You never know until you try…

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After my Sunday morning run that my BRF’s and I had shared virtually in 3 different locations across Kansas and Georgia, we texted each other photos, and we were all wearing our Headsweats visors.  I’d been thinking about applying for an ambassador program, but I didn’t really know what company to approach until Amber posted the collage of her, Jeneen, and I, and we all had the Headsweats visors on.  It struck me immediately that their visors were something that I loved, and my friends loved them, so I knew it was a product that I’d feel good about sharing with my friends, running buddies, fellow triathletes, and basically everyone I knew.  My Headsweats visor is my favorite visor to run in because the terry cloth sweat band is great for keeping the sweat out of my eyes, and it doesn’t make my forehead itch or break out.

Georgia_visor RunSV_sub_pink426__44006_std

I went to the Headsweats website, http://www.headsweats.com/, to see if they had an ambassador program, and they did!  However, as I read about the athletes that they sponsored, the self doubt started creeping in, and I wondered if there was really any reason that I should try applying.  Did I really even have a chance?  Their athletes sound pretty accomplished.  I’m still REALLY new in this journey, and they’re sponsoring people who look a lot more fit than me and who have qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  Amber & Jeneen have been encouraging me to apply for an ambassador program though, so I decided to just go for it.

As I finished the application, I didn’t really expect to hear from Headsweats very quickly since the website said it could take up to 90 days, so I just sort of filed it away in the back of my mind.  While I was at Six Flags with my kids yesterday, I checked my phone, and I had a new email from Headsweats.  I was glad to get the response so quick telling me that I wasn’t accepted….oh, no, wait a minute, what does that say?  I am accepted?  Me? Really?  I literally had to read the email multiple times.  I was so excited that I had to have the kids sit down for a second, so I could respond to Headsweats and accept.

What does all this mean?  Well, right now, I’ve got to get a bio and photo together to send to Headsweats to post on their website which is scary.  It’s going to be seen by who knows how many people.  What should I say?  What picture should I use?  Is my grammar correct?  Is it interesting?  I might have a little bit of stress going on about this now, but it’s a good stress.  It also means that all of you get a special opportunity to get a 25% discount!  To get the discount, simply go to http://www.headsweats.com, and use the code INNERSPARTAN on any full-priced purchase to get 25% off.  Myself, I will be ordering the Coolmax Shorty or Super Duty Shorty to try out under my bike helmet.  Keep an eye out for that review in the future.

Super Duty Shorty

Super Duty Shorty

Road to Recovery

It’s 5:15 AM and my alarm clock is blaring.  Am I really ready to jump back into running?  Will this morning be a waste of time and effort, or will my hip hold up?  Well, the only way to find out is to try!  Out the door I go at 5:45 AM to meet my running peeps for a 3 mile run/walk followed by a 20+ mile bike ride!  I’m feeling rather skeptically optimistic.

Beautiful Day!

Beautiful Day! Post run & ride

There’s a group that has been using the Galloway method (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/), and their plan is to run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute, so I figure I’ll give it a go today and see how that works.  I stayed with 2 other ladies who are currently dealing with injuries as well which was kind of neat because when these two are healthy, I don’t have a prayer of keeping up with either one of them, so I got to talk to them about their injuries and road to recovery as well.

One is also dealing with DBS, but hers is much more severe than mine due to several underlying problems that already existed.  She’s been out for about 6 months, and she’s just now been released to start a run/walk program.  She’s hoping to run her 2nd marathon in November, so she has 2 under her belt before she runs Boston in 2014.  Yep, that’s right folks, she qualified for Boston on her 1st MARATHON!  Like I said, I don’t have a chance to run with her normally, so it’s nice to have that opportunity now.

The other girl has a calf injury and her PT is wanting to do dry needling on her, so she was asking us some questions about it since we’ve both had it done before.  She’s hesitant to try dry needling (http://www.neurosportphysicaltherapy.com/services/dry-needling), but due to the results I had on my previous calf injury with dry needling, I’d try it anytime a PT thinks it might help!  It’s a strange sensation, but basically a small needle is inserted into trigger points in the muscle.  You don’t really feel the needle much, if at all, when it is inserted, but when the PT finds the right spot, the muscle feels like it contracts tightly like a cramp or charlie horse and releases immediately.  After having it done on my calf, it was sore for a couple of days.  I had to have 3 sessions on my calf before it was better.  I will have dry needling for my DBS on Tuesday.

Running is always more fun with friends to talk and keep you distracted.  The 3 miles actually went by really fast this morning, and we completed it in just under 36 minutes with our run/walk pattern.  It’s funny that when I started a year ago my first 5K time was slower than that, and I was dying at the end of it, but today’s run felt extremely easy which is nice because one of my main fears with having to take time off due to injury is that I’ll be starting completely back where I was in January 2012.  As I ran today, I did feel the muscle some, but it wasn’t a pain or stretching sensation.  It was just more of it being used like when I do my PT exercises, which is a good sign….I think.  I will say that I won’t be jumping up in distance really soon, and I think I may actually stick to the Galloway method for this season since it’s supposed to help with injury recovery.

After the run, 2 of us jumped on our bikes for at least 14 but maybe up to 28 miles.  I hadn’t rode after running in quite some time since I haven’t ran in forever, so I wasn’t sure how it’d go.  We rode a 14 mile loop, and it wasn’t very hilly, so it was a somewhat leisurely ride.  Instead of doing the 14 mile loop a 2nd time though, we decided to opt for an 8 mile loop, so we ended up with 22 miles total on the bike.

Overall, I’d say today was a pretty successful outing, but I’ll see if my hip agrees with that verdict later this evening since that’s when it usually starts aching.  I’m hoping this means that I can start back running with my running buddies about 3 days a week.  I need their motivation, and I miss my friends!  Running buddies quickly become more than just running partners.  Some of the best conversations about life in general happen while pounding out all those miles!

Just suck it up!

I had planned on getting up and riding at Trek this morning with the group ride, but my bed was calling my name, and I gave myself every excuse as to why I could skip.  Of course, the bed won out, and I ended up sleeping until after 10AM.  As the day went on, the guilt set in.  I hadn’t hurt anyone else and no one was putting this guilt on me other than myself, but I felt like a slug all morning after skipping.  Now, I needed to figure out how to get out of this funk.

My son had a cub scout event at the skating rink, so my husband took him and my daughter, so I had the afternoon to get my lazy butt going.  Not having anyone to ride with and knowing that I’d be doing a long ride tomorrow morning early, I opted to head to the gym to get a swim in.

Even as I walked into the gym, I was trying to talk myself out of my workout.  I’m not sure what’s going on lately, but I think this whole DBS has me in a bit of a funk since I’m not running.  I fought the urge, and I got in the pool and swam the 800 meters that I’d set out to do.  My swimming is definitely improving with the freestyle.  I’ve totally given up the breaststroke due to my hip pain, and I think the freestyle is starting to really pay off.  The added bonus is that the freestyle also works the glute muscles that I need to strengthen, so they are getting the work with the PT exercises as well as the extra swimming now.  After my swim, I decided to ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes to get some more cardio in.  Again, it took everything I had to finish the entire 30 minutes without stopping early.  I haven’t been on a stationary bike in FOREVER, and it sucked!

Knowing that I have a 10K on Labor Day and the Allstate 13.1 in October, I decided when I got home that I’ve got to try to start training again, so tomorrow morning I will be attempting a walk/run for 40 minutes with some supportive friends of mine who have graciously agreed to meet at 6AM.  I’m hoping it goes well because I really don’t have time to put my training off anymore without starting to drop races.  A lot depends on tomorrow morning’s walk/run for me, so I’m off to bed with sweet dreams in my head.

My butt is dead….

I had my first physical therapy appt today, and the PT thinks I have multiple issues, but the Sacroiliac joint is not the real problem.  It seems slightly different on the left versus the right, but it’s not too bad.  Instead, she said that I have “LAS, Lazy A$$ Sydrome.”  Say what?  I biked almost 100 miles last week and swam over 1500m.  What do you mean I have LAS?  What’d you do last week?  Lol, luckily, I had heard of Dead Butt Syndrome previously from 2 women in our running group, so I knew what she was referring to.  I also have tight hamstrings since they want to do all the work that my butt isn’t doing, and I have a tight hip flexor and tight piriformis muscles as well.

So, LAS and Dead Butt Syndrome are the same thing, and what it basically means is that your butt muscles aren’t firing like they should be and instead other muscles are compensating which leads to injury & soreness.  Fortunately, due to the urging of several running buddies, I went to the doctor before mine went on for months and got extremely bad.  I can actually still make mine work with a good bit of thought in one of my new exercises as shown in this PDF at least through step #3 http://www.emr.msu.edu/documents/rehab/gluteus_maximus_retraining.pdf.  I can’t go to step 4 yet because I still sometimes contract my hamstring first on the way up or release my gluteus maximus contraction before my hamstring on the way back down.  In my second exercise, the clam shell exercise shown here http://www.mikereinold.com/2011/04/the-hip-external-rotation-clamshell-exercise.html, I can do without much thought, but I don’t use the band yet because it starts burning pretty quickly, and it’s definitely targeting the area where I am feeling pain when running.  This isn’t something that develops overnight.  It’s apparently from a lack of my butt muscles engaging for a while which has also caused some/a lot of tightness in my hamstring as well since it’s compensating.

The good thing about today’s appt is that the PT came across much more optimistic about me getting back to running that the doctor did the other day, and it all seems to be muscular related rather than joint related.  That’s good, right?  I think so, but then again I’m not a doctor, so I guess that’s a question I should have asked.  Next week, I get dry needling done.  Can’t wait for that! ~note sarcasm

Anyway, all you runners out there, make sure you’re not a lazy a$$ runner and engage those glutes!  lol

Feeling green…..

Green with envy that is, but I’ll get to this is a minute.

Friday I had my follow up doctors visit for my hip, and I was told, “we hope that you can return to most of your activities eventually and maybe even all of them.”  Ummmm…… yeah, that wasn’t very encouraging.

So, this little hip issue started a couple of months ago, and I went to the doctor on June 29th which was just a few days before the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.  The doctor said he believed the problem was my sacroiliac joint, and that I should take the next 2 1/2 weeks off from running and start some physical therapy, then I needed to return for a follow up.  I left that day feeling optimistic, but I was pretty annoyed about the time off with the PTRR coming up that week.  I was told that I could still walk it, so I decided that’s what I’d do.

Yep, that's me with the flags on my head.  I can't run, so I might as well have fun.

Yep, that’s me with the flags on my head. I can’t run, so I might as well have fun.

I walked about the first 2 1/2 miles of it with the help of a coffee that I stopped in to buy during the race,

My coffee that I picked up while walking

My coffee that I bought

and a few distractions like the 92 year old man who hadn’t missed a PTRR yet.

He hasn't missed a PTRR yet

What an inspiration!

Soon though, I finished my coffee, and I lost interest in the distractions, and I just became really annoyed that I couldn’t run when everyone around me was running.  ARRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!  Just before cardiac hill, I started running the downhills.  My hip actually felt better running down them instead of walking anyway, but I would stick to walking on all uphills and flats.  I finished the PTRR in 1:29:07 which is kind of surprising with as much as I walked, but that just aggravates me even more I think because I wonder what I could have ran it in.

After the PTRR, I took my time off which has been hard, but luckily, I’ve taken up biking and swimming to train for triathlons, so it wasn’t horrible.  I’ve increased my weekly mileage on the bike, and it’s given me time to focus more on swimming which is definitely my weakest part of the triathlon, but the additional time to focus on biking and swimming has also made me want to do another triathlon even more which brings me to the green with envy part.

I LOVE my running buddies and groups, but coming home Friday after the discouraging doctor’s appointment to read on Facebook about all the excitement they were having over their upcoming triathlons was really kind of a bummer.  I have to say that I was pretty jealous, envious, whatever you want to call it.  I wanted to be doing a triathlon too!  With that being said though, I was excited for them, so I wasted quite a bit of time on Saturday and Sunday reading their every post about the preparation and actual running of their triathlons.  They obviously didn’t understand how much I was trying to live vicariously through them over the weekend because they didn’t post nearly enough!  😉

My physical therapy FINALLY starts tomorrow, and I can’t wait to get back out there and join my friends on the road as soon as possible….hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

Me

After completing my first triathlon at Callaway Gardens

After completing my first triathlon at Callaway Gardens

About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine and I decided to start running together, so we could do a 5K.  The two of us would sporadically run that first month and ran our first 5K in Feb of 2012.  Upon completion of the 5k, which by the way we walked some (a lot) of it, we decided to register for a half marathon.  I’m not sure what we were thinking!  We wanted it to be a fun one, so we registered for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Savannah, GA.  We’d have almost 8 months to train, so we figured we could do it.  Long story short, my friend couldn’t complete the training with me or even go to Savannah to run it, but I wasn’t backing down from what I said I was going to do.  So, on Nov. 3rd, 2012, I completed my first half marathon.  It wasn’t pretty, and I walked quite a bit, but I finished, and I was just about ready to never run again, but luckily, I met some running buddies through Atlanta Southside Runners http://www.atlantasouthsiderunners.com, and I decided to keep going.  I’ve since ran 4 more half marathons, and a sprint triathlon along with many other shorter races, and finally, a little over a YEAR into running, I can say that I actually enjoy it!

Next on my agenda, I have 2 half marathons in the fall.  I’ll be running the Allstate 13.1 in October, and the Savannah Rock n Roll again in November if my hip injury that I’m currently dealing with is well enough to train for them.  I’d also like to run a full marathon, do an Olympic distance triathlon, and maybe even a Half Ironman next year.  Stay tuned…….

Stephanie