Friday, January 25, 2008

The Psoas

My Psoas...I talk about it on my blog, unfortunately, ever increasingly. Maybe because I am CONSTANTLY reminded that I have this muscle. I wish I didn't think about this muscle on such a continual basis. But currently I am getting pain, right about where that arrow that says "psoas" is posted, it kinda feels like someone stabbed you in the stomach or that you have indigestion. But since I think about this muscle, and seemingly blog about it, and talk to my PT about it...the Psoas is just another topic that spins around and around in my head. I will have no qualms about telling anyone perfectly randomly that I have this hip injury. In fact...I tend to tell people in a more 'matter of fact' kind of way.

So when I'm chatting with one of my co-workers about my training for a HIM this summer and I say "Oh yea, but my psoas is giving me trouble". He sorta stares at me inquisitively. I...matter-of-factly...point to my belly button and say "PSOAS'...he laughs when he realizes what I'm attempting to say.

Now dear reader... say: MY PSO-AS...

It sorta sounds like: my- so'-as' OR my-sore-a__

I suddenly realize that my coworker thinks I'm talking about my posterior...I, being slightly embarrassed at this point (although, after crossfit and stupid power snatches and weighted lunges, that comment really wasn't too far off) and thinking the comment to be also rather hysterical, bust into a fit of laughter. It must be understood though, I live in 'Cubeville' at work...and when I get a good laughing fit...I-AM-LOUD. As... in hear me 5 rows over, kind of belly laugher, loud. Ahhh...a distinctive laugh...people have commented that they knew I was coming before they saw me due to it.

So me and my PSOAS still aren't in agreements with one another. And basically every action illicit a spasm. It's real fun right now. I've decided to ignore it...i'm not quite doubled over in pain. I'm just not having a good time either. One day it will go away...i hope.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm not sure what I was thinking...

So I just got back from a fun weekend visiting some friends that I had shared a house with when I was living in New Zealand. My old 'flatmates'. :-) One of them is American, and lives near Fresno, CA and the other one is over visiting from NZ for a few months and staying the long weekend prompted a trip up there.

Now can I say...I forgot how BIG the states are out here. I KNOW should be engrained in my little head. I grew up in know that state where it is possible to travel approximately 12+ hours (top to bottom) and not leave the state. I am aware of the vastness of these states out west. Its not like living in MA where you can sneeze and find yourself in another state, and then blink and be in another one.

So SD to Fresno area (or at least where I went)...just at 6 hours without LA traffic, 7.5 with LA here is where I am scratching my head. I decided to do Vineman 70.3 in July...i'm all signed up and everything...which is another 3-4 hours north of where I was this weekend. The whole point of this particular event was to try to avoid flying with my bike. ARG. I will have to sort that out. Lame. If I had contemplated the fact that it was going to take me 11-12+ hours of driving, i'm sure I would have ended up signing up for another HIM. is what it is.

Sadly this weekend I wanted to get a nice run in...but in my haste of leaving I only packed a pair of running tights. Errr...need a few more items to do any running there. Oye. I did opt for a nice 3.5 mile walk. The full on training cycle will come into full swing in a few I"m not too too worried at the moment, but I would like to see how the hip is coming a long with all the wacky PT stuff going on. Tomorrow...lunchtime run fun. We shall see how it goes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Running Gait

My PT is amazing. I am NOT a fan of having an injury. I am NOT a fan of going to the PT...but this little injury actually is not the worst thing in the world. Weird to say that.

I went to this PT last month for some ART (Active Release Technique). Now, I thought the man had healing powers because for a few weeks I didn't have any hip pain. It did feel like at ate a rock as my Psoas muscle was still spasming but no hip pain. But last week I realized with a mere 4 mile run...I was not healed and I should go see The Healer PT.

So today he had me run around while he videotapes me. Watching yourself running around on a video tape...all I could think was "I look like that". Anyway, we go analyze the videotape. AHHHHHHH essentially data analysis. LOVE.IT.

The other thing about The Healer PT, is that he is a great teacher. That is one thing I need from a doctor when I go see one. I need someone who will explain what is going on. I almost chose a path of medicine in my life and I still have a small nagging fascination with it all.

So we look at me running around, looking all silly. Conclusions:

-I'm a heal striker. Although he says, that actually isn't the worst thing in the world. If biomechanically you heal strike efficiently enough...basically strike with your body above your aren't too bad off. You can 'change' your gait...but there is some difficulties and potential pitfalls to doing such...and we all can't be Kenyans. For the moment, I want work with my God given gait and first make it as efficient as possible with my biomechanics and then see if it is really necessary to become a 'forefoot' striker. We talked at length about this.

-I overstride a wee little bit. And I have a short stride length and high cadence.

-I 'cross over' my midline while running, mainly with my right foot (the one that is having hip issues and is the tightest). This will cause adductor issues...which is partly contributing to my tight hips

-My left leg is doing beautifully. Power, push off, good stuff. We can still see effects of that hip flexor being tight, but it looks reasonably good.

-Now my poor right leg. Loss in range of motion. Losing my push off. Since I am not fully extending in my stride due to that tight hip flexor, I am compensating by arching my back (quite a bit), swinging my torso, using my arms, and rolling internally with that adductor. The hip injury doesn't help the situation, but since I've had all KINDS of IT band issues over the past few is increasingly becoming obvious that I have some 'issues' in that leg.

He again does his thing where I stretch and he basically pinches my muscles. I can't quite explain it...aside from it hurts. PT always hurts...that basically is guaranteed. He then tests my gluteus medius muscle by having me lie on my side and put the top leg up in the air and tells me to push against the force of him pushing down on my leg. We test the left leg (healthy leg) first. The verdict: Very strong leg. I roll over to have the other leg tested. He pushes down...I cannot resist him pushing on my leg. AT.ALL. Oye vey! He tried to 'comfort me' by telling me he sees all sorts of muscle imbalances with the pro triathletes that come in.

So...I'm excited that I may be sorting out this running gait of mine and I HIGHLY suggest that anyone who is having continued injuries should have their gait analyzed. It is SO helpful.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

crazy small world

Random small world note...I was at the gym this morning and getting ready to leave when one of the other woman in the locker room busts out:

You went to [very small liberal arts] University right??
(keep in mind...this is in Washington where near here). She even busts out with my name.

I sorta look at her. Fortunately she helps me with her name, because for the life of me I didn't know who she was. It was one of those situations where some of my friends were her friends in undergrad...and she remembered me through the few times we interaction. CRAZY SMALL WORLD.

The funny thing is this is the second time this has happened to me in San Diego. Before christmas I was at the store and realized I saw a woman who I grew up with. She had even lived down the street from me. My parents had told me she was in the area for school, but I didn't think much of it to be honest. And here she was...blocks away from where I lived...AND she lives right near me!

This is my life. I'd like to say that this is quite a strange occurrence in my life...but strangely it's not. I actually have a lot of crazy small world stories. People sometimes don't believe me when I tell them how 'wacky' it is I run into so and so here and there...and I was a billion miles away from where I knew them from...and then it'll happen again. It still weirds me out when it happens. But it is pretty cool.

more mud run

So the mud run entry has been finalized. I am on a team (finally). There was a little fiasco with finding a team that had enough women (we needed at least two per team). Company is sponsoring teams (score! save me 50 bucks). Although I realized the other day that I have to put all my running training this spring to the test as well as crossfit stuff because I found myself on the General Manager's team. Yea...don't really want to make a fool out of myself there.

Then today I'm talking to the GM, inquiring about the team name. He offers that I could come up with a knee jerk reaction (albiet in jest)..."i'm not in marketing!...hahaha"...(in my head as I walk away: nice one...i don't think you are supposed to say that to the G.M. ) So while sitting in a meeting this afternoon where it was much more fun to think of team names than pay any sort of attention...came up with a list of names. So...yes...i even got to name the team! Bonus points to me.

So...I am quickly seeing my spring training starting to shape up! I've found a bunch of 10Ks in the area, doing a 1/2 mary come for Vineman starts in Feb...yea...crazy. I can feel the momentum starting to build. I'm pretty excited.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Apparently I AM all things Massachuestts

First of all Big shout out to Angry Runner and Runner Leana for their stalla performances at the Disney Marathon extravaganza this weekend. Angry finishing his first marathon and Leana thought that hey...doing a half marathon the day before and running the marathon would be a good thing...and did the Goofy. You guys are Rockstars! Woohoo! As they would say in New England "Wicked awesome job".

Now one thing I should point out is I am not originally from Massachuestts. I grew up in Idaho. I went to undergrad in Washington state. I am a Western girl...some days I would say to.the.core. I heart the rocky mountains...those are actual mountains (ahem). Anyway, living in Massachusetts was a great experience, but aside from occasionally saying 'wicked' still...I don't tack an 'r' on the end of 'idea', I do say the 'r' in 'park', so I find it rather humous when people think that I am some sort of super-new englander.

Where am I going with this? Yesterday the Chargers won their play off game. Which means they are now playing the NE Patriots. Now you have to understand, I don't really own a TV, and I typically will only watch football to hang out with some friends...and at times during the games I have to remind myself to shut up...they do want to watch the game. To me the superbowl is the time when I can go to the grocery store and not have to wait in line (yes I do that) or go out for a run or bike ride and not have to deal with traffic. Last year I was flying back from a job interview when the game was going on and I couldn't have care less. A little sacrilegious coming from the fact I lived in MA for the past five years...but that's how I roll. (I don't even care for the commercials...gasp).

So I'm talking to my neighbors after the Chargers won...and they say to me "I guess we are playing YOU next week". Yes...apparently I AM the New England Patriots. News to me too. I kind of laughed and shook my head. I also realized that I still have my MA plates and maybe it would be best if I got those changed this week...

It was like this when the Red Sox were in the world series this year. I suddenly was the Red Sox representative. I think I watched a total of 10 Sox games on TV when I lived in MA (you have to understand I had never watched a full baseball game prior to the 10 is a lot for me). Yes I know...I'm the anti-sports fan. I blame it on growing up in Idaho. There are no professional teams in Idaho so there is no one to follow except the local Universities. And it has only been in the last 10 years that that has gotten more on the big scene in university sports (Fiesta Bowl that was craziness).

I'm not sure if I'm the best representative for all you MA-New Englanders. I don't have the accent nor do I watch any of the sports teams...but hey I still have my license...for a little while. I will have to transition here soon enough. sigh

Friday, January 11, 2008

I am IN!

YES!!! I am going to do the MudRun and BETTER yet...I get to do the whole thing too...AND...I still am a team player. When i read the website I didn't realize that by 'team' they mean all five people have to cross the finish line together...and all five people have to do the whole thing. It is not a relay. So in the name of being a team player and the fact it looks like my division is trying to put together a bunch of teams for this fiasco...I get to put my crossfit workouts to the test. WOOOHOO! I think I also need to sign up for a bunch of 10Ks this spring too...hilly ones would be preferable.

I've also decided that I could put out my own perfume/cologne line for the triathlete called "Eau de chlorine", cuz no matter what type of anti-chlorine shampoo you still smell like it until go swimming again. So if you are just not feeling the swim vibe just spritz a little on...and no one will be the wiser that you never made it to the pool. You still smell like Chlorox.

The other day I kept thinking "why do I smell like chlorine? " I hadn't been to the pool in a few days (gasp)...and then I realized.... I had just bleached the shirt I was wearing. Nice. I'm glad to know that I probably smell like cleaning solution to other people most of the time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Random comings and goings..

Random comings and goings in my life...some things learned some random observations, some are just some excited no particular order.

1)I HEART my new phone. It even has a QWERTY keyboard so now text messaging doesn't make me crazy. It is so flash.

2) I have had ROCKSTAR parking ALL WEEK at my apartment. Makes me feel, well...kinda like a Rockstar.

3) If I don't eat a full and proper breakfast...i am super hungry by lunch (even if I get a snack in) AND I am almost guarentee that I am way too hungry in the afternoon and a normal snack won't cut it.

4) I never win at the vending machine. If I try to buy something that is lightweight (not calorie wise...just packet wise) M&Ms...they freaking ALWAYS get stuck.

5) Being clever and buying something else out of said vending machine to try to get unstuck M&Ms rather than buy the second packet of M&Ms (you know...trying to use another product to knock the other one down) ..never works for me. Yes, I ended up with three things of candy this afternoon. (Stuck M&Ms, candy bar that was supposed to knock down stuck M&Ms and then another packet of M&Ms so that would end up with both packets)No I did not eat them all. I only ate the M&Ms...but after that fiasco they really weren't as tasty and I felt like a moron.

7) I think not drinking enough water may be contributing to my insomniac comings and goings. The experiment is in its early stages but so far my hypothesis of drinking the proper amount during the day might be correlated to my ability to stay asleep all night(I go to sleep fine, but then wake up at 4am). If proved true...that's so weird.

8) I suck at the rings.

9) The bummer thing about hypothesis in experiments in the lab are that they are merely hypothesis...a null answer still tells you something, but having a proven hypothesis is so much more fun.

10) My venture into Crossfit has almost convinced me to do this 10K obstacle course in June. I figure by June I should be able to heave myself over a wall enough to make this not the most embarrassing event in history for myself. Although right now I am in a delimma and torn between being part of a team or just doing it on my own. I feel like a jerk and a non-team player by wanting to do it on my own, but at the same time...i think i could do 1/5 of the race right now...and by pushing myself to do the whole thing that would be a better goal.

Those are the random ramblings of my little brain.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More fun

Ohhhh another Crossfit excursion (2 Fundamental classes down...6 to go until I'm in the real deal of Crossfit with workouts of the day). So basically in these first 8 classes they teach you how to do everything properly. You practice proper form a lot and most people don't worry too much about the weight of stuff at the moment. So I got to learn how to deadlift properly (which is actually an incredibly useful and proper way to lift things in day to day.), shoulder press, and do a push-press. Our workout ended up being a 400y run, squats, deadlifts, and pushpresses (15-12-9). All in all...pretty good. Since I picked weights that were more on the 'manageable' side(read: I should have said "sign me up" when she asked if I wanted more weight for the deadlift)...i actually don't think I'm going to be sore. But lately I have been misjudging pretty much everything and everyone in my life, so if I can't get out of bed and walk tomorrow I wouldn't be that surprised. As for last week...I was hurting a few days there...but not too bad. So far i'm actually having fun and I'm doing weights so it is all good.

Sadly over the past week, my hip is starting to lock up again and the blissful running with out pain afterwards is coming to an end. It doesn't hurt as much as before...but I'm feeling it again. I have an apt with a PT next week set up. Hopefully he will set me all right as he did last time. He was a miracle worker.

All in all, doing well...having a little trouble getting into the pattern of early AM workouts. Working on that, but also fighting insomnia since i moved here...which you would think the two would work well together...but strangely don't. Frustrating.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


So...I think i'm being all 'clever' in my last post and saying how to go about sticking with an exercise program. I got a little high and mighty there...this is how other people should do things...start with a commitment to one month and then move to two.... bla.bla.bla. And now I have to eat my words. I have to enroll in my own stinking program. Nice going.

I'm fine doing and sticking with copious amounts of cardio. I've gotten to a point where that is something I enjoy if not love at times. But that's it...I do cardio...I may do yoga 1x a week...and I'm done after that. Weight training? No...that is boring. But here's the problem, I know I need core strength...I know I need strength that is actually useful...but I.HATE.WEIGHTS. Whew...i said it...that was cathartic.

I had thought of hiring a trainer to help me, but he annoyed me even before I met the guy. He called me four times during the course of one day....hello...i'm working! That may have been why I 'fired' him...even before he had the chance to introduce me to boring old weights. Sorry buddy.

Recently reading Angry's blog he's been ranting about 'cross fit this' and cross fit that. My response to the bizarro workouts"cross-who-what"? Being the ever hoarder of information (I blame the scientist in me) I set to task to figure out what the heck he was talking about. All he made mention of was pullups, push ups...deadlifts. At first glance I way. But then I looked at their website there was mention of things like 'the rings', hand stands and box jumps...and the kid in me came out. You get to hang on stuff...and jump on least it sounded like fun.

So...i've decided to take my own advice and give this thing a go. Actually before they allow you to go to classes you have to learn the proper technique for 8 sessions (at most 2x a week) I pretty much get 8 one-on-one sessions which comes to a month and then...they give you 2 free months after that for doing the 8 sessions!Oh wait...that means I commit to one month...and then I have two more months. words are echoing in my head.

So tonight my first work out was supposed to be 3 sets of the following: Burpees, box jumps and kip-ups with reps of 21, 15, 9. Me lacking all kinds of strength and rather wimpy at times...the woman taking me through the crazy reps had to change them down to 15-12-9.

Me: what's a burpee?

Her: sqat down, put your hands on the ground, jump back into a push-up position, do a push up, jump back to a sqat and then jump up. (Yes...i had to do girly push-ups.)

Box jumps: Let's just say my box jumps did not look like this guy's. I didn't have to jump so high either...nor was I having quite as much fun as him. In fact the box they gave me intimidated me enough that I was afraid I was going to just jump and fall on the thing. So she changed the jump to a step-up. (I do have to say this... the woman who is working with me is really nice and encouraging and they are completely willing to modify whatever so that you have proper form while you work towards getting the strength to do things).

And then kip-ups...a modified pull up...we had to modify it so much that I ended up standing on one of the box jump thingys and would 'swing' (to get the feeling), then jump on the up swing and push myself away. Yea...I felt like a dork.
I did not look at all like this lady:

I couldn't even do them with a rubber-band assist.

It was pretty much 14 minutes of torture. I thought it took me way longer than that. The trainer people said I had a great time for my first go at that. Sure...i bet you say that to everyone. It took my arms at least 20 minutes to stop shaking. I hope I can move them tomorrow. day...i will be able to do burpees without girly day I will be able to actually jump on the stupid box for box day I will be able to do both a kip up and 21 of a row. One day...

January 2nd

Ahhh...January 2nd...the day that so many people start their New Year's resolutions. And its that day at the gym where those of us who have been regular time members get crowded out of everything. I walked into my gym yesterday to see that every.single.cardio.machine was taken. Fortunately I was there for a spin class. Unfortunately I got stuck sitting next to Mr. sing-along-with-the-music...that was obnoxious. I was about to feign "this bike cleat doesn't work right"...and move, but I just dealt with his insanity. Getting a bike in spin class was a little harder than it had been, but the gym is supposed to get new bikes soon...i sorta am hoping they won't come in until Feb. so I don't have to fight with all the new year's resolution-ers. I know that is a mean thing to say.

Making a new years resolution of 'getting fit' or 'losing weight' is a good thing. In truth I feel bad for those that won't stick with it and I wish there was someway to encourage more people to get out and I dreamed up with a new 'latest' fad of exercising. I call it the "one month resolution".

My new 'latest fad exercising regime' would look like this...have people commit to one month of exercise. If they are new to moving around...then they should only commit to 2 days a week x 20 mins. If they have been exercising off and on, but are having trouble sticking with it...3 days a week x 20 mins. Easy huh. After a month, the people get evaluated for how they are doing and sticking with the regime and then have them commit to two months. Some of the 2x a week-ers will go up to 3x a week and some of the 3x a week-ers will go up to 30 mins...depends on how they are doing...ect. By the end of these two months the new to exercisers will have finished up 3 months. And studies show that it takes a minimum of 6-12 weeks to make a new habit. At this point, depending on the client, they will commit to another 2-3 months...again their goals will be assessed as well as their ability to stick with the amount they are exercising.

It is a reasonable commitment, gets people moving, keeps people checking in with others, and will get people healthier. Only snag is that it won't deliver the high potential for rapid weight loss. Which in the long run, slow weight loss is the best way to keep weight off. But it is a little hard to sell to our instant gratification society.

"Here's a program. Almost guaranteed that in a year you would still be probably won't lose rapid weight...but you will lose it slowly and keep it off".

Sigh...not many people are willing to face the fact that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to do so slowly.

On my own training note, running is going very well. The hip endured a 6 mile run on sunday. I even had an avg 10mpm pace...with a couple of 9-9:30 miles mixed in. WOOHOO. Hip didn't hurt afterwards...but I know something is still 'off'. While my hip didn't hurt during or after, i could feel a trigger point in my psoas tightening up. By the end of the run it felt like I had eaten a rock. Not really the best nutrition for us endurance athletes. Lots of minerals and all...but no carbs. I will have to see when I can get in to get some ART done again. I'm totally sold on it and my new insurance card came in the I can ditch the crappy insurance and get the PT I need. Yea.