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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Warning: Runner geek post

So yesterday I visited a physical therapist for the first time ever because a friend of mine visits him often and told him of my situation (bursitis, possible stress fracture) combined with the lack of insurance. He told her they offer a free 15 minute assessment for this very reason, to make sure people are on track and not going to die. After that it’s up to how much and how often an individual can afford to come back.

My 15 minute assessment turned into a 30 minute session, though a harried one. I am forever grateful because he gave freely of his time when he usually makes a lot of money to assist me with my tibia and crooked pelvis. It was mighty gracious of him.

I already spoke of my crooked pelvis a bunch of months ago so knew it was an issue that I believe was beginning to make itself evident via the trail running. There is so much uneven pacing on technical trails that my footfall and gait can sometimes be altered significantly as there is a lot of leaping and jumping over, under or off rocks or roots. It has certainly created greater strength in my hips, which he did point out.

supination

As he held my feet and did the various tests to determine rotation, flexibility and length of the legs, he explained what he was looking for and what he found.

My right foot has less flexibility and decreased rotation therefore causing supination. However, it has greater turnover leading to me landing directly on my mid-foot and in a way is better at load bearing during the process.

My left foot has greater flexibility and increased rotation therefore is able to complete a cycle meaning I start off on the outside of my foot but roll inward. However, because my left leg is longer, the left foot has decreased turnover which leads to the foot getting dragged more often than not and is not that great at load bearing during the process.

The inner tibial muscle on my right leg gets a workout during the process and with the crooked pelvis in addition to the altering of my gate to compensate for my busted hip, it got a little stressed. He doesn’t think it’s a stress fracture at all and more so a shin splint. He did some adjusting, such as putting his elbow in two key spots in my ass; not the same place on both sides mind you, I’m a total original, one-of-a-kind human. He also produced magical tape that doesn’t mind my sweatiness. When I have had issues on my right side, hindsight tells me it has been due to overcompensation. He explained that because I am a forefoot runner AND supinate, my foot is reaching out an additional six inches which is carrying my foot too far from my body. This explains the constant issues with the tibial muscle as well as the rolling of this ankle on the trails.

The ITB on my whole left side gets a workout during the process and the longer mileage pissed off the ITB at the hip which in turn pissed of the bursa. This explains why the outside edge of my left foot and ankle are prone to tendonitis and why the whole left side is more often than not my problem area. When I first started running solely on trails back in November, my left side starting at the hip/glute was not very happy. There was a lot of foam rolling, Sticking it out, laying on a lacrosse ball and icing.

When he finished poking me in the ass and doing some wonderful spine stretches, he declared me no longer crooked. Of course the best part of the entire visit was the end when I looked at him and said, “Okay, so you know the final question is can I run.”

He told me to head out, give it a try and see how it feels. He recommended orthotics to help even me out in the long run (haha) to sort of retrain my feet, the taping for support in the short run, and making sure I keep my feet under my body at all times.

Now just gotta make it through the 50m in one piece.

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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in 50 miles

 

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Humble me good

This training season, more than any other before, has taught me the powers of humility. I was strong and healthy and capable in body and mind when I started the first of 10 super duper long runs. Then the iliotibial band (ITB) in my left hip started screaming; underneath the bursa poked its cousin, pissed off it was still being told to move when it was exhausted. The ITB runs taught over your bursa, stretching and releasing with each movement of your leg. If your bursa is inflamed and angry, it aggravates your ITB, thus ceasing all activity and forcing rest.

Now my right tibia is stressed and fractured, no doubt a combined result of long training miles and overcompensation.

Humility, y’all.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I’ve never been a front pack sort of runner though I did and still do have that capability. We all do. While training for this 50m, I’ve gotten slower in general and I was beating myself up about it for a while. Then I realized it wasn’t because I was running on dirt where your pace is one to two minutes slower than your road pace. It’s because I’ve been running 60-70 miles a week since early June, 30-40 of those miles gained in just two days time. Pretty sad this didn’t dawn on me until last week, huh? I sat by the river in the shade of this tree and just was, taking 10 minutes to get my head screwed on again. This is the day I first noticed the singular pain in my tibia, the fourth day after the unofficial marathon.

image

Most people take off two weeks or more after running a marathon, I was back out running 10-12 miles after only two days rest. At first your body is strong enough to handle the tired running, but it grows weary and so does your mind. Your form starts to break down and you begin to make mistakes. This is why those super duper long runs are more about time on your feet than how fast you move your legs.

When I first started, I wasn’t sure I would like the down weeks or be able to embrace their necessity. Yet as the mileage slowly increased after each pause, I was grateful for the break. The super duper long runs take up my entire Sunday, with the down weeks I got back the day to do all sorts of lackadaisical activities. Instead, I began to look forward to those weeks and many of my long runs began with the promise of rest soon ahead.

Now my body has announced its exhaustion in a grand way. It is tired and needs to rest. A lot of change is happening in my life and I’m an all or nothing kind of person. When there is something I want to achieve, I go forth with exuberance often at the behest of something greater like forethought. I am not a fan of letting my fears tell me ‘no’ or ‘can’t’ or the absolute worst, the ‘Q’ word. Quitting is not in my vocabulary, tenacious is my middle name.

And yet, I am being forced to rest, which is honestly the only way it was going to happen. I do not know how to raise the white flag. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll agree.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

On Sunday I knew within the first mile it would be my last run for a while, maybe even until the race on 5 September. Last night I confirmed with Coach my stress fracture and he scared the shit out of me with the horror stories running on a stress fracture can create. I can’t afford surgery and don’t want to stop running for many months as opposed to weeks, so I’m gonna go ahead and rest now. I am choosing to embrace my limitations and admit that maybe I’m a little bit fragile after all. Grace will help me through this temporary setback, because it is temporary, and patience will be my co-pilot.

Acceptance for what is shall be.

Nora Jones, Humble Me
https://youtu.be/0rsX-LpXqlI

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in 50 miles

 

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Life, physically

Sunday I ran 26.2 miles as my second to last super duper long training run. The bursitis in my left hip was making itself known but I was reminded how easy it is to run with bursitis. (Plus I had 1000mg of ibuprofen on board.) Not really feeling the run, I was not looking forward to the distance alone with only my thoughts.

I had already run almost 7 miles by the time I accidentally caught up to some trail runners I knew at Reedy Creek and two of them were up for running whatever. I chatted with them for a bit, we made fun of B’s shoes being so bright and new and how he needed some mud puddles to tone them down a bit. Off we went to catch up to J at the bottom of the stairs. That is when they decided since I hadn’t yet been to the Pirate Trails, that is where we needed to go. And not interested in running by myself and always up for any sort of adventure, I agreed without hesitation.

That was the best ‘yes’ I think I’ve ever said, nevermind the fact I was wearing a skirt.

These past few weeks I’ve been in a state of transition. Last time I wrote about pushing through the weeds and how life is a constant struggle, that we are always one choice away from a different life. There’s the saying, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” It’s like we are the epitomy of inertia: what starts in motion stays in motion. Whatever decision we make, there is no turning back. We need to own it and keep moving forward. Sometimes we’re able to re-read the last chapter to find new ways to make the next one better; however, that doesn’t include lingering, maybe a little reminiscing, and a lot of accepting of what is because we can’t change what has already become.

The Universe always knows and it’ll give you what you need when the time is right.

So off we went, onto this new-to-me adventure. We crossed this particular railroad bridge because B said that was the only bridge in the city he hadn’t crossed. We were on the Mayo Bridge which is parallel when this decision was made. We even had to climb onto the bridge from the floodwall, bruised hand and all. A few jokes were made about it being our Stand by Me moment.

tracks 1

Then we realized we had to get off and discovered this ladder just off the platform. J demonstrates for you how we got down. B was first, he kept saying he had us but he didn’t really which was okay because I was way more scared of falling through the railroad tracks then dangling from this ladder.

tracks 2 tracks 3 tracks 4

On the ground again, we started running the path alongside the tracks. We passed a sign that said something about surveilance 24 hours a day via video camera and laughed. And then off we went into the woods again, B explaining to me the overgrown trails, me chuckling in my head since I am not a wimpy trail runner by any means. I’m pretty sure he knows that now.

We ended up in Shiplock Park, I found out the city is going to be putting a fountain there, too, and then we crossed the street, following the giant asterisks painted on the street that I had never noticed before. Ducking a few spider webs, leaving at least one intact, this time we made our way around the mess the construction of Stone Brewing made of the once beautiful trail system. I knew of the section across yet another road from Stone that paralleled the canal, I just didn’t realize it kept going for another couple miles. It’s those darn city streets that keep getting in the way of all the nature, damn it.

stone 1 stone 2

At the “end” of the trail, we found East Richmond Road and I knew exactly where we were. The boys decided to visit the cemetery and show me around the additional 1-2 miles of intense green chaos amongst some of the city’s most famous dead (black) people. It was a beautiful mess. Somewhere along the way I dropped the railroad spike I had picked up; I didn’t realize B had retrieved it until our next stop. Suprised, I thanked him. There was a specific reason why I picked up this particular railroad spike and I was a little sad to have left it behind.

evergreen 1 evergreen 2 

evergreen 5 evergreen 4

Somewhere on our way back I hit mile 16 and shouted, “SINGLE DIGITS Y’ALL!” and freaked them out a little.

bike in a tree

We stopped at the store because they needed salt and electrolytes. I changed my shirt and socks, refilled my bladder, put in more Skratch, but did not eat more food because I was still very full from the previous three portables and put the spike safe and deep in my pack. B inhaled four Reese’s Peanut Cups and the boys shared a small can of Pringles. *gag* Then we made off, continuing to retrace our steps and going back the way we came minus the track work, adding in the flood wall. As I climbed over the railing, I again lamented my lack of long legs and the hilarious decision to adventure in a skirt.

C’est la vie.

We arrived back at Reedy Creek with only four final miles left in my journey. That new adventure ate up nearly 15 miles in such a fun way I had no idea we had run that far. Sitting on the rocks in the lot, we chatted about what we had just acccomplished, the boys trying to figure out how many miles they had run total. I think they decided on 18 and B was ready to run at least two more with me so he could swim in the river off Belle Isle. He dipped, I ran some more, and then I dipped…my feet. I wasn’t sure I wanted the time to end, it was exactly what I needed and the Universe knew it better than I did.

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Before we began our adventure, I had an idea for my next post. Then we were crossing the railroad bridge and I found the spike. I have been fighting the transition because I thought it meant I would have to experience the loss of a great friend and person who has come to be very important to me in many ways. Seeing that only railroad spike on this run when I have seen dozens of others let something loose inside my Self. I smiled what I am sure was a relieved self-affirming lightbulb moment kind of grin because that’s when I felt the comfortable embrace from the Universe, touching me, assurance that personable loss didn’t have to happen in order to move on to my next chapter. There is a lot of truth to ‘godincidences’ as my mom calls them. The Universe gives us what we need when we are ready to receive her message.

This run opened up the possibility of a new-er beginning, of staying in motion, looking forward with my face to the sky and only looking at my past to say, “Ahhh, now that was an adventure.” On the trail you can only concentrate on the next 4-5 seconds and looking back isn’t a good idea lest you fall.

Forward is the only way to go.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in 50 miles, Universe

 

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