Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Inflammation

(picture of the Arnica flower)

Happy Labor Day! It's a good thing I'm not going to work or school today because the inside of my left knee area is hurtin'! It isn't anything major, thankfully, just some inflammation due to tendinitis that I have experienced before and it will go away with some R.I.C.E. I iced the area this morning and then rubbed some Arnica cream on it before wrapping the knee in an Ace bandage. I also took an anti-inflammatory called Naproxen (Aleve) which brings me to the next topic that has been talked about so much as of late. When or should endurance athletes take these over the counter medications?

I don't pretend to be an expert in this area but I have learned a lot about this topic in the last couple of weeks. There was an article in the New York Times yesterday that reveals some very surprising research and information about this very topic...check it out HERE...and after competing in Where's Waldo 100k with Erik Skaggs just a couple weeks ago, where he had a little brush with death, it really gave everyone a lesson to be learned.

I must admit that I bought into the idea of taking an anti-inflammatory before and during an ultra marathon of 50-miles or more and felt that by taking Naproxen I was saving my stomach, kidneys, etc. I have since learned that it is not completely true and can actually have an opposite effect causing more inflammation! However, I do know that my leg feels better right now from taking the medication. The articles and research suggest that these types of acute injuries are what it is intended for and not for delaying or eluding pain in an ultra. Point taken and I feel grateful I learned about this now and not the hard way like Skaggs.

Anyway, I have also done a little bit of research to find homeopathic ways of treating inflammation and it did not surprise me one bit to find out that our diet can be a major factor. HERE is a short article about some of the foods to include and ones to avoid regarding inflammation. Flax, legumes, ginger, soy, green leafy vegetables and loads of fruit, nuts/seeds, and extra virgin olive oil are a major part of my diet and in fact...I think I am going to go and make some fresh ginger tea right now :0) ! ! !

I have also learned about some Arnica tabs that you can dissolve on your tongue that seems to be a safe alternative given that it is a plant. I may try these in my upcoming 100-miler instead of Naproxen given the things I have read about. Sometimes I just wonder if a lot of this is just a placebo effect for many athletes and if so it seems that the homeopathic option will be a better choice. I already have the ointment and now that I think about it...last year at Iroquois 100 I had Erica massage my legs with Arnica oil as I came through a few of the aid stations!

Despite my little annoyance with the knee today this past week involved some quality workouts. I was able to get in around 60 miles on the trails including a beautiful night run with the head lamp last night. I got in a couple weight training workouts and am looking forward to another solid week coming up before my taper for 100 in the Hood. If all goes well this coming Thursday I will be heading out to Breitenbush Lake to run 30-miles of the course on the Pacific Crest Trail and then start my taper immediately after that run. I will also be doing some volunteer trail maintenance work so I can meet my required ten hours for entry into the race. I think that this is an excellent idea for race directors to require volunteer work on the trails and I am really looking forward to the work parties set up in Powell Butte and Forest Park.

Hope everyone enjoys the holiday!....Happy Trails :0) ! ! !

Quote of the week: "To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain---not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it."---Dr. George Sheehan

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