minimal and wasn't affecting my running form/stride. Again, I was excited.

That very evening, I hesitantly went to my buildings godawful gym to test out the treadmill. I made it to 5k feeling fine but began to experience pain at 7 so called it quits at 8. It was a descent start. The next day I did 10k, again on the treadmill, and felt okay the entire time. I planned to try a second run in the evening but opted out, not wanting to push my luck too far. Today, I did a full 10 miles and felt good which makes me think I am ready to return to regular training. Tomorrow is another Thursday speed workout at Monarch Park with the BLT crew so I'll take it one interval at a time and am prepared to back off if the intensity is too much.

For now I am thrilled to be running again and am doing everything possible to stay healthy. There are now two and a half weeks until the Robbie Burns 8k on Sun 27 Jan and I plan to take it 'easy' until then and focus on remaining injury free. Full and proper Boston Marathon prep will commence with 12 weeks to go.

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