31 December 2015

On the march- Wisdom from the road 001

It has been almost a month since I posted the first Fat Guy Road March and the MCS 3/30/60 Challenge.  This is by far the most exercise I have done since having my left ankle reconstructed after motorcycle accident in 2013.  My Doc was a good one, a sports medicine guy.  He advised me based on my size and the injury to never run again, and I decided to heed his advice.  I got fat(er) and unmotivated.

Since 01DEC15 I have completed 15 road marches, doing three days a week, with a day off between marches.  Distances have ranged from just two miles, my first, to doing six miles last week in 1 hr 45 miles.  I have walked in nice weather, and cold, wind, and rain.  Right now I feel better than ever and here are some thoughts thus far.

How to treat yo feet-  For years I have been a fan of Merrill boots and currently I am on my third pair of Merrell Moab Mid .  The pair I am currently wearing are very broken in, which of course is the best way to avoid blisters.  But I have gotten blisters in twice because of two different things.  The first time was after forgetting to put deodorant between my thunder thighs under my kilt.  By about mile four of my six miler I was experiencing the worst chaffing that I have ever had and that is saying something.  Having two more miles to go, my body naturally changed my gait to minimize the pain from chaffing.  This caused me to walk pigeon toed.  Going downhill put massive pressure on the outside of my right foot and just behind the two middle toes on my right.  This resulted in blisters.  The second time I got hot spots in about the same places and eventually blisters when my socks got soaked through from rain.  Moisture = friction =heat.  The heat causes blisters.  It had been a long time since treating blisters but here is what I did after completing the march.  I removed my boots and socks, and dried them with a towel.  Then I washed my hands and rubbed my feet down with Witch Hazel which is an astringent and a great after shave by the way.  This tightened the skin up.  After taking a pin and sterilizing it with a lighter before puncturing the blister from the side.  This releases the fluid.  Then for the next few days I alternated between the Witch Hazel and Gold Bond Powder.  My feet were happy again.  Had this occurred on a trip or longer march I would have just drained them and applied a fabric band aid over the blisters.  Keep in mind that if for some reason you are treating someone else blisters you should wear gloves.  I have found that for the most part we are immune to our own germs, but not other peoples.

Thunder thighs- after the above incident I purchased a pair of spandex/compression shorts and wear them under the kilt or shorts.  So much more comfortable and totally eliminates chaffing.

Hydration- needing new bladders and not wanting to pay Camelbak prices I decided to try the Condor bladders, both the 1.5 liter and 2.5 liter .  I could not be any happier with them.  No leaks and quality construction.  My only issue was that of course I forgot about rinsing them out with baking soda and water before use, so I got that nice plastic taste.  My habit is to refill the bladders in the pack when they are totally empty.  To keep things fresh and tasty between refills I just add a few drops of Essential Lemon Oil to a full bladder.  EO Lemon Oil is naturally antibiotic.

Shin splints- if you have had them you know exactly what they are, if you have not they are basically painful tears in the front, and sides of your shin.  All I can say it that they hurt like a bitch.  The most common reasons for them is lack of stretching and over training.  I have had them since high school, and only last week doing some research on the web have found two stretches that made them disappear literally over night.  The first is while standing keep your heel on the floor an raise your toes as high as you can, kinda like tapping your toe.  The second is while laying on your back, do your best to relax your calves.  I like to do mine with my feet hanging off the arm of the couch.  Do essentially the first exercise and bring your toes up as high as you can for a 30 count.  I have suffered with shin splints for over 25 years and now they are gone.

My wrecked ankle- even at the start gave me no more pain than the other.  The interesting thing is that it has never been closer in size to the other one than now.  Last summer while being on my feet bouncing, my wife would make a funny face when she saw the swelling when I got home.  The face that says "damn that looks painful".

Burning calories- right now I do two three milers and one distance ruck a week.  My average calorie burn for the 3 milers is around 1100 calories.  During the six miler I burned over 2200 calories!

The farther you go, the easier it gets-  the year before I left for basic training, I got to the point where I was running for an hour three days a week.  Even at that point the first few miles sucked.  Same with rucking.  After three miles I have to keep myself from running, I feel as though I could go forever.  You just get into the zone.

Well thats if or now.  I am sure I will have more soon.


  1. Cant agree more man Shin Splints hurt like nothing else. Gait analysis really helped me, plus educating yourself is obviously vital, I like when people share there experiences on blogs like this or to read informative sites like http://howtostopshinsplints.com

    All the best for 2016

  2. Thanks for your comments Mark.