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!


Anonymous said...

Hey Jim,

More interesting stuff.

Delighted to hear you got the Thomas Zudrell's sacro aligner. I'm really interested to see if you have the same results that I have had.

I've been using the sacro aligner every single night since I got it a few weeks ago. I have never felt so loose and least not in a long time. And it just keeps getting better....bit by bit. You're not doing traditional stretching but you feel really "loose." It may be the single best purchase I have ever made. I sound like a commercial. Big thanks to you.

It takes 13mins to do the whole routine and 10mins of it is just lying there so it's nice to do before bed. I follow it by 5-10mins of static back. I also throw in a few of the Dorn hip adjustments and the Z-health hip circles. After that routine in the evening, I feel so much looser when I wake up in the morning.

I'm really anxious to see if you'll react similarly.

Anyhow....on to you.....the 5K in 20:00 is on a trail right? Was the Thanksgiving race on the same course? Even though you don't feel right, that's a good improvement from last week. So at least you seem to be heading in the right direction.

It was once explained to me that if orthotics are they appear to be with you....they actually make your foot stronger. Rather, they allow your foot to get stronger. Hence, I do not think they are in "conflict" with the Nike Frees. I don't think your foot weakens and becomes dependent on them. I theory anyway....that you're giving your foot the chance to build itself back up again as it may be something like that. The orthotics you are using look pretty conservative and safe.

I've never had ART done by I have heard that ART is very effective. I think that's a good move. And you'll probably learn more stuff.

Those Nike Haywards look a bit like the Kantana (Katana?) Stars that I use on occasion.

Again.....thanks for sharing all these experiences...

Bye for now,

PS I've never heard of a person winning so many of these contests. Are you winning because of a particular talent?

Jim Hansen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Hansen said...

Hi Paul,
I am looking forward to recieving the sacro aligner. I ordered it last week so I am not sure how long it will take to get here.

The course last night was a changed from the week before due to a bridge being repaired and I am not sure if it was slower or faster. It is really a flat trail but it slows you down some. The Thanksgiving race was on the same trail paths but a different route.

That is good info on orthotic use. I figure at least they are giving the bottom of my feet a workout stretching and postitioning them better.

I am going for the ART treatment tomorrow morning. I have to go into Boston and it is a long way for a 15 minutes or so treatment, but I am hoping the doctor can ease things up in my hips a bit. I remember when I first went to him about 6 years ago and after the treatment standing and sitting felt so much different and better (the results were that immediate). A lot of people say that ART therapy hurts but it didn't cause me any pain. Maybe he is a good doctor at it or I am just tolerant. Basically they work on getting rid of scar tissue. The doctor holds a certain point and then I move my leg through a motion and I guess that pulls the muscle and the pressure from his fingers works out the tissue that is stuck. Of course you have to go back for repeat treatments (or at least the first time I went in I did). I had 6-8 treatments and they really changed the way my hips were working. I liked the effect they had on things. I originally went in because I had a knee problem (from running a 25 mile workout in Nike Shox-definately a shoe not made for running in) and my chiropractor thought I'd need surgery. Dr. Brady worked on my hips instead after seeing me run (his business used to be called The knee problem went away and I only get a twinge here and there when I stride wrong or am tight.

The changes from the ART treatment didn't last that long (maybe a few months) and I couldn't keep going back. I am doing so many other things now that maybe that along with the ART make make any changes last longer.

As for winning contests. I am just lucky lately! It sure makes life interesting. You have to have a form filler software and know where the contests are listed and then enter what you want (that take minimal effort). Someone has to win! I started a couple of years ago because with my job my wife and I have never been on a vacation together. Our 20th anniversary is next month and I figured the only way I could take her on a nice trip would be to win one for her. A trip to Hawaii was tops on my list and I won that just in time!

I'll let you know when that Sacro Aligner arrives. If it works as good on me as it does on you it could be real helpful.