February 28, 2011

Back inside, on the treadmill

I'm running again. OK, I'm alternating walking and jogging every couple of minutes for about a mile.

Four weeks after injuring my Achilles, the pain is gone. The tendon is still a bit tight, but it feels better every workout. I warm up with 10 minutes on an exercise bike, then switch to a treadmill. After more than a year of running outside rain, snow or shine, I'm back inside - in a storage room at the office with some fitness equipment and a sump pump. I went five miles in the past week.

Recovery is going to be slow, but I'm happy to be running again.

February 21, 2011

Achilles healing near home


While I haven't been able to run, snowshoe or cross-country ski due to injury lately, I have been getting out on my usual morning walks with the dogs.

We've been taking it easy to give my Achilles tendon time to heal and hiking the short, level trails at the Tower Street Conservation Area on the edge of Missoula. It's not far from home and there isn't much to it - stands of cottonwood trees along the Clark Fork River - but it has been interesting to see through the winter.

Earlier this season, the river fully froze over and produced a big ice jam. When the water reaches the right temperature, slushy frazil ice forms and gathers in eddies along the river. And there's been a good variety of birds, including pileated woodpeckers, above, great blue herons, bald eagles and Canada geese, below.


See a collection of photos from the past month here.

Trailhead: A little more than 1 mile west of South Reserve Street on South Third Street West in Missoula, then about a quarter-mile north on Tower Street.

Distance: There are a variety of trails; the main loop through the cottonwoods, along the river and back to the parking lot is about three-quarters of a mile.

February 7, 2011

New view at Hike MT

With a little downtime from running and cross-country skiing, I decided to give Hike MT a new look. This is only a stock Blogger template, but a bit more modern. And I've learned how to manipulate the background image, which I'll probably change from time to time depending on the season or where we've been.

A run of bad luck?

I had been debating whether I wanted to run a marathon or a series of half-marathons this year - there are interesting road and trail races around Missoula in every season. Now, it looks like I'll be focusing on getting back on my feet after a month of irregular activity and setbacks.

I finished December with a short family vacation sans running in the Yellowstone National Park area, then caught an out-of-the-ordinary cold, then Missoula was coated by freezing rain, then I ran into a minor complication with blood pressure medication.

Just when I was getting into my routine again, I injured my Achilles tendon. Around mile eight of a 13-mile run into the North Hills a week ago Saturday (below), I started to feel a little sore. I kept running, when in hindsight I probably should have walked the shortest route home. I stretched afterward, which felt OK. Later, pain set in. Sunday was worse. By Tuesday, the soreness had subsided some, but I was at the physical therapist.

I'd like to chalk it up to an increase this winter in running on snow- and ice-packed trails with uneven footing when I previously stuck to roads in the cold months, but I don't really know the cause.

I do know that an Achilles injury should be taken seriously and addressed as soon as possible. The PT put me on some specific stretches and the bike machine in my living room. It's not the North Hills, but I'm still moving. (Cross-country skiing is out, too.)

The first half-marathon of the year - the Snow Joke in Seeley Lake - is out, but I hope to be ready for some other races, or even a full, by summer. We'll see, though.