Archive for April, 2007

Rehab progresses …

Yesterday, I did 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer at 130-140 HR. Today I did another 45 minutes on the elliptical machine. I did not do the rehab exercises yesterday; I am only supposed to do 5 days of rehab exercises per week. I did rehab on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and Friday (today). I will do them on Saturday or Sunday and that will make five days.

I plan on buying a jump rope. That was one of the exercises added by Scott on Wednesday. I was surprised at how that really gets your heart pumping. Scott told me that it was a very good exercise, both aerobically and for balance; I believe it now. I plan on keeping that up.

The calf is feeling good – no pain whatsoever. I would normally start trying to run on it, but there are no plans of any running for another 3 weeks or so. With any luck, this strengthening and stretching rehab will cure the problem and I will be able to continue these drills going forward and avoid another such injury.

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual checkup. Well, annual in the sense that I should go every year but have not since 2004. Everything went well. My bad cholesterol is 202 (just a bit over the 200 that is the high end I should be striving for) but good cholesterol is 63 (which the doctor indicated is very good). He seemed to have no concerns about it and indicated that I was in good health. My year of running has put me in a good spot health wise. I just need to build on that from here on out. With any luck, by my next appointment in two years I will be down to 165 in weight (175-177 now) and running a sub 18:00 5k, sub 39:00 10k, and a sub 3:00 marathon. Good goals to shoot for.

The weekend beckons.

The beginning of rehab …

The rehab of my torn gastroc muscle began on Monday. I met with the physical therapist, Scott Waugh (who works with the Red Sox and Bruins). He told me the following: it looks like I used to be a neutral runner but now on my left side I have a mild case of overpronating and need different shoes for the condition (this overpronating may have had an impact on the calf and, in part, led to the injury), my left calf is 1/2 inch smaller than my right calf, that I could probably be running in six weeks, and that in the meantime I could swim, bicycle or use the elliptical trainer – the only thing I can’t do is run. He indicated that I need to strengthen the calf and at the same time stretch it out. My lack of stretching didn’t help my situation and stretching should be a part of my post run routine. Overall, it was a good meeting and I had a good impression of him.

My rehab goes like this (when I am in his office – when I am at home I just do the exercises and stretches):

  • Heating pad on the calf for 10 minutes (it has some clay insert that gets pretty warm)
  • A rough massage on the calf by Scott (this really hurts at points) and then high frequency ultrasound for five minutes
  • 5 minute warm up on elliptical trainer
  • 2 x 25 calf raise (both at once – a quick pop up on and then gently down)
  • 2 x 25 single calf raise (left one)
  • 2 x 20 hops from left to right on the toes
  • 5 x 25 jumps on the jump rope
  • 5 x 30 seconds for both calf – wall stretch
  • 10 minutes ice with electrical stimulation

The whole routine ends up taking about an hour and the environment is pleasant. I am scheduled to have two rehab sessions a week and then I should do the exercises three more times during the week for a total of five sessions.

So, the rehab process has begun.

In the meantime, to maintain my fitness, I am doing 45 minutes to an hour on the elliptical trainer (keeping the HR at 135-145). With any luck, I will be back on the roads at the end of May. And, now that I have the information, I will need to keep these strengthening and stretching exercises going – as well as getting new shoes that address the mild overpronation issue.

On a final note, the doctor called today to follow up on my question about tearing the muscle from the bone. Yes, that did happen and no it is not something they surgically repair. The muscle will be fine, it just may look a little different than the other one – but overall it will return to functioning as it used to. I guess that is good news.

Rehab or bust and some baseball commentary …

I had some e-mail exchanges with the physical therapist I am going to see, Scott Waugh.  I think he works with the Red Sox.  He allayed my concerns about the muscle pull from the bone.  I spoke with the doctor’s assistant and I won’t hear from him until Friday due to his surgery schedule.   Anyway, it was a nice response from Scott.  He also indicated that since I was walking without a limp he didn’t see any reason for not swimming or biking.   I swam 3/4 mile yesterday and rode the bike for 40 minutes this morning.  It is hard to get the HR up to 140 on the bike without really working hard.  I managed to get it up there for the last 15 minutes or so.  I hope to maintain some fitness level and keep my weight were it is during this rehab period.

Monday’s appointment should give me some kind of sense of how long rehab will take and what kinds of things I need to do to prevent any kind of recurrence.

I have not said much about my love of baseball, but last nights events deserve some commentary.  I like Felix Hernandez, a young pitching phenom for the Mariners.  He one hit the Red Sox the other night.  Unfortunately, he had to leave last night’s game in the first inning with tightness in his elbow.  This could mean any number of things – another promising pitcher (Francisco Liriano for the Twins) had elbow problems last year and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.  I hope the same outcome does not await Felix Hernandez.

The interesting thing was the parallel the game took.  Mariners’ fans await a Felix outing with great hope.  Well, when he had to leave in the first inning that hope turned to despair.  The parallel to what happened in the game was quite something.  The Mariners were down in the ninth inning against the Twins closer, Joe Nathan.  Nathan is usually lights out but with the score 5-3 and men on first and second with two outs, Jose Vidro for the Mariners hit a single to right field that was misplayed.  The runner scored from second and the third base coach waived the runner who was on first (Adrian Beltre) to go home.  Beltre attempted to score but the right fielder cleanly threw the ball to the relay man, who turned and fired a strike to the catcher, who tagged out Beltre to end the game.   Hope turned to despair.  An unfair but fitting ending to the game.  This is why baseball is so great.

I’m back, but not really…

Well, I didn’t run Boston.  After my three weeks tour of aqua jog land, I tried a five mile run at 8:00 pace.   I figured that if I could do that then I might be able to give it a go.  Things went well until about 4 miles when I felt things tighten up.  Boston was a no go.

I continued to rest and use the elliptical trainer until April 15 and things just were not getting much better.  I finally decided to go to the doctor.  He told me I had a muscle tear and said I could go to a sports doctor (Dr. George Theodore) for further advice.  Dr. Theodore at MGH diagnosed me with a tear of the gastroc muscle (I am not sure but I thought he said I might have torn some of the bone off when I tore the muscle because he pointed out a sliver of bone or calcium in the muscle itself – weird).  Good news is that he said I do not need surgery.  I don’t know why that is if I tore the muscle off the bone; I have a follow up call into him concerning this.  I also want to ask him what kind of exercise I can engage in for the next week; I forgot to ask that of him and of the physical therapist I set up an appointment with on Dr. Theodore’s recommendation (I think they are both part of the MGH sport medicine practice).

The bad news is that I am out of commission for about 8 weeks (and maybe a bit longer – I may be able to start running again in mid June).  I think 4 weeks of no running and and 5-8 weeks of rehab.  I am relieved to finally know what the problem is.  I hope I learn a lesson here – do not self diagnose.  I could have kept this  cyclical pattern up for a while and never really fixed myself.   My wife told me to go to the doctor when this happened eight weeks ago but I was a bonehead and didn’t listen to her.  I mean really, that was stubborn.  Why do I have health insurance?  To consult with doctor’s who have some expertise I don’t.  Lesson learned, hopefully.

So, I am scheduled for my PT evaluation on April 23rd and hopefully will have a better sense of what I can and can not do in terms of cardiovascular exercise and also what needs to be done to avoid a re-occurrence (or a similar problem with the other calf).

In some ways the injury was a good thing (glass half-full kinda thinking here).  If I’d run Boston I would have most likely run a lousy time due to the weather and this injury would have cropped up at some other point.  Now, I can get the right advice about stretching and strengthening.  Yeah, right – that’s just a rationalization.  I really was bummed I couldn’t run Boston – regardless of the weather.  Well, 2008 is when I will run Boston and maybe with another year of running under my belt I will be able to come close to a sub 3:00 (assuming no injury issues).

So, I will start to post on my rehab.  Stay tuned.


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What I am reading:

Again to Carthage, Robert L. Parker

Music I am listening to:

LCD Soundsystem, This Happens Gorillaz, Plastic Beach