Friday, December 31, 2010

Kickstarting the New Year Early

I have kick-started my New Year a few days early. 2010 was not a very good year running wise, I can only hope that I can run in 2011. There are not many highlights. Probably my only achievement was winning the age group in the Moose on the Loose 10 miler which got me a RRCA state champion plaque. It was a very uncomfortable race for me as my hips were all off, but I fought back to pass a competitor to win the age group. I did hit 85 miles total in one week of running this summer and ran about 12 races in August, but by the end of the month I realized I couldn't run my hip into shape and have barely run since.

That means I have been eating a lot of bad foods, losing fitness, and not feeling motivated or able to do other exercise. I have been waiting out the medical care people to figure out my hip and stride, but patience has not helped. Every time I run a couple of miles, I feel it the next day with muscles around my hip lighting up like Times Square on New Years Eve.

This week I started doing something about it and I seeing if I can kick off the New Year and regain the ability to run, move, and feel better. So Tuesday, I started reading The 4-Hour Body. I knew I needed to change from the diet full of carbs and ice cream that I had been living on. I started cold turkey using Tim Ferris's Slow-Carb diet. Basically I am eating eggs, meat, beans, and veggies. You don't eat carbs from bread, cereal, pasta, or other sources so it is a about-face for my body. Fortunately, I am not really running so I am using this to drop some weight pretty quickly. The interesting thing about this plan is that one day a week you can eat anything you want and it doesn't even have to be healthy food. The body needs that jolt to keep up with the rapid weight loss. Here is Tim Ferris describing how to make a 3 minute breakfast. By the way I have eaten more spinach this week than in my entire life!

Also on Tuesday, I am finally getting some excellent therapy for my hip and leg. Back in November the physiatrist wanted me to try some physical therapy for my hip before considering other options. I went along with his recommendation for a therapist. The PT he sent me to was useless. I was getting basic old therapy, just moving my hip around and things like lunges. I have done this all before and the therapy wasn't changing even though I was going in twice a week. He couldn't answer any questions for me, was unwilling to listen to my observations, and if something puzzled him he just shrugged his shoulders. After three weeks I quit and asked the doctor if I could choose another therapist. I had an idea. After discovering the videos that Leigh Boyle was putting online over at Athletes Treating Athletes, I decided that she was the type of therapist who had the skills, creativity, and desire to help. I finally got my referral changed and ended up in Plaistow, NH for my first visit on Tuesday.

What an excellent choice. Leigh is a triathlete and understands the athlete's body. On Tuesday she worked for about an hour on the muscles of my left foot and leg. She is working on the weaknesses and tight muscles, and trying to straighten things out. She also uses the metal scraping tools of the Graston Technique and ART (Active Release Technique) and who know what else. My left leg was a bit straighter after one session. The next day I tried a treadmill run and went 3 miles. I felt much more balanced, but my glutes were still tightening up a bit. That afternoon the glutes got tighter and tighter and all around my hip started getting tight. That night I was up for around 2 hours trying to loosen up, and finally I got the left psoas muscle to release and it all went away. It is not going to be an easy fix.

Leigh wrote up a whole list of things that explained what was going on. Despite my abnormal structure, she thinks the calf tightens and everything else stiffens up. She thinks that my foot and lower leg is what is hurting the hip so that needs to be fixed first. I trust what she is doing and it is the hands on type of therapy that I have been searching for for years. So even if it is a drive of almost an hour each way to get there, I am happy to head out to Plaistow twice a week to get fixed.

Leigh's site is Athletes Treating Athletes. She is putting out some of the best videos I have seen for self-treatment of athletic muscular injuries. Check out the site. Look for the stretching and self-massage sections. She works out of Pinnacle Physical Therapy. I noticed a lot of articles on Dave Dunham on their bulletin board. Dave goes there for treatment and he is a master on running and getting injured.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Athletes treating Athletes website! I'm putting it on my blog too - there are so many great videos there.

Sorry to hear you are still struggling - hopefully 2011 will bring more running again!

Jim Hansen said...

Yes, those are great videos and she keeps putting new ones up. She is also a terrific Physical Therapist. I am going in twice a week now and getting my muscles worked on (all hands on) getting rid of scar tissue and tightnesses. I am thrilled. She sees the whole picture and not just the parts!