I visited the orthopedist this morning for a follow up X-ray. I was cleared to resume normal human operations (like walking) in early October, with escalating physical activity at my discretion. I waited about two months before tentatively trying some light running, and I have run about fifteen miles per week recently.
I decided it was prudent to reassess my fracture and see how it was progressing. I only saw the doctor for about ten minutes after I was X-rayed, but the fracture site has improved tremendously. The brightness of the X-ray image is proportional to the amount of matter in the path, and there is a very bright band around my fracture site like a strip of reflective tape. Compared to October, the band has expanded, filled in, and increased in mass considerably. You can still just make out the crack in the bone, though it is heavily obscured.
My orthopedist, Anthony Schena, reiterated that the bone will take several more months to remodel before it is back to its pre-injury status. He said that I should gradually increase the stress on the bone with time; the example he used was increasing the lengths of my runs.
While my peak goal before the team trials is only about 35 miles per week right now, I am considering changing my training profile to a slow increase in intensity over the next six months instead of a faster peak and taper before the team trials. Over the next two months, I plan to slowly ramp up my easy intensity mileage and spend lots of time skiing, swimming, and bowling. As the snow melts, I will add biking to the mix. My running should be constrained by a healthy increase to minimize the acute stress on my body, but I see no reason why I can't be much more aggressive with my easy intensity cardiovascular cross-training.
Incomplete list of nemeses:
Sergii Shtanko, UKR (he's on top of the podium) - ARDF
Ali - Orienteering (when I'm having a good day)
Sam - Orienteering (good day), bowling, and (maybe some day) skiing
Lori - skiing and shortness
Alex and Boris - Boggle
Emily - everything
Cross Country Skiing (Skate) 2:33:14 20.8 km (7:22 / km) +550m6:30 / km ahr:154 max:171 (sick)
I didn't sleep well because my sinuses kept congesting during the night. Dinner at the Balsams on Saturday was delightful. The orienteering crowd's formal attire was a brilliant contrast with their typical colorful pajamas.
After some consideration, I decided to race on red today instead of blue. I think I could have finished the blue course (in about 4 hours, perhaps), but I would have had less fun. There were much longer stretches of nearly flat skiing than yesterday, which was glorious. The views from elevated positions, e.g. near control 5, were magnificent. Alex very kindly placed Lori's and my bottles of gatorade at a convenient junction between controls 6 and 7. Lori apparently skied past the bottles, and as I knew she was ahead, I offered Lori's gatorade to Sam when we both reached that junction. I would have offered mine (as there was plenty), but for my illness.
I frequently ran into other competitors - I saw Ali around my controls 1 and 2, where she cheerily blasted past me; Ernst and Scott around controls 4 and 5; Lori at 4, 5, and 6; Brendan at 5; and Sam at 6 through 10. Lori started a bit before me, and I had a somewhat faster first half. I tried very hard to catch her, but she is wily and finished about a minute before me. Sam started gaining on me, passed me at 8, and escaped from view after 10.
The only significant error I made was that I should have gone north of the hill to 1 (5-10 minute error). My route to the finish was slow, but I didn't completely appreciate how much worse I am at skiing up steep trails than at running in ski boots.
I would like to be better at skiing; I enjoy the challenge. Right now, my focus is on becoming a faster runner and better orienteer, but I will spend more time skiing and working on good technique in the future.
Cross Country Skiing (Skate) 2:05:41 15.48 km (8:07 / km) +379m7:14 / km ahr:154 max:183 (sick)
This race was my third time skate skiing, and I went in with measured optimism. I had checked out maps of the Balsams and been concerned about the magnitude of the vertical relief; that fear was justified. I improved somewhat compared to my classical experience last year, but my technique is awful, and I only know how to V1.
I had a wonderful time, and found the course to be superlatively challenging. The herringboning was exhausting, and because my skiing is so poor, I transition to herringboning on relatively shallow climbs.
The few flats were fun - for instance, the first part of the leg from 3-4 was slightly downhill. I found the snowshoe trails to be difficult in part due to the deep snow. Double poling was ineffective; the poles would sink two or three feet into the snow before I found any leverage. I frequently sunk into the snow and wasted much energy extricating myself. The long snowshoe trail that I took to 7 was brutal. The much faster route to 7 was straight over an ungroomed field; I wonder how I would have fared on the virgin snow.