Unplanned Brick: Getting off the DL!


I sprained my ankle trail running two weeks ago in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.  Since Ultrathoner already took the time to write about our outing there is no need for me to duplicate it.

Houston we have a problem…

Now for a First Aid Lesson

A sprain is the actual stretching or tearing of the ligaments in my case the foot.  Thankfully it was a moderate sprain without torn ligaments.  For anyone who has not had a sprained ankle there will be point tenderness, swelling, bruising (maybe not) and pain with any sudden movement.

First aid for a sprain is simply damage control.  Remember RICE when dealing with sprains and other traumas.  It is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  To speed recover RICE should be maintained for at least 72 hours (3 days) after the injury.

  • Rest: Back off the stress and strain of walking, normal motion and of course more of the activity that caused it.  Face it you are on the disability list.
  • Ice: This step reduces swelling and helps with the pain.  For effectiveness maintain ice for 20 minutes 3-4 times a day.  Apply a compression wrap (i.e. ACE brand) after icing.
  • Compression: To prevent excess swelling and provide some support the injury should be wrapped.  Do not make it too tight!
  • Elevation: This also helps to reduce the swelling.  Elevate the injured joint above your heart level as much as possible.

The Return

I told myself I would take it easy for two weeks to let the ankle heal.  Easier said than done!  After five days I was antsy for some exercise.

I decided to go for a ride this morning for exercise of course but also to see how the ankle would feel.  A few miles from the house is the Cherry Creek State Park which has plenty of trails and roads to ride, run, etc.

Once I was in the park I noticed plenty of cyclists with numbers on their bikes and marked on their tricep and calf muscles.  One of the many triathlons in Colorado and I was in the middle of the ride segment! 

Being among members of the tribe (athletes in climbing, running and today riding) got me thinking about my training.  Normally I focus on one objective, a mountain or ultrathon normally, and train towards completing it.  Here were people that were swimming, riding and running all back-to-back; in this case 500 m swim, 10.5 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run.

I've never done a triathlon.  Training for the swim segment is the only skill I'm lacking.  As a scuba instructor for the last decade I know how to swim just not that far at one time.

I have several friends who reguarly compete in triathlons as frequently as I go after summits as a mountaineer

I often hear their stories of training and races mentioning brick workouts–two activities done back-to-back.  I have never done a brick.  So as I rode around the reservoir in the cool morning air I decided I would go for a run after I got home.

If you never ran after riding 19 miles it is a strange sensation.  My transition time was brief as I changed cloths and shoes before heading back out.  My legs were off for the first half mile with twinges that were not normal.  A short walk break to reset them helped as the rest of the run went stronger than I expected.

Brick workouts are not bad!  I felt that I worked harder but my speed on the run was only a minute slower than my average.  Back-to-back cross training, no matter what the activity, can only help conditioning.  Focusing training on just one activity develops the muscles required for performance but often leads to neglect of secondary muscles creating an inbalance that can lead to training injuries.  So mix it up!  The change of routine will help the mental aspect of training also.

The ankle is 90+% healed.  At least enough to run on flat roads.  I will stay off the uneven trails for a few more weeks.

An upcoming random wandering… 

The CDC's annual survey of obesity in the USA was recently published for 2008.  Once again Colorado came in as the leanest state though the fit are still a minority when the obese and overweight are tallied together.  An updated review of this state of the nation will build on my article from last year. 

Wake up people!  Get out and get moving!

Thanks for reading. 

Get out and explore the World!

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About Haliku

Mountain climber, ultrarunner, scuba instructor, world traveler, student of life
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2 Responses to Unplanned Brick: Getting off the DL!

  1. Katiebell says:

    I Loooove bricks. I can't ride a bike though, so I admit, I love the run and then swim. The swim is like a reward after a hot run. And now being located in Florida, no matter how early I get up its a hot run.

    And if you get your swimming in shape you will be formidible at Tri's. Most people who tri find that swimming is the weakest point for them….

  2. Ultra'thoner says:

    Glad to hear that your ankle is mending.
    I was wondering when you'd start thinking about tri's. I like running and think biking is excellent cross-training but am afraid of the road. Unlike Wisconsin, drivers are not used to bikes on the road and frankly it can be dangerous.
    As for swimming, I am amazed how I can run for 6, 8, 10 hours or more but will be completely exhausted after 45 minutes in the pool. Of course, I mostly just flail around splashing in the water so of course I'm tired afterwards!

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