Progress

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A bit of an update to keep me accountable.

I have been doing very well at my physio exercises.  Have I done them everyday? No.  Am I ok with that? Yes! that’s life. I am consistent, not perfect.

This is a list of my exercises, the day and what I did, so far…

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Each exercise has gotten easier and I have upped the time, reps and or sets. Also, the change does not seem like much, BUT I have also gone up 3 levels in the resistant band strength, so I know I am improving!  I do feel I am getting stronger.  I am sure it seems quite small and irrelevant, but I am working (training) for my goal.

When I started this physio regime, I thought I can’t wait to start training!  I had a mind shift after a couple of days.  I AM training.  I am not running, yet, but I am working towards my goal, running that half marathon in 1 year!   Each day my glutes are getting stronger, in turn, helping my leg. Does it still hurt? Some days.

I plan to keep at these exercises, and adding more for the remainder of the year.  I will also start walking on my lunches in the next week or so.  I need to get some km under my belt, before I start trying to run again.  I have been very sedentary for a long time.  I think back in June, when my running was going well, had I taken this approach things would have went much better.  I can’t go back.  I am just looking forward.

I am going to try a massage at my physio place.  I have a knot in the injured leg, that I just can’t roll out!

On a positive note…  The far right column, push-ups.  I added these. I have very little upper body strength. Like, if I had to hold myself up, to save my life… I’d die! I’ve had many a hand rope burn attempting a rope swing into the water.

Anyways, the top number is the number of push-ups I do from my knees (the cheating kind, so I am told) the other number is the number of ‘real’ push up I do, from the toes! I have gone from half (not being able to do it) to now being able to do 3!!!  Again, I am sure this seems small to most, but I am thrilled!

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Refocusing

 

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I’m struggling, been riding the struggle bus for a while…..and I need to snap out of it, my stop must be coming soon!?!

Not being able to run is not good for me.  Running helped me focus, relieved stress and cleared my head.  I literally was able to think of nothing but being in that exact moment when I ran.  I have not been able to do that at any other time.

My action plan…. it has been slacking a little.  Well, a lot actually.   Life is very good at getting in the way.  Yes, it is an excuse, but not many things go exactly as planned.

Ok, enough complaining.  No one wants to hear that!

Moving forward.

I am laying out my routine in hopes it will keep me accountable and hopefully pull me off this bus!

I have a set of exercises I am to rotate though, doing 4 – 5 daily.  I think we are on the right track, because these exercises are much harder on my right (injured) side.

I think I favoured my right side too much after surgery and it is going to take a while to get it back up to strength.

  1. Clam – with the band for resistance – lift and hold for 30 seconds.  Making sure to engage glutes.  Repeat 10x

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2. Side Laying, Leg Lift – same position as clam, but with top leg straight.  Again, holding 30 seconds, 10x

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3. Side Plank – My knee is not strong enough to do the ‘real’ side plank.  For now I am doing them from the knee, until I get stronger

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4. Bridge – lifting butt, engaging glutes.  Hold 30×10

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5. Hip Hikes – using a book, one foot on book, one on the floor.  Hips are uneven.  Engage core and glutes to bring hips level.   This looks easy.  It is NOT!

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6. Step up & downs  – seems simple – but doing it properly, engaging the right muscles, is harder than you’d think

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7. Side Stepping with Band – self explanatory!  I have also added front and back steps, for extra measure!

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I refuse to give up on my goals!  I will run again!

I have exactly 1 year to get back to half marathon condition to redeem myself in the Las Vegas!

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My plan, In Action

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I was finally able to see my physio guy and put my plan into action!

As I see my running things strewn around the house, (I refuse to ‘put it away’), I am reminded how badly I want it!  I want to run just as much, perhaps more, than I did the day I got injured, April 12, 2015.  Amazing how we can remember dates like that.

I see my watch and I am reminded how much time has passed since I have had a good run, and made some new records.  But, I have not wasted that time.  I am always trying to heal, get better and work towards getting back to running.  There is not much I have not tried!

Today I was at physio and we tried something new, well, new to me!

Cupping, controversial, but at this point, worth a shot.  The only thing I knew about Cupping was, I remember seeing athletes during the Olympics sporting perfectly round bruises.  That is what came to mind when he said, he wanted to try cupping.   He assured me there would be no bruising. If you are not familiar with cupping,  special cups are put your skin.  Suction is created and let sit or moved around the area.  It is used for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.  In my case, after he suctioned, he then moved the cup all around the area, like this.  It HURT in the beginning, and when he was moving it over the problem area but, just like rolling, that decreased as time when on. 

Next we did some acupuncture.  This has helped with other injures I have had in the past.

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We finished of the session with some KT Tape.  I am not sure I buy into the theory, but hey, why not!

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Now for the part that I actually went for.  He set me up with some strengthening exercises, most of which I have done in the past, to strengthen my gluteus medius. This muscle helps keep the pelvis stable while walking and running, which in turn can affect the IT Band (where my pain seems to be).

For the next several weeks I will be doing 3-4 of the following exercises daily.

  • hip hikes
  • straight leg lifts, side-lying with theraband
  • sideways walking with theraband
  • single leg fire hydrant
  • side planks
  • step up/down
  • clam

I have been doing this since Wednesday.  Seems a bit more tender, but I am sure that is from activating it. I already have noticed they are harder to do on my injured side, I appear much weaker.  This gives me hope that we may have found the issue.  I am very dedicated to this.  While doing these exercises I keep thinking, they are boring, and seem so minuscule, BUT I know they are important!

I have 14 months to get this leg back in half marathon condition!

I am also continuing to use the torture tube (foam roller).  I have also started yoga again, one evening a week and the occasional session at home.

While I am down there I have also started doing some push-ups!  Yes, me, hater of all exercise!  I started with 3 and I have worked my way up to 21!  I am sure it does not sound like much, but I am trying and seeing improvement!  They are the ‘girly, knee ones’ but it is a start, right?!

The runners are still visible, hopefully soon they will be at the top of the pile.

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I have a Plan

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It’s been a while…

I have not been running.  I am not here to complain (well, maybe a little), just to keep me accountable and put it out there.  Also, no one really cares!  What?! You can’t run? Whipty, freaking do! Who the hell wants to run anyways?!?! ME! ME!!! I quickly discovered that unless you are a runner, NO ONE wants to hear about your running, even though they may ask.  Make your answer quick and simple, because after about 6 words they glaze over and are done.  So this is my outlet!

June was a good month.  I was getting back into it, everything was going great. I ran every 2-3 days, I was optimistic!  July came and it all went to shit.  Pain in my leg.  I don’t believe it to be the same pain as I has pre surgery, it is in a slightly different location and not the ‘take you to the ground’ pain.  Though, it is enough that I know I can’t/should not run through it. Now it’s a constantly annoying soreness then pain when running.  I’m no expert, but I am thinking IT band.

I have been on a break for a while (other life, more important things at the moment) but I have a plan.

I am going back to extreme basics.  I am going to find someone (physio/trainer/expert), who knows what they are doing, to set me up with some exercises that will strengthen the leg (starting very basic….I’ve done nothing for a very long time!).  I am not going to run (ack! That hurt, just said that!!) until I know im stronger and ready.  Even though I just want to run….I know this other stuff is important and will help me get to where I want to be and reach my goal.

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There was a time in my life, I was 100lbs heavier and has zero desire to run.  Like, if I was on fire, I would have probably moved quickly towards the water.  I knew people who ran, and quite honestly, I thought they were nuts!

My goal (still, not giving up on it!) is to be able to run the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in 2019.  I need to redeem myself after the 2015 disaster!

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Setbacks…

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I may have jumped the gun a little, got a tad too excited, too soon.

Getting back to running was going so well! I felt amazing! I was progressing faster than I expected, there was no pain, no discomfort and I was fast (well, fast for me)

I had worked my way up from 1:1×4 to 3:1×4. It doesn’t sound like much, but I was thrilled to be doing it!

If you have been here a while (back 4 years ago) you will remember, I am slow. Openly admitted, I am slow.  It’s my pace. I’m not out to prove anything to anyone.  I will never win the race. I am even ok with being last. I get the same medal as the 1st person who crosses the line. I used to struggle to run at a 7:30 km pace. Starting back I was comfortably running 7:10!  What?!?  I credit most of that to my the Keto lifestyle I have adapted to in the past year.

I had a great 6 weeks, and then on my 4th set of 3 mins… I had pain.  Nine million things went though my head at that very moment. I was so angry, frustrated and sad.  I screamed out a long line of colourful words before moping back to the car.

I immediately called physio, but was not able to get in for 2 weeks.  I took 5 days off then eased back into it.  I dialed it waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to a 9:00 km pace and back to 3:1×2.  Frustrating…but I was back out.

Physio put me through many test, which I passed.  So, here we are again….mystery pain.  BUT it is not ‘the pain’ I was having before.

Lots of stretching, icing and time on the torture tube (foam roller) along with dialing it way back and really focusing on foot strike will hopefully let me continue.

I will not give up!

 

I’m Baaaack… I think?!

 

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Sooo, it’s been a while!

Over 3 years to be exact, yikes!  Doubtful anyone is still even around to read, but I am excited so I am going to carry on 🙂

Bit of a recap.

Three years ago during the Angus Glen 10 miler, I injured my leg.  It was a take me to the ground pain, when running, only when running, but not all the time.  I went to 3 specialists and I went through 3 CAT Scans, numerous x-rays, ultra sounds, bone scans, physio, acupuncture, trying to ignore it, and rest.  Nothing was showing up on any tests.  I literally had one Dr. yell at me telling me I was wasting his time and that it was all in my head!

After a while I  just gave up. I was frustrated and felt defeated.  Nothing was showing up, no one was believing me and yet I was still in pain and unable to run.

January of this year, I was going through a rough patch with my anxiety. For me running was a huge outlet.  It really was a time I forgot all my problems and was in the moment. I really needed that.  When I was at the Dr, I brought up my leg (again!!!) and he decided he would send me to an orthopedic surgeon.

When I went to see him, I will be honest, I was not overly optimistic as I had has no luck in the past, but at this point I am getting desperate.  After going over everything and a short discussion he believed it to be a torn meniscus.  I said I had been checked for that and it came back negative.  He then proceeded to tell me that 5% of the time they will not show up on a test, BUT when he gets in there he is 98% right.  Sign me up!

I left there with a surgery date, 3 weeks later and more importantly….HOPE!

On February 14th I had my operation and the results were….

  1. a torn meniscus
  2. a flapped over piece of meniscus
  3. a bone fragment (from somewhere) lodged in the meniscus

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So, as much as you never want something to be wrong, I was thrilled to hear this!  I was not losing my mind! Something was wrong.  I really wanted to take that piece of paper back to everyone who didn’t believe me and rub it in there faces!

Anyways, after months of healing and physio I was cleared last week to start a light running routine.  Running 1:1’s at a very slow pace.  I am back to square one….but I am back!

I have been out on my own 3 times, following the rules to a tee, because I am not ruining this opportunity.  Over those 3 runs I have seen improvements, which is great!  It feels so good to be back out.  I am hoping by the late summer I will be ready for a 5k.

I still am not 100% sure I am out of the woods just yet.  The pain usually didn’t start until later in the run.  So, I am being cautiously optimistic.

Stay tuned 🙂

Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon!

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 I did it!

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Back in July, I announced I was going to train for a half marathon in the fall.  Well, on Sunday November 15, 2015 it happened!

I could have done a local race, there are plenty around, but for my first half I needed something fun!  The Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon sounded like it would be fun!!! I figured, if I was going to put in all the time, energy, effort and miles I was going to enjoy it and be rewarded at the same time.

My friend and I flew out on the Thursday night, which gave us plenty of time to explore, sight see, and get prepared for the race Sunday night.  Night? yep! This race was at night on the Las Vegas Strip!  The Strip was shut down for the run.  We ran up and down the Vegas Strip with all the lights and excitement along the way!

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We stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.  It was such a great place.  It was also right by the start line, so it was perfect!

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Friday Morning we got up early, we were still on Eastern Time Zone time, and made our way to the Running Expo to get our race kit

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We found our things according to our start corals, which were emailed to us a few days before.

Coral….42, and I thought an initial goal of 3 hours was respectable!  haha, apparently not.  There were very few corals behind me.

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According to this chart, I start almost an hour after my friend who was in coral 17

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Our shirt, not only is it bright, the letters glow in the dark!

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Our hotel was right in front of the pre race festivities!  We were on the 25th floor and got to see them setting everything up and all the people arriving.  In the fenced in area was VIP lounges and massages, as well as bag check and the Kid Rock pre-race concert!  Behind the grounds you can see Toilet City, there were hundreds of them.  You can also see all the yellow shirts heading to the right, which was towards the start line about a km up the road.

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Ground level pre-race festivities and concert

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Time to make our way to our corals – this is where I part with my friend as she heads waaaaaaaaaaaaay up to the front

20151115_162750Then the storm hit…

Isn’t it suppose to be hot and dry in the desert?  The entire time we were there it was 17-22ºC. Race time it dropped to 10ºC, there were 60kph wind and a downpour!  It was crazy!!!

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After 41 count downs from 10, it is my turn!  I was freaking out!  I was about to start my first half marathon!  I had not properly trained, I was injured and not entirely sure I would be able to finish, but as I neared the start line none of that mattered.   I was standing in Las Vegas with nearly 40, 000 half marathon and marathoners! I was one of them, I am doing this!  The music was thumping, the crowd was cheering and I was pumped!

Notice the rain in the spotlight

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I could hardly stand still,  I was bouncing up and down side to side even singing along to the music.  Then she came on the speaker for the 42nd count down. We all joined in.  10….9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1 and we were off!  What a feeling! I had just started my first half marathon!

Start line video from runrocknroll.com

I still get chills watching that and I wasn’t even in that part!

Anyways…

We struck up the strip towards the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.  There were people ahead of it saying ‘Easy on and easy off, run up and get your picture with the Famous sign.’ I didn’t care if it was easy on and off or not, I was stopping for this picture!  It was very organized.  They had at least 6 photographers sitting on the ground and marks where we were to stand, I was there probably 20 seconds, then ran back onto the course.

As we approach the first turn around I can hear music, it keeps getting louder as I near the turn.  It was so loud I could feel it in my bones, it was amazing!  There was a DJ under and tent just pumping out the tunes, dancing and cheering us on.  It was at this point I had my first tears (yes, first, there were more, haha).  I just could not believe what I was doing.  I was running down the strip of Las Vegas, I felt like I was leading the pack, it didn’t mater that there were 2o thousand people ahead of me, I felt like I was the only one there and I was going to rock this race!  It was now that I remember what my running leader back in my 5k clinic used to say, ‘run the mile you are in’.  I completely understood what she meant at that very moment.  I knew I had 19k to go, but right now I was running in km 2, the music was loud, it was windy, it was raining and it was freaking amazing!  I took in everything I could. I probably ran half the race with my jaw dropped in awe.

I was going pretty slow, I knew I was injured and I wanted to be able to run as much as possible, so I didn’t want to push it. I was running (and I use that term loosely) at a 10:00 min km.  I was also doing 6:1s.  I was able to keep this up for about 6k, then the pain came.  I didn’t let that bring me down, I knew it was going to happen.  From here on in I ran when I was able and walked when I had to, all the while taking in every single moment of this amazing experience.

There were many more walkers than I had thought there would be, which was great.  I was even was able to talk to a few other Canadians along the way.

When the rain stopped I started taking some pictures and cheesy selfies in front of cool places that we ran by.  Time didn’t matter, as long as I finished I was going to be happy, so might as well have fun in the process.

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About km 9 I was in severe pain.  I was barely running, when I tried, I was only getting maximum 2 minutes sometimes 3o seconds.  I would run and smile when I saw the photographers! (there were about 30 shots of me!! haha) Things were going down hill, and I knew I was not half way through yet.  It was then that I got a text from my friend that she had finished and was heading back to the hotel to shower.  I got a boost of energy from her amazing accomplishment, she finished with a 2:08!! I picked up my pace and ran more and as much as I could.  I was drawing as much energy as I possibly could from all the people watching and cheering us on.  There was thousands of people lining the street as well as bands and DJ’s all along the course.  I could constantly hear music, just as one would fade you would start hearing the next up ahead.

Then we veered off The strip for a couple of kms.  This did me in. It was dark, it was quiet, it was very sketchy,  and there was no one around, we were running in a quiet neighborhood, I had nothing to draw from other than myself.  We were at km 13, still had 8km to go.  I slowed down for a few minutes to refuel, take more Advil and get some fresh gum.

As we approached the Strip again, I found new energy.  I, honestly, gave up on running, it was too painful. I started power walking, something I had never really done before.   I felt like I was gaining some speed, I started passing people (for the first time all evening) and started seeing people who passed me a while ago.  This gave me energy and some confidence.  My arms were pumping, and I found a rhythm that felt good  (in my mind I felt like a speed walker. It felt like my hips were wiggling like I have seen on the Olympic races).  I was feeling good and feeling fast!  I checked my Garmin and I was WALKING at a 8:02 km! Earlier when I was feeling good running I was at a 10:00 km pace.

From here on in I stuck to speed walking.  At one point I looked down and I was walking a 7:40! Hell, I had a hard time keeping that running pace.  With this new confidence I was feeling much better.  I kept up this pace for several kms. The mile marker signs seem to be coming faster now (I much prefer km markers, there are more of them and closer together. Mile markers are sooooooooooo far apart!).  I see mile 12! One more to go! Just as I see mile marker 12 I see this…

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…a 75 year old woman in a clear garbage bag walking.  I could hear people talking with her, inquiring how old she is etc.  She apparently does several half marathons a year.  This woman is my hero!  It only took me, a 35 year old, till mile 12 to catch her!  I also passed the man who walked the whole thing, who also started in my coral, he was dressed as a turtle.  I was able to keep him in my sight for about 4 miles then I lost him, until mile 12.  I passed him! Mile 12 was a good mile!

As I speed walk my way though mile 12 I can hear the finish line getting louder and louder.  I can feel myself speeding up, I want that finish line!  I am now passing many people, all of which had probably walked the entire race.  Everyone was friendly and encouraging.  During this last mile the marathoners also rejoined the strip on the other side of a barrier.

I can now see the finish approaching, I see the lights, I hear the announcers and all the people cheering.  I had ran 21 kms.  In the last .1 km I felt like I was the only person there. I saw the finish and I RAN with my hands up in the air, and let out a big “WOO HOO!” then I cried…

Finish line video from runrocknroll.com

I did it! I ran completed my first half marathon. 21.1k, 13.1m, I don’t care what you call it, I did it!

When they placed that medal around my neck, it was all worth it. I think I cried again!

 

Walking out the shoot there were so many photographers taking our pictures walking with our medals, posing in front of signs, finisher displays etc.  I felt like I was walking the Red Carpet!  As we walked down the shoot they were passing out bananas, water, Gatorade, pretzels, bars, chews, chocolate milk and a beer.  I took it all!  My arms were full when I saw my friend.  She was waiting for me at the end of the shoot.  She greeted me with a big hug and and I cried again (good heavens, who knew running wold be so emotional?)

We stopped for a few photos together, got my bag from the bag check and headed back to the hotel.  Now, in the days leading up to the race Jen had warned me that we would be walking the several kms back to the hotel after the race, I really didn’t pay attention, kinda thought she was joking.  She was not!  We walked back almost 4kms.  I did what she said.  She is a veteran runner and knows what she is talking about.  She took good care of me from the moment she met me at the finishers shoot.  She made sure I drank and ate the right things, during the walk back. Made sure I was wearing the recovery jacket etc.  It was a looooong slow walk back to the hotel, which had a lot of stairs because you can’t cross a lot of streets on Las Vegas Blvd, you have to up and over!  The streets were full of people walking funny and very slow, it was kind of comical really.

Back at the hotel I did a lot of stretching, during which Jen fell asleep, so I celebrated alone.  This is my celebratory post race meal….

Cold pizza and the beer from the run.  I don’t drink beer, but that night I did and enjoyed every (watery) drop of it!

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What an amazing experience! It was not the run I planned for, or hoped for but I am thrilled to have completed my first half marathon. When I registered I had a goal of finishing in 3:00:00.  My official time was 3:32:45.  I don’t think that is terrible considering I was injured.  Heck, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to finish, so I will proudly take it!

I look forward to healing up and doing another one as soon as possible.

I will return to the Las Vegas Rock n Roll half when I am healthy to do it right, and redeem myself.

Las Vegas you put on one hell of a race!  Can’t wait to come back!

Amazing Bling

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The slot machine spins and glows in the dark!

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