Saturday, May 25, 2013

I'm still here..

..and 5 pounds heavier. Some of you may be rolling your eyes.. but on a person only 5'1", that's a lot of weight. The only good thing about it is that my face is fuller, which erases some of the crows feet and diminishes the hollows, and the girls have made an encore showing. If it all were left to that, I wouldn't feel so bad. But the hips are wider, and my pants are tighter. I've only run three times in the last month.

I saw the sports doctor twice. I'm encouraged by his words that I will run again. But right now *tiny violin music inserted here* it really doesn't feel that way.

My calf really feels only about 50% better. I remember how seductively normal it felt only a week after the first time I busted it. I can walk and take stairs in shoes without discomfort. I really can't walk too well on my toes, and heel raises with a bent knee (soleus) feels very dangerous. Walking barefoot, I'm uncomfortable.  I know I'm still in recovery. I'm currently icing/elevating and gently stretching.

The second treatment which consisted in part of active release and Graston technique were brutal, and here is the proof:

Below is a comparison of both legs a day after the above picture. I'm standing pigeon toed to better display the area of injury which is mostly posterior-medial on the right leg.

Oops. The German Shepherd needed to see what was going on.

Then the Corgi needed to get in on it too.

Finally, dog free!
 There are 2 places of injury/concern.

Here is the theory behind active release technique (ART) and Graston

I chose the particular doctors (husband and wife team) I'm working with due to the fact that they are associated with the running club I belong to. No one at my job does either one of these techniques. I've had Graston technique used on my neck at the clinic I worked for many years ago, and it helped tremendously. I've always wanted to be certified, but the tools themselves cost $3,000.00.
 I've been doing much thinking, and if I do recover from this based on these treatments, I believe that after all these years it's probably time I suck it up and become certified. Especially since my hands and fingers have become arthritic after 12 years of manual therapy. These tools will not totally replace what I do with my hands, but they may help relieve some of the heavy duty work if there are no contra-indications with regard to the patient. The cost of a single course (depending on body part) is less than a third of the cost of the tools, and at the least, my job will pay for only part of the cost of tuition for a single course once a year. The courses are given over a weekend, so I won't be loosing vacation time by taking them.

Active release is more expensive. It's over $2000.00 a course, and it's a 4 day session which will include 3 overnight stays at a hotel somewhere. There are currently only two places it is given locally to me, between an hour to a 4 hour drive away. All other places require airfare.  And there are five courses in the series. Ugh.  At 53, I really should be using that money for adding additional savings to my retirement account instead..

I was told not to run or walk the 5k I had planned to do in Minnesota with my sisters. This is ok, I guess- actually, it will have to be.  I'll be taking pictures and cheering them on. When I get back from vacation, I have another visit with the doc the day after I get back, and from this I'm hoping to get more information about whether or not I can get back on the road. If not, I will volunteer with the club at races until I can. I have been meaning to volunteer anyway. This just forces the issue.

At work today I treated a long time (22 yr) club member who said they are always looking for people to take pictures during the race. I'd love to improve my near-absent photog skills.

Tomorrow I leave for Minnesota with my sister Kathie to visit my younger sister and her family. I'm going to try to use this time to drop the weight I gained and fill the days with talk of running, health and fitness.

I have already signed up for that half marathon in October, and it's still my goal to run it. My 'official' training starts in July. 

What I'm realizing now going over the dates of this injury, is that my perception of time is skewed. Whereas it's only been a week since I tried running in Bethpage - because it is MY leg, it feels like MUCH longer. And considering the extent of this injury, as a PT I'd be advising my patient not to run on it until loading of the muscle at low and high velocity (plyometrically speaking) is back to normal. The doctor didn't tell me this, but he probably assumed I already knew. It's my job at this point to follow the rules of recovery. The downside of this is it can take weeks

As an aside, immediately following the repeat injury at Bethpage, I've also had at least 3 different episodes of muscle spasms (resulting in limiting my ability to posture correctly) up and down my spine (which I've never had) and through my neck (yet again) as a result of reflexively stretching. Wtf? You know, like when you first get out of bed, or while you're sitting at the computer..

Besides having all other things running through my head (like the beginnings of a neurological disease - ALS, MS, Parkinson's), I thought about the muscle tissue logically in terms of it's physiologic and chemical behavior, and arrived at the conclusion that I was most likely not drinking enough water.  At this point in time I'm wondering if this is what precipitated the primary injury. My typical fluid consumption (not coming from food) is: a cup of coffee with skim milk in the morning, probably between 6 to 8 ounces during work (if I'm lucky), and a glass of water sitting on my bedside table at night, usually only half empty by morning. How dehydrated I must have been on a daily basis! I only seriously hydrate a day before a race or a planned long run. As of a few days ago, I've changed my habits, and I've not had another incident. Just something to keep in mind if you frequently suffer from pulls, strains or spasms. 

In the meantime, I will continue to live the runners life through all of your great blogging! And I thank you for that.

Run safe and be well!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Much disappointment.

Went for a slow and easy run at Bethpage this morning. I wanted to do just 10 miles. My calf was feeling fine. I was running at an easy 10:20- 10:30 pace. After the first half of a mile I had to turn around and walk back. It felt like I was hit in the calf by a rock. Not good. I'm back to where I started.

Magellan Data
Runmeter Data

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Snap out of it.

Another easy run today, but I went a little longer. I felt better this time out. I thought I had turned off the audio notifications on Runmeter before I started.  I didn't want to know how fast I was going, I just wanted to run based on how I was feeling. For whatever reason, it didn't work, and Runmeter was telling me to slow down at the beginning, and speed up at the end. Which really explains most of the run with that sentence. (I had it set for negatives)

I had what I thought was the beginning of a shin splint over my right tibia.  I've never had one, so I'm not sure if that was what I was feeling. In about a quarter of a mile it disappeared, and I was able to concentrate on my form. My hip did not bother me like last time, but close to mile 2.5 I felt my right calf start to tighten again. By the time I got home, my quad on that side also tightened up. I went to work feeling that way, trying to stretch my calf, quad and psoas during various times of the day. Right now, I have no pain, but my entire right leg feels tight and heavy, and I know that my gait is off a bit.

Le *sigh*.

Yesterday I received an email that advertised a 5k this Saturday in Oyster Bay - 10 minutes away. I was planning on running long at Bethpage on Saturday. I considered postponing the long run in favor of running the race, but after today's performance and subsequent stiffness, I'll take the long, easy way out.

Not keeping on my running schedule because of injury had me feeling a little blah lately, so consequently I have been eating too much of the wrong things.  This makes me feel even more sluggish and guilty. And although I started out strong with the resistance training, I found myself unable to muster up any force of will to follow through with that either.

I did, however,  feel emotionally satisfied and had quite a bit of energy by the time I got to work at 9:00. 

I'm hoping for a return to my sporty-feeling-self on Saturday.

Trying not to get too bummed. Hmm...I think I'll have a beer.

Runmeter Data

Magellan Data

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ahhh.. that's better.

 My original plan for this weekend was to bike 25 miles, but I don't like riding on wet roads. I watched my sister run a 10k yesterday over the Internet, and that helped decide that this morning I would try a brief run around the hood to test out my calf. I fueled up like I normally would have, and waited for the showers to end. When the sky turned light grey, I left the house, saying a silent prayer hoping things were back to normal. By the first quarter mile, the sun had burst through the early morning rain clouds, and by half a mile in, there was blue sky everywhere! I was willing myself to believe this would portend a good first run after racing on a bum calf 7 days ago.

Just minor right hip twinges which I could shake off by relaxing my legs. I felt I had to shorten my stride. Why was I running on my heels? I haven't taken such large strides since I started running a year ago. Cardiovascularly I felt weak. Boy, how fast things change. I needed to walk for a bit, because I should not have run under 9:30 the first mile. 
But, my calf was pain free to run on, just still tender to palpation. My hip is still bothering me as I sit and write this. I stopped just when I should have.

Next race is a 5k in Minnesota with my sisters! 

Good Mother's Day morning!

Runmeter Data

Magellan Data

Friday, May 10, 2013

In the meantime..

I'm still not running.  Trish, the athletic trainer at work taped up my calf on Tuesday with a space correction at the bifurcation of the gastroc heads and an inhibition of the calf overall - and I must say, I started to feel better that night. The medial head was still rock hard, but the tenderness started to abate. My calf is still swollen a bit, but now I can flex my knee entirely and bear weight through it while getting up and down off the floor (I do that many times a day at work) without it feeling like a water balloon.

I miss running. But I have been back on the weight lifting wagon. My week has been filled with DOMS - upper body the beginning of the week, and currently my lower. Squats, lunges and deadlifts are awesome. I've forgotten what it feels like to be strong. 

I said I was going to take 2 weeks off, but - maybe only one. (!) I'm going to try to get out on the bike this weekend, early in the am if it's not raining.

The inhibition tape is flesh colored, at the periphery. Poor, swollen calf..

I'm living vicariously through everyone else's running blog, so thank you all very much!
My next race is in MN June 1st. I'll be excited to run with my sisters!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

LI Marathon/10K Recap

Welp, yes. I ran it. How could I have not?

I was feeling better. I was walking with barely a limp, barely a pain. I went on the treadmill for 1- 2 min 'jogs'  during the day yesterday, about 4-5 times. After every interval, I was painfree.
Up and down stairs were awesome.

I had made myself a calf roller. (Sports Authority wanted $30.00 for a 7 inch roller) No way.

I did some active release/trigger point massage until I thought my thumbs would crumble.
I thought, "I got this thing licked."

So happy!
Until about only 1/4 mile into the race!
The spasm started, the pain increased, I had to stop. 
Massage, stretch. Walk. Walk fast. Ooops, nope. Walk slow. 
All the niners were passing me. Then the tens.
I almost stopped for good. My first DNF. But one of the things that decidedly kept me going was that my car was over two miles away! The end of the race would take me right to it. What a hassle it would be to get back to it without getting in any runner's way. So, I kept going. I'm so glad I did.

What I learned:
It was a totally different experience in the back of the pack. People were joyful. Laughing. Hugging, high fiving spectators and other runners. Despite my pain and feeling foolish because I decided to run, I couldn't help but smile. I was reading the back of runner's shirts, the signs spectators were holding up along the route. There were some real funny ones, but for the life of me I can't remember any of them now.

Because I was going so slow, I stayed fresh the first half. That was remarkable. What a different feeling. I felt like I was a spectator instead of a runner. I felt like I had control.

A little past halfway through the course I started experimenting with my form. My left hip started to bother me because of the way I was compensating for decreased push off on the right. I opened up my swing to the rear, and kept my feet close to the ground. That seemed to give me a little bit more speed with less pain. I tried to hold on to that for as long as I could before I needed to slow down again.

Then I started passing people. It was very cool.
The pain turned into a dull ache. I was able to tuck it somewhere inside my head and give it a red button to push to let me know if I was being bad. 
Coming up on the clocks told me I was averaging a 10:00/mile. That was ok. At least I'm running it! At mile 2 I was 12:00/mile, so I was making up for lost time.
At mile 4 I knew I could not PR. 

But, I was still passing people who passed me 2 miles back.
My calf was still holding out. No alarm sounding yet. At about 4.5 I was getting excited that I was able to increase my pace. My heart rate shot up over 180.  I willed myself to slow down. I do not like my heart rate that high. But, the runners were thinning out as I got closer to the end.

A half mile from the finish, we were shuttled back into the park and on the path. The pack started to thicken up as the path narrowed, and people started to barrel past and ahead.  As soon as I started to pick up my own pace - the alarm went off. I could not go any faster without eliciting increased pain. It wasn't worth it. I was already slower than my first 10k - it made no difference at this point. I stuck with it, and came out still on my feet. When I looked at the finish line clock, I think it said 1:02:xx. That's 4 minutes behind my last. 
Ahh.. I could have done worse.

They had kiosks that you could punch your bib number into and it would give you your results. I thought that was neat. I never saw that  before.  Mine had no results on them! Ruh roh.

When I got home, it was interesting that Kira, my shepherd, was very caught up in what was going on with my calf. I had put no ointment on my leg at all, but yet she was very concerned with it. I've heard of dogs sniffing out cancer, so I wonder if she was sniffing out the physiologic changes that were taking place? By the time I got to my camera, she had already been sniffing for quite a while.

I thought I turned Runmeter off when I crossed the finish, but no. So, error.
Magellan worked well.

I guess I'll lay off running for a week or two, and start lifting /walking.
If I don't feel better, I'll look to try to get an MRI to see what's up.

Next year, the LI Half.
This race was done well. We honored Boston for 26 seconds before the  start. There were 3 races going at the same time. Directions were clear. Plenty of security before, during, and at the finish. I felt safe.

And there really is something to this idea of starting slow...

Official Time:
1:00:33  9:44 pace (only 2 minutes over) :)
18/60  Age group
274/906  Females
617/1526 Overall

Magellan Data
Runmeter Data

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What a pain in the calf.

Today is my usual running day. The second run of the week. But I won't be running.

This week my schedule at work changed again, and instead of a homecare morning, (usually starting at 10:00 am) I had to start in the office. I was expected in at 9:00 am. For that reason my alarm was set to 5:00 am, and was out the door at 5:45.  Usually, I'm up at 5:30, and don't get out the door until 7:00-7:30. In those 2 hours, I've already been walking around, up and down the stairs several times, maybe doing some vacuuming, etc.

The sunrise on Tuesday was absolutely beautiful. Bright pink and orange, the sky appeared to be on fire, settling along the eastern horizon and rolling in like a sentient fog. 

This picture obviously doesn't do it justice, but if you've seen a sunrise like this in the morning, you don't soon forget it - 

I needed to run toward the sunrise without my sunglasses, to soak up the experience of the Taurus sun. And I thought I needed a change of route. There were no cars around. I saw no other runners at that time of the morning. I really felt the quiet and peace. The sense of my solitude was heightened.  Sea Cliff felt like it was mine alone to do with what I wanted.

The new route took me down a grade to the main road connecting Glen Cove, Sea Cliff and Glen Head. I decided to cross that into another residential area. The road I entered went on for less than a quarter mile, and ended in a cul-de-sac. Feeling very good, I put the running on auto-pilot. I began thinking about what else I could discuss at the day's presentation on balance and fall prevention. My boss had scheduled another one in the next town over, and so my thoughts drifted to the bullet points I wanted to cover later on that morning.

Heading back west coming out the the cul-de-sac, I anticipated the next right, to see just how far north that would take me.

Cramp. "Huh?"
Split.    "WTF?"
Burn.    "Ruh roh."

My right calf revolted. Against what, I don't know. I had no prior warning, no inkling of fatigue, or stress, or mal-alignmnent.

I had to stop dead in my tracks, hoping I was dreaming, praying it was nothing. I had a feeling of dread, when that trickle of coldness starts to run through you. When it was painful to bear weight, I was really scared. I envisioned months of rehabilitation and not running. When I was able to articulate my foot/ankle in all directions, I became less scared and then became just really pissed off. At least my Achilles was still intact. I had to hobble back home.  

I wrapped my calf in ice after testing and poking around trying to determine what muscle(s) were involved. I ended up using the laser at work, and hobbling around the rest of the day. Today, being the 2nd day after the injury with no visible bruising, I'm happy to report it was not a serious tear. It has gotten better each day since it happened. I'm now able to do heel raises with a bent knee. (It was mostly my soleus and part of the medial head of my gastroc that was strained, maybe part of the achilles sheath) That was impossible to do Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, things took a positive turn with partial heel raises and even going up stairs became easier. Going down stairs is still an issue, however. I have been alternating icing/heating at 5 minute intervals for 20 minutes at a time and using massage to help reduce pain. I've used the cold laser in the office. I've been wearing my compression stocking and I put on my old Skechers Shape-Ups which help limit plantarflexion when I walk. And if you haven't used ice massage on an injury, you don't know what you're missing. :)  Stretching still seems to aggravate it, though.

For the last day and a half  I've been using Voltaren gel over the muscle, and that almost takes the last of the edge off.

I have a 10k coming up on Sunday. It's the Long Island Marathon, Half, and 10k. My logical, PT side is saying that I should not run it. I don't want to re-injure and be dealing with potential spasming, possible tearing and compensatory mechanical issues for what could be a good part of the spring by going back too soon. I'm bumming.

I will go to pick up my packet and browse the expo. 
My competitive, experimental/geeky side is saying, "But, it's only Thursday, and you've recovered quicker than you thought you would at this point. Why don't you start the race, and see how you do? You won't know unless you try. Think about how this would add to your knowledge base." 
Sheesh. See the danger here?

I'll be wearing regular running shoes today, ditching the Shape-ups to see how I do with a more normal gait pattern. As it stands now, it's still much easier walking in the Shape-Ups than barefoot. I guess I'll know more by the end of the day.