Monday, August 24, 2009

O Soleus Mio (updated)

I have a rule of thumb for injuries/pain and running. To wit: if running doesn’t make something worse, go ahead and run.

I am at baseline a sore person (not a sorehead; it’s hard to offend me). At any given moment, at least two things will be hurting. Doing a rapid inventory right now, I’ve got: right acromioclavicular joint, low back, right elbow. Depending on the day, it can be my head, neck, shoulders, elbows, thumbs, upper back, lower back, knees, right ankle. I get out of bed in the morning feeling like the arthritic sloth I try to mimic when I set off on each run. I’m not sure if this is normal or not; I asked my husband if he typically has pain somewhere and he said no, which I’m inclined to believe since he’s a bit of a whiner like that and if something is hurting he lets me know about it, but I haven’t done a systematic survey of everyone I know. I don’t think this is particularly related to the passage of time; I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. I also don’t know if it’s because I have a low pain threshold. Past experience would suggest I’m not especially sensitive, but how can one ever really know? Mostly I’m used to it and will maybe pop a few ibuprofen tablets if something’s really bad.

One of the coolest things about running for me is that after a run, everything always hurts LESS.

But now I have been felled by my soleus. The left one. It’s ok for about three miles, and then WOW WOW WOW, does it hurt. I’m not sure what happened to it, although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s related to the fact that although I do very little in the way of stretching before running as evidence doesn’t seem to indicate that it does much for you, I have always done soleus/Achilles stretches simply because it feels right. And lately I’ve been skipping them. (An explanation — featuring a Spiderman action figure! — can be found here.)

All of which is to say, I’m taking my own advice and not running through this (honestly I don’t know if I could anyway), and it’s making me insane in the membrane.

However: I at least have some reason to believe that my knees are going to be a-okay when I’m ninety.

You sitting here reading this: is something always painful somewhere on your body?

UPDATE: Reassuring to know that I’m not alone in my aches & pains, though I’m sorry so many of us are in the club. (And no, I don't have any systemic disease process, fortunately.) I think it’s more accurate to say that I’m tender rather than sore — i.e., things hurt when I use them or push on them, usually not if I don’t bother them.

Re: my soleus. It seemed to be responding, albeit slowly, to decreasing my speed, distance, and frequency, plus new shoes, plus stretching, plus ice — BUT! then I got a chest cold, and am now on a program of unplanned rest. I’m actually happy that if I have to get these things, at least for once they happened together. (My rule of thumb for running when sick: sick above the neck: run; sick below the neck, rest.) So I hope it will be fine when I hit the road again, but I will remain in the dark as to which measures worked.

(Oh, and: the barefoot running thing? I dunno. The idea seems to crop up every now and again but never really catches on. Obviously one can’t run truly barefoot through the city, and while I’m sure those new foot-glove things are wildly sexy, they do change the position of your foot unless you’re naturally spread-toed, so I’m not so sure they really count as barefoot. Anyway I’m sticking with real shoes for the foreseeable future.)