Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Issues Continue

Alright, so while I made mention of finishing the training week last week, one thing I didn’t mention is that my leg was still having issues. I haven’t said much about the true nature of the problem and I thought maybe blogging about it might help.

Probably about 10 years ago, maybe more, I noticed an issue with my right hip. It was a problem mainly when it comes to sleeping. I would lay on my side and it would bother me. Not so much pain as it was just “uncomfortable”. Also on long drives, particularly when I am driving, that area would bother. It was basically in my sciatic area, although it was not something easy to define. I had seen a doctor for it, and she told me it was bursitis. I lived with that for a long time. Then in 2001 I finally saw a PT. It was convenient (at the place I worked) and free…so that worked. He did a fantastic job. He worked it with an ultra/sound, he had me doing exercises and he lectured me on all kinds of “bad behavior” (like crossing legs and not having good posture on the elliptical). He also got me to start running. He kept pushing me to run, I told him it bored me on the treadmill as I liked reading on the elliptical, he suggested books on audio…I thank him much! (and wish I knew where he worked now as I would see him again even having to pay for it) I stopped seeing him unfortunately and hadn’t quite been fully healed and of course I had regression.

I started in a new job and decided to see another PT and get it adjusted. Well, this PT was awful. She just had me do resistance exercises with her and a few on my own, didn’t help much and I stopped after a few sessions as it wasn’t worth it.

Chiropractic had been suggested to me as well, but I was leery about it. I finally had a recommendation for one that insurance covered and I went to see him. He helped some, but it still didn’t quite get what the first PT had done. Then I was having some issues with my left IT Band (remember, it was my right hip/sciatic area that was the problem, which makes sense to a degree that it's the left area that has more problems, oppposites and all) and I went to see another Chiropractor who also provides active release therapy. My insurance didn’t cover him but I thought it was worth a try since he was highly recommended. He helped some, but it still didn’t fully take care of things. Last I saw him was in 2005. After Chicago I took time off, relaxed running wasn't sure about another marathon, but finally decided maybe and got more serious and into building up again.

I trained really well, really hard in early 2006 and everything felt fantastic almost EVERY run…very few bad runs and I hated rest days because things felt so great. I ran my marathon PR in June 2006. Just before my run, things were feeling a bit tight, but nothing major. I saw a massage therapist who had been recommended just a few days before my race and everything was great race day. I took a bit of rest, probably not enough though, and started up training for Marine Corp in October 2006. Goal was getting a BQ since I had been so close without actually shooting for it in June…anyway, things bothered me all that training, things were tight (all on the left side) and it just never felt great. I saw the massage therapist again and this time it wasn’t quite so great. That run was so so, but fell far short of my goals (I was 2 minutes ahead of pace at the half and then finished in 3:56).

Since October runs just haven’t been great. I run, and there are maybe a few that have been OK, but everything feels so tight most times. My glute is the biggest issue. Both sides have tightness, but the left is by far the worst and sometimes causes issues down my left leg. Shorter runs aren’t terrible, but longer runs (at least over 10 miles, the 15 this weekend was a part problem) really cause an issue of tightness all the rest of the day. I’ve had massage done on it, nothing consistent though and I just don’t know what to do about it. Another Chiro has been suggested and I’m willing to do that, but need to wait till January due to insurance things (I’m on a deductible plan again and if I’m going to be spending a lot I need to wait till I change to the lower deductible) to try it. I think getting consistency in massage work would be part of it. I might have to break down and start getting a massage on a once a week basis to try to get it loosened up...maybe more…and yes, I have someone that can help with that, unfortunately it being his regular job, I don’t feel right asking him for one. If it’s offered, I’m always willing to take him up on it, but the inconsistency in the timing of when it can be worked on, and the fact that I’m just not one to ask for help (I’m the one that if someone asks what I’m doing on Saturday and I am…oh say painting, and they ask me if I want help, I’d say sure, but if they say hey, maybe we can do something later in the day, I’d never suggest hey, if you help me, I can meet up with you sooner as it will be done sooner, just not good about asking for help as I hate to inconvenience people). I might need to find money in the budget to actually buy a massage package…but I am just trying to figure out if that will help or not. I can’t figure out what else might be different in my training from last spring that felt so great all the time and worked really well to what is going on now…what did I do…I’ve had suggested that the “injury” needs to be allowed rest (I couldn’t take a whole week off, but I did take 5 days in a row off and that didn’t help). I just can’t call it an injury as there isn’t something that caused it, it’s something I can run with, and it isn’t consistent in what is tight and/or sore and how sore and/or tight it feels all the time.

One last suggestion I had, (after yesterday stating that I might not be running the 25K that I just announced) but one person I thought could be there to watch can’t be, my bad on counting weekends and dates wrong, and the fact that I can’t do any speed work and I just know it’s not going to be a great run with the issues going on…anyway, the suggestion was to stop running and bike instead…OK, I was probably rude in the way I responded, or stubborn or what not, but I’m a runner. I’m not a biker. I don’t care much for biking. It’s harder for me to bike than it is to run (seriously, my legs hurt and I just can’t seem to go very far, 20 mile run, no problem, 20 mile bike ride, you’re kidding right?) and I just don’t get the satisfaction from it. Bike ride for enjoyment? I don’t get it…to me it’s a way to get from point A to point B without a car and faster (and less sweaty) than a run. Also, I’d have to spend twice as much time biking as I do running to burn the same amount of calories and part of my reason for running is to keep weight down and/or lose weight…I just don’t know what to do anymore…and it makes me upset. I remember great runs. I remember the euphoria, even in the most unfavorable of conditions, and I miss it. I miss it very, very much…


Annette said...

Based on my past injury issues, it sounds like you may have a hip alignment issue, or a strength/endurance imbalance. Try isolated hip exercises on each side. You may discover where you are weaker and be able to work on it.

Firefly's Running said...

I agree with Annette. I sounds like the same issues that I was dealing with the beginning of my running career. Chiropractor helps with that along with some strengthening exercises.

JustRun said...

I've just had time to really sit and read this and think about it... the first thing that comes to mind is strength training. It seems to me, to put it simply, that there might be a balance issue. At one time or another, maybe you compensated for pain or injury and the muscles, well they changed with that compensation.

The main reason I think of this is because this is just what happened to me and weight/strength training and stretching have been the only long-term things that have helped.

Nat said...

I'd send you to my old PT but that won't do you any good :) I agree with the weight training - it does sound like a muscle strength imbalance to me.