Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The Weston Tuesday night sprint race was a wash. Literally. Saturated new snow and rain coming down hard cancelled the hurt fest. Probably just as well, since I've been nursing an ornery foot for a while now. I came to work prepared. In addition to skis, I brought running shoes and a bike with studs. Checking the snow before lunch, it was the moist, slippery kind. I thought hill repeats on Greens Pond Rd might not work so well like during last week's blizzard. Running was completely out of the question. The only other options were to go to the YMCA for a lunch time spin session or maybe a drop-in session at Kevin's gym.  I hadn't been to Kevin's new location yet. When I asked SteveG at work if he was interested, it was game on. He likes to see me suffer while attempting new stuff. Guess I have to take back what I said about avoiding "smelly clubs."

Not being a regular at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning, I never know what to expect. Today's workout was completely with kettlebells. Core, balance, legs, upper body, nothing escaped punishment. Kevin and Michele were both there for this session. There was one other noob on the kettlebells, so Kevin gave us a little one-on-one on proper technique. I don't remember all the names for the moves we did. Each went a minute of reps, six or seven different moves, sequence repeated four times. The one woman in the group worked with more weight than I could handle for a couple of the moves. Try balancing on one leg, bend all the way forward with other leg extended straight back such that leg and back form parallel plane with ground, then lower and raise kettlebell with arm opposite standing leg. My balance is pretty wonky. Needless to say, this evening I hurt in places I've never hurt before. Running, pushups, situps, skate skiing and cycling still allow many parts of the body to atrophy. Even though I've broadened the number of muscle groups I stimulate on a weekly basis, I need to do much more.

One of the hardest things for me to do relative to the other participants was stretching afterwards. My hamstrings are a huge limiter in how far I can bend forward. The workout and stretching also made it very clear my left ankle is not what it used to be. Its limited range of motion got in the way a couple times, and I was surprised how bad it hurt when pushing it.

Skate skiing has not been kind to  my left ankle. Initially, the medial malleolus became inflamed. I suspected the protruding screws just under the skin were to blame. A little padding below the knob help alleviate this. But a greater pain developed in the forefoot, not in the ankle joint at all. It involves the tendons or bones that go out to the big toe. Skating can cause intense burning sensation, and the pain can linger the following day. This has flared up in a big way over the last two weeks where I skied nearly every-other day. I got some of this pain rollerskiing, but rollerskiing only twice a week gave enough time to fully recover. Frequent skating on snow had an accumulative effect. This type of pain is consistent with a stress fracture. Why only the left foot has this problem, I don't know. Could be technique related, but the fact it is my left ankle with slightly limited dorsiflexion might be behind it too. I do notice my left ski boot seems to bind tighter over the top of my foot than the right does. This could put excess pressure on tendons.  Cycling does not cause any discomfort. Running doesn't seem to inflame the injury nearly as badly as skating does, even though running is the most abusive thing to put your ankles through.

Screws and bone calus make for pronounced medial malleolus

I find this quite frustrating, as skiing has become a passion only slightly behind cycling. I skied at Waterville last weekend with my busted up 6 year old boots (black and yellow Salomon's). It seemed to alleviate the discomfort some while skiing. Salomon doesn't make a boot like those anymore, and if I went to Alpina, I'd have to switch all my bindings over. Not sure what to do at this point.

Anyway, it was good to have some more weaknesses exposed at Kevin's gym. The new facility is spacious and clean. If you are in the Nashua area, drop in for a lunch session some time. Sessions are very reasonably priced.


Anonymous said...

For skate boots maybe you check out Salomon's Skiathlon boots. They are made for pursuit ski races where skiers race classic then switch right to skate. So they work for skating, but have much less stiffness around the ankle area. They are basically a minimal classic boot with a cinch strap added on to secure the upper ankle to add stability for skating. They might be exactly what you are looking for...They have them in the S-Lab version, but might also have a cheaper version as well.

Hill Junkie said...

Interesting. Waterville nordic center has a Salomon demo day on Sunday. What are chances they'd have this specialty boot? I might call to see if they can make my size available. The only other version of skiathlon boot I see is junior, which doesn't quite reach my size. S-lab is pricey. I've already spent $500+ on boots that give me grief. I'd have to be pretty sure about a new purchase. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Salomon has the S-lab and then the Pro Combi as a step down, but the Pro Combi looks to have much more structure around the ankle...much like a skating boot. The S-lab is expensive, but I own a pair and they are essentially a Salomon classic boot with an ankle strap added. Basically the only thing around the ankle bones is a neoprene fabric. They are very soft and comfy, but still stable with the leg strap. Looking at the picture of your protruding ankle bones the boots may very well fit perfect.

Hill Junkie said...

Skied at WV today and talked to the Nordic Center director. He'll see if the Salomon demo folks can make a pair of the S-lab Skiathlon's available in my size. That means I need to get back up there on Sunday.

solobreak said...

Doug, I went through very similar foot pain in 2009, brought on by running. MRI was negative for a stress fracture. Foot specialist concluded it must be an impinged nerve. Two cortisone shots and rest took care of it. I surmised maybe with my medium high arch that maybe my foot was just too weak and was flattening with each step. So I tried to strengthen it with some one-footed work. Never made a ton of progress, but I think it must have helped. Running again, so far so good. I think you're seeing some of the same thing I am -- hundreds of hours of cycling, year after year, all sort of age related structural issues slowly work their way into your body. The young guys should take note. Structural fitness work is the only way to stay in the game.

Hill Junkie said...

Solo - yeah, after 13+ years of being a single discipline monkey, I sometimes wonder if it is too late to bring balance back to my body. I find the few core exercises I've been doing have not become habbit yet. I forget or blow it off days in a row. I've been saying for years I need to get more serious about this. Now an ankle fracture got my attention. I've made some progress, but I need to make a much greater commitment to regaining structural fitness. What they say about old dogs is true.

Kim said...

YO Hill King

Entered Newton's REvenge am in need of advice as to gearing for this event. Thanks..

Im not in shape yet but hopeful


Hill Junkie said...

Duncan - would be glad to discuss. I suspect we would gear similarly on Washington. Chance I may do Newton's too. Contact me here to discuss further.


olivia graham said...

i crushed mine inbetween a truck and tree, i got two screws there as well. The bone is very prominate now