Update + Getting Through Injury & Sickness

The winds of change are blowing…

With all the things that have happened since last spring, it feels like an eternity since anything school related has been on my radar. Now, school is back in session. For me, nothing has really changed too much as far as classes are concerned because I was taking mostly online classes last year before the pandemic started, and will go back to taking more online classes again this semester. It seems my “norm” is becoming more of the “norm” around the country, as far as schooling is concerned. Since the last update, I was able to do a few more cool Alaskan outings to finish off the summer before the school year! In the first part of the month, I was able to tag along with Hunter and Chip for a caribou hunt up north of Fairbanks. Long story short, we woke up early, hopped in the truck, and shortly before reaching our destination, the truck broke down. Luckily we were able to get our hands on a satellite phone, got in touch with some help, and thought, “Well, they won’t be here for a few hours, so let’s go hunt.” A couple hours later Hunter had notched his first ever caribou tag, and we were loaded up with heavy packs heading back down the mountain! Needless to say, we finished out the summer with a BANG! And of course more training. 😉

(From left to right, Hunter, Chip, Me, with Hunters first caribou.)

Glass half full mentality…

Having been at sea level for roughly 6 weeks now, it is safe to say that my body has normalized to its new environment. It did however take around 26 days, which was very interesting to see. During the “boost week” of the last training block, I can certainly feel now that it did indeed help boost fitness, but I also picked up a couple of injuries. One, a strained calf muscle which I got during a bounding interval session, and the other was a case of either tendonitis or tenosynovitis in my right hand, and I have no clue how I picked that up. (Although I do have some ideas.) This meant no running and very limited roller skiing. Luckily it all happened at the tail end of the block and I had a recovery week following it, which enabled me to get a handle on things. I continued to plug along through these injuries with training, using different methods such as the ski erg and spin bike, and now both injuries have seemingly healed. It wasn’t the ideal way to do things, but it got the job done, and I came out the other side stronger than I would have otherwise. In other words, persevere! Do whatever you can do, and do it to the best of your ability. You’ll be all the better for it! 🙂

(Lots of sweaty indoor sessions over the last couple weeks…)

Coming back from injuries…

The bigger point I want to address is returning from injury or illness back into regular training. Like most of us, I have gone through my share of sickness and injuries despite trying my absolute best to avoid both. The most important piece of the puzzle to keep in mind when coming back, is to do it slowly and steadily. One of the worst things you can do is rush your return, and wind up setting back the clock and restarting your healing process. To give you an example with my recent calf injury, I gave it 3 days, it felt mostly normal, I rolled the dice and ran on it to try to give my hand a break, and went right back to where I was 3 days before. I came back too quickly… After that, I made sure that I was 200% certain that it had healed before I started building back the run. I started with a 15 minute run, and almost 3 ½ weeks later, I am up to an hour of easy running. I hope to return to complete normality in the next couple weeks in regards to both running volume and intensity. As they say, “Patience pays dividends.”

(Been wearing some extra padding to help put the hand.)

Hope everyone has had a lovely summer!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts