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And if I make it to the waterside, will I even find me a boat (or so)?

May 16, 2008

I know it’s been a while since my last entry but, I haven’t had any exciting news.  I do have a lot going on and hopefully someone can learn from this experience. 


This past week I saw a Neurosurgeon and a Neurologist.  With the Neurosurgeon we went over the MRI results and he concluded that I don’t need surgery, which was a big relief.  Although it would of been nice if he said, “oh, there’s a little problem in there, let me fix it.  It will only take a second and you’ll be as good as new in a couple of days”… but that’s just wishful thinking.  Then I saw a Neurologist and he conducted an EMG (electromyography) and he figured out that I have a 1.6 differential in my Soleus H reflex.  Any difference higher than 1.2 is abnormal.  In other words I cannot recruit my calf muscles as quickly and with as much power as I would need to run properly.  This happened because at one point I caused damage to my sciatic nerve at the S1 (upper sacral vertebrae) level.  This would have been around April 12th when I woke up with a locked up SI joint.  There must have been some sort of impingement to my sciatic nerve and everything around it tightened up as I couldn’t even bend over.  My last three weeks have been pretty much pain free with my back and things in there seem to be in their right place.


There was a one month period (April 12th to May 12th) where I did less running than I normally do in one day.  During those 30 days I ran less than any other 30 days in the past 10 years.  I’m finally able to run (if you want to call it that) for 45 seconds at a time.  I will jog for 45 seconds and then walk for 45 seconds, for a grand total of 35 minutes worth of jogging.  It’s good for me to get out there and do this so that when I come back running won’t be too foreign and I won’t get all the usual aches and pains associated with starting back up.  The downside is that when I’m doing this type of running I feel so far away from being able to rock and roll on the track, it would be quite depressing if you saw me doing this run/walk thing. When my left foot hits the ground I don’t have enough strength for a proper foot plant and I lack even more strength for a proper toe off.  From where I’m coming from though, it’s a good step in the right direction.  It may be another month before I can really run again, it may be shorter, it could be longer, nerves are tricky and a time-line cannot easily be predicted like, say, a stress fracture or a sprained ankle.


To get the nerve to recover I need to let it heal, hence the lack of running for four weeks straight.  I’m doing exercises for it, such as flossing in the slump position, and other things to make sure my back is in proper alignment.  I’m also seeing massage therapists to ease the recovery and get CranioSacral therapy.  Another therapy that I’ve recently begun is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), which is sort of like acupuncture because of the use of needless.  With IMS the needles go into different points and the muscles react with a spasm.  It feels quite awkward but, it has been highly recommended for my specific injury.


I’ve been able to stay fit with cross-training a ton (elliptical, bike and pool running).  It cannot replace running but it can be very beneficial.  I really believe that aerobically I’m in very good shape although I’m missing out on the specific pace work and lactic acid building workouts.  I find that workouts on the elliptical give me the best bang for my buck.  The good part about the elliptical is that I can turnover faster than the on the bike or with pool running.  In fact, many of my workouts are done around 230 strides per minute (significantly faster than running).  The downside is that the stride on the elliptical is much shorter than my running stride.   When I’m hammering on the elliptical and breathing hard I feel like I’m making progress and getting fitter, so it’s also a good tool to keep my sanity from not deviating too far. 

The bike is good because I can get on my mountain bike and use the dirt roads to get out in the open air.  It’s easier on the brain to put in time when the scenery is changing.  The pool is good because it allows me to open up my stride, it’s just at a much slower pace and you can’t get the heart rate up as much in the water.  The pool can be deathly boring though.

With my current aerobic base I know that once I’m able to run mechanically properly that I’ll be able to ramp up fast.  I’m doing way more overall training minutes per week and more workout minutes than I normally would when I’m running. 


During the past five weeks I’ve had a crushing blow to running the 10 000m this year at the Olympics.  It’s simply not going to happen because I won’t even have a chance to race a good 10 000m and get the A standard.   I know that I would of had a good shot at running sub 27:50 at the Payton Jordan, a missed opportunity for sure.  Racing and training was pointing to a PB over 10 000m and the PJ ended up being paced quite well for a 27:4X.  This year I had planned on doing a mini-peak for the race which would have been different from when I ran 27:56.  Mentally, the 10 000m was my event this year, not just a good preparation for 5000m races later in the season, like last year.

I’ve re-evaluated the importance of the Olympics to myself and the reasons I want to go.  Of course I still want to give it a shot in the 5000m.  Getting to the Olympics is, of course,  tough enough when I’m running and healthy.  It got a whole lot tougher seeing that I haven’t really run for five weeks and I still have a ways to go.  I like the challenge of getting to the Olympics, it keeps me motivated and is a definite goal.

More than going to the Olympics I simply want to run faster than I have before.  It’s too bad that Canadians don’t get until July 23rd to qualify, (Canada gives us until July 6th) because where I stand right now those 17 days could make a big difference.  Of course this deadline set out by Canada may deserve it’s own post  down the road sometime. 


By not having any significant injury in the past 10 years, this current injury has been a major blow to me both physically and mentally.  Most people will attest that it couldn’t of come at a worse time because I’ve previously never had a real shot at the Olympics.  Sure I’ve made it to the World Championships, where the competition is the same, but the Olympics are a obviously a bigger stage for the sport of Track and Field.  Not even being able to attempt a 10 000m just plain sucks.  Not being able to run right now is very frustrating.  I may have gone a little mental lately but I think I need to be to get through this cross training. 

I find solace in reminding myself that everything happens for a reason, I still cannot completely figure this reason out and I may never, that’s life.  I know that I’ve changed as a person and as an athlete through this ordeal and I think these changes are for the better.  Maybe that’s the reason right there?  Something good will come of this and I’ll eventually get to where I want to be, I simply cannot say when that will arrive even though I know it will happen.






  1. fan permalink
    May 16, 2008 7:11 pm

    what happens will happen, your direction is your own and you will unleash your truth with time. glad to see that you’re still focused and fired up. keep it cranked. 🙂

  2. May 16, 2008 9:02 pm

    Nice entries on this site and flotrack. You sound focused on recovery and mentally strong. Keep it up, a lot of people are following your story. Stay with it!

  3. Bruce Deacon permalink
    May 23, 2008 1:39 pm

    It is difficult to explain the mental stress of being injured to someone who is not an elite athlete. It is hightened when the injury comes just prior to a major games.

    I was injured in the month leading up to the 2001 WC in Edmonton. You awake each morning hoping that either you are healed or that the calendar has forgotten to advance a day.

    It is not uncommon to feel the same emotional feelings that you would have in a period of grieving. In reality, that is what is happening. You are grieving the loss of a dream. You feel anger, sadness, denial, hopelessness, loneliness. You become depressed and then philosophical and then depressed again. You hide yourself in the positive feelings of working hard…even if it is in a pool or on a machine. It is a real trip.

    Through this period, you do come to a place of refocusing on new goals. Either you refocus away from the sport or you refocus towards your future dreams and goals in the sport.

    Being a fan of your running, I hope that you refocus on future dreams. You are one of the most promising distance runners to come along in the last decade.


    PS Lynn Williams won bronze in 1988 after an extended injury and VERY aggressive pool running. She essentially did the planned training schedule in the water. She was SO tough!

  4. Skuj permalink
    May 24, 2008 12:16 am

    That’s a really shitty thing that happened to you Reid, and yet, amazing things could still occur, nontheless. I’m thinking of Ovett before LA, Cram before LA, Lynn Williams before Seoul, Wottle before Munich, and most recently, Nate Brannen.

    As long as you keep believing in yourself and all possibilities… hard as that may be right now. You might be “really running” for a month, and have a shocking trials 5000m, followed by even more amazing things. Life, and athletics, are full of weird and wonderful stories like this, and who knows… might add a famous chapter.

    Anything is possible. All that you’ve done in your running career up to now is not wasted, but awaiting some form of creative utilization!

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