Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trying to get motivated

With my summer vacation winding down, I would expect to be using all this free time to run as much as possible.  But instead, I find myself barely putting in miles, bailing on runs, shortening runs, taking walk breaks during runs because I'm "over it."  Most days I wake up and can't get myself out the door for a run; I end up reading, running errands, watching tv (something I never do during school year), going for A.R.T., all while thinking I should head out for a the time I get my butt out the door, it's the warmest part of the day and I use that as an excuse to cut the miles or have a bad run (ie. took a walk break yesterday).

But maybe this is my subconscious way of seeing if rest plus A.R.T. will make running enjoyable (ie. painless with a spring in my step) again.  My knee pain is gradually subsiding and my calf is starting to feel like a muscle instead of a rock.  I've been getting A.R.T. 2-3 times per week since the MRI and it's very helpful.  However, it has caused my calf to feel sore, as though I'm doing hard workouts daily.  I'm not sure if that's contributing to my feeling of fatigue during every run but it's possible.  Apparently, frequent A.R.T. sessions break down muscular strength (makes sense) and a lack of strength in the calf means running hills is harder and the hills are where I feel myself fatiguing quickly.  This week or next will be my last of frequent A.R.T. torture sessions so it will be interesting to see if I regain the spring in my step post-treatment.

I'm heading to Vegas for a few days of "relaxation" and doubt I will do any running while I'm there; I'm taking my running clothes but will be with a huge group of girls and see little time in our schedule for "me time."  I will be slammed with work starting next week but I'm hoping I will be able to relax each evening with a long run.  I'm looking forward to a race in November and will put myself on a mileage ramp up plan next week.  I'm assuming that will help with the motivation factor as I miss having a race on the horizon.  Since I've been working on correcting my running biomechanics, I've been running 1-2 miles/4x a week in my Vibram KSOs and I want to continue to increase my mileage in them; the short runs I do in them make me feel like a little kid and I long to get to where I can run 10+ miles in them.  I feel I have ideas for regaining motivation/joy in running but am open to suggestions....

Monday, August 9, 2010

MRI results

Thanks to the best chiropractor (A.R.T. specialist, sports injury guru) ever, I got the world's fastest turnaround on a MRI.  Dr. Scott wrote the MRI prescription, faxed it to imaging place he recommends, called my insurance and convinced them I needed it, and helped me get a same-day MRI....all in the span of an hour!  So, if you are in Orange County and need to see someone, I beyond highly recommend him.  The next day, he called them because he expected a report by that morning and it was not ready; he worked some magic and had my results by that afternoon...whew, I did not have to spend the weekend wondering what the MRI showed.

I'm glad I stayed optimistic because the MRI turned out in the best possible way- it was positive but for something that is relatively minor.  I have a lot of swelling in a specific location and a possibly inflamed bursa; the location of the swelling indicates that it is caused by something that has plagued me for years, a huge knot in my calf muscle.  The knot was there during last year's Boston marathon and reduced me to walking (okay, dragging that leg behind me as I could not even walk) and it has been so bad that a previous chiro feared I was developing compartment syndrome.  Apparently I must have torn (microtears) my calf muscle or damaged it at some point causing collagen to form and fill in the gaps; the mast of collagen is the worst my chiro has ever witnessed and he said it's very rare for someone my age to have.  sigh. 

Hopefully frequent ART sessions between now and the start of the school year will go a long way in breaking up that scar tissue.  After school starts, I will be on my own using the stick, a lacrosse ball, and anything else I can do to break it up (ie. hopefully killer massages from my BF).  Outlook is that it will take about 6 months of "beating" it to death to break up the collagen mast.  I have to be very careful running downhill since this makes me more likely to injury my knee.  He told me I can't be the typical ultra runner who blasts down the downhill sections. 

I'm okay with giving up speed work, flying on the downhills as long as I can do what I love- run.  I have to work on my running gait since I swing my left leg out in a weird way and it's related to my calf injury/knot; I basically have to retrain myself to move in just one plane of motion when running.  It may mean running with short, slow steps but I'll deal with that.  I've been working on engaging my left big toe more when pushing off and I've been doing that on a treadmill (not turned on) wearing Vibrams; I intend on doing some short runs in Vibrams in hopes that it helps me focus on my toe-off, gait.  On tap for tomorrow, more PT exercises and a run!!!  I'm learning to cherish my runs even more since I had the fear of not running for 6+months hanging over my head last week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

MRI time

I've been running very limited the miles the past few weeks.  In fact, every run has been a struggle and I've had the worst runs of my short running career recently.  I've tried to figure out why and several things have become apparent...a lack of motivation since I'm not committed to any races, a lack of running with other people, not being able to run at my "old" paces.  Since all three of those are connected by a sense of dread of running, I decided it's time to tackle that issue.  I've dreaded running because I wonder if I'll feel that catching in my knee, if I'll be able to run the distance I desire, if the run will cause my knee to I need the knee pain to go away!

I've had a few ART sessions with Dr.Scott and he has done a fantastic job of noticing issues with my gait and working to correct those.  The lingering thing is the medial knee pain that I've dealt with off/on for a year; it's the pain that has prevented my doing any speedwork as I feel a catching in my left knee and cannot fully extend my knee during the running cycle.  I've hoped that it's just a muscular issue- really tight, knotted muscles pulling on my knee.  But the huge possibility of a torn meniscus or torn cartilage has been hanging over my head.  I've put of getting a MRI because I hate spending money on it with the chance that it will come back negative (a good thing) and I'll still be left with knee pain.  After feeling the shooting pain when wearing my Strassburg sock the past two nights, walking around the neighborhood, and doing yoga this morning, I finally broke down and am taking doctor's recommendation of getting MRI.  Hopefully I can get in today or tomorrow and know something early next week.  

Until then, it's pool time...with a buoy between my legs to prevent kicking as I'm not allowed to pool run or swim unless it's painfree.   My doctor's reached the pessimistic point about this but I'm staying's all I can do!