Sorry Runners–Vehicles Win

P8010008This post probably isn’t going to win me any friends in the running community, but it might save someone from some pain and suffering.

Over the time that I have been back to running, I have been hearing all the complaints about how many bad drivers there are in cars, from other runners online.

I have to admit I have had a few incidents myself. Were I have felt the need to salute certain drivers in what I thought was an appropriate response to their actions, stupidity or carelessness.

However, for the most part – I would say that 98% of the drivers on the road are pretty decent about sharing the road with runners. Where I live and run in Maine, there are not a lot of tarred shoulders or sidewalks and if you get off the road, you are either in a ditch, dirt or high grass. Most drivers I have found will try to move over and let you stay on the road – when they can.

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Quick 7.0 miles and Looking at Piriformis Syndrome

Temp 9-8-12The weather outside was not bad, but the humidity was almost 90%, which made for a nasty run and the wind was in my face most of the way back.

Today was supposed to be a 10.0 mile run and with everything going on with my hip and hamstring (although I am pretty sure it is not my hamstrings – Dr. Google has figured it out – I think). I am pretty sure that what I am battling is Piriformis Syndrome.

I know I am not a Doctor and can’t make medical diagnosis, but it is my body and all the symptoms really point in that direction. I had a feeling it was something more than just a pulled hamstring.

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The Great Alternative Work-Out Plan Photos

I haven’t run 3 of the last 4 days due to a strain (if I had to guess) in the soleus muscle behind my left Achilles tendon. I ran yesterday, but probably went a little to hard and just re-injured what ever is going on – Oh well the plight of a runner, always trying to walk that fine line between injury and running :-).

That does not mean that I have sat on the couch eating chips and drinking beer :-), though the thought has crossed my mind more than once today. My alternative workout program has gone great, when it isn’t raining.

Back on April 25th, the tree service came in and put 9 trees on the ground for me and it looked like this:

Trees on the Ground

I have done a lot of limbing and cutting to stove length

There were two more brush piles like this

What is left of those brush piles – filled that hole in nicely. Notice that pile of wood here – that needs to be split (by hand)

This is a different pile, that got finished today and now looks like

I got very well re-acquainted with that red-handled tool of destruction this morning and afternoon. Not being able to run, means more time for my abs and arms workout 🙂

Another view of the big old beech, a smaller one and about 1/2 of a 14″ diameter maple that is under the big beech that all still need to be cut up to stove length. This is going to be the tough work, because these one are the biggest wood I will have made into firewood in a long time. Not looking forward to having to split these babies by hand.

As you can see I have plugged away steadily at making those trees into firewood and wood chips in between the rain drops over the past week. I still have a ways to go, but progress is being made.

Whole Body Workout

This is my alternative whole body workout and it must be working because my running mileage is way down over the past week, with a few minor aches and pains that I want to heal fully before I start hitting the road hard again.  This morning I stepped on the scales and came in at 154 and I haven’t been over 156 at all lately.

I also noticed that I almost have a hint of definition in my biceps, I thought I might have seen an ab muscle (just a momentary glimpse – maybe it was wishful thinking) for the first time in years and my shoulders are tired as all get out (who know’s maybe I am developing that “V” shape.

This alternative whole body workout is a good thing and is serving a couple of purposes – saving a lot of money for next fall through spring and getting my weight lifting done.

Face Protection while chipping

Offering to Share

Have you ever used a chain saw for multiple hours, dragged brush around, chipped it, then swung a splitting maul and then stacked what’s left. If you haven’t it is a great workout and I can even be generous and share if you would like come over and experience the burn of this workout for yourself.

It definitely is one of the best whole body workouts that there is and the best part is that I have all the equipment ready for you ;-). Doing my best “Tom Sawyer” impression there :-).

Something New

Today I also did something I haven’t done in many years – I took my shirt off outdoors. No I don’t have washboard abs, but I am not embarrassed about how I look without my shirt on anymore – no more looking like I am six months pregnant. However, I still am not confident enough to have a picture taken and then put it up here yet.

As much as I am “enjoying” this workout, I will be glad when I get back to running everyday – I am really missing my long runs!

Never thought this old “Sprinter” would ever say that!

Newton’s Getting A Rest & a Good 5.0 Miler

I have put away my Newton Gravity for at least a week to let my ankle heal. I really wasn’t expecting this, because I had over 60 miles on them with no problems. However, over the past week no matter what I have done to protect the rub spot, when I run over 3.0 miles in them, my right ankle is rubbed raw and I bleed on my sock. This has become very distracting to my running and is not something that I enjoy while running.

Hopefully, once my ankle heals up, the Gravity’s will not cause the problem anymore. If they do, it will mean that no matter how wonderful a shoe they are (and I do love them), that for some reason they are not the right shoe for my feet. It seems as though the ankle cut-out is too high for my foot and really rubs my right ankle.

In talking with Newton on Twitter, they gave me some suggestions and discussed my form, but the bottom line is that as of yesterday, the Gravity’s cause my right foot to be rubbed raw to the point it bleeds and it is uncomfortable to run in them. I will be trying them again – next Friday and hopefully I can report no issues and just run comfortably in my great Newton Gravity’s.

Yes, I could tough it out and rub some dirt on it, which I did for the past week and you know something no shoe is worth that to me. Time will tell on this one.

So how did my 5+ run go today? GREAT!  I ran in my old Nike Presto Faze (Bright Red) and you know something they worked like a dream. I didn’t push hard and stayed right around the 8:30 pace I was looking for and best of all – no bloody sock!

Surprisingly, I ran a fairly steady pace until mile 4-5 which has my favorite hills and the dirt road with all the ruts, so I usually take this pretty slow, but today, I only slowed down by 19 seconds, so I am very happy and the best part was that it was because I maintained my focus, not because of being tired :-).  I don’t know if the shoes made a difference or not, but it felt good to run again without any unnecessary pain or blood on my sock. So changing the shoes did make some difference and proved to me that it was the Newton’s and not something I was doing.

I have had the Presto Faze for 5-6 years and I really don’t know how many miles that I have on them, but I used them as my treadmill shoes for at least 3 years of winter indoor running, track workouts and running outside here and there. They don’t feel all that comfortable when I first put them on – the toes are a lot too tight and they certainly are not zero drop shoes, but once I start running – everything seems to fit into place the way they are supposed to and I just run in them. No laces to worry about, my feet don’t slide around and they are light enough to go fast if I want to.

Almost makes me really want to take a lot closer look at the new Nike Free 3.0 with the 4MM drop and I plan to if the Newton’s continue to aggravate my ankle after letting it heal.

Hey Nike do you need the Free 3.0 reviewed here on A Veteran Runnah, I would love to compare them to the old Nike Presto Faze and see what the differences are. DM me on Twitter if you are interested :-).

It will be interesting to see how these shoes do during my 5K race in Fairfield tomorrow morning. I really want to do well and push hard and would love to see a sub-23:00, so we shall see how close I am in my blog tomorrow. :-).

Good luck to everyone else who is racing this weekend and participating in the Twitter 5K.

Thinking about Trail Running Safety

The other day while running on a local trail, I found a runner who had slipped on a root and hurt her leg really badly. She could not walk on it at all – it turned out that she had fractured her fibula.  We had to carry her out and she safely got to the hospital and is fine now – she just has a broken bone in her leg and is in a cast.

Made me think

Finding this girl crawling towards the trail head, has really made me stop and think about trail running and how I would have handled the situation if it had been me with the broken leg.  Would I have been able to do anything any differently than she did?

A couple of things, but I didn’t have much more gear than she did that day – hell I didn’t even have a cell phone with me to call for help.

Most of us drive or run to the trail head and then bomb around the trails, until we get tired or have gone the distance we planned to go. We don’t think about what we would do if we got injured while out on the trail. Usually, unless we are going to a back-country trail, most of the time we just carry some water, car keys, possibly a GPS device and sometimes a phone, besides what we are wearing.

Usually I Run Alone

When I am trail running, I usually run alone and I hate things bouncing around or having to carry anymore extra weight than I have to when I am running on trails. I want to stay as light on my feet as possible and so I am not distracted by something I am carrying. In fact, I would prefer to just run in sneakers, shorts with shirt being optional (a sad or scary sight to be sure) and go as minimal as possible. This incident is making me re-think that strategy.

Use Common Sense

Some common sense stuff to do before going trail running:

  • Run with someone else when possible – two is better than one on the trails and the buddy system will keep you safer.
  • Run with your dog if you have no one to run with and your dog is appropriate to run with.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back, BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If you change your route let someone know (this is also a good chance to check to see if your phone works where you are).
  • Run in shoes appropriate to the conditions – Yes you can run on trails in road shoes, but the extra traction and protection that trail shoes give, can make the difference between being injured or not. Why take the chance on an injury – think about it, especially if the trails are muddy, icy, wet with lots of roots on them – running in a pair of shoes made for the gym or the road is not the best shoe for trail running.
  • Slow down – if the trail is not in the best shape, slow down a little and focus on running the trail, think about what you are doing next, not what is happening at home or work.
  • Carry a bit of basic survival gear.

What do we need to carry?

If an accident happens, that makes it so you can’t walk out, what would most of us do?

Crawl or lay there?

I have a feeling that is what would happen to most of us who run trails and don’t bring anything with us.

Admittedly, I am not an expert trail runner, but I have spent a lot of time in the woods as a hunter, fisherman or hiker and always had a “just in case” kit with me, so that I could spend a night outside if I had to with me. Carrying something like this as a trail runner is something I have given a lot of thought about, since I found that girl crawling towards the trailhead.

What is the bare minimum that I would need if I broke my leg, twisted my knee or hurt my ankle to the point where I couldn’t walk out unaided or needed to stay where I am:

  • Cell Phone (I know in some places they just don’t have service, but if you can get service it would save your ass) – the one thing that I know I will always carry with me, fully charged.
  • GPS device – most smart phones are GPS devices, even an old iPhone or Android phone without phone service still works as a GPS device and help people find you quickly.
  • Water – Most of us carry some water, personally I don’t like hand-held water bottles, so I wear a hip carrier with bottle holders or a small hydration pack.

Gear to put in a small pouch:

  • a mylar blanket – will help keep you warm
  • a folding knife – you can create a lot of things with a small sharp knife, including a pair of crutches, if you are on a trail that not too many others will be on
  • 20′ of parachute cord – lots of uses (splint to immobilize an area – comes quickly to mind)
  • Aspirin – pain control
  • lighter – fire
  • flashlight – I plan to carry a small shaker light so I don’t have to depend on batteries
  • tick spoon – get rid of ticks, which are a real problem in my area
  • whistle – a whistle can be heard a lot further, with a lot less effort on your part than yelling.
  • extra pair of glasses – I can’t see worth a darn without my glasses and I have a bunch of old pair lying around, keeping one pair in the bottom of my hydration pack makes a lot of sense – now that I think of it.

Everything has its place on the hydration pack or in the small 6×3″ pocket that I can put on the waist belt or just keep in the bottom of the pack. I keep the mesh compartment for my wallet and car keys or a power bar or two. The pack doesn’t weigh that much more and I don’t notice it at all when I am running.

But it does give me some peace of mind, that if something bad does happen while I am trail running or on a long run, I will be able to make the best of a bad situation.

Do you have any special items for your area or did I miss any must have items?

The reality is that 

This little kit doesn’t sound like much, but it might be enough to make a big difference.

  • With the cell phone if I have service I can get help
  • If I have a GPS device and I have shown someone how to find me with it, I can be  found pretty quickly, if I am overdue
  • With the small kit I put together, I can create a pair of crutches and splint whatever is hurt to get myself out. Or if I can’t move, put together a little camp, until someone pulls me out and could do a night or two if necessary – not ideal, but I would survive until help arrives.
  • My outdoor experience, gives me a skill set that some others might not have and confidence that I will survive.

If all I have with me are shoes, shorts and a shirt, my choices are to either gimp, crawl back to the trail head or wait for help (hoping that another runner or hiker happens by) or make do with what I can find around me.

That is not a good situation to be in and I would prefer to be proactive as possible, while at the same time not being weighed down with a lot stuff, while I am running. Therefore, a small kit with the basics will be in my hydration pack “just in case”.

Be Safe

I love running on trails and like most everyone have no plans to get injured, but a wrong step or landing wrong on a root or rock can quickly ruin your day.  I don’t plan to stop running on trails, just because of “what if”, but if “what if” happens, I want to be somewhat prepared for it.

Also if I come up on someone who is crawling on the trail because they are hurt, I am a lot more ready to help them out than I was last time.

If you are a trail runner – think about it – what would you do if you couldn’t just run/walk out of a trail you were running on?

I don’t want to just sit/lay there in agony or do the long crawl.

Semper Paratus is the Coast Guard motto, guess I still think that way. 🙂

Finding an Injured Runner on the Trail 3-21-12

This was the end of this water hazard 🙂

This was supposed to be one of those routine trail runs where you go run your 5.0 miles and enjoy getting wet, muddy and dirty, then go home.

At just about the 4.0 mile mark I came upon a young lady crawling on her hands and knees.

Let’s back up a bit first

This was one of those beautiful day as I am writing this the shady window thermometer is reading 81º and no breeze, makes for a pretty warm day for the second day of spring.

I went over to the Messalonskee Stream Trail and ran that. It was a little muddy on the trail, but not too bad, the worst part was where the frost wasn’t completely out of the ground and you would posthole on some of the areas (which is a pain in the butt and makes you sore, when you foot suddenly disappears 6-12 inches lower than you thought you were going to be).

Messalonskee Stream Trail Run 3-21-12

I ran all the way out and even up my nemesis hill that I have never made it up before – not that I was doing better than a survival shuffle up it.  Once I hit the power lines though it got pretty damn muddy in several spots. I also finally found the trail that links up to the road the road on the other side, so I was happy with my bit of exploration today, been looking for this connector for a while now.

On the way back, I paid more attention to taking pictures than trying to push the pace and one point I didn’t have much choice about walking up a hill, it was soooooo muddy that I was a lot faster walking than I would have run up it.

1/2 of the hill on the power line, you can't see the rest of it AND yes it was all mud going up it 🙂


Then things got interesting

With about a 3/4 of a mile left, I came up on this girl crawling on the ground with a big dog. It looked like she was looking for something and when I asked if she needed any help, she looked startled and told me she had hurt her ankle and was crawling out to meet her husband who was on his way there.

She told me she had been running and hit a root wrong and fell down. She thought that she had hurt her foot/leg pretty bad.

We were talking and her dog Shalom was being very protective, of course he turned his head just as I took the picture, very beautiful dog Lab/Huskie mix - well mannered.

Looking at her leg, it was pretty swollen, discolored and she was in a lot of pain. I offered to stay with her until the husband got there. She smiled and said she would like that. We tried the over the shoulder with her hopping along, (she was as tall as I am), but didn’t get too far and with my knee I didn’t want to take a chance on a non-emergency carry on my back – the knee is doing great, but that might have been a bit too much.

Her husband got there about 20 minutes later and we fireman carried her for about 1/2 mile, then when the trail got too difficult for us both to carry her, he carried her on his back the rest of the way, while I helped steady him through the muddy areas. He was a lot bigger and younger than I am.  You do notice this stamina stuff more as you get older, especially when it involves carrying someone out on rough terrain, especially since I had already run about 4.0 miles of trail before I found her.

I know that it was hard work, but did got her back to the car as fast as we could. She was a real trooper and handled being carried out better than many people I have seen or know would have. Even though she was in a lot of pain and being jostled around was no picnic, she was still joking around and talking with us.

It is a small world, the husband works in the Maintenance Department at my old school and we knew a lot of the same people. I am glad that we got her out of there and they were going to the hospital emergency room when they left the parking lot. They both seem like nice kids (I can say that, they were younger than my own children).

I have a feeling that her ankle was broken from the look of it.  Probably will never know, but hope that she is okay.


I got a call from her around 4:00 P.M. and evidently when she fell, she broke her fibula and is now in a cast and on some pain meds. We talked for a couple of minutes. It was nice to hear that while she did break a bone in her leg, that otherwise she is doing okay.

The reality was that 

I almost didn’t go there and run today, we had some other stuff going on and I was going to do a quick run in the neighborhood.

Strange how things work out sometimes and you are supposed to be in the right place at the right time. I would like to believe that most people would stop and help out someone they saw hurt on the trail. To me that is just common human decency, to help out someone who is in need and I was glad that I was able to help her out.

This incident really made me think about being more careful when trail running and making sure that I have the correct equipment with me, including my phone (which I forgot – that is how she was able to call me – I had to borrow her phone to call TheWife and let her know what was going on) and really focus on what I am doing when running trails, even if they are in town trails. If you get injured, going cross-country is not usually an option and getting back to the trail head can be an issue.

I am just glad that we were able to get her out safely and that she is okay.

Do you ever think about what you would do if you injured yourself while running on a trail and how you would get back if you broke something in your foot or leg?

Something to think about if you trail run, not to stop you from running trails, but to think ahead.

And Yes I called this a full 5.0 mile run, even though I didn’t run the full distance, we did plenty of sweating to justify it. 🙂

RunLog 3-21-12

Running Injuries – Go Slow Grasshopper

Radiograph of a close-range shotgun blast inju...

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When is the most difficult time to be a runner?

Answer: When coming back from an injury.

In my opinion it is most difficult when you are

Injured and Almost Back.

Whether it has been days, weeks or months, when a runner finally (I know it seem like freaking forever no matter how short a time it has actually been) comes back from an injury, we are eager to run as fast or as far as we did before the injury and we want to do it NOW!


We don’t want to accept that we have to change our mindset, for at least a little while, to what we can do now, versus what we did before we got injured. This to me is one of the hardest things in running – to accept the fact that an injury changes how we will or should run during our return to regular running.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t want to admit that there will be a transition period back to running normally again – whatever your normal running is and we make choices good and bad.

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