Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ambushed by a hostile vine, and slowed down by a troublesome Achilles...

Just metres from the actual coordinates of the "incident".
Yep, I changed the picture!  Instead of having to look at the previous pic of the vine-induced leg wound, it's much more pleasant to view the approximate scene of my little "scuffle" with mother nature. :)

On a muddy post-Easter trail run this morning, a rather nasty ground-level, creeping vine "grabbed" my lower leg - no warning at all. It's tensile strength clearly outweighed my feeble attempt to break free - and almost resulted in a rather dramatic (and humbling) tumble. Carefully unwrapping the stealthy and unnecessarily hostile veridiplantae from just above the right ankle, I discovered it had left a bit of a "friction" mark. Oh well, a small price to pay for a good time out in the woods.

I had actually been thinking about another, more troublesome injury at the time, and had perhaps, simply failed to observe the natural hazard that lay in waiting. Of more concern than the creeping vine, has been a rather frustrating problem with both Achilles tendons this past month. Strange, inasmuch as I can't remember doing anything unusual to cause injury or aggravation. Some might say, clearly this is a consequence of minimalist / barefoot running. I don't think so since I've been happily running this way for almost two years now - without any problems at all. It's a bit of a mystery. In order to give them a chance to heal, I've been doing some indoor cycling for the past couple of weeks and running for a shorter period of time and then only a couple of times per week.

I remembered this morning that one way to possibly minimize injury while running can be to take care to maintain a relatively low heart rate. This ensures, especially on hills, that "over enthusiasm" doesn't lead to an injury or further aggravate a damaged muscle or tendon. I decided that I would not exceed 130 bpm, which means walking up some of the hills. Now I'm really holding my running partner back - but, thankfully, she's totally understanding. The good news is that in keeping an eye on the heart rate this morning, I did not experience the discomfort in the Achilles of the past weeks. This is clearly going to require some patience but it's worth a try.

As for the action of the "hostile vine", well, I'm sure it wasn't intentional.



  1. once we were kids but we still like those sweets scratches ;)

    take care,

  2. Ouch! That does look painful but I think the "unseen hurts" in life are sometimes more painful than the visible ones. Your achilles probably causes you more pain than that little scratch does.
    Glad to hear you have still been keeping active if even in a different manner than running. I sensed things were not right with you last week and now I understand why.LOL
    As for the PEP.....we are prepared to come out on top...the Lazy Bums are up and off the couches and exercising daily! We have the team spirit!

  3. Hi Giovanni, I know what you mean- it would have been a lot more fun to say that I had been grabbed by a huge, west coast, rainforest snake, and lived to tell the tale!

    Can't hide anything from you, L! :) A morning without exercise-induced (running) endorphins is just not the same!

  4. So, is it too late to check out the "vine-induced leg wound"? You know what they say, "Give blood, go trail running!"

  5. Yeah, sorry Bf JJ, I thought it was a pretty cool pic but the more I looked at it, the less appealing it became. It is healing rather well though. Great to hear from you!