Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The waiting game

I've been fortunate to avoid injury most of my triathlon and ultra career. Even with the hint of soreness, I'd bust out the foam roller or TP massage ball. Most of the time, stretching and rolling would suffice.

About a month ago I felt the usual DOMS post workout and it never got better. Foam rolling, massage, heat, and NSAIDS didn't seem to help. I took a week off of running and tried to start up slowly, but my glutes would seize up in the first 100m. I last ran a week ago and eeked out three 800m repeats before stopping before finishing the last two. I spent the rest of the night bent over cylinder of foam or with a tennis ball wedged under my right butt cheek. I would bend myself into bed, easing in my ailing right leg into a not-so-painful position and hope to stay like that the rest of the night.

You'd think I'd do more than take a break from running.. yknow, like take a break from squats and deadlifts.. but I did not. I continued with my Strong Lifts program, continued to deadlift, continued to do deep squats at more weight than I've ever been able to lift. It felt great to excel at something (lifting) when I couldn't excel at something else (running).

Taking time off is all find and dandy, but stopping everything completely would be a hard pill to swallow.

After being in pain for a little over a month, I finally got in to see my doctor today for 'sciatica' issues. After explaining my symptoms in length, she asked me to lift my legs one at a time, then wrote a prescription for an x-ray, for physical therapy, the name of a orthopedist, and for a muscle relaxer. I got the x-ray done and now I'm waiting for the results. Needless to say, when she calls with the results, I have a number of questions to ask no matter what the results are.

I also had a biopsy done on a small mole on the back of my thigh. Everyone is predisposed to a certain number of freckles and moles, and this particular one threw up some red flags when I first had it checked out back in August.

I'm sure it's nothing and I'm not worrying about it or thinking of the 'C' word. But having to wait a week, or even as long as the Monday after Thanksgiving, is plenty of time to play the 'what if' game. And so I'll wait for the results and do what I can to keep my mind on other things.

I wish I could lift, but I'm going to do my best to avoid any lower body lifting no matter what the diagnosis is. Swallow that pill and wait to find out what's wrong.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What I've been doing.. because you're lost not knowing

I look back and I realize it's been over a month since my last post. I started this post at 9am and it's now 12:30pm. I look at my drafts and see a handful of half written updates. I read the contents and remember the events, once fresh in my mind, that are now a distant memory. Even now I can't recall all that has happened between now and that last post, but will do my best to give you a 5 minute update..

- I helped crew for a friend at the Grindstone 100 the first weekend of October (crew report one of my drafts). It was my first time crewing for someone and I had a blast. Enjoyed the area so much that I'm considering running it in 2010.

- Took a trip to New Hampshire over Columbus Day weekend and listed to "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown. A typical Brown book. Now who else has parents like my GF's.. we leave DC at 8pm, drive to NJ/NY and nap at a rest area from 12:30-2:30am, and get to her parents at 7:30am or so. We're barely there for 10 minutes and they're already asking what we want for dinner < insert > confused look < /insert >. Raising my hand.. ok we realized my parents are exactly like hers.

- Somehow managed to get injured that weekend after a 30 minute run. I did "Jackie" (1000m row, 50 thrusters, 30 pull ups) the day before leaving and somehow aggravated something in my butt. Wasn't the first time I've had the 'wtf' feeling in my butt, but that always turned out to be my piriformis, which some foam rolling and trigger point rolling cleared up.

- Aggravated my glute/hip/hammy two weeks later. It was to the point that sitting up, laying down, and rolling over left me close to tears. Was fortunate to get in for a massage the day before a big weekend.

- Completed my Crossfit Level 1 Certification Oct 24-25 (big weekend) and did no additional damage to injured glute. Continue to roll and TP massage it. The mix of pain and relief I feel with a tennis ball in my right glute is one I can't describe. I think the contortion of my facial muscles say it all.

- Busy mornings leading a couple classes at Crossfit Capitol Hill. Getting up at 4:30am isn't too bad. I have 15 more weeks to go.

- I've been biking to work every day on my single speed. Could that be the cause of my glute problems?

- Trying to get back on track with Crossfit Endurance runs, but can't seem to relax my glutes enough to have a comfortable run. Continue to foam roll.. and not run. Frustrating.

- I've been following the Strong Lifts 5x5 program. I'm on week 3. I'm thinking a weak posterior is why my glutes are hurting, so squats below parallel and dead lifts are on the schedule. I've also put on close to 5 lbs while doing it. Eek. I'm getting stronger, I'm getting stronger, I'm getting stronger.. is my mantra. I had a few 'slip ups' around Halloween with the family above gave us a ginormous bag of candy and I gave in to temptation. You'd think getting sick after that first binge would've stopped me from doing it again but it didn't. Finally my GF took the rest of the bag into work "for her coworkers". Uh huh. Out of the house. No more. Back to 80/20 clean eating.

- Along the lines of weight gain and eating, we've been making and canning our own apple sauce. I hope to get a pressure canner to can some sweet potatoes. I even tried making my own jerky. It only took 4 hours in a dehydrator I picked up from craigslist a few months back. It tasted... interesting, but didn't stop me from eating it. I gave a few pieces to the dog first and he didn't throw it back up, so I figured it was edible. I'm used to the stuff from Trader Joe's as well as the jerky my father makes, which he does in the oven. Next time I'll try a different marinade and see how it turns out. And, no, I don't wear an apron with my hair tied up in a bun while being all domestic.

- I finally made a doctors appointment for next week to get my butt checked out. I've looked up information about Piriformis, sciatica, etc, and need to stop trying to self diagnose myself and just have a pro look at it. Next step is chiro and ART. Hopefully that's it.

- I also have an appointment to get a biopsy done on a mole on my leg. I had all my moles looked at back in August and was told that one in particular should be looked at. Why they couldn't do the biopsy then and save me another copay? I don't understand. I'm sure it's nothing so I'm not going to worry about it.

- Plans are under way for visiting Seattle this Christmas. I can't say for certain that DC will be where I lay down roots for another 5+ years, so we want to look at other places. I'd like to take more than a map-and-dart approach to the decision process, but everyone I talk to says we'd fit in with Seattle lifestyle. Size-wise it's comparable to DC in population, has lots of outdoorsy things to do, mild climate, etc. Everyone talks about the rain. As long as they don't freak out when it rains (I'm looking at you, Maryland and Virginia drivers!) I'm cool. A negative about moving to the west coast is that it's more than a 12 hour drive to Michigan or New Hampshire to visit family. I'm not going to think about it too much just yet, but for now we're going to enjoy the city, visit some friends, and spend our first Christmas together. Hopefully our first of many.

Now you're all caught up until the New Year.