Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retail Therapy?

Oh my goodness! Has it been one of those weeks, or what?! I thought getting over the hump would mean smooth sailing for the rest of the week, but that is just not the case!

This afternoon I took care of a couple things on my shopping list that I have been putting off forever. I am not a big shopper and find no fun in shopping. No fun what-so-ever. Maybe I would find fun in it if it were someone elses money. I am an in-and-out type of girl and when there are things I need to purchase, but get kind of spendy, I keep putting them off.

However, despite being completely overwhelmed at work and busy with paperwork in the evenings, I managed to head over to the mall today and scratch those two items off my list... and then some. Remember, I am not one to get a thrill out of shopping and don't get the idea of retail therapy, but the deals I came across couldn't have been better!

I walked out of there with a cute pair of Bandolino low cut black boots with an extra 15% off and a butt load of make-up. With my make-up purchase I got a lot of things free, including the Macy's Beauty box that has a lot of free samples as well!

Then, when I got home, I found a $15 A-List giftcard for the Express in the mail. Next thing on my shopping list.... new jeans!

Maybe there's really something behind this "retail therapy" that I'm missing out on. No, because then I remind myself of the extra bills, and it's so not worth it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Running again...

After an extremely busy workday, I couldn't think of a better way to blow off steam than by hitting up BodyPump class at the Y. Yeah, it was one of those days. To make things interesting, I increased my weights on the barbell and pushed myself hard on all lifts, squats, and lunges. I love that class and highly recommend it to anyone who's gym offers a similar class!

Asside from BP, I am back in the running world again! Slowly but surely. I think the combination of doing the PT exercises a few times a week, incorporating BP into my schedule once or twice a week, and keeping up with my biking and swimming, my legs are getting stronger!

I have run 5 times since my PT session a few weeks ago. These runs have been very short and very slow, ranging from 1 mile to 3 miles. All runs have been on a treadmill with a 1% increase, wearing my orthotics. I'm just not ready to push myself too hard... too fast. But, I am truely grateful that I am able to do some running, even if it is slow ... and I will continue to pay no attention what-so-ever to the finish time....

baby steps...

baby steps...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vote for Amanda!

I just had to dedicate a full post to this lovely lady, Amanda! Sam-e from Nature Made is looking for a writer for their blog, and I think she is the perfect match!

She upbeat, all the time! I absolutely LOVE her Gratitude Journal. If that isn't enough, she likes to share things she loves with everyone with giveaways!

Now, she needs YOUR vote! So, go over to THIS SITE and vote now! Today, tomorrow, and the next! You can vote every day!

Vote for Me
Good Mood Gig from SAM-e


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weekend is almost upon us!

Yesterday I got my flu shot and today my arm is extremely sore. She gave it to me in my right arm, since I am right handed, with the idea that using my right arm more would keep it from getting sore. Not so much. Oh well, let's just hope I don't get the flu. We have so many kids home sick with the flu already, probably averaging 5-7 kids from each classroom. It's crazy.

Today I got in another run. Only 1 mile, but it was a glorious pain-free run. I want to make sure I am taking baby steps, working my way back into running again. It feels so goood!

Tomorrow I am heading to GF for cousin's weekend.... spending the weekend with one of my sisters, and 4 of our cousins (which are two sets of sisters)! It should be pretty fun. In the midst of the weekend up there, my sister and I snagged a couple hockey tickets from Dad and look forward to cheering on the Sioux as they take on our rivals - MN Gophers!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Testing .... testing ....

My plans for this evening was to take full advantage of my bike on the trainer. You see, the temps dropped to the thirties this weekend. I spent a good amount of time cleaning up the spare room (again... how does it get so cluttered when it's not being used?), setting up the old 19" tv my dad gave me (that needs a VCR to work), and the trainer with the bike on it.

So, when I got home from work around 430, I quickly changed into my cycling gear and was ready to pump out a good hour while catching PTI & SportsCenter. :) About 10 minutes into my ride it became very difficult to pedal, so I loosened the tension on the trainer. That didnt' make a difference and the gears started to grind and it became harder and harder to ride. What the heck?

Obviously I had to can my ride. I was too frustrated to run it over to the LBS today, so I will have to take care of that tomorrow. I ate dinner and pouted over my unsuccessful ride.

Two hours later I changed my attitude and headed for the gym. I needed to get in a workout. NEEDED BADLY.

And I ran.... the first time in two weeks and second time in about 5 weeks. Yes. I. RAN.

Now, I only ran about 1 mile total, with a lot of walking, but it was better than nothing. I wore my orthotics and ran at a 1% incline, per the PT's request. The knee did not bother me like I expected, with the tightening around the knee.

After my run, I biked for about a half hour. It felt good.

Afterwards, I stretched a bit and realized that my legs really ached. Not a sore muscle feeling, but aching above my knees and at my hips. Any idea why this might be? I am icing my knees as I write this, more of a preventative measure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An eye opener

Warning: Long Post Ahead

Knee History:
I am writing this for my reference - so feel free to skim or skip over this portion. :)

February - I started getting some seriously painful pains in my knee when running 2-3 miles - all following a glorious 7 mile run one day. I "cut-back" on running to 2-3 miles about 3 times a week and then finally made the decision to see a PT. He asked a few questions, checked the strength of some of my muscles, checked my flexibility, and sent me on my way with a sheet full of exercises and stretching routines to do 2 times a day for a week. I went back and got a few more exercises and then was on my own. At this time, things were better.

May /June - I was still only able to run no more than 3 miles. I started playing sand volleyball 2 nights a week (about 3 hours) and 2 hours of softball one night - following sand volleyball. During softball one night, I did something to my knee that hurt really bad. It was located more so on the inside of the knee and the back of the knee. When I wasn't working out or playing sports, it was more of a dull pain that rain down the outside of my leg.

July - Pain was pretty much gone and I was able to pull through with a 5 mile run at one point. I finished my first triathlon with no pain what-so-ever.

August - struggled with running again, but a different kind of knee issue. Now, after only completing 1-2 miles, my knee would get tight on the upper outside of the knee causing more discomfort than anything. This happened right around the time that I was tapering for my next triathlon. Needless to say, I walked through most of that triathlon.

September - after a few runs the first week of September, I decided to take a few weeks off. I ran once, only a mile or so a week ago and came home in tears. The same pain/discomfort/tightening of the knee was present. It was time to make a move and see someone.

Next Step:
For the past month or so I have thought long and hard about who I was going to bring this "issue" to: a physical therapist, chiropractor, or orthopaedic? I finally made a decision about my knee and called to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist yesterday. Since I wasn't too thrilled with my PT from last February, I tried getting in with a guy that was recommended by two coworkers. The receptionist said he wasn't taking any "new" patients, but would check with him to see if he would still be willing to see me and get back to me. To my excitement, he was willing to squeeze me in, and I was able to get in TODAY!

The Results of the PT Session:
A little over an hour with a new, and very professional PT, I was able to leave that room on a more positive note than when I went in. He did a number of things such as watched the way I walked, looked at my arches, rotated my ankles, knees and hips, put my legs in positions I didn't think they could go, had me do lunges, etc. From all of the above, he was able to determine a few things that are probably causing my knee to act the way it's acting:

1. Arches - He said that based on how my feet look, it would seem as if there are no concerns with my arches but there is a slight concern with the part of my arch where it meets the ball of my foot.

The solution? - He gave me over-the-counter orthodics and cut out a piece of the orthodic to better suit my feet.

2. Hyperextended Knees - When he said this, I wasn't totally shocked. This basically means that I am able to enxtend my knee in the oposite direction, and too far. He asked me to stand and noticed right away that I was standing with my knees locked. I stand like this a lot. This puts a lot of pressure on the knee cap and something behind the knee (forgot the name). In addition, standing with my knees locked gives my thighs a break from supporting my body.

In addition to this, The PT said that he thinks there may have been a knee injury at one point, whether it was a week ago or 10 years ago, there are reminents of that injury. I think what happened during softball in June is the real cause of this issue and I think I should have seen him then. When he checked the "flexibility of my knee, bending it from side to side, you can see a bone/ligament on the inside of the knee that bends. I was totally disgusted and he said it just proves that it is a bit more loose than the other knee.

Also, there is some damage to the under part of the knee cap, causing some grinding. It is not painful, but the knee cap is rubbing and putting pressure on something (a protective fluid sac of some sort, I think?).

The solution? Be more mindful of how I stand, refraining from locking my knees, and it will help tell my legs muscles to support my body and making them stronger. Also, there are some stretches and exercises that are not good for my knees and I need to be mindful of these. The PT showed me some exercises that I could do in replace of them, making sure I am not locking my knees. I cannot do the hamstring stretch where you stand and pull your foot up behind you to your butt; it puts too much stress on the knee.

3. Gluteas Muscles - My PT thinks that if I work on strengthening my glutes, I will see a huge difference. He also told me that the majority of women that come in for knee issues have week glutes and just working on their glutes alone have made a huge impact on their knees. Wow.

The Solution? Strengthen the glutes with a few PT exercises using resistance bands.

Overall Results/Recommendations:

  • PT says surgery isn't necessary. - thank god.
  • No MRI necessary - at this time.
  • I can still run, but need to ease back into it. PT couldn't tell me if I would be able to run more than 3 miles down the road, or even if I should try. He wants me to wait... and see how things go.
  • Perform the handful of PT exercises with shoes on and orthodics given - a few times a week.
  • Run with shorter strides and if on a treadmill increase the incline to 1-2% to create less direct pressure on the knees.
  • When outside, run on a level surface, no sand, trails, or cement (hard to to in ND).
  • Refrain from any sort of speed work. Maybe a little fartlek here and there, but no 800's and especially stay away from smaller tracks that require 10-12 laps for a mile - this is a no brainer as I hate tracks anyway.
  • Refrain from standing with knees locked.
  • Refrain from the following stretches, exercises, or strengthening routines - too-deep of lunges, both leg and single leg quad machine, hamstring stretch (unless knees are not locked), and bent knee quadricep stretch.
  • Modify stretches - especially ones that require knee locking such as this calf stretch - do not lock knee of back leg. and hip flexor stretch - making sure the pelvic is rotated forward.
  • Call PT with any further questions or concerns, and/or schedule a time to go over some other exercises if necessary in the next couple of weeks.

I feel good about this. Real good. Time to try to turn this injury around. Baby steps... baby steps.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let's Do This!

I'm ready....

... the Vikings are ready..
The question is...
Are the Packers ready .... to get shredded??

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Month in Review: September

I contemplated not even posting my stats for September, but then being the data freak I am, I knew that I couldn't miss a month when I have been doing it for almost 2 years. Let's just say I am not happy with September's stats, and it's not just because of my knee issues (even though that's a big part of it).

I rarely made it to the gym this month and I can blame the following things: longer than usual days at work, a bit of traveling, and lots and lots of additional paperwork being done at home. Plus, did I mention the fact that this knee issue has really done a doozy on my motiviation?

But, it's blame and it doesn't make it any different... let's look at the stats and move on.

September Stats:

Swim - 8,500M ................ 9,500M in August
Bike - 56.93 miles .......... 97.60 miles in August
Run - 10.45 miles .......... 20.20 miles in August

Sheez. I ran more in February when my first knee issues arrised. What the heck. Can you see how frustrated I am?

Moving on....