The rocky road to healing

So this morning was my experiment in trail running to help with my persistent shin splint. I went back to my local equestrian center, which is attached to a county park, and hit the trails for my first ever trail run.

After three days of total rest, icing and stretching I was finally able to run almost pain-free. My stabbing pain has been reduced to a very mild ache. By the end of the run it was gone. The leg still feels good about seven hours later.

I learned a few things today. For one thing, the trail where I ran must be quite muddy during other times of the year. Stretches of it consisted of heavily rutted frozen ground. I’m not sure I would want to come back and run it after a day or two of rain. Another thing I discovered is that you can’t go as fast. I covered 17 miles in 3:15. On our local paved path I can normally cover 20 miles in that time. I think you must work harder too, since I was wiped afterwards, and my watch says I burned 2000 calories, which is what it said I burned on my last 20 miler. I took a 1.5 hour nap when I got in too, which I don’t usually need to do.

I saw four or five other runners, including a kid in an Iona track suit who was flying along. Ah, to be 20 again…

And a few friendly walkers with friendly dogs. And one guy ambling along on a horse and wearing a huge white cowboy hat, which was Today’s Striking Image.

I really enjoyed the run and given the fact that for the first time in nearly three weeks I’m not aware of my right leg, I’d say the combination of semi-extended rest and a day on softish ground was a success. I’ll probably do my next long run there for good measure.

Since I’m a resource-a-holic, here’s a link to the American Trail Running Association’s Web site.

Water, water everywhere

Or, rather, on my back! Yes, I’ve purchased more running gear. This time, it’s a Camelbak hydration pack — the Dream. Made just for women.

Backcountry.com got so excited about it, they forgot all about using apostrophes: “The CamelBak Dream is an ideal womens road cycling or trail running hydration pack. Low profile, ergonomic and light, you wont even know the CamelBak Dream is on your back.”

Well, we’ll see about that. It weighs 4 lbs when filled with water. I think I’ll notice having the equivalent of a Purdue Oven Stuffer Roaster strapped to my back while running.

I’m not sure if I’ll try it out tomorrow. It’s probably overkill since I’ll be running by the car multiple times, and there’s no reason to put extra weight on my legs unnecessarily. They have enough to contend with, with my big fat ass, as it is.

Trail mix

I went and checked out a local trail to run on earlier today. It’s actually an equestrian path (and it was full of horse shit, ha ha!), but I know at least one person runs on it because I could see his running shoe prints (or hers, if she’s an amazon) in the snow.

Apart from the heavily rutted bits, it’s an easy path as far as trails go. Not a lot of roots, rocks or other hazards. The weird thing is that it runs right along a major thruway — you can see cars whizzing by through the trees — yet it’s very quiet and peaceful. I even saw a curious deer about 20 feet away from me when I checked out the first half mile or so earlier. Best of all, it’s a five minute drive from my house.

I’m going to try running it tomorrow, since my I don’t want to take my leg out on 20 miles of pavement, nor can I stand the idea of spending several hours inside on the treadmill. The run can be two loops — one is about 1.5 miles, the other is about 4.5 miles. That’s certainly short enough to enable me to cut the run short if my leg is really bothering me again. And the ground is primarily dirt, grass, pine needles, gravel and other forgiving matter.

Full report on this grand experiment to follow.

My stupid leg

This shinsplint business is getting really old. I’ve been running in pain for a few weeks now. That progressed to also walking in pain. This is not good.

So I’ve backed off this week. I last ran on Wednesday. Won’t run again until Sunday. I’m supposed to do a 20 miler on Sunday, but I’ll see how it goes. I may try to do it on the treadmill (yick — 3+ hours) to save my legs. If I’m still screwed up on Sunday, I’m considering taking an entire week off.

It’s still the right side primarily. It gets better, then worse, then better, etc. What I have learned is that I seem to have a fairly high pain threshold, which I never realized. But I don’t want to have a high pain threshold. I’d rather have no pain.

I’ve been icing, elevating, compressing and stretching religiously over the past few days. That seems to have helped. But, boy, is this frustrating.

I have a half marathon coming up in a three weeks. I hope this clears up by then.

If it’s Tuesday it must be Austria

Something to train for: The Trans-Alpine Run

Perhaps in 2008? 2009? Would my legs ever be ready for something like this?

I read someplace that there is talk about a Trans-Rockies Run in the States. But then you wouldn’t get the homemade spaetzel.

Black panties

My sister kindly gave me a gift certificate to one of my favorite money pits, Title 9 Sports, for Christmas. After recently running 18 miles in cotton underwear, I decided to cross the final frontier of running gear: running underwear.

Now I am the proud owner of six pairs of wicking, seamless running panties.

On the seven mile test drive this morning they (well, I was just wearing one pair, but you know what I mean) were great! No chafing, bunching or general misbehaving.

Tomorrow is my first 20 miler, so that should be an even better test.

In other news, the training continues to go well. I’m still bugged by stupid shin pain, but it’s getting slowly better. More after tomorrow’s 20 miler, which I’m trying not to think too much about.

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