Saturday, March 23, 2019

Back to the orthopedist (but not terrible news)

Oscar the Grouch is my spirit animal, so these shorts were perfect orthopedist wear.
I went back to the orthopedist this week. I have been having some pain in my hamstring for the last few months; the first time I remember it coming on was during a pre-Christmas virtual 5K, when I was running faster than normal.

The pain came and went since then. I did a few speed workouts on the treadmill this year with no problems. But it would act up on my longer runs, and then it started acting up on my shorter runs. Both runs in Argentina were pretty painful and I was keeping them super easy. So after one more easy run that I had to cut short because it hurt too much, I sucked it up and called the doctor. Since I've been there before they could get me in a week later.

Side note: I hate that I have an orthopedist. This getting old is garbage.

I was afraid my hamstring was torn or that I had a stress fracture in my pelvis. Although I knew I wasn't running stress-fracture-in-the-pelvis mileage, I had one in my tibia years ago, and when my bone density tests all came back fine, that doctor told me it just happens sometimes. Anyway, I got x-rays right away and only had to wait a few minutes for the doctor. He had me push my leg this way and that, stretched it hither and yon, and poked and prodded me.

Verdict: He doesn't think anything is torn or broken, just strained. I'm being sent back to PT for a while to work more hamstring and glute strengthening into the rotation. I can't do a lot of squats because of me knee, so maybe I will learn some other exercises.

I'm going to take a bit more time off from running to let any inflammation settle down and then I start PT. I'm not happy about it, but I'm glad to hear I probably haven't torn anything. I'm bummed that a half marathon next month is probably out, but there will be others next summer. And it can't hurt to have strong hamstrings and glutes.

A friend commented that it was frustratingly nonlinear progress. Yes, I am frustrated. But I am trying to keep in mind that while it is nonlinear, at least it is progress. 15 months ago I couldn't walk without pain. I worked through that and I am sure I will work through this, too.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Week in review March 11-17: Stressful and a pain in the hamstring

With the soon-to-be demise of Daily Mile, I'm getting used to Garmin Connect's charts.
It was a weird week and I’m not happy with how it ended, because I might be on the injured list once again.

I had the day off work Monday, but we had gotten in from vacation late the night before and needed the day to sleep in, grocery shop, food prep, and catch up on laundry. I got a nice trainer ride in Tuesday after work, but had to pick up one of my dogs from the doggie dental surgeon (yes, there is such a thing; no, this is not her first time getting dental work; no, it is not cheap) on Wednesday so that day became a wash taking extra care of her. So there was already a bit of stress going into the week.

I have been having some mild hamstring pain for a few months now. The first time I could find a mention of it in my logs is when I did a virtual 5K just before Christmastime – it came on as a bit of a twinge, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t shrug off as a bit of tightness. It came and went, so I didn’t think it was THAT big of a deal. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone away for longer than a few runs at a time. It bothered me on both my Argentina runs and was so bad on Thursday that I had to cut my run short. So, on Friday I bit the bullet and scheduled an appointment with my orthopedist.

I’m ticked that I have an orthopedist in the first place. This getting old business is crap. But since the hamstring is the same side as my injured knee, and as my out-of-whack SI joint a few years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be an alignment or weakness/compensation issue of some kind. I would really love to rule out a tear and be told that I need to add hamstring-building exercises to my PT routine. That I can handle. Whatever happens at my appointment, I expect that I will be making another appointment with a run coach or sports clinic to re-build my running form from the ground up. I’ve always had pretty terrible running form (I’m an adult-onset runner so I never really learned the correct way) and this cannot be helping.

I’m pretty frustrated because I was hopeful I could pull off a spring half-marathon with the successfully increasing mileage I’ve been doing. Maybe it’s nothing and I just need an extra few days off. I’m frustrated because this is yet another setback, and right when the weather is starting to get better, too. Grrrr!

After that disappointment on Thursday I actually rallied after work Friday for a hard bike trainer workout when I really wanted to take a nap, so I was pretty proud of myself for that. I’m going to hold off on running for now so I dusted off my boxing bag for a warmup Saturday before some weights, and a long, easy spin on Sunday. I also did PT all three of those days, so at least the weekend ended on a good note.

By the numbers, it was:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 51.5 fake trainer miles in about 3 hours, 49 minutes. This was a really good trainer week for me.

PT: Three times, all homework exercises, for about 2:45.

Weights: Once, my heavy/body weight routine, for about 1:15. I was pretty proud of myself again that I could do more than one pullup or chinup, since it’s been a while.

Run: Just the one aborted easy run/walk on the treadmill, for 3 miles in about 39 minutes.

Other: 20 minutes of boxing as a warmup for my weights workout. I used to go to cardio kickbox all the time, so I just did some combinations I remembered from back in the day until I felt good and warmed up.

Total: Nine sessions in about 8:48. Not terrible, considering the week, and considering the two days off.

I’m going to try to focus on what I can do without pain for the time being, instead of whining about not running. I got some good trainer rides in last week and I want to try to hit the pool today. And hopefully I’ll have some answers soon.

Here's a pic of my not-so-ferocious pit bull with three fewer teeth, wearing a pink sweater:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A very belated and quick February in review for posterity

I’m super late to the party reviewing February, so I’m going to do it real fast mostly so I have something to look back at later.

I was able to do a pretty good amount of training last month. I had an out-of-state wedding early on, and a few oddball meetings/events/parties/birthday dinners/etc. that meant I missed a regular workout. I was kind of disappointed in my totals compared to January until I remembered that February has three fewer days, haha.

February was:
Running mileage over the last few months.
Run: Nine times, four on the road and five on the treadmill, for 67 miles in about 12 hours. This is four more outside runs than I usually do in February, so that was nice. Plus it’s a bit more mileage in about the same time as last month. I am still doing walking warmups and cooldowns but I’ve pretty much cut out the run/walk intervals.
Bike mileage over the past year.
Bike: Nine times, all on the trainer, for 149 fake trainer miles in just less than 11 hours. Nothing out of the ordinary here; I knew I wouldn’t be doing any outdoor riding this month. It’s about 2:45 less time and 2 fewer sessions than last month – I think I skipped a couple of long ride Saturdays in there.

PT: Five times in about 3:30. Not nearly enough, and I am feeling the fallout.

Weights: Twice, both my heavy/bodyweight routines, for about 2:30. Again, not nearly enough. The silver lining is I did figure out some hamstring/quad moves that don’t hurt my knee, so I’ll count that as a minor win.

Yoga: Three times for about 45 minutes. Eh, it’s almost once per week, so I’ll count that as a minor win, also.

Total: 28 sessions in about 29.5 hours. I mean, this is still an average of one per day and more than an hour per day, so… I can’t be too mad about that.

It’s too early in the year to really spot any 2019 trends, but adding up the number of days in January and February (59) and looking at my totals, I bike on average once every three days, run every three and a quarter days, do PT every five days, weights every 10 days, and yoga every 8.5 days. And I’m on track for fewer workouts overall for 2019 than 2018, but I still have plenty of year left, so I’m not worried about slacking off for the next 9.5 months.

OK, since we're halfway through March, that's enough about February. On to the next month.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Weeks in review Feb. 25-March 3 and March 4-10: Vacation walking and two vacation runs

Hello! I’m alive! I left for vacation on the 2nd and didn’t bring my computer. I had grand plans to update my blog from my phone while I was gone but my days were consumed with taking in the sights, shops, and steaks of Buenos Aires. =)

Of course, the week before we left was busy with errands, cleaning the house, and packing, as well as a birthday dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law. As a result, I only worked out three times. I had high hopes to squeeze in one more session Friday, the day before we left, but there was just too much to do. Oh, well.

Feb. 25-March 3:

Run: Twice, both on the treadmill, for 10.25 miles in 2 hours.

Bike: Once, on the trainer, for 14.5 fake trainer miles in about an hour.

Total: Three sessions in a hair longer than three hours.

After a LOOOONG travel day on Saturday and sleeping in on Sunday, we rallied for a nice long walk to an early steak dinner. I brought my Garmin and every day I wore it I logged at least 10,000 steps, maxing out at nearly 22,000. I figured I was on vacation, so doing some walking most days was good enough.

However, I did log two actual runs while I was there. Both times, I walked about two blocks to a local park, where I did laps around the perimeter until I hit something like 4.5, and then walked home. Both were pretty easy; the air quality isn’t great in the city and it was pretty warm both days, and my hamstring is still acting up. I wasn’t trying to be a rock star, I just wanted to burn off some of that steak. =)

I’d write a nice, long blog post about running in Buenos Aires, but I literally just did laps around one park, so I don’t have much to say. Both days I ran, the park was packed with both people and dogs getting some exercise. If you do want to run there, you’ll probably be in good company. I had checked out Strava heat maps ahead of time, but when it came time to head out, I stuck with what I knew would be close by and safe. The one thing I noticed was that the park didn’t have a water fountain, where there would probably be at least one in a park that size in the U.S. So if you’re running in BA and it’s warm out, bring your own water.
Around and around and around the park I went.
March 4-10:

Run: Twice, both on the road, for 9.49 miles in about 1:45.

Honestly, I am happy with two easy runs and a lot of walking. It was vacation, after all.

I’m off to a slow start this week; we got in super late Sunday night and slept in again Monday before rallying for brunch, grocery shopping, and food prep. Sadly, I had no extra time for a workout, but I got food prep done through Thursday and even went to bed early-ish, which was a small miracle. I have a bit of a sniffle today from what I assume is travel germs, but I’m looking forward to at least an easy trainer ride to try to get back in the swing of things.

Even if you couldn’t run in Buenos Aires last week, I hope your training was also fant├ístico.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Week in review February 18-24: Grumpy, cold, and getting old

Lots of biking, meh everything else.
It ended up being not a great week last week. After I had done my longest long run in a while the week before, I had a bit of knee pain to deal with these last few days. I’m not sure why 11 miles walking and running is fine but 12 miles makes my knee hurt, but OK. This is something I’m going to have to get used to as my new normal, I guess.

So, I ended up taking Monday off training and got some personal work done, and getting called into some financial stuff Tuesday that turned into going out for sushi afterward and missing another training day; no regrets. I did get nice trainer rides done Wednesday and Friday, but was pretty exhausted at the end of the day Thursday and did nothing workout-related. Three days off in a week is a lot for me, but it seemed like my body needed a bit of a break so I went with it.

I was able to rally this weekend for some decent training. The weather was relatively nice on Saturday so I went for a very ginger, very easy run around the neighborhood, in case I had to turn around and head home. It actually wasn’t bad and my knee was a bit uncomfortable here and there, but never in pain and never so uncomfortable that I thought it was a bad idea to be out there. Plus it was my first run in a week, so some of that may have been joints and ligaments remembering how to run again. I called it at about an hour so I could quit while I was ahead, glad for the fresh air and sunshine in February. This was actually the fourth time I’ve run outside this month, which is about four times more than I usually run outside in the winter hellscape that is February in Michigan.

I didn’t have a lot going on this weekend so I did a bunch of training both Saturday and Sunday. I lifted weights for the first time in a while after my run Saturday (and I’m still feeling it) and did a nice long ride while food prepping on Sunday. I got some PT and even some yoga in there, too.

I was bummed the week started off on such a painful note, but happy I was able to rally for a strong (OK, strong-ish) finish. By the numbers, it was:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 49.5 fake trainer “miles” in about 3:36. It was NOT my highest-volume week, otherwise I would have been really mad I didn’t do an additional half mile, haha.

Run: Just once on the road, for 7.25 miles (6.25 running with a half-mile warmup and cooldown) in about 1:19.

Weights: One round of my heavy/body routine in about 1:15. Even though I haven’t lifted in a while, there’s a small victory that I can still do almost two hanging pullups in a row. Go me!

PT: Two sessions in about 1:15. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that this has been lacking and running is getting painful again.

Yoga: One 15-minute session before bed on Sunday. Even these little sessions make a big difference in my muscle tightness.

Total: 8 sessions in about 7:40. Considering this included 3 days off, this is excellent! I don’t think cramming on the weekend is the way to go, though.

I’m on vacation next week, and am already thinking about what kind of changes I’d like to make when I get back. I would like to get back to barre regularly (not only because I have a bunch of passes to use up), once or twice a month at least to shake up (heh) my weight routine. I also think I need to cut one weekday workout short and do PT for the second half of my workout instead, to get PT back into my regular schedule. 

But I need to tackle this week first and I hope to do that with a few solid workouts. Bike and run, here I come. And if I have time, some other stuff too.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Week in review Feb. 11-17: Ugh

Lots of running and my knee is feeling it today.
I’m glad last week is behind me. The weather wasn’t terrible – I even got to run outside twice. But I had a lot going on, I didn’t sleep well, and it was on the more stressful side.

I was glad I had taken Monday off after our weekend wedding in Iowa, because we got home super late Sunday. After sleeping in and going out to one last amazing brunch Monday, I did the usual routine of grocery shopping, food prepping, laundry, etc. to get ready for the week ahead. I even got a good run in outside and did some PT.

The rest of the week felt like two weeks of craziness were crammed into four days. Tuesday was stressful catching up on everything at work, and I stopped at a funeral home on the way home to support a friend during her loss. The weather was lousy and I was drained, and I think we ended up getting burgers and watching the Westminster dog show with the bar staff (at least we were among our people). I was able to rally Wednesday and Thursday for a trainer ride and a nice speed run. Thursday was also Valentine’s Day, which we don’t really celebrate, but we did order in barbecue that night. So romantic!

I was DONE by the end of the day Friday and mad that I missed my dogs’ vet appointment, at which my husband learned our old lady pit bull needs MORE dental work. Our lab mix completely freaked out at the vet, too, so we spent the rest of the night cuddling them and telling them what good girls they are. Thankfully, things were back to normal by Saturday, when I did a chilly but enjoyable long run before a friend’s party and then becoming a hermit for the rest of the night. Since yesterday was colder and snowier, I saved my long trainer ride and more PT for then, after and during another round of pre-week prep. It never ends.

My knee is a little tender after my long run Saturday and long trainer ride Sunday, so I’m planning on a day off today. Saturday was my longest run and this week was the most running I’ve done in I don’t even know – at least since October of 2017. I don’t know yet if this is an “oh crap I overdid it” tender or a “you did just run 11 miles for the first time in a year and a half” tender. It was feeling fine after the fact on Saturday so I’m hopeful.

Also, this is a stark reminder that I have to stop slacking off my PT. The more I run, the more I have to be vigilant about it. The end.

Anyway, last week’s numbers were:

Run: Three times, once on the treadmill and twice on the road, for 26.5 miles (that was an accident) in about 4.5 hours. Monday’s run was a chilly afternoon run while I was off work (I canNOT wait for Daylight Savings Time and evening daylight); Thursday’s was a building leapfrog of a challenging mile, a recover half-mile, a slightly more challenging mile, etc.; and Saturday’s was a chilly, boring-ish, long-ish run to see if I can build distance for a half this spring. You know, the basics.

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for 35.5 fake trainer miles in about 2.5 hours. I made running the priority this week instead of trying to make up trainer rides on the days I didn’t do anything fitness-related.

PT: Twice for about 1:30 total. I haven’t been good about doing this during the week, but I did one session on my day off Monday, and another on Sunday after my long trainer ride.

Yoga: Twice! Which I’m pretty sure doubles my total for the year! I was able to squeeze in two 15-minute sessions, which is better than nothing, and I’ll take it.

Total: 9 sessions in just longer than 9 hours. Not terrible.

I’m a bit grumpy today with the knee and the cold weather and the stress so I’m going to try to enjoy my evening off, get some other stuff done, and look forward to warmer temperatures. Bah, humbug.

Here are some pictures of my mutts just because I haven't posted any in a while. Pics of them play fighting never fail to make me laugh.

Typical Saturday night.
Typical sisterly fighting.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A long, chilly run

It was a brisk day today, with a temperature in the mid-20s and windchills in the high teens. However, it is February, and we have just gone through a Polar Vortex, and it's expected to be a bit colder, snowier, and windier tomorrow. So off I went on my long run today.
Brisk but not terrible.
I did 10 running miles two weeks ago so I was hoping for 11 today. My long run pace would be in the range of 10:09-10:39-ish, but it was so chilly I found myself running a bit faster and my miles splitting at about 9:30-9:40. Oops! Other than that, my run was pretty unremarkable. My knee felt fine, my hamstring wasn't too bad, and my lungs felt great. The only drama I had was losing an earbud cover, which I found on the next lap.
Way too fast for long run pace, but at least I was warm. Ish.
This was a great run to get in the bank. I haven't signed up for a spring half marathon yet, but after today, I feel like I could do it. We'll see if the weather cooperates enough for a few more long runs outside over the next few weeks.