Thanks for all the emails from my concerned blog readers. My injury is almost gone and with only 1 day off, I'm proud to say that I was not a stubborn, silly athlete...speaking of the athlete I was in the past. You know how it is...you never know how much is too much and you feel like you can just "get through it" and then after the workout you will rest. Or, you think that training through an injury will be ok for a few days and then you can rest. Haven't figured out how that one works but we have all done it. Well, for the past year I refused to "get through" any workouts. I believe that my fitness will be my only limiter when I train. No injuries, no nutrition problems. This means that it is only up to a good training schedule to push me to my limits and help me get stronger and faster. Up until a week ago, all was working well. I know that everyone is different. The root of my injury may be completely different than another person's injury, even with the same symptoms. But, the most important thing about an injury is to find the root of the problem. In my case, it wasn't the ITband, it wasn't my back. It was my weak hips!!! Because I like to use my blog as an educational tool, I want to talk about my injury and healing process (99% healed) and hopefully help out any other "injured" athletes out there.
Day 1 (Thurs) - Felt tired all morning. Run 2 easy miles, biked 28 easy miles. Just an easy recovery day but didn't feel like myself. Later in the evening, my back was super sore. I planned to meet Katrine and Laura on the treadmills at 5:30am on Friday morning but I went to bed thinking I would just walk while they ran. Day 2 (Fri) - Rt. leg felt really weird. I had rt. lower back pain and felt weakness in my leg. Decided that I would walk on an incline, rather than walk fast. For the 3 months I was healing myself from my pre-kona rt. leg undiagnosed hip/inner thigh/groin injury, I just walked, walked and walked on a treadmill w/ an incline. After walking for about 15 min. my hip and back felt worse than before. I walked a few more minutes to see if it would get better and I was having a hard time controlling my gait with my rt. leg. I got off the treadmill and hoped the water would be my friend. I swam warm-up and my back was killing me. Leg didn't feel good when i pushed off the wall and after 6 x 200's of a 12 x 200 main set, I decided I would get out. I started thinking I needed to get out around the 2nd x 200 but of course, I thought I could just do a few more and hopefully I would get better. It was really hard for me to get out of the water cause I requested the 5200 yrd practice that we were doing. Oh well, another time. The rest of the day was a lot of discomfort. I give myself a scale when I am feeling pain or discomfort. I suggest doing the same when you feel pain or something "not normal" 1-5 discomfort (1 normal soreness from training, 5 totally not normal but no pain) 6-10 pain (6 painful to train, 10 disrupts daily living) I decided I would take ibuprofen in the evening to reduce inflammation. I also iced my lower back and outer thigh. I bought new shoes so that I wouldn't walk around barefoot and I laid on the floor to watch tv, rather than sitting on the couch or in a chair. Decided to take sat off from all activities. Day 3 (Sat) - Went to the beach with Campy. Walked for an hour. Felt discomfort in my outer thigh (IT Band tightness and a little soreness in the outer part of my rt. knee. IT Band felt tight all day. Iced and took 2 ibuprofen in morning and at night. *I daily take 1 fish oil and 1 glucosamine+chondroitin. I try to be regular with taking 1-2 amino pills (Hammer aminos or Base aminos-Karel uses those). Day 4 (Sun) - I woke up planning to ride 2-3 hours, depending on how I felt. Luckily, I felt better but still soreness in my ITband. Lower back was a lot better but hip was feeling a little weak. However, better than the day before which was a good thing. I rode with my friend Laura to Katrine's house and we all drafted off Ryan (katrine's hubby) to the group ride. Karel drove to the 16 miles to the group ride so that we would have a car there just in case I started to feel pain. I felt good on the ride but didn't push it. Didn't know my limits so I had trouble drafting cause I wasn't sure how hard to work. The discomfort in my hip, lower back and knee (all on the rt side) was feeling better but the true test would be the afternoon after the ride. I didn't run after the ride and after 58 miles, I was feeling better than before. The rest of the day I iced, took 2 ibuprofen and stretched my hips. *If I'm ever feeling discomfort, I do not take ibuprofen before a workout. I want to get a true sense of how I feel and I don't want to mask the pain. I probably take 2-3 ibuprofen a month so it works really well with me when I do take it. Just a suggestion, if you are wanting to see if you are still injured, take the ibuprofen after the workout. Taking ibuprofen before a workout isn't going to make your injury go away in 30 minutes. Just a suggestion so that you don't re-injure yourself or hurt yourself more by trying to train through an injury. Day 5 (Mon) - Woke up with less discomfort. My level was 1.5 and I swam 3000 yrd nice and easy. Did a few strength exercises for my legs and arms. Libby wanted to check my hips out cause she thought she knew what was wrong with me. Libby is a PT and as a talented triathlete (libbybergman.blogspot.com) she really knows her stuff when it comes to injuries by triathletes/runners. She thought that I had a hypermobile SI joint and she was right! It was all in my hips the whole time! After a few tests on my back, adductors and hips, she found that my core and adductors are strong but my hips are very weak. The most possible cause of my hip issues is finishing Kona with an injured hip/groin/leg but most of all, I rarely work my hips.
The rest of the week has gone great. Libby showed me some exercises for my hips and my goal is to have buns of steal by the end of the month. With only 2 days of no running, I ran on Tues after my 25 mile interval bike ride. I only ran 2 miles but at a 7:45 min/mile pace, I was pleased that I lost no fitness and if anything, I was running better than before. I am working on not over arching my back and really working on my running gait to work both my quads and my hams when I run. Wed I ran 8 miles. 2.5 miles before swimming and 6.5 after swimming. I didn't plan on running that much but I did several sets of intervals and the miles just went by. My discomfort was .5-1 as I was running but Libby said it was fine to run. I am really working on my running form and I can 100% notice a difference when I change a few things with my running gait. The discomfort almost instantly goes away when I make the small changes. I did my hip exercises after the run and did some weights as well. The last time I took ibuprofen was Sunday so I am really pleased that I am not masking any pain this week and feeling better and better everyday. On wed evening Libby did a gait analysis at the beach running store. She does this once a month and told me I should come. This was my first time doing this and I loved seeing my running form on the tv. She taped me from the rt side, left side and back. She zoomed in on my hips as well. Just a brief summary from the run analysis; my rt. leg has a mid foot, foot strike which is great but my stride is short and my quad is not fully lengthened when I strike. When my left foot strikes (non injured side), I land with my heel but I have good quad and hamstring strength. My hips are not uneven (libby worked on that on mon) but I do have a weak rt. hip which looks as if something is moving in my hip when I strike. She is still trying to figure out that one (probably the hypermobile SI joint) but for now I am feeling better and better. Today I am .2 on my discomfort scale. Hardly notice anything but I don't know how I would feel for a long run. I'm taking this day by day so hopefully I will continue running stronger, with better form, and my undiagnosed rt. leg weakness will be gone forever!
The exercise that I am doing is a side plank with a bent elbow (elbow under the shoulder). Lay your top hand on your side. Tuck in your belly and make sure your top hip is not rolling forward. If anything, try to roll back your top hip behind you. When you get a stable position with good form, lift up your top leg 10 times, very slowly. Rather than just lifting up the leg, try to lift up your heel a little behind the foot that is on the floor. If you do this correctly, you will feel your butt muscle working after about 4 reps. Just be sure to lift that leg straight up, a little behind you, rather than infront of you. This will also force you to roll back the top hip. I do 2-3 sets of 10 on each leg. Buns of steal!!