Monday, May 28, 2007

Natirar Cross-Country Course

Ran at Natirar, a new park that opened May 1, 2007. It has the potential of being one of the best cross-country courses in the state. It was a 100% grass and gravel surface, with hills that would satisfy any hard-core XC runner! A great place to run barefoot, but the second loop gets too rocky for the last half mile. However, many other multiple loops would keep me happy for hours.
(View the map below as hybrid to see the terrain.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sleep Deprivation

It did not take much research to confirm that my "Unexplained Exhaustion" is from accumulated sleep deprivation. Of the 32 symptoms listed at Wikipedia, I have 20:

Aching muscles
Clinical depression
Daytime naps
Decreased mental activity
Dark circles under the eyes
Memory lapses /
memory loss
Pale skin tone
(looking pasty)
Slowed reaction time
Weight loss / Anorexia


Luckily, I am not exhibiting the worst symptoms (yet?), which include hand tremors, fainting, decreased immune function, hallucinations and psychosis.

Unexplained Exhaustion

I cut my lawn barefoot last night, after dinner, after going to my son's track meet barefoot, after driving him to soccer practice. I did not run yesterday, barefoot or otherwise. Yet, after mowing, after picking up my son from soccer practice, I was exhausted. It was about 8:30 PM. I laid down on my bed and conked-out. I woke up about 2 AM, went to the bathroom, removed my running shorts, and slept until almost 7 AM.

I was exhausted last week too. I missed a few days of running. I took some naps. I ran almost 12 on Saturday, but in general, my running mileage has been low. I am about 40 miles behind the yearly total that I was at at this point last year. I do not know exactly what is up. All kids of scenarios are in my head, including mono, Lyme disease, anemia, clinical depression, thyroid problems and cancer. Even after that long sleep last night, I am still feeling a little draggy. My muscles feel a bit weak. I had some diarrhea yesterday. Colleagues have noticed that my mood is bit down, and that I look tired.

I want to believe that I have just been sleep-deprived for too long a period of time. It is hard for me to really come to terms with this. Perhaps sleep deprivation is the best explanation. I think I have gotten an average of about 6 hours of sleep per night for a couple of months now. I should do some research on the effects of this kind of sleep deprivation. Maybe I should go to a doctor?

More to come.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Shin-Thing Continued

Let me tell you what caused the shin-thing: wearing training shoes. And after lots of diagnosis I figured out what it is - or what it was - because it is almost over. And the reason it is almost over is I ran barefoot yesterday. And the ice probably helped too.

So it is or was a posterior compartment syndrome at the origin of my soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. This article helped me, because it explains the swelling, and it also explains the numbness I experienced in my toes during the workout on the very day that I noticed the swelling. This article really zeroed-in on the specific type of compartment syndrome. It was last Wednesday, at a club run, when I ran 8 miles fairly hard on what was so far the hottest day this year. The numbness happened on the hills during the last 2 miles. It was painfully numb, especially in the outside of my left foot. And on that day I was wearing Mizuno Precision shoes.

I took Thursday off and iced the swelling several times. The ice seemed to bring it down a little. Thinking I needed to protect my lower leg muscles and bones, I ran 4 miles on Friday and 8 miles on Saturday wearing the same shoes. On both days I felt a heaviness in my shin, as if I was carrying extra fluid around in there. I continued to ice. Then on Sunday I ran 8 miles barefoot. Barefoot, my shin felt normal the entire run, and in the evening, as I sat watching the passing of Christopher on The Sopranos and icing, I noticed the swelling was almost gone.

This incident made me remember that when I was in high school, circa 1976, I had compartment syndrome in both legs. It was so painful I was prescribed some steroid-based med and it ruined my cross-country season during my junior year.

A few other images that helped my figure this out:

(OK, the one above didn't really help me figure it out, I just liked the photo....)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Shin-Thing Going On

I am having a shin-thing going on and was wondering how serious it might be. It has not stopped me from running. I just noticed it last Friday during a 7 mile run, where the last 5 were barefoot on grass. Left leg only, and felt like classic shin splints. Bothered me a little for 4 on Saturday barefoot on grass, 8 on Sunday shod. Took Monday almost off, running only about a mile at my son's track meet. Then it didn't bother me for 9 on Tuesday barefoot grass/pavement/track. Then 8 yesterday shod bothered me a little. Poking around with my fingers in the area I noticed swelling up against my shin bone, on the inside, high up. Feels like soft tissue swelling, so I self-massaged and iced. I am starting to get worried that it may be something more severe than shin splints. It is the swelling that has me worried. It isn't visible swelling, but I can feel it right up against the bone. Is this normal for shin splints? Some of the information I Googled mentions swelling in relation to shin splints, but also in relation with stress fractures and bone cancer. Self-diagnosis can be creepy sometimes. It has me wondering if I should go to the doctor, or just continue to ice. Guess I will have to make that decision after ricing it for a couple of days.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Astrology of Running Barefoot

Today my horoscope reflects running barefoot, especially when faced with those "shoe police" that fear for you for not wearing shoes - it says
Cancer (June 22-July 22). Your life is a labyrinth with many choices and unknowns. Not all of them are as fearsome as your imagination paints them to be.