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Baby Steps

Submitted by Rush   11/6/2022      0 Comments

The injury-surgery-recovery saga continues. I had my final post-op eval this week. The x-ray looked good and the doc cleared me to resume all normal activities.

Thursday I walked and then ran 2 flat miles. Same on Friday. My right sesamoids had started barking from lots of miles in concrete in old, worn out road shoes. Saturday we spent the day working on our house. This morning I went up Bowlens Creek for 59 minutes to a spot I know well. I hiked and ran the flats on the up, then ran back down. My skeletal frame is really feeling the layoff, but today I was really able to trust the foot to take the weight and it's doing very well.

I'm grateful to be in the woods. Grateful to be able to move my body. Grateful for a job and insurance coverage that allowed me to have surgery to fix what needed fixing.


Submitted by Rush.   10/10/2022      0 Comments

3 weeks after dislocating my toe, I had surgery on 8/29. I spent 4 weeks on crutches, then another week in a post-op shoe. On 10/6 I went back into street shoes. My ankle was wobbly, my knee felt weak and loose, and my hip flexors feel destroyed. I'm walking. I'll never take walking for granted again. I feel like I'm weeks away from even gentle, level running. I literally cannot imagine trail running right now. But the leaves are turning and the mornings are gloriously cool and I'm grateful to walk around my small town.


Submitted by    9/9/2022      0 Comments

Just when I was really starting to recover from the hip-related PT, building a foundation for heading into fall, a freak accident dislocated the 5th toe on my left foot. 2 attempts at closed reductions failed ( and hurt like hell) and I had surgery on 8/29. After cutting a tendon to realign the joint, the doc initially inserted a K-pin lengthwise through the toe bones to keep them aligned. But, the resulting circulation was so poor that she decided to remove the pin while still in the OR. I was sent home with no pin but a ZERO activity order until I'm re-evaluated on 9/15.

This is the longest I've gone with no running (no walking, no anything but crutches) in a long time. I can feel the morning air starting to cool up here in the NC mountains and the first hints of the leaves thinking about turning. I'm sad about not being out there in it enjoying the season in the way that is so meaningful to me: being alone deep in the mountains.

Old Injury Back Again

Submitted by Rush   6/14/2022      0 Comments

Folks, don't ever play high school football. My senior year, the fall of '84, late in the season at practice, I was tackled from behind in such a way that it drove my left knee hard into the sod. I immediately felt a burning sting around the inside of of the knee, just under the kneecap. I hobbled back to the huddle and coach Tolley asked if I was ok. Told him my knee was burning like I'd never felt it do. That night my knee swelled up like a balloon. I went to a sports clinic in Asheville where they drew fluid off and through a series of painful manipulations, diagnosed me with a torn medial meniscus. I had no idea what that meant. I recall spending maybe a week in a knee brace, maybe some time on crutches. I'm pretty sure I played again before the season ended.

Fast forward 20 odd years and I started running the year I turned 40, progressing through 5k, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, and then into ultra distances. The knee almost never bothers me other than two instances that share some common characteristics.

In June, 2014, my friend Ken asked if I wanted to run the Rhododendron 10K in Bakersville. I put him off as I was focusing on my first 50K in the fall. A few days before the race, Ken pinged me again offering to pick me up and do the driving. I agreed and I ended up winning our age group in what was the NC Track Club road 10K championship. The race ended down a short steep drive, with a hard left turn and a 50 yard sprint to the finish. Rain had fallen during the race, the asphalt was just a little slick and I felt my knee open up pivoting in that left turn. That race was on June 21. In my running log on 7/9/2014, there is a note, "I think I hurt my knee at the Rhodo 10K." By early August, my notes say the knee is feeling much better.

Fast forward to late April, 2022. I haven't done an event in 2 years due to COVID, but the numbers are looking better so I morning-of register for our local spring 5K. I've been doing 25-40 mpw for 2 years but no specific 5k training. Likewise I've transitioned all my running off of hard surfaces. I made myself lay back until the last 3/4 of a mile which finished on a long gradual uphill then a sharp left hand turn to the finish. I noticed my knee throbbing after the race and it's been bothering me ever since.

Now, at age 55, its definitely slower to heal and for the first time I've had moments where my knee felt like it was locking up. I don't know if I have some floating debris or what but it's annoying. Some of my hip & core exercises seem to aggravate it, too. So I should probably stay off of it for a couple of weeks and see if it will heal up. Irritating as my recent stint of PT really helped my hip and I've been having some good runs. I'm asking myself, "would you rather run 100 miles or 100 years?"

Tough Day

Submitted by Rush   6/12/2022      0 Comments

Sleep has been rough lately. I slept right through an early alarm yesterday so I put off my "long" run until this morning. Still didn't get on the trail until 9:20 am, so I missed what cool temps there were for the morning. I ran the Mountains to Sea trail from Buck Creek Gap to the Black Mountain Campground and back. I knew the temps were going to get up into the low 80's so I took the out leg easy. I immediately could tell I had no pop at all. My legs felt heavy and my joints stiff. I hoped that as I warmed up I would start to feel better. I crossed Neals Creek in 1:45 and trotted in the Campground trailhead parking area in 2:17 feeling so-so ok. I spoke with a man who was taking his young daughter on a short hike to the water fall trail and two older ladies from Florida.

Feeling the day warming up I headed back up the climb and fatigue and soreness fell on me like an Acme safe from an old Road Runner cartoon. I had to hike almost all the uphills. My legs hurt like hell. I don't know if it's my diet lately or poor sleep or the temps getting above 80 degrees or what. I just know I felt like dog meat and it was going to be a long back leg. The trail is very remote and I often do the whole thing without seeing another soul. Today was different as I encountered a couple of other younger trail runners who must have left BMC shortly after I did. They had a more elaborate route planned. Nice to see some other runners out. I ran what I could and actually took 2 sit down rest breaks on the way back. Unusual for me, but there is no bailing out on this out and back. As I was nearing the overlook where my car was parked a motorcycle pulled in blaring AudioSlave, "..go on and save yourself, take it out on me!!" Indeed. I did the back leg in 2:28. This run is predominantly downhill on the out and uphill on the back. Not the day I wanted, but I still managed to move my body 15.2 miles and climbed 2000+ feet of vert.

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