Saturday, May 29, 2010

How to fracture your Sacrum

Ok, lets face it, unless you are involved in the world of medicine, or
have a really keen interest in human anatomy, you probably don't know
where your sacrum is. I'll be honest and admit that I would have had to
guess if I was asked to locate it.

Well, actually pre-Internet I would have had to guess, now-a-days I
would just fire up Google on my Android smart phone and I would know
exactly within a couple of seconds. Who needs a brain the size of a
planet when the entire planet is search-able?

So in January I decided to reverse my life long loathing of running by
getting good at it. I was fortunate to have access to highly
experienced and accomplished runners who offered me plenty of great
advice, and even made up a training schedule for me. The schedule had
things progressing at a nice sedate pace, following the universally
accepted principle of increasing distance by around 10% a week. When I
look at that training schedule now I notice that in late Feb I was still
supposed to be doing run/walks and I would have progressed to a 30Min jog by mid March.

This is what I actually did...

Actually in February I covered about 130km with my longest run being
18km. I was averaging a 6.15Min/Km pace and starting to actually enjoy
some of the runs after the hard slog that was January.

In March I covered about 200km with my greatest distance in one day
being 25km. I was averaging a 5.57Min/Km pace and starting to push
myself harder in search of the speed I felt was just around the corner.
I enjoyed most of my runs.

In April I covered about 250km with a couple of runs over 20km. My
average pace was down to 5.39Min/Km and I was feeling good about my
running. I still wanted more speed, but I was used to my local 8km
training loop and could run that at race pace and enjoy the feeling of
speed. I was starting to learn that hills were going to be my nemesis
until my fitness and strength improved further. On the 25th I took part
in the Perth Marathon Clubs 10km race around the river and I managed a
4.42Min/Km pace. At this point I was starting to convince myself that
the rules that might apply to other people were not applicable to me,
all that 10% small increases stuff...

In early May I started to get some general hip pain when running, I also
had pain in the area of my left hip flexor. It was general and could be
acute at times but came and went in severity. I was used to occasional
muscle glitches, after all I was pushing as hard as I could, I assumed
it was a recalcitrant muscle. I started taking Vitamin I before long
runs and after long runs to help with the inflammation. After my success
at the 10km race I figured I was ready to step up to the half marathon
and so I was signed up for the Bunbury event. Looking back now I think I
started to notice the fracture in early May, I can remember a night of
pain that I put down to my left hip flexor, but now that I actually know
what I am feeling I realise it must have been when my sacrum gave out.

For 2 weeks before the half marathon I tried everything I could think of
to heal myself, but rest and massage did not seem to help. Vitamin I was
still the only solution when it came to pain management. The day before
the event I decided that I was going to run anyway, Vitamin I was not
enough and It took every ounce of my determination and perseverance to
drag myself through the event. As it turned out I still managed a time
of 1.48 which I am quite pleased with as such a new runner.

After the event no amount of rest days would take the pain away and
running became excruciating. I was incredibly fortunate to be sent to
see the top sports medicine people in WA and I was quickly diagnosed
with a likely stress fracture. then ensued a barrage of X-Rays and Bone
Scans and CT Scans and now I know what I have broken and where exactly
it is.

This is what broke...

I have a very impatient personality type, I am very determined, I expect
great things of myself. I was determined to push myself to the limit and
use the limit as my guide for how hard to push. It turns out that just
maybe the established running community does know something when they
talk about incremental training programmes!

I am optimistic that it will take 2 weeks for the fracture to heal to
the point where I can at least walk freely and perhaps ride a bike a
bit, I am hoping to be back to running in 4-6 weeks. This time I think I
might actually stick to an incremental program that is created for me by
someone who knows.

If you are like me you are probably reading this and thinking that it
won't happen to you, fair enough.

For everybody else this should serve as a warning about ignoring the rules.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bunbury Half Marathon

I managed to complete the 21km in 1Hour 48Mins. It was a nice road
course with some hills thrown in. I was not having a particularly good
day health wise, so I am quite pleased with the result as it suggests
this might be at the lower end of my performance range. According to the
pace calculators this makes me capable of about a 3Hr 45Min Marathon.
That of course assumes I could actually complete a marathon, I needed
everything I had to complete the 21km at my 5.01min/km (11.8km/hr) pace
today. I have more training to do.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bakewell Again

Monday was another great day. Karl and I tore up the skies. It is
getting cold though.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Life continues to stay interesting!

On the weekend I just managed to survive a 24k run on Friday, although i was only able to run 21k of it. Then it was off to work in the hash house at the 12hr rogaine near York. It gave me a new found appreciation for the work that goes into preparing for and running the events.
After too little sleep and having the smoke from the BBQ I was manning invade every pore in my body, I still managed to run (and really enjoy) a 16k trail in John Forrest National park on the way home.

I have lifted my running to 10km a day now, I managed to run approx 250km last month. I have found some shoes (adizero xt) that I really like, they are light and have quite a narrow footprint with very little cushioning and that seems to suit me. I have been wearing my Nike Free Trainers for months now and I no longer find that the heavy, highly cushioned shoes that I used to wear (like the Nike Air Pegasus) suit my running style.

As a new runner I have been through the whole gamut of running learning in the last few months, having discovered how to injure myself, and then how to avoid injury. How to run so that I did not enjoy it, and how to transition to loving running. How set myself up for a spectacular failure, and now hopefully how to manage things so that all goes according to plan.

Because I just happen to be in the vicinity at the time, I have signed up for the Bunbury half marathon in a couple of weeks. I managed to force myself to complete 21km on the weekend in less than ideal circumstances so at least i know I am capable of it. Exactly how fast I should be trying to go is something I will discover on the day.

I think I have decided now to hold off on my full Instrument Rating, it is hard to justify as I can not see myself using it in the foreseeable future, it is money that I don't need to spend now. I am going to get my tail dragger endorsement though as that is very useful to have.