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Happy, happy, happy….

The day always starts better with a little bit of training whether that’s swimming, biking, or running.  Although, I have to say when it comes to STARTING the day, running is my favorite.

Swimming in the wee morning hours has to be done indoors in a pool, and I prefer to be outdoor, and I refuse to bike in the dark because it just scares me still, so I have missed running over the past couple of months, but starting back has been filled with challenges.  My days start better and I’m in a much better mood when I get to run in the morning.  I’m starting to feel the blahs leave, and the runner’s highs are returning.  Ahhh, life is good.

The only sad thing is that the days are getting shorter, so there are no more summer sunrises during my weekday runs, and I missed so many of them this summer due to the time off, but I guess if I can’t have summer sunrises, then a close second is an almost full moon in the sky this morning.  The picture just doesn’t do it justice.

This morning's moon

This morning’s moon

How many of you are morning runners?  If you’re not, then you should really give it a try because you’re missing out on a magical hour of the day, and I’ve never been a morning person, but running has converted me…. as long as the reason I’m up is to run.  😉  In those wee hours, there’s less traffic, beautiful sunrises, gorgeous moons, and even the occasional meteor showers.  If I wait to try to get my run in later, then it seems to never fail that life gets in the way.  Make exercise a priority, not something you’ll fit in to your day when you have time!  Happy Thursday people!

After my run this morning

After my run this morning in my favorite Headsweats visor

Injuries Suck!!!

Ok, so what’s up with me?  I know I’ve been kind of quiet, and honestly I think it’s because I’ve been slightly depressed due to frustration with injuries.  I miss my training buddies, and I miss TRAINING!  But, things are looking up.

After my last update, I went to the PT for my arm numbness & pain which is believed to be due to my C6 vertebra compressing a nerve.  My shoulder had started hurting so bad that I couldn’t finish my last 20 mile bike ride, and I had to call my husband to pick me up on Aug 1st, and I went to the PT on Aug 6th.  The PT did some manual manipulation and put my head in a traction device at PT which felt good at the time, but as soon as I stood up from it, my arm started going numb again.  She instructed me not to bike or run for the next week. ARRGGHHHH!!!!  I still have not gotten back on a bike, but last week, I was able to start back running, and yesterday, I did my first swim since the beginning of August.  My arm is still going numb and starting to hurt during runs, but during my swim Monday, it went numb, but it didn’t hurt.

I feel like I’m totally starting over again with my running since I was off running for well over a month due to my hip, and now I’m still having to run with pain in my shoulder.  My hip feels better though!  🙂  Last week I ran 3 days for a total of only 11 miles.  I’m definitely behind for my upcoming half marathons, but I’m trying to take it easy & not try to build up too fast, so I’ve been using the run-walk method.  This week’s plan is to run 3 days with a total of 13 miles, so I ran 4 miles this morning.  I have just over 6 weeks until the Allstate half which I will be running as a training run, and I have just over 11 weeks to the Savannah RnR half which I was originally going to try to PR, but at this point, since I’m still not 100%, that doesn’t seem very likely, but I’ll see as it gets closer.

As for now, I have an MRI today of my neck which I’m hoping shows the doctors whatever they need to see to make this numbness & pain go away, so I can get back to my full training schedule sometime in the near future.  The PT said she thought I’d probably need injections in my neck to help with the inflammation to relieve the pressure on the nerve.  I’m pretty nervous about having an injection in my neck, but if it’ll help, then I’m willing to try anything right now.

Dry needling for DBS

This has been a VERY busy week, and I’m moving forward pretty well in training mode thanks to the dry needling on Tuesday, so it’s just getting even crazier than it already was!  The first time I heard about dry needing I was really pretty skeptical.  It was last year when I injured my calf.  I’ve never been a huge proponent of things like acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments, but the PT suggested it, and my thoughts were that it couldn’t make my injury any worse, so why not.  However, I really didn’t think it’d help either.  It took 3 different dry needing sessions on my calf muscle to get rid of the nagging pain I was dealing with, and even then, I was pretty doubtful as to whether it was the dry needling or the time off was just finally sufficient for the pain to be gone.  I wasn’t convinced either way, but when the PT suggested it on my hip, I figured I’d give it a go again.

Dry needling ( isn’t really a pleasant experience, but it’s not unbearable either.  They insert needles into trigger points, wiggle them around until it hits the right spot, your muscle tightens up like it has a bad cramp, pretty much immediately relaxes again, then they do it to another spot.  My calf was always really sore the next day, so I was expecting the same from my hip & glutes.

On Tuesday, the PT stretched my hip flexors and hamstrings, then she had me go through my exercises to see if I had improved, and if I was doing them correctly.  I had improved, so she gave me an additional step to do on each exercise, then it was on to the dry needling.  Since it was on my hip, we moved into a separate room where she had me lay on my side facing away from her.  She mashed around on my right hip some to figure out which trigger point she wanted to insert the needle in….basically where ever was the most painful for her to mash on was where she was going to insert the needle to cause more pain.  :-/  The first couple of spots that she did were about like my calf, somewhat uncomfortable, but not too bad.  She had one more spot that she wanted to get, so she inserted the needle into it, found the spot, and my muscle, piriformis I think, felt like it tightened up and didn’t release for the next few hours.  OUCH!!  This dry needling session was definitely more painful than on my calf, but it still wasn’t any worse than a really bad cramp, and with the results, I’d definitely do it again.  That muscle felt tight for the next few hours, so I tried to stretch it several times, and then that evening I rode 20 miles.

Wednesday was an off day, but Thursday morning was a scheduled run, so I headed out at 5AM with my running buddies for a 3 mile run/walk.  I pushed myself pretty good that morning because this whole run/walk thing and my slower times on Sunday and Tuesday were aggravating me.  I decided to do a 4:1 ratio Thursday morning, and I was able to average an overall pace of 10:19/mile which is where my short run training paces were before I got injured.  Towards the end of the 3 miles, I started feeling my hamstrings tightening up, but my hip felt great at the end.  The tightening of the hamstrings is definitely not a good sign though because that means I’m probably still using them when I should be using my glutes, so I will still be working on my PT exercises for a while to continue strengthening my glutes.

Today is Friday, and I’m still pain free in my hip, so I’m very hopeful to be back on my regular running training schedule soon.  However, I will be seeing the PT still because she has to start looking at my neck on Tuesday which the dr believes is pinching on a nerve making my arm go to sleep due to some compression in my neck on an x-ray.  UGH!  I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle at times, but at least this is just affecting my bike riding which isn’t as big of a deal at the moment because I don’t have any major races coming up on the bike right now, but I’ve got to get on schedule for my 2 upcoming half marathons!