Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You're Still Talking About Boston?

Ha cha cha, blog post!

Did you miss me-slash-us??
When RunnersKitchen has been  blogging more than you, you know you're slacking.

I'll tell you where I've been since Boston.  Focused on fixing my body and the legendary leg-lock.  Very focused.  More than I've ever been.

Continuing to blog while trying to fix an "ailment" (notice I am not committed to using the word "injury") would be wise to document, both for me and readers.  However it's not something I have wanted to do.  Instead, I committed to weeks and months of proactive recovery, in the hopes that I will be able to share true progress reports.  Or share an affirmative "I'm fucked forever" report.

I've been working with Precision Sports Medicine for several months.  Treatment began about 5-6 weeks before the Boston marathon, and I've stuck with it since.  One day a week of treatment (graston, ART) and two days a week of physical therapy (TRX, bosu balancing, medicine balls, all of it).

The value there is fantastic -- for almost a full hour of treatment, I pay the same amount I used to pay for 15 minutes of ART at a competing business.  And I love my docs.  They are patient, encouraging, determined, and understanding (of things like runners wanting to, you know, run.)

I'm sturdy as shit now, too.  I'm breaking world records at the one-leg balance on a bosu ball. 40 seconds.  Call me, Guinness book of whatever.

I'm hoping to cut back soon, for the sake of my wallet and the stress of fitting this all in between work hours.  It has been tricky to pull off.

Treatment won't completely stop anytime soon though.  I've seen improvements in my running, I feel sturdy and strong and less uneven or "crooked".  But I am not confident the improvements are permanent yet, or that they won't slip slide backwards as soon as I try and race again.  I mean I have certainly had demoralizing runs mixed in with the encouraging ones these past 2 months.

Along the way, I got an x-ray of my left hip and an MRI of my back.  The orthopedic I was referred to straight up refused an MRI of my hip because he was positive, based on my 30 second description of my symptoms, that it was not a hip issue -- and that if it was a labral tear, well who cares because 50%+ of the population has a labral tear.  Oooookkkaayyyyy.

Anyway good news, nothing wrong based on those images.  My sports therapist has continued to treat me as though a number of potential things could be wrong, so the results of a hip MRI probably wouldn't change our course much.  No one seems too concerned (or concerned enough to call running off altogether) since I can technically run 10+ miles (so long as I'm not racing it) without problem.

I was prescribed less mileage after Boston.  I rocked 40 miles/week forever, and have recently worked my way up to about 60.  I was also prescribed no speed work, no hills, only soft surfaces, so that has been boring as shit.

I plan to dip my toe back into speed work any minute now, which is part of why I thought I should get back to blogging.  First, to see how my body reacts to faster speeds with the treatment and strength training; and Second, because....

I'm signed up for THREE races! 2 out of 3 are complimentary entries, thanks to leaning on the crutch of some of my old fast times. (sub 1:28 half allows free entry for these races).  San Francisco Marathon "second half," Berkeley half, and CIM! Love CIM.  So sad I had to miss it last year.  Sorry to everyone planning to run it, but now that I have signed up, the forecast will be a monsoon or 85 degrees or 4 degrees.

Not to bring up Boston, which is old news, but I had intended to share some other fun photos and moments from the trip but then I was kidnapped and denied access to my blog.

Traveling with my mom was a major highlight.  I don't think I've had the luck to do so since I was 16!

We played tourist all over the Freedom Trail
The coolest photo to make it out of Boston with us.  Captured by the Gentleman around mile 17

Ze Boston Public Library, like all good libraries, had a room of stinky homeless people

With time passed, my feelings towards the trip are still conflicted.  Great experience, bummer experience.  I'm pretty sure I won't be running it again in 2015, or even 2016.  It was for sure worth doing in 2014, of all years, and that will tide me over for a few years I think.  I can't justify that expense again in the near future for a 3-day "vacation."   We are leaving shortly for a 5-day summer vacation to Lassen National Park, and the whole trip so far adds up to about $300, gas and food included, so it's not cool for me to be like "HEY let's multiply that cost by 15, and spend it on a 3 day trip all about ME and my hobby that I can do virtually ANYWHERE."  So....California marathons it is for the foreseeable future.

Am I level headed or am I missing something? Traveling across state lines for races every year, or multiple times a year, is whack to me (for the non-professional runner).  Even if your family claims to be 1000% supportive of devoting vacation funds to your races, it's unfair to them.  Unless you're just dripping with extra money and free time...

Also in reflection, the memory of the last few miles at Boston still stings.  I appreciate the electrolyte and pickle juice advice I received in my last post, but I know my body.  The dreadful calf cramp that threatened to end my race at the 26th mile was related to my leg-lock symptoms.  I had the same tangle cramp at all of the most recent races I ran, even a 50-degree half-marathon.  The only difference is in those races, I didn't have another 15 miles to run on the tangle cramp, so I survived without much issue.  Frustratingly, not even my sports therapist understood.  When I told him what happened, he thought it was great I got to finish, and blamed it on electrolytes.  Nah.  Most patients may be a matter of "doc, just help me get to the finish line!" but that's not me.  I didn't need his help to get to the finish line.  I've run sub 3:10 marathons on this mess of a leg.  I needed help to get strong and healed so I could focus on my race and normal marathon pain, instead of leg-lock problems.  Well, I wasn't strong or healed, since I gave the poor doc 5 weeks to fix a 2.5 year old injury.

You runners are the dictionary definition of insane.
Regardless, I am now feeling strong on my leg formerly known as the bad leg-lock leg, and only time and a race will tell how it holds up.

Hopeful. 
I'm planning to turn that photo into an inspirational poster.  "When you feel like you've reached the end of your rope, climb into a bird home and hang on."

In addition to pumping some medicine balls and TRX cords, the Gentleman and I have been spinning wheels.  We bought bikes!

I'm not great at getting ON the bike.  Or off.  It's messy.

We have been going for "short" rides every weekend, and occasionally after work (TGI-Summer).  Haven't gone farther than about 15 miles on any given excursion, which is just about all my crotch and back can handle.  Flabbergasted as to how any of y'all can stay in that position for 100+ miles.

Please be advised I'm a big bike wimp.  I hate riding on roads with cars; I hate sharp turns; I hate going fast downhill; I hate that I can't hear anything because of the wind whipping around my ears.  I sometimes forget how un-athletic I am until I try something that isn't running.  (see: swimming.)

As another supplement to "cross-training," we occasionally go for a hike from our front door.  Can you believe that the hike to this photo view is exactly one mile (almost all straight up) from our home? I still can't.  I'm handling suburbia quite well.

Our "backyard."

Aaaand, using a teapot to water the one non-weed plant in our real "backyard."

I'm back! Say hi to me so I remember how this works, and I'll come again soon.

49 comments:

  1. Welcome back! I heart RoseRunner. Be well!

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  2. I feel ya on all the *ahem* ailment frustrations. Particularly the strange out-of-worldly feeling that your doctor or physical therapist just isn't getting it. I'm in the throes of a disc herniation right now. First time in the MRI. Fears of being told I'll never run again. Feeling like I'm starring from scratch in rebuilding my body. So, yeah, all this I feels super familiar to me.

    I hope you feel good starting speed work again. I'm cheering for you!

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    1. I'm not familiar with disc herniation but I hope the best for your recovery! Starting from scratch sucks, but it is also fantastic because you can only head on a path of gains and improvement from there.

      My first MRI was scary mostly because the assistants/technicians/whatever they are called didn't tell me ANYTHING before putting me in there. Then it was so loud, like a robot on a rampage. BEEP BOOP EE AAA.

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  3. Glad to see you are back! I just found your blog a little while ago and have been catching up a bit. I sort of know how you feel on the injury front. I've had an on-again, off-again hip flexor injury for a couple of years now and the cause has been hard to pinpoint. My most recent course of PT finished a couple of months ago, so I'm running again now, but I know the frustration.

    Anyway, it sounds like your treatment and PT have been helping -- I hope your upcoming races go well!

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    1. I've been foam rolling my hip flexor a lot as part of my routine, because I had a lightbulb moment that a lot of my leg weakness/lockiness may stem from there. Hard to pinpoint indeed.

      How's the archives of the blog doing?! I cringe if I try and read old posts, so my apologies for whatever you may find :)

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  4. Good to see you blogging!! I figured your new home was eating into all of your free time. Your neighborhood looks beautiful, with lots of nice areas to run.

    I'm glad that you are on the mend with your leg lock issues.

    I'm a huge wuss on the bike too. I have several friends who "tri" and it seems like the logical jump if you get bored of marathons. However, I'm not bored with running and riding with traffic give me nightmares.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, besides homeowner duties, just coming home here feels so different that it has thrown me off my routine, and in that way made me way less inclined to blog.

      Bored of marathons!? Never! I actually mean that. I'll be trying to crack that nut for the rest of my life, probably never go into Triathlons. Maybe trails or ultras if I feel the need to change things up. You know what helps to not get sick of marathons? Do it only once per year. I would get sick of them too if I did it any more often.

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  5. Yay, you're back! How do you like your new neighborhood? I'm considering moving out there from SF- we're looking Oakland and east, and I don't know if I want to be that far out... But I would also love to have space and trails and not feel creeped out walking home from the train at night. (And I would need a car out there, right? Don't have one now.)

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    1. EMILY DO IT COME MOVE OUT HERE!!

      Oakland is my jam and I can't stray you from living there, but let me ask where you are in life. If you want to buy a home, it's going to be hard and risky in Oakland. The nice neighborhoods are WHOA expensive, the homes are older and often need work, they are on tiny little lots, and you will probably be on a hill which is rough for your average stroll/run/bike ride. And most importantly, even in nice neighborhoods, you don't always feel safe there....

      If you head through the tunnel towards Walnut Creek, you will be able to buy much more space for your money, you will feel free to keep your door unlocked (seriously I never see ANYTHING sketchy out here, it has been so freeing to not worry while out on a walk!) and the running has been fantastic so far. I wake up excited to run every day. As for a car, if you want to buy or rent a condo near the WC or Pleasant Hill BART station, you could totally get away with not having a car. People love downtown WC, it has everything you need. (I find it a little beverly hills-ish though, in a rich show-off way)

      Then the dealbreaker is.....the weather. The weather is PERFECT in Oakland. That was hard for me to give up. But the summer heat is also kind of magical. Warm evening walks and patio dining are awesome. And it is always cool in the morning for your run :)

      Please let me know how your hunt goes! Email me, roserunnerblog@gmail.com

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  6. YEAH! Excited for a update. We are still in limbo, haven't made the move back to california yet... but hopefully august 1st is the date. we shall see. LOVE the view from your backyard :)

    keep up the good work with the PT. miss you and talk to you soon

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    1. August 1! I'm counting down with paper links.

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  7. that Boston photo of the elites is fantastic!

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  8. Glad you're feeling better - hope it holds up in a race! Look, I know this is a running blog, but I would REALLY like to hear all about Lassen Vol. Nat'l Park. ALL ABOUT IT. (I love nat'l parks and that is one I know very little about).

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    1. You're my girl Sarah C. I love our national parks, no you don't understand I LOVE them. I will report back.

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  9. Hi - new reader here. Love that Boston pic! How big is the bird that lives in that house? It's teradactyl style. Have a great trip.

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    1. I think it is a normal sized bird but it is hella rich (works in Silicon Valley) and built itself a mansion. Thanks for reading, love what I see on your blog so far!

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  10. You're back!! Seeing those pics of California makes me very sentimental about my time out there. As much as I loved it, I won't trade my running trails here in the Black Forest.

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    1. I had to look that up. Germany? It looks stunning

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  11. I just started therapy for my-like-yours 2.5 year "injury". So far so good; my leg feels firmer, landing/walking is more solid, grounded.

    And I'm super jealous of your backyard! Can I come visit? :)

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    1. Great news. Hope the best for both of us, and yes you can come visit

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  12. I could go on and on about my hate for a particular ortho. He said my knee was fine probably just a stretched MCL. Turns out it was a torn ACL that I didn't know about until a year later. Grrrr...

    Welcome back!

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    1. I'll sue him for you. Just kidding. Injuries are apparently impossible for anyone to diagnose.

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  13. I hope you come back and recap your trip to Lassen and post a billion pictures, because I am dying to go.

    RE: trips and races. There's a blogger I know of that travels a LOT for races, but, like, never finishes. She registers for these ultras that she has zero chance of finishing (not being an asshole, she says that she knows she won't finish/will be pulled from the course). She has kids, and a husband, and says she just does it for the experience.

    I find this shit befuddling, because 1. Money isn't unlimited, wtf. and 2. FOR ME, one of the greatest parts of having kids is experiencing these fun places together.

    Additionally, I find this annoying because why why why would you travel to a race where you KNOW you can't complete a distance, and will be a pain in the ass to volunteers/race organizers who then have to transport your ass back to wherever because you're under trained?

    Thank god I'm unemployed and have time to be outraged about stupid shit.

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    1. I'm outraged as well. What's in it for her? Selfies to post on the internet? Repeatedly failing to complete something is no experience. Humpth. That's humph with a lisp.

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  14. I'm so glad you're back!!!

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  15. I'm looking forward to reading more about your progress. I'm dealing with some hip issues, so it's definitely of interest to this runner.

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  16. Hooray, you're alive!! Enjoy Lassen - I want to read all about it.

    I dunno, when you live in a city that is also an island, you get tired of the same old local race routes reaaaaaaaal fast. I've pretty much run around the entire island in search of new long run routes. Leaving the city? Requires a passport. So we travel. (I'm going to do a marathon in Australia with some girlfriends next week, ha.) Not every single vacation is about running though, that would get awfully boring - if not for me then for my poor entourage.

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    1. In my self-centric world I wasn't even imagining runners who don't have access to at least a few different races per year that are within driving distance. If that's the case, rough, but do what you gotta do if you really want to race.

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  17. Welcome back! I'm so happy to hear that you might have the leg-lock issue under control. I will be crossing my fingers for you.

    I don't know how anyone can ride a bike for 100+ miles either. I've done it for about half that and my junk felt like a pressed Cuban sandwich when I was done. I'm signed up for a half-Ironman in September, but honestly, I think this might be my one and only foray into long-distance cycling. My crotch just can't handle it.

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    1. My crotch is still adjusting to the 10 mile range. I need some crotch strengthening tips

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  18. Welcome back! Glad to hear you're working through your "ailment" with success!

    Enjoy Lassen. Seriously, one of my most favorite places on earth. Are you staying in one place or moving around the park? If you get a chance, I highly recommend doing the hike out to the Cinder Cone/Fantastic Lava Beds/Painted Dunes area. So, so beautiful!

    Oh, and riding a bike for 100+ miles? You get used to is. Seriously. I never thought I'd be able to do it, especially getting used to all that time in the saddle. If your back's hurting while on the bike it's probably 'cause you're not engaging your core enough while you ride. Your weight shouldn't be primarily on your hands/arms. It takes some getting used to, but once you're riding in the correct position, you'll be more comfortable.

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    1. We are staying in 2 different spots that are apparently on different sides of the park. I'm writing down your hike recommendation! It SOUNDS amazing, just from the name....thank you. I'm so excited.

      Also -- have been thinking about engaging my core on my last few bike rides thanks to this tip. Hadn't considered that at all but it makes so much sense.

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  19. Eh, if you want to spend your money flying around to running races, then do that. Who cares. Spend your money on what you want to spend your money on, right? No point in saving it all so someday when you're old you can travel and enjoy the outdoors while moving at as brisk a pace as your knees will allow then...

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    1. Agreed.... IF you are single, or in a unique relationship where you travel separately and/or enjoy time apart from each other, and have separate bank accounts.

      Otherwise, you have other people who are dragged into your YOLO racing spending spree. It's their time and money too. My dude would say "yes" if I begged him to come to Chicago and NYC this year for the marathons, but I know that's not how he would prefer to spend our vacation money or time (especially with the whole taking it easy before and after a marathon, it turns into a pretty useless attempt at a vacation.) So I would never do that to him. I truly don't understand how anyone with a family drags them on a plane to cheer at race after race. Or takes off and leaves the family at home for race after race. It's. Selfish.

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  20. Is the sunflower still alive???

    Let's talk about your new, cheaper PT place. I need what you're talking about. I'm glad they're helping you so much! Lassen is on our list of possibilities this summer...I'll need your review :)

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    1. Sunflower lives. It is so strong. I'll show you!

      I think you would like Dr. Matock. Give him a shot!

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  21. All the documentation of asymptomatic labral tears in the general public was the main reason I pushed back having surgery! And of course, jury is still out on whether this helped or not. You're right to be skeptical, so is your doc, and even if it IS a labral tear, some people improve with PT and similar treatments (just because stronger muscles place less stress on the joint). Said the expert...ha. This was all new info to me 4 months ago!
    I'm glad to hear your PT is helping, and I'm hoping for a full, stunning recovery soon!

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    1. Thanks Gracie, I so admire how proactive you have been about trying to heal your injury. Happy recovery to you as well!

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  22. Why is it so hard to diagnose these things? Well, at least your images came back negative, and you're progressing with your PT, so that's definitely good news! My hip thing is better, and the weird thing is that I actually suspect it's a low-back issue. Regardless, I'm working on ALL THE PARTS and, like you, taking proactive steps towards getting stronger and more balanced (physically, not spiritually or emotionally).

    I totally agree with you on the marathon-related travel and expenses. That is how I felt after Marine Corps. *Maybe* I'd travel out of state once every 5 years for a marathon, but not more frequently than that. It's not just the money, but dragging my poor partner on a trip just to spectate at a marathon (like you said).

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    1. Poor Tim. Next time we travel for a marathon, in like say 2016, we'll have to do it together so the guys can go play basketball or something.

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    2. OMG, I think Tim would love that!

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  23. Yay, you're back! And on the road to recovery! Woohoo! Love that photo of the lead ladies the Gentleman took.

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  24. Glad to hear you're on the mend! Crossing my fingers for you that the PT/ARt etc will help you heal your ailment.

    Your backyard looks like mine. Lots of weeds/dead grass and hills in the back. I love being so close to trail access. :)

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    1. Go team dead grass! "Brown is the new green" = severe drought, do your part.

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  25. I'm sorry that now that I've read your latest blog posts that it sounds like maybe the treatment didn't improve things significantly... Dealing with body issues is the worst!! I am still going to keep up hope that you get them resolved!

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