hatchdad

Evolution of a Man


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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)



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        “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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Week 12 – 8 miles is a long way to run.


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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap, judge it by the seeds that you plant” – Robert Louis Stevenson

The run of the 15th of December was my 39th training run, the last run of the 12th week!  (Week 12: Dec. 9th-Dec. 15th)

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

Week 12 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 00:45:23

Average Pace

  • 9:03 /mile

Average Distance

  • 4.98 miles

Notable week 12 information:

  • My injured leg is feeling much better.  It still gets a little sore after a run, but not sore enough that I have to quit, nor sore enough that i can’t make my following run.  I am going to stick with the stretches and keep it limber, and keep going to the chiropractor for adjustments.
  • I ran 8 miles on Saturday.  8 miles seems like a long way to go and it is…but I never felt like it was too far, or that my leg was going to give out on me.  I remembered seeing a commercial on television during the Olympics, where a guy was doing running and was listening to books on his iPhone.  I have tons of audio books, I used to listen to them while I worked, so I put the unabridged Lord of the Rings on my phone, and have been listening to it.  What a difference it makes!  I can zone out to the book, and even though i’m running it feels almost like I’m curling up with a good book to get entertained.   I’m almost ready to go run again, if only for the chance to hear the next chapter in Frodo’s saga.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis


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Week 10! Big Milestone reached


Week 10!

5miles
It’s been a big week.  This week was the first week we were challenged to run 5 miles, which we did, on Saturday.  It was exciting to start the run, and I felt great about getting into it.  Mile 1, 2, and 3 went by pretty uneventfully (as I’ve been running this distance almost 10 weeks now).  Mile 4 and 5 were interesting.

I had been keeping up a blistering pace (for me, anyway) – under 8 min/mile, and I felt really good with it.  I decided to try and keep it up for the whole 5 miles.  Usually, I’d fall off towards the end.  I did keep on the gas though, and I started feeling my chest getting tight in the middle of the 4th mile.  By the 5th mile, I was hurting, and as I had designed my route to have a hill at the end I knew it was going to hurt even more.

I ended up having an average pace for the 5 mile run of 7:57/mile (39 minutes, 51 seconds), my best pace since I started running.  I know it’s not all about pace – but it was a minor goal that I was happy to reach.  To the stats!

The run of the 1st of December was my 34st training run, the last run of the 10th week!  (Week 10: Nov. 25th-Dec. 1st)

34 runs in, 10 weeks down, 15 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 10 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 36:01 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:33 /mile

Average Distance

  • 4.19 miles

Notable week 9 information:

  • As said above, 5 miles run!
  • I went walking through the mall afterwards, and my outer groin (right where the hip connects to the inner thigh) was KILLING me.  it hurt for each step.  I’m going to have to investigate which stretches can help me keep this limber to avoid painful runs in the future (especially when I am running further distances).
  • If you add up all of the miles over the 10 weeks that I’ve run since starting training with the Runtastic app, it’s 104.21 miles, or past Baltimore and just about to Elkton, MD

0001XI

I normally end with a quote.  Usually it’s some encouraging words that are relevant to the weeks run, something that is inspiring that might help inspire someone else.  While searching for something this week, I came across this, and have to share, because I found it very inspiring (and I freaking love Bruce Lee).  It also has to do with running, with reaching 5 miles, and with reaching your upper limits.

Bruce-Lee-Inspiration


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Week 8 – The importance of a training partner


I’ve never been one to overestimate myself.  I’m pretty ‘real’ when it comes to my shortcomings, as much as I am confident in my abilities.  One of my main shortcomings in life is sustaining drive.  It’s hard for me to keep momentum going.  I get really amped for a little while on something, and end up giving it up when I’m later bored with whatever it is I was amped about.  Two months ago, I was amped about running a marathon, and about training for it.  I was worried though, that I wouldn’t succeed.  That I’d give up training for it, and not finish what I had started.

I set up built in failsafes.

  • I signed up and paid for the marathon.
  • I publicly set up a blog to keep me accountable to myself
  • most importantly though, I found a training partner.

 

I was discussing my goals with my neighbor Chris, who mentioned he had the same problem with working out.  He’d get all motivated, but that motivation would taper off and he’d stop doing it.  He asked me if I minded if he joined me on my marathon quest, and I was jazzed right away.  Having someone on the same path, waiting for you outside in the cold at 5:30am is a serious motivator.  We both know we want to run, we both know we need to run to train for the marathon, and the fact that we’ve both decided to do this thing together keeps us both still doing it.  Sometimes though, your partner has life stuff, and can’t race for a few days.  This happened this week, for Chris.  His wife was out of town, which meant he couldn’t leave in the morning on Wednesday or Thursday to run.

This shouldn’t have been a problem.  He’s missed a couple of other days for other reasons before, as have I, but we’ve made them up, or run by ourselves for the day.  This Wednesday, I heard the alarm go off, and looked at it.  My internal dialogue told me to turn it off and go to sleep, it’s just one day off.  My conscious mind – already bored-ish with running, agreed, and that’s what I did.  I was guilty all day long.  Thursday morning, the alarm went off, and my internal dialogue was similar.  Just as Wednesday, I went back to sleep, and didn’t run.

I agonized all day Thursday and Friday about it.  I should have gone.  I should have had the willpower to get off my ass and go run, but I didn’t.  I chose not to.  Without Chris to run with, I had a way out, and in a weak moment or two in the morning, I opted for it.

I’m so happy to have Chris to run with in the mornings, because he helps keep me on track – and I need that right now, while I build the habit stronger.

All that said, I did get two runs in this week; Monday and Saturday.

The run of the 17th of November was my 27th training run, the last run of the 8th week!  (Week 8: Nov. 12th-Nov. 17th)

27 runs in, 8 weeks down, 17 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 8 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:01 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:33 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.51 miles

Notable week 8 information:

  • I learned this week that I should NOT eat anything before going running.  I had a major cramp on Monday’s run, from about mile 3 til the end.  I need to do some research into how runners deal with abdominal cramps while out running.


“Stay on Target” – Jek Porkins, Red Six