"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On Pins and Needles

I had a very frightening moment on Tuesday night. I thought I was being a good little recovering ultrarunner, resting my foot/leg for two full days after testing it on the 34+21k outing last Saturday. Tuesday night I did an easy 11k jog. Climbing into bed, the shin lit up for a moment.

It wasn't a "10" - not "Bibbulmun level" pain. But it came with a pain that was in some ways even worse. The mental anguish of thinking I had overdone it and was suddenly back at square one. This compartment syndrome has been unnerving because it never gave traditional warning signs. It just blew. I never got "traditional" compartment syndrome warnings. No pain whilst running. No paresthesia to the anterior compartment (pins and needles in the feet at night when I put them up to rest, but not in the shin and not whilst running or standing).

I still get pins and needles - in the foot - a lot. I mean, it's only been 4 months ;) As I write this, my foot is all a-tingle.

Luckily, I managed to get in to see Ali, my physio the next morning. We decided it didn't sound like compartment syndrome (no pain during running). And the pain was actually on the tib postorior side (not my tib anterior compartment syndrome side). Touching the tib post proved it was incredibly tight.

Then commenced probably the most painful physio session I've had. And I limped out feeling a lot more flexible, actually. And with a theory that all my usual tight spots have been ignored over the past month as we fixated on the foot.

Tomorrow, I'll have a wonderful session with Nathan, my massage therapist, and he will surely try to outdo Ali's work in pain provision.

So, I backed off just slightly this week, opting for the 33k long run (ha ha). It was superb. Four of us did the long option, starting in midday 38 degree heat, climbing two "peaks" on the Bibbulmun Track. After 20k, we picked up 7 others who joined us for a return run back over the peaks, as the sun set.

This weekend would normally have been the biweekly PTS race, but we didn't have a mid-March event. So that's allowed me to get some good long runs in lately, improving my own fitness base.

I'm still so far from being race fit, I'd need binoculars to even try to glimpse it! But I'm having heaps of fun, thankful to be out there, pushing myself when I can. And I've been studying Barefoot Ken Bob's book over my morning chia and Udo's Oil. There's some great science in that book from the Harvard crew and some really good advice, too. He actually cautions people not to start with transitioning from runners to minimalist FiveFinger-type shoes but to go 'cold turkey' with barefooting. He writes, "Those who advocate using Vibrams as a "transition shoe" to running barefoot have it backward; you should run barefoot as a transition to wearing Vibrams!" Barefoot Ken Bob thinks it's still too easy to run too far (before the body has adapted) and too sloppy, as you have a couple mm of rubber "dulling" all your foot sensors.

So I'm trying to get around a bit more barefoot, following his suggestions. I didn't grow up with Australian barefoot feet and mine are really wimpy Canadian feet! I certainly have lots of sensors!

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