Sunday, June 30, 2013

Photographing Races

Since I'm sidelined from racing for now, I thought I'd try my hand at photographing them instead. 

Here is my first attempt, the Marcie Mazzola 5k.

Tell me what you think, and give me your opinion if you think there is anything I should do differently.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Back to running : Slowly but Surely

I'll refrain from talking about my injury for now, and just review the run I took tonight. I've already run at the local track 2 times, with the plan:

5 min warmup (walk)

5 min run
2 min walk 
repeat 5 times.

Today, I took that plan out on the road.  I worked today, saw the doctor, (my GP for a neuro referral) and decided to go out after it cooled down a bit. Little did I know I could have gone out earlier, because it was cooler outside than in my house!

 I decided to enjoy the steady breeze and ran down by the water, about 1/2 mile from my house.

I ran along this path

on the way back the sun was setting..

I came upon this baby jay in the road, and ushered him to safety in someones front yard

Overall, it wasn't too bad. I have NO power. I really needed the walking and pic taking rests. I'm hoping it's just that I'm out of shape.
Slight R calf stiffness, that resolved, then my R quad got stiff and weak. I ran/walked through it, picking up the pace a bit after I walked up the big hill and got closer to home.  Magellan got all funky on me, so just Runmeter today.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Finally a return to running with mixed results

I was pretty nervous setting out to the track this morning. I had laid my gear out the night before, just like I used to do the night before my long runs, (which seem SO far away right now!)
I filled my water bottle with half coconut water and half filtered tap. I had my usual cup of coffee and a 1/4 of a P90X bar. I think I was too nervous to eat.
I programmed Runmeter to alert me for running every 5 mins, and walking 2 min, x 5, with a 5 minute walk warm up.

The track had only 2 people on it, but there were technical folk all around setting up for graduation. Speakers, podiums, chairs and the like were being diligently attended to. I was concerned briefly that they might ask us to leave, but that never happened. I guess we were there early enough.

I had never paid more attention to my posture during a run as I did during this one. After the last 2 days of my right leg feeling leaden at times, I wonder if indeed all this stems from some kind of spinal nerve root issue. I kept up my stretching, and last night I took the advice of a co-worker and did some extension exercises, even thought I had no idea if I had a slipped disk or not. They didn't incur additional symptoms, but they didn't improve the way I felt either. I did some standing lateral glides, which I thought PERHAPS made me feel better. The heaviness on my right is so subtle. I knew immediately after that first stretch a week ago that I was back to ''normal" - but after things started stiffening up gradually again, I have yet to get back to that state.

The return to running went well. My plan was to pace the runs at 10:30, but apparently by body had other plans.  My average pace during the 5 minute runs was between 8:20 and 9:20. Needless to say I was pretty pleased as Runmeter chirped the faster paces to me. I was TIRED though. The 2 minute walks seemed just long enough, but I did find myself looking forward to them a bit too fervently.

I had some leaden feeling with hip flexion on the right, and for 200 meters or so, I felt my Achilles tendon complain a bit. As long as my calf did not tighten up, I kept moving.

I stretched diligently at the car before driving home, making sure to finish my coconut water.

Since I've been home, my hamstring and adductor feel tight and heavy, and I've resisted sitting since that seems to make it worse. I've set up my computer to accommodate standing.

My work schedule sucks, as I have an 8:00 am patient on my home care (running) mornings. This looks like it will go on for another month. One can argue that I should just get my ass out of the house at 6:00am. We'll see how badly I want it.
Tomorrow perhaps I'll take the bike down to the Wantagh trail. One of my high school friends told me the path now takes you right to the boardwalk at Jones Beach! I think I might need the ocean.

Runmeter Data
Magellan Data

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hmm.. fizzytastyminerals..

I received my Endurolytes by Hammer yesterday, and took one of those fizzy tabs in an ice cold glass of water. It was lemon-lime. Not bad at all. I'll take one with me today for work. I'll be getting up early on Saturday and getting out to a local track to slowly ease myself into running again. The weather looks to be fine, but with 11 mph winds. That's ok about the wind, I'm not running for speed.

My resting heart rate is 66-68 instead of 52-56. I guess that's to be expected after not running for 2 months.
My whole R leg still feels as if it's not working right. Sort of lagging behind, ever so slightly. Even the stretching doesn't seem to do the trick. I can't achieve that same ease of motion and buoyancy again as I had early on with the stretching.  Trying to stay positive!
Over and out.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The answer to my calf injury and continued strain?

It's been a week of confusing symptoms. I have been reluctant to blog, because I knew I would be a whiny, sullen, and insufferable poster. 

Before and after my bike ride on Sunday the 9th, I was still having calf pain with stairs and walking. If you recall, I blew my calf out again on the 6th, my second day returning to running. Biking was painfree, however. Go figure. Non-weight bearing cross training has it's advantages. 

On Monday the 10th, I saw the doc again, and told him what happened. He treated me again. It was excruciating. We were both pretty bummed. He agreed with my plan to hold off running until July, and continue to bike. The following day, the right calf was feeling a tad bit better. I was climbing stairs in a senior living facility to go visit patients. I had developed a very small spasm in my LEFT calf now. Needless to say, I was a bit concerned. This had NEVER happened to me before. Again, thoughts of neurological diseases started rearing their ugly heads in my imagination. I got to the 3rd floor and massaged and stretched it before heading to my patient's room. After the visit, I pretty much had forgotten about it, because it was gone.  Later on, when I got home, I found that while I still had pain in my RIGHT calf, (the one with the supposed tears) if I stood up very straight and maintained correct posture while I walked, the pain would virtually disappear. I could even walk down stairs with less pain if I maintained a straighter back and held in my abdominals. How curious. 
The morning before my Dr's visit the following day, I was having trouble just sitting at my computer for longer than 3 minutes. My legs would start to feel heavy and constricted. I found myself rubbing the tops of my thighs without even thinking about it, almost like I was loosing circulation without the numbness or tingling. That's really the best way I can describe it. I needed to get up and walk around. After 3 attempts of trying to read my email, I became desperate, and thought it might be coming from my spine. I got down on the floor with my legs out in front of me, and I was horrified to find that I could not bend forward at the waist! I'm normally very flexible, and this has never been a problem for me. I milked the stretch for as long as I could before I needed to get back to getting ready for work. I would say I was there for about 12 minutes or so. By the time I was finished, I was almost as flexible as usual.
I got up off the floor very gently, as I really felt my lower back had become unstable in some way. When I stood up to go down the stairs, I felt a tremendous warmth in both legs. I felt 2 inches taller. I was able to walk down the stairs with NO calf pain. I made my way back into the kitchen with no pain. I was able to sit down at the desk and finish my morning routine without the bilateral leg constriction.

I was elated. 
Then I found this:
Lower Limb Strains

I was on cloud nine all day during work. My legs felt light and walking was effortless. The flexibility had returned to my right ankle. Someone even mentioned how much better I was walking. I was still feeling awesome when I went to the Doc - and I told him what I had done. I did not bring the article in with me, which I should have. He palpated, did some active release and Graston. No pain. I asked if he was using the same amount of pressure as he did the previous week when I thought I would die from the treatment. He said he was. He did not think it had anything to do with neural involvement of any kind. Not from the nerve root, not from collateral branches into the fascia to the muscle. He thought the initial injury could have been a spasm,then subsequent tear or micro tears caused by an electrolyte imbalance. He wanted me to add electrolytes to my water. I ordered some. As of today they have yet to arrive, but I will be using them on my runs, perhaps even as a daily supplement.

I have not had any calf pain with activity or palpation (?collateral branch entrapment causing a low level resting spasm?) since right after I stretched on Wednesday morning, the 12th.

I have been stretching at least once a day on the floor. 


 after a few minutes


On Saturday my legs felt cold, and my right calf felt tight, but not painful. I stretched, and I felt better. I went to a yoga class, and felt fine afterwards. I biked Sunday morning for 28 miles. No calf pain (as usual with riding). I went in for my final visit with him today. Again, treatment, and NO pain. He feels like I should start running again before July.  This weekend, on a track. 10 min run, walk 2 min for a total of 30 mins. I asked, "How about 5 min run, 2 min walk for a total of 30?" He agreed. He is going on vacation on the 27th into the first week of July, and he wanted me to try to run this weekend, so in case I continue to have a problem, he could see me before he leaves. I was more than happy to agree. The training is going to be a little more conservative then last time, however. I'm off on Monday, so I'll get another run in on that day.

Ah.. happiness ensues.
I sure hope this is the end of it.

Bike Ride from Sunday:

Magellan Data
Runmeter Data

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon 2- Review

I saw 'Spirit of the Marathon'  in April, while I was vacationing in Florida. I remember that it followed 5 or 6 people, from the ordinary to professional athlete, as they prepared for and participated in the Chicago marathon. The stories were touching and compelling.  Although I don't remember the specifics of their stories now,  I remember feeling a gamut of emotions, and although never having run a marathon, there were times I found myself nodding at the similarity of my own emotions and thoughts that becoming a runner has evoked in me, and those that flowed as the undercurrent of the movie.

I received an email from the founder of one of the running blogger groups that I'm a member of about possibly being eligible for a pass into the next movie in the series: 'Spirit of the Marathon 2', that debuted on Wednesday the 12th in limited locations. I was put in touch with someone affiliated with the movie, and several emails later, I was able to procure a pass based on the agreement that I would write a review.

This time, the movie was set in Rome - running those 26.2 miles through that city. Again, as before, the ordinary to professional athlete were the stars here. Four of the six runners highlighted were from countries other than the United States, so most of the movie was subtitled. What was different about the tenor of this movie was the location. It could have been the fact that I was watching it on the big screen instead of my iPad. But - no. Rome is just simply magnificent. The allure of this movie, for me, was the backdrop for it.  I found myself wondering how it would feel to run among the ruins, running through this ancient city with people who did not speak my language. But then, it seems that the sport of running, or any sport really -  more often than not transcends the need for the spoken word. Regardless of nationality, age, sex - there are tenets that all runners share, or anyone part of a specific community or culture. In running, the same physiologic changes that we experience during training or a race, create a cascade of feelings and thoughts that all of us share in one way or another, at the same time dealing with them as uniquely as we are different.

As in the previous movie, this movie explored the reasons why people run, what the run does for them, and how the human spirit always triumphs. 
The personal stories kept me interested and I found myself caring about each of the runners. As well as thought provoking scenes, there were quite a few funny moments as well - what transpires during group training runs, or situations we've experienced during a race. I remember one thing that stood out for me was watching two of the highlighted runners, Italian men ages 60+ and 72 coming out of the expo holding their bags of swag, with big smiles on their faces. You can just feel the excitement they felt.  How I related at that moment!

I learned later on after I got home, that there were outtakes and interviews that didn't make it into the movie that were shown after the credits. I'm sorry that I did not stay long enough to see it.

The theater was not filled. Far from it. I was one of the last people to walk into the theater, and I had my pick of seats. I would say perhaps 30 people scattered throughout. But we all laughed in the same places, applauded together, and those watching accompanied by friends or family, mumbled softly to each other during the touching and heartbreaking moments.

Despite the fact that I'm still recovering from what the doc thinks is a soleus tear, after watching this movie I wanted to run a marathon! I'll have to settle, however for being a good girl and sticking to my recovery for now so I could perhaps run the half I have scheduled in October. I would love nothing more than to run it the whole way.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

First Road Ride of the season

This certainly picked up my spirits. I feel able-bodied again. I'm not sure whether to continue to post here while I'm not running, or start a cycling blog. Or just keep to myself. At this point in time, the benefits I'm getting from cardio are what motivates me the most, not so much needing the blog to hold me accountable anymore. But I still love to share, to be part of a culture.
I had no calf pain at all cycling, just some bilateral distal ITB pain, but that's corrected once I change my knee position during hip flexion. My low back is weak, but that will improve too.

Last year by the end of the season I was riding 25 miles under 2 hrs. I'll get there again.

My final visit with the sports doc is tomorrow. I think his plan of running was a little too ambitious.  I'll suggest starting out again on a track, or treadmill, and start out maybe with a walk/run of 2'/2' or 5'/2' instead of 2'/10'. Meanwhile, the cycling will work beautifully to keep my endurance steady. I'll give myself another 2 weeks, maybe 3 of cycling only, then integrate the running back in. I've already paid for the Diva half in October. I don't know quite how that's going to pan out yet. It might be a walk/run.

RunMeter Data

Magellan Data

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First run since MD OK'd return to running

The weather was 59 degrees with a slight breeze. I took my time. Stayed breathing well the entire run, tried to stay away from the hills. Felt some tightness in the right calf before mile two, but tried to stay loose, and positive, using more of a mid foot landing and forward lean instead of pushing off with my toes. Stretched my calves and soleus when I got back. Went to Trader Joes, Fairway and Target for 3 hours. Feeling fine so far!

Runmeter Data
Magellan Data

Monday, June 3, 2013

I'm home and pain free

What a great week I had with my sisters in Minnesota! It's always a good thing to spend time with family. And nature.

Me with Pokey the ball python

3 of 4 dogs

My niece with 1 of 7 goats, and many chickens.
I did not take pics of the horses or cows.

Looking at the lake and lower 40 from the living room

I did some reading about gluten free eating, and dog psychology. (I know, random, right? I have varied interests.)

I did 3 days of P90X with my sister and BIL. I biked 9 miles. I walked for 5 hours at the Mall of America. I also walked/ran the 'I Love Burnsville' 5k with my sisters. I wasn't dressed to run, as I was going to take pics and cheer. But when I saw my sisters putting on their bibs, I didn't want to be left behind. I was debating back and forth about it, not wanted to go against Dr's. orders. I figured the walking wouldn't hurt. (But I knew in my heart that I would test the running waters..!)  I didn't have my watch, but I did have my phone, so at least I had Runmeter. My running sis PR'd for a 5k, and my other sister tried her hand at adding running to her walking in this, her first 5k! We did it together, and came in at 41 minutes. The last time she walked 3 miles, she did it in 50 minutes. We are very happy for her!

Before the race

My calf has improved tremendously since the last treatment I had. I iced and stretched, and at today's appointment, I was pain free during the Stim/laser and active release.  Prior treatments were hell on earth as far as pain. I'm talking a 7-8 out of 10. Today, nada. I'm beyond delighted. I was given some warm up exercises for before a run and we reviewed my post run stretching. I was stretching everything except the muscle we think I tore a bit, the soleus. Now, I'll be adding that stretch, too.                                                                         

Icing and elevating. With newly painted toenails.

I stood on a laser platform that measured the weight bearing through my feet and lower extremities. It seems I'm putting too much weight on the outside of my feet when I stand. The program that analyzed it said I was moderately pronated (although I would call that supinated) and needed orthotics, but he felt the shoes I'm running in are fine. He said that 10/12 people who tested positive for pronation, he's really only fit 1 person for orthotics as a result of using this piece of equipment.

I'm also allowed to start running again! I'm to run 3 times before the final appointment next Monday. 30 minutes total tomorrow, run 10min, walk 2min - repeat. I'm to add 5 minutes each run thereafter.

I'm so hoping this is the end of it. I want to officially start my half marathon training in July. My goal is still to come in under 2 hours.

Bike Ride

I Love Burnsville! 5k Run/Walk