Sunday, November 30, 2014

I am in I.T. Band Hell

     Those of you that have suffered from I.T. Band syndrome know exactly what I mean when I say I am in I.T. band hell.  Just when I think things are on the up and up, I have a set back and it throws me into a depressed state.  
     I know that I have to get all my muscles around my IT band stronger and stretch the ITB out in order to win this battle, but there are so many opinions and routines I haven't been able to settle on just one.  I was trying a hodgepodge of different things and I don't think I was really making any head way so I decided I needed to settle on just one.  I finally settled on a stretching and strengthening program from a guy on YouTube that suffered from ITB issues and put up a video of his routine that solved his problems, so for the past couple of days I have been trying to follow it.  Basically I perform side leg lifts and holds, single leg raises and holds, a leg lift with a horizontal swing out, mini single leg dips, a cross leg IT band stretch and a bent knee IT band stretch.  I am going to give this routine about two weeks and see if it is making any improvement to my situation.  I don't really want to get into promoting it if it doesn't work so until I get a couple of weeks in and see how I am doing before I give out all the details.
     I read about a compression strap that can help with ITBS, and it has helped me so far, at least on short runs, is the Pro Tech IT Band Compression Wrap.  The wrap is made up of mostly neoprene and has two velcro attaching points.  It has a small square of padding that when wrapped and compressed to the leg will isolate the IT band and keep it from moving across the knee and becoming irritated.  I have used it on three runs so far and has worked wonderfully until today's run.  The first two runs were 4 milers and I had no issues, today's was 6 miles and once I hit mile five the pain slowly came back and I had to shut it down at mile six.  This product seems to work, at least for me in short mileage situations so far.  I will keep using it and give a follow up review after a few more runs.  I picked it up online for around $25 bucks (including shipping).

And no that's not my leg :)
     I am not ready to give my full review and full endorsement of my new Altra Paradigms, but after almost 12 miles I am loving them.  The wide toe box is AWESOME!  It gives my feet room to breathe and the zero drop platform allows me to feel like I am running on my feet not on my shoes, if that makes any sense.

     After I uploaded my run info from my Garmin I noticed another reason why I keep having these set backs with my injury and it boils down to me over doing it.  I took a week off from doing any running and the next week back I did over 17 miles.  The last six weeks have been back and forth like that and that cannot be a recipe for success.  I think I will take this next week completely off followed by the next three weeks of 5, 8 and 11 total miles.  Hopefully with the slow easy build up and the stretch and strengthening routine I can kick this crap and get back to enjoying my runs.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

     Well Happy Thanksgiving Eve to everyone!  I hope anyone who is traveling today and tonight to be with friends and family arrive safe and sound at their destinations.
     Myself being in the retail business, Thanksgiving marks the start of a stressful crazy time of year that will begin Friday morning and not stop until I am tightly tucked in my bed on Christmas Eve.  This time also marks the hardest month and a half for all of us fighting the crusade against our weight.  I have only been "winning" for the last two years now, so I don't have much credibility when giving advice, but I will give it a shot.  For the exception of 6 days, stick to your plan.  This time of year is no different than any other time, just because its "the holidays" doesn't make it any more special then if today was August 26th.  Now I know that is easier said than done, but think about it for a second, you know I am right.  As for those 6 days I am talking about, that would be Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day and one night of your choice, probably for a company Christmas party or whatever you choose.  These days are guilt free days.  Don't think I mean you can go nuts, but if I want a little more turkey and gravy or two rolls instead of none then I will.  That is how I plan to live this holiday season.
     As far as my weigh in goes, I have to say I was crazy surprised at what I saw and extremely happy considering how down I have been lately with my running and knee issues.

11/26/14 official weigh in
175.5 lbs
Change: -1.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 141.5 lbs
Current BMI: 27.5 (overweight)

Anyway I am going to keep this one short and sweet.  Enjoy tomorrow and if anyone is running a turkey trot to prepare for all those calories at dinner than have a great race!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

   11/19/14 official weigh in
177 lbs
Change: 0 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 140 lbs
Current BMI: 27.7 (overweight)
Change: 0

     After a week with little to no running but as you can see I managed to maintain my weight for another week.  I think I was able to accomplish this with keeping a good eye on my calorie count each day.  On Saturday, Mandy and I did go out to dinner with a couple of our friends and I threw the calorie counter right out the window for that meal.  Cheese fries and breaded deep fried wings smothered in BBQ sauce just sounded to damn good to pass up.  Because I knew where we were going for dinner I managed to keep my calories in check throughout the day in anticipation of whats to come. 
     I did have a small victory today!  When my parents were in town for the marathon I was in dire need of a wardrobe makeover.  All my clothes were getting to big for me, including my underwear, lol, so they offered to buy me a few things.  When it came to jeans I was in 34s and they were starting to get to big on me so I tried on some 32s. They were a tight fit and I felt like I was busting out of them, but I could button them.  Even though they were to tight to wear out, they bought the 32s in anticipation of them eventually fitting.  Well today was that day! I tried them on and they were still just a little snug, but they fit pretty darn good.  The fact that I haven't really lost any weight, but fit into smaller jeans tells me that my new cross training interest might be working. 

     Lately I have been interested in building some muscle and getting stronger, but I don't want to go to the gym to do it.  I have been researching body weight exercises and have been trying some basic moves such as push ups, lunges, reverse crunches etc.  I found a real nice basic routine to do using playground equipment, but now that the cold has set in, I need to figure out another option.

     I came across a homemade contraption to use for dips, reverse push ups and other body weight exercises.  I picked up all the materials at Lowes today for around fifty bucks, which wasn't to terribly bad.  Here are a couple of pictures of one that someone else built that I am using for my inspiration.  When I get the whole thing done I post all the details on how it came together and how well it works.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Self Loathing Ramblings of a Frustrated Runner

     When I started running I had no thoughts of running races or setting personal records (PR) all I was trying to do was lose the weight.  As my mileage increased and my per mile times decreased, the idea of actually running a race seemed like the thing to do.  That first year I tried to run every race I could get my hands on.  I was constantly scouring the internet looking for races that I could fit into my schedule, which I know was annoying Mandy quit a bit.  This past summer I put all my training eggs into one basket for the marathon and totally skipped out on a bunch of other smaller local races that I did last year.  I had planned on doing a 10K right in the middle of my training, but thanks to my knee pain I was having at the time, I skipped the race so I could continue to rest my knee.  In fact if it wasn’t for my sister being involved with that 5K a couple of weeks before the marathon, I wouldn’t have even done it.  I put all my focus and energy into preparing for the marathon which is why, I believe, I had such a great race day experience.  I loved every minute of that race and to be quite honest I can’t wait to do another one, but every since that race my running life has been a frustrating chain of events. 
     First I have pain in my ankle, then my knee pain comes back while running anything longer than 2-3 miles at a time.  I keep telling myself that I just didn’t let my body heal up enough after the marathon, so I gave myself almost two weeks worth of time to rest and what happens my first run back, freaking knee pain.  Because of this issue, I have missed out on a half marathon I wanted to do and at this point there is know way I am running the local turkey trot on Thanksgiving.  It has really thrown me into a funk right now, mostly because I don’t know what to do.  I know it is my IT band acting up again and I have read every little thing on this issue and no matter what I try nothing seems to work.  Rest seems to be the number one prescribed treatment, but I have read so many stories about people who have rested for 6 months and on their first run back the pain returns.  I have been icing, foam rolling, stretching and no matter what I run two to three miles and the pain returns.
     This shit is so frustrating because all I want to do is run.  I keep thinking do I really need to worry about getting faster and setting new PRs?  The primary reason I fell in love with running is because it worked so well in aiding my weight loss.  I would not be anywhere near where I am at with my weight loss if I couldn’t run, that I am sure of.  The thing that I can’t stand is that I can’t run long distances right now, even if I slowed down to a turtle’s pace I would still have pain after a couple miles and long distance is what I am into right now.  Hell I even started researching ultra marathons, but that is a freaking pipe dream with this knee pain.  I had been thinking hard these past couple of weeks on my goals for 2015, I have even started writing about them and was planning on posting it this week, but at this point I don’t even know if consistent running is in my future little lone setting a pretty aggressive time or distance goal.  If I can get this knee pain solved, I think running and having fun doing it will end up being my goal for 2015.  Maybe get back to my attitude from 2013, were I was running any race I can get my hands on. 
      A couple of things I have read that can cause IT band syndrome is weak quads and core, shoes and running form.  With this in mind I have started a body weight exercise routine that will hopefully help my entire body get stronger.  I am also going to go this week and look into a new pair of shoes.  I have been hearing great things about Altra brand shoes helping to correct and promote good running form with their zero drop design, so I am seriously considering  going them a try as well.  The last thing I am going to do after I give myself a little more rest is keep my runs short, 2-3 miles max.  I think if I keep my IT band from getting irritated while getting stronger eventually I will be able to get back to long distances again.  At least I hope so, I got a lot of important races coming up in April and early May.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

     Not running for a week has really had me worried about my weigh in this week.  I did really well on what I was eating this and I kept my calorie intake in check as well.  Even when we would have had to go somewhere to watch the Browns on Thursday night football, Mandy and I decided to spend the night at home instead of heading to the bar.  I really thought a pound or two increase would have shown up, but to my surprise I stayed right where I was.  In fact, if you want to get technical I lost .2 of a pound from last week so little by little I am gonna get to my goal.

11/12/14 official weigh in
177 lbs
Change: 0 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 140 lbs
Current BMI: 27.7 (overweight)
Change: 0

     After my weigh in I got ready and headed out the door to visit my friend Katie from my Ragnar SoCal team.  With not running for a week to rest my I.T. band I have been jonesing to go for a run and I haven't hung out with Katie or her husband in while so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone.  Katie and I met at a local state park that had a nice five and a half mile lollypop route through the state park nature preserve.  With my knee and Katie just running a half marathon on Sunday we kept the pace nice and easy.  The temperature, which was a nice 60 degrees yesterday, was a breezy 34 degrees today.  Once we got going I warmed up enough to make it tolerable and the trees provided enough protection from the breeze for most of the run.  Once we finished, we headed back to her house to meet up with her husband and hang out for a while before I drove back to town to meet my sister for a late lunch.  While we were talking, one of their cats sure did take a liking to me.  Estelle buried her head in my lap and  didn't want to let me up when I had to leave.

     While I was there we had talked about our goals for next year, which I have been thinking a lot about lately and I think I have them figured out, so I will be posting those pretty soon.  Also Katie had shown me a picture that she also posted on her blog of a comparison photo of her brother.  She had made the suggestion I should put one together of my first race and my marathon, which I thought was a great idea.  I look at them and the guy on the left, running the 5K, never ever thought he would be doing what the guy on the right was doing.  

     It just so happened that I saw this quote today and I thought it fit quite well with how I feel when looking at these two photos, so I thought I would share.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

     11/5/14 official weigh in
177 lbs
Change: -2 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 140 lbs
Current BMI: 27.7 (overweight)
Change: -.3

     Closer and closer I get to that "Goal Number" I have chosen as my stopping point.  It is strange to think that I am only four pounds away from my freshman wrestling weight.  Yes that is right, I said my freshman wrestling weight.  When I started wrestling my freshman year I weighed in at 200lbs, which was the heavy weight division.  I was getting my ass handed to me because most in that class were six foot or taller and no less than 260lbs.  I spent that first month working my ass of getting down to the next weight class, which was 175.  When I finally achieved it I pretty much hovered right around the 173 mark for the remainder of the season.  Why did I choose that as my goal weight?  Well mainly because that was the last time in my life I remember being in such great shape, so it seemed like the best place to get to.

     Today I wanted to get a run in, but with my injury from my last run I didn't want to push it.  I decided to head to the gym for the first time since February or March and get my foot pod calibrated for indoor use.  The indoor track at my local YMCA is 9 laps to equal a mile and even though it is so much better than running on a treadmill but it can still get a little monotonous.  I walked a couple of laps to get warmed up and then turned my GPS off and linked my shoe pod.  To calibrate the shoe pod I first ran 9 laps at an easy pace.  When I finished that ninth lap I stopped my watch, which showed a final distance of 1.09 miles.  Through some minor mathematical calculations I got from my friend Katie's blog  .  I reset the calibration on the foot pod and ran another 9 laps at an easy pace to see if I needed to make another adjustment.  What do you know, it was spot on.  Each lap was calculated as .11 of a mile and the total added up to exactly a mile.   

     Now that my foot pod was calibrated, I really wanted to get six miles in for the day and I also wanted to see how the pod would do on an extended run.  I had two miles down, which left me 36 laps left to get my six miles in, well my knee / IT band had other ideas.  I was doing just fine until I got started on mile three.  I started to get light pain on the outside of my right knee again, but it felt like a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 so I continued.  When I got to mile 2.5 the pain jumped up to 4 or 5, but stubborn me wanted to keep going.  I stopped when I got to the end of mile three.  I just couldn't do it anymore, the pain was up to a 6 or even a seven.  It almost immediately went away when I started walking, but an aching pain slowly returned.  As far as the foot pod goes, it was pretty damn accurate after the three miles.  When I finished, the watch registered a distance of 2.99 miles.  If the pod stays that accurate throughout this winter, I will be a happy runner.

     As for the knee, I guess I am pushing myself to quickly since Columbus.  These little nagging injuries are starting to piss me off when all I want to do is run.  I am not really sure what I should do.  I am sure the smartest and best option is to just stop running for a while, but that is like asking me not to eat.       

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'M BACK!!............Almost

     So much for daylight savings time and getting an extra hour of sleep when you have a puppy.  Yesterday I had a really long day working a little over 12 hours and I was hoping to be able to sleep well into the morning, but Jedi had other plans.  We played with him for awhile till we could get him all tuckered out, but by that time I was wide awake, so no more sleep for me.  I took this picture of him just after he woke from his nap and it was so cute I had to share it.

     What a great run I had today and I owe it all to the clock that I forgot to turn back for daylight savings time.  I recently renewed my track membership at the YMCA and I had planned on going in at noon for an easy run and to calibrate my foot pod.  I got all geared up and ready to go when I saw the time on my phone and realized I still had an hour and a half till they opened.  I didn't really want to wait and it didn't feel as cold outside as it said on my phone, so I said screw it, outside run it is.

     For a cold day the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was shinning with not a cloud in the sky and barely a breeze to even mention it.  I was feeling pretty good, but I really didn't have an idea on how this run was going to go.  I planned on doing four miles and stretch it to six if things were going well and as far as my pace goes I though I would let how I felt dictate it.

     Within seconds of starting this run I felt like my old self again.  My pace immediately was hovering around the 8:50s without feeling like I was putting in much effort.  Once I hit the first quarter mile I told myself that if I still felt this good by the first mile mark I was going to go for the full six miles.  Surprise, surprise, I was still feeling good by mile one and so my run went from four to six.  As the run went on I picked up the pace taking the next two miles into the mid 8:30s.  When I hit mile four I was starting to get a little light pain on the front of my leg just above my ankle.  I slowed the pace into the 8:40s and then into the 8:50s.  The pain started to subside and I got a little over zealous and pushed it back up to an 8:30 pace for the last mile.  I got through it just fine, but sitting here typing this the pain is back and hurts when I point my toes and then bring my foot back toward the front of my leg.  I am gonna give it some ice therapy, rest and the next couple of runs I won't push the pace either.  After the run I stretched out and did my push ups, first set 40 reps, second set 20 reps and the third set 10 reps.  I think I am gonna try and hit 100 reps by the end of the year.