Sunday, March 25, 2012

On the Mend

Mike Place, 100 mile finisher, gives us
(and himself) the thumbs up.  Two days before
the race he was down with the flu.
So, it's been a week and a half since the initial hip injury (skiing) and a week since I last ran.  Oh, this last week has been a difficult one.  After having a locked up lower back (muscle strain, having run on the injured hip too soon after the injury) on Monday, I really was not able to do much besides walk the dogs on the leash down the block and back and lay on a heating pad in bed, so I started getting really bummed out and frustrated.  On Thursday, I was lucky enough to get a massage appointment with my "friendly muscle therapist" James, and by Friday morning was walking noticeably better (my friends at work told me so).

Maybe I was feeling a little too good on Friday, because on Saturday morning, at o'dark-thirty, I woke up to go out to Antelope Island and volunteer at the Buffalo Run races.  My hip was spasming right from the get go.  It spasmed most of the morning at the race, and I really felt like I was not very useful and wished I could have helped people out more than I did.

I did get sent on an errand in to Syracuse, Utah (the closest town to the race) to pick up more ice as the day was the warmest one we have had so far this spring, and runners were really starting to suffer.  Muscle cramps was the trend of the day, with a few cases of heat-exhaustion, IT band syndrome, and vomiting as well.  On my trip into town, I put the seat heater on high and was thankful to be off my feet for an hour and a half, even if a half an hour was spent in a line of cars trying to get through the toll booth back onto the island.  I had half a mind to pass all of those cars with my load of ice that was much needed by the runners (we went through close to 20 bags of ice at our aid station alone), but I reigned in my frustration and decided that we were all in this together (waiting) after all.

Great Salt Lake sunrise, from the causeway to Antelope
Island ~ headed to meet the night-time crew with
breakfast burritos from El Rancherito in Syracuse, UT
(highly recommended).
The rest of the crew was happy to see me when I got back to the aid station, as they were on their last bag of ice as I pulled into the Lower Frary lot.  Each runner (there were probably 200 through our aid station) got a minimum of 20 ounces of ice in their bottles or hydration pack, and I really fell like if it hadn't been for us (the previous station, the Ranch had run out of ice long ago) there would have been more medical incidents and more DNFs.  We were like an oasis in the desert and you could see the relief in people's faces when we offered them some ice for their drinks (in addition to cheese quesadillas, oranges, bananas, PB&Js, grilled cheese sandwiches, and other snacking items).  We seriously got a huge thumbs up from the participants.

So my hip was pretty worked at the end of the day, but a very slow dog walk this morning and a half an hour of home physical therapy, and it's starting to feel a bit better.  My back muscles are nearly normal after the massage from Thursday, so that is a huge plus.  I talked with one of the Sports Medicine residents yesterday at the race about my hip, and she kind of freaked me out talking about possible apophysitis and warned me against running or even swimming too soon after the injury.  I may be clear to start some biking by the end of next week, but I'm thinking about going to a Sports Med appointment and possibly starting some formal physical therapy if I'm not making a remarkable improvement by the end of the week.  Time will tell.  For now, I seem to be on the mend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hurtin' for certain

Nurse Franklin looking after me.
Well, I've taken another step backwards, instead of forwards towards healing.  After injuring my right hip while skiing last Tuesday, I was feeling good enough on the weekend to start running again.  I did my 5 mile interval run in the park on Saturday and another 5 mile easy run on Sunday.  By Monday, when I got to work, my lower back was feeling a bit stiff.  I decided to go out on my lunch hour and walk around a bit, to loosen it up, and returned to work in the afternoon with back spasms and pain that had me lying on the floor of my office with my knees to my chest.

By the time I got to the last couple of patients of the day, I couldn't even sit on the rolling exam stool in the exam rooms.  A couple of patients asked me if I was ok.  My nurse and medical assistant also asked if I was ok, as I had taken on quite a green hue in my face, I am quite sure because of the amount of pain I was in.  I was not ok, but I smiled and told my patients I would be fine.  I got a prescription for a muscle relaxant from a coworker and could barely stand at the pharmacy counter to pick it up.

What a mess I have become.  I don't remember ever being in this much pain, except for when I had my ACL surgery 5 years ago.  I wonder what has happened to my connective tissue and why it is all of a sudden turning into steel cable.
First day of Spring.

I remember about 14 years ago when I was working as a ski instructor and I had taken an awful fall.  A day or so later, I was complaining about how stiff I was and that I wasn't bouncing back like I used to (I was about 26 at the time).  All of the other instructors just looked at me and smirked, "Just wait a few more years.  It only gets worse."

And they were right.  I mustered the strength to take the dogs for a 30 minute walk today.  I felt as if I was barely shuffling along in the park.  I kept the dogs off-leash, because I didn't want them to yank me and disturb my already irritable back.  The consequence was that they both decided to go swimming with the ducks in the pond.  I didn't have the heart or the energy to yell at them to leave the ducks alone (no ducks were harmed).

Oh, gosh.  I just want to feel better.  I missed arguably the best powder day of the year this year and couldn't go skiing.  It's hard for me not to feel a bit sorry for myself.  Hopefully if I rest the next few days, I will be able to fully partake in the volunteering that I am signed up for at the 50- and 100-mile events out at Antelope Island this weekend.  I really want to be able to enjoy it and not be in a lot of pain out there, or have to go home early.  I was actually hoping to get a short run in while I was there.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Too much "fun having" and feeling it.

The last three weeks have been a little frustrating for me as far as losing weight.  The first week and a half I dropped some weight pretty fast, and now I seem to be hovering within 2 pounds up or down.  Still about 10 pounds away from where I want to be.  I haven't been able to exercise as much as I had planned, due to several unforeseen "incident" injuries (first the bruised heels from my ski touring incident, then a stiff neck for 5 days from a stressful Friday at work which was thankfully relieved by a couple of acupuncture sessions with Master Lu, then a skiing injury where I probably should have fallen but thankfully did not, because I probably would have either broken my nose or torn my shoulder).  Thankfully my injuries due to incidents are because I am so active and having what some might say is a little "too much" fun.

my dad (left) and his brother, ca. 1946.
family resemblance ~ I think I am definitely a "Berkel".
I "nearly fell" skiing last Tuesday, and really couldn't do much of anything for the next couple of days.  I was skiing groomed runs pretty fast and got one ski caught up in the heavy, wet snow.  I got twisted around to one direction, then corrected to the other direction (all while standing on one foot) and pulled all of the muscles in one hip and across my lower back.  Well, when I say as a result that I couldn't do much of anything, I still took the dogs for short walks in the neighborhood, and I still went to Girls on the Run on Thursday; I just wasn't as active as I would have liked to have been.  My hip and back were just hurting me so much, and then my stomach started hurting because I was eating so much Ibuprofen.  By Friday, I was able to go on a short hike with the dogs, and gained some elevation, but not really able to run the downhill.  On Saturday I did an interval run in Liberty Park which was tough (the first interval workout of the season is always a tough one) and my speeds were a lot faster than I would have anticipated.  They were right on par with where I was about 5 months ago after Wasatch 100.

My hip and back were definitely sore come Saturday evening.  So today (Sunday) I did an easy 5 mile run in the neighborhood with the dogs just to try and stay loose and burn a few calories.  Artie definitely doesn't like running on a leash on the pavement.  About 51 minutes into the run I was nearly dragging her down the sidewalk by her leash.  The last few minutes of the run were a struggle for her.  Both dogs are napping happily now.

My back is still a bit stiff, but feeling a little better day to day.  Hopefully with the next few weeks I can get back on track and exercise a bit more and drop these last few pounds.  Until the injuries happened, I was actually feeling quite a lot fitter and healthier.  Hopefully I can get back to losing 2 pounds per week like I had planned.

This Friday was also my dad's birthday (RIP).  He would have been 73.  It's hard for me to believe that 10 years ago we were up at Soldier Hollow watching the Olympic Nordic Skiing races, and at Park City watching the men's Giant Slalom, and also at the Olympic Park watching the men's Skeleton competitions. The nordic skiing was a highlight, because we befriended some German fans who turned out to be the dads of some of the girls racing, and they gave us their tickets into the stadium (we had general admission tickets to the course) and we got to watch the women's skate relay sprint finish.  My dad was in his element when we were watching those events.  What a great memory.  Bittersweet.

Monday, March 5, 2012

week 2 weigh in

Ok, so here's the deal.  After playing around with how many calories per day would keep me fueled enough to keep me from passing out, yet cutting enough (and increasing my exercise) to keep me losing some weight, I've settled on 1700 calories per day.  That's what my app on my iPhone says, anyway.  I plugged a couple of days worth of meals into a different app, and got approximately the same calorie count, so it should be pretty accurate.  I've gotten to like one app better than the other though, because I think the one is a little easier to manage, and the app that I'm not fond of told me that in order to lose the weight I wanted to I was going to have to starve myself at 1200 calories per day.  No way.  I would not survive that.  My friends and coworkers probably would not survive that either.

I've also kept pretty good about not eating sweets, although there is a chocolate-covered praline candy from IKEA that I'm really fond of, and last Friday after a sort-of rough week, I ate 5 of them while watching a movie.  Still, only 30 calories apiece, so not a total failure.

After losing about 3 1/2 pounds in week one and feeling half-starved, I've lost another 2 1/2 pounds this week (feeling less-starved) and am actually feeling really good.  Probably the fact that I did not cut out my daily coffee consumption has helped my attitude a bunch too.

Actually when I am exercising, I'm feeling "lighter" and things are feeling easier.  I felt really strong skiing powder on Thursday, even though it was kind of an emotional day for me (which I don't want to get into ~ and it doesn't matter anyway because things are pretty much resolved now) and felt super-strong ski touring on Saturday.  Skate skiing yesterday was super-easy, although I picked a route with nearly zero vertical gain (the Rail Trail in Park City) but did 10 miles in an hour and 20 minutes, which felt leisurely the whole time.  Then today, trail running after work I felt like it was super easy, peasy (although a little muddy).  I'm starting to think that 6 pounds lighter really does make things a lot easier on my body!

I'm also starting to think that I could get down to a goal weight that I haven't seen in nearly 10 years.  There's no way I'm losing muscle throughout this process, because I kept my mileage up this week and squeaked out about 15 hours of exercise.

So I'm going to keep at it, calorie counting, exercising about the same amount each week (around 15 hours, between skiing, ski touring, walking, and running) and I might even try to get a run-interval workout in this week.  I'm keeping in mind that the more I lose, the more difficult it may become to lose, so I may have to continue to re-evaluate the daily calorie allowance.  3 pounds per week is feeling pretty do-able and I really haven't felt this good in a long time.  I keep wondering how much easier my 50k run last month would have been if I'd started this process a couple of months ago.  Oh well.  At least I can look forward to racing a little easier this summer.

Photos this week are from ski tour Saturday with Brendan, Brett, and Kate, and skate skiing the Rail Trail in Park City with Franklin, Vernon, and Artemis.

feeling strong on the first of three ascents

Kate, Brett, and Brendan

Kate rippin' it Grizzly Gulch style

Kate and Brett ~ sandwich time

good dogs on the Loipe ~ Franklin, Vernon, and Artemis

me ~ happy on the Loipe in the sunshine

Vernon ~ tuckered out after 10 miles