Tuesday, December 13, 2011
OMG OMG OMG! It's FIXED!!! Almost. I finally got in to see my Physical Therapist for the first time since before the MCM. I might kiss her at my follow-up appt on Thursday!
The bad: my hips switch ALOT when I run... somehow I need to figure out how to stabilize my junky trunk when I run! Also, pretty sure I've mentioned the woes of this before.. I'm crazy flexible, which means things don't stay where they should, AND I tend to put more stress on my joints when I stretch, and even just stand! I'm one of those people who, when I just stand up straight, I lock my knees back and they look like Road Runner legs. It also means I need to REALLY focus more on my form when I stretch to make sure I stretch the right bits. Finally, I should be stretching about 1 mile into my runs, not at the end when I'm all loose and uber-bendy from worn-out muscles.
The good: Myofascial stretching / release. This, for me, is up there with chocolate, wine, and bacon. So, we all have this layer of tissue right beneath our skin, called the fascia. It interconnects with your .. uh.. main muscles (you know, your quads, your hammies, etc.. the ones with names!). LOL It can get tight, just like your named muscles (that's what I'm going to call them), only it takes longer to get a good stretch. It can take up to 3-5 minutes to get it to release, vs. the 30 second or so stretch I'm used to when I stretch my muscles-with-names.
So, my PT had me lay on ,my back, grabbed my leg, and pulled it into position where I could feel the stretch in the bad part of my leg. Then she held it there for the longest 3 minutes ever. First it was a sharp pain, that faded to a burning stretch, then a dull pain. When she let go, I nearly cried out.. it HURT. Then it just felt like you do after a really hard workout.
When she stretched Good Leg, I was amazed that it bothered me, too. I actually felt it in my sacrum and lower back. So, after that stretch, she flipped me over to my tummy, and did some type of release on my back, focusing on the area that was tight.
Let me tell you, I was sore for the rest of the day. She told me to lay off running for the day, and I'm not sure I could have if I wanted to. I woke up this morning, though, and it was a good hour or so into my day before I realized that I WAS NOT IN PAIN. I could bend over and touch my toes with NO pain. When I realized it, I nearly cried with joy!
I've dubbed this week, Recovery Week. Today I have a massage scheduled (thanks to a birthday gift cert from awesome hubby!), then I'll walk tomorrow, another PT session on Thursday, and I might be up for a light run this weekend. I feel like I am finally on the mend, and I'm just in complete awe of how simple the fix was.
So... if you're dealing with anything similar, consider checking into physical therapy and ask about this technique... it rocks hard!
See ya on the trails!
Friday, December 09, 2011
Back to the drawing board. As I previously mentioned, I'm trying to take it easy to let my hamstrings heal. I'm currently limiting myself to 3 days of short runs per week.. about 3 miles apiece. The funny thing is, while I can definitely feel the complaint when I'm running uphill, the rest of the run actually feels great! I ran around the lake on Wednesday, and found my 10 min/mile playlist to be too slow.. I had to go to the 9.5 min/mile one, and it felt fantastic!
Weirdly enough, SITTING is what hurts. I don't know if it's because that actually makes the hamstring stretch, or because it's compressing it, or what. I have to force myself to walk around a lot to keep loose. Riding in the car for very long is a KILLER! How the heck do you take it easy without sitting?
Anyhoo, I'm going to do this through the end of Dec. Sticking with 3 days of running, and next week I'll throw in abs, then arms after that. No ST on legs until Jan (unless my PT says otherwise). It's hard, but with the holidays, I'm kinda glad to have some extra time on my hands.
Hoping this works, and that I can get back to some serious training, come January. I've got a buncha races planned next year, and they're not gonna run themselves!
Monday, December 05, 2011
If you know anyone who ran the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K in DC this past weekend, then you've probably already heard the griping. In fact, I'd be surprised if ANYONE in the running community had not heard of the debacle... but just in case you didn't, here it goes!
Now this was totally a fun race for me.. I wasn't interested in a PR, or even challenging myself too much. I signed up for it before the marathon, and thought it would be a fun destination race to do with some girlfriends. Some girlfriends became 2, and that became 1. So still, fun roadtrip with chocolate at the end, and a chance to get in some light running while still taking it easy on the hamstring.
Mind you, I was still scarred from the Marine Corps Expo, which was INSANE!!! We waited in a little bit of traffic, but it moved pretty quickly, we got a parking spot the second we drove into the garage (ok, we got lucky there), and found the expo easily enough. We walked right up to our bib numbers, got our packets, and walked across a test timing mat on the way to the expo to make sure our bib chips worked. I did hear of some people at the Chicago event complaining about this, so it looks like they took the complaints to heart and checked it at the beginning.. nice touch!
We walked right back to pick up our jackets (no, they're not the nicest, but they fit, they're cute, they're windbreakers.. nothing more. ). I scored a hat, too, and it's actually pretty nice, I'll definitely wear it!
The expo itself didn't have a ton of stuff, but it was a nice mix of product and racewear, and WAS NOT CROWDED. When we went to pay, we waited for a grand total of about 3 minutes. Everyone was nice and helpful.
We might have just gotten there at the right time. We arrived shortly before 6pm, and on our way out at around 6:45, we did see cars backed up to get in, so who knows.
Race Day Parking:
I think this was a fiasco for everyone except us. You had the option to park at National Harbor, or Crystal City and Rosecroft Raceway with shuttles. We chose Rosecroft.. it was free and it was close to the race site. This turned out to be the best choice. There was a little backup on the beltline, but it might have taken about 30-40 minutes (not back for DC traffic!). Once through the stoplight on the exit, it went pretty quick, and we got a great parking spot! We walked right onto a shuttle, and were at the race site in about 10 minutes.
According to the owner of the race company, there were 2 accidents that backed up traffic into National Harbor, preventing access for those planning to park there, as well as people taking the shuttle from Crystal City!! What a disaster! On top of that, it seems the spots in National Harbor were fewer than they wanted, and not handled well.
The line to get on the Crystal City shuttle AFTER the race was just as nasty, and I don't know why that was?! Again, for Rosecroft Raceway, we hopped right on one with no waiting, and were back in our car in about 10-15 minutes. Another quick hop on the beltline, and we were home free.
One word... YUM! Our bibs came with two tags you had to tear off and turn in to get your fondue and hot chocolate. The fondue was a mix of dipping items in a nacho tray, and a volunteer would ladle hot melted chocolate into the little dipping compartment. We got sliced apples, half a banana, a little rice crispie treat, a big pretzel stick, a marshmallow.. I think that was about it. It was perfect, and I thought about that chocolate all day long!
The hot chocolate left something to be desired. It was watery, and was a pain to get to, but it was warm, and my hands appreciated that on a such a chilly day!
Because of the traffic nightmare, the race started nearly 1.5 hours late!! Can you believe it?! I've never been in a race that started late. It was freezing cold, too, so many people were complaining about tight muscles. Add to that, the fact that many people got charged for late check out by their hotels, had added babysitter fees, all kinds of crazy issues from losing an hour and a half of their day.
I feel bad for the race organizers, there was no way to win here.. if they'd NOT delayed it, those people in traffic who paid to race would have been PISSED! By delaying it, they got to race, but everyone else had to freeze our fannies off. The owners also said that the motorcycle cops, when leading the 5K, WENT THE WRONG WAY (have you ever?!), which led to mad scramble that made them reverse the course for the 5K, which screwed up where they would finish, etc. That in turn added to the delay of the 15K. Good ol' Prince George's County, MD... I do NOT miss you!
The lady I was running with was running this as her first real distance event. Whether it was the hilly course, nerves, cold weather cramping muscles, or all of the above.. she ended up with an injury around mile 3 that just got progressively worse. We bowed out around mile 4.5 and hopped on the bus, taking a DNF. On the plus side, we got back to the runners' village quicker and got our chocolate!
Would I do it again? I would. Probably not next year, but that's just because I already have a bunch of stuff planned for then. I liked this race, I don't mind hills a bit, and doggone it, I LOVE chocolate! The race owner was very apologetic and explained all of the perfect storm of events that devastated this race, and with that said, it sounds like they actually prevented it from being even worse than it could have been! I also think they've learned their lesson about the location. They called it "DC", but it was really Maryland, and not even the prettiest part of MD. If it was pretty, it might have made up for the inaccessibility and screw-up by local law enforcement... but now they know.
So, I would expect next year's to have many more contingencies in place, possibly at a new location, and I'm betting the chocolate will be just as good.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Beth Risdon, of "Shut Up and Run" blog fame has a saying she occasionally uses: DUSA (Dumb As Sh!t Athlete). I have worn the DUSA crown for the last few weeks, and I'm hoping that the lesson sinks in one of these days.
I felt AWESOME after the MCM. The week after, I walked about 2 miles a day, and I think I threw in a short jog here and there. At the end of Week 1, I figured, heck, I feel great, reverse-taper, schmaper... I'm going back to my normal routine, sans long runs.
On Sunday I did a 4 mile trail run, followed by several HOURS of yard work. Monday was about 3 miles with the run club. Tuesday was Crazy Trainer's Sculpting class, and then I did a little 3 mile run Wed morning. Thursday was when it caught up.
My hamstrings LOUDLY voiced their displeasure at my complete abuse of them and other parts that had gotten me through those 26.2 miles! I started to notice a burning pain in my hamstring when I sat too long (can you believe SITTING stretches your hamstrings?! What the heck are you supposed to do?!). I tried a long run the Sunday after the trail run, after taking Thurs and Fri off. I *almost* made it out of the neighborhood before I had to turn around and come limping home, nearly crying with frustration!
A little research turned up nothing surprising... rest that sucker! Good ol' RICE therapy. I decided to take a week off from running. Hubby and I were off for a whole week anyway, and were planning to overhaul our attic. I guess when you have a walk-up attic, and you're cleaning it out, it's not really resting, is it? More like being on the stairmaster for several hours a day... which tends to use... which muscle? That's right, the good ol' hammie.
Do you know how hard it is to REST a hamstring? I am working on simply respecting my hamstring, as my PT called it. After Attic Week, I did take it easy. I took several more days off, did an easy 8K Turkey Trot on TG (with surprisingly good time), and then a really light 3.5 miler on Sunday (followed by a 6 mile hike with my son... man, I AM a DUSA). Rested yesterday, walking today.
I've decided that I'm skipping the ST for a few weeks, doing some light runs, and will eventually add back in 1 ST session a week, then the 2nd. I should have done this in the first place, but I clearly do not know how to rest. I've heard that the taper drives people insane, but I was relieved when I got to mine.. I was so tired, and excited to rest. It's after the race that's killing me! I FEEL good, I want to jump back into the next thing, but I have got to do a better job of recovering.
...maybe it will sink in after this weekend's 15K!
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
So I'm about 1.5 weeks past Race Day, and still feeling quite good. My first week, I totally took it easy. A few light runs, lots of walking and lots of stretching.
This past weekend, I decided that I was feeling good, and it was time to get back into the swing of things! I ran a lovely 4 mile trail run on Sunday, on one of my favorite, rooty, rocky, technical trails! I'd avoided it for the last few months so that I wouldn't break an ankle before the marathon, and it was nice to get back to it! On a side note, I've also decided that, rather than getting a new pair of road shoes to replace the pair that are wearing down, I'm going to get some trail shoes for some Fall trail running!
Right after the trail run, I did about 3 or 4 hours of yard work, and I could tell the next day! It didn't stop me from the Monday night Social Run, though! We followed the wrong group, however, and ended up only doing about 3 miles, but it was probably at the best pace I've run in months, so I'm calling it a draw!
Yesterday, back to strength training. I was actually worried that I'd be worse off after this class, since I'd put ST on hold for about the last 2 weeks or so (didn't want to hurt those hammies before Race Day, and wanted to conserve as much energy as possible!). I felt great! I nailed all of the stuff, and dare I say, the class felt a bit easy! I'm sure that comment will bite me in the butt in a day or so!
Today I crammed in a quick 3 mile run before work... and I did start to feel it a bit. We did alot of squats yesterday, and the tops of my legs just felt... heavy. Granted, that IS the heaviest part of me! BUT, the muscles just didn't feel as fresh as they normally would. I took a few walk breaks during the run, but I finished strong, even with You-Gotta-Be-Kidding-Me Hill.
So, slow and steady does it. Looks like I'm *mostly* recovered, and I'll probably up my mileage a little next week. Hoping to get in at least 1 good 10 mile run this month to prep for the Hot Chocolate 15K on Dec 3.
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