Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Downhills and Uphills: The Millenium Mile

I ran the Millennium Mile on Sunday with my family. There is not much to write about as it was my slowest time ever on the course. From the first steps I knew I would not have an easy time of it. My finish time reflects how stiff and awkward I felt. I have had a couple of minor sicknesses that have limited my running (plus five days without electricity!). I also have not kept up with my stretching and other work. I have had a few good days of running lately, but mostly I have had days where I can't get things back into balance. I had been stuck for the two days before the race with my left knee twisting in and that lower leg twisting out with a weird pronation. Before the race I tried all my strategies but I couldn't get anything to get my legs back in balance. So I ran the race on twisted legs and hips and it wasn't fun. Even though it was a downhill race, I felt like I was running uphill!

After the race I went back to checking things out again to find out what is wrong with my body. Is it the feet throwing off my hips or my hips throwing off my legs? I went back to some pages I had bookmarked on the sacroiliac joint. I was reading through one page and tried this easy movement on both hips.

This is what I did: While lying on my back, I pulled the right knee snuggly to my chest to rotate the pelvis up in front. I held tightly with my arms around my knee and then pushed my knee out against my arms to cause the pelvis to shift downward in back of the sacrum. I tried to feel my back flatten. I did it 3 times for 10 seconds on each side. That is all I did except that I also tried it in the sitting position.

The site I got this version from seems to imply that the opposite side sacrum may cause the damage that you feel on the out of alignment leg. I also realize that this information owes a lot to Richard DonTigny's site which I have previously seen and bookmarked. Here are his exercises. Maybe previously I have tried too many of them or my body wasn't in the right mood for them to work, or the stars and moon weren't aligned properly, or who know why things work and don't work on my body?

Soon after this adjustment my hips felt completely balanced and free again. I didn't have the uncomfortable feeling of my hips being off and muscles in the hip and back pulling. I could stand balanced on my left leg. My legs weren't bent out and were much more even. In other words I was feeling great again. I couldn't wait to go running the next day and had a easy and quick 8 mile run where I didn't have to constantly adjust my stride. I kept doing the movement here and there during the day and while I was playing Monopoly on the floor with my daughter I tried it again. All of a sudden there was a very loud "THWACK" in my left hip. I didn't feel a thing but everyone in the room sat up and asked, "What was that?" It seemed that my leg (femur) had popped into place or something as it sounded like a giant Lego piece being snapped into another. I didn't feel any different, but maybe something got repositioned. It is just another strange noise my leg has made this year.

My hip still felt fine all day today. I ran on the treadmill which is something I find hard to do as it usually points out very clearly the imbalances in my stride and I have to concentrate hard on positioning. Today I just flowed along with the treadmill. The run was easy. I have no clue when my body will break down again and when it does, I probably won't be able to get it back in the same way. However the dramatic change between the the feeling of imbalance and balance lets me think that I have to target the sacroiliac joints.

I can stretch my muscles through resistance stretching, mobilize my joints through Z-Health, work on my strength and core, stretch my fascia through The Ming Method, and do releases for the leg muscles, but none of those worked so quickly to resolve the imbalances as that one sacroiliac movement did. I remember too that it was another stretch for the sacrum area that put my hips in balance after the Applefest Half-Marathon!

Now if only I could redo that Millennium Mile!

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