Thursday, September 29, 2011

Running with Injuries

My 12 mile run last weekend was successful overall. I started off with the 13.5 pace group and had my first taste at 1:1 intervals. It's funny - before you know it, there's a walk break. They also incorporated mile repeats every even mile. I even didn't mind the first mile repeat. It was the second one, around mile 4, that started creating pain in my knee.

So I peeled off from the group. I applied a sample of BioFreeze which I had carried with me. BioFreeze is a cooling agent with Menthol popular for those with an active lifestyle (supposedly Chaz Bono is using it because of his dancing injury). I had taken two Alleve at the start of the day and that eventually kicked in. I did some quick dynamic stretches, and ran the way back along Speedway, and then the Venice Boardwalk, on my own.

I kept the 1:1 intervals on my watch, but ran at a 2:1. I discovered I like having my watch go off every minute. It's a nice reminder without looking at my wrist constantly.

My run went pretty well until around mile 10. I passed the walkers on the Santa Monica stairs, and ran through the snazzy Santa Monica residential streets before heading back. It was on my way back to the Senior Center (possibly because of slight decline), that I was having pain, this time in my other knee.

All in all, I was happy with the run. I came home and had an ice bath. Note to self: Need to buy twice the amount of ice next time.

I've been very cognizant of my form. In a lot of running tomes and magazines (even Shape this month), there is a big push against heel-striking. I don't think I was ever much of a heel striker, and since my stride is already pretty short, I don't think this is a big problem. But I do advise runners to notice their form when they run. Even the arm swing - back and forth, not side to side, and not too high. In race photos, I occasionally see my hands a little to high, giving myself the thumbs up (not sure why I do this!)

I also went to the Sports MD and got the official diagnosis of runner's knee. No tears to the miniscus or ligaments, thank Goodness. Back to physical therapy.

Reducing mileage for the long run this weekend.

Happy running!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running is Group Running

My first group run of the season was last Saturday. Running with a group is so much fun, and it makes the effort so much less noticeable. Because of my injuries (which I am starting to discover the root of - including hip imbalance), I am slowing down my group pace and am running with the 13.5's. They have some interesting tactics. For example, this weekend, they will run every odd mile as a mile repeat. I am a little anxious about that, but considering the group head mentor, I know I am in good hands!

Other than that, the Long Beach Half-Marathon is coming up, and after watching a video that will be featured in a future Leggers newsletter (courtesy of John Flynn), I am tempted to register. If I don't, I will plan on going out to support the crowd as a spectator. If you have never watched a half-marathon or marathon before, do it. After finished the 5K at the L.A. Marathon in 2008, I planted myself next to some nice people in front of the L.A. Coliseum and watched the marathon. It was so exciting – I ran it the following year.

Oh, I have been reading "Run for Life", the book our group has selected to distribute to. When I first got it last year, I didn't find it as easy to read as those by Jeff Galloway (which I love) or Frank Shorter’s. The book doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles in terms of how it looks. But I tried again last night, and once you get past the lack of advanced publishing, it isn't a bad book. It is from a casual runner's perspective, not an elite’s. It actually got me to seriously consider running barefoot for a couple of miles to see how it affects my form - or maybe get a pair of those Vibrom 5-fingers.

Planning on 12 miles this Saturday. See you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The inflexible Runner

I used to be relatively flexible. In yoga, I could lie on my back and catapult my legs so far behind me that they would touch the ground over my heard. I would do the "happy baby" pose - grabbing my feet and rocking on the floor - a sort of massage for the spine. Well since I started running, and perhaps not doing yoga as frequently, these moves are now more difficult. I am less flexible. Poses that used to be easy, are now hard. I can't throw my legs as far back anymore, and happy baby tends to send a painful stiff feeling down my back. Pigeon pose, which is said to be a great stretch for runners, is also more difficult now.

Through running, I have gained a lot. But one thing I have lost is my flexibility. Runners just aren't the most flexible people. But as long as I keep stretching what I can, I hope to find a nice balance. I may not have a happy baby, but at least I'll have a happy medium.

happy running!