Ah yes, Born to Run, the book that got many folks at least try out running to see what the buzz was all about. It definitely got me thinking and romanticizing about running through redwoods, the wind on my face, stumbling over rocks and roots with just a bottle of water and a couple of Cliff Bars. After just a little over a year of running, I’m running at least one 20-miler a week and coming back home without injuries. But am I really born to run? Here are five reasons why I really shouldn’t be running:
5. Broken Ankle Bone
A likely childhood, karate injury, I found out many years ago that I had a piece of broken bone stuck in my right ankle. There’s so much scar tissue built up around it that cutting it open and cleaning it up wasn’t going to do much. Must’ve fixed it when it first happened, but just toughed it out and went on with whatever I was doing. This has been a source of chronic ankle sprains and a very weak right ankle. Partly why I don’t snowboard since I can’t hold the weight of the board on my right ankle when I’m on the chair lift.
4. Compartment Syndrome and Achilles Tendonitis
According to SOAR Medical’s MRI report from a decade ago, I apparently have both. I went to them because my ankle seems to be perpetually sore and I was having trouble roller blading past one block. Right before the examination, I was asked to run around for 5 minutes and when I came in my calves felt like a rock! It appears that the inflammation of the fascia was effectively cutting off the blood circulation in the compartment. The recommendation was for me to cut up the compartment and expand the sheath, but I couldn’t stand going under the knife.
3. Haggis Sheep Syndrome
My Scottish friend has a joke about how to capture a sheep to cook haggis. Apparently the sheep walk in the same direction over the hill as they graze all day. Two of their legs are shorter than the other two and all you had to do was try and chase them the other way. As my chiropractor says, my right leg is functionally shorter than my left, though anatomically the same length. Dunno if it’s years of sitting on a wallet or what, but I’ve got that to deal with too.
2. Busted Ligament
I guess this was the final straw two summers ago when my chronic ankle pain finally resulted in a partially busted ligament on my right ankle. This really got me thinking of going barefoot, simply because I felt stabler when my feet were on lower to the ground. This wound still hasn’t healed completely, but running hurts less than walking or sitting. Go figure.
1. Over the Hill
If you look at the age group of runners in distances longer than a half marathon and especially in trail running, the top 10 will usually have a strong representation from the 40-50 age group (men and women). These runners have been at it for a decade or so and come with very strong experience with pacing themselves, knowing when and what to eat/drink, when to power-hike and dang, they are fast! While I’m definitely catching up, I’ve got a long way to gain that kind of experience.
Born To Run
But despite all of this, training and running (and then running some more), I believe, has helped me get over most of these problems. Now when I roller blade, it’s usually 16 to 20 miles, not just one block. The busted ligament only seems to get in the way when I’m walking or standing. And injuries for the most part have taken a back seat and leave me alone. I don’t know if I’m born to run, but by golly it feels so alive to be out there, working up a sweat, climbing hills and getting to remote places with nothing but a bottle of water and a couple of Cliff Bars. With the Dipsea Demon running until he was 95 and Fauja Singh running his last marathon when he turned 101, I have some hope.
Now, where’s that foam roller?