Let's get this SI joint moving already!! :)

Last week was the start of my physical therapy sessions. I'm definitely confident in my therapist and am super impressed with how knowledgeable and professional she is. She and I are close in age and she ran for Baylor in college. On my first visit, she had me explain all my symptoms, checked my alignment, and then had me move in certain positions while she felt a few joints. It turns out my sacroiliac joint on the right side isn't moving. This fits in with everything else because it basically stops your glute and hamstring from firing properly, which means my hip flexor and quads were working overtime. The most obvious sign to me was when she applied pressure to the side of my leg and asked me to resist it. No problems at all on the left, but I had NOTHING on the right. And yes, I do the same leg lifts and lateral lunges on my right side that I do on my left side!! You can read more about sacroiliac joint dysfunction here. Looking at the images and reading about it a bit more, I have no doubt this is a big part of my problem. I have pain in my groin, glute, hamstring, and on the SI joint, and it's definitely worse with prolonged sitting. In fact, we just got home from the movies and I'm in considerable pain smack-dab on the SI joint. It definitely doesn't feel like this when I'm standing at my desk during the day!

After warming it up on Tuesday, my therapist tried mobilizing the joint but it wasn't budging. I'll be going back at least twice a week for a while, which means lunch-break workouts probably won't happen as much, but I'm looking forward to getting it fixed. Both times I went in last week, my legs were significantly out of alignment, so I'm hoping that maybe correcting this will help me stay in alignment better as well!!

Jake and I before seeing Lone Survivor. Not one I would want to see again, but it was fun to spend the time together! :)

Here is the spot that's actually hurting me as I type this! Funny because I complained about this exact spot back in December, and that's actually why we requested a bone scan! We thought it was maybe a sacral problem!

*Picture Source

Anyways, here's the outline for this week! By the way, just so there is no confusion, this is really just a time blocker and way for me to choose workouts each day for now. While I'm not running, I don't have any structure with my training... and I thrive on structure. Even with work and regular life, I like to have an idea of what I'm going to be doing and when. That being said, since I start my weekly post on Sundays, I use this as a way to block off chunks of my time for each day. It also helps me know what type of workout to pick when I get to the gym! SO, if it says 1 hour of strength, chances are I am only in the gym 45 minutes or so, and I probably spend a third of that time stretching and warming up and walking through drills. By the end of each day, I log in and update the details for that day with what I actually did! :)

Sunday, January 26th
30 minutes of PT exercises. Same exact ones I did at physical therapy, plus a few extra core exercises. The physical therapy exercises are unique and would take a lot of typing to explain, so if anyone is curious, let me know. I can film it when I do them tomorrow to save my hands and some time. :)

Monday, January 27th
Before work: Around the World core routine.
During lunch: Full body strength circuit (below). Didn't go to the gym before work due to ridiculous winds (26 to 50 mph all night and morning) and I thought the strength work was more important than lap swimming, so that's what I did!

Tuesday, January 28th
During lunch: Leg day! This is one of the shortest (written) leg workouts I've ever done, but I was literally shaking for the entire round of deadlifts and calf raises! I will definitely keep this one in the mix! I actually planned on doing leg press instead of deadlifts, but the machine was being used and I didn't have time to wait. The trick to getting the most out of this workout is going slow! Pause at the peak of each movement and slowly return to the starting position! I only had 35 minutes and used the full time up (that's how slow each movement was!), but if I'd had more time there are a few more exercises I would've liked to do. Next time I'll probably add hamstring curls and lateral lunges with dumbbells. FYI, no swimming again today. I keep waking up with nasty green mucous (sorry if that is TMI!), and until that trash is gone I don't want to be back in cold water.

Wednesday, January 29th
Lunch: 20 minute yoga workout from Yoga Centre. It's a nice website that provides yoga videos for you to do on your own at home. I really enjoyed the one I did today, and will want to do longer sessions more often now! 
Afternoon: Shoulder workout from Cathy Savage's Warrior Guide workout book. Shoulders/ upper back is definitely my weakest muscle group, so they deserve a full day dedicated to them more often! My legs are crazy sore today and I forgot to drink my Ionix last night, so it's my own fault, haha! Definitely will be drinking a double dose before bed tonight! At least I know yesterday's workout is a keeper! :) Still battling the sinus pains, but my nose is runny this afternoon which I'm hoping will help it pass more quickly!
After work: Physical therapy visit #3!!

Thursday, January 30th
Before work: 45' of full body strength. This was a weird one! I made it the through the first set of an upper body circuit before I realized that it was my full body day!! Ooops! So then I switched to a full body circuit, but skipped some of the arm exercises, haha! Still good though and my leg soreness is going down some! :)
Lunch: 35' yoga session. This was a frustrating one! I was fully dressed and packed for the pool at 11:55 and then had to take a random work call at 11:59 and didn't get off the phone until it was too late to make it to the pool! Booo!! I did enjoy the yoga, but it's certainly nothing like the thrill of getting your heart pumping fast.
*No PT exercise video yet!! So sorry! I will have more time tomorrow so hopefully I can fit it in! :) 

Friday, January 31st
1 hour of lower body strength. PT during lunch.

Saturday, February 1st.
Rest day - My family is coming to visit!! Woohoo!


Life's curveballs... Gotta love em!

Well, I had a couple curveball's thrown my way last week.

Curveball #1: I left my keys in Jake's car one night, so I had to bike the crazy big hills in our neighborhood and at DBU to get to the gym!! Pretty sure I looked like this little guy here...

Curveball #2: I officially have a small labral tear in my right hip and a stress fracture in my right femur.

Curveball #3: I am no longer going to be able to race my big spring goal race, the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon on March 2nd. If you are a runner and looking for a spring half marathon - Definitely check this one out! Sugar Land has GREAT racing weather in March, it's a fast course, and the staff is super great!!

Curveball #4: Because of my anterior pelvic tilt (tight hip flexors), I need to stay off the bike when possible... AKA, I need to get in the pool so I can aqua-jog! This means working out at noon and being limited to 30 minutes of cardio per day.

So, what do all my crazy curveballs mean for this week's training? They mean that for the next 4 to 5 weeks I won't be "training"... The focus now changes to being as fit as I can be without prolonging the healing process! Lots of strength work and as much aqua-jogging as the combination of my work and pool schedules allow!

Sunday, January 19th
Rest day to kick off the week!

Monday, January 20th
*Chiropractor appointment
AM: Strength work (full body day). Awesome new workout!! I got this one from a ebook of workouts from Cathy Savage's page.. It's called the Warrior Guide. It took me around 45 minutes start to finish, but my HR stayed high the whole time, the recoveries were so short they really didn't count (haha), and I definitely feel confident I'll get stronger if I add this to my weekly schedule! Today's workout went as follows, the part in parenthesis is the settings/ weight that I used:

Noon: 30' aqua-jog with intervals. Pool is closed for MLK day! No cardio today afterall!

Tuesday, January 21st
**1st day of Physical Therapy**
AM: Leg strength circuit. Today's circuit only took about 30 minutes, which I figure is a good thing since I don't know what they'll have me do at PT. Circuit was as follows: 4x12 of [stability hamstring curls, stability ball back raises, leg press @ 30, sit-ups on bench], 3x12 of [squats w/ 10lb weights, reverse crunches, 1-legged RDL's, captain's chair straight leg], 3x12 [good mornings w/ 20lb weights, side lunges, calf raises w/ 10lb weights]
10:00: Physical Therapy. Great start! I really respect the girl that's working with me (she actually ran for Baylor so I know she "knows" runners). It turns out my right SI joint is completely immobile and even after her working with it for a while today, she couldn't get it to move, so we're trying again on Friday. Apparently while that joint is stuck, the muscles on my backside can't fully fire, which would explain why my hip flexor and quad were giving me so many problems... they were doing double work! I also now have three new exercises to do each day!
Noon: 30' aqua-jog. Until today, all of my aqua-jogs were a fartlek of some sort. Hard for a period of time, then easy for a period of time. Today I decided to spend the full thirty minutes just working at a good steady effort. I wanted to put more focus on which muscles I was activating and my form as opposed to just moving as much and as fast as I could. Got it in!

Wednesday, January 22nd
11:00: Upper body strength day. Workout below! :) You can ignore the "First" part. I cropped this out of a larger workout plan. :)

Noon: 30' aqua-jog with intervals. Skipped the aqua-jog today. I made it halfway there and decided to turn around. I've had a earache and halfway stuffy nose for a couple days and decided now is not the time to push my body... That can come later when I'm truly training. :) Came home and sprayed some Isamune on my tongue, ate a healthy lunch, and am now diffusing On Guard in my office while I work!

Thursday, January 23rd
*Chiropractor appointment
11:00: Full body strength circuit. This went well again. I was very surprised because last time I could barely do the diamond push-ups, but today they were actually pretty good. I'm sure it's mental though because I don't think your strength actually changes over the course of a week! :) Workout was as follows:

Noon: 30' pool workout. I spent the first 9 minutes aqua-jogging in pain with my flotation belt on. It broke last time but I kept using it, and for some reason today it was just jabbing into my stomach without the padding on it anymore. Then, from 9:30 thru 22:30 I proceeded to aqua-jog without a belt on. Not a huge deal, but it did put more strain on my hip flexors and forced me into a less than ideal posture. It got my HR up, but wasn't as "therapeutic" of cardio as I would have liked so I switched to lap swimming. From 23:00 to 33:00 I swam laps freestyle. I was really surprised by how great of a workout it was and how much it challenged my legs and lungs. I will spend more time doing laps next time, even though the aqua-jogging is more running specific.

Friday, January 24th
Noon: Physical therapy. Originally when I scheduled my first PT session (the one I had on Tuesday) they said I would need to come three days per week, but I could come at 7AM. That's a big plus for me because I don't have to miss any work! Turns out my therapist doesn't arrive until 9 and she leaves at noon on Fridays, so I'm going be missing work and swimming on all my PT days now! The good thing is that I really like my therapist and have a lot of confidence in what she's doing. Still trying to get that SI joint mobile again. I told her how my entire right groin area was super sensitive and painful to touch and she compared both sides and said it was really inflamed. She suggested to swim laps or bike for a few days, but I am going to stay off the bike since originally that was something they told me to avoid. Lots of new exercises to work on, but she only wants me doing four of them on the days I don't go in. Also, I was back out of alignment when I went in. How do we go out of alignment so fast?!?!

Saturday, January 25th
Rest day! Originally I had planned this being a lap swim day, but somehow between 8:15 and noon I got completely lost in my classwork and On Call duties. I had a crazy request come in that I couldn't carry out and let's just say I made a lot of OT money this weekend!! I'm taking it as a blessing in disguise and hoping it let's some of that inflammation go down!


Time for a mindset shift! (10M land, 60' water)

Sometimes we get so caught up in where we want to be, that we forget it takes time to get there. In reality, most of us will spend more time trying to get where we want to be than we'll spend when we actually get there. The journey is important, and it will not be pleasant or enjoyable if we rush things.

Have you ever been on a long car drive and forced yourself not to stop at all, just so you could get there as quickly as possible? You end up super hungry, you have a headache, you're stiff, and you have to pee like crazy!! It's NO fun!! But oh, have you ever been on a long car drive and taken your time? Stopped at a nice outlet mall, played a scratch off game at a gas station, picked up a snack at a local hole-in-the-wall, stopped to stretch every hour or so? Now THAT is fun!!!

Speaking of road trips - Jake and I have had our fair share, and let's just say we love them! :)

Because I have been so close to where I want to be and I remember what it took at the time, it's very easy for me to forget that I can't just jump back into that life. 60 mile weeks, two-a-days, high effort long runs, multiple quality workouts each week, lots of strength work and cross training, etc, etc, etc. I can't do that right now, and that has been wearing me down so much that I have wanted to slip away from my dreams. I wanted to back out of ever trying to be competitive again because I didn't think I could actually get there. Now that I know I'm still battling some injuries (see last week's post), I know I am even more restricted with the types of training I can do, and that made last week extra tough mentally.

I'm shifting modes now. Rather than focusing on where I want to be, I'm going to focus on the journey and on moving forward. A low impact cross training workout is forward progress. A chiropractor session and some functional strength work are forward progress. Basic core work, flexibility work, form drills, and mobility drills are all forward progress, and I need to take them seriously, enjoy them, and take pride in the small stuff. That's where I have been messing up. We find enjoyment in things when we feel like we have achieved something; when we've done well or reached a personal goal. Well, when you're still in the baby step phase and you've previously been at the top of the mountain, it's very hard to get excited about anything. So, like I said, it's time for a shift!! No more comparing to the past, no more comparing to others. Each day is a new day, and each day I will do as much as my body healthily allows me to do. Every day will be a day for forward progress, and every day will have something to celebrate!

Sunday, January 12th
AM: Still sick from yesterday! Feeling so blah from all this sleeping! Hoping to get in a relaxed run and plenty of low-key supplement work late this afternoon!
PM: 4M progression run + 2 x 10 upper body strength + core. I ran on the treadmill again in case I needed to call it quits during the run. My thigh was aching pretty bad for the first mile, but after that the pain moved into my hip and wasn't as strong, so I just finished things out. Started at 8:35 and knocked the pace down by one click every quarter mile. Finished with the last quarter mile at 6:58 pace. Strength went well, but I skipped lower body work so as not to put any more stress on that quad/ hip flexor than necessary. For core I did a full plank rotation, 10 x 5" superman, 15 reverse crunches, and 30 bicycle kicks. Ears and head still hurt, but no fever and no flushed face! :)

Monday, January 13th
Chiropractor appointment!
Noon: Full body strength circuit. I had pain this morning when I was walking around and tried jogging, so I didn't run. I planned on biking during lunch but because of time constraints I needed to use the bike at our house. Once I got going, I had pain doing that as well so I opted to get in strength and hopefully I can aquajog tonight when we get home from the chiropractor! :/

Tuesday, January 14th
MRI follow-up appointment!
AM: 1M hilly bike to DBU, 6M w/ 3M of 1', 2' fartlek, 1M hilly bike home. I had a rough workout this morning, that's for sure! I woke up in the middle of the night yesterday and my legs were SO SORE from yesterday's leg circuit!! Then, I left my keys in Jake's car last night, so my only option this morning was to bike to the gym; my legs were jello and sore before I ever started, hahah! Did 1M at 8:41 pace, stopped, rolled and stretched, then finished out the run. Phew! I had pain today, but nothing that caused me to limp; I had a mirror in front of me the whole time and kept watch. :)

Wednesday, January 15th
CONFIRMED: Stress fracture in right femur, repetitive stress marks on left femur, small labral tear in right hip
PRESCRIPTION: Aqua-jogging, strength work, physical therapy, no running, and minimal biking so as not to combat therapy to get rid of anterior pelvic tilt
AM: 1 hour of upper body weights and core. Killed it! Awesome workout... I could get pretty strong if I did this two to three times a week for six weeks!
Noon: 30' aqua-jog with 2 sets of 1', 2', 3' surges. I can only get in 30' because that's all that fits in my lunch hour and that's the only time their hours fit with my schedule, but it's better than nothing!

Thursday, January 16th
Chiropractor appointment!
Noon: 2 sets of leg and back strength circuit. Another good one, but this one is much quicker. Got my HR up and my legs burning though! :)

Friday, January 17th
Noon: Upper body strength workout + 30' aqua-jog with 5 sets of 2' hard, 3' steady. The upper body workout is a great one for runners that I found online. Very tiring but another quick one. I only did one set today but I may do two next time. Aqua-jog was good. I killed it on the two minute segments so the three minute recoveries felt like nothing! Still no clue where all these muscle pains came from though! I haven't had them when I've been land running, hah!

Saturday, January 18th
Impromptu rest day! Was planning to do a long aqua-jog (fully dressed for it and all!) but my "quick" state inspection that had to get done threw me a curveball! Ended up at City Garage getting $1700 of car repairs made so that I would pass inspection by the end of the month! Phew!!!


My first training week of 2014! (26M)

Hello, there!

I'm actually writing this week's post from Houston! I've been on the road all day, so it's nice to be relaxing on a comfy bed so early in the evening!!! :) I'll start by giving a few updates from last week. I did not run, cross train, do core, etc. all the way from Friday, December 28th thru Saturday, January 4th. I went 8 full days of very minimal movement or stress on my groin/ hip, and then on Saturday I did twenty minutes of biking and some core work. From the day I first started resting up until Friday morning (7 days later), I honestly felt very little, if any, change in my pain levels. That Friday morning I DID feel some improvement though! Much, much less pain when I got out of bed, and I was able to stand on one leg while showering and getting dressed without cringing or having pain! I will say that it became more and more obvious that the pain was in my groin area as opposed to the hip flexor. The more I walked around on it during the day Friday, the more it began to ache; same story on Saturday. I woke up and walked to our bathroom with the pleasant feeling of no pain! By the time I finished doing some chores and getting groceries, the ache was back.I am still pleased though, because for those first seven days, I was concerned it would not improve at all. Knowing that it is at least calming down and healing some over the nights is super encouraging.

On Friday I also went through a string of doctor appointments. Normally I would not make so many appointments for one ailment, but I wasn't getting calls back so I kept trying other options; in the end all three worked out so I left the schedule as is! At 8:00 I saw an orthopaedic doctor in Dallas. He took x-rays and said that groin pain definitely indicates a hip problem, but he thinks it's all soft tissue. He scheduled and MRI and steroid shot for next week and stated he would set up a PT plan as well. Next up was a chiropractor in Midlothian. He walked Jake and I through the Functional Movement Screening (FMS) which went surprisingly better than I expected (though I still struggled on a few), gave me an adjustment, and did some dry needling in my groin. He pressed in a couple spots in my groin that are the most tender (it's more sore to press on than anything else) and told me it was two muscles that run from my pubic bone to my hip flexor, and I probably just strained them. I had a lot of confidence in his "diagnosis" because he was the first one to physically touch the spot that hurt. He also explained the lower back pain by pointing out that my forward tilted pelvis pinches some of those discs. My last appointment was a bone scan in Arlington. This was primarily to check for a hip, pelvic, or sacral stress fracture. I haven't gotten the radiologists results yet, but they did send me home with a copy of the films. There is a teeny spot in my left femur (I'm assuming the remnants of my last stress fracture) and what looks like a new spot in the right one. A good friend of ours pointed out that  stress fracture in the femur usually appears in the middle, so until I hear something from a radiologist or doctor, I'm taking the image as simply a warning to find softer surfaces and listen to my body.

Here's what the Functional Movement Screening entails:

Here is a picture of the muscles that the chiropractor called out for me.

Here is what a tilted pelvis does to your lower back!

Here is a picture of the bone scan (one full body image, one of just the femurs).

This week I plan to get back into the running routine, and hopefully not have to ease in much since I only rested for a week. I also plan on doing quite a bit of strength, core, mobility, and supplemental cardio.

Sunday, January 5th
3M on the treadmill, 30 minutes of full body strength. The plan was actually to do six miles today, but at 2.8 I started to feel a decent pain in my right quad/femur. Rather than pushing it, I decided to stop at 3. I'm going to try running again each day this week, but I will continue to stop as soon as it hurts. The hope is I will make it farther each day; but if it starts hurting earlier in the run each time, I'm assuming I've got a larger problem than one week off could knock out. I tried to follow the three miles with a bike, but ALL THREE of the hotel's bikes were broken. In the end I settled for weights and body weight strength, which was probably better anyways as that always leaves me shaking! 

Monday, January 6th
AM: Standard warm up + core work in hotel room. My standard warm up is 30 arm crosses (swing your arms as wide as you can and then across your body), 30 arm circles (starting small, gradually getting bigger), 20 military squats (hands behind head and thighs getting parallel to floor), 50 jumping jacks, 10 forward lunges (per leg). Today's core consisted of 15 slow traditional crunches, 15 slow bent-leg knee raise, 10 oblique v-ups (per side), 2 x 60" plank, 2 x 30" glute bridge, 10 x 5" superman.
PM: 5M run + 20' bike. I was super pleased to make it to five miles without any femur pain today. In fact, even at five miles, the reason I stopped was actually for a sharp pain in my left ankle that started at around 4.7 miles. My tailbone (if that's what it is) and groin have hurt all day, walking and sitting, but they were absolutely no worse when running. In terms of energy level, etc, my legs felt extremely flat and weak, but I'm contributing that to my 4 hours of sleep last night, a long day in the office, and a week of no running. :) Finished out my 60' of cardio with a 20' bike ride!

Tuesday, January 7th
AM: Standard warm up + exercises for pelvic tilt. I started with my same warm up as yesterday - It's great for getting my heart rate up and using all muscle groups. After that I spent my time on exercises I found online which are supposed to help correct a forward (anterior) pelvic tilt. This consisted of hip flexor and quad stretches, 2 x 60" planks, 2 x 60" glute bridges. I also spent some time doing good stretches on my hamstrings and IT bands.
PM: 6M w/ fartlek of 1', 3' off for the last 3M + strength. I felt AWFUL today. Not awful on the run, just awful today. I think I am getting sick with something because I have a sore throat, headache, leaky nose, and feel feverish. Anyways, I got in the workout and am very thankful for that. I started at 8:4x pace and dropped it by one click every half mile.Once I got to the 3M point, I dropped it to 7:00 pace for my first hard segment, then slowed back to one click faster than my last easy pace. Each time I started a new surge, I went one click faster than the previous one (so my last surge was 6:30 pace) and each recovery I went one click faster than my previous one (so my last one was 7:30 pace). My hip was painful from the start today (hip flexor and groin area), but I am more concerned about stopping for possible bone problems than soft tissue. At 5.5M, my right quad/ femur started to hurt pretty bad, but I decided half a mile wasn't worth stopping. Hopefully some good sleep tonight and a good stretch in the morning will be all it needs! :) After the run I did 3x12 for leg weights and 3x8 for upper body "pull" weights. I will do the "push" exercises tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 8th
AM: Standard warm up + core series from Monday.
PM: Off - Travel back to Dallas after work... late night!

Thursday, January 9th
AM: MRI with lots of different fluid injections, including a numbing one and a steroid. Numb and super stiff/ full hip right now (noon).
PM. 6M naturally progressive OUTSIDE!! :) So, so happy to be outdoors again! I went to the chiropractor at 4:30 and had the most intense 'stim" work I've ever had done, as well as the most painful ART work I've ever had. No exaggerations about either! For the ART, he placed his thumb directly on the connection of those muscles where they hit the pubic bone -OUCH. Just pressing on that was pain at a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10!! He could have left it there, but he did the full ART process and oh-my-gosh-did-it-hurt! A couple adjustments, and some quality time on the vibrating platform and I was outta there. Scored 14 out of 21 on my FMS.. Lots of core work to do! As far as the run goes, I felt very awake and free running outside, so I thought I was moving pretty quick. I even threw in a mini fartlek on the last two miles; now that you know that you will understand how bummed I was when I finished and saw that I averaged 8:17 pace! Eek! My left outer hip and right quad were the two most painful things. The mizunos I ran in today are also too small, so I will switch to a different pair tomorrow. Can your feet grow when you are 25?

Friday, January 10th
AM: 6M progressive on the treadmill. I started at 8:3x pace and then bumped it down by 1 click every quarter mile. I was just under 6:30 pace for the last quarter mile of the run, so it worked perfectly. My average pace for the six miles was 7:18, which I certainly have no complaints about! Thigh/ quad hurt from the beginning, but I didn't know what else to do so I just ran. Ended up THROBBING all day afterwards, so I will need to cross train tomorrow for sure. Dreaded every time I had to walk on it! :(

Saturday, January 11th
Sick. Fever and bright red cheeks that are super hot. Flushed face, I guess you could say. Spent the entire middle and second half the day sleeping, and then slept all night long! Ick.