Saturday, June 27, 2009

Building Confidence

I got to bed last night nice and early and bolted out of bed ~4:15, ready for my long run. I'm really glad I decided to check the computer for our route this morning. For 5 weeks now, our routes have all been the same every week. I opened our e-mail to confirm that I was running the same as last week but come into the park long for the extra mile. I was very surprised to see that ALL our routes were new so I had to do some studying before I left. Before our run, Michael mentioned that our routes were changing this week. The reason he said was that we were practicing our "Avoid Houston Fit" routes. I laughed out loud. Basically, we left the park out Wescott and stayed off of Blossom. The route brings us back in Memorial all the way from Waugh so I guess the intent was to avoid HFit going OUT of the park. They start in what? 3 weeks? The season is here!!! I say the more people out on the roads the better. I LOVE the energy of all our groups in town running and training for our marathons/half marathons. It's the best.

So, I had 7 on the schedule today. Michael's routes are rarely right-on-the-money with the distance but it's all good. That just means he doesn't have us doing a lot of out and backs which makes it a lot less boring. Anyway, the distance of today's 7 mile route was 7.42!!! Last week's 6 mile route was 5.92 so 7 and a half had me a little worried. The heat was bad. My goal on these runs during the summer is to just get 'er done, get the mileage done. I took full advantage of all of our water stops and did some stretching when I stopped.

By the time I got back to the Memorial Park loop, I had a choice of coming in short for 6.4 or sticking with the plan and coming in long for 7.4. Oh, believe me, I was sooooo ready to be done and seriously considered turning right towards the soccer fields. I kept going long and for a while considered turning around after .3 or .3 and finishing with 7 instead of 7.4. But I kept going. I walked some early in mile 7 but it was not an "I quit" walk. I kept strong and walked briskly and only for a timed 1 minute period at a time. At about the 6.8 mark, I actually got a little burst of energy and made it all the way to the tennis court in pretty good effort. I stopped and spent some time at the runner's shower and then jogged it on in for what acutally turned out according to the Garmin to be 7.7 miles. I think Michaels 7.42 ended at the tennis center.

Anyway, it was one of those runs where I wanted to quit but I didn't and at the end I was soooooo happy I didn't. It really helped my confidence to be able to reach down SOMEWHERE and find SOMETHING to get me to the distance I had committed to. No shortcuts. No quitting early and walking the "quitter's walk" for the last mile. I finished it running. We had some great fun trash talking at Starbuck's after which made it just that much better of a Saturday morning. So much done before 9:30 am, before many even get out of bed.

Now, off to the HARRA Summer Celbration!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

6 Beautiful Miles this morning!!!

I had a great run this morning. It was a definite attitude run. I had to have a good attitude to get it done in this heat and humidity. I seriously had to check my head every few minutes and sort of tell myself that it really wasn't too hot. Mind over temp and I got 'er done.

We had a great group with In Flight this morning. I think the group is growing. The key box was overflowing and there was a short line to check in. I think I was officially a few minutes late. Michael and Duval run a pretty tight ship pre-run in an effort to get us out doing what we came ther to do. I think I'm going to shoot for getting there a little earlier next Saturday.

Prep for this morning's run really started Thursday night. I needed to get a boot camp session in on Friday morning so I had a good dinner and got to bed by 9:30 on Thursday. After a tough boot camp, I knew I really needed to nail my nutrition and recover before Saturday's long run. I had some Endurox after boot camp and then ate flawlessly the rest of the day. I netted a good 2000 calories, all good stuff, for the day and got to be again early at 9:30.

Anyway, it all paid off with a good, consistent 6 miles this morning. My splits were very consistent. 14:34 / 14:39 / 14:35 / 14:48 / 14:33 / 14:40. It's hard not to think that I'm digressing or slowing down but I just gotta remember what I already know, that training through this heat and keeping it at the right effort is going to pay major dividends once this heat breaks. I know it's a long way off but I'm really anticipating that first cool day of Fall when 12-13 minute pace feels effortless. I've just gotta get through these summer months and stay positive.

Now, off to Beach Retreat for a week. I look forward to what God is going to do in the lives of our students and in my life. I hope the food is conducive to healthy eating. I plan on doing my runs in the morning, on the beach before my boys wake up.

Course of Action

I don't want or need to refer to my ankle "issue" as an injury. At this point, it just has potential for turning into something bad as it has in the past. I went to see Dr. H early on so that we could head it off at the pass and have a course of action that would be easy and CHEAP. I think a lot of runners just wait until an issue gets so bad that they can't run or when they do, it's just too painful. So, because I got in EARLY to get this thing nipped in the bud, I have options as to the course of action.

Basically, I have 3 to-do's. First, I have to keep my ankle taped for 2 weeks. This is a single stip just above the ankle, wrapped tight enough to enable my propulsion mechanism (see previous post) but not too tight that venous blood flow is restricted. Second, I need 2 sessions with Dr. H to get a couple of joints in my ankle and in my foot moving again and to release a few trigger points I have in my peroneals and calf. The first session is all it takes to do this. The second session comes later and is just a recheck to make sure I haven't digressed. Third, I need an orthotic. This is just something I'm going to have to have based on my foot and my anatomy. Now, I currently have an orthotic that Doc modified just a little. He said the orthotics I have will do. But I hate them because they are too thick. I feel like I'm running in high heels. So, I think I am going to have Dr. H fit me for a new pair of orthotics.

That's it. That should do the trick.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Functional Hallux Limitus

If anyone is interested, this is my problem...

Hallux limitus, by definition, is a decrease in sagittal plane dorsiflexion of the hallux at the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ) when the foot is in a weightbearing or simulated weightbearing position.

Normal range of dorsiflexion motion of the first MPJ should be 65 to 75 degrees in order to allow for a normal gait. Near the end of the propulsive phase of gait (when you push off your big toe), the leg has a 45-degree position to the floor and the ankle is in about 20 degrees of plantarflexion to the leg. This position requires the hallux to be able to dorsiflex 65 degrees. Anything less requires accommodation or adaptation from the surrounding joints. This compensation can come from gait changes, such as subtalar joint supination and walking on the outside of the foot, subtalar joint pronation with foot abduction, etc.

We often speak of functional versus structural hallux limitus. A decrease in joint motion in the loaded and unloaded foot is structural hallux limitus. In regard to functional hallux limitus, there is limitation only when the foot is weightbearing or loaded.

Believe it or not, after 2 hours now with Dr. Hasenback, I actually understand the above 3 paragraphs in detail and can explain it to someone else. This is what you get with Dr. H. I'm very pleased with the service I got with Spine & Sports and pleased with the prescribed treatment and the fact that they take the time to explain everything they are doing or are proposing to do. Plus, they have a money back, no questions asked, guarantee. Basically, they see what I am paying them to treat me as an investment. Like any investment, the investor (me) expects to get back MORE than they put in. If after the proposed course of action is taken, I do not feel like I received a satisfactory return on my investment, they will give me a no questions asked refund and then refer me to someone they think can help me. That's bold.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I think I made the right move

I just got back from seeing Dr. Hasenback about my ankle. I've been back and forth in my head about going to a podiatrist vs. seeing Dr. Hasenback and pursuing a more non-traditional approach. After spending a solid hour with Dr. H, I definitely feel good about my decision. He poured out a TON of information and looked at not only my ankle but my arches, toes, calves, ITB, posture, the whole 9 yards. He did a very thorough Q & A with me. We looked at my shoes and my orthotics (which I don't normally wear). His goal was to provide me with enough information about the functional aspects of my issue so that I would know for myself what was going on with my body and be able to self-treat and prevent this issue FOR LIFE.

What I paid for on my initial consult was 1 hour with Doctor H where he looked at my issue. Had me stand in a lot of positions, without my orthotics, and with. Then he modified my orthotic a bit and had me stand in certain positions. It was absolutely amazing how different parts of my body, my ITB, my inner calf, my lower back, were all so much less tight, just by putting a tiny piece of foam under my orthotics. So much so that it was VERY noticeable. NO hocus pocus. It was noticeable. He made the point that once we get my feet working (not only with the orthotic modification but with some other very simple courses of action) running will become so much more natural and easier. I can so see how just these little tweaks to the way my foot absorbs shock and then propels me off my big toe will conserve energy and give me a more natural feeling. It's all very interesting.

With the initial consult, I also get another appointment which they refer to as the "Report of Findings". This is where Dr. H provides in great detail with pictures and images what he found during his exam and what our exact course of action is. Again, his whole emphasis is on educating the patient. What a concept in this world of waiting 2 hours to see a doctor for 10 minutes. Like I said, he poured out sooooo much information today that it was kind of hard to digest everything, so I'm looking forward to the full report. I'll update the blog Thursday after my appointment.

Oh, one thing I do know is that I was in the wrong shoe... I wear a Nimbus. Dr. H says I need to get a Nimbus. LOL!!! Evidently, the Nimbus 11 is majorly different than the Nimbus 10 which I wear. I don't know what that part of the shoe is called but it's the part right in the middle, under the arch. The Nimbus 10 is VERY flexible there. You can easily bend the shoe in half. The newer Nimbus 11 is stiffer in that part of the shoe, supporting the arch and providing more lateral support. Now, here's the cool thing. The reason Dr. H knows this is that he went over to Luke's Locker just last week and did his own research on the different types of shoes and came up with his list of recommended shoes. So, hot off the presses from the latest research, I got to choose between 5 of the best shoes for lateral stability (I have a propensity to put my weight "laterally" towards the outside of my foot because of my high arches). I went to Luke's and gave Luis the list of shoes I wanted to try on and my fav was the Nimbus 11. Luis told me that Dr. H was just in last week testing out shoes. LOL. Pretty cool, huh?

Awesome morning

Boot camp was awesome this morning and I had a bonus 25 minute run afterwards at ~13:30 pace. Coach Merlino took it very easy by his standards and ran with me. It was fun to pick his brain, talk about running, about nutrition. Turns out coach and I share something in common, a love for the running community and a passion to see more people get off the couch and get moving.

I haven't run since last Wednesday and it felt great to get the blood pumping this morning. I've got a ton of work to do on my push ups and on my core. I've got to get more consistent. I'm still on my knees with my push ups and for my planks but that allows me to keep good form and get more reps/seconds and that's what it's about right now. I hope coach doesn't wonder, "What's he doing?" when I deviate from his instructions. For instance, he uses a band for lunges and squats. I find that my 300 (298) pound frame offers PLENTY resistance for those moves so I don't use the bands. Also, we did some one-legged hops across the field over about 20 yards. With my ankle problems, I substituted a less stressful "skip". Coach Steeeve used to prohibit one-legged hops and even skipping for me back in the day after my ankle surgery. I think the skips this morning did the trick just fine.

From the onset, I had my doubts about the run. When I started, my legs felt like jello, very weak. But interestingly (to me anyway), after about a half mile, I started to feel pretty good, REALLY good in fact. Don't get me wrong, I probably couldn't have run for an hour+ or done any kind of pace work but a good 25 minute @ normal training pace did me just fine. Not too much but enough that I KNOW I worked out.

My ankle has been "whispering" to me. Not "yelling" just yet but I'm developing that nagging little pain again. I made an appointment with Dr. Hasenbank today to get a plan for really getting this thing knocked out once and for all. Of course, I always struggle with going the non-traditional route (chiropractic, etc) vs. the medical route (podiatry). We'll see how it goes.

See you at the park!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lots going on!

Well, the kids are out of school, summer racing season in is full swing, boot camp, marathon training, Beach Retreat, work...WHEW!!! Life is a LONG RUN!!! No sense in going out too fast or I'm sure to peter out.

The first week of marathon training is going well...sorta. I mean, I've gotten all my runs in. I'm just fighting being a slave to the schedule. For instance, the schedule for Monday called for 4 miles. I did 3.7. Is that a big deal? NO, of course not!!! So, why does some crazy, obsessive part of me feel like I cut myself short. Then, Tuesday called for 3 miles or OFF. I opted for OFF and for perfectly good reasons. Basically, I had kid duty in the morning and Little League in the evening. By the time "me" time came around (about 9 pm), I just opted for OFF from running. Wednesday called for 4 miles. I did 3. I'm fine, right? Yes, I'm fine.

I'm kind of excited about The Heights 5K Saturday. It will be the first time I've raced since The Luke's/Koala Half back in 2007. I'm not counting the Rodeo Run 10K as a race and here's why. That was the stupidest thing I've ever done in my running career. I was ill-prepared not only to RACE 6.1 miles but I wasn't even ready to RUN 6.1 miles. I want to forget that day so I'm going to pretend it never happened. :) So, for me, this is my first 5K race in a long time and in some respects, my first ever. It's definitely my first race since getting off the couch back in September of last year after my year-long plunge into gluttony and inactivity. (No, I'm not bitter about LOSING a year of my life) Anyway, because this is effectively my first 5K, I have no idea what to expect. I've been told I should shoot for a PR but right now, I can't fathom that. I just don't know if I have it in me. One thing I do know is how to run a 5K. I know it hurts. I know it sucks. But my plan is to let it all hang out and hold NOTHING back. I wish Bill was there to pace me.

Lots to do. I need to get to it.

Monday, June 01, 2009