Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dear Left Hamstring...Let's Deal With This Thing

This blue belt and I have become good friends.   Do you think Brooks makes water belts with their name on it? Who needs Pure Flows?  I could start a new fashion trend..heck, I could just start road running with it.  


Here we are again.  Does this photo look familiar to some of you?  That blue belt (Sorry Stephanie, I forgot I still had it but good thing I did), the pool...perfect way to spend a Wednesday night after your husband gets home from work.  So much better than running on the road and getting your run done outside.  Right?  Um, no.  But it's better than nothing.

I've gone back and forth about even blogging right now but I finally decided on Yes, yes, I should.  Part of the benefits in reading running blogs is reading about other runners' real experiences.  The ups and downs.  Not just the fluffy stuff.  The stuff we can learn from, gain some inspiration from, or just learn what NOT to do.

So, marathon training.  So far, so good.  This is the smartest I've trained yet.  At least when it comes to trying really hard not to do too much too soon.  In fact, I haven't really had any HARD workouts yet.  My training has been mostly easy base training with some moderate to moderately harder work thrown in the last couple weeks.  Nothing super fast.  Nothing that seems daunting.  All manageable.  And I'm determined to keep up with this slow and steady approach.  If anything, for the sake of being able to just run...period.  As I said before, this training cycle for me is all about enjoying the process and being able to run healthy. And that's the reason for some pool running last night.  And possibly today and the next.  Or maybe some cycling.

Tuesday proved to be a really great workout on rolling hills (and some more extreme ones). Nothing fancy or mind blowing but just another step in gaining fitness and carrying on slow and steady.  I did 9 miles with 8x1200's @ approximately a bit under or at 7:00 min pace for most of them.  All felt good and strong.  I had a friend to run with. Felt moderate to moderately hard on the last couple but all felt strong.   My IT band bruising hurt but nothing that kept me from running.  But that's where I think the bruising might have thrown my "Listen to your Body" philosophy off a bit.  Or rather gave my "Listen to your Body" Ears some little body earmuffs.  Hard to really listen when there is some other part of your body screaming a little louder than normal.  Similar to parenting three children with one VERY LOUD 3 year old boy...he kind of causes me to not always hear or be as attentive to other things in my world.  Distracting.  

I'm wondering now if the IT band pain masked some other tweaks or minor pains in my leg.  Right now, I'd like to say I'm not injured.  Pretty sure I'm in that little land right between healthy and injured.  That thin little section of stretch that too many of us end up failing to slow down in and then end up on the other side.  I'm hoping I'm not only not on the other side in the "In#$ry" column but that I've already made a U-turn and am heading back to the healthy side.

So What's UP?

That pesky left hamstring of mine is what's up.  It doesn't seem to be working too well.  Running without injuring myself yesterday wasn't an option for me.  Stride just was off.  Hamstring not firing the way it should.  Maybe tired?  Definitely weak.  And I can feel a bit of pain if I probe around in there.  So, I'm guessing it is a tweak.  A weak link.  A minor strain maybe.  That's where I'm wondering how to go about it without making it worse and still holding on to my fitness/steady progress.  That's where some of you can possibly help me since we all know we don't always think clearly when we are faced with roadblocks like this on our focused journey of marathon training.  I want to be smart here.  I want to keep running as we all do.

Some steps I can take:
Massage...self and scheduled
Rolling
Icing
Wet Heat followed by Icing
Positive Thinking and relaxation ...Ha!  This one is big for me
Patience
Exercise bike...this might be better for retaining fitness rather than pool running?

So, if you're reading, Hammy, this is for you:

Dear Left Hamstring,

As you know, we've been working together for some time.  You've proven to get me through many years of life feeling healthy and strong.  The past couple of years you seem to be slipping up on the job.  What's going on?  I hope that you can figure things out so that we can continue to work together in a happy, healthy manner.  Perhaps I need to take some more time with you. Or maybe some Hamstring Counseling to sort through some of these issues you've been having...I think they might call this special therapy massagestimultrasoundgraston therapy.  I apologize that I didn't get to your requests in time but I'm hoping we have cleared things up now and are on the road to a better tomorrow.  I value you.  But I don't enjoy this thing called pool running.  It totally throws off my winter luxury of not shaving my legs very often.  However, I seem to continue that trend despite the bathing suit.  Good thing there are many hairy dudes lingering around the hot tub area to take away any attention that might be drawn to my over grown legs.  After all, I'm sure you enjoy the extra warmth in the winter...right "Hammy".  I do hope it is still okay to call you Hammy.

Love, 
Me

1.  Any wise words of clarity for smartly dealing with this niggling, annoying, pesky, possibly tweaked, tired, mildly (hoping) strained, 34 year old Hamstring?  Even the mental aspect of this minor roadblock.  You know, the words you would have or would still tell yourself when you find yourself in that little strip of land between healthy and injured?  Before you went that one step too far?

2.  Do I partially blame my past two posts on "Injury prevention" for "Jinxing" me?  Ah, yes.  Note to self: Just keep quiet, hold your breath, and hope for the best. And if you do write about injury prevention, AT LEAST knock on wood for a couple hours perhaps.  Ha!

Amanda

30 comments:

  1. I have a friend who hurt her hamstring recently while training for a marathon, I even shared your "stand on your head, gargling peanut butter" recovery idea (which I see you did not include in the steps you took), she said she did have some reeces at home. She had to postpone her race, her and her coach have been working alot on trying to pinpoint what went wrong and how to recover and still run in some shape or fashion, he is telling her to use elliptical, but for every 2 days she feels no pain, she can go out and run easy, but stop as soon as there is discomfort. Just passing along what she told me. I hope the hammy feels up soon for you

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    1. Ah, thanks so much. And so funny...you're the only person that caught the gargle peanut butter strategy. :)

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  2. I think this is just a small bump in the road, it will be fine. I don't think I have ever had a training cycle without a niggle. This hamstring of yours seems to get pissed any time you introduce quality work. One thing I wonder is whether you are warming up enough? Doing those lovely drills that I learned from you last year? Those help me a ton, particularly during the cold months. As far as what to do now, I think you know your body best. You are not losing fitness by taking a bit of time off from running right now. I think the research shows that one loses very little by taking 1 week off. The fact that you are "pooling" and "cycling" can only help maintain that fitness. All the things you listed can surely help. One thing I can add is compression. I wonder whether you can wear some compression tights, and also maybe wrap the hamstring as well? Oh, and how could I forget, the kinsiotape! I would google kinesiotape for hamstring strain and then apply the tape (and post a pic:) Oh, and one more thing. When I had hammy issues I noticed that if I kept my cadence high and stride short, the hammy was happy. OK, done with the novel:) Thinking about you...

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    1. OH you have no idea how much I needed this AM! Thank you so much for these words. Hard to see clearly when you hit a bump. Yes, warming up. Good point about cadence and compression. And even better words to hear about the 1 week off and fitness. Such calm to me right now. Yes, I can tape a Hammy like nobody's business...ha! After a complete tear on my right in 2010 and tears on my left in 2011-2012, I spent many months with that hammy taped up. Bring on the $12 a roll KTape. I can even use two different colors and make it look cool. :) I'll send or post pics of the hammy taping. And compression. PUtting those on right now under my dress. Thanks again AM. Your comment here is my diamond in my pocket this morning.

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  3. My hamstring pain was solved in one day by my chiro- who adjusted my ankle and knee. I never would have thought it!! (I thought it was going to be my "next big" issue- and ONE day was all it took.) I hope that this is as small of an issue for you and that you feel 100% tomorrow :-)

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    1. Thank you! From past experience, I do think this is more than a one day thing. But perhaps a one week thing...this I am hopeful. It is definitely tweaked/strained...but hopeful that it stays minor. Just nice to have the support here and reminders to be smart! So easy to get a cloudy head and forget all sensibility. ha! So rest, compression, rolling, icing, rest, happy thoughts. Thanks for your comment. :)

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  4. As a person who had that whole left hamstring pull last March I will be honest and say it took a good 6 months before the aching and strength came back to it. I trained for my marathon wearing my thigh sleeve for every run. Mine was a 1st to 2nd degree pull. The sleeve helped support it as it healed, but it would ache from time to time. The fact you are running 7 minute miles is awesome Amanda. Your fitness is quite good in my mind, but I know for you it is not where you want it to be. Give it time. I finally started having less achy pain around November. Now it is more ITB stuff on that same side at times, but that is from the fact I changed my form up to mid-foot landing and following the Chi Running technique. Now that left foot likes to roll out a little bit, something I am working on.

    The things that really helped me are the PT exercises I was taught, increasing the amount of strength training I was doing (lots of work fixing the imbalance of my quads and hammies), icing, changing my form (no more continuous heel striking), and wearing my sleeve. Also I did a lot of rolling and stretching. I forgot I was getting older (37 1/2) and needed to stretch before/after I ran. Currently, for training I make sure I good weight room time and stretch good. Those two things have made a huge difference.

    Hope you are feeling 100% soon!!

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    1. Thanks Jolene. Still hoping it is just a little niggle and not a serious injury. Not running for a few days sounds like my best plan. Not doing anything really. Rest, positive attitude, lots of love. I've been there done that with serious hammy tears. in 2010 I had a complete tear of my right hammy...took a long time to heal. But where this blog was born. Then my left hammy has been on and off since. I should just be keeping it taped up from now on. Thanks again. Glad you are on the up and up!

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  5. Oh, Amanda! I am so sorry your leg is bugging you AGAIN :( I know what you mean about jinxing yourself too. I haven't been able to really do much of anything since I posted my running plans for the coming year.

    Patience. And trust. Those are words to live by. Love you!

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    1. Thanks for the love Marjorie. Yeah, the jinxing thing ...seems so real. ha! I know, silly but .... Sorry to you too. uggh! If only our bodies could just stay as strong as our minds. Patience...yes, going to take a few days of just being still. Trusting that will do the trick. Love to you!

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  6. Three years ago I had the dreaded Achilles act up on me. I was totally benched from running for SIX weeks. Ick, it was terrible. However, I tried to remind myself of these 3 things:
    1. You are more than running.
    2. You will get past this.
    3. This (like all things) is temporary.

    BIG HUGS!!!!!!

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    1. Rebecca, Thanks for these things. I guess now I have more time to catch up on blogs. And get my house ready for this move. :) Yeah, I've been out for a couple months. Hoping this one is just closer to 6 days. Am I in denial? Maybe but I am thinking positive here. IN a few I'll be soaking in an epsom salt bath meditating on running my heart out healthy and strong. Sending all those positive thoughts straight to the hammy.

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  7. I hope this is just a small tweak. I know how hard you have been working at not just training but training smartly!!! Hopefully a couple of easy/rest days will help!
    I know injuries are awful - I'm 5+ weeks into a no-run time because of a stress fracture.
    Hang in there!!!

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    1. Thanks Kim. Really hoping it is just a small tweak! Appreciate your words here. And so impressed at your positive outlook these past 5 weeks...you seem to be making the most of your time being injured. Thank you.

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  8. Oh my where did you get that water belt. I need one. I tried to pretend I wasn't injured for 4 months ran 2 full marathons and a few other big races and finally went to the doctor when my knee became as big as a watermelon or what seemed to be a watermelon and found out I have been running with a torn meniscus for many months. I have finally decided to have surgery and try to fix this problem, totally bummed because I am suppose to be in Orlando right now running my first ever goofy challenge but had to defer because it has gotten so bad. I actually wanted to still do it even if I had to crawl to the finish but after plenty of prayers I realized it just was not the right thing to do. But my surgery will not be for another month or so and I miss running so much soaybe I need to take up water running ! Thanks for posting about this, I am sorry you are having to deal with what you are dealing with but I will say a special prayer that things begin to heal and you can move forward with your training pain free.

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    1. Hi Andrea. Thanks for the comment. Good to hear from you. Sorry about your knee. Hope that is fixed and healed in no time! Congrats on your marathons. Well, the water belt is from my friend Stephanie. I stole it from her. Ha! Well, long term borrowed. Not sure where she got it but it works great. Water running is calming too. I think water is healing anyway. Good luck.

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  9. Maybe you just tweaked it a little? I have had a nagging hamstring/ITB issue this training cycle and I just back off of my training and it heals. I only run 3 x's per week. I hope it heals soon!

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    1. Thanks girl. I think tweaked is a good word. Things are looking up.

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  10. Next time you write about injury prevention I want you to go hug a tree. I've heard touching wood works.

    I know how you feel about being reluctant to share this one. I felt like that so many times last year. I didn't want people to think 'she's sick again' or 'she's a hypochondriac'. But it's all part of your journey and it's part and parcel of being a runner.

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    1. Great idea Char! Thanks for understanding. xo

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  11. I think you are doing just what is necessary to "nip this in the bud" and you will be back running in no time. Better to take a little extra time now than to regret it later, though, so definitely take it easy. And I can't remember which US marathoner had to do a huge amount of pool running in the weeks leading up to the marathon (or Trials, maybe??) but as I understand it, you can really maintain your fitness with it. As someone who has done quite a bit of pool running in the last few months, I'd have to say I am exhausted in the hours after a pool run even if it didn't feel too taxing at the time. I also like the stationary bike and wearing my heart rate monitor to push myself and make sure I'm really getting a workout.

    Good luck and keep us posted! xo

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    1. Thanks Kristen. It was hard getting my HR up on the bike today...at least up to 150...keeping it there was tough. I didn't succeed. but 90 min on the bike. Thanks again.

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  12. Oh Amanda I'm so sorry to hear your hammy is sore. Sounds like you're doing absolutely the right thing in dealing with it - hopefully this is all you need to do (apart from giving it lots of TLC along the way). Keep us posted and stay positive! And AM is so right a week off will NOT harm you. IN fact, the longer I do this, the more I think that sometimes the week off is just what a girl needs.

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    1. Thanks Sweet Petra. I'll keep everyone posted as I figure it out. I am hoping to be easy running this week. Slow and steady. :)

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  13. Dear Sweetcakes,
    It's all right to call me hammy, if I can call you Sweetcakes. That's ok with you, isn't it? We are close like that.

    I am so glad you are OK with just taking it easy for this phase of training. In fact, it makes me feel loved and special, and tingly all over. You can even let me be as hairy as you like. It gives me the warm fuzzies! Besides, if your hubby is OK with it, I am more than OK with it. And nobody at Brooks, or Lulu, or Lucy, or any of the other sponsors, needs to know just how furry I am, do they?

    If you're happy, I am happy. Graston hurts, but I am willing to hurt for you, baby. Just be tender with me on the long run. I'll respond well at the right time.

    With love,
    Affectionately,
    Your Hammy

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    1. Love this Sweetcakes! ha! Just what I needed to end my night last night. Love!

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  14. Sounds like you're playing it smart. Just take it easy and you should be okay. Give yourself and your hamstring some continued TLC and all will be great.

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  15. oh oh! Anna maria talking about compression reminded me of the hamstring compression sleeves we got for free in boston! remember? what about trying that? mine is really tight ...did you get the same one?
    let me know if you want it!
    I think you're being smart. just take it with easy, don't panic too soon (not that you are at all...but just incase those feelings creep in) and just keep doing whatever you need to do to keep moving, be it swimming, biking. I love you!

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    1. Thanks girl. I didn't get the compression sleeves...that was all you. I would love to try it. Thanks! Love you too.

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