Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finally, A Good Run

If you’ve been following my blog, you’re aware that I’ve been having some knee issues for awhile.  It started with minor irritation just inside of my left knee cap, which only surfaces after running for several miles, then subsides after a mile or two.  Then, during the Stone Mill 50 Miler, I experienced some fairly string pain directly on the outside of the same knee.  Then, after a few weeks of relaxing, it immediately came back after a few minutes of running, the diagnosis, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for a few weeks ago, and have been doing twice daily stretches, with little improvement in running, that is, until today.

I am two weeks out from the Disney World Marathon, and haven’t been able to really run in 6 weeks (SM50).  I was determined to get in a good distance, no matter if it was mostly walking or not.  I elected to stay around the house, just in case my knee acted up, and to go out very cautiously and just see what happened.  I told Jen I had no idea how long I was going for, I might be back quickly, or a few hours.  Thankfully, it ended up being the latter.

Typically, when I do a run/walk, I prefer to do a longer run interval, but with the nature of ITBS, I thought a short interval might be better, so I went with 1:00/1:00.  Also, I found my knee compression sleeve, that I haven’t run with since SM50.  I don’t know which did the trick, but I made it eight miles with my ITBS acting up only during the last quarter mile, and that was because I dropped the run/walk for straight running.  It only slightly acted up, at that.

The one drawback, the original minor irritation did surface about mile 4, but only lasted about half a mile before going away.  Other than that, and the fact it was FREEZING out, the run went quite well.  I went out at a conservative speed, and picked it up some the last half.  I ended up just shy of 13 minute miles.  Yeah, nowhere near what I’d like, but definitely good enough to finish Disney where I must maintain at least a 16 minute pace. 

Today was an encouraging run after nearly a month of disappointment.  I’m anxious to tell my physical therapist and see what she thinks it was, the stretches, the knee support, or the shorter intervals, probably a combination of all three. I’ll take it either way. 

Tonight, I picked up “The Stick” to give a try at loosening up my it band even more.  I have a foam roller, but it’s cumbersome to use.  I’ve heard good things about “The Stick” so we’ll see!

Lastly, to get an idea of how I was able to stay within half a mile of our house, while running eight miles, here’s my Runkeeper track of today’s run.  Just look at all those twists and turns! A good run to end the year, as I highly doubt I’ll be getting in another run tomorrow!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

State of Affairs

After taking three weeks off post 50 miler, I tried to ease back into running, hoping the knee pain I experienced during the race would be gone…it wasn’t.  That first run I made it about 1/2 a mile.  I had just started physical therapy, so the next session I discussed this with the therapist, and was diagnosed with IT band syndrome, along with the previous weak hip flexors and tight hamstrings. 

I’ve since been a stretching fool.  I’ve noticed quite a bit of progress on the hamstrings, at least with leg raises and touching my toes.  I’ve tried running a few more times. First, I made it almost a mile before noticing it, then at the 1.5 mile mark, I decided to stop.  It’s better than the 1/2 mile before, but far from recovered.  Next, I got KT taped at physical therapy, and was able to go 2 miles before it started bothering me, stopping at 2.25 miles.  More progress, but I was hoping the taping would give me far more relief.  I did notice the tape seemed to be too high up though. 

Today, the physical therapist said my it band is slowly loosening up.  Yay!  We tried some new exercises which I’ll be incorporating into my routine.  Balancing is something I really need to work on as well, so that’s also on the agenda.  I don’t intend to keep going to PT forever, but I’m thinking these stretches will become part of my routine exercises.

  I've been giving the Disney World Marathon a lot of thought lately.  As it stands, I'm doubting I'll be able to run the entire thing, unless my it band shows some great improvement over the next couple of weeks.  That being said, I've not run much since mid November.  Will I be able to handle that great of a distance with two months of little-to-no running, after coming off of a 50 miler?  Who knows.  Therefore, I've made a command decision. 

The race time limit is a 16 minute per mile pace.  If I speed walked it, I should be able to still finish the race even without running.  I’m hoping for the IT band to be better, but I can’t count on that, and without getting in much training, I wouldn’t want to push running too much on it.  Therefore, I’ve decided to kick into gear with speed walking.  My it band doesn’t bother me with walking, so I think I can get some decent speed walk distances in over the next few weeks, and come race day, does as much running as possible, with speed walking when/if the pain hits.  This certainly isn’t my ideal, but I’ll take it. After that, I’ve got four months to prep for the Blue Ridge Marathon.  That should be plenty of time for my IT band to fully heal, and train back up to run it strong.

Time to get my speed walking on!

Monday, December 10, 2012

And the Winners Are…

I’ve tallied up all the entrants and used random.org to pick the winners.  Here they are:

1.  Beth Dickhute-Mickens - Wins a free 8 oz bottle of Harmless Harvest Coconut Water.

2. Chicas On A Mission - Wins a free 8 oz bottle of Harmless Harvest Coconut Water. 

3. Kathy Kyle Ryan – Wins a free Harmless Harvest t-shirt.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all for entering!

To the winners, I’ll be contacting you shortly for an address to send the prizes!

Today’s run did not go well.  I opted for a short run on the treadmill at work.  After about 3 minutes of running, my outer left knee was in pain.  I stopped after about half a mile.  It was the same feeling I had towards the end of the Stone Mill 50 Miler.  At first, I was fearing the worst, a stress fracture.  My thinking was that how quickly it resurfaced after a 3 week break, it wasn’t likely to be muscle related, but after some further research, my original assumption from the race was plausible, IT Band syndrome. 

Coincidentally, tonight was my second PT appointment.  After telling the DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy), she checked out the area, and surmised that was likely the case.  My IT band was quite stiff she said, then proceeded to kneed and massage the area.  After that, it was additional stretches for IT band, then some TENS unit and cold therapy.  I sure hope that’s the issue, and it cooperates well with the therapy!  Boo!

It's Over

Technically, a couple of things are over.

First, Thank you to everyone that entered my Harmless Harvest Coconut Water Giveaway.  Tonight I'll be tallying everything up and announcing the winners.  To everyone new to my blog, welcome.  Pull up a chair, grab your favorite hot beverage, and enjoy.  I can't believe I'm almost three years into this blog.

Second, my self-imposed running sabbatical is over.  I took three weeks off of running as a rest after a whirlwind of racing this fall.  Over 90 miles of racing in one month!  Today I'll be heading out for an easy few miles.  I'm hoping my knee doesn't act up on me.  Since it hasn't given me troubles outside of running, it's difficult to tell.

Speaking of the knee.  On Friday I saw a physical therapist.   She thinks it has something to do with the vastus medialis muscle.  The irritation is right where this muscle attaches to the knee. Her evaluation of my overall body found very tight hamstrings and weak hip abductors.  I've got a list of stretches to do several times a day and see if that will help align me knees better.  I have an appointment this evening and will most likely be checking out my running form (I didn't have my normal running shoes on Friday).

On the running front, I've got five weeks before the Disney World Marathon.  I don't feel I need to hit training hard.  Heck, I just ran nearly double the distance three weeks ago, but I do need to get some decent long runs in between now and then. 

Mrs. Runner's Bug's recovery is going dead slow.  It's been nearly three weeks since her surgery, and she's still very sore and swollen.  I'm forcing her to stay off her feet as much as possible.  No easy task I tell you!  She will not be even attempting the race.  She's now become a member of the ChEAR Squad and will be spectating the race.  She enjoy's cheering me on, and I'm always appreciative of her taking the time.  By joining the squad, she'll at least gain some access to the parks.  Otherwise she'd be stuck having to pay full price admission. 

What's going on in your neck of the woods? 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water Review and Giveaway!

Coconut water, I've been addicted to it for the last year. I've tried them all, some good, some bad, some with nothing but coconut water, and some loaded with sugar and artificial flavors.  What I love most about coconut water, is that it's a natural energy drink.  Forget Gatorade or PowerAde, go for natural stuff. 


My favorite brand by far is Harmless Harvest.  They're coconut water come from a single source, 100% raw, contains no additive; and instead of using heat pasteurization, they use a pressure system to render it microbiologically safe.  Plus, it just seems to taste fresher and lighter to me.


I've been in communication with Harmless Harvest for several months.  Back around July, I picked up a bottle, opened it up, and it tasted bad.  I contacted them to let them know, and they were quick to respond with some coupons and a logical explanation.  Since they're coconut water isn't heat sterilized, it must remain cold from production to consumption.  Apparently they've had some issues with distributers not knowing this, and I must have gotten one that was allowed to reach room temperature at some point.  They've since done a lot of work to ensure the consumer stream is kept cold.  If you've not had coconut water before, give it a try.  It's a wonderful post-run recovery drink as well as a great drink on the run, or anytime.  I highly recommend Harmless Harvest, even if it is more expensive than many that are out there.

Harmless Harvest would like to spread the word of their product, and has offered to give a few of my followers some free bottles to try out.  I’ve not received anything from them for this giveaway, I’m doing it because I genuinely enjoy their product and see it as a superior coconut water to what is found in most stores.  In addition, it’s great electrolyte profile make it a good product for runners!

Here's the deal,  you have four chances to win, two of which will give you a double chance. 

1)  leave a comment here, on my blog, telling me if you like coconut water and why.

2) Like my Facebook page, and leave a comment there telling me if you like coconut water and why.

3) for the double-whammy, post a link to either my blog or my Facebook page on your blog to help spread my pages, be sure to leave a link so I can see you’ve done it!

4) post on your Facebook page about my blog/FB page, and leave a comment so I know you've done it!

There you go, up to six chances to win!  You'll have until Sunday December 9th to enter. Good luck!