Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blistering Pace

This morning Jennifer and I had another run together. We did separate warm-ups: I did a mile on the treadmill while Jennifer cruised the hood. The blister that formed earlier in the week seemed intent on staying and would eventually cause me to cut this run short.

I did everything I knew to do to slow the sweat accumulation in my liner; Certain-Dri applied at night, and some talc powder on the skin per another amp runner's recommendation. The day was going to be humid, but fortunately it was overcast when we started and at times we had some breeze. I had applied a soft blister block to my leg before my mile run on Saturday and it stayed put, so I figured it would last through this short run too.

This is only the second time I have run outside since my amputation, and the first in the neighborhood where I was 'that running guy' in years past. I found I had room in my bottle holder belt for two shamwows and an additional sock should I need it for fit; I had been adding at least one on my treadmill runs and sometimes two. We would not be far from home at any point so if I needed something I would just check into my supply closet.

We did our first mile very slow, over 12 min. pace. I am not trying to do anything fast right now, I have to build a base and keep the skin on my residual limb healthy. We stop by the house so I can clean the sweat out of my liner and add a sock; while I do this Jennifer runs around the block again.

On the road again and I decide to run around the back part of our neighborhood. Jennifer is doing a 10 miler so she really doesn't care much where we go, so I get to choose the route. It cools off a little with a nice breeze and I am able to extend the distance about 1.25 mi. before going through the sweat dumping process again. This time it is near our traffic circle, where there are some timbers framing a flowerbed. I sit on one and remove my prothesis; there is a least a quarter cup of sweat in the liner. I then notice the blister block has peeled away from my skin and the blister itself looks like skin is hanging off it. Yuckers.

I dry everything off and we walk home. The total distance turns out to be 4.6 miles; I was so tempted to walk the additional 0.4 but knew it just wasn't worth the gamble to make a bad situation a multi-day disaster. After my shower, a close inspection indicated the problem isn't as bad as I feared. The top layer of the blister did come off with the bandage, but some of the bandage residual looked like skin and came out with the bath.

Since I have tomorrow off, I think I should be able to run again on Tuesday. I've decided not to run more than 3 or 4 miles for a while, deferring to 2-a-days to minimize blister problems. I'll likely run 2 miles on the treadmill before work and then 2 - 4 at lunch or in the evening. I can be content not pushing the length of the run while increasing the time spent running and, of course, speed. With this current prosthesis full of plastic, a liner, many plies of socks and a sleeve, speed is just not something that will be easy to attain. It's easy to see how all these layers increase heat and the body's response of increasing perspiration.

When I talked to my prosthetist last Friday, I asked when I might expect to get a carbon fiber socket and running foot. For the former, my leg should have its volume stabilized so the more expensive socket will be feasible. For the latter, I will need to obtain a sponsorship or have to cough up a considerable sum to buy it. You can probably figure out the preferred route. For me this means getting back to my old running self as quickly as I can, but balancing that with not doing something stupid that will set the timetable back. The timeline is January - February for the socket; nothing is assured for the foot at this point. Well, nothing I can speak of with certainty just yet.

I was up to nearly 185 lbs after my surgery; last time I weighed I was 173.5. I should be under 170 soon, which I need to be for the feet I'd like to obtain. In the good old days of the last ten years, I generally raced around 163 lbs, and for marathons I was in the upper 150s.

We have registered for two races, the Conway Inaugural Rivertown Half Marathon and the Turkey Day 5k run in Charleston. Jennifer will do the half marathon at Conway and I will jog/walk the 8k. I wanted my first race not to be local to relieve some anxiety of the moment. I am hoping this blister problem will be under control by then or I will be in trouble far from the finish line. I will have to do a lot more early walking to avoid having to hop on the SAG wagon for a ride to the finish line.


It's been a memorable week for me. I have many challenges ahead but I have the tools to meet them now. This blister problem is one that should eventually resolve itself; the two things that I need to find answers for - managing sweat and getting a running specific prosthesis - will take a bit more work. I suppose as long as we live we will have challenges; I am ready to get beyond these on to the challenges of training.

Dammit, I have races to run! = ;-)

1 comment:

  1. You'll do it Richard! I would guess that skin will toughen up.