Category Archives: Injuries

Just for Fun Friday – Invest-in-Your-Adventure-Racing-Future Edition

Pop quiz, Hot Shot.

What is the #1 piece of equipment that can have the BIGGEST impact on your race?  Think about it for a minute.  I’ll wait…

Your compass?  Nope.  Your bike?  Uh-uh.  Your backpack?  No sir.  Your brain?  Well, probably, but I can’t really help you with that one.  I’d argue that, aside from your brain, your FEET are the most important things you take with you during an adventure race.

If your feet are unhappy, you and your teammates are unhappy.  If your feet hurt, you and your teammates slow down.  If your feet aren’t properly taken care of and they get beyond the point-of-no-return, then your and your teammates’ race is over.  Plain and simple.

Running a 5K can be rough on your feet at first.  Running a marathon beats them up even more.  In longer distance endurance events, like ultra-marathons and triathlons, your feet take a serious beating.  In adventure racing, though (especially 24+ hour races), your feet get wet early and often, they usually stay wet for long periods of time, and they can get absolutely destroyed.

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at this shot from Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing (MOMAR) at the end of Raid the North Extreme (a week-long adventure race):

Nasty feet from Adventure Racing

Photo Credit: Leanne Mueller of Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing

The list of foot issues during adventure racing and training is huge.  Here’s just a small sample of problems that could arise: Blisters, black toenails, trench foot, jungle rot, ingrown toenails, numb toes, maceration, frost bite, sprains, dislocations, rashes, infection… and on and on and on.

It’s all been overwhelming to me, so I’ve always just kind of stuck my head in the sand and did the best I could.  Well, that was before I purchased Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatment for Athletes.

Fixing Your Feet

I’ve known about this book for several years, but I just never got around to buying it.  Man, that was really stupid.  Do yourself a favor and go to your local bookstore or Amazon and pick this bad boy up right now.  It’s less than 14 bucks, and it’s just under 10 bucks for the Kindle version.  If you have a Smarphone, I suggest getting the free Kindle App so you can have a copy of this book as a reference with you wherever you go.

I’m in the process of building my own foot-care kit to have in my gear-box at every race, and I’m confident I’ll have much less foot problems in the future.  I’ve learned a TON of information, and I know you will too.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to invest (Yes, I consider this an investment since it will serve me well for the rest of my life) in this book, but I’m glad I did.  You should do the same and thank me later.  I guarantee you’ll be happy with it.  And if you’re somehow dissatisfied, then I’ll send you a signed photo of the one and only Bob Jenkins (valued at $100 +/- 100).

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No pain, no gain

When I first joined Team Virtus, I was a cripple.  I had recently had ankle surgery and was unsure of my cycling and running future.  Back in November of 2009 I was playing a simple pickup game of basketball when I came down on someone’s foot.  My foot instantly bent out and I was in immediate pain.  I felt my ankle pop and as I was rolling around on the ground in pain, I thought…”SHIT…I hope I did not break anything!”

Bad sprain my ass

The dr. said that nothing was broken and that it was just a bad sprain.  But as the months went on and the pain did not subside, I went back for another look.  Long story short I had an avulsion fracture and minor tears of my ligaments.  I wore a boot for 6 weeks before starting PT.  After 1 month of PT my ankle was feeling better, but not 100 % by any means.  I just decided to see what would happen and gave it some time.  By September of 2010 things were not better and not getting better.  I made an appointment to see an ankle specialist.

An x-ray revealed an OCD lesion.  Basically the avulsion fracture broke off and needed to be taken out.  They wanted to do the surgery right away, but I pushed it off till November 1st.

This was the first look I had after the bandages came off.

From what I was told the surgery was a complete success and now it was time to heal.  However the healing process has slowed for me.  After 2 weeks off work of doing nothing but sitting on the couch with my foot up in the air I headed back to work.  For those of you who have not been on crutches lately….THEY SUCK!  My wife was basically doing everything for me and I could not drive.  2 more weeks went by and the doctor let me put my boot back in with crutches.  After a month of the boot and putting no weight on my foot the dr. finally said I could start walking with the boot.  Let me tell you….that first step was PAINFUL!  But no pain, no gain.

A couple more weeks went by and I got better and better with walking I was ready to start therapy.  My wife is a physical therapist, so I already know that PT stands for Pain and Torture.  I was very tight so getting my ankle loosened up was the #1 priority.  Pain and torture is not exactly how I would describe PT.  I would describe PT with a bunch of 4 letter words that are not good to hear.

Therapy went on for a little over a month and I started feeling better and better.  My last dr. appointment went like this:  Me: “So doc, is it healed?”  Dr.:  “Well, not exactly, but it will just take some time.”  Me:  “How long?”  Dr.: “Not sure, it is different for everyone.”  What I wanted to say was…”Thanks asshole!”, but I didn’t.

So now here I am.  Cycling is great.  I don’t feel any pain.  Walking is great as long as my foot doesn’t go down.  Thanks to my teammates I have started running again.  I have had to adapt my running style a little, because running is still a little painful.  I am wearing a brace, so time will tell.  I just need to push through and slowly work my way back.  No pain, no gain. STRENGTH AND HONOR!

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