January 2009 has already come and nearly gone, unbelievable! I am always amazed with how quickly time passes when you keep yourself busy. The days literally seem like they are flying by. I seem to be pretty much recovered from the mysterious shin pain that showed up last week. I owe the super speedy recovery to a couple of days rest, lots and lots of stretching and some amazing training advice from a fellow PA student Leslie McGovern. Leslie was a trainer for a lot of years and she was quickly able to recognize what was going on and give some great info on what to do. For any interested, Leslie told me that runners are extremely notorious for only running, the strengthens many muscles but it does leave some of the antagonist muscles lacking. Particularly the anterior tibialis. When the AT is weak the lower leg compensates by overworking the soleus (the deep calf muscle), and this can result in an array of problems including an aggravated posterior tibialis tendon, extremely sore soleus muscles and many other common maladies that runners face. Leslie recommended, in addition to stretching, pop-ups. A pop-up is basically a calf raise where you quickly raise to your toes and then very slowly lower back down. This directly targets the eccentric motion of the anterior tibialis. Also she recommended using a theraband doing very similar motions to strengthen the anterior part of the leg. When doing the pop-ups the should be done with a straight leg and with the knee bent, this allows for better targeting of the muscle. In later discussions with Leslie she explained that lot of runners whose feet slap when they run have a weak AT muscle. So if your friends are slapping when they run they you should recommend this to them so they avoid problems down the road.
On a side note I took a quick trip to Las Vegas this weekend to help a friend set-up for a tradeshow and I got in an awesome run on the strip early in the morning. For the first time in my life I really wish it would just warm up and get to summer. It was great to run in shorts and a t-shirt without gloves, tights, hat, and without slipping all over the place on the ice. With the demands of school this year I am only skiing a fraction of what I have normally been able to and to compensate I run more. Running is my escape, it is my dear friend that is always there when I need him, running is the answer to my problems. I love it. And even though I love it sometimes it is a relationship that is strained, sometimes I don’t have the time I need to dedicate to it, sometimes it is really cold and I want to tell it to wait for another day, sometimes it hurts when I do it, BUT it is always there waiting and ready to go, it forgives and forgets, running loves me back.