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All posts for the month August, 2011

Not the Run I Was Hoping For

Published August 23, 2011 by Jasmine

First things first, never, never underestimate the power of consistency and momentum.

Before I get to today’s run, I need to lay some foundation. Nearly all of my runs since I have started running have included walking. I walked for a total of 37 minutes in my first half-marathon, which was just back on July 4. After that I did a couple runs (short ones) in which other than my five minute warm-up I ran the entire time. I’m still a really slow runner, my half-marathon pace is only 13:32.

I was pretty excited to run today after not running or doing any cardio for 16 days. I mistakenly believed that after being a bum, and eating whatever I wanted for the last 16 days that I was going to be able to go out and run the whole distance, and hopefully have one of my better times. Boy did I set myself up for failure with that belief! Not only was I not able to run the whole distance, my pace was 30 seconds slower than my half-marathon pace. Here’s the real kicker…I only went two miles.

I went 2.02 miles and it took me 28:21. I ran for a total of about 17:21, and walked the difference. My longest running stretch was in the beginning for 11:47. I really didn’t want to stop, but didn’t think I could keep running.  My heart rate was up to 185. It was relatively warm and sunny, 84 degrees with 67% humidity. I got a side stitch. I was congested. I haven’t been feeling well for the last week. My body was screaming, “what in the hell do you think you are doing?” Like I said in the beginning, never underestimate the power of consistency and momentum.  Once you have lost those two things you have lost everything, and it’s time to start over.

I guess things could have been worse, I could have been in pain, which I never was. However, about 23 minutes into the run during one of my walk breaks I could feel my IT band rubbing against my knee. It’s funny, at least for me, that it always seems to be more noticeable when I am walking rather than running. I did run two one minute intervals after this just to gauge how bad I thought it felt compared to before. Like I said yesterday I knew that my IT band was still tight, so it looks like I will be a work in progress for quite some time.

Based on my results today I have decided I am definitely not going to try and run the 5k on Thursday, but I don’t want to walk it either. Since I seem to have a problem going out too fast in the beginning and lose momentum in the end I am going to walk more in the beginning. My plan is as follows: the first mile I will do a walk-run ratio of 2/1, the second mile I will do a walk-run ratio of 1/1, and the remainder I will do a walk-run ratio of .5/1. Hopefully, the IT band won’t be rubbing too bad.

At the moment I am not very optimistic about the fact that I am signed up for a 10 mile race that is in six weeks. But I am going to keep my fingers crossed and have faith that it will all work out. I am going to keep my running to three days a week, cross-train two days a week, and continue with my stretches, strength work and foam rolling.

I will be seeing the doctor again in a week or so. We may try a more intensive localized treatment such as deep tissue massage or Graston technique. It’s always easier, and probably more effective, if someone else is inflicting the pain!

Future goals:

1) Based on my half-marathon time, I should be able to do the 5k in 38:32. Based solely on the fact that I will be doing some walking this probably isn’t going to happen. It’s the time I am aiming for, but am not going to push it if my knee is bothering me.

2) Be able to run in the Twin Cities 10 mile race on October 2 without being hurt

3) Run the Monster Dash half-marathon on October 29. So I have to get through the 10 miles injury free! This will probably be the last race of this year, and I would really like to do it faster than my first half-marathon.  God help me if I end up doing it any slower!

I am pretty excited as I just registered this morning for my first race for next year.  The Minneapolis 13.1 which is on August 19.  I wasn’t able to do this run this year, but it sounded like everyone had a great time. It also sounded like it was less hilly than the Twin Cities Red, White, and Boom which I will be running again next year. If any of my Minnesota friends are running any of these races let me know, I would love to meet up with you…even though I won’t be able to keep your pace.

Time for the foam roller.  I will see you  Friday with my first 5k race analysis!

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Excited but Nervous

Published August 22, 2011 by Jasmine

I am excited because I finally get to go for a run tomorrow. The last time I ran, or did any type of cardio for that matter, was on August 7. I have had an ongoing issue since April or May with what I thought was my knee, but turned out to be my IT band. I was told my only approved cardio was biking or swimming. I decided to not do any cardio and let my body rest. I was also given a protocol for what I needed to do to get better. I was supposed to be doing this stuff everyday. In all honesty, I have not done the work everyday. So I am nervous that I am going to go for a run, and nothing will have changed. I guess I will only have myself to blame.

Two weeks ago I couldn’t even rest on the foam roller, it literally would take my breath away and nearly bring me to tears. I know my IT band has loosened up some as the foam roller doesn’t hurt as much, but I think it still has a long way to go. I have also been using a rolling pin which has come in handy. The good news is I am no longer limping when I walk.

It’s hard to believe that I finished my first half on July 4th pain free, and haven’t really been able to run since. The doctor said it was probably the adrenaline that got me through without pain, but I wasn’t even in pain afterwards. Since then I have only run about 10 times, the farthest being 3.9 miles, and I was in pain nearly every one of those runs.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a test run to see how far I can make it before any pain sets in. I could usually run about 1.5-2.5 miles before the pain would kick in. Being as stubborn as I am I would try to run through the pain, only making things worse. So I am anxious for tomorrow, but excited. I have a 5k on Thursday night, and depending on how things go tomorrow I may just be walking the 5k. I also have the Twin Cities 10 miles on October 2, which I really want to be able to run. At this point I don’t care how slow I am, I just want to be able to run without pain.

These past two weeks have been a challenge, especially on the nice days that I saw others out running. So I really hope the rest and stretching will have made a difference. I have definitely learned the importance of foam rolling, stretching, and having strong glutes. It’s just so much easier to go run, and not have to worry about doing anything else. I’ve learned that those “other” things are no longer optional, unless I want to be on the sidelines for weeks or months at a time. My philosophy was always “if I can still run then it must not be that bad.” Lucky for me, it was only an IT band issue. Others aren’t so lucky.

I know a few runners who are like me…they will take a day or two off and go right back to running with an injury. It’s hard to stop, but sometimes it is the only thing that is going to help. I feel like I have lost all of the momentum I had before and after finishing the half. The good news is that I pinpointed the problem, figured out what was causing it, and what I need to do to correct it. So if you are running with a potential injury, listen to your body. It would be really sad to see all of your hard work and training go to waste because you are too injured to run on race day.  Like my barefoot running friend told me, “there is nothing heroic about running a race injured.” It’s going to catch up with you.  The only question is do you deal with it now or do you deal with it later? I can almost guarantee that the longer you wait to deal with it, the longer your running will have to be put on hold.

Here’s to happy, safe, and injury free running!

Who Knew I Had a Useless Ass?

Published August 8, 2011 by Jasmine

July was a bittersweet month.  I ran my first half-marathon on July 4, and it was AMAZING! I think I felt the “runner’s high” after I finished! I was on cloud 9.  The rest of the month up to today has pretty much been downhill. I have only been able to run a handful of times, and all but two or three of those runs has ended with me in PAIN, barely able to even walk. The pain has been in my left hip and knee, and the consensus was it was an IT band injury. My first indication of this pain was actually back in May in which I was Ready to Cry. Somehow I made it through that half-marathon without any pain, during or after. I am going to consider that a miracle. Had I gotten hurt or not been able to finish due to an injury, I may never have run again.

Well, I won’t be running again for at least two weeks. I finally decided to go to the doctor because I am at the point where I am not even walking normal because it hurts. I met Dr. Scott when he was a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. I really liked working with him because he was never trying to push training sessions on me. I could go to my training session with him and not have to worry that when it was over he was going to be pressuring me to sign up for another. He was genuine, honest, humble, and he knew his stuff. Dr. Scott also had his own business, Performance Healthcare, where he is a chiropractor and a Corrective Exercise Specialist. So when I finally decided to go to the doctor, Dr. Scott was the first person I thought of. He told me he had previous experience with IT band injuries, and he would be able to determine if that was what was causing the pain.

I was pretty excited for my appointment this morning. I just wanted to know what was wrong, and what I had to do to get better.  All I want is to be able to run without pain.  A week or so ago, I had finally got to the point where I could run, very slowly, without walking, only to have to walk because I was in pain.

Dr. Scott immediately knew this was IT band injury. I was cringing. I have trigger points from above my hip bone to the bottom of my knee. That whole part of my leg was so tight and tender that I nearly jumped off the table as Dr. Scott was manipulating and massaging my leg. Until he started manipulating the IT band, I didn’t realize how much pain I actually had in my leg as I was so focused on the pain in my hip and knee.

It turns out that my TFL muscle (tensor fasciæ latæ) has been firing away while my glutes have sat on the sidelines and watched! Hence, I have a useless ass.

The IT band connects to this TFL muscle, and it is this muscle which is causing the IT band to be tight. This TFL muscle is overacting because my glutes aren’t doing their job. I finally have an official diagnosis! The good news was it was just an IT band issue, but the bad news is that it is a really bad IT band issue.

My rehab/exercise protocol:

  1. No running or walking for two weeks. My approved cardio is either biking or swimming. I will most likely be doing the stationary bike, unless I finally go out and by myself a bike.
  2. Foam roll, TFL stretch, and glute stretch five times a day, everyday for the next three weeks.
  3. Side steps, bridge on my heels, and stork balance three sets of 20 once a day, everyday for the next three weeks.
  4. Ice the affected area.
  5. At the beginning of my third week I need to test the waters. I need to go for a run and see if I can make it past the distance in which the pain usually presents itself. If so, keep running unless or until I feel pain. If not, stop and take notes.
I will be seeing Dr. Scott in three weeks to measure my progress, and to assess my running. The IT band is a very dense and fibrous tendon, and mine is very, very tight. These stretches and foam rolling might just be the beginning. Depending on where I am at in three weeks we may try Graston Technique. Based on the current tightness of the band and my current level of pain, I would not be able to endure the Graston Technique right now. Dr. Scott said I would walk away looking and feeling beaten and bruised!
I may be down for the count, but don’t rule me out.  I trust Dr. Scott’s protocol and plan on coming back stronger than ever, hopefully with better running form!