Monday, April 6, 2015

A walk in the park

I recently discovered North Mecklenburg Park, which I had driven by a dozen times without taking a look. The park advertises 3.8mi of mountain biking trails. Well, this just had to be done, so the boy and I took a run Sunday afternoon.

So this park had streams with little wooden bridges, hills, and small jumps intended for mountain bikes but hilarious for the two of us connected by a bungie cord. At one point I got completely turned around and recognized a clearing we had crossed on our way in. We were almost back to the car, and we would not be reaching the far end of the park today.

The very last thing my wife said to me was "don't roll your ankle out there". Naturally, I rolled my ankles immediately and often. Compared to sidewalk running, there are no mindless, identical strides in a straight line. Every stride is different, asymmetrical, carefully purposed between the dog and the poison oak and the edge of the bridge. It reminded me of playing soccer.

The dog got a massage and a brush at the car, then again at the house. He had a drink and a snack and went straight to sleep. He slept on my lap for two hours later in the evening. May still be asleep. I was not so lucky.

I had a bad ankle sprain in high school, and that ankle is stiff to this day. What happens to me is that ankle rolls transfer their strain up the fibula to the side of the knee. Arriving at home, I was fine. An hour later, I could barely walk stairs or drive a car. So, I treated it.

I treated the knee with NSAIDs and light manipulation through the evening to keep it loose. Before bed, I stretched the leg with my heel in a band and manipulated the head of the fibula, right in front of the pain. It was instantly 50% better; should have done that earlier. Both knees got Icy-Hot, and I slept in my lifting knee sleeves. I awoke with full ROM and no pain and minty fresh.

A day later, my knee is fine, but my abs are sore... to... the... touch. I have never before had my torso hurt so much from running. I'm certain it was not from hard breathing, but from stabilizing myself over the irregular terrain. Compared to the weightless, cyclical nature of sidewalk running, this was an odd form of agility work. It was like parkour, but strapped to a dog and surrounded by squirrels.

Yeah, we'll do this again. With a little more care taken with my stride, this will be very, very good for me.

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