Closer to healed and a revelation…

The Boot for my broken footI strapped “The Boot” on my busted foot and headed out to a client meeting in Carefree, Arizona.  I had just been given the news the day before that my right foot had suffered a double stress fracture of the 3rd and 4th metatarsals.  The soft tissue stress reaction associated with the injury had me in pretty intense pain with a very swollen foot.  I put on my best “good attitude” and down played the pain I was in so we could go about our business.  The younger guy at the meeting, always one to bust my balls any chance he gets, said, “We’ve been working together for what…10 years now?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen you where your foot wasn’t hurt.  What the hell do you keep doing to yourself?

Could he be right?  I know it’s an exaggeration but could this really go back that far?

The first time I went to the doctor with pain in my right foot I got no answers.  It could be a stress fracture, it could be a bruise, it could be a chronic condition like gout or arthritis – was the report from the non-committal doctor.  The X-rays showed nothing.  They put me in a boot back then too, but the pain was even worse in the boot so I didn’t wear it very long.  That was over 10 years ago.

I know I have a protein sensitivity and occasional problems with gout.  The pain can be intense.  The pain can be so intense it can feel like a broken bone, sometimes worse.  It can cause swelling and mobility issues.  So here’s the problem: How can I tell the difference?

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the injury I sustained over a decade ago was a stress fracture.  A bad stress fracture that needed a lot of time to heal.  Could it be possible that I’ve been chasing the same recurring injury for 10 years because I never gave it enough time to heal properly?  I’m pretty stubborn, and I’ll work through pain as long as I can if I don’t think it’s a serious injury.  I do try to listen to my body, let it tell me when I need to slow down and when I need to stop…but a little pain isn’t reason to stop.  Not usually.

Physical TherapyTalking to the doctor, it seems this is exactly the case.  And the reason why it became a double stress fracture this time.  The original fracture never healed completely and created a weak point allowing the crack in the adjacent metatarsal.  The worst part about this news is that it feels very much like my current problem was brought on by my own stubbornness and stupidity.

Four pivotal weeks out of commission this Summer, and at least two more weeks of restriction before I can really start using it.  Plans have been cancelled, time lost, my fitness has suffered and my cameras are collecting dust.  The good news is the pain is gone, there are more plans on the horizon and I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Time to dust off the gear and make plans to get outside.

I have to let this injury heal properly, I can’t afford to do this again.  I want to hike, I want to climb, I don’t handle the down time well.

I’d like to hear from you guys.  I’d like to know who has gone through something like this before?  How did you handle it?  Do you still worry about re-injuring yourself?  Has it changed how you pursue physical activities?

It’s all about the juice…

ready to juice with the Hurom Slow JuicerThis is my juicer.  There are many like it but this one is mine.  My juicer is my best friend, it is my life.  I must master it as I must master my own life…

I’ve been talking about getting a good juicer for years.  Now that things are settling down a bit for me I can focus on my health and nutrition a little more and part of that process is juicing.  I’ve talked with a handful of friends and family about their experiences and none of them had anything but good to say about juicing.  They feel better, have more energy and, in some cases, have lost weight.

Over last few years I’ve transitioned to a more whole food, plant-based diet.  I still eat meat occasionally, but that is happening less and less.  These days, I have a hard time eating meat from big-box grocery stores.  Luckily, we have several very nice farmer’s markets and local growers and ranchers who provide quality food here in Phoenix.  This makes it much easier to have a well stocked kitchen with fresh food while supporting local growers.  We have almost completely pulled away from processed foods and I feel so much better about the food I put in my body.

I know there is a strong community of juicers out there who all have their favorite recipes and are always experimenting and developing new ones.  Hopefully, I will be able to share some of my favorites as I get more experience with my juicer.  I am very excited about finding recipes to use the pulp as well as the juice so less get’s tossed out.  Any of the pulp ends up in compost for the garden, so I’m not too worried about the scraps.

Anyway, I wanted to post about this because I’d like to hear about some of your favorite recipes!  If you’ve got a favorite juice recipe (or other recipe using the juicer) please share it with me below, I’d love to try it!

Mean Green JuiceMy First Juice:

This was a recipe I found over at MyJuiceCleanse.com

Mean Green Juice

6 Kale Leaves
1 Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
2 Green Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 piece of ginger

FYI – The Juicer I bought is the Hurom Slow Juicer.

A Good Run…

I didn’t want to run today.

I haven’t really been out on a real run since the wedding in October.  My failure to complete 30 Days of Running coupled with all of the travel from the wedding/honeymoon, then the stress and fatigue of moving in November.  I just haven’t felt good enough to run.

My wife and I have developed a tradition of running on Christmas and Thanksgiving.  I didn’t run on Thanksgiving, but I did bike.  This Christmas I knew we’d be running and we did a decent cold and windy 5 mile run.  That’s not a lot of miles for most of you “runners” but it’s a fair amount for me after 2 months of no running and dealing with pain.  So it took a toll.

Then we did another short run two days later.  Still sore but we did it.  And then there was today…

Getting ready to run at Memorial Park

I really didn’t want to run.  My feet were sore, my quads very sore and I just didn’t feel like it.  I lobbied heavily for No-Run, she almost bought in but ultimately didn’t and we left for a run.

The Memorial Park Loop was busy, people everywhere.  As we started our run my feet settled in pretty quick and the pain went away.  It was a nippy 34 degrees but the sun was out so it was nice, just the way I like it.  As we passed more and more people I started feeling better and could feel my body settle into a solid stride.  For once, I was setting the pace on this run (Merelyn usually sets the pace as I struggle to keep up).

The more people I passed the more people I wanted to pass.  I started getting the race mentality and looking for stronger runners along the trail that I could chase down and pass.  Soon, we were passing nearly everyone and my stride felt easy and natural and I pushed it on.

I didn’t make any new PRs or break any records but it was a good run and, more importantly, it felt good.

I’m glad I ran today.

Saturday Ride to Tempe Town Lake…

The tail end of October I spent nursing an excruciatingly painful swollen knee. It finally improved but I’ve been taking it easy on it so far. I’ve tried running a couple of times and it still feels loose and unpredictable so I’ve taken to riding my bike to keep up some activity.

Not only do I need to keep up the rehab on the knee, but I’m in a new part of town and I have been looking forward to exploring. I took last Saturday to bike along the park that sits next to my house. It’s a beautiful park with lakes and ponds, botanical gardens, sports fields and a nice long bike path. It’s been over a decade since I’ve explored the parks along Hayden in Scottsdale.

So Saturday I decided to ride south along the trail and see what there was to see. I had no idea that the Tempe Town Lake was connected to this trail system and only 5.5 miles from the new house! I’ve never really been to Tempe Lake, even though it’s been there since it was filled with water from the Central Arizona Project in 1999. The history of the Tempe Town Lake area is very interesting stuff, it’s been a central part of the valley for a very long time. The Lake Project itself had been in the works for over a decade before it was actually realized.

bike trail cuts under major roadway

I decide to extend the ride and loop the lake along the shoreline trail. I stopped to take some pictures and especially enjoyed shooting the West End Pedestrian Bridge. I knew there was a lot to do down here but I really had no idea how active a site the Lake had become. With it’s proximity to the University, there were tons of people out running, boating, biking, playing volleyball and fishing all along the shore line.

View down the West Pedestrian Bridge

I finished my loop in a wicked headwind. I stopped a mile or so from the house and laid out in the sun on the soft grass of one of the parks. It’s nice to know the Lake is so close and easy to reach from the new place. The total ride was a little over 18 miles, a good rehab ride and a great way to spend my Saturday morning. I will have to do this one again!

More Photos from the Lake…

First test of the Suunto Ambit…

Suunto Ambit GPS watchI just received the Suunto Ambit I ordered and needed to take it out for a test drive.  I had hoped to be restarting my 30-Days-of-Running challenge by now and the Ambit would be assisting me with that, but my knee hasn’t allowed that yet.  For the past week or so my knee has been a swollen mangled mess and I’m not sure exactly what I did to it.  So while it’s recovering, I am impatiently waiting to get some training in.

Well, the knee is feeling a little better and mobility is returning but it is still extremely stiff.  I have an important hike this morning (which is why I’m typing this at 3AM) and I really needed to try to get the knee stretched out and test how much strength I really have. I decided to go for a quick bike ride yesterday.  It would allow me to test and stretch the knee, take the Ambit for a dry run AND check out a little of the new neighborhood.

lake near the bike path at Hayden Park Scottsdale

I took off from the new place in Scottsdale and took a leisurely ride around the Green Belt that runs along Hayden Road.  The biking / running trails along Hayden go for miles and see a fair amount of use.  It really nice to see so many people out biking, jogging or walking the paths.  I think we’re really going to enjoy this area.

another lake and sitting area along the bike path on Hayden Road Scottsdale

I didn’t go too far since my knee was really tender on the bike.  I was definitely stretching the limits of what I should be doing but it felt good to push it a little and let it open up.

I tracked the ride with three different devices: The new Suunto Ambit, the on-bike computer and my GPS fitness tracker app on my phone.  Each device gave me different data at the end of the ride (which is expected) and I was surprised by the gap in the final distance calculation.  The Ambit showed me traveling 7.49 miles, the on-bike tracker had me at 7.68 miles and the phone app showed 7.73 miles.  That may not seem like a lot but in only seven miles I had managed to accumulate a quarter mile discrepancy.  In a race, or tracking a specified route, this could be dangerous.

My hope is that the gap doesn’t grow with longer distances being tracked.  I will continue testing it against the other devices.  I also had some trouble getting the Heart Rate Monitor to track consistently while I was biking.  I managed to get it to recognize the device before I started but it quickly lost connection and so my HR data is very spotty.  This will be important to figure out as HR monitoring is a big part of why I wanted the Ambit in the first place.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Ambit so far.  It’s a comfortable piece to wear, light, easy to read the display.  I like that it can cycle through a variety of custom screen options during exercise.  I really like the method by which it connects and transfers data to the computer.  Instead of having a small port which could get clogged with dirt, broken, etc. it has a clamp that lines up with 4 little contact points on the back.  Once attached, it sends the data to the computer via USB.  Easy, clean and it charges while it transfers data.  It also has an auto shut-off when it’s not being worn to save battery life.

More shots of the bike path:

The stats on each exercise are downloaded to Movescount.com where you can see all the charts and figures from your workout.  Here is my data from the bike ride:

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30 Days of Running – Failure…

Well, it started out with the best of intentions…

The last update was day 8 and it was a good 3 mile run.

Day 9 we were swamped with wedding guests and as they continued to pour in, I took time to myself and got in a decent 2.5 mile run.

wedding party

Day 10 was our wedding day, I still managed to get a short run in, but didn’t track the distance.  I would guess it was somewhere around a 2 mile run, but I was focused on a mission and didn’t track time or distance and stopped several times to investigate stick-piles.

Day 11, the day after the wedding, we had time scheduled with our photographer to do the “trash the dress” shots in the lake.  We casually hiked a mile or two to get some of the shots, but there was no running on this day.

trash the dress

After Day 10, there was no more running.  We endured marathon-level air travel to get to Costa Rica which left my wife and I exhausted.  We intended to do some trail running at the resort in Costa Rica, but what passed for “hiking trails” there were not what we expected.  Very short hikes to small vistas, certainly nothing that we could really run.

Then I spent most of our second night and third day there sick.  Really, it was 24 hours of abdominal interval training with 2-3 minutes of intense ab work at 1-hour intervals.  Good times.

36 hours awake and still going....kinda

The next two days after my, um, “Interval Training” were filled with tours.  These did included some hiking, but for the most part were nothing I would consider exercise.  I will get in to the disappointing nature of Adventure Tourism in another post.

After that, more travel back home, another couple of exhausted days of recovery and then catching up on work after being gone for two weeks.  30 Days of Running died…

Now I knew I was taking on something that would be difficult, if not impossible, to stick with through a wedding and honeymoon.  It was just something I did NOT want to keep putting off.  It was a now or never sort of decision.

So now the decision to make is: do I resurrect 30 Days of Running and start from scratch?  Was it annoying to see the daily running reports on my blog?  Should I find a better way to report the runs and stay accountable?  What do you guys think?

30 Days of Running – Day 8…

Writing this one a day late, things are really starting to get busy up here in Tahoe.  So much to do to pull the wedding together and now people are starting to show up fast and furious!

We did manage to sneak away for a bit yesterday to get a run in.  We did the same 3 mile loop around the casinos and back to the hotel.  This time it was mid-day and warm (but still way more pleasant than running in Phoenix).  I’m starting to feel a little better on the hills and finishing strong.

Running in South Lake Tahoe

Today’s Run…

Left the hotel at 3:24 PM.

Weather was a warm 75 degrees.  Ran on pavement.

Total run was 3 miles in 29 minutes 30 seconds.  Felt good and finished strong.

My foot is feeling much better today!  YAY!

 

30 Days of Running – Day 7…

This morning my foot was killing me!  This is a bunch of crap, it’s SO sore.

Best thing for it?  A run…sure, why not!

I have to get the run in right?  So let’s do this thing.  We picked a route that dropped down the road from the hotel to the lake, then along the lake for a bit before curving back up the hill and across the border in to Nevada.  The hill was rough, especially at about 6,500 ft, but Merelyn and I busted it out.

It was actually a pretty nice run once I got used to running with the pain in my foot.  Ouch.

Morning run at lake Tahoe...

Today’s Run…

Left the hotel at 8:24 AM.

Weather was a nice, chilly 40 degrees.  Ran on pavement.

Total run was 3.05 miles in 33 minutes.  Felt good and finished strong, despite the fighting the thin air.

I really want my foot to stop hurting!  Stupid foot!

Followed the run with a nice protein shake.

30 Days of Running – Day 6…

Day six was a very busy day!  Saturday was spent all day traveling to Tahoe.  By the time we made it up to South Lake, we were both exhausted and I really wanted to spend a night getting used to the elevation change.  So instead of going for a late run, we decided to walk to dinner.  It wasn’t a run, but it was something…

South Lake Tahoe

Today’s Run…

Left the hotel at 7:30PM.

The weather in Tahoe last night was AMAZING!  Nice, clear, cool, slight breeze…perfect.  Walk (mostly) on pavement.

Total run was 4.2 miles.

My left foot is a mess since I got here.  I don’t know what is going on with it this time, but it really sore.  The walk helped.

30 Days of Running – Day 5…

Today’s run started late and I was a little worried about the heat, but it turned out to be pretty nice.  After the shorter run yesterday, my legs and feet felt great and the run finally felt easier.  I kept an easy pace that didn’t feel too sluggish, my breathing was pretty controlled and it didn’t feel like a struggle.

At about 20 minutes in I decided to push a little harder and up the pace some.  Still not breaking any records, but my time is improving.

Neighborhood Running on pavement

Today’s Run…

Left the house at 8:40AM.

Weather was a sunny 78 degrees with a clear sky.  Ran on pavement.

Total run was 3.25 miles in 29 minutes 45 seconds.  Felt good and finished strong.

I’ve still got some random twitchy thing going on in left leg above the ankle.  The bottoms of both feet are sore and tender too, but I am chalking that up to the trail run.

Followed the run with a dip in the pool and a protein shake with banana and peanut butter.