Back at It…Slowly

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. – Dean Karnazes

Progress! I hopped on the treadmill tonight to walk for a few kilometres. The idea was to see how the movement felt on my ribs, and also to get the legs and heart working again after a couple of weeks recovering from the fall.

As I walked and increased the speed, I felt pretty good and so eventually the temptation to run a bit was too strong. I turned up the treadmill from 4.0mph (my fast walk speed) to 6.5mph and broke into a tentative jog.

I ran for about 60 seconds and then slowed it back down to a walk again. No pain, just some tenderness in the ribs and a feeling of tightness from the KT Tape on my torso.

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Mostly walking, but the running segments started short and built to a three minute stretch.

Over the next 20 minutes, I ran a bit more and stretched out the time spent running starting with one minute, then two minutes and eventually a three minute stretch. The final mileage tally was 5km of which about 1.8km was spent running.

We’ll see how the ribs react to that tomorrow. I suspect it’ll be a bit more sore, but things felt far better today than they have in the past 16 days, that’s for sure. I couldn’t even attempt a run last week, let alone run for a few minutes without pain as I did tonight.

Morning after update: feeling good! Maybe a touch more soreness than before the run, but nothing major. Hooray!

The compressed training plan

Race day is just 40 days away and while I’ve missed two full weeks of training and two long Sunday runs, I’m not worried. Physio has done wonders for progressing the healing over the past week. As usual, Adriana has the magic touch and good advice.

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BMO Vancouver Marathon – May 6, 2018!

At this point, I think I should be able to get three walk/run workouts in this week (today, Wednesday and Thursday). While they won’t be the mileage I would normally run, I will get the time in. I feel like I should be able to run 6km steady on Saturday and then I’m hoping to maybe get out Sunday for a bit of a longer run.

Assuming all that goes well, I hope to get well over 20km the Sunday following that. And then I’ll have one more Sunday to run a 32km before the taper starts. It’s an aggressive plan, but I think it’s doable.

Ideally I would have five 29-32km runs under my belt in training before the marathon. But I’ve done races on less than that, and Vancouver was always going to be less about the time and more about enjoying the run.

Wish me luck!

The Importance of Having a Good Physiotherapist

If you run, you really should be on a first name basis with a good physiotherapist.

It’s not that running is so awful that you’ll for sure need medical treatment all the time, but distance running does put some stress on the body and a good physiotherapist is just the ticket to both getting, and staying injury free.

My physiotherapist, Adriana at Athlete’s Care Liberty Village, understands me as a runner and also knows my body well. I’ve been seeing her for various aches and pains and injuries since my bike accident where she was my go-to therapist leading up to, and after my second arm surgery.

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Acupuncture works. Part of what a good physiotherapist does to get you back to running.

Since then, I’ve returned for treatment and advice whenever I’ve found myself with an injury that was impacting my training in any meaningful way.

Why a physiotherapist?

While a doctor can provide diagnosis of whatever is ailing you, your physiotherapist will be concerned with providing diagnosis, along with effective treatment and management of injuries. A doctor will tell you to take Advil and rest until it feels better. A physiotherapist will create an active treatment plan that might include exercises, massage, acupuncture and even running.

It’s been my experience that seeing a physiotherapist regularly contributes to far faster recovery from injuries, and also a much quicker return to running.

My latest visit

I fell running on vacation about ten days ago and one of the first things I did when I got back home was to make an appointment with my family doctor to get things checked out. As usual, the doctor was not super helpful. While I got a good diagnosis of some bruised ribs and strained muscles, I didn’t get anything resembling a good treatment plan.

So today I went to see Adriana. From the moment I walked in to the clinic, it was clear that she was highly engaged and focused on getting me back to good health and running as soon as possible.

Her assessment included looking at how I was breathing and moving along with what movements were causing pain. She quickly diagnosed that I had some muscle strain in my diaphragm along with bruising to a few ribs. A knowledge of the physiology of the body and how the muscles and skeleton interact to create movement is key to seeing what isn’t working correctly and figuring out why.

Treatment today included a deep massage of the area, some stretching and some training for some home treatments to do on my own. I’ll go back Monday (and likely again later next week) to continue the treatment including acupuncture which I have found speeds healing. Adriana assures me that my marathon in just over six weeks is still doable and I should be feeling fine in time to get in a few more longer training runs.

That’s why I love having a good physiotherapist. Adriana knows how my body reacts to treatment and understands from experience how long it takes to recover from this type of injury. That experience allows her to put my mind at ease and provides me the reassurance that everything is going to be fine.

Where to find a good physiotherapist

If you run, especially if you run long, and you don’t have a good physiotherapist, then I strongly suggest you seek one out. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore little aches and pains like some mild shin splints or a touch of plantar fasciitis. But seeing a physiotherapist can speed healing and also give you ways to avoid those types of injuries in the first place.

Ask around your running group for recommendations. Many runners will have a favourite therapist that they will recommend to you. Shop around a bit as well. You want to have a good rapport with your physiotherapist and they should understand you as an athlete and not just as a patient.

Once you find a good one, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.

Celebrating 20 years of being married to @ginnykoole at the top of Toronto.

Hawk with a meal of a small squirrel. Right out back. He let me come within a few feet. Amazing.

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Run!

With just over seven weeks to go until the BMO Vancouver Marathon, I’ve found myself sidelined from running by what I think is likely either a couple of cracked or badly bruised ribs.

I haven’t gotten an x-ray partly because we’re in the USA and I don’t want to deal with travel insurance, but mostly because the treatment for bruised vs. cracked vs. broken ribs is the same: rest and Advil.

As mentioned in a recent post, I fell while out running 29km last weekend. I ran the 15km back to our place here in Hilton Head Island, but over the next few hours, things got progressively more sore. As of today (Thursday), things are still sore and there are a couple of spots on my side that are very tender to the touch.

What, me worry?

Am I worried? Not really. The run on Sunday was a good one. I ran a strong 29km despite the fall and finished still running about the same 5:05/km I ran throughout. I generally miss a week of training every marathon training cycle for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s sickness, other times some injury that sidelines me for a few runs.

The plan from here is to wait it out for a few more days and then I’m hoping to be able to ease back into some shorter runs while things continue to heal. The shorter weekday runs are no big deal to miss, but I don’t want to loose too many of the long Sunday runs if possible.

The best laid plans…

The chances of me running 29km this weekend are zero. Between the continued pain/soreness and a drive back to Toronto on Sunday, it’s just not going to happen.

Next Sunday has 32km on the schedule, and that run is also potentially at risk for being missed. It may be that I have to shorten that one up as well and pick up the real long runs in two weeks instead of pushing things.

Vancouver was always going to be a low-pressure, more fun marathon. So missing out on some training isn’t really a worry. I have no plans to go for a personal best or to try to run a sub-3:35 or anything like that. If it ends up that these ribs keep me away from running for a few weeks, so be it.

Climbing a giant tree that Hurricane Matthew knocked over.