IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Sunday, January 27, 2008

MRI Monday

Tomorrow is the day. I go in for my MRI on the ol' hamstring. With any luck, whatever damage has been done will not take too long to repair. I go in for the results of the MRI on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to getting all this taken care of because it's time consuming to be visiting doctors and going to physical therapy practically every day of the week!

I don't think I can remember what it's like to run without feeling the pull in the hamstring...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Physical Therapy - Session I

Hold on people, relax!! I don't have to stop running forever! I've been given orders to stop running just until we can review the results of my upcoming MRI. That will be next week. In the meantime, I've already been to a physical therapist so I can put the wheels of recovery in motion.

Within 5 minutes, I decided the woman I met with was impressive. I could tell she knew what she was doing. One of the first things she made me do was balance on each leg. Immediately, she tells me that my left side is weak. Apparently, it drops and turns in to compensate for some weak muscles. I have noticed when I try to do one legged squats, I have a harder time balancing...

Right after the ultrasound, she gave me a short list of exercises to do daily. We did the full round of them in her office and almost immediately, I could feel the burn. One of the exercises is as simple as just standing on one leg while keeping the hips, pelvis and knee in alignment. Seems simple, right? Not for me. For years, I've joked about my poor balance. This definitely plays a part in why I struggle with balance.

So, I'm not hanging up my running least not forever. I'm merely taking precautionary steps to prevent what could have been a serious injury down the line. I'm anxious to get the MRI done to ensure nothing is torn, but either way, I'm already on my way to recovery.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Here We Go Again!

For the past 18 months to 2 years, I've been having some soreness in my hamstrings. Most of this is when I run, but sometimes I can feel it during other things, like biking uphill. This has never really caused me to quit a run, but I have felt the need to dial back the pace in order to not pull the hamstring or try to avoid whatever is going on back there.

Seeing as we're in the midst of the off-season, I decided to have the hamstring checked out. (AGAIN with the checked know, Costanza has the slight discoloration). Anyway, I digress. I decided to go see Dr. Terry Nicola who is well-known and respected within the Chicago running and athletic community. I want to figure out what's going on and I want it to go away. Even the lay off from the last injury didn't help this hamstring issue as I have still been feeling the hamstring in my last couple of runs.

Dr. Nicola's office is hidden away in one of the Athletic buildings at UIC. A nice student had to point me in the right diretion. Surprisingly, my wait in the office was only about 10 minutes before I was taken to one of the examining rooms. I was asked a ton of questions and then we did some range of motion exercises as well as strength exercises. Suffice it to say I was told I have some serious issues going on. (No kidding, that's why I went to see a doctor.) My jaw about hit the floor when he said, "You have to stop running." My first reaction was, "You're kidding. How about just slow, easy runs in zone 1? How about no hills?" Um, no. Now my heart was sinking to the bottom of my stomach when I thought about how long I've already been off from running. This cannot be happening.

I dejectedly walked out of his office and scheduled an MRI. I tried to remind myself that I was doing this as a precautionary measure because, although I was able to run fast and even qualify for Boston with the hamstring bothering me, at some point, I know something is going to give. But this just feels like the shin splint/stress fracture all over again. I feel like this MRI thing and "no running" sentence is just overkill, but how can I argue with this guy? He's the best there is. And he wouldn't tell me do to this if he didn't think it was absolutely necessary......would he?

I got home and looked at the weather forcast for today (-2) and then decided I was happy I couldn't run. Guess I just have to focus on other things for now. Here we go again!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Trainer is bad for my wallet!

This week kicked off some mild base training. With that kick off, I've had to spend some time on the trainer. I'm not a big fan of the trainer. It's pretty boring, but when you live in the midwest, road rides this time of year are hard to come by.

I fill up my water bottles, get some clean towels and load up the DVD player with some inspiring material - an Ironman race. I'm on the bike now, intently watching IM Florida 2003. I'm caught up in the race and time is flying by. I watch as athlete after athlete crosses the finish line, smiling, pumping their fists in the air, happy to have achieved their goal. Then the DVD is over. This lasted about 17 minutes! Crap, now what? Looking out the window at the empty backyard certainly isn't going to keep me entertained. So I turn off the DVD player and start flipping through the cable channels.

Oh wait, look at this. Some non-stick cookware. Ooooh - look, he can pop out homemade bread easily. He puts a bunch of cinnamon rolls in a bundt pan and I imagine how good that smells while it's cooking. He bakes a sheet of chocolate chip cookies and they slide right off this mat thing he invented. WAIT - get the phone, if I order now, I'll get the extra baking pan PLUS a lid!
Flipping the channel, I find QVC. Well look at those beautiful sterling necklaces. Oh, and then there's the sparkly, matching bracelet. The prices are so cheap, what's to think about? Next come the earrings! Wow, those are all so great. I think I must have them. What's the item number? Wait, no. I don't even wear jewelry. What am I going to do with this stuff? Maybe I'll give it away as gifts. Maybe I'll just remember the item number and order at another time....

I grab the remote to get away from the jewelry and now I see the bowflex. Of course the male model has a 6-pack and is beautifully tan. And the woman also has a tremendous body. All it takes is bowflex and 6 weeks for you to look like that, you know. I start wondering where I can put this in my home. I could really use a bowflex. Look how cool that is. You can target all muscle groups. And it's only how much? Hey, that's what credit cards are for!

The next station has this putty that you can pretty much use for everything. You can use it to replace a chain link, coffee cup handle, and if you're really in a jam, you can use it to hold two big metal pieces together, each attached to a chain and you can haul a big truck! Oh yeah, that could come in handy. What's the phone number for that one?

Frustrated, I turn off the television. My ride is just about over, but I think I need to figure out something else to watch while on the trainer. It might be time to start bringing out some of the old movie collection. But even that doesn't sound all that appealing. I just can't wait for it to get warmer out again...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Just like the last 4 years, my tradition has been to get out first thing in the morning for a New Year's Day run. We had less people at today's run than last year, but that was probably due to the challenging weather here in Chicago this morning. The snow from the night before had piled up and I didn't really see many plow trucks out this morning on my way to the run.

The snow was driving directly into our faces as we headed west. Other than that, the temperature wasn't really bad. It was the built up snow on the streets that made this a tough workout. Another runner commented that it was like running in sand. Yep, very difficult to get traction.

After I came back home, took a shower and put some nice, warm clothes on, I looked out the window and wondered what the heck I was doing out there running in the first place. It's COLD and nasty out there! But there was little that could've stopped me from getting out there this morning. It just feels like the right way to start out the new year.

Happy New Year!