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The Sgt. Hulka Story: A Cautionary Tale for Stupid People (Read 970 times)

    2:53 a.m. O-dark-30. The middle o' the night. But I have a story to tell, a story of epic idiocy and stupendous stupidity. A cautionary tale - that no one will listen to. But it's kind of funny, in a "this sucks, but boy it'd be funny if it was happening to someone else" kinda way. In other words, not very funny. To me. But you might think so. 2:55 a.m. now. And Sgt. Hulka is barking at me, louder than ever. (Editor's Note: for those unsure who Sgt. Hulka is or why his name will forever be associated with the largest toe on your foot, please run - at roughly 10K pace - to the nearest video store and grab yourself a copy of "Stripes." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stripes_(film). Your life is not yet complete if you managed to miss this early 80s classic.) 3:08 a.m. now. Time for a little background on the sad but stupid story of Sgt. Hulka: At some point in mid-September, my big toe started bothering me. It wasn't bad at first, not acute. I really only felt it after faster runs - slow runs, no matter how long, didn't seem to be a problem. But I knew it was a little hint that I was pushing things a bit ... and it wasn't a coincidence that I skipped from 90+ miles in August to 140+ miles in September. In the last week of September, I ran 42 miles - only the second 40+ mile week I've run. I ran 5 days in a row, starting with a pretty hard long trail run ... and ending with setting a new PR on my daily 7-mile course. And on that last day of September, there's a big red cross on the calendar for that date. With this typed in all capitals next to it: "BIG TOE!" Yup. That about sums it up. BIG TOE! You'd a thunk that might have caught my attention. It really hurt. I've (almost) never iced an injury in my life, and when my better (smarter) half told me to put a big bag 'o ice on Sgt. Hulka, I laughed. Me? Ice? Ha. Injuries are for other people. Weak people. And even if I was hurting, I wasn't about to dignify the pain with ice. Uh huh. Right. So ... there I was icing the foot, of course. As instructed. Within a day, I reluctantly had to admit the truth: the ice helped. A lot. I spent two days with my foot in a bag of ice at the office, and a bigger bag of ice sitting on my toe, as I sat in the Lazy Boy at night. Watching Mr. T on A-Team reruns. (Not really, but a gratuitous Mr. T reference had to be stuck in here somewhere). It helped. I found an old unfinished prescription for some anti-inflammatories and started taking those. And drinking beer, which helps everything. And took a few days off. And now it's time for the irony. During roughly this same period, I was having a couple of conversations about injuries. Let me quote my brilliant self a few times. You'll like this part:
    The single most important factor in running longer or better or faster - is not getting injured. Most of us ignore that, assume training harder (rather than smarter) will be better ... and sooner or later, pay the price.
    Mmm hmm. Good advice. What a wise and clever man you are!
    if you're training right, you shouldn't have constantly shifting aches and pains. Sometimes its inevitable, but if its "always something," you're overtraining. The good news is that sooner or later, you're body will make sure you don't really hurt yourself. The bad news is it might keep you off your feet for a month when it happens. The time to change things is now, not when it's too late. And no - I can't follow my own good advice. I'm in the middle of my own forced layoff after pushing through a minor ache that wouldn't go away.
    Right. Sure thing. More great advice. Of course, I was fibbing a bit. My "forced layoff" lasted all of two days, followed immediately by a 20-mile trail run.
    Jumped from a 90+ mile month to a 140+ mile month, with a 42+ mile week last week ... and now I'm hurt. Pushed right through the pain yesterday, broke my PB on my daily 7-miler by a whopping 3-minutes ... and now my big toe feels like a small shark is nibbling on it. A small but hungry shark.
    Hmmm. You'd think after writing that, I would have learned. In fact, let's look at my next sentence:
    How very stupid I am. No long run for me today, thanks to not following my own advice. Wonder if I'll ever learn.
    Um ... no. Apparently not.
    Yup. I have a theory that it takes injuring yourself at least 3 times before this lesson starts to sink in. And they have to be stress-injuries caused by too much upping the mileage, and they have to be severe enough injuries to completely screw up your running and keep you off your feet for a few weeks, so that it finally hits you that - because you were stupid - all that extra (extra stupid) hard work actually made you fatter and slower. Me, I'm at injury 2.5 right now. One more moment of abject stupidity and I might have learned my lesson.
    And then again, maybe not. Abject stupidity? Why, yes. Lesson learned? I'm having trouble with that part. But before I end this review of all my words of wit and wisdom, let's look at one more:
    Ironically (and I'm not naming names!), there are at least a couple people right on this thread alone that (I peeked!) have doubled their mileage in a month or two and are busy chasing more mileage, just so that they too can learn the lesson the hard way. Tongue
    "Ironic," huh? Yeah. That's about right. Especially considering that yours truly went to bed (limped to bed) tonight pondering the fact that running the scheduled 10-K tomorrow, plus the 3 miles to the track and back ... would get me within a couple miles of my first 50+ mile week. So as I drifted off (limped off) to dreamland, I was trying to decide how best to add in those couple of extra miles tomorrow ... just, you know, because. 3:51 a.m. Not that I could sleep anyway with Sgt. Hulka yelling at me. But I better wrap this up, so I can go back to not sleeping. Wonder what's on TV at 3:52 a.m. on a Sunday morning? So after all of the above, how'd I get here - me and the Big Toe and the two snoring dogs at my feet, everyone in the house happily sleeping but me? Well, after that long trail run earlier this week ... the toe felt better. Slow running doesn't seem to bother it. In fact, I tripped over a few roots along the way, and I was wondering if maybe I'd dislocated it or something and knocked it back into place. I felt just fine! In fact, I felt so peachy-keen, that I decided I wouldn't run just one of the virtual races thsi weekend, but all three. When another run was added, I decided to do that, too. Why not? No big deal. It's not like I'd already figured out that it was faster runs that kept injuring Sgt. Hulka or anything. Roll eyes So being the semi-retarded simpleton simian that I am, I not only planned to run 3 (or 4) fast runs on 3 (or 4) consecutive days) ... I also quit icing the foot, and quit taking the anti-inflammatories. Why bother? The toe felt better. Who ices injuries when you can't feel them? (By the way, the answer to that rhetorical question is - anyone with an ounce of common sense. Duh.). So Friday morning, I went to the track and pushed a 5-K for the first time since last spring. Obliterated my old PR by a minute and a half. And Sgt. Hulka started barking. The hungry little shark was back. This morning (um ... yesterday morning. It is 3:59 a.m., after all), I went back to the track and ran a fast 5 miler. Another PR. Yeah, me! Sgt. Hulka was even less happy with me. But no ice. No drugs. Still planned to do the 10-K tomorrow. And the 10 mile the day after. Went to sleep early, ignoring the toe ... An hour ago (or so), I woke up to indescribable pain. The little shark was gone; Jaws (or maybe his bigger, hungrier cousin) was gnawing on my toe; Sgt. Hulka was firing the big guns. It hurt so bad that it actually woke me up; just the pressure of the sheets on my foot felt like a nail was being driven right into the end of my toe. I can't bend it; I can't move it. It feels like something horrible bit me. So here I sit. It's now 4:08 a.m. And I'm enjoying my (hopefully) last moment of "abject stupidity." Serving as a cautionary tale to any future stupid person who may come along and read these pain-laced words. Not only could I not run right now, I can barely walk. It's going to take me five minutes to limp to the kitchen to refill this bag of now melted ice. So what have I learned? Well, obviously, I learned that not having any beer tonight was a huge mistake. That's clearly the most important lesson. And maybe - maybe - I've finally learned that other lesson, too. About not ignoring pain, about not piling on miles “just because,” about treating an injury right, about not pushing it when it’s not smart. Or maybe not. The fact that I've been sitting here trying to figure out how exactly I'm going to squeeze in that 10-K (and 10 mile?) in the next 48 hours might not be a good sign. No joke - I've actually been wondering where football players get those injections so they can play injured. Is that shit available over the counter? Cuz if I could just completely numb this toe ... I am positive I could run a sub-50:00 10-K tomorrow. If anybody can hook me up, let me know. Smile Novocaine, maybe? Barry Bonds would probably know. An injection? A lotion? C’mon, people. Help me out here. It's 4:31 a.m. And I need help. A 12-step program? Can you cure stupid? Think I'll go check out Comedy Central. Maybe "Stripes" will be on. Remember the sad saga of Sgt. Hulka. Don't be me. Every army needs it big toes. -------------------------------------------------------- Sergeant Hulka: Okay, Mr. Push-ups, let's hear your story. John Winger: Chicks dig me, because I rarely wear underwear and when I do it's usually something unusual. But now I know why I have always lost women to guys like you. I mean, it's not just the uniform. It's the stories that you tell. So much fun and imagination. [points to the soldier next to him] John Winger: Lee Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the two of us together, forget it. I'm gonna go out on a limb here. I'm gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka is always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sergeant Hulka. [the soldiers start clapping]
    E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
    -----------------------------

      By the way ... anybody know what might be wrong with my !%*@%* toe?
      E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
      -----------------------------


      Needs more cowbell!

        So what have I learned? Well, obviously, I learned that not having any beer tonight was a huge mistake. That's clearly the most important lesson.
        Well, duh! Seriously, how could any troll come in here and accuse any one of us of settling for mediocracy? But that toe definitely sounds messed-up--might you have dislocated it? I think I'd get my butt to a doctor first thing in the AM tomorrow to see if they can figure it out. In the meantime, you need to have someone run to the store and get your over-exuberant monkey butt some beer, gorilla man! Tongue k

        I shoot pretty things! ~

        '14 Goals:

        • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

          Congratulations on your two PR's. Your name has been removed from the 10K list. Urgent cares are open on Sundays. Follow their advice. Not sayin' one more word. Wink Tight lipped

          Roads were made for journeys...


          You'll ruin your knees!

            R.I.C.E. - "That's the fact, Jack!" Sorry to hear you are ailing. If you don't go to a doc, at least continue the icing and elevating and know that a week off won't kill you! C'mon, dude, listen to your body! Even after drillin all night, Winger and the troops RESTED before hitting the parade ground! You can too! Take care, Lynn B

            ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)


            Finished!

              Yikes! Did you go have that Toe of yours checked out?
              Walk + Jog = wog.
              I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
              I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry
                Betcha 6 to 1 he didn't...

                Roads were made for journeys...


                Finished!

                  Betcha 6 to 1 he didn't...
                  What is it with boys and doctors (my DH is the same way...)? I don't like the medics either, but I figure if I'm damaged, better go get fixed sooner rather than later Shy Jake, we've got bets riding on you Wink did you go have ye old toe examined?
                  Walk + Jog = wog.
                  I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
                  I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry
                    LOL! Anyone else want to place a bet? Big grin

                    Roads were made for journeys...


                    Needs more cowbell!

                      I've got $10 on him not seeing a doc.... k

                      I shoot pretty things! ~

                      '14 Goals:

                      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                        Jake, hon, it's not that we don't love you.... We're picking on you because you don't follow your own (good) advice. If you were some completely clueless person that this happened to we'd keep our grins to ourselves and do our best to help you. But you know better! You've even said it yourself! Sure, your toe injury is probably not life-threatening, and with the proper application of RICE will probably get better in time. And if it's a stress fracture? It'll still heal with time. ::shrug:: Hmm... It could be gout! Those crystals gather in toes and really really hurt, from what I've heard. Could also be tendonitis. Point is, if it's not getting better you should get it checked out and you know this. If running hard makes it worse you should lay off the hard miles. And you know this. The fact that you don't follow your own advice is why I give you such a hard time.

                        Roads were made for journeys...


                        Finished!

                          Jake: I apologize if I jumped too quickly on the Razzing - I want to thank you for being so awesome with welcoming in newbies like myself into the crazed world of running. On your recommendation, Ive been tearing my way through various running books, the Galloway book on running being one of them I do hope your toe isn't severely damaged - and it has actually brought to mind a condition I have recently observed in my own feet (foot) - I'll not hijack your thread but will start a new one - but I do sincerely hope that your toe is on the mend, and that you aren't taking the joking too personally. Injured to or not, you are an inspiration Smile
                          Walk + Jog = wog.
                          I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
                          I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry


                          Needs more cowbell!

                            Injured to or not, you are an inspiration Smile
                            Yep...and trolls don't stand a chance with the gorilla man on watch! Big grin k

                            I shoot pretty things! ~

                            '14 Goals:

                            • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                              Jake, we've got bets riding on you Wink did you go have ye old toe examined?
                              Of course not. What kind of girly-man do you think I am? Cool
                              R.I.C.E. - "That's the fact, Jack!" Sorry to hear you are ailing. If you don't go to a doc, at least continue the icing and elevating and know that a week off won't kill you! C'mon, dude, listen to your body! Even after drillin all night, Winger and the troops RESTED before hitting the parade ground! You can too! Take care, Lynn B
                              Roger that. Nice to know that *somebody* out there still remembers 1981. Spent yesterday in a recliner, doped on various ineffective but entertaining painkillers, bucket of ice to stick my foot in next to me (which, for the record, hurts like a sonuvabitch. Anybody see that scene on Grey's Anatomy with the ice? Uh uh. No way. 30 seconds in ice water hurts bad). Lots of rest, lots of elevation. Of course, stomping my feet while the Titans and Cowboys BOTH lost games they should have won didn't help. But I digress. A week off (or so) - check. RICE - check. I even had an apple today, doctor.
                              Congratulations on your two PR's. Your name has been removed from the 10K list. Urgent cares are open on Sundays. Follow their advice. Not sayin' one more word. Wink Tight lipped
                              Urgent care is sissies. All I need is a beer and a willing woman. And I can't find either. Woe is me. Woe is my toe. And I've still got almost 8 hours to get that 10-K time in. I'm thinkin' about it, too.
                              Sure, your toe injury is probably not life-threatening, and with the proper application of RICE will probably get better in time. And if it's a stress fracture? It'll still heal with time. ::shrug:: Hmm... It could be gout! Those crystals gather in toes and really really hurt, from what I've heard. Could also be tendonitis.
                              No, it's definitely a shark bite. A land shark. Small one. And who said it wasn't life-threatening?
                              The fact that you don't follow your own advice is why I give you such a hard time.
                              .......... Doctor, it hurts when I do this! .......... then don't do that! Black eye
                              Jake: I apologize if I jumped too quickly on the Razzing - I want to thank you for being so awesome with welcoming in newbies like myself into the crazed world of running. On your recommendation, Ive been tearing my way through various running books, the Galloway book on running being one of them I do hope your toe isn't severely damaged - and it has actually brought to mind a condition I have recently observed in my own feet (foot) - I'll not hijack your thread but will start a new one - but I do sincerely hope that your toe is on the mend, and that you aren't taking the joking too personally. Injured to or not, you are an inspiration Smile
                              Please. My feelings don't bruise that easily. My toe, on the other hand .... Enjoy Galloway. You'll see him get a bad rap from some of them elite A-teamers. Don't listen. For beginners like us, there is nobody better. And interestingly enough, had I paid attention to those chapters on injury - I wouldn't be sitting here with a bag of ice on my foot. -------------------------------------------------------------------- To summarize the synopsis of the conclusion: yesterday was very sleepy and very painful. Today is better. But I won't be running a step for a while. Unless I go open that bottle of tequila on the top of the fridge and go run a 10-K. And when I start back, no speed work or races for a while. Thanks to all for the kind thoughts, the unfunny jokes, the cruel remarks, and the occassional helpful advice. I look forward to chortling mercilessly when some of you get hurt. In short, bite me. But not on my toe. Big grin
                              E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
                              -----------------------------

                                "But I wouldn't make a habit of taking them without hydration. I did it by accident the other day. I was relying on water fountains, took the GU as I walked to the fountain ... and the fountain was broken." JakeKnight, Quoted from Gu thread I'm going to assume this was on one of your less than intelligent runs? I'm going to assume that "the other day" was, in fact, the other day & not today?? I'm going to assume that Gu or no Gu, your ass is parked on a couch with a bucket o' ice, a bottle o' ale & Stripes in the dvd player & NOT, I repeat, NOT out running any 10k's??? Man, do I sound like the mom that I am or what???? Wink
                                So do not get tired and stop trying. - Hebrews 12:3
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