Saturday, October 31, 2015

Double Digits, and a PT Update

This week marked the first time in nearly THREE YEARS since I've recorded a double-digit run! I ran a pretty solid 10 miles last Thursday, keeping the pace nice and easy (9:05/mile average). As usual, my left knee hurt for 2-3 miles, but then it settled down quite a bit. My right hip (which has sometimes hurt more than the knee) barked a few times, but didn't feel too bad. This was an out-and-back run (which I've been doing on the Centennial Trail, by the Spokane River, for my long runs) and I was going to go out 4 miles and turn around, unless I felt better than usual, in which case I'd stretch it to 5. That's what I did, and the last 5 miles were the least painful miles I've run in a LONG time! If all runs felt like those last 5 miles, I could live with that. However, I'm sure that won't always be the case, given my history.

Which leads me to the physical therapy I'm currently doing. I just finished my second full week (twice per week), and it seems to be helping. I'm doing a lot of foam rolling (on the evil black roller), stretching (hamstrings, calves, groin, quads) and a good deal of hip and glute strengthening using various exercise bands. I'm also working on my single-leg balance using a couple of different exercises. I've had my left IT band rubbed and dug into a couple of times (and have bruises to prove it), but it seems a little looser. I often leave there feeling pretty beat up and unable to walk normally, but I can finally feel my stabilizer muscles kicking in now during some of the movements. And, like I mentioned above, the knee pain seems to be lessening a little.

On my second visit, I ran a mile on the treadmill while my PT guy watched my form. I apparently swing my legs a bit and "scissor" my stride (i.e. cross over a little), which probably puts my knees in poor alignment, along with my hips. He says that should start correcting itself as I get stronger and more flexible, but I've started consciously working on my stride the last couple of runs. It feels odd, but I'm trying to make it only a small adjustment and not go overboard and potentially cause other issues. I'll be doing PT until the end of November. After that, I'll continue doing it at home on a maintenance program, and will do my best to roll and stretch both before and after I run.

Today, I finally set my beat-up bike on the trainer and did an easy 45 minute spin. It was the first time I've been on the bike since my accident back on August 13th. It felt good to be back on, even if it was indoors on a stationary trainer. I'm very hesitant to ride that bike outdoors again. I'll probably have the shop look it over, but it did get banged up pretty good in the accident, and if any of the frame is compromised, I'm asking for trouble by riding it outdoors again. And that's the logic I'm using on my wife in hopes of getting her blessing on buying a new bike! Thanks to our glut of broken arm expenses, I'm not expecting that blessing to be granted until next year (if even then), but with a few triathlons in my plans for 2016, I'll pretty much need the new bike.

But marital harmony comes first.

And I'm going to end this blog entry before I get myself into trouble. Thankfully, my better half doesn't read this blog.

I hope...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ten Thousand Miles, an MRI, and PT!

Well, well, well...

After FAR too many years, I finally managed to hit the 10,000 mile mark for lifetime running mileage. Some of you might say, "that's quite an achievement for someone dealing with so many injuries over the years," and others might say, "jeesh, it took you long enough!" You would both be correct. I have many running friends who have eclipsed this mileage in far less time and have probably doubled or tripled my mileage already, so this won't be all that impressive to those folks. But it hasn't been an easy road for me. Still isn't.

Ran my 10,000th mile today in 7:22 (4th mile of a 5 mile run). Didn't feel easy. Sucks to be out of shape. And yes, my knee and hip hurt. But it was awesome!

It all started back on June 26, 1983 (Actually, it started a few years before that, with a year of XC during middle school, for which I have no written records, so I don't include those miles.) I was living in Kent, WA with my dad, stepmom and baby sister but visiting my mom and other family in Florida during summer break. I was going into my junior year of high school and had decided I wanted to run cross country. So I started running loops around the block where we lived.

Those of you that know me at all will NOT be surprised to know that I do, indeed, have my first written log from that time. My first recorded run was a 2-miler (at 6:46 pace!) around the block (CD stands for Crestwood Drive). I also like that I threw down a 5:44 mile during my second week of running. Ah, youth...

Low mileage, fast pace. What's this "base building" people talk about?

Thirty-two years of ups and downs (and plenty of injuries) later, I finally met that goal. You can see on the right side of this blog, if you scroll down a ways, my year-to-year mileage. Some years have zeroes, some have hardly any mileage at all. I'll admit that not all of those paltry years were due to injuries. Post high school, I lost interest in running (oh, if I had that time back again...I was just starting to get fast when I graduated!) There were other years where I decided I was going to lift weights and add muscle to my skinny frame. And, of course, there were plenty of injuries that derailed my running, sometimes for months (or years) at a time. But, glutton for punishment that I seem to be, I always returned to running. It's in my blood.

So, here's to the next 10,000 miles, God (and body) willing.

Speaking of a willing body, I ended up getting an MRI on my left knee after all. I won't go into the ugly details involving my insurance company (there are still issues being dealt with), but I met with my doc a few days ago to go over the results. Long story short, my knee looks great! No tears. Cartilage, tendons & ligaments all look good. Very little wear and tear. No arthritis. There is a bone bruise (probably from one of my bike crashes, but my knee pain goes back long before any crash), and there's a bit of fat deposit that might be causing impingement, but nothing that's obviously giving me the knee pain I'm still experiencing. I'm thrilled to know the knee is structurally sound, but frustrated that I still don't know what's up. Doc said that tight hamstrings can lead to knee pain (I've had tight hamstrings for decades, so I doubt it's the main problem.) I decided to go for a 6-week round of physical therapy to hopefully get my gait analyzed (again), get more flexible, deal with any strength imbalances and weaknesses and, hopefully, put the chronic pain behind me.

After all, I've got another 10,000+ miles to run. Don't want it to be painful! At least, not the bad kind of pain...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ye Olde Updayte Tyme Again!

Just a quick check-in to update the proceedings at Resurrected Runner Headquarters.

Fall has settled upon the Inland Northwest, and we've taken it upon ourselves to hire an entirely new staff. By "staff," I of course am referring to a brand new pen, a new page in my old school running log, and a new and improved mess of running shoes scattered across my closet floor.

Aside from that, here are a few updates:
1. My broken arm is still broken, but I've finally moved out of the splint and am doing a series of exercises to regain both strength and mobility. It's going surprisingly well. If that continues, I won't need official occupational therapy. The scar is also healing nicely, too. It'll still be a while before I can lift anything heavy.


2. I've been running twice per week for going on 6 weeks now, gradually increasing both my pace and distance. Last Thursday, I ran a not-so-easy 7-miler (longest run in 2 years). This morning, I cranked out a nice 4 mile tempo run, followed by 4 x .08 mile strides, for a cumulative average pace of 7:46 per mile. Probably didn't need to do the strides, given my knee issue. But man, they felt good! It seems like this twice per week frequency is at least somewhat agreeable to my knee, given that it has felt about the same for every run this past 5 weeks.

3. Which leads me to the knee MRI update. Since we're still fighting my insurance company on my broken arm costs, and they've been GLACIALLY slow at processing claims, it now looks like I won't be able to get my MRI by my October 16th deadline, unless I want to pay for it out of pocket. Given how much we've already paid out of pocket for my arm, I don't think this will be doable for us right now, sadly.

4. However, I have been doing some knee-related exercises and stretches in an attempt to remedy the situation myself. I've done plenty of reading and video watching and am doing what I need to do for "runner's knee," which is a rather ambiguous term for the pain I'm experiencing. Not sure if it's helping yet, but as I mentioned earlier, it doesn't seem to be getting any worse, given my two runs per week currently. One probable side effect of my left knee pain is a right hip that's been pretty sore. I would guess that I'm compensating for the knee while I'm running. Dang, this old body...

5. To continue on the running theme (hey, I should do a blog about running!), I am now 15 miles shy of 10,000 lifetime running miles. Unless something interesting happens the next couple of weeks, I'll probably refrain from posting here until I hit that milestone.

...and you never know what kind of interesting injury I can fit in between now and then, so stay tuned!