Monday, September 22, 2014

So, it's been a while

Six days until the race!  I've been wildly busy with work and life, and once I added physiotherapy for my creaky SI joint, I've had no time to blog.

Fortunately, I have basically negative two readers at this point, but for you, I apologize for keeping you hanging.

Training has been going well.  I never thought eight miles would feel like an easy, relaxing run, but nevertheless, there it is.  

Rehab's been interesting.  The problem is that my lower core is weak, despite my efforts, and my left hip rotates forward, and then my tailbone pulls out of alignment.  This makes everything hurt, and screws up my stride.

So, part of the work is for the nice physiotherapists to pop my hip back into place.  Today, that involved also realigning the symphysis pubis joint, which cracked painfully and loudly, like a bunch of firecrackers went off in my pants.    I saw stars, and then yelled, and then apologized.  But then, when I stood up, I felt lighter and straight.

This is apparently what normal feels like.

The rest of the work is retraining the glutes and core so they can stabilize my pelvis when I run.  Lots of marching bridges and variations on leg lifts, and lots of getting my tired hamstrings to stretch just a bit further.

I think it's helping, but I also think it will be a while coming back.  The PT says essentially we have to retrain my body to recognize normal as normal, instead of settling back into the misalignment that I've had for months.

The race is Saturday!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

More Tips For Safe Running

(inspired by)

  1. If you feel an urge to beat up someone who is out for a run, seek help.  Tell a trusted friend what you're feeling, and have them stay with you until you can get in touch with a doctor or counselor.
  2. If you feel an urge to beat up someone who is out for a run, run in a group.  Odds are good that your companions won't want to beat up other people, and they can keep you from hurting someone.
  3. If you are tempted to catcall someone out for a run, try wearing blinders and listening to music, so you can distract yourself in the moment of temptation.  If that doesn't work, try muffling yourself with a gag, or pinching yourself until the urge passes.  Be creative!

You get the idea.  Look, I'm realistic.  I live in the real world, and I know that there are creeps that brutally attack women who are out for a run.  Taking basic safety precautions is something everyone should do:  run in groups or with a friend if you can; let someone know where you're going and when you plan to return; carry ID, a phone, and water; stick to well-traveled paths, roads,  and trails so that if you do get hurt, someone can find you and help.  

To be clear, this is advice anyone should follow.  Men are often bigger and stronger, but they can be targets of violence, too, and defending oneself in the middle of a long run or hard workout is easier said than done.  And an injury can strike at any time.

What's frustrating, however, is that when this advice is targeted at women, it shades easily into "you should stay indoors to be safe."  I don't think anyone means to lock women indoors.  But when my mom hears about such attacks, her response isn't "what a bad man" but "maybe you should think about not running on the trails."

Stranger attacks are fortunately very rare, but they are often horrible, and they make headlines.  I'm not inclined to change my behavior much for an extremely rare incident, when I weigh the risks against the benefits of being fit, and so forth.

Harassment, however, is much more common.  And the thing is, it's not my fault if someone harasses me.    The fault of the harassment is on him, and while it makes sense for me to take sensible precautions that any runner should take, the burden of change should be on him.  If I can run only when I have friends to run with, then it would be impossible for me to train for a half.  I might get out once a week.  I have a job and a toddler and a husband who dislikes dogs, so I'm not going to get a dog just so I can run.  It's good advice not to wear earbuds when on the trails, but that's so I can avoid being et by cougars, not because that extra awareness would keep me from getting attacked.  

Plus, if fewer women are outside running, then any woman who does is an outlier, and looks like more of a target to those creeps.

So this makes advice difficult to give, and I completely understand the delicate balance.  On the one hand, one doesn't want to be naive and ignore good safety advice, and there are creeps that target women, and women need to know that.  (Advice about routes and social media apps strike me as particularly important, because it's not always obvious how much those give away.)  

On the other hand, such advice runs the very real risk of reifying the idea that public spaces are not safe for women, and that women who leave their houses should be on their guard not just for practical reasons, but because if they don't, what happens to them is their fault because they were unprepared because they didn't adopt and train a puppy before starting a couch to 5K program.   Ms. Waddell didn't do a damned thing wrong.    This attack wasn't her fault, and removing an earbud wouldn't have made a blessed bit of difference.  

I wish there was an easy solution.  But on balance, I'm inclined to think that the risks to men and women who run outside are roughly equal, and so the advice given to them shouldn't differ.  Everyone needs to be careful.  Everyone has the right not to be harassed or harmed when they're enjoying the outdoors.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Time keeps on slippin'

Between a crazy week at work and the rest of life, I've had no time to both train and blog.  But there is much to look forward to:

  • A review of the Saucony Mirage 3.
  • Update on my SI joint and PT exercises.
  • Video of my footstrike on a treadmill.
  • My first GU (tm.)
But for now, you get a picture of a flower.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I did it!  13.2 miles in around 2:20 today.  This morning there was the most beautiful rainbow over the valley, and the sky was pink.  A friend and I ran a point-to-point course starting at the top of one trail, running along the Bonneville Shoreline trail, down the Birdsong trail, and then looping along the Ogden River Parkway.

It went well -- my only goal for this run was to make the distance without aggravating my back too much.  The initial climb on the trails always slows me down, and I'm an extremely novice and inefficient trail runner, so it was easy to keep a relaxed pace.

Around mile eight I ate some Extreme Sport Beans.  These are quite literally glorified jelly beans. They're made by Jelly Belly and have caffeine and vitamins.  I was experimenting with refueling on the run.  Usually I don't bother, but I figure I might need to during the race and I didn't want to find out in three weeks that they upset my stomach.  Not bad, but hard to get down quickly, so perhaps I'll stick with Gatorade at the water stations.

I do think I didn't time the Beans (MAGIC BEANS) right.  Around mile 11 I started to struggle a lot, and my legs felt dead, but half a mile later my energy levels returned, so I either got a second wind or the sugar kicked in.  (Wondering if "second wind" just marks the body's transition from burning glucose to burning fat stores.  Anyone know?)

After walking a mile for a cooldown, we headed home, where I drank chocolate milk, stretched, "rolled some foam", and then had a nice relaxing day of mowing the lawn, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, and picking up the toddler, which at this point is basically a workout with a 21 lb, wiggling, kettlebell.

I'm just going to call it active recovery.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

And the winner is....

... the SI joint.

So, I missed my long run this weekend.  My back was tight and spasming whenever I tried to bend over and after sitting for long periods, so ten miles wasn't going to happen.

I treated myself to new shoes!  Asics Gel-Kayano 19, for $50!  These are a stability shoe.  I'm trying something new.  I noticed that my Nikes had creases on the medial midsole, and so I think they have worn out.  If I am overpronating, which I think I might be based on the depth of the creases, while I may have high arches, I'm probably need the support.  I don't need a squishy feeling in my shoes, so I can run on a firmer surface.  It's worth a shot.

(Reasons to support your local running store:  end-of-season clearance sales.)

So, eventually, there will be a new review coming your way.

I began to feel better with a bit of rest, and so Monday I went out for an easy four miles with a friend.  Running along the river parkway was nice, and flat and stable.  My back and left glute were tight, but didn't seem to get any worse.

Tuesday I did six miles on the treadmill.  The only real problem with this is that my mental treadmill limit is about forty minutes, so it took a lot of Sportscenter on the TVs to get me through those last fifteen minutes.  I start mentally subdividing the tenths of miles into seconds.

So far, the new shoes are working out well.

And then in the evening I was off to the sports doc.  He treated my shoulder when I separated it a couple of years ago, and his first recommendation is almost always PT, which I appreciate.  Anyhow, after some fun confusing the newbie resident -- I'm flexible so it's hard to generate symptoms -- the doc determined that my pelvis is rotated on my left side, which is stressing the piriformis muscle.

It's about what I expected, given the location of the pain and my inability to stretch it out.  I'm just glad that there seems to be no disc involvement.  His guess is that the instability originates from having the baby, and that running has basically stressed it enough that my back clenched up.

I told the kid it was his fault, but he just grinned and tried to feed me goldfish crackers.  Toddlers.

I'm fine to keep running if I want.  The plan is more 'mill tomorrow, then an easy four Friday, and then thirteen on Saturday, and then I will be the happiest newbie that ever tapered.  PT starts Monday, and I'm hoping they can sort this out.  Once the race is done I have to rebalance lifting and running  -- because it's curious that as soon as I cut back on strength training, a nagging pain became a huge pain in the rear.