Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Report #7

Well, I seem to be getting closer to deciphering the cause of my leg/hip pain. I managed to run this week after a brief (it felt like forever) period of rest and have been monitoring exactly what is causing it. For example, the minute I put on my running shoes and started walking, I felt pain. However once I started running, after maybe a mile and a half, it went away. Interesting...

Motion Control shoes (the type I wear see here) are designed to help people who overpronate when they run, which means that much of the load is sustained by the inside of the foot. Now, I overpronate mainly because I have classic "fat guy" legs. When I stand up straight, my legs are touching each other all the way down to the knee, where they bow out.

It could be that the shoe's tendency to force you to use the outside of the foot, is messing with my leg's alignment to the hip, therefore causing the discomfort. Sounds plausible. Right? Only one problem: I used these shoes with no problem at all for 100+ miles. Why is it bothering me now? Well there is theory #2: It's time to change shoes because the both the sole and the cushioning are wasted. I am not a shoe expert so it is hard for me to determine just when is it time to switch. I was told a good pair of running shoes can last up ti 350 miles so it is way early for these but then again my weight is a factor here.

The outside of the soles are totally wasted

Those wrinkles are a sign of "crushed" cushioning? I don't know

Want to talk wear? Check this action out.

That pair of shoes cost $130. Not what I usually pay for shoes of any kind so it bugs me that maybe I got to get new ones so fast. I mean, when I was the definition of couch potato, a pair of shoes could last me many years. So having to get new ones after 6 months (maybe less) is kind baffling to me. I'm thinking of buying a pair of Brooks Beasts which I have often heard described as "tanks" because of their durability.

As usual, I try to look at the positives and my two runs this week were pretty good. I was a bit sore but after not running for a while, it was to be expected. I took it easy both because of not running for a while and because of the pain but as I mentioned, after a while running, it went away.

Tuesday, September 18 - 2 miles
My comeback run. The pain was bothering me a bit but, it went away after a while. Also, the pain wasn't that bad as before the week off. I was not limping and was not favoring the other leg. I took it slow and it was OK. 

Thursday, September 20 - 3 miles
I was a bit sore from the previous run but I was itching to run 3 miles so once again, I took it slow and went on. Once again, the pain faded as I ran further. By the end of the run, I was walking fine back home and after cooling down, it came back but only a little bit.

Hopefully,this week I can start executing my plan (see here) and run a little further. Any input on the shoes will be appreciated.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weekly Report #6 (...sort of)

OK, I did not run last week. Not at all, not even a little bit.

Although technically...

As I mentioned last post, I was traveling to Philly last week and I was supposed to test out the ole' hip running on a treadmill at the hotel. Well, it didn't work out that way. While at the airport, the hip really started to bother me. I got a bit worried and decided to not run at all and head straight to the doctor when I got back to Puerto Rico. Well, after arriving at the hotel (and two days of no sleep) I went straight to bed and slept a really long while. I hadn't done that in long while and, anyone with small kids (and I got three small girls) will tell you sleep is a precious thing. I woke up refreshed and feeling a lot better so after the meeting we went sightseeing and did a lot of walking. Maybe rest is what I needed after all.

If you are starting to notice a trend here, you are not wrong. I'm avoiding the doctor like the plague. The last time I was in pain and couldn't work out I went and got bad news (compressed disc) and had to stop doing the workout video I was doing at the time. So I'm kind of scared I will be told something that will stop me from running. Now, before I keep going I should clear up I kind of, sort of ran last week. I said We did some sightseeing. Well, we were in Philadelphia so when in Rome...

We saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and of course we just had to have a cheesesteak sandwich at Pat's King of Steaks...

As if I needed any proof that the place is world famous this big SUV parks right in front of our bench and the Mayor of New Jersey pops out to buy one as well. He could use a bit of running himself...

Then, we just had to do it... I mean what runner (or wannabe runner like me) would pass up the opportunity? We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art or, as everyone knows the place, "The Rocky Steps."!! 

For years, the famous Rocky statue was kept right where they put it in the film at the top of the steps but then, it was moved several times to several places but people wanted it back where it belonged. The Museum though did not think the statue was in keeping with the theme of the place so they didn't want it there. So, they struck a compromise and placed it at the base of the steps a little bit to the side. The irony is, people visit the statue and the steps more than the museum.

OF COURSE I RAN UP THE DARN THING! Like you wouldn't. It was a bit weird though. My leg would hurt when I was running on level ground but while climbing the actual steps I felt nothing. Also, my pants were falling off going up. Probably good new right? My pants are looser? I actually have a video of it but the camerawoman took it on portrait orientation and now I can't seem to edit it (or even see it) so you don't get to see it.

Anyway, that is all the running I did all week. We got back and, since I was feeling better, did not go to the doctor. I did run this week but I will get to that on another post.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Simple Plan... (and a Weekly Report)

So I'm kind of joining two posts here but the reason is simple: The weekly report is so short that I can't really call it a post. I ran only once this past week. Here's what happened.

My leg is still hurting. It happened during my first race. I just didn't notice. Because everything else was hurting as well, I just didn't notice. A couple of days later after all the usual pains subsided, I noticed the leg thing wasn't going away. I took the weekend off to give it some rest but this Tuesday, I laced up and boy did I pay for it.

Tuesday, September 4 - 4 miles
It was still bothering me but I thought I'd take it slow and see what happened. I limped almost the entire way. Of course, favoring my right leg led to, of course, my left leg to start hurting. I can only wonder how ridiculous I must have looked. People probably thought I was either running or doing Victor Cruz's touchdown salsa dance while I walked very quickly. There was no way I was going to keep that up the whole way and sure enough, by mile three I had to stop. That final mile was a real struggle but I barely made it. Not my finest hour.

It's ironic then, with my leg still hurting, that I will talk about my plan to improve the way I run my next race but since I'm not running I got time to write. Also, I will address what I'm going to do about it.

I'm heading to Philadelphia on business tomorrow so I'm taking advantage of it. Since I have been taking it easy and haven't run since Tuesday, I will have given myself a full week to shake whatever this is off. Plus, since I'm traveling and at a hotel, I will run on Tuesday at their fitness center on a treadmill, further reducing the stress you normally bear while on the road. If there is no progress and my leg is still hurting, then I'm heading for the Doctor as soon as I get off the plane home. If I see improvement, then I will run on the hotel treadmill again on Thursday. Yes, I have been avoiding going to the doctor but it worries me the Doc will tell me its something that won't let me run.

As for my plan, here's my plan:

1. Increase my mileage: Nothing over the top. I have been running three times a week, 3 miles, 3miles, 5 miles. So I'm going to shoot for 4 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles. The logic behind that is simply that I will be over-shooting the race distance every run. I want 3 miles to be an afterthought. The only way that is going to happen is by running longer distances. I don't want to over-do it so this is, I think is the best compromise.

2. Cross-Training: After the race, I was feeling particularly weak in my lower abdomen. It wasn't just muscular, it was that whole area kind of telling me "well if you plan on running this hard regularly you need to strengthen this general area you know." So, twice a week, I will do some strength training to work my core and upper body.

And that's it. Nothing extreme or crazy. Just a slight bump in mileage and some extra work to balance my workouts. Hopefully, it will help me improve my next race.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekly Report #4

No, I did not miss a number and I do know how to count. It is Report #4 because I count the recap of a race (like last week) as a report. 

This past week was a "recovery/injury" week for me. After the soreness from the race went away, I noticed I was feeling a sharp pain where my femur meets my hip. I'm not a Doctor and I can't name a lot of the bones in my body but this particular pain seems to be coming from the inside. Like, from the bone. When I went running on Thursday, I was limping a bit but after warming up it went away. The next day, it was really bothering me. I took the weekend off but today, I can still kind of feel it. When I run tomorrow, if the problem persist, I'm going to have to get checked out. Is it a pinched nerve? (feels like it) Arthritis? (Hope not!) It doesn't seem to be muscular.

Tuesday, August 28 - 2 miles
I really didn't want to run. I was still sore from the race and wasn't really up to it but I ran anyway. It was one of the best runs I have ever done. It really helped me get my head together. It was slow and short and wonderful. I had never understood what people meant when they said they were energized by a run or that they felt refreshed by a run. I get it now. 31:54.

Thursday, August 30 - 3 miles
Just for the heck of it. I re-loaded the playlist I made for the race again for this run. Never mind that I was kind of limping and was supposed to take things slow but the way I ran the race was still nagging me so I just wanted to prove I could do it. Sure enough, Journey was halfway through "Don't Stop Believing" when I crossed the 3 mile marker. (More like the house where Google told me it was 3 miles)  So there, I can do it. I could have done it at the race if I hadn't thrown my plan through the window. Next page please.   43:25.