hatchdad

Evolution of a Man


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Decisions, Decisions…


Sigh.  I’ve been dodging writing this blog for a while.

My last run, a few weeks ago, was a longer one.  I had planned on an 18 mile run, from Ashburn, VA out past Leesburg (9 miles out and 9 miles back, along the WO&D trail).  It all started well.  My pace felt good, and I wasn’t very sore at all.  It sure was cold though, but the running kept me warm, so I didn’t notice much.

On the way back, probably around mile 15 – I started to feel it.  It was a slow throb in my right hip.  I tried to push through it some, but it wouldn’t go away.  I stopped for a moment to stretch it out (as my physical therapist had instructed), but when I went to go back to running I didn’t make it very far before the pain was back, and this time pretty unbearable.  It got to the point that lifting my leg to run was too painful to do.

I ended up walking the last two miles of the trail back to my car. By the end of the two mile walk it hurt to even walk.

This wasn’t my first injury from long distance running, it was more like my 5th.  I’ve been working with a physical therapist for more than two months now, and it’s not making much of a difference, and I’ve made a decision.

I’m going to switch to the half marathon.

That sucks just reading it.  I hate to admit defeat – but at the same time, it’s for the best in the long run.  The same way you have to know when to retreat from a losing Risk battle, before you over commit forces you cannot afford to lose, I feel it’s my time to call this one a race.  If I continue with thinking I can complete a marathon when my body is telling me in no uncertain terms that I cannot – I might end up with a permanent injury.

So, I’ll be running the half-marathon in DC instead of the full, and I’m going to be happy about it.  It’s still a whole lot of effort put in, and I’m proud of my progress – regardless of my stupid body’s rules on what it will and will not accept.


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Physical Therapy, out for a week.


I went to see a physical therapist, to evaluate my knee and get some tips for making it better, and to receive some advice on when I should go running again. After an initial evaluation, I was told that I basically have slight tendonitis in the patella (kneecap), where my quads attach, and stretching will help, as well as strengthening exercises. She prescribed the following stretches and strengthening exercises (for both legs, to keep them evenly worked out). These exercises are intended to strengthen the quads to the point where they can handle the amount of running I’m throwing at them.

  STRETCHES

hamstringstretchHamstring stretch

Your hamstring muscle runs along the back of your upper leg. To stretch your hamstring muscles:

  • Lie on the floor near the outer corner of a wall or a door frame.
  • Raise your left leg and rest your left heel against the wall. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
  • Gently straighten your left leg until you feel a stretch along the back of your left thigh.
  • Hold for about 20 seconds.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • As your flexibility increases, maximize the stretch by gradually scooting yourself closer to the wall or door frame.
  • Repeat this for each leg 3 times.

itbstretch

Iliotibial Band Stretch

The iliotibial band (ITB) is a band of tissue that runs along the outside of your hip, thigh and knee. To stretch your ITB:

  • Stand near a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment for support.
  • Cross your left leg over your right leg at the ankle.
  • Extend your left arm overhead, reaching toward your right side. You’ll feel a stretch along your left hip.
  • Hold for about 20 seconds.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Do each leg 3 times.

 

 

wall_1wall_2wall_3wall_4

Wall Stretch (Weight bearing Gastrocnemius and soleus muscles)

This stretch primarily addresses tension and lack of range of motion in the gastrocnemius muscle (outer calf), soleus muscle (inner calf), achilles tendonposterior tibial tendon and the plantar fascia.

  • This stretch is best performed in a doorway, although any other flat surface will work. Always perform this stretch while wearing supportive footwear.
  • Stand in the doorway, arms’ length away. Place one forefoot up against the door jam with the heel seated firmly on the floor.
  • Grab the door fame at waist level and pull your hip toward the door frame. Tension should develop anywhere from the back of the knee down through the calf, achilles, heel and into the long arch.
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • repeat for each leg, 3 times.

lying quad stretch

Lying Quad Stretch

  • Lie on the edge of a table or bed.
  • let one half of your body lean off
  • While holding on to something to keep you on the table/bed, grab the ankle of the leg hanging off (or use a band to pull it).
  • Allow a deep stretch to happen, while pulling the ankle towards the butt.

I was also prescribed some preliminary strengthening exercises (isometrics).  

 

short arc quads

Short Arc Quads.

  • Place a towel roll under your knee.
  • Kick your leg up working to straighten the knee.
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 reps each leg.

straight leg raise

Straight Leg Raise (Flexion)

  • Tighten your thigh. Once you have the thigh muscle tight, raise the entire leg so your foot raises 10 inches.
  • Lower the leg and relax the thigh muscle. It is important to relax the thigh between repetitions so that you get good at illuming your thigh muscle on and off .
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 reps, each leg.

cross legged adduction

Cross-leg Adduction

In the images above, the exercise I’m doing is the bottom example.

  • Hold your trunk tight and keep your back straight
  • Lie on your side and support your head
  • Cross your top leg in front of you
  • Keep your bottom leg straight
  • Raise your bottom leg so your foot is level with (or slightly higher than) the opposite hip
  • Lower the leg so your foot touches the floor

quad sets with flexion

Quad sets (with Flexion)

  • Sit with a rolled hand towel under the knee
  • exert as much force as you can downward with the knee onto the towel.
  • Repeat 2 sets of 10 repetitions, holding each for 3 seconds, for each leg.

If you feel like getting into running, these are some great stretches and exercises to prepare your muscles and ligaments for the task.  I wish I had a list of these when I started.

Enjoy, and happy running!


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I’m Jacked UP!


Well, F.

My left knee is pretty messed up.  The day of our 12 mile run, it was achey, but not unbearable.  The next day however (even with appropriate stretching, nutrition, and manual removal of lactic acid buildup), my knee was more than just achey.  It hurt to bend it, particularly when lifting as well (think stairs and walking).

Pain in a knee. sports trauma

Boo. 

Hiss.

 

The run was on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, and I’m still hurting.  Not as much, but it’s still there.  I bought a knee brace and have been wearing it.  It helps.  I also have a hot gel pack to let the pain soak away with.  I had to miss a training run this morning, which sucks…and i’m worried that I’ll miss the 14 miler this weekend.  It isn’t a huge deal if I have to, I’m not married to the idea, I just would rather run it than not (or rather, I’d like to be healthy enough to run it than not).

I scheduled an evaluation appointment at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, to begin physical therapy on my knee.  Hopefully they’ll have some good tips or answers for me with this part of the journey.

My thoughtful wife Jessica sent me an article, with some highlights too.  Here they are.

Strengthen The Quadriceps.

Leg curls using a weight machine is a good way to do this, but make sure you start out with light weights until your strength increases. Another exercise is simply knee bends. Here you hold onto a table or something similar for support and gradually bend the knees until the thighs are almost horizontal. Then straighten up and repeat. Using the front of your feet makes this more effective, and do not go beyond the horizontal, which just puts extra strain on the knee joints.

Wear Stability Shoes If You Pronate

Check with your local running store (or physiotherapist) if you suspect that you have a foot strike problem. Then buy the appropriate shoes to correct this. I also like to wear cushioning shoes for marathon training, but this is a personal choice and might not suit everyone.

Avoid Sloping Running Surfaces

If you frequently run on paved roads, try to pick a flatter area where possible. Even the sidewalk is preferable although it is often a harder surface. Running tracks in gyms are usually banked, so try to avoid these as much as possible.

Be Wary Of Speed Work

Although speedwork is often called for in more advanced marathon programs, it can be a major contributor to knee problems. If you decide to do this as part of your training, go for the longer (slower) intervals rather than the short bursts of fast running. Most of us can run a successful marathon without including any formal speedwork in our training.

Take It Easy On The Hills

Hill work is a great way to improve your leg strength and aerobic capacity, and should be part of your marathon training. However too aggressive an approach, and going too fast on the downhill, can be very detrimental to your knees. This is where the ‘listen to your body’ advice comes in. If you have been strengthening your quads, and you are wearing the right footwear you are probably OK. Just ease off the moment you start to feel any discomfort.

I’m going to focus on the PT and strengthening my quads.  Hopefully I’ll be up to running, and not limping around my house before too long.


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Week 13, and allllllls well (except for my leg, and calves)



Image

        “This sign is delicious”  -Tree

The run of the 22nd of December was my 43rd training run, the last run of the 13th week!  (Week 13: Dec. 16th-Dec. 22nd)

43 runs in, 13 weeks down, 12 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 13 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 00:44:54

Average Pace

  • 8:31 /mile

Average Distance

  • 5.25 miles

Notable week 13 information:

  • Week thirteen marks the halfway point in my marathon training!  13 down, and 12 left to go.
  • I ran 10 miles on Saturday.  10 miles is a heck of a long way, and my body is telling me about it even now, 5 hours laters.  My hips hurt, and the back of my calves are stiff and sore.  I see a bath in the future, or at the very least some icy hot.  The run itself wasn’t bad, in fact I felt great running it.  It was the last leg of the journey, the last 1/4 that was a killer.  I was feeling it, but not too badly.
  • Chris and I still haven’t gone to get the gel stuff for running the long runs, nor are we taking water with us.  We’re heading this week to the running store to pick up some gear and tips.  This morning, about a half hour before I went, I ate a half a banana (chewed extra thoroughly), and chugged a whole glass of water.  I am always cautious now of eating before running, but it worked out fine.  Not a hint of a cramp, and not a hint of dehydration upon return.
  • I’ve begun working on protein replacement upon return.  It has to happen quickly – first thing when you get back. I’ve ordered some protein from Dr. Mercola’s website (some organic stuff, with no ingredient whatsoever that you don’t find growing or right out of an animal), but it hasn’t yet got here.  I downed a big glass of milk for protein this time, and fixed two large egg/ham/mayo sammiches, and man were they good.
  • I’ve continued on my book journey; reading the Lord of the Rings on audio CD for the 5th time.  Frodo and company have just met Strider in Bree, and shit just got real with some Black Riders.

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“..all that is gold does not glitter” – Gandalf


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Running Wounded


“Relish the bad training runs. Without them it’s difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones.” 
-Pat Teske

The run of the 1st of December was my 34st training run, the last run of the 11th week!  (Week 11: Dec. 2nd-Dec. 8th)

36 runs in, 11 weeks down, 14 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 11 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 41:13 minutes

Average Pace

  • 9:13 /mile

Average Distance

  • 4.52 miles

Notable week 11 information:

  • Injury.  After my five mile run on week 10’s saturday, I had some pain in my hip.  It got pretty bad on Saturday night, but was gone Sunday.  Before my Monday morning run though, during my sleep, my leg hurt and throbbed all night, keeping me up.  I had done stretches and such, but it didn’t really help.  The pain was still there on Tuesday and on Wednesday (leading me to decide not to run on Wednesday, although I had planned to earlier).  I decided to go to see my chiropractor.  Dr. Joe did an excellent job.  He massaged the muscle, put on some penetrating gel (and provided me some for home), and used a cold laser on the area, as well as the typical adjustment.  My leg felt great, the pain was gone, and I ran with no problems on Thursday morning.
  • I ran 6 miles on Saturday!  From my house to Potomac View High School’s stone entrance and back.  It seems like a long distance to run just thinking about it!  It felt really good though, and the weather was perfect for a run.  My leg started getting a little sore at around the 3/4 complete mark, but I took an easier pace the whole way (8:53), and seemed to have saved my leg from severe pain.  I stretched it out extra when I got home, put on the gel Dr. Joe had given me, and my pain slowly faded away.

“Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” 
-Dean Karnazes 

 


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Week 5…Done


“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it”– Oprah Winfrey

The afternoon run of the 27th of October was my 19th training run, the last run of the fifth week!  (Week 5: Oct. 21th-Oct. 27th)

19 runs in, 5 weeks down, 20 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 5 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:01.00 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:18 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.61 miles

Notable week 5 achievements:

  • This week was run by myself – and two of the runs I took a different route.  Instead of going the hilly route down by Trump National golf course, I instead went out to Algonkian parkway, and just ran to see how far 15 minutes out took me.  Without the hills, my pace was considerably improved (almost breaking below 8min/mile).  As a friend reminded me though, i’m training for the long run, not the short sprint.

Each man’s life represents a road toward himself. – Herman Hesse


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Discovery


It seems strange to me that at 37 I’m still learning about who I am. Things that I never would have dug up had I not been looking; monumental things.  Things that drive me, things that shape how I behave.

I’m insecure.

I’ve got a deep seated fear of rejection.

I have no problem getting close to somebody, but only so far.

In my life, I have been blessed with not just a woman, not just a wife in name alone, but a partner.  Someone who believes, who has glimpsed the person I can be (who I want to be).  Someone willing and able to ride out the rough with me.  A partner, a friend, a lover.  My wife.

So happy to wake up next to her, a different, deeper man every day.

This little journey of mine, even though it’s not so old, is already unlocking boxes in my mind that have been sealed since they were made.  I’m redoing the foundations of this old house, so that it will last forever.