Sunday, November 2, 2014

Checking In

It's been awhile since I was here last. Not a lot has changed. I'll make this quick. I injured my hamstring before the Warrior Dash. It was cold and wet and I couldn't see any point in my going and trying to run the hills of the Warrior Dash this year with a pulled hamstring. This was the first time I skipped the race after running 3 straight. And I didn't feel terribly disappointed about it. I think perhaps that is a bad sign. My fatigue is not from running. My fatigue is from being repeatedly injured and constantly having to fear the next injury, whatever it may be.

My workouts since skipping the Dash haven't been great. It is now taking me almost a full mile of fast walking before I feel warmed up enough to break into a slow run. Even with the slow run I feel my calves and hamstrings threatening to pull. It makes no sense to me. But it is certainly frustrating.

Aside from workouts, I have stress at work. As part of my position I am required to maintain 2 professional certifications in addition to my degree. I earned my first certification early this year. It was fairly difficult. My 2nd certification I earned just yesterday. It was very difficult and I barely passed. But if I am to keep my job I have to deliver both of these certifications to my employer or else they'll have armed guards escort me out after a specific period of time. I delivered the first certification already, but I'm having trouble getting the 2nd one to download. The company that conducted the test and awarded me my certification sent me an email congratulating me for earning it, as well as giving me a link to download my certification. When I click the link it tells me I have not earned the certification and then forwards me to a link to register for the certification test. I am more than slightly frustrated by this.

Anyway, no one is going to read this so rather than continue with other things about what is going on, I'll simply stop here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lacking Motivation

It's been so long since I've last blogged that Blogger seems to have locked up my page. I can't even get the URL to come up. How funny.


Anyway, over the past month, which is about how long its been since I wrote last, I've been battling this injury and that one. I even ran a 5K race with a pulled hamstring because I was just so sick and tired of always feeling like I couldn't do what I wanted due to the latest in an endless stream of stupid injuries.

One thing all these injuries have done, though, is to take away my motivation. I don't have any real reason to train anymore. I have a race coming up, the Warrior Dash, but there is no hope of my being able to run up those hills with a hamstring injury nagging at me and calves that are perpetually ready to let go any any moment. I have thought long and  hard about whether I am even going to train for it and try to go. I've just about decided not to bother. Last week I skipped the treadmill and went to one of the only hills anywhere near this Godforsaken city to run 'sprints' repeatedly up it. I put sprints in quote marks because my hamstring makes it impossible for me to truly sprint. The best I can do is carefully stride in sprint form, as if I were truly sprinting, but not quite. I could feel everything in my legs straining close to the limit, wanting to strain something - a calf or hamstring or perhaps something new.


I've had it. I'm still training, but not for any race. At this point I'm barely able to make myself even get on the stupid treadmill. On Monday I jacked up the elevation on the treadmill little by little, until I had it as high as it would go, and I fartleked on it. But after that I was so sore and stiff that I couldn't do jack squat on Wednesday. On Friday I just felt no motivation at all. I wanted to get on a bike or lift weights or something, anything except meander along on a treadmill watching the speed to see if I was even moving fast enough to be worth the trouble. I started running goofy out of sheer boredom. I did the Phoebe, from the episode of Friends when she went running with Rachel and ran like a goof. I ran like Elaine dances on Seinfeld. I ran like Kramer. At one point the guy running next to me commented that he thought I might break the treadmill. I was just so bored and sick of it all I really didn't care.


So this is where I am right now. I don't think I'm going to attempt the Warrior Dash. There is another 5K that same weekend just down the street from my house. I might attempt that one, but the last time I did one of these local 5Ks I ran the entire way with a bad hamstring. It was a disaster.

That's been my whole year, really, a disaster.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday ... again


OK, so it's not a Wordless Wednesday because I'm typing stuff again. I do that sometimes. Still, it's my blog and lately it's just me and AlleyCat talking here, so I guess I'll just go ahead and talk on Wordless Wednesday.

Back to the Future II is on. I haven't seen this movie in forever. And next is Back to the Future III. It occurs to me that I've never even seen Back to the Future III.  So I guess now I'll see it.

The picture above is an image-stabilized shot from the old Star Trek series. When they did scenes where the Enterprise was attacked or hit with something, the camera would shake all around and everyone would throw themselves around. It looked convincing enough, I guess. But when you remove the camera shake it looks a little .... eh, less impressive. Don't you think?

I think I've found a possible cause to all my calf injuries. At least, I'm hoping so. You see, for the past few months I've been wearing these dress shoes to work every day because its required. Anyway, the specific shoes aren't required, just a formal dress, or semi ... office attire, I don't know what they call it. Anyway, I'm not exactly wearing Nike running shoes all day. That's the point I'm trying to make. Instead, I'm wearing leather shoes which, as it turns out, have absolutely NO arch support in them. Yes, that's right, none at all. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero.

The lack of any arch support combined with the useless heel makes me lean slightly forward and puts even more pressure on my arches. And then I go running after work and my calves blow out on me.

On Monday I ran by a sporting goods store to check out some arch supports. The guy working there asked me to take my shoe off so he could look at my arches to help determine which level of arch would be best. I took my shoe off and stepped down. He got on his knees and looked at my foot and said, "totally collapsed. Your foot is flat." Yep, flat.

So on Monday I put my new arch supports in my running shoes and then got on the treadmill. My right calf was already giving me trouble, so I didn't run. I just walked faster and faster and faster until I couldn't go any faster without having to run. I did just over 2 miles and then did a LOT of toe raises and some upper body exercises. No problems with my calves.

Now its Wednesday and if my calves seem up for it I'm going to run again. I'm hoping to God that these arch supports combined with my calf sleeves and toe raises I've been doing will finally help me solve these calf injury problems once and for all.

Anyway, Back to the Future III is starting and I've never seen this before, so I'm going to watch it. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wounded Warrior


I'm running 3 times per week now, always on a treadmill, so the environment is heavily controlled and always the same. The only thing that is changing is what I'm watching on the TV while I try to run.

My calf injury problem is getting worse. My left calf has bothered me repeatedly. A good wrap seemed to stop that. For awhile. But then my unwrapped right calf went out on me. So I wrapped it as well.

And just this week my left calf, even with the wrap, went out on me. I felt it going and jumped off the treadmill immediately, limping over to the stationary bicycle to finish my workout. But come Friday, which is today, it was bothering me so badly that I never got beyond the fast walking stage of my warm-up and even then it was hurting. And yes, it was wrapped.

I've been trying to strengthen both of my problematic calves with toe raises after every run. My calf muscles feel bigger and tighter, but they are apparently no more durable than they were before.

An article I read said that as runners get older all the usual injuries - hamstring, quadriceps, gluteus - become less and less problematic. But the calves start to become the real weakness, the main source of trouble. I can't imagine why this is. And I can't help but think that it isn't the years of running that have caused this, but something else, something I'm doing wrong.

Every day at work I am either tired at some point when I can't afford to be tired or else bored to death. So I drink coffee. I've had a friend who is a professional trainer tell me that she thinks coffee is bad and that I should avoid it. But she didn't say it causes pulled muscles or strained calves specifically. I drink it black. And I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day to make sure I'm not dehydrated.

I've developed a habit of drinking a Coke with my lunch. Sometimes its Orange Crush. I don't sip on this sort of drink all day like some people do. I just have the one drink and when lunch is over and the Coke is gone I don't have any more. But Coke does tend to dehydrate a person.

Far too many of my lunches have involved going out to eat. Restaurant food takes a lot better than my sandwich, but it is very bad for me. I wonder if this alone could be causing this problem?

After every workout I drink a gigantic glass of milk mixed with creatine, whey or casein protein, amino acids and various other GNC-approved runner's cocktail stuff. Then I shower and after that I try to either ice or massage my arches and calves. Lately, with all of the injuries, I've been doing mostly icing.

The more calf raises I do, the more my arches seem to be talking to me in the mornings when I get out of bed. To be fair, this coincides with my calves bothering me and so I'm icing and not doing much massaging or rolling tennis balls under my feet. I returned to the tennis ball tonight after my run. My feet thanked me for it. Then I used The Stick on my calves and they, too, seemed appreciative.

I have another race in about a month. I really need to figure this problem out and get it resolved. I realize that not many people are reading this blog, but any help or advice anyone has to offer is greatly appreciated. Any ideas?