Which came first?

leg

It’s official… I have a strained hamstring.  And I am relieved.  I was freaking myself out reading IT band syndrome articles.  I have strained and otherwise injured muscles in the past.  Heck, last winter, I fell on the ice and strained my rotator cuff and upper back.  A few weeks later, I was lifting again.  “Syndrome”  just seems like a whole ‘nother beast!  I post this document to show the “overstretch” injury we think I am suffering from.  It is in about the right location too.  I went to see my massage therapist last night.  I have been seeing her for years and she  is excellent when it comes to working out what ails me.  I explained my issue and she went to work.  It took her literally a moment to find the root of my issue.  I almost leapt off the table!  A few minutes later, I was in bliss.  My lower back was still ridiculously tight as was my hamstrings when she went to work.  The massage felt amazing.

In all the reading I have done, it appears as if I have a Grade 1 strain:

– little to no limp/change in stride (check)

– weak knee (check)

– pain or soreness with flexion of hamstring muscles (check)

– no bruising (check)

– no swelling (check)

I have been instructed to rest, go to yoga, stretch and heat my hamstring for a few days.   I’m already going a little nutty.  I had  planned on going to Body Pump this morning (before I did this) but squats and lunges should not be on my agenda for “rest.”  I also wanted to get a few more (10 miles) in this week.  Oh well, few miles this week in exchange for getting back out there in a week or two is a better option than being injured long term.  Other than calf issues, I have been extremely lucky.  I also realized I upped my mileage a little too quickly from December to January.  I did about 70 miles this month and about 50 last month.    This is what happens when I feel good.

Structure structure structure….  I woke up this morning with soreness but no “weak” knee feeling.  The healing is happening!

I will start a 25K training plan at the end of February and will rest as long as it takes to start that strong.  Here is a stretching chart I found to use too:

stretch

I have got to get my butt (hahaha literally) to yoga once or twice a week.  So there you have it… rest, ease back on mileage, yoga, pre-run dynamic stretching, post-run stretching (and ice if needed to for maintenance) and LISTEN to my body.   Looking back, the lower back pain I had a few weeks ago was probably the start of the hamstring strain.  It is all connected and one affects the other.  My chiropractor (massage therapist’s husband) will be doing electro-stim therapy on that hamstring on Monday too.  I have had tremendous success with this treatment on my calves and back in the past.  Stay tuned for ramblings and updates….

IT or Hamstring?

I am started to get sick of this pulling sensation in my right leg.  It’s focused around my knee, pulling most on the outside.  No pain associated with it, but I cannot roll or stretch it out.  A bunch of reading leaves me to believe it may be IT band syndrome.  A lot of what I read on that focuses on strengthening.   Hoping staying in classes will help with this.

Before today’s run, I even tried some new dynamic stretches and it didn’t help at ALL.  I did a 4.6 mile snow run with Tony yesterday.  Broke out the Speedcross and the Yaks and glided my way over various solid ice slicks.  Leg was no worse or better before or after that run.  I was hemming and hawing about doing a long run today, but decided to go for it once Katie said she was in.  I haven’t seen her in months and desperately needed to catch up time.  We met in Newmarket and used a route I created on Mapmyrun.  It was allegedly 8.6 miles.  More on the “alleged” part later…

Here was our run:

today

This is the fastest training run I have had in months!  This is what happens when us “hens” start chattering away.  Our splits were all over the place, but please take into consideration we had about 4-5 walk breaks.  Yeah, we were humming along.  My leg once again was tight and never loosened up.  It’s such a bummer because everything else feels awesome… calves, knees, feet, back.  I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow so I am hoping once I unleash Lanie on it, I will have some relief.  I did eventually break down and up my Tissue Rejuvenator and took ibuprofen.  I seem to have gotten some relief from the ibuprofen so that’s a good sign!  Against my will, I will rest tomorrow and maybe Wednesday.  It’s not so much I am afraid of losing condition, it’s that I don’t want to stop.  By the way, I have run 67 miles this month!!!  My all time high!

Regarding all things GPS – I have had it with the variations in devices!  My Runkeeper app (which we affectionately call Bitchface) shorts me up to a 1/4 mile every run.  Strava seems to be reading a little high (.1-.2 miles) and Katie’s Garmin falls between the two.  I guess close counts!  The best part though was mapping a run through Mapmyrun was a MILE off!!!!!!!  What the heck…. guess I will only use that as a loose guideline for planning new runs!  Do you have GPS woes too?

Hot college boys!

Have I gotten your attention… well the ladies attention anyway?

More on that in a minute 🙂

This week was light on workouts.  I had my 7.5 mile run on Monday, Arc and Body Pump on Wednesday then had my usual two days off in the middle of my work rotation.  By the time Saturday hit, I was eager to run.  Since Wednesday I have had an odd pulling sensation from my right IT, through my knee and down to my foot.  No amount of rolling or stretching has eliminated it.  I started my run very slowly on Saturday in hopes of warming it up and loosening it.  Here is my stats for the run (from Strava):

run01_26

Here are my splits:

run01_26(2)

The route I chose is from my house, all road miles (one small section of dirt road) and relatively hilly.  I have a 4 mile or a 5.4 mile option.  I had decided before I started I would turn for home at the split and just do 4 miles if the knee/leg was not any better.  By the time I hit the deciding point, everything was loose and working.  The splits above include walk breaks.  I am getting pretty good at keep my power up during my walk and running faster in between breaks.

Want to know about the hot college boys????  This long loop takes me close to UNH and every time I have run it, I see UNH apparel clad hot men running on this route.  So, I get dirt roads, farmland, woods, and hot men to look at when I run.  Works for me!

Today, my knee is still “pulling” on the outside.  I can’t describe it any other way.  Doesn’t hurt at all.  I am having trouble pinpointing if it is being pulled by a tight hamstring or IT.  This is new for me.  I am planning on running in the woods today (4 miles) and then doing my long run tomorrow (8 miles).  Hoping one more run will get the rest of the kinks out, otherwise I may have to consider another unscheduled rest day.  I will keep ya posted….

I’ve missed you, Arc Trainer!

So if you have been following my blog, you will know I had a disastrous run on the treadmill a few weeks back.  I have used one like most people on and off throughout the years.  I just cannot get comfortable on it.  It messes up my stride and I feel like it’s a constant struggle.  I am sure most of this is in my head, but regardless, it just doesn’t work for me.  I actually applaud those people who can use them… it would make my life easier when it is 4 degrees!  

I dragged my ass out of bed this morning with enough time for a snack (banana and half a PB & J sandwich) and a cup of coffee.  I almost talked myself out of the gym 378 times.  Seriously.  I did manage to get in the car and once I started driving the lack of motivation faded away.  I made it to the gym, set up my weights for Body Pump and hopped on the Arc Trainer.  The Arc is the same machine I used to train when I couldn’t run due to impact related injury.  I set it for Interval and 20 minutes of work and started.  I immediately relaxed and started to enjoy it and my music.  In case you aren’t familiar, here is what an Arc Trainer looks like:

arc

It’s tougher to use than an elliptical machine and works both upper and lower legs.  I also tend to not hold on so I force my core to work.  Twenty minutes later, I torched 200 calories (allegedly) and went one mile.  I was off to lift.  Body Pump was great today too… complete with jump squats.  I should feel that later!

Unknown if I will get in a workout tomorrow since I start back to work tonight (overnight).  If so, I will see you all in a few days!

Thank you Ultimate Direction!

The Fed Ex truck brought me something I have been waiting for today!  My replacement bladder for my Ultimate Direction Wink Pack is here!!!  I initially wrote a review of this pack in December and reported a tiny drippy leak from one side of the bladder.  I contact UD and inquired about the leak.  The person who got back to me (Tim – you rock) had me send a picture.  He then asked me to cut it up with scissors and send that picture.  I almost cried!  Well, now my new bladder is here courtesy of UD.  I don’t mind the Amphipod handheld I have been using but can’t wait to have my hands free again!

Today is a rest day.  My calves are a little tight so I will roll them out.  My right shoulder has been bugging me too.  Hoping to get that stretched out before I lift tomorrow.  I will officially be hiding inside for the next few days…

Brrrrr!

Brrrrr!

This is too cold for even me to think about running outside until Friday.  I hope to get on the Arc machine (instead of the treadmill) before Body Pump tomorrow.  I did a lot of training on the Arc to prepare for my first 5k (October 2011) when I had shin splints.   I have convinced myself this is a nice replacement for the DREADMILL I will never get on again.  I haven’t decided what I will do on Thursday yet.  What a bummer!

I thought I should add I have been better about my meal choices lately.  I don’t eat horribly bad, but I love salt and sweet stuff so I have been consciously aware of my need for watching those two things.  Especially in light of the fact I tend to swell a little on long runs.
Dinner last night:

– Rotisserie turkey breast (thank you Hannaford)

– Brussel sprouts (steamed)

– One serving stuffing

Today so far:

Breakfast – two eggs scrambled and a banana

Snack – all natural granola bar (low sodium)

Lunch – homemade garden salad with leftover flank steak and a dash of creamy greek dressing.

I’m off to bundle up and head to the accountant!  Being a business owner is wonderful until this time of year 🙂

Heart rates, trail food, long runs, oh my!

turkey

It’s been a few days since I posted, mostly due to work (two days off from running/workouts as usual).  I didn’t sleep as well as I did last week, but would say I have sufficiently recharged.  An additional 8-9 hours of sleep and a few Long Trails should take care of the rest!  I love nights off!

Yesterday, Tony and I ran Northwood for the first time since Christmas Eve.  At that time, we had no snow.  I typically do Northwood (5.5 mile trail loop) in about an hour.  The loop took about an hour and fifteen minutes yesterday.  The snow was a mess, definitely the worst conditions either of us have run in this year.  It was 3 or 4 inches of soft snow.  It went something like this:  step, step, slip, slip, step, ankle twist, step, slip, slip, step…  Not easy to run on at all.  My ankles and calves took a beating!  I wore Tony’s heart rate monitor (gross, he didn’t clean it) for the first time too.  Not to bore you with details, but my heart rate should be around 140 for optimal performance and fat burning (for fuel).  I was in the 160-175 range for most of the run.  I could not get it to settle.  That being said, I get winded easily when I work nights.  It is just a strange phenomenon for me.  My cardio always suffers.  This test run with HR monitor resulted in me starting my search for an HR monitor and reading articles about third shifters and cardiac effects.  That just plain frightened me.  Google it sometime.   Only 7 years to go on this stupid crazy schedule 😦

Today, I ran my long run.  I am really looking forward to these runs each week.  It’s the first time I have made an attempt at scheduling them and keeping some structure.  Plus I have been going out solo.  My partner for today (Katie) was ordered into work so I went out on my own.  I fueled with two fried eggs and a couple of peices of bacon (I know…. bacon… but I love it!).  Yum!  I brought along a Happy Tot baby food pouch which I had about 50 minutes into my run.  I wore my pack (no bladder, my new one is on order) and my handheld water bottle.  For the 26 degree day, I wore my insulated tights, my Kinvara TRs, Under Armour cold gear shirt, Fila hooded short and my new Adidas running jacket.  Topped it off with my winter hat, gloves and Pandora on my phone.  I was ready to GO!!!!!

My route for today took me up Mitchell Road in Nottingham:

mitchell

This loop contains both dirt roads and pavement.  There was also a huge shoulder in most places so I ran in the dirt.  Here is my stats from Strava:

run01_21

This run felt awesome.  My goal was to take it slow, integrate walk breaks and a snack and just enjoy the sun.  Mission accomplished!  And I had plenty of gas left.  I actually considered adding a few miles, but was getting hungry.  If I had brought a second snack, I would have done it.  Snuck this in just before a snow storm too!  I may be heading to the gym tomorrow but so pleased I got this in today!

The cost of winter running

gear

I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a newbie to this winter sports thingy.  As a former active equestrian, we rode in the snow or we rode inside a covered arena.  That was the extent of my outdoor activity for most of my life (sans a few years in my early 20s – origin of the snow shoes).  Most people have moved indoors to run by now seeing as we have a fair amount of snow on the ground and snow banks covering the safe shoulder of the road.  Plus, many people don’t like to run in the cold.  I’m not judging, but can say this from experience.  Most of my friends DO NOT run the way I have decided to run this year.  It’s northern New England and it can be rough here.  If you are prepared to dress for it, you will reap the rewards!

So what does “snow running cost?”  Here is my primary gear:

– Salomon Speedcross 3 mountain running sneakers (you can see them here).  They really are amazing.  I fell in two “streams” today (busted through the snow before I could stop) and got both feet soaked.  Within a minute or two, I couldn’t tell.  Once my feet were warm, they stay warm even soaked.  I have been using these for running, hiking and snowshoeing.  Best investment ever!  Paid $112.00

YakTrax Run:  These are insane and worth every penny!  I almost didn’t invest in a pair, but run almost every day in them.  They have metal spikes on the front and coils on the back.  Very light and they fit the Speedcross great.  Order up a full size if you put them on an aggressively treaded shoe!  Retail $40.00

– Gaiters: Yup, wore ’em backwards for a few weeks.  I’m an idiot!  A must have for keeping the snow out of your shoes and you calves warm!   Paid $55.00

Bottom line is winter running costs me more than the average runner spends on a pair of road shoes.  That being said, I woke up this morning and needed to RUN.  I love the snow.  I love that there are literally no limits.  I love how toned my legs are getting from this ridiculous sport!  Speaking of my run… 5 miles of amazing.  Actually, when my run partner (check out the freak show here) sent me a text to see how it went, my response was “Fucking awesome!!!!!”  Well, it was!  I am so glad I chomped down a banana and some coffee and went out.  The more I run, the more excited I am getting!  I just broke 13 miles for the week and have a few days left to go.  My legs are great and so is my head.  Winter is being good to me.  Besides, the scenery kicks ass!

path

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