Sunday, March 29, 2009

26 Days Left Till CMM and Back On Track...I Hope

I have been blessed these past couple of weeks with the tremendous support from all my friends. Great interest has been shown in my recovery progress. I have kept everyone updated through various posts on Facebook, Twitter and Dailymile and much love has come to me in way of their replies.

Much of the credit I have to give to the very basic but very specific and right on the money assessment from my physical therapist. However, this progress would not have been possible if the instructions given were not followed accordingly.

During the initial meeting she was very quick to inform me that my trouble (ITBS) was due to two different issues. First, she told me, that my core was weak and in much need of serious strengthening. Second, she told me my shoes were not right for my foot. I still have slightly flat foot and a slight under-pronation on my left foot. This would make sense because its my left knee that's been in pain. The advise and fit of a professional athletic foot expert I must seek.

As far as my core, she gave me two simple exercises I needed to do at home.

"Side-Lying Clam Shell"

(to this I add a resistance band above the knee)


And one of my new favorites is this one which came to me from a Facebook friend (Christina), but don't worry, I ran it by my pt and she gave it a two thumbs up!

On Saturday's run around mile 10, I felt the urge to stretch. I thought it couldn't hurt. So I found a spot of grass next to the road and off I went. The above stretch I did, twice each side, held for 60 seconds each. A car drove by and slowed down, I could tell they were looking at me surely wondering if I was okay. Thumbs up I gave them, off they went.

In addition to the above, I am to massage my itb with a foam roller. This I should do at least once a day. And for those of you that have not ever done this, it hurts... it hurts like h**l. But I found that a gentle massage on my thigh with a roller, like a kitchen roller helps to break any knots that you may have making the foam roller more tolerable. After the muscle is loose then the foam roller can do its magic.

There are just 26 days left until the Country Music Marathon. I am hopeful that after a couple of weeks with an altered schedule I can now return to my program. I will continue to visit my pt and will continue to follow instructions.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This Week Unlike Any Other Week

I haven't reviewed a week in a while. Mostly because most have been pretty typical. I work, I spend time with family, I train.

This week has been a little out of the ordinary in that this week was the first week since my new-found passion for endurance sports I've had to deal with an injury. An injury that is most common to runners but that can be debilitating if not addressed promptly and effectively.

ITBS (IT Band Syndrome) was diagnosed by the doctor on Tuesday. On Thursday, the physical therapist set me straight, or at least put me on the right track.

I have a better idea now on how and why this happened. Some of the tools to begin recovery and prevent future flare-ups have been put in my tool box, now it's up to me to begin using them. Many more tools will follow, or so I'm told. Can't wait.

On Monday, my lovely wife brought home a present. The book "Chi Running" (pronounced chee), by Danny Dreyer. What a timely gift. I have devoured this book; so much relevant information and it all goes with what I've just gone through.

I went to the pool on Sunday, day after injury. It was probably the greatest swim I've ever had. Got one mile in and felt great. Rested on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I went to the track and did 7 sets of Yasso 800's. I forgot to take my mp3 player with me but as it turns out this was a blessing for I managed a much better form and a more consistent pace without the distractions of different tempo music.

I decided on Thursday that I would do a mid-week long run. Wanted to do 8 miles. Got 7 in. By design I left my music player at home and ventured off alone with just the thoughts on my head. Again, I think this was a positive move for I was able to focus on form and pace better than I ever had before.

Every once in a while I would feel a pinch on my knee. I knew at that point that my form was wrong, so I was able to concentrate on fixing it. By doing so, the pinch disappeared and allowed me to move on.

Today my long run goal was 22 miles. I would be happy with 20. Okay I would be happy with 15. I had to settle for 12. I was quickly reminded that I'm not in charge at this time and that listening to what my body (knee) is telling me is more important than anything else at this moment.

The prudent and smart thing would be to stop and not aggravate the pain and take a step back in the slight progress made this week. The prudent and smart thing I did. The payoff was huge. First, I got a chance to join some running friends for breakfast and second, my knee doesn't feel like it's going to fall off any second now.

Father and Son

A son asks: "Dad, would you like to run a marathon with me"?

Despite is heart condition, dad replies: "Yes"

So they participated in many a marathon together.

Dad always answered "yes" when his son asked if he would like to do another marathon.

One day son asked: "dad, would you like to do a Ironman together"?

Once again, dad replied: "yes"

So father and son went on to do the Ironman...

Sometimes a story comes along that leaves you speechless... I hope this is one of those times.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ITB Syndrome

That was the diagnosis! Thank goodness it wasn't anything else more serious.

I don't want to take this lightly, by any means. But considering everything that could have been wrong, the diagnosis of ITBS was something comforting to me.

I arrived at the doctor's office 20 minutes pre-appointment time. Wanted to have plenty of time to complete the loads of paperwork you have to fill out prior to a first visit. I was promptly escorted to the x-ray room and the nice x-ray tech was very cordial and professional.

Following a very brief wait in examining room 2, the doctor came in. He asked me to describe the pain and show him where it hurt. "You're a runner, aren't you?" he asked. "Yes sir, I am. And a triathlete as well. This episode occurred while I was running a half marathon this past Saturday."

"Oh, I see. And I suppose you want me to fix it so that you can run the marathon in April, right?" He said with a smile. By his expression I could tell that he understood where I was coming from. "Yes sir, I do"

"Well, the good news is that there's absolutely nothing wrong with your knee, see (he showed me the x-ray) well at least nothing that we can't fix with a little physical therapy and a low dose anti-inflammatory" He continued. "We'll get you a few sessions with the pt and if you follow instructions, you should be good as new"!

"My only question now would be: can I continue to train and run?" I said. "It depends on how much pain you have and how much you can take...but you need to be smart about it." he replied.

"Will it do any further damage if I continue to run with pain?"

"No, unless you're not following your pt instructions"

Follow instructions, are you kidding? Obviously I will follow instructions.

So when do I start pt?

700 Swimmers, One Shark

So, wouldn't this make you swim faster?!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tom King Half Marathon...In the books

I have waited over twenty-four hours to write this post because all day yesterday I was more than just a bit bummed out over the pain on my left knee. I didn't want to just spew off negativity so I thought it best to allow for a cool-off period before putting my thoughts on paper... electronic paper, if you will.

The weatherman predicted rain, he would not disappoint. Not a hard rain, and not as cold as we were first led to believe. Steady rain fell throughout the race. It had rained all night long, and all day Friday so the course was very wet. The road and track at Shelby Park was somewhat slippery so extra care had to be taken throughout.

I stepped on the first puddle early on and my "wet-proof" socks were put to the test early. I got to complaining to myself about the wet feet...until I saw a runner that couldn't walk. The one and only wheelchair on the race was on his way back as I was making my way up. I put the wet feet out of my mind and never gave them a second thought.

The plan was to pace my run at 9:20, but every time I peeked at my Garmin I was somewhere around the 8:00 pace. This was just to fast, but the course was flat and I felt great. I made a conscientious effort to slow down. And then it happened...

Around mile 9, I felt a pain on my knee I had never felt before. A sharp, stabbing, throbbing, electrifying pain that started on my knee and traveled all the way up my thigh. I stopped and stretched for a few minutes and kept on going. I could only go about 3/4 of a mile before I had to stop and stretch again. This went on for the remainder of the race. At times the pain was intense but I was so close to the end that I just did what I had to do to make it to the finish line. After all, DNF is not an option.

I finished the race in 2hrs 7min and change. My goal was 2hrs 10min. What this tells me is that I started way to fast.

After the race I came home and had a good meal then I decided to take a good long rest. Maybe this would help the knee. I didn't. I jumped on the internet and found that my ITB could be the problem. I will make an appointment with the doctor on Monday just to make sure.

Today I went to the pool for an active recovery workout. I had the best mile swim I have ever had.

Life's still good! No, Life is GREAT!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nutrition Is A Full Time Job

Or is it?

Amongst the many things endurance athletes have to contend with is nutrition. I say "contend with" because for me is more of a job than an adventure. I have to plan my meals and dates with my wife and kids around this carb loading thing.

There used to be a time when the question was asked: "Where (or what) would you like to eat"? and my answer would be an automatic: "Oh, it doesn't matter, you know I like, and will eat just about anything". Life was simpler back then, I left it up to my wife and daughters to pick the dinner menu or restaurant of their choice. Not so any longer.

I don't stress over what I eat, but I do watch what I eat. Miles are piling up as the date to my first marathon gets closer so I have to make sure that I have the right mix of carbs and protein with every meal.

I had been getting very tired the past few weeks. I made an appointment with my doctor just to make sure I was not getting anemic. I also wanted to make sure that the extra stress on this old body was going to be okay. They drew blood and he ordered a treadmill stress test...just to make sure.

The treadmill thing was somewhat funny... to me, not the nurse performing the test. My heart rate wouldn't go where she wanted it so after some nine minutes she cranked the incline to the max. That did it.

Reviewing the results with the doctor he couldn't help but laugh. He told me that the average time (to get the heart rate to max) for someone my age was two minutes. It had taken me 9 minutes and 45 seconds. I smiled. He also told me that the blood test was normal. So we got to talking about my training and eating habits, and then he asked: "what do you eat and when do you eat after your workouts"?

I knew I'd been had. I knew I should have been doing this all along. Recovery food is something you read and are told numerous times. But, NOOOO... attention I paid none. The simple truth of the matter is that I never had the proper nutrition within the prescribed thirty minutes post workout.

As the doctor smiled he knew right then that I knew what I had to do.

I bought a box of EAS recovery, high protein drinks. I started taking one after each and every workout. I can feel the difference.

So for now, is another bowl of pasta for me!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So, Why Am I Sore?

It was my understanding that the more you exercised the less you would hurt. Right? Your muscles are sore because they haven't been used and the new stress on them makes them sore. So, Why am I sore?

I have been running regularly, consistently and religiously for almost four years now. Only took a three month break two years ago after the removal of two tumors from my left ankle. I have been swimming and biking for almost two years. But I'm still sore.

I'm not complaining, by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just asking: Why am I sore?

Being sore tells me that I'm using new muscles. But how many new muscles can I use over and over again?

Soreness tells me I'm doing something wrong. I just wish I could figure it out.