Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wk 34 & elastic bands

Just another ordinary week trying a turn around of my injuries...

MON: easy run with M. around 14km. Incredibly enough, the left foot is not painful at all after racing in flats (w/o orthotics). I may start to believe that the rigidity of the combo "trainers + orthotics" might be a reason of the sesamoiditis...
(anyway not conclusive becuase I took 3 pills of Voltaren 25mg before the race... so it might have affected the pain)

TUE: also with M. Just following her program of 30' w/u, than 2x3km @ 10K pace effort.
There is a kind of language barrier between a Metric System-born and bred engineer and a person coming straight from US and Imperial System, so we might have messed up a bit with the paces (6'10"/mile... is slower than the actual 3'45"/k which we run at).
Anyway in short, she kicked my ass and I was struggling like hell just to avoid a larger gap in the 2nd rep.
I wondered how I gave her 3' in the 10k race 2 days earlier...
Right leg muscles quite tight. Total 18km

PM: The orthopedic gave me a big disappointment: he did not think a cortisone shot was suitable because I did one already in April in the same spot, so a second shot might weaken the tendon.
No running and a Voltaren course was the prescribed cure...  :-((
Since he is also a Triathlete, I might tend to believe he is right on this (I loved to see that on his desk there was a copy of Friel's "Triathlon Training Bible").

WED:  I will do rest from running, but from next week, so today easy run with M. 22km.

THU: rest. Ok, doc ??

FRI: cycling 90 minutes... the doc should be happy

SAT: 21km easy, but the pace come out better than expected.

SUN: stationary bike and X-training, weight, core stability, etc

total: 75Km in 4 runs, plus getting serious about core training

This week I eventually got all what I needed to start strength training with elastic bands.

They do not take space at home, they are cheap (50US$ is enough for 3 bands of different strength + accessories to make the workout easier) and versatile and you can workout the muscles using the same range or motion and working angle of running.
Plenty of videos online (I am not particularly a fan of Pose method, but this video shows a good exercise...)
Now I try to work on my glutes and hamstrings... let's see....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Week 33 - at least not crippled

I should say that returning to Hong Kong has been a good cure for my hamstring: having my massage therapist on hand and being able to also do some bike rides really did help.
Now I am back to running, albeit much slower than my usual pace.

the right hamstring and buttock are really tight and I can not really extend the stride.
Especially the pain in the buttock is very tricky to treat because is really very deep inside and even rolling on a softball ball does not really go that deep (only the elbow of G. seems to do the job).

I thanks everybody for the comments and I try to elaborate a self-analysis:

- for some unknown reason, all my right leg is MUCH weaker and with much less range of mobility than the left one. Even when I walk, I noticed that sometime I do barely lift my right foot off the ground.
This is probably due to a relative weakness of the hip flexors, hip rotators, gluetus, etc (do not know caused by what, maybe the road accident I had in February 2010) .

- this unbalance generates a running pattern where I all the "pushing" is done by the left leg, while the left one is only trailing... when I hit the ground with the right leg, I am only stomping on the ground without any real push-off.

- because of the weakness of the gluteus, etc, the right hamstring is loaded beyond normal because it must work as a the sole propeller of the right leg (so I am not actually pushing forward my body at each right step, but kind of pulling back the road with my hamstring only...).

- the force unbalance is also the reason of the different ailments on the left foot/ankle. Probably the left foot is doing most of the propulsion and taking most of the load.

(thank you for the comments about running minimalist, etc...: I am personally already totally bought about running in lighter shoes, now I am also figuring out if to get rid of orthotics too)

based on this, the course of action should be:
- single leg strengthening exercises  for glutes, calves, hamstring, hip flexors, etc: squat, lunges, etc
- stretching and dynamic mobility for the right leg
- re-education of the motorial pattern of the right leg (concept on which I must still find suitable exercises)

Now the issue is to commit myself to at least 30 minutes daily of extra-boring exercises, but seems that I have no way out if I want to be healthy and train properly...

Let's go for the weekly summary:

MON: met with M.L. a new comer in HK. She is targeting the USA O.T. Standard of 2h45' for a Fall Marathon, so her level is really good. Good for me that she is also probably a "earlier bird" than myself, so taking an appointment for running at 5.45am seems normal...
run around 14k easy, I felt terribly tired at the end

TUE: off

WED: medium run with M. A good 22km for me @4'30" pace. The sky was cloudy, so it felt less horrible than usual. But after 18k the hamstring felt really tight and I had to slow down considerably.
Evening: PT treatment... extremely painful deep-tissue massage. G. is really the best therapist I met and she could continue for hours to dig deep where needed...

THU: rest becuase muscles really sore after massage

FRI: nice bike ride... 75 minutes with a very steep hill. I saw my HR climbing over 185bpm, which is extra-rare on the bike for me. Cycling is definetely very a good cross-training for my case

SAT:  around 1hr run at easy pace. Hamstring felt better after massage and cycling

SUN : Chung Hing Cup 10K race. Was a bit insane to think about racing, but I did not want to drop my team mates in the team competition.
Popped down a couple of Voltaren pills to avoid pain and  proceeded to a long warm-up of mobility exercises. Well.. warm-up is kind of misleading word because the weather was 30C/80%rH, so after 5min jog I was already extremely warm...
950 runners at the start for this summer classic.
To avoid digressing on every single KM split. I could say that I went way better than my expectations.
I was basically with the 2nd pack until 7k, where my buttock start to feel like a sting, so I had to drop off the pace. I was not feeling my normal stride, but strangely enough a pace of 3'35"/km felt not too bad...
After a tight sprint for the 10th place (lost..) I finish 11th overall (3rd Master) in 36'04".
That is 50" slower than my time on the same course on July, but due to what happened in the past 30 days, I am more than satisfied....
Thumbs up to Colin F for winning the race in convincing way and anyway we are able to win the team competition too... so it was a good Sunday on all aspects
(also thumbs up to M.L. because she won the women's race in her first HK event... not a bad way to acclimatize to Asian heat!)
After 2km with my team mate C.

Last km...

Colin smoothly sailing to victory

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

it is a long way....

I have been away from blogging for long and has been a long way also for me since the last post, a long way also both mentally and physically.

to avoid typing three page of training summary, race reports and various consideration, I try to make a bullet-style summary

  • June to July 19th: I really enter into a good groove of training. Albeit a torrid summer, I keep a good weekly mileage of around 100km and my form is coming up. Polar Running Index getting close to 80 and CTL in SportTrack getting closer to 100 (these data for data maniac runners like myself)
  • July 10th: 10K race. I arrive 2nd overall in a time of 35'15". On that course and during the summer, my PB was 35'04" in 2008, so I really get the feeling that I am getting closer to the same peaks touched in 2008. Just a small concerns about my left foot which is getting painful again around the sesamoidis like in April 
  • July 14th: board the plane for a nice family holiday in Poland. I am salivating to the idea of daily runs in the polish forests during a chilly morning...
  • July 19th: I go for a long run and it happens the unpredictable: after 15km of easy running, my right hamstring completely seizes and become like a piece of wood. No any alert, no any understandable causes (apart from weakness of the glutes, core, etc). Stranded in the middle of the polish countryside, I have also to walk (yes... walk home, I could not even jog) for 8-10km...
  • end July: I am down to jog 6km daily at 5'30" pace. My hamstring loosening up very slowly
  • now: back in HK I can go under the hands of my PT and feel much better, but it is like starting over again...
Current status:
- right hamstring and glutes: not get back yet full range of motion. I feel tired even after running 10k at much more modest pace than before the injury. Work with PT and foam roller/ball/stick, whatever. I hope that in 15 days I could be running again normally
- form is seriously down... my Polar Running Index dropped to around 70...
- left foot: painful like hell after every run despite the forced rest. Already booked an appointment with the ortho doctor (cortisone shot seems unavoidable...). This is just a short term fix, I am still wondering what could be a real solution (note: I wear not send me to a podiatrist, I have 4 pairs of orthotics from 4 different podiatrist). Maybe is a pelvis alignment problem or maybe the hamstring problems on the right side are putting too much strain on the left side...
- Berlin Marathon: well.. maybe another year. I doubt I can celebrate my 42nd birthday, running 42km... 
- mental side: I really want to give running a final serious effort for a couple of years, but it seems a bit pointless. After 40, my body is simply losing the wheels...
Now I will seriously try to work on core, glutes strength, etc, but if it does not work, it is probably time to give myself to lawn bowl... anyway the morale is underwater...

Positive thought: give a read to Lauren Fleshman's blog and her amazing turnaround from injury to DL win (my cynical side reminds me that I am several years older and I do not have Nike to support the rehab..)

Question to the readers:
- does anybody know a serious place where they can perform a running assessment (using treadmill and foot lead measurement, etc) ?
I am going to South England soon for work, also Veneto region in Italy is ok or, closer to home, Hong Kong or Singapore...
(in HK, most places that I know are really poorly equipped)