12.31.02 - Washington Resolution Run
01.19.03 - San Diego Marathon
07.13.03 - Tri For Real #2
10.23.05 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.23.06 - Sparks Turkey Trot
05.05.07 - Marathon de Mayo (Half)
05.13.07 - Moms on the Run
10.??.07 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
05.10.08 - Moms on the Run
06.21.09 - Pleasanton Spirit 5K
07.29.09 - San Francisco Half Marathon
10.04.09 - SJ Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon
10.18.09 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.01.09 - New York Marathon
11.26.09 - Spark's Turkey Trot 10K
02.20.10 - Bay Breeze Half Marathon
03.14.10 - Shamrock 'N Half Marathon
03.21.10 - LA Marathon
03.27.10 - Scheel's Fanatic 5K
04.25.10 - Marin County Half Marathon
05.02.10 - Reno Rock 'N River Half Marathon
06.05.10 - See Jane Run Half Marathon
07.25.10 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.05.10 - Pier to Peak Half Marathon
10.10.10 - Chicago Marathon
10.30.10 - Healdsburg Half Marathon
11.07.10 - U.S. Half Marathon
11.25.10 - Scheels Turkey Trot 10K
02.06.11 - Surf City Half Marathon
03.13.11 - Dublin Shamrock 5K
04.18.11 - Boston Marathon
05.01.11 - Big Sur Marathon
06.11.11 - Lake Tahoe Relay
07.31.11 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.11.11 - Walnut Festival Run 5K
09.18.11 - NorCal Half Marathon
11.24.11 - Scheels Turkey Trot
12.03.11 - Las Vegas Santa Suit 5K
12.04.11 - Las Vegas Half Marathon
03.11.12 - South Bay Duathlon
03.25.12 - Oakland Half Marathon
05.20.12 - Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon
06.24.12 - Silicon Valley Intl. Triathlon
07.15.12 - Ironman 70.3 Vineman Triathlon
03.09.13 - Lucky 13 Half Marathon
04.28.13 - Eugene Half Marathon
05.11.13 - Folsom International Triathlon
5k:19:17 @ Dublin Shamrock 5k 2011
10k: 41:01 @ Scheel's Turkey Trot 2010
Half:1:30:07 @ Oakland Half 2012
Full: 3:31:44 @ Boston Marathon 2011
70.3: 5:20:07 @ Vineman 2012
Tag Archives: Injury
We’ve all heard it and we all know it to be true: preventative care is of vital importance for any athlete. Stretching, rolling, massaging, you name it…it’s the key to preventing injury and prolonging our athletic dreams.
Yet for some strange reason, as much as it has been harped on over and over again by every magazine and blogger out there, somehow we find ourselves brushing it off and I completely understand why. We only have a limited amount of hours in the day and if I have to choose an hour of running, or 45 minutes of running and 15 minutes of stretching, my endorphin-junkie mind carelessly picks the hour of running every time.
But then you’ll find yourself just sitting on the couch, catching up on Bob’s Burgers because somehow your husband’s TV-taste has rubbed off on you and you think, “I should be rolling right now.” Somehow your ass in glued in place and you just can’t be bothered to get up, walk to the next room and grab the punishment pieces needed to take preventative care/rehab seriously. Yup, that’s me. But fear not young one, I come bearing a solution!
Enter: The Living Room Recovery Kit!
I know, I know, the true originality of this is mind-blowing and my interior decorating skills are something to be rivaled. But this simple trick has helped me stick with my rolling routine. Here’s how it works:
1) Get a basket.
2) Fill it with preventative care goodies (details below).
3) Put it in a highly visible spot in a regularly trafficked room.
4) Watch it stare at you, taunting you, as you sit there doing everything but rolling.
5) Let the guilt magic set in and finally use the contents of said kit, shake your fist in the air and proclaim, “Damn you, foam roller. Daaaaaaamn you!”
It’s that easy! Now, for the contents of my living room recovery kit:
1) A Yoga Mat, because you need one for obvious reasons. Carpet burn is never cool.
2) A Mini Pilates Ball for core and hip strengthening exercises. But you should probably inflate it more than mine.
3) A Kettle Bell. I keep this little five pounder handy for core work as it’s cheaper and smaller than a medicine ball, and I can use it for Nike Training Club app workouts.
4) A Foam Roller. Go with the trigger point for some real torture, not just the black foam. Plus, this compact size is much better for traveling (should you be so inclined) because I have no idea how you’re going to pass a three-foot foam roller as a carry on.
5) The Stick. I like the travel size for obvious, space-related reasons.
6) Foot Massage Balls. I actually won these in a Secret Santa gift exchange two years ago (thanks Katie!) and love them. I keep one at my desk at work (gross — who cares) and one in the basket. The bottom of my foot has been giving me some issues as it’s overcompensating for my ankle, and a little time with these bad boys help immensely.
7) A good ol’ fashioned Lacrosse Ball. Truth be told, Coach Paul found me this one as we were doing transition laps around the track. Get one, put your butt on it, and try and roll out the magic.
I should also give an honorable mention to the tub of Aquaphor that I keep next to my nightstand to massage my ankle. I’m not sure if Aquaphor is made for massaging, but Emily sent it to me and it works really well!
So there you have it, my living room recovery kit. Tell me, how do you ensure that you are rolling/stretching/etc.? Anything else you would add to the basket?
I’ve mentioned the emotional roller coaster that is recovery, but I’m happy to report we were on the fun part this week. How so? Allow me to count the ways…
Monday, 1/28: Swim
Nothing too special to note here, just getting my swimmy swammy on. Oh, and it was frickin’ freezing. The end. I also got a deep massage where we literally worked on my lower left leg for an entire hour. It was glorious.
Tuesday, 1/29: Indoor Ride & Run
Sweaty indoor trainer ride in the am, followed by a “I’m so f-ing pumped up on endorphines right now” treadmill run. Eminem you know how to cut to my soul. Not really. But thanks for letting me feel like I’m a straight up bad ass for a couple miles.
Wednesday, 1/30: Weirdness
With a check-in PT appointment in the am and then heading out of town directly after work, I only got in a 15 minute core workout. I ended up shuffling the rest of my training schedule around for the remainder of the week, but that’s what training is. Making it work with your life.
Thursday, 1/31: Yoga & Indoor Ride
30 minutes with Yoga Studio App to warm up the body, followed by an indoor trainer ride at my parent’s place. This ride was also my WITHOUT MY BRACE! Fist pumps ensued.
Oh, and for the record, Matt Lauer makes every morning better. Thank you, NBC, for nailing him down into a long contract.
Friday, 2/1: Indoor Ride & Run
With the baby shower on Saturday, I had to squeeze in both workouts on Friday. Another indoor ride followed by what was my first RUN WITHOUT MY BRACE! I thought this called for a ridiculous treadmill selfie.
Saturday, 2/2: Baby Shower!
Can I count running around like a chicken with their head cut off (whoa, bad image, sorry Chicken Face) as cardio? Nah. Well it was worth it celebrating my sis and soon-to-be nephew.
Sunday, 2/3: Indoor Ride
If you’re paying attention, I only swam once this week. Beeee-doooooo. I was supposed to travel home then head to the pool, but I was too anxious to watch Beyonce do her thang, errr…I mean watch football. So I swapped my workout for an hour on the trainer while Beyonce immortalized herself in my brain as queen of everything. Fair call?
I closed out week 3 with:
6 hours and 5 minutes of training:
1,400 yards swimming
60.5 miles cycling
6.5 miles running
15 minutes strength
30 minutes of yoga
So that was the week. Did you experience any highs? Anyone else madly obsessed with Beyonce now?
Wednesday marks 10 weeks since my ankle injury. It turns out that I injured myself TWICE: a high sprain on the outside and a strain on the inside (yup, that’s my fancy doctor jargon). When I stop and think about it…shit it’s been a long time, but not as bad as it could have been.
A couple weeks ago I tried my first one mile run and it was good, but not comforting as I still had many twinges. I quickly learned that warm-ups and cool-downs are extremely important for me, as is patience. (Thank you Aron for answering all of my crazy/scared texts.) Since then, I’ve been increasing frequency, length and have since ran back-to-back days, with my longest run being 3.5 miles.
I went to my final PT appointment on Tuesday and did a variety of drills to check my status. The swelling is still there, but it’s finally down as it was what lingered the longest. My range of motion is still limited and I’ll need to continue working on it, as well as rebuilding the strength in my ankle.
The even better news? My PT cleared me to try my first run outside! Now to find the perfect, flat, paved, stable, path.
To get to this point it took time, and it’s going to take a lot more time. It also took me religiously doing my PT exercises twice per day, RICE-ing when necessary, going to the PT almost twice a week, and using stim and ultrasound therapy to help with the swelling. I thought I’d share some of the exercises that I used (am going to continue to use) to help strengthen my ankle. Note: I don’t know the fancy terms so just roll with me here.
Resistance band cross-over. 3 set of 15, 2x/day
Hanging ankle stretch to a toe raise. 3 sets of 20 (or general fatigue)
Wall ankle stretch.
Bosu balancing, 3 sets of 30 seconds
Speaking of rehab exercises…I need to go do some! What’s your rehab secret?
I’m happy to report back that all of the Kinney Multisport team demolished Ironman Arizona, including a few stellar PRs. Congrats to the team – I tracked you online so much that it’s probably creepy. You are all awesome and continue to inspire me! So much so, that this is my new motto:
The ankle is getting better, but still swollen. I started physical therapy and will go twice a week for at least six weeks. I was told to still stay off of my leg unless I’m doing regular activities. Any long distance walking needs to be on crutches and I need to wear my ankle brace, compression sock and supportive tennis shoes all the time. Despite some workplace fashion quandaries (tennis shoes and slacks? Ack!) and not being able to do any workouts on my feet (hello upper body and core), it’s going as expected. I guess I can’t complain.
Oh look. Another idiot taking a photo in a gym mirror. I’ll spare you an flexed muscle shots — this photo is just to show my awesome compression sock/brace look. That Hansel is so hot right now!
Furthermore, my family has been so incredibly sweet. They took the time they were supposed to use to go to Tempe to come to California and visit. They never complained once about the money they lost on their airline tickets that they had to cancel and they are all so supportive with me picking up the pieces and trying again. Love you guys! I definitely can’t complain.
I will admit though, Sunday was tough. If you sit on the coach long enough doing nothing, you’ll surely overanalyze everything. If you’re tracking the race you were supposed to do, it’s highly likely that you’ll go crazy.
For the past week, I kept asking myself, “Why?!” I’m a firm believer in that there is a reason for everything, but I’m just so damn impatient and I want to know what that reason is. I analyzed every possibility and have multiple scenarios that I’ve convinced myself of, but I have to admit something first…
Over the past four months of training, everywhere I looked I would see the same set of numbers. These three numbers would show up on clocks, watches, radios, you name it. Whenever I would see it, I would shout, “CHICKEN FACE! THERE IT IS AGAIN!”
He would laugh and call me crazy (he’s probably right.) I even told my cycling friends about it on a ride and asked if they had ever experienced something like this and what it meant. They just looked at me like I was losing it. That number:
I kid you not. From 91.1, to 9:11. It was everywhere. I usually don’t believe in this type of stuff, but I just can’t help but to think that someone or something was trying to tell me something. It was weird. Really weird. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there for some crazy/scary reason.
Anyways, to move on from the strange omens, I still believe that this injury happened for a reason. The reason that I’m choosing to believe is that it just wasn’t my time. Instead, maybe I was meant to train for a year to get to know more about the three sports and myself. I spent a year learning, struggling, overcoming, and just plain growing, but now it’s time to train harder and smarter than ever before. It’s time to grow into a serious athlete, not just a gal who was sidelined by a sprained ankle.
I am more determined than ever, dammit.
I’ve researched my options. I’m weighing the pros and cons. I’m anxiously awaiting the answer to come clear so I can hit register and start down the new path. IMCDA? IM Whistler? IM Lake Tahoe? What do I do and how do I do it? Whatever it is, I’m ready!
Well, in four to six weeks. Hurry up and heal ankle!
First and foremost…THANK YOU. I knew that our little online running and triathlon community was great, but I don’t think I realized how amazing it was until this week.
Thank you so incredibly much for every single one of your comments, emails, texts, tweets and phone calls. In the midst of all the injury and rescheduling chaos, your incredibly kind and supportive words would bring a smile to face and mean so incredibly much to me. From those who are regular readers and commenters, to those that are commenting for the first time, all I can say is thank you so, so, much.
Now, for an update.
Woops! Wore my brace far too tight.
When I wrote the last blog entry, I had just come back from the chiro where I was given the bad news. I wasn’t sure what else to do so I sobbed and blogged. After said blog was published, I wrote another email to my chiro with the subject line, “Are you sure?!” This wasn’t really happening, was it?
Chicken Face was away on business and there was no one around to really calm me down. Thus, refusing to believe anything, I Googled for an urgent care that was open late, had x-rays on site and took my insurance. With luck, I found one that was less than 10 minutes away from my house and called to let them know I was coming – they were about to close in an hour and I needed to know if something was fractured.
I raced to urgent care where the entire staff was just sitting there waiting for me. I walked in and they asked, “Are you Page?”
I answered yes and suddenly four people sprung into action.
One woman brought out a wheelchair and I said, “No, no, I don’t need that.”
She insisted, so I sat.
One woman was collecting my insurance and personal information while another guy was asking about what happened. It was a crazy harmony of multiple people doing their jobs simultaneously. They must not have had any other patients or serious cases to attend to.
I was taken to the back to get x-rays and the doctor came back saying that yes it was a sprain, no breaks or fractures, but given the severity of the sprain, she didn’t think I could do the race. However, she recommended that I see a sports doc to know for sure. She then went on to say that she knows how I feel because her son plays football and he got a sprained ankle and he had to sit out for two games. It took everything in me to not, ehem, politely clarify the differences in the two situations.
I came home from urgent care feeling slightly relieved. I ate dinner that consisted of a giant cookie and then went to bed. Sometimes eating your feelings does feel good.
The night, I had a dream that my mom ran the race for me instead. I remember thinking, “But she didn’t train!” but I saw her run past me smiling. I then woke up literally thinking it was all a horrible nightmare, but alas, it wasn’t, and my head was throbbing.
Later that morning, I was able to get into a sports ortho doc. He was an older gentleman who probably touched my feet for a total of five minutes, examined the x-rays and then diagnosed me with a high ankle sprain. When I asked what the difference was he said, “Well, they take longer to heal than regular ankle sprains.”
Then the weird part: he pulled up Google and searched for “high ankle sprain.” Um, what? No sir, I’m not paying you to Google for me. He used it more to illustrate what part of my body was affected, but something about it just didn’t seem right.
I then asked him, “So, can I do the race?”
He looked at me and simply replied with, “You know the answer.”
And then I cried. It was official that Ironman Arizona was out.
I called Chicken Face, my family and my coach to tell them the official, official, news. While I suppose I still could have gone to Arizona to watch the race or just have a vacation, I was too emotionally messed up and didn’t think I would be able to handle seeing everyone else race so we cancelled the whole trip.
I headed back to work and tried to carry on as normal as possible, but then Google sucked me in and scared the shit out of me. Don’t ever Google “high ankle sprain” because you will find things like this:
Just the term “high ankle sprain” is enough to grab the attention of, if not frighten, the toughest athletes. Even if you’re not exactly sure what’s involved, you probably know that it’s an injury that could keep you out of action for months. And you’re right. High ankle sprains are much less common than the garden variety low ankle sprain, which can be serious enough, but they’re hard to treat and can cause long-term problems.
An athlete may be out for as little as two to three days or as long as six months.
I was sending all of these articles to Chicken Face, in which he would reply, “Stop Googling.”
Once I pulled myself away from the mistake that is Googling your symptoms, my friend Carrie (who is a PT and has completed 15 Ironmans) invited me over to her house to take a look at my ankle. Can you tell yet that I’m having acceptance problems?!
Carrie was fantastic and spent an hour with me, asking questions, testing, watching me walking, massage my ankle and even making a custom wrap for me. She gave me hope in that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (phew!) and with time, I’m going to be A-OK.
I didn’t waste any time setting up my physical therapy appointments and I was lucky enough to get in the next morning. I met my PT, Emily, and I couldn’t have been happier. She spent an hour with me, evaluating, learning my story, ultrasounding, stretching and more. Her perspective was similar to Carrie’s in that if this only would have happened four weeks earlier, I could have taped it up and been good to go come race day. But unfortunately, it happened when it did and I was screwed.
Per Emily, I need to wear compression socks under my brace as we’re really going to focus on getting rid of all my swelling first and stretching the ankle, then strengthening. I asked her what exercises I can do and for now, I’m limited to upper body, core, swimming (no kicking) and cycling (only if I wear my brace, no resistance and no climbing). Thus, I can’t wait to get Dora back.
I left PT feeling good and anxious to get on the rehab bandwagon. I wasn’t wasting any time and was going to move forward no matter what.
And I am.
The good news is that I think I have literally run out of tears and the only thing I can do now is move forward. If I keep dwelling on WHY? WHY? WHY?!, it won’t do me any good. I was shattered, but I’m not wasting any time picking up the pieces and I’m NOT letting this deter me from becoming an Ironman. This has been a lifetime goal of mine for a long time and I’m not going to let a stupid sprained ankle stop me.
I still have what I call “relapses,” where I’m alone with my thoughts for whatever reason and I start to cry. I know Sunday will be a bit tough as I see all of the photos and results pour in, but beyond that, I have to believe that this all happened for a reason. Plus, I know that far more serious things could have happened and I’m very lucky that it’s only a sprain because I can heal and compete again. I know that when I come back for the next one, I’ll just be that much stronger – like I said before, TITANIUM! As I am picking up the pieces, I’m trying to plan what race I should do, how it cannot cost a gazillion dollars and how to make my family happy. I’ll follow up with my thoughts on that soon, but for now I’ll ask:
DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO GET INTO SOLD OUT IRONMAN LAKE TAHOE?
I would love you forever!
Now, more than ever before, I have to remember my dad’s favorite motto: It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it. I’m now choosing to handle it by not moving on, but moving forward.
Thank you over and over again for all of your support.
First and foremost, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your support, tips, tricks and kind words. You have no idea how much they mean to me as I continue to struggle through this. You guys are the BEST!
But, if you are sick of me talking about my ankle, welcome to the party, I am too. Sadly, it’s the only thing that’s on my mind right now, thus, it’s what I’ll be blabbing about until next Monday morning because Ironman Arizona is ONE WEEK AWAY TODAY!
So what’s the status on #AnkleWatch2012? Well, a lot.
Trying to stay positive.
I immediately stopped all training and worked from home for two days, making sure to RICE, RICE, RICE! With my ass firmly planted on the couch, I began to feel like a slug and decided to go into work on Friday, equipped with my ice pack and trash cans propped up enough to try and elevate my leg. Later that afternoon, my aunt brought me my cousin’s crutches so I could try and stay off of my foot as much as possible.
By Friday, I could put weight on it, but when I did the full walking motion, I could feel a twinge in my back heel. My amazing chiropractor was able to fit me in late Friday evening so I rushed over as soon as I was off of work. I trust him more than any other ortho doc I have been to (overcharged x-rays and rude bedside manner, no thank you) – he was also the one who helped rid me of all my knee problems, so let’s hear it doc!
The diagnosis: a sprain and a strain, and yup, there’s a difference.
Strain: stretch or tear of a tendon (think “t” for strain and tendon). Tendons connect muscles to bones.
Sprain: stretch or tear of a ligament. Ligaments connect bones to bones.
So, I messed up a tendon and a ligament, but I did not tear or break anything. Fabulous. But the good news is that my doctor thinks that I’ll be able to make it come race day – albeit much slower – and that has been quite the pill to swallow.
I’ve been training for a year for this race and as I grew, I began seeing stars and certain goal times. In fact, I had quite an ambitious secret goal time that both my coach and I thought I could achieve pending perfect race day conditions. But now, things have changed and I struggled accepting that.
I’ve trained so hard and was capable of an XX:XX finish!
I’ve never been one to race just to finish – I always have a goal!
I cried, had a massive meltdown in front of Chicken Face and couldn’t to accept this.
I kept asking myself, “Why? Why? WHY?!” over and over again.
But then I had to snap out of it because this, my friend, is not the end of the world. Far worse things could have happened, and far worse things DO happen. This incident is truly unfortunate, but for whatever reason, this is the hand I was dealt. I reminded myself once again of my dad’s motto, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it.” Yes this is not ideal, but considering that my doctor believes that I’ll even be able to race I chose to change my mindset and consider it great news. I am continuing on with life as if race day WILL happen (minus the training) and trying to be as positive as I can while babying my ankle.
I dropped off Dora (my bike) and gear back to be transported to IMAZ.
I got a pro-race mani/pedi to match my bike!
So, if this race does happen, it just means that this race will be something very different…which leads me to this little blog.
Blogs are fantastic for so many reasons – the support, the friendships, the inspiration. But they’re also a mental trap in that often times you boast about all that you are going to do and then shit hits the fan and you feel like a fool. With that being said, I know I need to run this for myself and not anyone else. I need to forget about achieving my goal times so that I can report back on them, and instead race to be strong, healthy, and honestly, just to finish. For those tracking my times come Sunday, no need to do so. This race is no longer about how fast I can complete the race, but has morphed into just finishing. If it’s a 16 hour and 59 minute finish, I’ll take it, because it’s a grand finish in spite of all that has happened and once again, it’s about the journey rather than the goal. I’ll get my goal time on the next one
Thank you again for all of your support and please keep sending those good vibes – the ankle needs them!
We interrupt my race day tip series for some frustrating/depressing/altogether frightening news.
Yesterday, I did a 40-minute trainer ride and then made my way out for an easy, IM pace 30 minute run. It was light out and was going to be the easiest run of my training yet. I stopped at a stop light where there was another runner and her light turned green before mine, so I decided to head down the opposite side of the street than I usually do.
So there I was, running on flat asphalt and five minutes into my run, it happened.
My left-ankle rolled in to the right, then back out to the left, I screamed and instead of just wobbling to the ground, I did a full barrel roll to the ground.
It was almost as if the entire thing happened in slow motion because I remember just thinking, “NO, NO, NO!” in my head, but outside I was screaming, “F***, SHIT, F***, SHIT!”
I remember screaming it multiple times when the other runner and two old women who were walking came up to me. They asked me if I was ok and I was just crying and saying, “I have a big race! I have a big race!” My vocabulary was stellar.
Obviously, my logic was lost and I hobbled over to the sidewalk where I continued to cry and rock myself back and forth. The old ladies stayed there and kept asking me if I was ok and I just cried and said I was fine. I was definitely not fine, but I just wanted them to go away.
Thankfully, I had my phone with me (I always bring it with me) and somewhere between all of the tears and mental torment, I called Chicken Face to come pick me up. I couldn’t walk home.
As I waited for Chicken Face, I called my mom and texted my coach and Aron because I didn’t know what else to do. Tears pouring – I have ruined everything and am utterly confused.
I ended up working from home to ensure that I RICE’d (rest, ice, compress, elevate) properly and took enough ibuprofen to feed a small village. I am doing the same today. My ankle swelled up on the right side, but the real pain is on the left side. I can put weight on it today, but I can’t really walk normal. Also, the good news is that there’s no bruising.
If it seems like this is all I’m talking about on social media, it’s because it’s all I can think about. It took only two seconds, although it felt like five minutes, to make me question what I’ve worked on for an entire year. I keep replaying it in my head asking, “Why? Why? WHY?”
If only I had taken my normal path.
If only I had left a second later.
If only I had looked down just a moment earlier.
I have never really fallen running …why would this happen now?!
Over the day and through the night, tears were plentiful. I’m extremely nervous about whether or not I will be healed in time for the race which is just days away. From my knee injury, to getting sick, and now this, my mind and confidence are beaten down. Why did all of this have to happen?! Chicken Face said that it’s making my mind tough, I say it better make me damn titanium if I can get through this!
So what’s next? I’m working from home to RICE again today. If I’m not making a bit more progress by tomorrow, I’ll head to the doctor. I’m nervous about if I can even get to the start, and if I do, I’m nervous how I’ll perform given the time I’ve taken off for the knee injury, getting sick and now this. One thing is for sure: the road to Ironman isn’t easy, but I’m still hoping I can get there.
Any advice for severe rolled ankles?
When I woke up on Saturday I was nervous about what was to come.
Not only had I stuffed myself with alcohol, rich foods and desserts the night prior, but it was also a ride full of many first:
- My first 80 mile ride
- I would be riding the entire thing solo
- My sense of direction is turrrrible, just turrrrible (bonus points if you get the reference)
- It was going to get pretty damn warm
- After the emotional debacle that was last weekend, I had no idea what to expect
To prepare for said ride, Coach Paul was nice enough to make me a route that was flat and always had cell service should something happen and Ambulance de Chicken Face needed to come and rescue me.
The concerns were plentiful. How was my knee going to react? Do I have enough fuel? What if I get a flat? How am I going to keep myself entertained for that long? I was confident that if my knee didn’t give me any problems, my mental stability would be the first thing to go. Riding that long by myself? Is this even possible? What am I going to think about that long?!
With my route in hand and a newly adjusted bike fit and cleat positioning to take strain off of my knee (thanks, Paul!), I strapped my Road ID onto my bag, prepped my fuel (including a full-size PB&J, three bottles with a CarboPro & Nuun mix), printed out the route map, ate my standard PB&J on a whole wheat English muffin breakfast, did a quick roll-out on my legs and was off.
The route included rolling through almost every city in the Tri-Valley area. To be honest, I missed a few turns and ended up in cities I wasn’t supposed to be in, thus, a complete East Bay tour. As I made my way through each mile and city, I was stunned. My knee! My knee! It’s totally fine!
I don’t know what happened or why my knee decided to put its temper tantrum on hiatus, but I won’t ask questions – I’ll take it! I rode with a ridiculous grin on my face. Giggled as I saw four turkeys literally crossing a crosswalk Beatles style, met and chatted another cyclist who had a stuffed-toy raccoon on the back of his bike, waved to other cyclists as we passed, took in the view of wineries, hills, barns, cows, you name it. In fact, I even stopped in the shade for a brief moment and offered a cow part of my PB&J – he wasn’t having it.
Hey cow. Want some PB&J? No? Well, say hi to your motha for me, ok?
I just kept riding, getting lost, then riding some more, and I loved every damn second. And my fears of talking to myself for that long? It was actually not a problem at all – in fact, it was quite refreshing. Sure I have alone time, but for that long? Never. You name a topic and I probably thought about it. It was exhilarating.
When I came home from the ride, I burst through the doors where I found Chicken Face asleep on the couch. I woke him up and literally did a happy dance. He just looked at me like I was crazy, but you better believe my booty was shaking with excitement! I slipped on my running shoes, went out for a quick transition run in the heat, and came back for more happy dancing.
Sunday had a 10-mile run on tap. Curious yet again and wondering if my knee could handle it, I made my way throughout my town with another rush of excitement. It was the first time in a long, long time that I felt myself again. In fact, it was the first time in months that I thought to myself again, this is who I am. It was the moment.
If my perma-grin isn’t coming through yet, trust me, it’s there.
I’m not going to rush it, I know from my last experience that these feelings can immediately be crushed with one bad move, or pushing it too soon. But for now, I’ll be on my endorphin-fueled cloud nine if you need me.
All day today I had it in the back of my mind and it made me nervous as hell.
Tonight, I had to get on the elliptical for 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes on the treadmill…my first run in over a month. While seemingly no big deal, it was in fact a very big deal.
To me, the fate of my Ironman rest within that run.
(Yes, I’m totally being overdramatic. That’s how I felt. Whatever.)
Many have asked exactly what is wrong with my knee. I wish I had a clear answer but what I can tell you is that after doing repetitive motion (like cycling or running), the muscles on the inner right knee feel as if they tighten up into an awful and tight little ball. There is not necessarily any sharp or shooting pain, but I have to stretch out the overly tight muscles and that’s where the pain is.
I can’t quite repeat in medical lingo what the chiropractor told me, but it appears as if my knee is having some compartmentalizing issues. So basically I have some tendonitis and fibrosis in the area (i.e. inflammation and scar tissue), which has caused those muscles to be less effective in getting the healing blood to the affected area when it needs it (or something like that). So when I’m doing these activities, they aren’t getting the blood, they’re working harder and end up tightening up to the point of pain. I also have a crap ton of scar tissue build up that needs to be worked through. Scar tissue? But I’ve never injured my knee! Well, maybe I did and I didn’t know it, or it can be from overuse as well. I realize that is a horrible description, but it’ll do for now.
Now back to where we began…
All day it was a mental ping-pong game of what ifs. What if I run and the pain is the same? What if I run and it’s gone? What if I run and I pull something else or God forbid, make it worse!
Like a good student, I had to do what my coach advised me to do. I would stay calm (or at least try to), run and report the results. I felt as if a moving conveyor belt was determining my fate.
Before starting, I woke-up my legs with a few squats, lunges and other drills to make sure all of the muscles were firing. I also did about two minutes of rolling on each leg (I read a study in Running Times that it is actually beneficial to do so). Then I hopped on.
Eeew elliptical, I’m not a fan. Well, I take it back, I like the elliptical because I can read and move. I’m currently reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and it’s my favorite running book to date as I feel like I can really relate to his background and personality (well, outside of the whole run 100 miles thing). As I was finishing the elliptical, I spotted this quote:
“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.”
I was taking every ounce of mental calmness and motivation that I could get so I repeated it. Over and over and over. I can do this. It’s a mental thing. It’s going to be ok. It has to be ok.
With my motivation in hand and pressuring myself to embrace the power of positive thought, I put on my Florence & The Machine Pandora station as it tends to make me all introspective – yes, I was setting the stage for positivity. That’s all I could do.
So I hopped on, kept calm, and ran.
5 minutes passed.
8 minutes passed.
Yes, yes, I’m going to make 10 minutes.
10 minutes arrived and I was in the clear!
I stopped for a brief moment a may or may not have shed a tear. Finally! I stretched out and then hopped back on to see if my knee could make it another five minutes.
56, 57, 58, 59…15 minutes; 1.66 miles. Cue ridiculous grin.
And with that, I felt like everything just might be ok.
While I may have felt like I was on top of the world, I also want to be real here. It was only 1.66 miles, I ran at an incredibly safe and slow pace, I felt extremely out of running shape, and who knows what my knee will decide to do next. This could be a total fluke and I still have a lot of work to do in two months.
Thus, I’m going to try my best to not get down and take everything day by day. I’ll do as my coach and doctor say, no more, no less, and I’ll stretch, foam and ice the bajeezus out of my knee.
I’m hoping that it all works out…
First and foremost, thank you to everyone who sent well wishes for my hip. As I’ve lamented before, I’ve had problems with my hip since high school and every now and again it starts to flare up. Given that I am a huge proponent of preventative care, when something isn’t right, I don’t wait until it gets worse. I look for an answer asap and that’s exactly what I did this time around. So what happened? Here’s an abnormally long explanation…
Earlier this year, the hip pain came back with vengeance and I went to a chiropractor who was recommended by a friend. That chiropractor was beneficial as he took x-rays and we found out that one leg was actually shorter than the other and I was given a shoe insert to help fix this problem. However, my following visits were a bit disappointing. I would literally be in his office for five minutes max and then I’d be sent on my way. Something didn’t seem right.
Time went on and I picked up my usual routine – all running, no strength training or stretching. Bad Page.
After too many hours lugging around a gigantic bag across multiple cities and sitting in numerous planes for countless hours, my hip once again revolted, but this time it was something new. The sharp pain started on the right side of my lower back, wrapped around my hip and shot sharp pains all the way down my leg. Each day it seemed to get worse – I was unable to drive or sit at work without fidgeting to find a comfortable spot.
A professional triathlete that I know (he’s an Ironman after all) recommended a chiropractor who works with professional athletes in the city and was conveniently located right near my office – score! I immediately made an appointment and committed myself to the “hurts so good” pain of ART (Active Release Techniques – basically a really deep a painful massage targeting specific muscles).
His office walls are covered in signed Ironman posters.
This makes me feel better and a sucker for their marketing.
I’ll skip all of the stuff in between and tell you what I found out:
I’m weak and my psoas muscles are pissed.
If you don’t know what the psoas muscles are, don’t worry…neither did I.
As put by About.com, “The psoas major is a large muscle that attaches at the bottom of the thoracic spine and along the lumbar spine, then runs through the pelvic bowl, down over the front of the hip joint, and attaches at the top of the femur (thigh bone). It is the only muscle connecting the spine to the leg…We can’t see it, and most of us can’t flex or release it at will as we might a quad or bicep. It is a deep muscle, involved in complex moves and communications through the core and lower part of the body.”
Apparently, what happened is my excessive forward motion activities (eh hem…running), increased travel and sitting in small spaces, and lack of stretching caused my psoas muscles to shorten up (i.e. tighten), inflate and cause an imbalance in my hip placement and the joints that were taking the load, thus, the pain. The solution? Decrease the inflammation, elongate the psoas muscles through ART and stretching certain muscles, get my pelvis back to where it should be, and time off to let the body calm down.
He also prescribed one more very important item: strengthen lateral movement muscles. As runners, our muscles are used to forward motion activities. This is great news for some muscles, but not so much for the lateral muscles that have important jobs of holding our hips in the right place and preventing injury. Turns out that my lateral muscles are extremely weak and I was given specific exercises to strengthen those to help prevent further hip issues.
Whew…so there you have it. A combination of ART, chiropractic care, strengthening, lots of ibuprofen, and ice. It’s getting better, but I can still feel the pain. The doc said I could only do three more runs this week at an average pace, all no longer than four miles. Thus, I’ll be getting in those four miles tonight along with some pool time — hoping to pick my Las Vegas training back up soon!
Tell me, are you big on preventative care? How’s your lateral strength?
P.S. PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND AM PROBABLY NOT SAYING THESE THINGS IN OFFICIAL TERMS, LOGIC OR RECOMMENDING ACTUAL TREATMENTS. Just doing my best to reiterate what the doctor told me and share my two cents.