Tuesday, July 19, 2011
There is a "Get Healthy" initiative in my city that is sponsored by a local women-only fitness center (not the one I go to). They do a terrific job of promoting walking for health and host monthly walks in different locations within the community. This month was a walk across the old Mississippi River bridge which is now only for rail traffic due to bridge safety concerns. (Although many protest if it is safe for trains, why can't it be open to pedestrians?) This was also attended by the MS law enforcement training center, local police, fire department, Miss Vicksburg and the Mayor (all the local celebs, LOL!). The bridge is 1.5 miles long from Vicksburg, MS to Delta, LA on the other side - an out and back. I went with a friend who has to be the slowest walker on earth, but she keeps working at it. Seriously, 20 min miles. I started my morning at 6:15 biking to the gym, strength training then back on my bike to ride the 3 miles to meet her at the bridge by 8. It was oddly overcast and foggy, but better than blazing sun! I was good and sweaty before we got started.
This is the Director of the training center getting ready to lead us in warm up.
We're ready to go and the officers begin their jog in formation.
And we're off... that's the "new" bridge to the left. Interstate 20 to those of you in the southern half.
Yes, there was a train going through at the same time we were. Good, good, good... good vibrations...
So I'm walking along taking pics and forgot about my pokey friend until I reached the 1 mile water stop. I turned around and went looking for her then we walked the rest of the course together. Here's our view coming back to the bridge... (crickets) the crowd is long gone.
Looking south... if I started swimming from here I would reach New Orleans in a day or so (that is if I survived the undertow so that's not really a plan).
Ah the finish is in sight! CRISSYCURRY if you're reading... this is the only incline on the Over The River Run 5 mile.
I hopped on my bike and pedaled home. 13 miles ridden, 3.5 miles walked and 40 min of heavy lifting. Done!
Just a few random things. This is my 2nd place medal from the July 4th 5k.
The best running buddy ever
And my ridiculous killer hill in the fog
That's all the pics for today. Tomorrow is my metabolic assessment. Woo-hoo! No food after 8 pm tonight. Boo. No coffee in the morning. Oh no!!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I'm just going to catch up on tidbits people have been asking about....
I did get my Polar HRM for swimming (Ebay bargain at $50). It's a FT40 that has a fitness test supposedly equivalent to VO2 max so I thought that would be interesting. I did the test and it said I was above average with a 37. This info factors into the calorie calculator for accuracy. I've worn it in tandem with my Garmin 405CX for comparison (bike and walk) and the Polar shows about 30% higher calories being burned. Not sure which one is right... more on that later. Anyway, I have worn the Polar several times in the pool now with mixed results. The pool at the gym is salt water and I have figured out that when the salt level is high, there is better conductivity and the band transmits well to the watch as it did yesterday with only about 5 min missing from my hour. Today it blanked for about 15 min. Last week I had 2 days with only 20 min recorded and 1 day with 0, but that was when the water was in bad shape. On the Polar message board I learned that the old HRM band works much better for swimming than the new band. So back to Ebay I went and hopefully it will be here soon so this thing will work the way it should and I will have a better guesstimate of calories burning during a swim workout. My heart rate is where I assumed it was -similar to running so at least I know that much.
After many, many phonecalls and pleading voicemail messages with no response... I finally got a call from Dr Don at the college with the New Leaf Fitness Assessment. To back up a second, this is the metabolic and VO2 max testing that I found in March but he put me off until early May because of classes. This was the only location in the state so I have been waiting forever to do this. I even contacted New Leaf again begging for help in finding another location within 200 miles but they said that was it. That turned out to be a lie. Anyway, Dr Don has had some health issues and he will not be doing any testing for months until he can train another person to do it. O.M.G. You couldn't have let me know that months ago? How about when your wife anwered your phone while y'all were on vacation? No, I didn't say that but I was sure thinking it. I asked if he had demo'd the machine anywhere before he bought and he gave me the name of a place down the road from the college. Seriously? New Leaf couldn't help me out with that? So I called and have an appointment for next Wednesday. I told the guy I would have been there months ago if I had known, but New Leaf didn't give me their info. He said that's because they charge an annual fee to include them on their website referral. That's pretty crappy! I told him they should at least have it on their website because I googled to death and the closest place I found was 3 hours away. Hopefully I will part with my $250 and learn the secret to getting off this plateau for good. Honestly, 6 months and 11 pounds is ridiculous payoff for the diligence and effort that I put in. The guessing game will end. I will come away from this with my actual RMR, required calories, optimum workout plan, heart rate zones and VO2 max info for training. That can be uploaded into my Garmin for exact calorie reporting. I am so excited!!
My neighbor told me that it was good I wasn't running because runners have the insides of someone 20 yrs older. Yes, I laughed out loud. Then I realized she was serious and attempted to recover with an "Oh really? I've never heard that before." She proceeded to tell me that she learned that in college in a phys ed class. She's 50ish for reference so fear not fellow runners, this isn't a new discovery. She said they learned that in autopsies on runners bodies, their organs were in terrible condition from all that jostling around. Hmmm.... seems I would have read a health warning label on running shoes at some point. Warning: The Surgeon General advises against running because it will jostle your insides and cause them to prematurely age . Try not laughing at that.
Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but I have registered for a few races. As a runner. No I am not yet cleared to run. Hopefully I will get that on my next Ortho appointment in 3 weeks. Speaking of... Dr Paul the Chiro called me last week to say "Hey, I got an amended MRI read from the Radiologist, but I'm sure Dr Andy already told you that you have a stress fracture". Yes he did. And I was pleased to hear that the MRI was amended. That means that Dr Andy did indeed call the Rad to ask why the stress fracture wasn't noted. In other words, officially saying "hey, you missed a spot". That's your job, dude. You rubber stamped me with osteoarthritis because you saw that I was 45 and 175. I guess I shouldn't have had my appt during his lunch hour?
I just registered for my first Triathlon. Woot! It's a Mini Sprint for beginners. Perfect! Exactly the learning opportunity I am looking for to practice in a race environment. There isn't a local tri club so I am on my own. Just me and my "Triathlons for Beginners" guide book. I can handle the swim/bike/run... it's the transitions that I am unsure about. I think it will help that I am going to watch a tri next month so maybe I will learn a thing or two.
So that's what's been going on since last week. A bunch of different stuff, nothing terribly interesting or earth shattering. Except the thought of jostling insides and shoes with Surgeon General warnings. I'm wondering if faster shoes carry stronger warnings. "Don't try this at home".
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Watermelon Classic 5k Run/Walk on 4th of July. This race I was actually excited about even though I was walking. Why? Because I had been timing my practices and knew that if I could just shave a bit off on race day it might be enough to place. Yes, I know I have a problem with being competitive. It's one thing to compete against my own times. It's a whole 'nother story when I can actually compete for medals! When I run, it's me and the clock because there are a dozen women that smoke my time at every race. Except that freezing 10k in Feb when I got 3rd because they didn't show up, but I take credit for it all the same. Three months ago, 04/05 was my last run and I have been struggling to recover mentally since then. The first two months were bad, but the last month has been much better as I have settled into a new routine of acceptance and patience. Of course it's easier for me to say that now that I have a diagnosis that makes complete sense and has alleviated much of my frustration. Now I get it. And my attitude is much better for that. Instead of begrudgingly walking the 10k when I had trained for the half marathon on 04/30, this time I intentionally registered for the 5k as a walker. And recruited a beginner friend to register, too. Bless her heart, she's slow as Christmas, but she's been bit by the race bug and set out to shop for new shoes today.
This time I hung out on the side with the walkers as the runners lined up at the start and I wasn't angry that I couldn't be with them. I was waiting for my start. As a walker. My adrenaline was pumping. The runners took off and we rushed forward to the line. I had told my friend to stay about 2/3 back. I didn't want her to feel defeated by everyone passing her. I was behind a small group of seniors that I knew would beat me to the finish and they did, but I did beat some of them. That's right, the walking race is ruled by senior citizen speed demons. It's crazy. Anyway, 10 minutes later, off we went and I set my eye on the lady in the red tank with the crazy leopard print shoes because I had seen her before and knew she was fast. She wasn't going to get out of my sight. At one point I was at the top of a rise and they were going down so I could count there were maybe 20 in front of me. I had no idea how many behind.
As I passed mile 2 (and a number of runners-no-longer-running), a man caught up to me and we paced the remainder of the race to average 11:48. I think he knew everyone in the city because they were all honking and waving. He was probably 70. We shook hands after crossing the finish together at 37:30 and I thanked him for keeping me energized to the end. He said he would see me at the next race. I grabbed a water and doubled back to a shade tree to wait for my friend to walk her in to the finish. I waited a long time, LOL. Finally she appeared and I could tell she was really glad to see me standing there. Her time 53:54. She was elated to have finished and started asking me about the next race. We grabbed our watermelon slices and found some shade to wait for the awards ceremony.
There's nothing like hearing your name called when they are handing out the race bling. I finished 2nd in age group. Fan-freakin'-tastic! Not too shabby for a walker with a tibial stress fracture. But I still can't wait to run.
2 of 38 women age 40-49
17 of 182 overall
3.18 miles according to my trusty sidekick, Garmin.
I think the caffeine must have kicked my heart rate up because I averaged about the same as a running race when usually I stay under 155 walking.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
I think I have had every possible diagnosis considered, but the one I first asked about is what it turned out to be... stress fracture. The day after the injury, I went to my GP. I said "I know I have ITBS, but this area is very sore and swollen. Could I have a stress fracture?" He scoffed and said "I guess you read that on the internet? No, you don't have a stress fracture. (with a smirk) If you had one it would be lower on your leg, not under your knee". The next day I went to the chiropractor for treatment on my IT band. After a couple weeks and 4 visits, I asked if there was a tendon in that area that would cause the swelling. He said no but it is right next to where it attaches and since that is strained that is probably what is causing the swelling. I asked if I could have a stress fracture there. He said the same thing -no, it would be toward the ankle where the bone is thinner. So I dropped that idea. Well ladies, I found out yesterday that they are wrong. I have a significant stress fracture 5cm below the tibial condyle (the round end of the bone).
Dr Andy (my new favorite!) asked me about the pain, the various tendon and ligament issues I've had and the constant swelling for the last 3 months.
He said "hmm, let's look at the xray. So... when was the last time you ran?"
"Last week I did 2x 1/4 mi intervals during a walk."
"And how did that work out?"
"Yeah, I bet it did. You're not run ready. You have a stress fracture big as day (pointing to it)."
So my GP and chiro dismissed it and the radiologist missed it entirely. I go back next month to check the progress as there isn't anything to aid healing -just do whatever doesn't hurt. I asked about the osteoarthritis diagnosis and he said I have normal wear and tear for my age, but I still have really good joint space so that won't cause me any problems anytime soon. But for long term, marathons are not the best idea. No surprise there, LOL. He said I would be able to run LD, but should limit the number and consider shorter runs for the health of my knees or better yet switch to TRI or cycling.
I'll have another x-ray in a month and he will compare the progress. He said three months isn't unusually long for the extent of the fracture, but if it isn't improving as it should then he wants to do bloodwork to check for vitamin D or calcium deficiency and a bone density test. Most likely it was entirely caused by overtraining. Too many miles of pounding pavement.
Aside from my elation with a diagnosis that doesn't require surgery or prohibit future running... the other fantastic thing that happened...
I asked what I needed to know to protect myself from future stress fractures.
Dr Andy said "Maintain your weight. You're not overweight so just stay where you are and keep strength training so your muscles will take the pressure off the bones for support."
I blurted out "Oh no I'm still overweight."
He looked me up and down, glanced at my chart. Frowned.
I said "Yeah, I was obese and I just made it to overweight 5 pounds ago. I have 24# to go just to hit healthy".
He said "Yeah well BMI's don't apply to athletes. How much have you lost?"
"Wow, that's awesome. (high fived me) Don't sweat the BMI. You're a healthy athlete. I'm a doctor. I know these things."
Did I mention I love Dr Andy?!!
In other news... I lost a pound this week. Woot! I am swimming over a mile now. Woot! In my shopping yesterday I scored another tankini top at half price, a cute straw hat and a sexy maxi dress, but still haven't found a pair of heels to swoon over. We go on a cruise next month and I need some hooker heels because I plan on looking hot on the dance floor. Hey, you only live once. Might as well get your sexy out every now and then. Especially in international waters amongst people that don't know you and you'll never see again. Except for my children who will pretend they don't know me and my husband who will pretend I'm his fantasy mistress. Athlete by day, hot chick by night. You won't find me on the shuffleboard court!
**edited to add that Dr Andy is the Sports Med Orthopedic Surgeon that the chiro, Dr Paul referred me to. My General Practitioner is the one that is getting replaced. He's Dr Complacent. Should have at least done an x-ray and I should have been put on crutches for a min of 2 weeks. That would have been the best practice for healing a stress fracture rather than continuing to be on it.**
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