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Monthly Archives: February 2012

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Forefoot Running – Be Careful

In my last post in which I attempted to live blog a doctor’s visit – something that I have to imagine any author worth his salt would advise against – I came across some interesting news that should be shared on its own lest one sees the title and runs away.

I injured my calf the other evening, assuming that it was due to an increase in mileage that was greater than advisable – I jumped about 80% in a week while 10% is the standard suggested increase.  The following Saturday I dialed it back to 9.2 but the terrain was horrendously icy so it made for a hard run.  I assumed when I decided on the increase that I was more than up to the task because of the intensive biking workouts I’ve grown accustomed.

The injury occurred on my normal Thursday night 5k – on the last two tenths – when I decided to try the “forefoot strike” that has become all the rage in minimalist running.  On seeing my doctor about the injury today, I learned that the problem was not the increase (I explained everything exactly as it happened and left no detail out).  The problem was in trying to change my stride in the last leg.  I pulled my plantaris muscle, a small muscle that runs down the back of the leg in the middle of the calf and attaches to a long tendon that runs down to the Achilles (how that attaches was explained but is a little foggy at the moment).  When I changed at the end of my run to the forefoot stride, my large calf muscles were all fully functional, engaged and pumped up from the effort.  The strikes on the forefoot isolated the plantaris muscle – a muscle that is not used to being isolated during a normal heel strike stride.  It was that isolation of a very weak muscle that did me in.  This is exactly why changing, if one decides to, should be done slowly and carefully (as I’ve written about, ahem, before…”here, take my advice, I’m not using it”).

Doh!

Fortunately in my case the pull is very minor.  Some stretches and an alteration of my cycling cadence should snap it back into shape in a matter of days.

Photo from the link above "Plantaris"

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Live Blogging The Doctor’s Visit

It’s 4:05 – I’ve been sitting here since 3:45 for my 4:00 appointment… I realize that the first 15 minutes is on me, chalk that up to a proper upbringing – the fact that I’m late if I’m not 15 minutes early. On the other hand, why did I pick a doctor that is consistently an hour behind? The answer is obvious, it’s because he’s good, but sheesh… And the office music – it’s moments like this that I wish I carried my firing range backpack wherever I go. Air Supply to some teeny-bop girlie band to Country. Good God.

It’s 4:12 and this country song has me thinking about gnawing off my offending leg just so I can leave.

It’s 4:16 and I’m hoping that this reads more exciting than the waiting room is. S#!T – Lady Ga-Ga. I must remember the Self Evident Truths – suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Why didn’t she call herself Madonna II?

4:25. Dude, should have brought a haz-mat suit…like that one Dustin Hoffman wore in Outbreak. Still in the waiting room. I have to imagine that manscaping my butt would be more fun than this.

4:35 coming up on an hour. I’m calling this live blogging stuff off. I see sick people. If I make it out of here without a flaming case of the shits I’ll be amazed. Dammit.

4:50. BP is high – top number. Bottom is low… Son of a gun – the plantaris muscle, runs right down the middle of the calf. It was from that last tenth running on the forefoot. The problem was in the fact that the big muscles take over in a standard stride. The forefoot strike isolates that little bastard and because I wasn’t used to it, that last tenth did me in. Lesson learned.

No more days off needed! So that’s awesome news. I have several stretches to do and active recovery on the bike till it stretches back out.

My Diagnosis

I’ll be heading to see my doctor in the next day or so but I’m pretty sure I’m looking at tendonitis in the left Achilles though the pain is higher – more in the mid to upper calf and radiates down…  The pain is all too familiar though – feels fine the more I’m moving, hurts like hell when I start out…

I should have been stretching more – this would have been avoided.

In the end, the problem was most certainly a combination of the repetitiveness of motion inherent in cycling (or spinning in this case) and my jump in running mileage.

In any event, I’m certainly not a doctor so I’m definitely going in for a visit so I can get a solid treatment plan.  This is one reason that I appreciate my family doctor so much – he is fantastic with sports injuries and he concentrates on fixing the problem rather than supplying a bunch of pain meds and suggesting too much rest.  He understands how we fit freaks roll and gets us back as soon as possible.

 

Still Bummin’ But Better

I didn’t run yesterday and I’m going to take today and Monday off too. My left calf is still hurting just a bit (mainly just when I get out of bed, before I get moving) but it seems to be getting better so I’m not going to push it quite yet.

Big Daddy Jim’s Self Evident Truth #22

#22:

Gun Control is the notion that a woman found dead in an ally, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.

Folks, I try to keep politics off of this blog because, facing facts,  “politics” is mostly bullshit, perpetrated on decent people by bullshiters with the intent of dividing people – until you see a story like this:

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Prosecutors are disclosing the first details of what they believe happened to a Montana School teacher who was allegedly choked to death and buried, reporting she was the victim of a crack-fueled and seemingly random abduction. (…)

The alleged kidnapping took place on Jan. 7, just blocks from Arnold’s house in Sidney, at a spot where investigators later recovered one of her running shoes. Her body has not been found. (…)

After smoking crack cocaine during the entire trip, Waters allegedly told Spell that the drug “brought the devil out in him” and began talking about kidnapping and killing a female, the affidavit states.

After they spotted Arnold, Spell alleges that Waters told him to “grab the lady” and pull her into their Ford Explorer as she jogged by.

“Spell said Waters got into the back seat with the female and `choked her out,'” the affidavit states. That night, after dropping Arnold’s body in a rural area of North Dakota, the affidavit says Waters bought a shovel at a Walmart in Williston. The pair later buried Arnold in a 2- to 3-feet-deep hole on an old farmstead. (…)

When he was arrested a week later in Williston, Waters was carrying a receipt that showed he had purchased bread, bologna and a shovel the same night Arnold went missing, according to the affidavit.  [Ed.  Bread, bologna and A SHOVEL – are you kidding me?]

Arnold, who would have turned 44 years old Monday, grew up on a ranch outside town and taught math for the past 18 years at Sidney High School, where she was known for being a caring and competent teacher. Her husband, Gary, still works for the school system. Together they raised five children from prior marriages.

Now here’s where the story really takes a turn for the bizarre:

“Is this what it takes?” [Sidney Mayor, Bret] Smelser asked. “I’m not saying if I had the resources this wouldn’t have happened. But we could have more options and with money we would have had a couple more police. We just don’t have the resources to take care of ourselves.”

Dear Mayor [As in, Dear Leader] Smelser “is not saying” that the abduction wouldn’t have happened if he’d had exactly two more cops on shift, but that’s EXACTLY what he’s implying and the notion is utter horseshit.  The only way to stop an attack like that with police is to have a cop on every corner of every block and one every mile of every country road in the U.S.  There aren’t enough people (let alone police) in the whole of the U.S. for that.

For people, especially women, who run alone, a handgun is more important than a charge card -never leave home without it.  Now I’m not saying that Mrs. Arnold wouldn’t have wound up buried in a shallow grave had she been carrying a pistol, but the likelihood of that outcome would have been greatly reduced had she been – with the proper training.  I am both saying and implying that.  This is not without its moral hazards, unfortunately.  Thou shalt not kill.  Well, in some circumstances it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission and this is one.

So, if you must ask, what would the perfect handgun for carry while running be?  The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .38 Special + P in a fanny pack holster.  If you prefer to be a little more inconspicuous, a small of the back holster with a longer running shirt would do (though sweat would become a problem).  Options for cycling are even better.

Couldn't have said it better than this

 

Bummin’

I’m now in that magical realm in my melon that can’t figure out whether to run or not today.

After applying Vicks, and later an “all natural” muscle balm, my calf feels a lot better.

There’s only one problem, really, it’s stiff when I try to stretch and I can still feel the knot when I do – even though it doesn’t hurt any longer.

The affected area is in that perfect place of healing where the aggressive side of my melon (the part that gets me across the finish line) is currently raising hell all over the more subdued side that’s saying “just hold up there buck-o, take one more day, it won’t kill you to take it easy for one more day”.

I hate this.

Looking at the bright side though, there are a few points I shant lose sight of:

1. I increased my mileage too fast – four times more than is recommended… I thought I had the legs for it – I may have but I needed to stretch better to insure that I didn’t end up with a muscle problem.

2. This could have been a lot worse, considering.

3. I absolutely dig the fact that I’m so driven to make my goals that I’m having a hard time sitting still right now – it’s an awesome feeling.

4. This is rare air for me, I used to be the guy to do just enough to get by… Enough to get the occasional pat on the back, but little enough that I never really worked all that hard (race days excluded – if you can’t get up for race day, you’ve got some work to do). It wasn’t that I was slacking so much as I just had a nice, easy, comfortable norm that was far better than being couch bound but was less than pushing the boundary.

In the end, it’s all good. Live and learn.

Mrs. Big Daddy Jim and the Cult T-Shirt

Today we shall write of my wife’s insane love of a t-shirt. I’ve been wearing said shirt for going on 15 years now because my wife loves it when I do.  Now I’m not talking about a little wry glance and a smirk kind of love…  No, I’m talking about the wild eyed, grinning from ear to ear, crazy woman kind of love.

I’d be a liar if I told you I understand this infatuation, I most assuredly don’t.  I did make the attempt at understanding once – just once and I ended up even more confused.

Not long after that attempted understanding I realized that my thinking was all wrong – the attempt itself was the problem!

The mental trick, ladies and gentlemen, is who cares why Mrs. Big Daddy Jim likes me in that t-shirt?  I don’t have to understand to enjoy the benefits.  This may seem a little nonchalant, and I’m certainly alright with that assessment – but we men have a built in excuse for this…  We’re men!  We’re supposed to be dense about that stuff – so what if we take advantage of the stereotype from time to time, eh?

So we’re heading up north for the weekend and which shirt did I pull out for the trip?

 

 

 

That’s right baby!  Dammit if it didn’t work too.

Every once in a while you get to a point in life where you think it just can’t get any better – then you put on a Cult t-shirt and it does.