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Friday, June 29, 2012

What the heck is wrong with us.

Hey Sensa.
Why on earth would I want to look like this?
Lower backs are so overrated.

And why are you tantalizingly dangling the "easiest diet on earth" lure?

I have several things to say about this.
The first is just a pet peeve. Dieting never gave anyone muscles, so quit selling diets by showing muscles. That's just silly.
The second should be the pet peeve of the nation. Newsflash! Dieting isn't easy! Getting fat is easy! All you have to do is eat more calories than you burn! And that, my friends, is supremely easy to do in our culture. If your diet is "easy", then it won't work or it won't last.
And the third thing I have to say is that whoever edited that photograph should be tied up with their own mouse cord and hit over the head with a keyboard.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back to the track

Monday night I put on my brand-new Kinvara I's (Yes, I know, I'm two years behind, I'm a shoe-hoarder) and headed to the Tulane track.
Me and my new-old shoes on my floor furnace, the lethal fixture that means we can never have small children over in the winter. 

My run group recently moved back to the Tulane track after a brief and ill-fated stint at City Park, where thousands of children ran beneath our feet at every turn and yelled, "Track!" in tiny voices at the slower adults. It was great that they were running, and three year olds in  tiny New Balance shoes are kind of adorable, but the track was just too crowded. I'm glad we moved back to the college track, especially since it's in my neighborhood. When I finish a workout I'm starving and thirsty and want to get home STAT.

Our workout wasn't tough: it was a three-minute distance trial (how far can you go in 3 minutes?), followed by a 400 jog, then ten 300's - 200 meters at 2 mile pace, 100 meters "fast", and a 100 meter walk back to the start. Short workout, but hot temps - so this wasn't easy after all. It was high 90's with high 90's humidity, heat index 105. And did I mention I'm kind of out of shape? I did 0.6 miles for the distance trial, but I was holding back since I knew I had more workout to come. The track was a little empty since a lot of runners had raced in tri's this weekend, so I was the fastest one out there - NOT. Second fastest! I got passed by someone I know is not as fast near the end of the three minutes. I was feeling pretty out of shape when he passed me! But turns out that was all he had: he could only complete 2 out of 10 of the 300's to follow, then went and threw up!

I completed the workout, but I was feeling more and more pain as it wore on. By cool down I was visibly limping and that night I couldn't sit or walk. Misery. I know I was cleared to run, but I am questioning the wisdom of that - what if the pain makes me alter my gait and I injure something else?

Besides the soreness and inflammation, though, the track felt good, and I definitely need to get some speed going. I was pleased to be recovered by the next morning, and also pleased that the pain was mostly left-sided. It's tended to be right-sided, so I've done ultrasound to the right side twice, and it must be helping since pain on the right was so much improved. Next session I'm hitting that left side!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good-bye, Kinvaras.

You served me well for long runs and races, track workouts and rainy runs.
I have to let you go now.
There are tears in your uppers and your foam sole is compressed.

I can see wear on the heel.

I can see a lot of wear on the forefoot!

But that's not bad for 1000 miles. You don't look a day over 650.
Saucony Kinvaras rock.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Decisions, decisions.

On Wednesday, we put an offer in on a house down the street. There was one showing - just one, for brokers or the public alike, and the agent accepted offers that night. We offered the asking price. Our offer was rejected as the lowest of multiple offers received.
That's the uptown New Orleans housing market.

It was tough to even make the decision to make an offer. The house went on the market last week, and after a rushed half hour at lunch we had until 8 pm to submit an offer. Even though the house seemed to fit all of our criteria (except the part about the kitchen with the antique gas Chambers range - very salable but not great to cook on), we are already kind of in an ideal situation. We live in a beautiful apartment in a beautiful neighborhood, and our rent is a mere pittance. Our house is a 100+ year old double and our landlords, who are our friends as well, live next door and pretty much just keep us on as charity (I don't want to throw tacky numbers around, but our rent is less than a quarter of our potential house note on even an affordable home). We did make the offer, since it is rare for a house in our neighborhood to go up for sale, and this one is truly charming. But I'm not heartbroken that we were turned down, because I still can't persuade myself that it would be a smart move to buy. We don't have kids to leave a house to, and our property tax and insurance - let alone a mortgage - would exceed our current rent costs!

The very next day after hearing we did not get the house, my husband got an unsolicited job offer. The offer is from his previous employer, asking him to return to the company for a salary about 165% of what he makes now. However, he left this employer for quality of life reasons: he loves his job now, and his commute is a few minutes on a bike, Plus he works 40 hours a week instead of his many late nights and weekends. To me, that's a no brainer: go for the quality of life job!
But there's a wrinkle. In a year and a half, his current position goes away. He has a temp job, one that is related to hurricane Katrina, and the work will soon be completed. So now we're faced with another tough decision: stay at the wonderful job for another 18 months, and take your chances after that? Or jump ship now, secure a job, but know that you face a much more demanding work environment?

Between these two biggies, we're a little stressed right now! I don't know how I feel about the job question - I don't like being up in the air about his job future, but I also want him to have a job he enjoys. Any advice for others who have gone through similar situations would be appreciated!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rules from my PT

Yesterday I ran 5 miles per PT permission. The weather got hot while I was at the gym on the bike all those days. Boo. Also I got quite out of shape.
I spent the rest of the day with the mild pain I've grown so accustomed to, but it wasn't anything I can't deal with. I've had this same pain for months, and ran 4 marathons with it feeling just the same!

So, until I see another doctor who will try some space-age technique on me, here's the rules:
- Keep stretching and strengthening
- Wear new shoes!
- Slow down or stop if pain grows worse

One of the reasons I can run is that nearly any movement aggravates the muscle insertions - biking, walking, standing, core work, swimming. Impact doesn't affect it at all: I tried a few miles on the AlterG and it didn't lessen the pain even a little!

I was told, however, to consider skipping the midnight Hotter than Hell marathon that will be held in Audubon park July first. But I'm so tempted!
Last year I was just coming off injury for the Hotter than Hell marathon. This year, same story (I do tend to break myself down over the course of the winter race season...). Should I risk it or am I setting myself up for pain and failure?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The verdict is in!

I can run! But only because my PT has decided that I'm incurable. The pain remains no matter what, my gait and muscle strength are basically normal, and there just aren't that many more things we can try. He actually referred me to another physician who has tried aggressive therapies on osteitis pubis before, but I couldn't get an appointment for three more weeks thanks to my demanding schedule. Until then, I'm not hurting anything by running on it, so I can do as I please.

The treatments we're thinking about include steroid injection, phonophoresis (steroid cream applied by ultrasound), and PRP injection (platelet-rich plasma: your own platelets re-injected in concentrated form to improve healing). The goal is to calm and heal the area of inflammation. It's so sensitive right now that everything aggravates it: just doing my PT exercises cause a reaction.

I'm willing to try more treatments if needed, but I am still wondering why I was never given an oral anti-inflammatory. In my opinion that should be first-line. I don't dare start popping OTC ibuprofen for fear of GI bleeding, but a prescription for meloxicam sure would be nice.
The doc I will be going to, by the way, treated a Saints punter with this condition (and successfully, I may add), so that's kind of cool!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beach babes

I mean, how cute can you get.
We spent the weekend with our godkids and got to take them to the beach!
Tillie, Ellie, and Eddie relaxing in beach chairs

Ellie had no fear of the gulf at all!

My adorable goddaughter Tillie, on the other hand, would only play in the water from the vantage point of my hip. 
Choosing a location for a sandcastle... and looking like a postcard.

Can someone help me open my fruit snacks?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How often does this happen?

I've been going through race photos that I selfishly keep on Facebook (I've basically turned Facebook into my personal diary, sorry "friends"). As I thought back through the races, I recalled some recent similarities. No, not the part where I start too fast and hit the wall at the end, the part where the results rae wrong.
Am I jinxed?
At RnR NOLA 2012, race results were initially reported incorrectly so that I was reported as 12th female rather than 9th. How could this be? The mystery has not yet been solved, although the results were corrected.
At RnR NOLA 2011, race results were initially reported incorrectly and Abe's finish time was not listed. (Abe is my little brother, the one who ran a 2:49 marathon for his first marathon when he was 19. He's taking a blog hiatus because he is doing a semester in Denmark.) Eventually I discovered that someone with his number PLUS a zero in the middle had been given Abe's time (the guy was a 5:15 marathoner from Indiana; I'm sure he was pumped to briefly have a time of 2:47).
At Publix 2012, race results were initially reported incorrectly, and my finish time wasn't listed at all, although my splits were, and it looked like I dropped out. I emailed and had this corrected (either my tag, which was one of those new ones on the back of your number, did not read at the finish - which I doubt, since it picked up miles 6, 13, and 22 - or a data point wasn't entered in the computer). The problem with this is that the link for results took you to a page with the leaderboard, my name missing (I finished fourth; the leaderboard displayed the top five). No big deal? Well, it is if you are the 6th finisher, but you think you're 5th and get all excited. Then later you get bumped. Still no big deal? Well, it is if these are the official results. Yep. The race's Facebook page claimed, "Official results posted" and directed members to click the link.

In other words, I shouldn't actually get the age group award they mailed to me. The official results are the results that count, and they stand. If the lady who finished after me claimed she should win her age group according to official results - well, she'd be right, and I wouldn't blame her a bit!

So, how often does this kind of think happen? Has anyone else has results listed incorrectly? In two back to back chip-timed races my results were wrong!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Getting fat and getting muscle

While on running break I've been doing two things: Getting fat and getting muscle.

I'm getting fat because most of my activity has been restricted. I am allowed to bike ONLY. No stairclimber, no elliptical (who knew - the elliptical can cause injury to the pubic symphysis because it's actually possible to have bad form on the elliptical. Funny). Now, a good fat-burning spin class would be great, but I haven't gone to any. That's because my gym offers them at 6 am. Heck no!
So yeah, a little fat has accumulated. No big deal. Not like I'm spending the next two weekends playing host at the beach. Not like I had to go out and buy a swimsuit that actually fits. BTW, why does Victoria's Secret give you "coverage" options on their bikini bottoms?! Does anyone ever really want the "minimal coverage" cut?! Especially since this is considered "moderate coverage". Um, lady, your whole butt is hanging out.
Is that a barnacle on your finger or do you go to the beach wearing jewelry?
I've been getting muscle, too. I've been doing a lot more strength training and I realize I had gotten plumb weak (say it in a country voice). Many of the workouts I've been doing stress push ups. When I was first injured I modified these workouts because I could only do three or four girl-style push ups and not even one real push-up. Now I can do 50 girl push ups and I refuse to try the real ones in case I still can't do them.
I have now developed man arms.

I read that if you point your fingers out while doing push ups that you'll work your biceps more, and I think that works. I was starting to get really disproportionate triceps, deltoids, and pecs compared to my biceps.
Interestingly, my friend Celeste went from a 3:15 marathon (awesome) to a 3:01 marathon (astonishing) in a year and the only change she made was adding in weight training. I'm hoping when I return to running I see a benefit!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Test run and Boston pics

Yesterday I did a short test run as allowed by my PT. I debated doing the run, since I've still been feeling pain at rest, but I decided to do it because it was getting late and I was running out of time to get to the gym!
I did 3 miles and it felt lovely to be running again!

Whenever I get back to the park after a break, I see the same faces on the track and I wonder, "Did they miss me?" See, I stalk the people in the park. If they miss a morning, I am concerned and worried. If they have a new running partner, I'm entertained and wonder if it's a boyfriend or girlfriend. If they switch directions I have a mild panic attack. I always notice new workout clothes, especially shoes, and I sort of keep tabs on their speed progression, too! (There's this one guy at the park who has been running for years and he's still just as slow. Oh wait, that's my husband! HA!). 

The run was nice. But the pain was still there. Not the same sharp, stabbing pain; instead I felt a diffuse ache. But as the day progressed I found myself doing all the old temporary fixes: popping my hip joints, doing squats, modifying my posture.
Looks like I'll need more time off.
I read an Australian study in which athletes suffering from osteitis pubis were managed with ultrasound or laser therapy daily plus NSAIDS and physical therapy. The average recovery time in weeks was 4 for stage 2 osteitis and about 6.5 for stage 3. Stage 4 took 10 weeks. Since I ignored this pain and ran marathons on it for months, I wonder which stage it is! I'm hopeful that it is not far progressed, since the actual pain level is mild.

Well, 2 months down the line, I decided to view my Boston pics. I love them for two reasons:
1. David told me he and our friends would wait for me at mile 17, but when I got there, he wasn't with our friends. The race photographer snapped pictures right after this point, and my face is SO perplexed. I look confused and distraught! Turns out David had moved to mile 18 to get a better view. (The confused pics are the ones where I'm next to the guy in the red bandana.)
2. Except for the first picture, where I look like death near the finish line, I'm barely breaking a sweat in these pictures. So weird how you can feel so uncomfortably hot, yet because you are at your body's "easy pace" you are still able to take it easy! Amazing! The human body is truly remarkable!
If you go here you should be able to select me to view pics. If you wonder which one is me, I am not Lynn.
In fact I beat Lynn, so I was the fastest Thacker to run the race. Tee hee.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Should I risk it?

Today it's been two weeks since I saw a PT and almost three since I stopped running. I have a three-week appointment with my PT for next Wednesday, but I was told to give running a try today, after two weeks of strengthening exercises.

May need to buy this shirt
I'd love to go running, but I'm hesitant.
Truthfully, time-consuming strengthening exercises aside, I still feel pain at rest. And I'm embarrassed to admit that after Sunday night's break-neck speed airport sprint, the pelvic area throbbed. Not a good sign.

I'm considering holding off and giving it another week, at least until I see the PT; I might need to get a little more aggressive and do more ultrasound to promote healing - or even ask for phonoporesis. That's steroid cream applied to the area with ultrasound: The ultrasound allows the cream to penetrate down to the bone (depending on the location of the bone, but the pubic symphysis is basically right under the skin so it would work). There isn't a lot of sound data behind phonophoresis, so if I had insurance it wouldn't pay for it, but I'd try it anyway. And my insurance is total crap so I'm paying out of pocket regardless.

On a totally unrelated note, a house up the street I have always thought was adorably charming is for sale. Despite uptown New Orleans' prices, it may be in our price range! If I DO go running, it's going to be past that house to sneak a few peeks!

Vote: Short run or stay home and behave?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun in the sun - er, freezing cold conference room

I would have loved to spend my weekend in Miami at the beach, splashing around like a four year old twenty-nine year old who can't swim.
View from balcony outside conference room - torture!
Didn't happen. My schedule was far too packed!
Friday: Fly all day, barely get to Miami in time for a mandatory introductory dinner (the nice thing about my company is that they think we're high schoolers and therefore make everything mandatory). Get a chance to meet the rest of our group: twenty-five pharmacist from nationwide and Puerto Rico who are Market HIV Pharmacists. Dinner lasts until 9:30.
Saturday: Get woken up at 4:45 am by a call from security informing me that my store alarm is going off. I tell them oh well. Conference starts at 6:30 am. Lasts until 5:30 pm. Temperature approximately 47 degrees inside.
Dinner is at 6:00: so we were actually rushed to get there. This dinner is also. you guessed it, mandatory. It necessitated missing the conferences' welcome social, which would have been great networking. Dinner lasts until 8:45; we agree as a group to catch game 7 of Heats-Celtics at a nearby bar. I sleep with my eyes open. We get back at some ungodly late hour.
Sunday: Drag myself out of bed at 6:00 am, zip down to the beach, dance around in the water alone for awhile, and make it just in time for the last crumbs of breakfast. Sneak away during lunch to pack and check out; leave for the airport at 4:30.
Sit in the airport for a long time as my flight is delayed. Sit in the plane for a long time as my flight is delayed further. Sprint for my life from gate A4 to gate B18 in the Atlanta airport to make my connection by literally 30 seconds (another chick sprinted with me, we are rockstars! She was a triathlete...we figured if anyone could make it halfway across the Atlanta airport in under 4 minutes, it was us).
Get home at midnight.
Monday: Get up and go to work...
So although I did get about 30 minutes on the beach, it wasn't exactly a beach vacation. The question is, did I find time to work out?
Well, still not running (unless you count last night's sprint), but on Friday I put together a mini-boot camp in my room (unbelievably the resort gym closed at 9:00!). I squeezed it in before bed. Saturday before the conference started I got in about 25 minutes of exercise bike on the "mountain climb" program, plus some weights. Sunday I really didn't - I laid my towel out on the beach sand and did some push-ups and sit-ups, but nothing else.
Still, I'm glad I could fit something in. I really like this workout for traveling when there isn't a gym available.

What's your travel fitness routine?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Going to Miami

I get to sacrifice this weekend to attend a conference in Miami.
In June.
Pray why could it not be Colorado? Am I really traveling to the only place on earth that is hotter than New Orleans?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Running Day discount

Today only: Go get $20 off a Rock 'n Roll race. Now they're in the sell-my-car-expensive category instead of the sell-my-house-expensive category.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Disaster stikes

Fake Toms with paper-thin soles


Treacherous gravelly ground

Camouflaged one-inch screw, covered in tetanus
A real reason not to run
PS: The underside of your middle toe joint is pretty much the most tender spot on your body. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer cleaning

If you run a lot of small, local races, eventually you start collecting some plaques and medals.*
A big stack had grown on my sewing table, and I finally decided it was time for it to go.
L to R: St Charles Road Race 10k, Publix marathon, RnR New Orleans marathon, Baton Rouge beach marathon, Clarence DeMar marathon, Mississippi Gulf Coast marathon 2010, UNCF Fun Run 5k (the first race award I ever won, way back before I ever ran at all!), Mississippi Gulf Coast marathon 2011, The Wall 30k bricks 2011 and 2012, and the NOTC Grand Prix series. 

So I took a picture and threw most of them out. Honestly, most of these races were not meaningful races for me - I got an age group award in a small race, or I won something but did not PR. Since my house has minimal storage, I have gone the route of "Save a photo, not the item" many times (my wedding dress is about to go into that category, actually!).
I did keep a few of them, though:
- I kept the plaque from Stennis 2011, because I won first overall. Yeah, it was a tiny race, but when am I ever going to win a marathon again?!
- I kept the plaque from RnR New Orleans this year, even though it's a kind of lame "2nd in your age group" thing. That's because a. I JUST received this and feel weird throwing it out as soon as I get it and b. I'm tickled to have placed in this race since just 2 years before it was my first marathon, and I was in the bottom 50% of finishers!
- I kept the glass award from the Publix marathon because they were nice enough to engrave my name on it. I feel bad throwing out a personalized item.
- I kept the St. Charles 10k award - not because it's a first overall award or anything special, but because canvas is expensive and I intend to paint over it at some point. I mean, why waste good material? I stashed it with my other blank canvases.

I gladly threw out the Clarence DeMar marathon age group award, since they gave me the wrong one!

Do you save race awards, medals, etc? How do you store them? The ones I kept I stuck behind my jewelry box on my dresser.

*An alternate way to collect medals is to actually be a fast runner, but that method takes more work and dedication than I'm inclined to do or have. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Visit to the PT

Wednesday I went to my first physical therapy visit ever.
Dude, it was awesome. All this time I've been seeing doctors and all I really needed was PT. Both the guys who took care of me were runners, and both were excellent. They asked all the right questions, got a thorough history, and repeatedly asked me to interrupt with additional info or comments and ask any questions.
My appointment lasted two hours and in that time I:
- Did a full history and physical
- Had my leg length and all my major muscles measured
- Had my joint mobility assessed
- Had my flexibility assessed
- Had my muscle strength measured
- Had a podiatric exam
- Had my footstrike and shoe wear examined
- Had my stride analyzed (landing, length, weight, etc)
- Had a full body stretch done by the PT (almost as good as a massage)
- Did, and was taught, a lengthy stretch and strength routine
- Got to view my own gait analysis
- Had ultrasound therapy to the injured area
- Received detailed "homework", stretch bands, and instructions

And my total - I'm paying cash - was $78.50! They only charged me for a follow up visit because they thought I was interesting as a case, and because they "know of" me - the running world is very small!

Doing some PT on the floor
The results of the visit were very promising to me. I have osteitis pubis, but I have just a few mechanical corrections to make. Basically I just need to focus on strengthening a few areas. My left hip is a little weaker than my right, which causes my right leg to sort of dip down as I run - this has lead to a slight heel strike on that side and I tend to land with my foot close to the center of my body, creating an angle which stresses the pubic symphysis. However, this is actually a calorically efficient stride - very compact, minimal movement - so normally it wouldn't be an issue. I just need to have strong enough muscles to support the movement!

Resistance band stretching
Other than that, I have a pretty smooth stride, including a perfect mid-foot strike on my left. No idea how that could be true since in all my race photos I can see the bottom of my shoe, ha. I was told I should try to go by feel and land the same on both feet, but not to over think it. Stride length, turnover, and weight distribution were all good. And my overall strength is quite good, but the few imbalances mean I need to work on adding even more muscle (time to buy new jeans, I guess). I was told to take 2 weeks off running, but I can bike, and I can add in running a few miles a day by week three! And if I do feel pain when I run, I can treat it with NSAIDS or perhaps move up to steroids. Now that's pretty good news!