Archive for the ‘running’ Category

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My Hips Don’t Lie, They Are Just Misaligned

April 12, 2012

I feel you, Shakira [Also: almost 87 million views. Impressive.]. My hips don’t lie. My physical therapist saw right through their roundabout story. The story about how my hip hurts, my lower back hurts, and sometimes my heel is a little tingly.

The PT didn’t directly negate my primary care doc’s diagnosis of tendinitis, but early into her exam, she pointed out that my pelvis is misaligned. I’d had a hard time describing what was going on lately. Usually my descriptions involved something like: it feel like there’s lead in my right leg; my right ass cheek feels inflamed; when I drive, sometimes my right foot is tingly…that’s safe, right?

When I sit down or lay down, the right side of my pelvis seems to grind into the surface, and when I stand, my right heel seems to grind into the ground.

The PT did ultrasound treatment and massage on my SI joint, which was pretty painful. She thinks that’s where this is all stemming from. Then she adjusted my pelvis and the pain was magically gone. Sitting, laying, and standing all felt normal. It was amazing.

While it lasted.

This is going to take some work, but I’ve got a core and hip flexor strengthening regimen along with some stretches to ease tightness. I’ll go back in about two weeks, since I’m on vacation (all I ever wanted) next week. Not long after my appointment, it felt like my pelvis was out of alignment again. The strength exercises will help build stability so that I can correct the misalignment and feel like a normal person again.

The PT is optimistic that I’ll run again, although we didn’t venture into the realm of time frames yet. I’m glad that I went, and especially glad that the first thing out of her mouth wasn’t, “Let’s just shoot you up with steroids!”

Whew!

This is my fun new stretch. It feels so damn good. You know, after the tears.

IT Band stretch from Running Times.

The PT and I also discussed my running shoes. I knew I needed new ones, but our chat and examination was…revealing? Embarrassing? I’m going to go with embarrassing. I should have been paying better attention.

So here are my older pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires. They were my first pair of running store-fitted shoes, and I loved the hell out of them. They were retired to casual walks around the neighborhood. As you can see, I wore them down fairly evenly.

Love.

I loved those so much, I bought them again in another color. I loved the hell out of these, too, but I wasn’t very good at paying attention to the fact that I wasn’t wearing them evenly. And I was really good at ignoring some of the pain in my right hip, and thinking that if I foam rolled enough, I’d be OK. Wrong.

I hope it’s clear enough in the picture, but the left shoe was worn down more on the outside than the right. It actually tilts outward instead of sitting straight like the right shoe. My old pair didn’t do that…and it’s worth noting that I experienced no pain when I was running in that pair. The PT said it was clear that my left side was overcompensating for my right.

No love.

No love for these shoes any longer. I knew I needed new ones anyway, but they are officially the Shoes of Death now. I put them on for the PT appointment, and the pain got worse as I walked around in them. I have no idea how much of that was psychological, but any more pain or discomfort than I have anyway is too much. So…to the shoe graveyard they go.

Shoes of Death.

The good news from physical therapy? The PT doesn’t think I’ll have any problem moving from PT to the other PT. She also did a strength test of my legs, suspecting that my legs were weak. But ha! They are not! She told me that my legs are actually pretty strong.

It’s just the Jello Jiggler that sits on top of my legs that needs some work.

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Taking Stock: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

April 2, 2012

My brain’s been on overdrive lately, and it occurred to me that I could probably classify a lot of these random thoughts as the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (warning: some brooding ahead! Perhaps not in number, but the Good indeed outweighs the Bad/Ugly). (And how can you not dig that theme song? They don’t write ’em like they used to.)

THE GOOD

It’s damn nice in DC these days. Friday was a little dreary, but I took a friend to Ellicott City for some antiquing and cool-little-old-railroad-town-adventuring. Sunday was lovely and my first trip to the National Arboretum lovelier. Seriously – what a gem! I’m embarrassed that I’ve lived in the area for almost six years and only now made it out there.

Some of the azaleas are in bloom out at the arboretum. Judging by the number and size of the plants out there, when the entire azalea garden is in bloom, it's like a 5-year old's tea party exploded in the woods.

It’s good, damn good, to adventure locally.

I get to adventure not-so-locally soon, too! In two weeks I’ll be in Columbus, MS. It’s not near anything and apparently the town could stand some more attractions, but I have friends in the Air Force who are stationed there, and I’m excited to have a random week off to visit them. Looking forward to a week of relaxing, hanging out with my friends’ awesome baby, and heading up to Memphis. I’d like to, nay, neeto go to Graceland.

Why the random week off?

I start a new job in three weeks. This is a good move, but there’s a little bad involved, too. I’m trying to embrace the uncertainty inherent in transition and roll with the punches. It’s an incredible opportunity, but there are some challenges…

THE BAD

I’m going to be exhausted for the foreseeable future. This new opportunity is awesome, but pretty intense. Having recently finished grad school where I worked some crazy hours while trying to do school, too, I’m OK with intense. I’d feel more comfortable if the following weren’t also true:

My physical health is crap right now. The hip/knee/ass pain/crap/bah is bad right now. I know I shouldn’t run, so I haven’t been, and it’s starting to make me a little twitchy. Not because I think I’m some amazing, super runner girl or something, but because I’m a little stressed finishing up my current job and getting ready to start a new one. Running relives my stress. Much better than my historic alternative:

Hello, gorgeous. My mouth waters just thinking about you.

When the going gets tough, I get going in the direction of dark chocolate-covered almonds and cupcakes. Until recently, when I went in the direction of my running shoes and a nice trail.

I went for a walk with a friend today at lunch, and I was lamenting my current limited activity and pending maelstrom of life changes (oh, did I mention? In addition to changing jobs, I’ll need to move, too! Just a local move, but one more layer of things to think about). I told her that I was upset that I’d come so far (lost 30 pounds, gained ability to run double-digit miles), and I didn’t want to regress. Her response? “You’re not the same person now that you were 30 pounds ago.”

Trying to keep that in mind…not interested in growing backwards with time (excellent song; not an excellent direction for my waistline). In the past, I haven’t always managed transitions well, slipping back into old (bad) habits. It bothers me that I feel like crap. I’m a little anxious about diving into this new adventure when I don’t feel so great physically. Trying not to let the physical blah turn into a mental blah.

THE UGLY

I’m struggling to alleviate the pain. This is my only ugly, but it’s a big one. I’ve never had pain that I couldn’t alleviate. I can lay down or apply ice and feel better for a bit, but since going off of the prednisone, I think the pain is worse. I called my doctor today, and she’s out of town. So while I wait for her to come back, I’m to have my hip x-rayed. And…wait, I guess. I’ll try more foam rolling, stretching, etc., but nothing seems to make the discomfort go away. Sometimes it’s not quite pain, and I’m grateful for those times. Other times I wake up at night because it just freaking hurts.

To throw a small wrench into the problem (small because I’m grateful I have insurance at all), right now I have health insurance that I buy…and I haven’t made my deductible yet. So treatment is potentially quite costly. I’ll have new health insurance with the new job, but I’m not sure yet when that will start…and I hope that if I start in on a treatment that seems to be working, I won’t have to interrupt it because my insurance changes.

I’m a problem solver, a fixer, and not knowing what to do to ease what’s going on has me stumped.

[That crush on Eddie Vedder from 1994? Yeah, I still got it.]

I don’t know what I did, but I wish I could undo it. Ctrl-Z, Ctrl-Z!!

Except for the "good" things. Keep those!

Sorry for a somewhat Debbie Downer post. In general, I’m optimistic, and I keep reminding myself that I can choose my reaction, it will all work out in the end, blah blah blah [insert trite motivationalspeak].

Bitching won’t help. Really, I just want a gin and tonic, a damn chocolate chip cookie, an uninflamed leg/hip/body part, and the knowledge that if I go pick up a new pair of running shoes, they won’t just as soon end up back on the shelf. I’ll settle for just trying to keep my head up and enjoying these damn fine days, one day at a time.

Would happily accept gifts of gin and cookies, though.

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Such a PITA!

March 24, 2012

Experiencing a total PITA (that’s Pain in the Ass) these days. Quite literally.

I went to a doctor yesterday (new-to-me doc since I moved recently) about the hip/knee/pelvic pain/inflammation/tightness/whathaveyou I’ve experienced lately.

Diagnosis? Tendinitis.

Treatment: 5-7 days off of running (walking, swimming, yoga are A-OK); 5 days of prednisone

I’m happy she looked at it, and absolutely willing to try the treatment, but what happens if the prednisone/rest doesn’t fix me remains to be seen. She was really all about more of a drug-heavy treatment, and I’m…well, not. I’ll take ’em when I really need ’em, but a lot of drugs make me nauseous…including prednisone! (Unrelated side: if prednisone makes you queasy, I highly recommend NOT seeing The Hunger Games in the theater until your treatment is over. So. much. camera. movement. But a great movie. And a totally different kind of Peeta that is not at all a PITA.)

No sense of relief in my leg/hip/pelvis/ass yet, but I’m trying to be patient. And do walking or laying around activities versus sitting activities. (Please do not send me one of those seat donuts just yet…actually, pretty sure that wouldn’t help at all, physically. And definitely not mentally.)

I’ve never had tendinitis or taken prednisone or been waylaid like this, and I’m trying to keep the long view. A little concerned about the race I have in four weeks. Equally concerned about eating everything in sight. It’s amazing to me that a little 10mg pill can make me so hungry. Better get to walking/swimming/namaste-ing lest the scale and I get into a fight because of ravenous hunger. If you’re not at work or offended by choice language, check out what Jack Black has to say about that

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Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon…Part II!

March 20, 2012

Continued from Part I…here are some thoughts about my first half marathon.

Course

I’ve been in the DC area for almost six years…this time around. I’ve lived in the area a couple times before, and having grown up a military brat, DC is as much a home — maybe a little more — as just about any other place. So getting a quick (relatively speaking) foot tour of a large portion of my “hometown” was…awesome. I loved this course. With the exception of the streets immediately at the beginning and end of the race, I’d been on every part of the course over the years.

I pretty much zoned out on the ridiculous hill known as 18th Street NW/Connecticut Ave. NW. After the race, a friend that ran it said, “Sweet, now I know where Vapiano is!” I replied, “Oh, did someone tell you?” She countered, “No, we ran past it…” Right. I was just struggling up the hill…

There was a band at the end of Harvard Street NW, just after Mile 8, as you turned down onto 5th Street NW. Something about that band got me really fired up. I had a great time between Columbia Road and North Capitol. I’m guessing the folks partying hard on their well-decorated porches did, too. And, while I appreciated the offers, I politely declined their dixie cups of beer. Offers of post-race BBQs welcome, though.

By Mile 11, my feet were pretty sore, and by about Mile 12, the top of my right foot was cramping a bit. I walked some, and periodically stopped to stretch and massage my foot.

The end of the race? Wow…what a doozy. Coming down C Street, folks on the side of the course kept shouting that the finish was just around the corner. Then we turned the corner. And folks on the side of the course shouted that the finish was just around the corner. Whaaaaat?

It was. An uphill finish where you couldn’t see the finish line until you were almost on it. Tough 1/10 of a mile!

When you're not concerned with beating any particular time, it's easy to pull off for a second for photo ops.

Friends

As I mentioned in Part I, my friends are awesome. I started the race with a friend, had a few other friends running (like her and her), and saw friends between Miles 7 and 8 (surprise – I didn’t know they’d be out, or where they’d be – and they met me at the finish too!), just before Mile 10, just after Mile 11, and at the finish. They all told me I looked great, and seeing them made me ridiculously happy. Not-so-secret secret: I looked great when I ran past them because I knew they’d be there. Who wants to drag ass past your friends? Not this racy gal. Thanks for the boost, guys! The excitement of seeing my friends definitely added a spring to my step.

And an interesting perspective from some of these friends: what it’s like to watch a whole race. I’ll admit that I’ve never seen a whole race before. When I’ve gone out to see friends run, I’ve pretty much just gone to see them, and didn’t hang around the whole time. But some of my friends hung out on North Capitol with food and drink and watched the whole thing. They said it was pretty awesome to watch the fastest folks go past, and then to notice the changes in pace and the differences in pacing between the marathoners and half marathoners.

And they confirmed, mercifully, that I was not the slowest one out there. But even if I was, I’d be OK with that. I mean, hey, I was out there, right?

So, new goal: go watch a whole race, from the elite folks at the front of the pack all the way to the folks at the end who need cheers just as much as the front runners.

I think my friends took this because they wanted to make fun of my "fanny pack." That belt came in pretty handy for stashing more than the microscopic pocket on my capris can hold.

Progression of Feelings

I am nothing if not sentimental, so I’d be remiss to not acknowledge my feelings about this race.

As I mentioned in Part I, I had serious doubts about my ability to run this race as late as the day before. I’d trained, but had some difficulty throughout, and benched myself for a few weeks. But in the few weeks before the race, I’d felt pretty good. Then I started experiencing some strange hip/pelvic pain unlike anything I’d experienced before (and for which I’m going to a doctor in a few days). So I had major apprehension about this race. If I attempted it, what might happen? I had terrible visions of my hip giving out and me collapsing in Dupont Circle…if I made it that far.

But during the run, I physically felt fine. Some soreness in my feet toward the end…pretty sure that’s the price you sometimes pay for pounding the pavement for mile after mile. When the going got rough, I looked at the mile markers, judged that I probably only had 20 minutes to go, and reminded myself of my favorite coach‘s mantra: You can do anything for 20 minutes.

So I did. And damn if I didn’t feel awesome when I crossed that finish line.

I promise I will never do this again. Total cheeseball move.

Random observations

Anyone else notice the banana stand in downtown DC? So many banana peels on the ground…clearly this would be a ridiculously tragic way to go down in a race…taken out by your fuel. Same goes with the GU packets. That shit’s slick.

My lucky green shirt? Probably being relegated to the yoga pile. I’d done a few runs in it with no issue, but I was Chafy Stacie during the half. Major red, painful blotch on my left arm. Really attractive at work this week when it’s been warm enough to wear short sleeves. I thought to Body Glide under the straps of my sports bra; guess I need to add inner upper arms to the Body Glide list. Or just relegate the shirt to the yoga pile.

I will never, ever run a race in a full bodysuit. I saw a few of those, and by Mile 7 or so, they appeared to be sweaty, sweltering masses of crazy runner. Anyone tried this before? Are there vents? Special wicking material?

So...add it to the necklace rotation? Maybe not?

So. That’s that. My first, slightly crappily-trained half marathon is in the books. I had an awesome day and it just reinforced the running bug I caught a little while back. My time was 2:32, and all things considered, I’m happy with that. It was a PDR and a PR, and I look forward to blowing that PR out of the electrolyte-enhanced water in future half marathons.

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Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon…Part I!

March 18, 2012

Going to commit a big blogger sin here and write only half a post of thoughts on my first half marathon (Get it? Half a marathon, half of my thoughts? Yeah, that’s pretty bad…). After the race yesterday and for almost all of today, I’ve been going non-stop and haven’t sat down to put good words to my thoughts. So…here’s Part I! Forgive the incomplete post.

Yesterday was the Rock n’ Roll USA Half Marathon and, considering how my hip/pelvis was feeling earlier in the week, I rocked it! It wasn’t the race I thought it would be when I registered in November, but it was SO much better than the race I thought it would be on Friday.

All smiles at seeing some friends just after Mile 11.

More updates to come, but overall: great experience. Good weather, albeit a little hot. No crazy course mix-ups, straight-forward gear check, plenty of food and drink available at the finish. And, key for me: no hip or pelvis pain during the run. At. all. Any aches and pains seemed pretty standard; my feet were a little sore by Mile 11.

And I was only punched in the face once.

True story.

At about mile 12.5 or so, a very uncoordinated girl who was raised by wolves was probably not used to crowded courses stretched her hands out very quickly at 90 degree angles, sending her closed fist straight into my nose as I was passing her. She felt bad, but wanted to chat about it. No way, lady! I assured her it was fine, but sped up a little, checking for blood. No blood, no foul.

The best part of the run? (Outside of finishing it, of course!) I have amazing friends and family who support me. I had such a fun weekend with these tremendous folks.

They also make ridiculously awesome signs.

Esuper Esexy ESWEATY Estacie! It was hot out there!

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Three Things Thursday: Pre-Racy Thoughts

March 16, 2012

With less than 36 hours until the start of the Rock ‘n Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon, it’s time for some pre-racy thoughts!

1. You can’t always get what you want. I already know that this race won’t be what I wanted it to be when I registered. I imagine I’ll probably learn soon enough that that’s not an uncommon feeling. And I don’t say that to sound defeatist, just realistic: I was out of commission for a few weeks of training, and in the last few days, I’ve developed some inflammation in my hip/pelvis area. I’m managing it (and in what will surely be a joyous occasion, I have a doctor’s appointment next week), and I’m going to try my best on Saturday, but I’m trying to take the long view and not push harder than I can. There are other halfs out there, and I intend on enjoying my first one, a little pain or not!

2. The weather is here, wish you were beautifulIt’s damn nice in DC these days. Hot, even. I went for a last, short run this afternoon and wanted to die. Then I Skyped my parents and learned that today’s record high of 84 at Dulles had nothing on Abu Dhabi’s 100. Fine, fine. But it’s truly quite nice. Wednesday afternoon was so nice that I wasn’t sure if my co-workers were calling out sick or “sick” (I work at an organization that tries to get people outside, so verdict is out on that one). But I wouldn’t be surprised if people are actually sick, too. My boys at CWG report high pollen counts Wednesday and today. So if you’re coming into town for the race and you’re from some place that isn’t a-bloomin’ yet, bring yer drugs.

Oh, sure, they're beautiful, but that shit'll invade your body. Hide ya lungs, hide ya sinuses, hide ya eyes.

3. When Irish eyes are smilin’, sure ’tis like the morn in spring.  With the race being on St. Patrick’s Day, I clearly need to rock a green shirt. But a friend got mad at me because she says I’ll be hard to find, what with my insanely bright red hair and incredibly slow pace what with probably lots of other folks participating in the wearin’ o’ the green. So I’m adding a little sparkly bling to my outfit, sort of a beacon of Irish spring for my admirers friends.

Just trying to be a nice piece of lass.

Best of (Irish) luck to all the folks running on Saturday! Rock on and race hard!

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Hydration! Attempt #2

March 14, 2012

During my manic list-making phase, I added: buy a fuel belt. Carrying a water bottle in my hand, while incredibly attractive and only mildly practical, was getting annoying. So we’ll consider that Attempt #1 and move right along…

And that's just the little guy for shorter, winter runs...

Without doing much research (nerd alert: rare for me), I went to a running store and a big box sporting goods retailer and did the only thing I thought would possibly help me make a decision: I strapped a few different fuel belts on and ran through the aisles. The older I get, the less shenanigans like this bother me. I think I’d have been embarrassed as a 20 year old; now I’d rather get what I want and be confident in my purchases.

So I bought Attempt #2:

I'd post a picture of the belt in use, but I'm pretty sure the world has been attracted to staring at my ass enough simply by wearing it out on the trail. No need for more exposure.

It’s a Nathan Triangle, and while I’d like to say that I did some incredible scientific study of the various fuel belts out there, I really just tried to see how difficult it was for me to get the water bottle out of the holster while jogging through crowded stores.

This one seemed to be no better or worse than the kinds with two-four smaller bottles, maybe even a little easier. Given no significant different in comfort or ease, I went with price, and this was cheaper than the multi-bottle belts. More money to put toward new shoes? Win.

The first few runs I did with the belt seemed just fine, but overall this may not be such a win. I need to experiment with where I wear the belt, but I’m pretty experienced with backpacking and proper placement of weight on hips, and this just wasn’t doing it for me. I felt like the bottle was jabbing me right in the nerves in my lower back after a few miles.

So…maybe Attempt #3 is forthcoming?

Fellow runners, got a favorite hydration/fuel belt? What is it, and what do you like about it?