Monday, June 23, 2008
Winning when the Running is not going well!
I wouldn't really call it hitting rock bottom, but last week I ran my first 5k of the year and it went awful. I think it was my slowest 5k or 3 miler since I was in 9th grade. I just couldn't run smoothly at all. The last 5k I ran back on Thanksgiving was 18:09. Last Monday I ran 21:20. I knew after the race that I needed professional help (no- not that kind!. My hips were just so tight and nothing I could do would relax them. My right leg felt an inch shorter than my left and so after the race I put a heel lift in it to balance things off. I felt more balanced walking around with the lift but I know this is probably more a functional leg length difference than structural and I have the feeling that in the long run the lift makes things worse. So it was time to take care of things.
Wednesday I went to the chiropractor and had an adjustment. The last time I had gone was last September. The good news was that my back was in better shape than usual due to all the work I have been doing. Only a minor adjustment to the upper back and to a hip was needed. Friday I had my first massage since August. I also signed up to go back in 2 weeks and to continue to be consistent with this care if it works and keeps me loose and running.
I also ordered the Spynamics Sacro Aligner. It is a self-help tool based on the Dorn Method. Paul, who has been giving me a lot of good advice, thinks it works well for him and I like the simplicity of the Dorn Method so maybe this will help me keep things in alignment.
Tonight I went back to the 5k race series and ran a bit better than the previous week 20:00 but I still felt imbalanced at the hips. The massage has loosened up the muscles or ligaments around my hip joint but since the massage I feel tight (or a lack of movement)at certain points on the pelvis. It is an old familiar tightness that I have had off and on for years. The main thing I feel is that the left back side of the top of my pelvis (about three finger widths from the back bone is "stuck" or tight. It is the same point I used to lie down on the floor and push on to "crack" or release the tension back in the 1980's when my back first went bad while I was doing triathlons. I have the feeling that this tightness may have something to do with the psoas or hip flexor muscle. I am going to try to go down to Boston to see an A.R.T (Active Release Technique) specialist that I went to a few years ago. He got rid of the scar tissue in my psoas and other tight areas in that hip and I remember how things worked well again for awhile after that. Maybe he can clear up some of the issues with that hip again so that I can continue running properly.
I got new shoes in the mail: Nike Zoom Haywards and Nike Free v.5. I had a pair of the original Nike Free and I liked them for walking around in and I did some running in them too. They just plain wore out. I replaced them last year with the version 3 (lower heel) pair but I got them a bit too small and my feet felt cramped so I don't use them. I wore the Haywards for my last three runs. They are more cushiony than I like but they feel OK so far.
I also ordered two types of orthotic type devices from Orthaheel. One is full length for running shoes and one is 3/4 length for regular shoes. I have been wearing them for walking around in as they take some getting used to. The arch pushes up on my flattened arch and they do compensate for 4 degrees of pronation. Yesterday I put them in the Haywards for an 8 mile run. I felt more stable in them and had no problems. Tonight I fit them in my H-Streets to run on the trails for the 5k. They feel like they weigh as much as the lightweight H-Streets but again I felt more stability with my feet and I am hoping that they may help balance out my feet and hips. I am giving them a shot. At least as a temporary move they seem to help stretch out the bottom of my feet. I do know that using Nike Frees to strengthen you feet and wearing an orthotic type device because your feet are not strong are two different directions to pursue. We'll see which one wins out.
The running is going slowly compared to what I like, but am I getting hints that I should get back into triathlons? Saturday I got a letter that I had won a contest and my prize was a Specialized Hard Rock Pro Disc mountain bike. I have wanted a mountain bike for years, but could never see affording one. This looks like a bike that would be perfect for the trails around here. Today I got a phone call that I won a trip to the Olympic Trials. I thought at first it was the Track Trials, but it is a trip to the swimming trials next week which should be very interesting and loads of fun. I get to take my 8 year old daughter who has never been on an airplane. When I have nothing to do or am watching TV I do enter contests and so far it works out real well for me as I have won stuff I could never afford and vacations I could never go on. I won that trip to Hawaii in April and among other things in the past couple of years I have won a kayak, a trip to Florida with my other daughter so she could play soccer with Mia Hamm, and a visit to a Red Sox game and everything NESN last Spring with my son. I like winning these sports related contests!