Friday, February 10, 2012

My wings are clipped

Kinesio abstract art.
The doctor has officially revoked my running license.  No appeals, no early parole for good behavior; an immediate cease and desist order.  He pronounced peronesus brevis tendonitis and slapped me in leg irons. Terrible manacles in the form of a Kinesio tape 1/2 octopus.  This sentence appears reasonable, even lenient to my saner, non-runner family and friends.  A fortnight off with a reevaluation at the expiration of the two weeks.  Yet I am terrified.  The omniscient internet oracle google indicates that this injury can require 6 to 8 weeks of total rest.  Runner's World forums whisper blood curling tales of runners struck down for 6 months to a year!  Umstead Trail marathon begins in 22 days!

Since December 2008, my log shows one 10 day stretch void of running, an earlier rehab attempt for the fore mentioned peroneal brevis last May.  There are 2 separate week long rests in the same time frame for various body repairs. Outside these citations, over the last 2 and 1/4 years, I have never gone more than 4 days without at least a 3 mile run.  Only rarely do two blanks in a row deface my calendar.  Two weeks at best.  I fear madness.  My wife murmurs encouraging words, but I notice she secured a strait jacket.  The sizing is right.  It fits me.
Rejected by running, I fell into the glaze of my first love.

I joined the Royal Order of Diabetes Mellitus in May, 2008.  I suspect my immune system fell madly in love with a flu virus that was a doppelganger for my pancreas' beta cells.  My mother and I were both stricken with a nasty bug at Christmas in 2007.  I showed diabetic symptoms 6 months later.  Mom presented within the following year.  At the time I was measuring my content with stomach girth.  I was an Olympic caliber carbohydrate enthusiast with a couch hobby.

Exercise was prescribed as a means of reducing insulin resistance.  Less resistance translates into less insulin injected and lowered blood sugars as repairing muscles quickly uptake glucose in the bloodstream.  The best advice I have ever received from the medical industry.  I began walking up to an hour per day with great results, but I grew bored pretty quickly.  Running emerged from walking as my body adapted to the strange new movement and rebuilt a stronger frame.  It became my best weapon in battling diabetes' daily challenges.  Lowering insulin resistance, leveling blood sugars, and providing the rare opportunity for taboo foods during long runs, I loved it as Full Metal Jacket's Leonard Lawrence, "Gomer Pyle" loved his rifle.  And did I mention the ENDORPHINS.

Swelling behind the lateral malleolus say what?
As with any addiction, its pursuit eclipsed other practices.  I do some core work, have a BOSU, have a wobble board, pretend to stretch.  But these other exercises serve to benefit running, not as a substitute.  I am a one trick pony with a repetitive movement problem.  Neither genetics, nor bad luck derailed my running nirvana.  My exuberance for rapid evolution and trendy new kicks in the form of Vibram 5 fingers caused my hard luck.    

I have hosted this peroneal injury on my left leg since summer 2011.  I think it started with an eight mile run in an out of the box pair of KSO's.  I had some experience in barefoot running as a toddler that I assumed would translate to the Vibrams.  Near the end of the run my calves were burning.  The following day the peroneal brevis was hot to the touch through the skin.  The pain was very localized and I thought I had broken my tibia.  A later, X-ray showed no fracture and after a brief rest it was tolerable for some time.  When it resurfaced I rehabbed it by resting up to an entire week at a time.  Around August, the brevis' anchor, the tuberosity of my 5th metatarsal swelled up to a half golfball sized lump.  This resulted in a podiatrist appointment, mri, and another week off.  I narrowly escaped stress fracture or worse again and ran Medoc marathon in pretty good shape in October.

I want to do this again.
I limped through November and then upped my millage to 120 in December.  That push brought me over 1000 miles for 2011.  The tea leaves have been pretty clear.  The peroneal brevis and longus have been lodging constant complaints.  I'm up to a 2 per month massage habit to keep my hip and IT band functioning.  Pain jumped to the tibius anterior on a long run one week previous to Uhwarrie.  My left leg is breaking down from the foundation up.  I read one of Staker Chiropractic Center's neon advertisements on an Umstead tree.  Or maybe it was on Dana Pasquale's recommendation that led me to Active Release Technique.  Dr. Staker was able to release enough tension to get me through 20 miles at last weeks race, but the 3 miles two days later swelled my lateral malleolus into a gristly Easter egg.  

My 2nd and 3rd metatarsals are popping constantly now.  Top of foot pain is presenting and the left ankle is week.  After 2 days rest the Brevis is inflamed, malleoulus still swollen and painful, and the tib anterior is tight.  I am RICEing like a speedy gonzales lunch special.  At this point I am praying for a 5 miler to loosen up the week of Umstead and a miracle finish at the race.  To date, my most trying running challenge looks to be a two week rest.  Please be enough.  I desperately need another pint glass! 

This turned out to be an ironic time to start blogging about running.  I may review some of my favorite completed races over the next few weeks.  Or maybe a haiku.  A limerick.  Instructions on knitting your own calf compression sleeves?



  1. I really enjoy your writing and I hope you heal up fast! I've dealt with the same thing, but only to the point that I couldn't walk barefoot, due to the pain of each step on that attachment point at the 5th metatarsal (felt like I had a rock under that spot). Oddly enough, I figured out part of my problem was too much static calf stretching. The flat shoes seem to help too.

  2. Dude, that utterly sucks! I was counting on you to pull me to the finish at Umstead, because my legs don't seem up to the task.

    Uncle Uwharrie seems to have beaten the bejeezus out of your peroneal with a rubber hose. He also laced my beer with some sort of hantavirus which has kicked my ass all week. I think Umstead is going to be a stretch for both of us.

    Rest well and heal better. Hopefully you will be well enough for Umstead and we can simply make the race a fun "pint run" if nothing else.

  3. Congrats on your Uwharrie finish! Umstead is still a while a way, so you have time to heal. You've got that pint glass in your reach.

  4. Keeping fingers crossed for a speedy recovery. Lots of RICE + the occasional beer.get well. Might have to do some of the dreaded cross-training...

  5. I'm right there with ya. My knee is seriously jacked up. Hoping to be better for Umstead but not much running until then. Ya gotta find something to do that doesnt hurt it to keep yourself sane.

  6. Thanks commenters. Only addicts know how horrible not running is and only addicts read running blogs. Anthony best of luck. If all else fails, we can enter the 3 legged race division. Fingers crossed.

  7. Ryan, that sucks! If it's any consolation, pretty much all running-related injuries require 6 to 8 weeks of rest when you defer to Dr. Google, et al. And, the prospect of not running is nearly as bad as actually not running in the mind of a runner. So, I'm sorry for your plight, dude. Rest and recover well!