Thursday, December 27, 2007

I think I lost my marbles...

Sometimes in life because you are brought up in a certain manner, it is just what you consider 'normal'. It is the lens you look at your life through. And sometimes you don't realize that that lens may actually be a bit warped and maybe not so 'normal' as you once thought. Time away from where I have grown up I have discovered that the way I grew up may not be as 'normal' at times as I thought it was. Don't get me wrong, it was a great place to grow up and I have fond memories from my childhood, but sometimes it doesn't fit the 'norm' expectation sometimes of the rest of society.

My dad and I were chatting today as we went downhill skiing. I was talking about the nuttiness of the fact I had signed up for Vineman 1/2 ironman and the fact I do triathlons in general and how that is a little, how shall we say...not really of the 'norm' per say. But as we got to talking about some of our skiing adventures and other adventures I realized that maybe my nuttiness is more just a product of my environment.

As we talked, the conversation brought up the time when I was 12 and my home town was having freezing cold weather and had one of the worst inversions going on at the same time (where you basically don't see the sun for weeks on end). The only way to get out of the inversion was to get up to the mountains and go skiing as it was sunny up there.

It was a toasty -25 F.

Yes...minus...The reason we had decided to go skiing was that it was in the sun and out of the inversion...but seriously, I don't know what we were thinking. I think we took a total of 5 runs that day...take a run...go inside warm up...take a run...ect.

And as I thought through our silly antics of my youth, it brought up the time we were skiing at Big Sky in MT...I think I was 14 at this time. Now...i'm a decent skiier...i can get down most hills but my dad seemed to think a double black diamond was in order that day. Let's just say I learned how to kick turn my way down a hill that day.

Or a time when I was 17 or 18 and my dad had convinced me to learn how to wake board behind our ski boat and then somehow convinced me that learning to 'fakie' (this is where you switch which foot is in your non dominate foot is now in the back) was fun and me not being one to look like I couldn't try something new, did attempt such a move. I did such a bad face plant I needed muscle relaxants.

We also thought that waterskiing in April in a glacial lake in the mountains would be a good idea...we had a dry suit...we thought I would be golden.

This is the short list. But as we were talking about the 1/2 ironman and I mentioned that maybe I had lost my marbles...he replied, "To say you have lost them implies you had them to start with". Thanks dad. Pot calling kettle...kettle come in.

So there we go...grad school didn't make me go crazy...I was just brought up crazy. At least that is sorted out.

Monday, December 24, 2007


As I went for a 3 mile run today (quite painless during and after). I had this song appropriately stuck in my head.

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Christmas as is a celebration of Christ's birth. I am forever grateful.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm off! was a half day. Basically at my work if you chose to take the day off you have to take the WHOLE day off, but if you come in, in the morning, you get a half Nice.

I've been packing and cleaning to get ready to go see the my family and friends for Christmas. Back to the great state of Idaho for Christmas and New Years...should be good. Although during the packing fiasco I started to realize just how much tri crap I need when I go home. That added bonus of it only going to be between 30-40 degrees all week and rain/snow. How easily I have selectively forgotten what winter is like. I just hope I pack enough warm clothes. My blood is probably thin I'm sure I'll freeze.

But the fun part about Christmas is my nieces are 4 and my nephew is 10months...Christmas becomes so much more fun with little kids again. They are a riot so it'll be good.

Not sure how much I will be 'around' blogland over the next week and a could go either if you don't hear from me between now and 2008...Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I speak about you?

Well..maybe that last post seemed like I was out to try to 'prove' my theory on trigger points. And while in a way I was, I think I merely proved that I like the scientific method in most every part of my life. If I'm not sure about something...i do a little experiment. I found Nitsirk's comment about placebo effects right up my alley. And the truth of my experiment is that all it *really* proves is my own personal insanity on the fact I do an experiment on most things in my life. I knew Nitsirk speaks I thought she might enjoy my experiment.

At the end of any experiment in science everyone still has the choice to believe or not believe the results. The number of times i've read scientific papers and thought "that's a lot of hooey"...there are too many to count. Anywho...I was merely posting my 'results' from my experiments. Anyone is welcome to still believe its a placebo effect or a lot of hooey...i'm cool with that...that's how experiments go. But if you are a believer from my the book. Its a good 20 dollars spent.

That being said...I made a new friend today. His name is ART. ART stands for Active Release Technique. It's sorta like PT mixed with trigger point therapy mixed with massage therapy mixed with stretching. It sorta hurts...sorta like PT makes you wonder why you are paying someone to voluntarily inflict so much pain on you. But the most amazing part about it was the change in my range in motion.

The guy doing the ART on me, checked my hip flexors, double checked to make sure it was a muscle injury and not an injury in the joint, looked at my range of motion and then went to work. It was a weird experience in one way because he's having me stretch while he's pushing on different points on my hip and Psoas. I'm mainly thinking "owch...this sorta sucks"...but dealing with it anyway because that's how PT can be. And then its over.

I'm thinking "what exactly did you do?"

He has me do some stretching again...this this time my range of motion in my hip has increased by about a foot. I'm pretty awestruck at this point, mainly because I'm thinking...what did you just do? At the beginning of all this I wasn't able to pull my leg very far back (during the point of the stride where I am pushing off and my leg is behind me) due to my hip flexors which would translate into loss of power in a stride. But by the end of the visit, I had gained back a lot of my range of motion and my pain had diminished some. CRAZY.

I'm sure I'll be conducting an experiment with this, because that's how I roll.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Experiments with Triggerpoints my last post you would think that my pain went away and never came back again, but while my hip still hates me, it only hates me when I haven't been massaging out the appropriate triggerpoints. But it's still not 100%, sadly. I just posted on the first day I tried it and amazingly ALL went away after that first try. I still recommend it to EVERYONE.

To answer fellow scientist Nitsirk's questions on "is this a placebo effect", not a placebo. Why you ask? Because it has become a fascinating REPRODUCIBLE experiment. And us reproducible experiments. Although i'm not sure I really like *this* experiment too much because it involves me being in pain a fair amount before I can get the pain to subside by applying an appropriate trigger point massage.

Previous experiments (~ 4 experiments) have looked like this:
1)Went to spin class
2) At some point in future after class the hip hurts
3) Attempt to stretch hip, this doesn't seem to help much
4) Find trigger points (painful knots consistently found on muscles in the Psoas). Still feel silly for rubbing my tummy for something on hip that hurts.
5) Hip pain dramatically lessens.

TODAY...was a new experiment. This experiment was "What happens to the hip when I run?" (I haven't run in over a I was curious)

Here is how the experiment was set up today:
1)Go to the gym after work and sadly run on the treadmill because it is dark out and I don't trust myself to run 5 miles with the tri club. Also...Dr said to use a treadmill to try to lengthen my stride.
2) Run on said treadmill for 3 miles
3)Forget headphones for dreadmill
4) Remind yourself that you don't need headphones, you poo-pooed head phones for the first 2 winters you were in MA and running on treadmill and told yourself to get over it.
5)Thought of all New England souls on treadmills because of end of the world like snow storms out East and sent happy thoughts to them.
6) Ran on treadmill and thought what always comes to mind when on a treadmill "why does it seem 10X harder to run on these things than outside?"
7)Got bored so had to turn it into a tempo run just because time and millage NEEDED to go faster.
8)By end of run, hip hurt. Mission accomplished.
9) Tried to stretch out the hip...gave a few stretches. No help.
10) Laid on back, put my knees to the opposite side of body as painful hip. Found necessary trigger points on my belly and in less than 2 minutes I went from...OWCH to...mild pain, but now I can move and I doubt I'll be limping around tomorrow.

So...Dr. Nitsirk...I understand the concern for the placebo effect, and I myself thought the same thing initially, but currently it is a repeatable experiment. Hip pain...find trigger point and a dramatic decrease in pain is observed. Not 100% gone yet, but better. And considering I've been a bit of a doubter with this, I don't think a placebo works if the patient doesn't believe it will work. And considering I thought I was nuts for buying the book (but I listen to MD's when they prescribe stuff) and sillier for actually following what the book said to do...i don't think I would qualify as a placebo category.

And tomorrow the FUN begins. I have an ART (Active Release Therapy) massage with a PT scheduled. More fun with triggerpoints. I get the feeling I'm going to have some serious bruising.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook


Ever been injured?

Ever have a small nagging pain that sorta hurts but you don't want to see a doctor about?

YOU HAVE GOT TO BUY THIS BOOK: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Yes this post will be a shamless plug for this book but you have to understand where I am coming from.

So back in early '06 when 'Zilla was training for her first marathon, a friend of her's had referred her to this book. She gushed...i sorta nodded...she claimed it was better than sliced bread...i nodded again...i picked it up at Barns and Noble and read a bit in the store...I put it down...i thought about it some more...and then I thought about my non-existant bank account (as I was in graduate school at this time)...I thought "yea...i'm sure it is sorta a good book, but *how* good"?? I shrugged it off.

You see, I'd been down the trigger point alley (or so I thought). I'd been through two rounds of PT wherebye they dug into every sort of trigger point associated with an IT band. I 'got' it. Some overuse = some knots. That's all it is...getting those knots out. I grind my teeth LIKE A i'm familiar with 'referred pain' from these so called 'trigger points'. When I get an ear ache like someone hit me with a baseball bat, I know what muscles to go after. And the pain will eventually subside.

When I thought about trigger points, I thought:

"I 'get it'. Referred pain = trigger point".

I rationalized that there was an underlying 'issue' going on. The ITBS... was over use and I'm sure sucky biomechanics. The TMJ, I have some sorry teeth that decided that they didn't want to be the same height on either side of my mouth, which resulted in teeth not in the same plane...which results in me grinding my teeth. Fun.

THOSE trigger point related issues made sense in my little brain. But last week when I went to see the doctor about my hip injury and he said that I may have some trigger points that were related to the fall I had a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to be honest, I didn't buy it. There was no physical over use wear, like with the ITBS and the TMJ that aggravated some muscles so I would end up with a trigger point. It didn't make sense to me that by falling I could get a trigger point.

(It was like the hippie-granola 'sports massage therapist' telling me that the reason that my hip hurts is because I'm not 'united' with my body. She believed that my hip pain was due to the fact that I am currently going through lots of big changes in my life. (new job, new city, new life).)

BUT...just because I didn't really believe the doctor when he told me that I may have aggrevated a trigger point when I fell and hence the hip pain, didn't mean I wasn't going to take his advice. He is a MD and a PT after all. And just because someone can call me doctor, doesn't mean I know anything about anything. (it just means I know a lot about a tiny tiny subject that no one really cares about, including me...but I digress). I'm a good patient, just because I am skeptical (i'm a scientist...would you expect anything less?), doesn't mean I won't go and DO what is prescribed.

So i pick up the book and look up 'hip flexor pain'. The book describes what may have brought on the pain, as IF the person who wrote the book somehow witness my accident a few weeks ago. So that immediately got my attention.

And I'm reading about hip flexor referred pain and it tells me to look for a trigger point next to my belly button on the side my hip hurts. And what do you know? Sore spot that upon rubbing the knot out, my hip starts to feel better. But the next's not perfect. So yesterday as I dove further into the book looking up "hip pain", i see other areas of trigger points I should work on. And I go 'looking' for said trigger points (all on my stomach, so i'm hugely skeptical about this at this it is not on my hip),and today....... NO PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven't run in over a week and have only done spin classes, yet the next day after spin class my hip would still be a little cranky. But NOT TODAY. After finding all the trigger points associated with the hip...I am in NO PAIN!!!!!!!! Not even a twinge.

Referred pain is so weird.

I think every athlete needs to own this book.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Keeping it simple

Well I got all my Christmas decorating done.

Trying not to let the hustle take away from the meaning...

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 07, 2007


So wednesday I got in to see a sports medical doctor. Granted I had to plead "urgent care"...but the way I was feeling on Wednesday morning after the run I had on tuesday I was verging on "urgent care". The sucky thing about this hip flexor issue is that when it hurts...I can barely sit up in bed.

So I went to the doctor...and the verdict: apparently when I fell last month I triggered some sort of spasm in one of my hip flexor muscles that was already crazy tight. I had started with tight hip muscles and the fall has caused some spasming that may have lead to a pulled muscle in my Psoas and Illiacus and is contributed to some increase in 'clicking' in the hip. (which hurts) Since we are getting into Dec and my good health insurance that would let me see some of the PTs i'd like to will kick in a few weeks...i'm going to wait it out. I've made an appointment to get some ART (active release therapy)...i will do more yoga like it is going out of style...look into some acupuncture, try to get a couple of massages in this month and use the book the doctor prescribed on Trigger Point Therapy. We all need more self inflicted pain right? owch.

The doctor said I didn't have to stop running unless I was getting pain while I was running...which I usually wasn't or it was at the end of the run. My plan is to dial it back to more like 3 miles x 3 times a week and skip the group running. The 5 miles on each of the runs I've been on in the past few weeks have taken too long to recoup from. So until I can get this strain/tight muscle under control, i'm just running enough so my body won't forget how.

Hopefully we can sort this out asap...its freaking me out a little since I just signed up for a HIM...i know I have time...but the doctor did say that soft tissue injuries can be hard to recover from. AKkkkk

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Taco Tuesday

Today apparently is taco tuesday...and I did enjoy some with some people from the tri run I went to today. Which was good. And now I 'understand' the love some people have for fish tacos. I used to think "Fish Tacos"...gross...that just doesn't sound good to me. Now I'm like..."ummmmm gimme some of those Fish Tacos" and I just had my first ones, ok not first, but first GOOD ones. YUM.

The run...ohhh, running near the beach by one's self minutes behind much fun. But the only way to get faster is to run faster and challenge ones self. I'm kewl with that. (sorta). But the real reason I went was to see how the old Hip Flexor was faring. I had stopped running for a week, got in 4 (count'em) yoga sessions in one week...and tried to bike and swim instead.

The verdict: My hip hates

The main problem is that I signed up for the crappy health insurance when I started my job...and none of the main PT's that have been suggested to me work will take it. Double bummer. Sucky thing is if this had happened in Jan, insurance wouldn't be a problem as I would have the good insurance and could go where ever. I hate health insurance in the US. Don't get me started. I think i've sorted out how i'm going to deal with the is a little bizarre, but I'll still be able to get in (i hope). In the meantime everyone keeps telling me "hmmm hip injuries aren't usually the hips". Thanks...that helps me...ohnotsomuch.

And I tried out a Gravity/pilates thing at the gym this weekend. It looks a bit like this:

But while we were doing the exercises we did a lot of these:
and today I have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) . It feels like I got kicked by a horse in the sternum and my abs hurt when I laugh. I was going to swim this morning, but due to the pain the rotation and using my arms just wasn't going to happen. Such is life.

Well hopefully tomorrow I'll have more of an understanding of what exactly is freaking out in my hips. Hopefully.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The button is pushed

I understand and acknowledge the physical and mental rigors associated with triathlon, duathlon, or other multi-sport events, and realize that running, bicycling, swimming and other portions of such events are inherently dangerous and represent an extreme test of a personal physical and mental limits.

July 20, 2008

It s Dec 1, 2007 and the button is pushed. And while I finally sucked it up and knew this was something I wanted to do, I don't think that queazy feeling will go away from me me all training season. The funny thing is when I writing and debating about what HIM to do, the decision was made in my head. As I crafted that post I kept thinking " You are going to do Vineman 70.3". Maybe the race chose me. I don't know. I don't really know why this one. I don't really know anyone going to this one. Heck I don't know even know of any bloggers out there that are blogging about training for this one. So if you are training for this race or know a blogger training for this race let me know or if you have just read my post and thought "Maybe I should race this race"...come join the fun!

The interesting thing about a HIM is that since each segment in my head is do-able, the distance *seems* alright at first glance (stupid 'distance creep'). The only segment I haven't actually done by itself is a 56 mile bike (longest bike to date is 45 miles). So the distance is a little deceiving in a way because I break the whole thing down in my head and think 'well each of those on their own are fine'. And then I realize I will probably be out there between 6-7.5 hours and then reality sets in. That's a long time. I know I'm up for the challenge, but one must not forget to respect the distance. I'm also a bit excited too. New challenges are pretty awesome. Daunting. Maybe a little scary. But pretty awesome too.

So it's exciting. I know how to swim (basically), ride a bike and run...but there are other things that I plan to work on and learn this season.
1)I will join a masters swim team. Intimidating, but I will do it.
2)I don't have aerobars nor do I know how to properly use them (and i'm going to be honest...they slightly freak me out), but I will purchase, get my bike fitted for some, and try to get over the fear of them.
3) Nutrition is daunting, but I am already in the process of working with a sports nutritionist.
4) I will learn that 5am time of day that can be utilized while being awake, but that will mean that 11pm won't be available to me as a waking part of the day anymore.
5) I will try to surround myself with 'enablers' of this endeavor and try to eschew those with only negative words for my goals.
6) I will try to have as much fun as possible during training by meeting new people and enjoying the process of change that this challenge will put me through.

Now onto crafting a training plan.