Frölicking trails since 2010

Frölicking trails since 2010
Frölicking trails since 2010

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Jbob Reinvented, An Injury Memoir

“When life shuts a door…open it again. It’s a door. That’s how they work.”

Running injured at the Deception Pass 50k. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.


Hello people. My name is Jbob, and I’m a recovering injured runner.

A year ago, a friend asked me what running is to me. This was my response:

These days, I care a lot less about trying to prove myself. I’ve accomplished a lot, and I’m still eager to discover my full potential, but running has become more of a basic source of fulfillment for me.  Running provides so many positive things for me, but the simplest way to put it is this: to see a hill, valley, or mountain may be beautiful, but the only way I can truly feel fulfilled is to become a part of the scenery and run through the landscape. It’s how I bond with nature and truly appreciate the world we live in. I often blow kisses when I run or touch the trees/plants as I run by them. Additionally, running has given me an identity, confidence, and self-esteem. I do battle depression at times, as we all do to some extent, and running keeps my emotions balanced, my mind clear, and my heart strong.” - Jbob

Each person has a different story or path in life, and the running community is full of people of all backgrounds that are united by a common passion. At times, it feels like a family the way this community supports one another (to no end) to be their best selves.

When many of us are unable to run, even with the support of our closest friends and allies, we sometimes become the worst versions of ourselves. When the activity that gives us the most life gets taken away, it’s our attitude that ultimately determines whether we go down the path of progression or resentment.

Deception Pass 50k. Photo by Kerri Anne Stebbins.


"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" - Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Day #1 of injury
Since July 2015, I’ve woken up every morning with a discomfort in my right foot that has only gotten more sensitive with time. On my 1 year injur-versary, my foot was the most sensitive it had ever been. This wasn’t exactly encouraging, and often times was quite depressing. Eventually, my running was whittled down to nothing, and still the injury did not improve.

The cause of the injury has been a perfect storm of neglect, and my poor peroneus longus tendon has felt the brunt of it all. The tendon has become more and more sensitive with use, and the pain predominantly resides where the tendon wraps around the cuboid and travels across the arch and connects to the 1st metatarsal. The foot generally is super tight in several areas that prevent the tendon (and foot) from functioning smoothly. That, and my lack of mobility in the foot/hip likely adds undue stress to the tendon.

Through my frustrations, I’ve had several epiphanies that have helped me turn my injury into one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.


"Learning is a gift, even when pain is your teacher."

The only regrets I have in life are the times that I knowingly or unknowingly hurt someone else. I have absolutely no regrets for the times that I’ve hurt myself, or when others have hurt me, because these instances have provided me lessons that which have made me stronger as an individual. And for that, I have no regrets about running myself into the ground.

Sometimes it's necessary to take a step
backwards before taking 2 steps
forward. Photo by Long Run
Picture Company.
It’s not like I’m welcoming this injury with open arms, but chances are it’ll turn me into the greatest runner I’ve ever been.  While searching for a remedy, I’ve seen at least 4 different Physical Therapists, two Acupuncturists, 1 Foot Surgeon (for MRI interpretation), 1 masseuse, 1 Voodoo Witch Doctor…and they’ve all found SOMETHING DIFFERENT about me that needed work/improvement, especially when considering the longevity of my running career. Feet were tight, hips were lying, mobility was laughable, the right ass was locked up, etc. I was a hot mess, and the foot was feeling the brunt of a terrible running philosophy that neglected self-maintenance. What a damn fool I was.

On a daily basis, I’ve done a number of things to help improve my situation, such as doing self-massage, physical therapy exercises, strength training, planks, pushups, pull-ups, low impact cardio (stairs, rowing, mountain biking, alpine touring, bouldering), Jbob vinyasas in the mornings while emphasizing some Jasyoga poses, periodic foam rolling, and probably some other forms of magic. The point is, this injury has forced me into a regiment that I SHOULD HAVE adopted during my first 5 years of ultrarunning. Some lessons are learned by watching other people commit mistakes, but this time it was my turn on the injury wagon. My hope for you is to understand my situation and learn from my mistakes, but chances are you’ll be on that injury wagon someday, too. Such is life.

Stair Climb to raise money for the American Lung Association.


“We don’t want bad times, of course. But bad times are out of our control as much as good times. The times we don’t want will come (and go) no matter what we do to control the situation. The good times will do the same. Thus, beyond just simply living in each moment, we should realize that such control is impossible, a pipe dream.”
– Steve Hagen, Buddhism Plain & Simple

So little is actually within our control, and our physical abilities that we often take for granted can be restricted or made impossible at any moment. As runners, we run until we break. That’s what we do, and it’s a never-ending cycle that even the smartest of runners can’t avoid entirely. In short, every runner experiences lows, but without the lows there would be no highs. Always remember that.

I've had some very low moments with this injury, especially because I never fully understood what was causing the pain. Staying hopeful, proactive, and listening to Taylor Swift was what allowed me to cope and work to heal.


Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Running has been so much a part of my life the last 6 years, it almost feels like it’s become my identity. And by not being able to run, I feel like I’ve lost my sense of self… And then I realized that’s complete bullshit. The runner didn’t create the Jason, it’s Jason that created the runner! So by subtracting the running from the life of Jason, what’s left? A determined mother hugger who’s going to figure out how to run forever. Our passions don’t define who we are, they simply expose who we are and bring us to life.

Mt. Hood Summit


"I try to laugh about it, hiding the tears in my eyes, because boys don't cry." - The Cure

What’s currently helping my foot is deep tissue massage of the area behind the first metatarsal, combined with some ultrasound, e-stem, progressive tendon loading exercises, and stretches to improve foot mobility. For the first time in over a year, my foot has been progressing a positive direction, and I’m finally able to run without aggravating my tendon. I’ve been dreaming of this feeling for a long time, to run freely without discomfort, and it makes me feel like a puppy frölicking through a meadow of sunflowers. I still have a ways to go, but after a 15 mile trail run in the Columbia River Gorge, I'm happy to report no limping the next day. Fingers crossed!

I've had enough successful runs to really start planning my 2017 running adventures, and I can't wait to rebuild myself into a stronger & faster Jbob.

Photo by Paul Nelson.


Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Ah, the ego. I’ve never felt like my ego has been something that I’ve needed to defend, but it’s something that I’ve always personally challenged. My goal has never been to win a race, but instead to focus on being my fastest self. If someone runs a faster race than me, kudos to them. That said, I’ve lost a great deal of fitness over the last year, and many of my personal goals rely on me being in the greatest shape of my life. Ergo, to keep my ego from crying me a river, I’ve had to sincerely believe that I’ll come back stronger than I was before.



Ice Skating with my niece
and my pops!
When one door closes, another door opens…even though I’m still trying REALLY hard to re-open that first door! But seriously, without the running door closing, I would not have so full heartedly explored other realms of exercise. Such activities include alpine touring (skiing), mountain biking, bouldering, ice skating, rowing (stationary), and running stairs in my office building. While none of these come close to replacing the joy I get from running, they satisfy my need for exercise, expand upon my skillset, KEEP ME SANE, and give me great alternatives for which to take someone on an adventurous date…minus the rowing and running stairs (unless that’s what she’s into).

As I've learned, there are other things in life aside from running that can bring out the “JASON!” inside, and this injury helped me discover things that at the very least make my tail wag.

Tamarack, Idaho


It’s been a battle to stay positive and motivated through a frustrating injury, but I’ve made the most of my time away from running. Will I get injured again? Yes. But it’s worth it to me to continue to find and push my limits. "Success" isn’t a linear path, and obstacles always get in the way, but that’s life. A life without challenges will prevent you from discovering your true potential. And we're capable of so much more than we know.

May your injuries, current or future, bring out the best in you.

Much Love,


1 comment:

  1. Good to hear about the progress! Ive always admired what a hard worker you are, kudos :)