Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back to school

Back to running.

Nothing feels more exciting than coming back from time off for an injury, and nothing is harder than restraining yourself from jumping in too fast and injuring something else. I saw my sports doctor here in Seattle and he generally seemed to agree with the diagnosis, except the sprain. Given the fact that I was able to run on it during the race, and the injury only came on ~30 minutes afterward, he essentially rejects the sprain and is more comfortable suggesting either a pseudo-chronic compartment syndrome or nerve entrapment. MRI's are expensive, and since this is recovering quickly I decided to forgo it so his diagnosis is based upon experience (he is, after all, a triathlete who treats endurance athletes).

If it was compartment syndrome, it was minor and was caused by tight shoes restricting blood flow around my ankle. Since it was brought on by repeated, prolonged stress, and not a direct blow, it didn't cause much damage. Further, since the cause was limited to a one-off event, the fascia likely didn't have time to turn fibrous. In that case, heat therapy, massage, and stretching were enough to heal it.

If it is nerve entrapment, the pain I felt was mostly the strain of the muscles around the ankle. If I massage or rub the side of my right leg up and down the peroneal/anterior compartments, I can elicit some pins and needles in the top of my foot. Could the tight shoes and repeated stress have moved some muscles and nerves around? Possibly. Since I still have this sensation without the associated pain or stiffness associated with compartment syndrome, this is probably more likely.

At any rate, the lesson is that without some expensive diagnostics, a lot of this stuff is more or less an educated guess. Either way, I'm working back into running without any symptoms.

Last week's mileage:

Mon: Didn't start yet!

Tues: 3 (4?) miles very easy and relaxed through Marsh Island.

Wed: Leg strength/weight training.

Thurs: 5 miles around the Union Bay trails, caught a nice unobstructed view of the sunrise which always imbues with this extra enthusiasm for the day.

Fri: Total rest.

Sat: 6 miles through Ravenna Park and up Ravenna Avenue. Felt much more loose and relaxed than the last few.

Sun: 8 miles out to the wall near the Bush School and back, through the Arb and Marsh Island.

Planning on running significantly more by the tailend of next week, hopefully capping it off with a decent long run to gauge the injury and my fitness. If all is well I'll be booking tickets and my campground for Huntsville in February.

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