Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something



On Becoming Flexible

I can be a fairly inflexible person, both literally and figuratively. I like to have a plan, and once I make said plan I want to follow said plan (as a matter of fact, I just ordered a planner). If someone or something puts a dent in my plan I don’t always cope well. My muscles it seems are much like my plans – fairly inflexible. It takes some time to work the kinks out. Motherhood has helped some since infants tend to not give two sh*ts about plans, but that doesn’t mean I still haven’t attempted to dictate feeding and nap times down to the minute.

After I injured my back/hip a few months ago one of the first things the chiropractor told me was that I was going to have to start incorporating more cross training into my exercise routine. I took a weekly yoga class in college that I really enjoyed but fell out of the habit once I graduated. The last thing I want to do is risk re-injury so about a month ago I re-introduced weekly yoga practice.

Power Yoga has always been my class of choice. I enjoy and benefit from the stretching and breathing but if I’m going to exercise prefer to participate in something that is going to increase my heart rate. (Plus its the class I took in college so its more what I’m used to.) After brushing the dust bunnies and dog hair off of the yoga mat that’s been sitting in my downstairs closet for years (and coughing and sneezing a few times), I rolled it out and scrolled through my You Tube video options.

My first attempt was…..interesting. While my imagination had me mastering the crow (or crane) pose the reality was after two chaturanga’s my arms were shaking like leaves. The good news was I found I enjoyed it as much if not more than before. The bad news is it showed me just how stiff and weak much of my body really is. Because not only did I have to hang out in childs pose during several plank to chaturanga transitions, for the next two days? I was SORE. In fact, when I returned to the chiropractor two days later with that report, he laughed at me (obviously the man has never done yoga).

Two weeks ago, Bryan lost his job. My first reaction was, like usual, to panic. Walking around in a ball of anxiety I worried about our finances. To worry and prepare some makes sense but the reality is we are not likely to go broke during this temporary bout of unemployment. Money is something I tend fret about, often unnecessarily.

Coincidentally (or maybe not), I found myself able to let go of some of these over the top worries each week while on my mat. I even found myself saying “well isn’t that what savings is for?”. As someone who wants to put money into savings and NEVER EVER TOUCH IT, this was a big forward step. In addition to that, I found myself become stronger and more flexible physically even with only a months worth of weekly yoga “classes”. Last week I was able to hold the crow pose for a few seconds and do several plank to chaturanga transitions without fatiguing. It takes less and less time to warm up and I’m able to bend and twist further into poses.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to change my thought processes to be more flexible quite as quickly, but I try when I start fretting to bring myself back to reality, or to put it off until the next time I pull out the (now non dust covered) mat. The injury that frustrated me to no end at first is working its way into something positive. Without it, my mat would likely continue to be a home for spiders (ew).

(On a somewhat related note, I’m tweaking my New Years Resolutions. Since running 6 half marathons this year is likely not possible, my new goal is to be able to enter, exit and hold a forearm balance in a controlled manner. Stay tuned for updates on this :))

On The Mend (Another Injury Update)

Last week I somewhat “graduated” from the chiropractor. Though I’m not completely done, I no longer need the spinal decompression table and visits have decreased significantly from 3x a week to 1x a week with the plan to decrease even further to 1x every 3-4 weeks after a few more adjustments. Slowly the work of keeping up is being taken from him and the responsibility is placed on me to follow the plan of stretches, exercises and incorporating more cross training.

12 weeks post injury and my longest run to date is still only a little over 5 miles. After my broken toe I was back to running 9+ miles 6-8 weeks later. I’m finding myself to be both frustrated at how slow recovery feels (knowing I’ll be lucky to run one or two half marathons this year let alone the 6 I’d hoped for) and hesitant to push too hard for fear of re-injury. A broken toe is a bit harder to re- break (unless I find myself face to face with another fever and late night bathroom trip blocked by a bouncy seat) than a joint is to…displace? re-displace? Whatever.

One of the biggest mistakes I made (though at the time I didn’t realize it) post partum was jumping back into running without consistently working areas like my abs, hips, and glutes. I still have diastasis rectii (split abs) and am not sure if that is something that will ever fully go back to normal. I assumed I’d be able to make a comeback without needing to worry about anything but how many miles I’m logging and at what speed I could run my fastest 5k. I can’t say that I would have avoided the injury altogether – both the chiropractor and I “blame” the weight and effects of a twin pregnancy on my hips and generally small frame.

I’ve reintroduced yoga once a week in attempt to increase my strength and flexibility overall. I’m supposed to stretch my pyriformis after runs and other times throughout the day. I’ve “cut” running from a consistent 5 days per week with occasional cross train to a consistent 3-4 days per week with 1-2 days of cross training (bike, yoga, rollerblading). I’ve been given a set of exercises to help strengthen the left side of my back in order for things to stay as even as possible, for lack of a better word.

I, and other runners too I think, have a hard time thinking outside the running box. Workouts are centered around going for runs, calculating miles and keeping track of pace. It has been a difficult habit for me to break out of and one that I honestly still need to work on. I have been good about incorporating cross training, but sometimes I have to mentally force myself to pull out my yoga mat and not plop the babies in the jogging stroller. I’m consistent about stretching after runs, but not as much at other times. I’m still only intermittently working my abs and if I’m completely honest I can count the number of times I’ve done the shoulder/back exercises on one hand. I can blame lack of time, I can blame the babies, I can blame exhaustion, but really all I am doing is making up excuses. Excuses that will only hurt me in the end. I’m hoping that by putting this out there will begin to hold myself more accountable.

I am no good injured, I need to remember that my body is not the same as it was before the twins and I need to remind myself that in order to stay injury free in the future, I need to be consistent about strengthening other areas.

I’m on the mend, but I could still use a little work.

Doing Some Adjusting (an injury update)

Man. If you’d told me this butt issue was going to turn into this big thing, I wouldn’t haven’t have believed you.

Well, maybe I would have, because that just seems to be the way it goes.

If I remember correctly, I left off after I visited the doc, who told me I suffered from a case of pyriformis (butt) overuse, stretch, take a week of and start back running slowly. If I didn’t tell you that part, well there you go. The problem was that three days after that not only did I not feel even the tiniest bit better, but I was also feeling more pain in my lower back. There is no way I could even think about running as I was still limping around walking. My super nice PT friend agreed to come over Thursday. After my explanation and some butt touching she agreed, gave me some specific stretches and said if It didn’t feel better by Monday to call and set up an appointment with the chiropractors office.

Monday rolled around and things were feeling better. I even had about half the day where it didn’t hurt at all. Then came Tuesday and in my rush to get out of the house couldn’t remember if I had locked the door. I jogged from my car to my front door to check and in that 50 feet my back started hurting again.

At this point it had been over a week since the run and after a couple of days of feeling better this was just frustrating.

6 days later I’m in the chiropractors office and I’m hoping to finally to make some headway. Essentially, my pelvis (on the right side) is tilted and twisted, which is causing twisting further up in my spine. The pain is in my SI joint. It’s difficult to see in the picture of a picture but you can at least see that although I’m standing up straight, it appears as though I’m leaning to the right.

not pretty
not pretty

He’s recommended visits 3x/week for a total 24 visits, with daily stretches and exercises that will increase in type and difficulty as we progress. He also told me I will have to keep up with some exercises (that have not yet been specified) even after things are “fixed” in order to avoid this happening again. Finally, I’m going to have to incorporate more cross training – swimming, rollerblading and biking are supposedly best for SI joint.

In his words, I should be able to get back to exercising “pretty quickly”. It’s the running part  I’m not really sure of. At this point I feel both relieved and frustrated as I just want to get back to being active and of course, running. At this rate I’ll be out  just as long or longer as when I broke my toe a few months ago, only then at least I was able to exercise in other ways after a couple weeks. Three weeks into this injury and I’m still sidelined from all exercise.



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