Friday, May 2, 2014

I Run Like the Pigeon Doesn't Fly

Many of you know that I've been dabbling in the dark side of triathlons once again. You may recall that I did a couple of triathlons last summer. The races went well enough. But I realized that in order to get faster, I need the most work on the run.

Earlier this Spring, I bought my first pair of running shoes in three years. I hit the bricks, adding miles and frequency of runs sensibly over the past two months. Over that time, I rediscovered my joy for running. Strike that. It went like this: I discovered that I hated it. Then I re-experienced a runner's high and the joy of running followed. That's more realistic.

Two weeks ago I had my first running setback, slightly injuring my left calf muscle during a long run. It wasn't a sudden thing: no snapping, popping or sudden stabby feelings. It was more of a dull ache in the mid-upper, exterior part of my calf. It wasn't much, but just enough to hobble my stride and cause increasing discomfort as I pressed on. I laid off it a few days before trying it out on an easy run. I managed ten minutes before the ache returned. I shut it down.

Since then, I've stretched and foam-rollered the calf muscle regularly. Fortunately, it doesn't trouble me on the bike or during swimming. It manifests itself when I run, and only as I'm springing off my left leg.

I know I could run on this leg right now. It wouldn't be pretty, but I could gut it out. Here are a few times that I'd consider running on this sore calf muscle:
1) I'd run the last two miles of a race in this condition
2) I'd run to catch thief stealing my bike
3) Id run from this bear

Bear chase or not, I just don't want to be nicked up. Being healthy is good.

Since I'm a firm believer in physical therapy, I paid a visit to local PT/cyclists Amy Collison (Premier Physical Therapy) this past Wednesday. While laying prone on the PT table, Amy quickly identified the area with this *lovely* muscle scraping tool called a "Gua Sha Massage Board". It's also known as a Buffalo Horn. I call it the yowchy-thingy.

After 10 seconds of the yowchy-thingy, I've decided to add it to the list of things I'd run from:

4) Amy Collison wielding a Gua Sha/Buffalo Horn/yowchy-thingy muscle scraper.

After the lovely experience with the Buffalo Horn, Amy videoed my gait as I ran on a treadmill. She said a lot of technical stuff about muscles and tendons that I never knew I had. But from what I gathered, I run slightly pigeon toed, which is causing stress and pain up-leg in my calf. To fix this, Amy has given me a set of strengthening exercises. 

At least I'm consistent. Last summer, I was told I ride knock-knee'd. And now, I apparently run pigeon-toed as well. Soon, it will be that I dolphin kick knock-knee'd and pigeon toed.

Anyway, I hope this gets resolved soon. I'm enjoying running again and would like to do so pain free. Running pain free is important.You never know when you may need to outrun a bear a PT with a Buffalo Horn.

Thanks for reading. Here's to another Friday.


  1. I think that bear is pigeon toed. I bet you'd be dead if it weren't for the bear cramping up.

  2. Perhaps that bear should get an appointment with my Physical Therapist. The Buffalo Horn muscle scraping could get interesting.