Wednesday, July 15, 2015


It has been nearly 3 months since I fractured my proximal fibula and I am finally back to a semblance of a normal running schedule. It has been a long recovery. After my diagnosis (two weeks post fracture) I was told I would be in the stirrup (air) cast for 4 weeks.

While I was unable to run I biked - a lot! I managed a couple of 100 mile weeks (commuting to work and a few "long way home" rides plus mountain biking when the trails were open). While biking up the hills in Duluth is good for the leg muscles it just isn't the same as running and I was itching to get back on the trails. Early on I wore the cast even while biking due to concerns about re - injury if I had to put my foot down suddenly, especially while mountain biking (the fibula's primary role is as a stabilizer vs weight bearing).

Due to the cast it was difficult to hike and that meant I missed one of my favorite times of year in the Northland. April, May and early June are the time of spring ephemerals (flowers that bloom between the end of winter and full leaf-out of trees), and I wasn't able to get out to enjoy them.

At my follow-up visit at the end of May I was given some physical therapy (PT) to do at home, an ankle brace to wear on my initial runs and instructed to ease into running slowly (2 miles every other day). I followed instructions (mostly - I am a slacker when it comes to home PT) but developed pain within the first 2-3 runs. This meant another week off. And a very frustrated runner.

I did head off to the Kettle 100 in early June to crew for a friend who was running the 100K. Initially I had hoped to be able to jump in and pace a runner if needed, but due to the set-back I limited myself to short walks down the trail to find my runner.

The trip to Kettle did allow me to put in some dedicated time on the Dovetail Shawl I had started just prior to Zumbro. I had a goal of finishing it while at the race, but fell short by a few rows.

Dovetail Shawl - Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn EQ and Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift Black

Once I was able to run again I eased back in with very short runs. As I was able to tolerate more running I increased the length of each run while still limiting how many runs a week I did:

Week 1: 4 miles (2 runs)
Week 2: 8 miles (3 runs)
Week 3: 21 miles (4 runs)
Apparently that jump was a bit much and I backed down the following week.
Week 4: 15 miles (4 runs, one 10K race included)
Week 6: 25 miles (4 runs)

During this time I suspected that some of the discomfort I was experiencing was due to damage to the muscles/tendons/ligaments in the proximal part of my leg at the time of the initial injury.  So I made an appointment with my chiropractor to have some work done on that area, in addition to a much needed adjustment of my neck and upper back and some work on my right shoulder/rotator cuff. Initially things didn't feel too bad and then he found the "spot". Ouch! Since then I have noted a lot of improvement and suspect that he worked some junk out of the area (aka realigned the muscle fibers and broke up some scar tissue).

I am returning to my previous schedule of running Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday/Sunday this week in addition to upping my mileage:
Week 7 (now): 18 miles (2 runs)

It's a little experiment to see how things feel and to help me in making my final decision about the big race on my calendar. Any hopes of completing Superior 100 (Sawtooth) in a time near my previous finish are long gone. Now I just need to decide if it is feasible to even toe the starting line with any hope of finishing in 38 hours and not doing too much damage.

Tofte Trek 10k - July 4, 2015
I love the age group rocks and was pretty pleased to finish in the top three this year

Sunset in the Powerlines - after marking a portion of the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon  course


Robyn said...

Awesome to hear that you're back to running (and placing in 10K's! Sheesh, overachiever). It's always encouraging to hear stories of injuries overcome. Hope to see you at Superior.

Daniel Klein said...

Glad to know that you are getting back on track again. What happened to your leg is just crazy, along with how the damage reverberated. You certainly dealt with it really well, by getting a chiropractor and employing as much medical treatment for it as you can. Take care!

Daniel Klein @ Everybody's Chiropractic

wildknits said...

Robyn - I am pretty glad to be running consistently again, though am now trying not to be too ambitious (hard when the I check the calendar and see how close Superior 100 is!!).

Ah - the joy's of small town races! A boost for the ego ;-)

That said I was pretty pleased to finish where I did as it was my first race since the injury and I had been pretty cautious on the trails in an attempt not to twist my ankles/re-injure myself.

Daniel - thanks! My chiropractor is my go-to health care provider for any musk-skelatal issues. He is very honest and will always let me know if I need to take some time off or modify my training. Have been a fan of chiropractic for 30+ years.

Londell said...

Welcome back! I should join you in the return to running?