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?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lawn Care, Sweating, and Overflowing Sinks

 Bagworm bong party!

On Friday I was standing in the parking lot talking to a coworker. Suddenly I realized that I had left my cell phone sitting on my desk inside. Being a runner, or so I tell people, I tried to jog into the building to grab my phone and then jog back to continue talking to my coworker. Can you believe that as I jogged to the door I could feel both of my calves wanting to cramp and pull? I'm serious. What kind of runner can't even jog across a parking lot without a major injury??

I have a neighbor who for reasons which are hard to explain decided to spray the bushes and trees on the south side of my lawn with poison. The resulting damage to the tree nearly killed it. All the leaves curled up and died. Then bore worms drilled into the tree starting at the top and began literally sucking the life out of it, rapidly working their way down the trunk towards the roots. I dumped a can of fertilizer at the base of the tree, ground up aspirin and dumped it at the base, and then hosed the tree with insecticide to try to kill the borers. I finally had to hack the top off the tree, leaving a big stump and a few straggled branches alive, just to stop those boring futhermuckers from devouring the entire tree. So far it has survived, but just barely.

Near the tree is an evergreen bush. I hadn't noticed any problems with the bush until just this week. It steadily turned brown all the way around, starting at the back and working around the bush to the front. By the time I went to investigate what was happening to the bush it had become infested with the most bagworms that I have ever seen. There are so many bagworms on this bush that they have knocked each other off the branches, leaving piles of bagworms on the ground deep enough that I could shovel them up if I were so inclined. I bought a giant bottle of Sevin and hosed that sucker until the bagworms were forced to put on swim trunks and snorkels. I did this 3 nights in a row after work.

Then I noticed that the 'burning bushes' in front of my house were all dead looking. I don't think my neighbor did this one. These stupid bushes have done this 2 years in a row. I can't remember what I had to do last year to save them, so already having the bottle of Sevin on the hose, I soaked them with it. THEN I examined them. This neighborhood has some sort of fungus curse. I don't know what the deal is, but when I moved in every plant had this nasty gray fungus killing absolutely everything. I had to drown all plants with fungicide just to save them. That was years ago. When I examined the Burning Bushes I saw that stupid fungus on them again. So I mixed up and fungicide and sprayed them down top to bottom.

I know what you're thinking right now. Yes, this has got to be the most boring post I have ever written. Patience!

It's a tad humid out tonight
It was 7 pm when I went outside to do all these things. The sun was setting already. It was 87 degrees outside. I swear the humidity must be 150%, maybe 200%. Sure, that's technically not possible. But the instant I set foot outside my house I was pouring sweat. And I was already sweating just walking around inside my house while I debated whether to go outside and deal with this crap. Its ridiculous!

So ... yes, I'm starting a sentence with 'so' .... so after all this poisoning and sweating and cursing I finally came inside the house to shower. My t-shirt was a disaster of sweat, so I threw it into the sink and turned on the faucet to presoak it. I had to start doing this after two of my t-shirts actually molded while sitting in the laundry waiting to be washed because they were so wet with sweat.

No, I'm totally serious. You think you know humidity? We got your humidity right here, bucko!

So I threw my t-shirt into the sink, stoppered it, and turned on the faucet to presoak it. Then I jumped into the shower. After showering I turned off the water and stood in the shower drying off. But I could still hear water running. I stood there looking around, worrying that I might have a plumbing issue to deal with on top of everything else. Finally I stepped out of the shower. The faucet at the sink was still running. And the sink, being one of those modern shell-shaped artsy-fartsy things, has no emergency drain hole near the top and so had filled completely up and was overflowing into the floor. The bathroom floor was a swimming pool!

Care for a swim?

I swam over to the sink and turned off the faucet. Then I started throwing towels frantically onto the floor to soak it up. I ran out of towels pretty quickly, even throwing the towel I had been drying off with into the ocean of sink puke.

And then I opened the bathroom door.

The hallway was a lake. I swam across to the linen closet and started yanking out towels, throwing them into the pond that was once my faux hardwood floor.

Oh, speaking of faux hardwood floors, do you know what happens to laminated cardboard faux hardwood floors when they get soaked like this? Yeah, they ruin. So I was in a panic.

About this time, my wife came home. She found me standing in a pool in the hallway, towels everywhere, and me stark naked and still dripping wet.

"What the hell happened?!"

I can't believe this isn't a Monday. It sure feels like a Monday. It couldn't have been a much worse day. Oh, and my cat has a bladder infection and keeps peeing and peeing and peeing. And the vet can't see her until Friday. So there's THAT.

Can I pee here?