Tag Archives: Injury

Deputising and Running

For the next couple of weeks I’m going to be busier than normal.

My manager is away on holiday (Majorca, or somewhere equally sunny) which I’m sure he deserves, but since through a distinct lack of planning on my part, I seem to be the only one who isn’t actually out of the office, physically, in spirit or “Working from Home” over the next couple of weeks, the fickle finger of deputising fate has fallen to me.

Interestingly enough though, for the last couple of days, I’ve actually got a whole heap of work done! So either it’s the calm before the storm and my workload is about to increase exponentially, or my manager’s manager is also distracted with other matters, or we could always surmise where I get all my tasks from under normal circumstances. Go figure!

Seriously though, it is interesting to note how well the orchestra can play when the conductor suddenly disappears, but presumably this is only a short term thing and if there were any exceptions of any sort, I would notice the need for considerably more effort.

So in the mean time, I’ve managed to unexpectedly get to my pilates session on Monday, which I was pleased about and then I got a run in today as well.

I went over to Victoria park earlier, a run I’ve done many times and while it was quite enjoyable, and still can’t help feeling there is something wrong with my left foot. I had been running a lot faster and more easily a couple of months ago and yet now every step not only seems to be an effort I not would have expected at this stage, and comparison between my two lower limbs continually reveals differences in stiffness, temperature, aches, flexibility, speed and general feeling.

Despite my attempts to be positive and my determination to get back to running as quickly as possible, I could quite easily get down about the whole damn shooting match if I’m not careful.

Rest Day 2

The good news is that my foot is getting better a lot faster than I had dared to hope and I may even be able to get down to the gym tomorrow for a light touch of cross training, although running is unlikely to be a sensible idea.

The limping has already ceased, I haven’t had to ice my foot today and my walking is almost up to normal speed as well, so I’m certainly happy with progress, less than 48 hours after my last run.

Other than that, nothing much has happened today.

For me.

Shambolic George

It has been another interesting day for the chancellor, George Osborne though, as he makes another embarrassing U-turn on his tax implementations promised in the budget back in March. Having backed down (a little) on the pasty tax, which was clearly unmanageable, but now changed it for something equally as confusing and complicated, he is now reversing his decision on the charities tax (cap) plan which seems to be equally as pleasing to both the charities and to the Labour opposition leader, Ed Balls, who is frankly having a field day at the moment without even trying. Young George seems to have picked his timing perfectly, however, as the Leveson enquiry was going through some more meaty enquiries today with the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who was involved in apparently inappropriate behaviour around News International’s BskyB takeover bid.

My life is so simple πŸ˜‰

Rest Day 1

An understandably quiet day today.

It was misty outside when we woke, and although I had no plans to run, I imagined it would have been stunning running through the hills again. Still, not to be for a few days.

Cocoa Orange Nakd Bars

I have also been limping a touch today, but more to try to rest my foot than through any pain, and I have been walking slowly through my normal, and necessary, route through the streets of London. On the up side, I did not need to take any aspirin during the day and managed a slow walk up to town when I got back from work for provisions for Liz – Nakd Bars, available only from Sainsbury’s (at that end of the day)

Still, while the rest of the world seems to be edging closer to the brink of financial disaster, my foot problems are not the greatest concern in the world.

Another bad day on the markets, looking likely to make May the worst trading month since last October. Investors are ploughing money into safe haven assets, pushing down the costs of borrowing for Germany, UK and US governments (and further expanding the bond bubble which in itself is an explosion waiting to happen) while the long term prospects for Italy, Spain and of course Greece are looking considerable worse. The leaders in Europe seem to be almost catatonic in their approach to the current crisis, with market confidence and volatility having a direct relationship to the lack of direction currently being experienced at the helm of R.M.S.Europe!

Time for a Rest

After yesterday’s early morning disaster, and the all clear from the physio, I was keen to get out this morning for a run with the sunrise and finish my week of training on tired legs!

Perhaps I should have taken that as a warning sign that enough was enough.

After checking out the curtains at 4:30am I found the morning was too beautiful to pass up the opportunity though, so wound my way quietly down the stairs (clearly not quietly enough as both the kittens were waiting eagerly in the dining room for me!) and got my stuff ready. No backpack today, but a bottle of juice was definitely on the cards in this weather.

As I started out all was fine, and I was conscious of my ankle and making sure that it was fine, preparing to stop if necessary. The problem with this approach is that you risk being 5-6 miles away from home when you stop, or worse on a long circular run, and this morning especially, I was time constrained, so constantly watching the clock to ensure I was going to get back for 7:00am. Not the best frame of mind.

I found it was exceptionally slow going and I guess that should have been another warning sign (I need to get to read these signs a lot better; my past record isn’t exactly exemplary, but then as Einstein used to say, madness is the art of making the same mistakes over and over again. Still I plodded on and didn’t really feel any adverse effects in my ankle, which I was concentrating on.

All the time I was unable to run, I dreamt of runs like this, early mornings, some trail, some hills, sunrise glistening through the trees with mists drifting across the canals, streams and fields around the area. The smells and sights of the countryside are such an assault on the senses, and can take away all your stress, worries and transport you to a different world in an instant.

It was a fantastic run so early in the morning, and I eventually got back in time for a little bit of breakfast and our superstar helper was up dealing with the children again, as Liz was resting as this was Col’s last day πŸ™ she is back to Wales this evening and her generous help and assistance will be sorely missed. Thanks Col.

Time to put my feet up!

After stopping and getting ready for work, I started to realise there mighty be another problem though. I have had some issues in the past with the bones in my feet, understandably given the pounding I put them through. It has never been explained to my satisfaction by the physio’s I have seen, but the upshot is that it makes it painful to walk, let alone run, and feels like the upper side of my foot is collapsing.

By the time I got to work I needed to take a couple of aspirin, so I was not impressed, obviously. I was even more concerned with what Liz’s reaction would be – she get’s grumpy with me when I can’t run because I’m like a bear with a sore head – nobody’s perfect πŸ˜‰

She was actually very understanding when I got home, and by the end of the day the pain when walking had subsided a little. I reckon it’ll need a few days of rest, which was almost to plan anyway, so not a great disaster at the moment.

Ask me if I feel the same in a week πŸ™‚

Pilates and Physio

My legs were shot after yesterday’s run.

My quads had spent a couple of hours immediately after the run threatening to cramp up and I spent the rest of the day trying to keep mobile to ward off the sensation.

A 4:30am alarm call was therefore not a welcome sound so, of course, the first and subsequent alarms were all switched off in rapid succession. So much for dedication this morning!

Lunchtime was a different matter and because I have a busy week, may well be the only gym session I get in this week. So it was off the Pilates again for me, and although I still felt like a bit of a beginner, I was more settled than last week’s initial shock to the system.

After an afternoon of work, I had to get to the physio in Guildford. Col had been a star again and taken the boys swimming while Liz stopped at home and looked after the little ones.

My ‘ankle’ has been niggling for several weeks, so I had made an appointment with the physio for this evening to get it checked out and as it was not a major issue, insomuch as the ache moves about all the time I am running, is not a constant pain and seems to dissipate within 24 hours, I was hopeful it was no to be a time off kind of injury.

Stuart the physio, and a trainee, Pete, took me through a few tests but didn’t seem to think that there was much of a problem, possibly just posterior tibial tendonitis, a slight sprain, or bruising of the tibia (worst case). Luckily, I was not exhibiting any of the full symptoms one might experience with an extreme case of any of these diagnosis, so I was given some manipulation to loosen the ankle, some ‘lasering’ for some other reason and told not to increase my mileage for a bit. I could run as per normal though. Apparently!

By the time I got home it was quite late and Liz was quite tired so I stayed home and didn’t go swimming. A strangely bitty day.

Running again

My foot has been better for the last couple of days so I decided to do another bit of a test run today.

Heart Rate

Just a quick couple of miles at lunchtime very gentle but everything hung together and it was so slow that I was barely sweating by the end, so it was actually quite a pleasant run watching the lunchtime news – Now I just need to get to the stage where I can do that a bit faster (i.e. 20% faster) over a longer distance (i.e. 50 times the distance ;-)).

I had to get a new heart rate monitor sent through to go with my Garmin as the battery kept dying with the original one they sent through, so I used it again today as I did on the bike yesterday. I am quite pleased with the way my heart rate is improving – it has some way to go, but my resting heart-rate is going down steadily. I haven’t really pushed my heart to max yet, but will be measuring it in a few weeks time. Greg Luffey, a fellow ultra-runner in America, whose blog I follow, tried the same thing a few weeks back here.

Tomorrow, I’ll try a bit more and then hopefully be back on schedule next week.

Back to Work, Blood, Sweat and Tears

Half term for the children today, but back to work for me.

The children spent the morning making things with Hama beads, the sort that you put into a plastic holder to make a pattern of a picture of some sort then with the application of heat from an iron they partially melt and stick together. It apparently kept them amused for hours and they came up with some wonderful creations which I’ll get some photos of an post them shortly.

Blood Donation

I had a fairly mundane morning, grappling with more Excel spreadsheets and after a operational and project update from one of my project managers, Alexey, I made my way down to the gym to give my foot a road test.

Things started out well, but then went from bad to worse. Although I only did a couple of km as a test, my foot felt warm and ached in the same place as last week at the back and sides of the heel. Other than that the run felt easy and no other problems, except that my heart rate monitor refused to work for some reason, which was frustrating but not really an issue for such a run anyway. The session rallied a little as I did my leg exercises – important since I have my next physio appointment in a week, but then hit a real low as I bombed out on my press-up programme; predictable for the day really.

After a quick sandwich and a catch-up meeting with a supplier, I gave blood. It is not the horrendous task that a lot of people think it is, in fact the worst part of it this time was waiting as they only had 6 beds active (last October it was twice that amount) and so it took over 45 minutes to get through to the actual pointy needle bit, which only took 10 minutes.

At least something I did today was positive.


No Artificial Preservatives

There you have it.

I have not used any form of artificial support for the last 11 days – I’m sure William and Kate will be pleased that we can celebrate our momentous date together πŸ˜‰

My progression from two crutches to one and then to none after my Subtrochanteric Valgus Ostetomy has been carried out over the last month or so and, as per doctor’s orders, I have made the transition as gradual as possible but there came a time when I felt that even walking with one crutch was unnecessarily fraudulent.

It seems however, that feelings associated with my body in my current situation are rarely acute though, and it has been difficult to recognise any difference from day-to-day, let alone describe those feelings in any detail to Liz who asks me daily how I am feeling and how my leg is now holding up.Β  Only by thinking back several weeks and comparing my levels of pain, mobility and general capabilities from past to present, can I gauge my progress back to ‘normality’ – whatever that is!

For the last few months my life has been a simple one and I have not done anything one might consider ordinary (or extraordinary), but with each new act I carry out, or situation I place myself in, for example just walking to the shops, commuting to work again, strolling along the cobbled streets of London (negotiating the throngs of tourists and workers) or carrying, tickling and chasing our children, I feel a little bit closer to my ultimate goal of returning to “life”.

I have still been feeling some strange aches and pains around my left hip, but there is no doubt these are subsiding and that I can do more now than I could even a few weeks previously – and my journey through each day is becoming more ‘normal’ all the while.

In the meantime, Liz has kindly continued to feed me healthily with all the natural goodness under the sun to help my recovery, including (but not necessarily in the same glass) calcium enriched yoghurt, blue-green algae, green barley powder, baby spinach until I look like Popeye, a variety of vitamin-C enhanced juices with chia seeds and a huge selection of vegetables from our direct delivery farm (Riverford), some of which have been rather closer to the raw side of al dente than I would prefer, but the vitamins are all for a good cause πŸ™‚

My next appointment is in a couple of weeks time at which point I am confident the category of my blog-posts will change dramatically from medical and injury, to recovery and training!

Who says miracles are in short supply?

My visit to the consultant yesterday provided me with some great news.

I can WALK again.

Hip X-Ray - April

No more shuffling on crutches, spilling coffee, on the carpet; no more sliding across the room on children’s toys or stubbing my toes on the side of cabinets as I slide through at impossible angles; no more 9-to-5 upper body workout πŸ™‚

The news is good indeed as Mr Elliot, my surgeon at the Runnymede Clinic in Chertsey, has confirmed that there is good bone growth, not only on the joined slice of femur where the wedge of bone was removed in the osteotomy, but also along the original fracture site, for the first time in five months.

His words were, while we are not yet out of the woods, he could not expect things to be better at this stage and I can therefore start to walk around without the sticks!

Given that I had not expected to see ANY bone growth at such an early stage, I am ‘pleased’ to say the least. On the image the cotton woolly / fuzzy edges to the split bone are obvious, even to the layman.

His checks of my left leg have also confirmed that my range of movement on both sides is very similar and I am able to lift my leg at any number of angles which he would hope for at this point in my recovery.

The news is even more positive, since having just welcomed my wife back from Morocco after her stunning performance in the MdS 2011 (See here), which I had planned to run this year as well, my deferral to 2012 now looks even more like a possibility which I may be able to use πŸ˜‰

In 6 weeks time, I should be able to start to do some more strenuous (but no impact πŸ™ exercise) but after that the mountains and the deserts await….

The last victim of any battle is hope itself.

The Crazy World of Proprioception

Did you know that we all have a sixth sense?

Yes, indeed. It is a little known or rather much underrated sense of the position of one’s body and limbs in relation to each other.

No, I don't see dead people!

It is perhaps underrated as it is predominantly used subconsciously, unlike the five senses everyone is familiar with (Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste and Touch) which provide an individual with feedback on their world and interaction with it – the so called ‘exteroceptive’ senses – and also the ‘interoceptive’ senses which give us the ‘sense’ of pain and the movement of internal organs (Hmm – I count eight senses there at least, but let’s not complicate things too much!)

From the Latin proprius meaning ‘one’s own’ and perception, proprioception is the sense that allows us to do many things, especially sporting activities, without which things would be all but impossible. It allows us to do so many things that we take for granted subconsciously, while applying our other senses, especially our dominant visual sense to other tasks.

It is the sense that allows us to walk and run without constantly looking at our feet, as we can sense the position of our legs (assuming a flat surface) and can anticipate where the ground is going to be for our next step without using our sight. It allows us to play golf and look at the ball during a driving stroke, rather than our arms swinging the club towards it at high speed. It allows us to catch a cricket ball, play tennis and kick footballs, while looking at the object rather than the limb which is involved in the activity.

Imagine what would happen if you stood in front of a door, but closed your eyes before reaching for the handle? Well, nothing actually. Most people would find themselves close enough to the handle to be able to grasp it.

Don’t believe me? Close your eyes, stretch out your arm to the side, then bring your finger back round until you touch your nose – this is known in USA by police officers as the field sobriety test. Chances are (if you are sober!) that you got within 20mm of your target, even with your eyes closed. But how? Proprioception.

Continue reading The Crazy World of Proprioception