Friday, August 20, 2010

The slow recovery

The foot recovery has been going maddeningly slow.  I have managed to get back to my normal 4 mile loop around the Charles but I can only manage to do this for a day or two at a time before the foot starts to hurt again.  The flare-ups on top of my foot are expected, I didn't think that it was completely healed and past experience has shown me that ligament damage tends to take forever to really heal.  But what has me most worried is that after a couple days of running a pain starts in the ball of my foot behind the second toe.  This was the part of the injury that was really painful.  It had cleared up much quicker than the top of the foot and unfortunately it was pain-free by the time I got to see the doctor so it was pretty much dismissed.  Now that it comes back after some runs it has me nervous that things aren't as healed up as I thought.

This means that for every two days I run I have to take at least one day off just to get back to a "normal" state; normal being only a dull ache on the top of my foot and no pain in the ball.  Of course this means that  settling into a schedule is very difficult since I have to evaluate my condition after every run.  Highly annoying.

With that said: I think I may actually run a race this weekend.  The Butterfly 5K is Sunday and I have always enjoyed this net-downhill run.  It's for a good cause too so I might go ahead and have some fun with it.  Of course "running" the race this year does not mean I will be shooting to beat the 18:40 I ran at that race last year. Because of all of the reasons stated above I am looking forward to just being able to get out to a race and to run with other people.  I've missed the fun of racing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meet Sherman

Sherman is my bike.  She has been getting me through this long period of injury and basically keeping me sane.  She was made by Trek and is green.

Wait, Sherman is a she?!  Yes.  I suppose that is an extension of the tradition of sailors referring to their boats as female, because after all, it wouldn't be right for these burly men to lovingly talk about their boats as if they were other men.  Then again these are the same people that considered manatees to be beautiful mermaids so it's all subjective at this point.

Anyways, here's Sherman.
Look at those sweet lines.
Now let's get to the point.  She's a Trek 820 mountain bike built at some point in the last decade right here in the good ol' U.S.of A.  That's right, this marvel of engineering is a home-grown beauty so you just know that it is a quality bike unlike the modern Asian bikes that dominate the market today.  Not only that but Sherman proudly declares this right there on the fork. These colors don't run but they will zip by your ass!
American baby!
One of the current trends in cycling is to opt for a compact crank as opposed to the traditional triple.  As you can see in the picture below, Sherman refuses to follow the latest fads and instead stays with the tried and true performance of the triple crank.  Many people argue that a compact out-performs the triple because of the savings in weight coupled with the fact that a compact provides 90% of the gear range that the triple has.  Wrong.  Three is always better than two.
My crank goes to 21
While we are looking at the crank, notice the pedals.  They are the only upgraded part of the bike because let's face it, a bike this awesome could never be improved. You may have also noted that she is equipped with Shimano Altus components.  According to Shimano the Altus group "provides a feeling of "easy control" that inspires confidence, especially among novice cyclists and younger riders." So smooth and easy to control that a kid could hop right on and ride yet sophisticated enough for the discerning cyclist.  It is literally impossible to get any better than that.

But no discussion concerning a bike would be complete without talking about the composition of the frame.  Aluminum? Carbon fiber?  Titanium?  Once again this is where Sherman really shines.  The scientists at Trek looked at all of the available options and declared that they were just not good enough.  A new material was needed to create this bike.  They labored long and hard into the night, stopping only for the occasional Hot Pocket snack break and by the end of the day they had created a technical marvel; Cro-Moly!  An alloy which has such incredible properties that the composition of it is a closely guarded secret to this day.  Is it aluminium? Steel?  Kryptonite?  Something found only on the moon of Endor?  Damned if I know!
Now with more Einsteinium!
So far Sherman has held up to all that I can throw at her without complaint, except for the occasional creak and groan. She was never designed for long distances but has held up admirably over the past few months.  Some day I will look back and remember with fondness the miles we covered together.  The heavy, solid feeling of the ride, the sudden jumping of the chain during a shift, the need to stop pedaling when shifting the front derailleur.  All these memories will stay with me if the day ever comes to move on to another.  Sherman is a good, solid bike which has kept me active, even if she does have a strange affinity for George C. Scott.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Let the rehab begin

Last night I went out and did two miles; my first time back out on the road.  The foot held up nicely and there was no pain at all.  Hopefully this is the beginning of the long journey back.  I am going to start up a running schedule and we will see how the foot holds up.  If all goes well I hope to be able to enjoy at least some of the warm weather.

Now while the foot felt good, the rest of me has gone to hell.  My form was crap and I am terribly out of shape, but it's a start.  One step at a time!