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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, April 27, 2009

Riddle me this Batman...

Let's start with some good news first. The vertigo is finally gone (or at least gone enough). I can't tell you how or why but but it was my chiropractor that made the single biggest improvement in my condition. He believes pretty much any ailment can be cured with chiropractic care. I'm much more of a skeptic but I still enjoy my visits. He's a runner and cyclist and understands how some of us need to get back in the game as soon as possible. If nothing else, he's very informative, more so than any doctor I see. So for vertigo he gets a thumbs up.

Onto running...and one of the strangest injuries I think I've ever had.
  • I can walk pain-free, up or down stairs.
  • I can use the Eliptical machine pain-free.
  • I can ride a bike pain-free. I rode 22 miles on Friday and 41 miles on Sunday with NO issues.
  • I can hike a mountain pain-free. I hiked Mt Monadnock with my kids on Saturday with NO issues.
  • I can rake, I can shovel dirt, I can lift 50lb bags of fertilizer.
  • I can do sit ups.
  • I can't run more than a couple of steps without stopping.
It's been 2 weeks since I last went for a run. Other than knee surgery, I can't remember any injury that has prevented me from running longer than this one. The pain feels the same today than it did 2 weeks ago when I stopped running.

I've been to two doctors (including a sports medicine doctor), a chiropractor and a physical therapist. According to them it's a:
  • hip flexor strain
  • SI Joint Dysfunction
  • ab strain
  • tensor fascia lata strain
In other words, not a single one agrees what the problem is. Each does some test that identifies a weakness somewhere, and they all might be right. I may have all the above problems. BUT, I'm not convinced any of these are the root cause of my pain while running.

So if anyone wants to play 'name that pain' here's the summary of my symptoms:
  • The pain is on my right side, either right in the middle of my side or slightly to the rear.
  • It's right above my waistline, just above the iliac crest, sort of in the 'love handle' area.
  • It feels deep. I have to push pretty hard to find it.
  • It is somehow related to rotation. If I plant my foot and then rotate (getting up from my desk and going to the right) it hurts.
  • When I try to run it hurts on each foot strike with my right foot.
Other than that I feel great!

Friday, April 17, 2009

April Update: HA!!!

I wish I had an update.....concerning running anyways. I do not unfortunately.

I started the month with a sub-par run at the Great Bay Half followed by an injury below my right knee. I then followed that up with another sub-par run at the Merrimack Trail race and you guessed it, followed that up with another injury. This time I hurt something between my outside right hip and my butt.

I've been running long enough to know most injuries are not always what they appear to be. So what do these seemingly unrelated injuries have in common. Well, they happen to be opposite ends of my VERY tight hamstring. In fact, I suspect my problems started months ago during the Boston Prep 16 miler when my back spasmed on the same side. My guess is I compensated or made slight changes to my gait each time something happened (back, shin, hip, etc..). In addition I put a LOT of miles on running flats (Boston Prep 16 miler, Jones 10 miler, New Bedford Half, Eastern States 20 miler and finally the Great Bay Half).

Slowly but surely I've managed to get myself all out of alignment and in the process managed to give myself quite a bit of pain and discomfort. I've seen 2 doctors and a chiropractor so far this week. One doctor thought it was related to my hip flexors. I didn't agree so I got a second opinion from a sports medicine doctor (who I liked a lot). She was very thorough and diagnosed something called Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and explained how all of my problems were probably related. In fact my SI joint may have been the original problem with my injuries cascading from there.

So I rest again. In a strange coincidence, I also managed to get vertigo this week, so even if I was healthy I probably couldn't run anyways. I'm not really sure if you get vertigo, but I do know I have vertigo (5 days and counting). My doctor suspects its from some sort of inner ear infection and should go away on its own. In the meantime I am nauseous most of the time and dizzy every time I move my head too fast (getting up, sitting down, etc..).

The good news is I'm not stressing about being injured. I know I'll be running again soon enough so I guess the timing was pretty good. No races planned until early May.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Merrimack River Trail Race - Race Report


That's all I have to say about that.
Forrest Gump

Friday, April 10, 2009

Trail Runs and Another Race

I hit the trails the last two days hoping to give my legs a break with some softer surfaces to run on. So far so good, with 6.5 pain free miles in Horse Hill yesterday and nearly 7 more today in Mine Falls. My only real complaint is I still feel a little rundown, not quite tired and not quite fatigued.

So my solution to get out of this rut? Run another race of course! My plan is to head over to Andover,MA in the morning for the Merrimack River 10 Mile Trail Race. I'm not expecting much and may even take it a little easier than normal (no, I can't imagine not running all out 100% but maybe I'll give it a try).

After this weekend I'll have a couple of weeks with no racing so I'll have plenty of time to rest up.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I woke up Monday morning with a little, tiny sore spot about 2-3" below my right knee. At first I wasn't too concerned. I had planned to take Monday off anyways. I took some Advil, iced the heck out of it and didn't worry about it.

On Tuesday it was still there. Another day off.
On Wednesday it was still there. Yet another day off.

I can't even remember the last time I took 3 days off in a row from running. The thing is it doesn't seem to be getting any better. It doesn't bother me walking around but I notice it going up and down stairs. I almost went for a run today to test it out but figured I'd wait one more day.

Thanks to Dr. Internet, my guess is I've aggravated my Tibialis Anterior muscle, right where it attaches (origin) on the front of my lower leg. Going into the Great Bay Half Marathon I'd been having some minor issues with my right ankle. During the race my calves were tight and sore. Finally to top it off there were several steep downhills on the course. If you toss all these factors into any injury generator you're bound to come up with a sore Tibialis Anterior muscle. I guess I shouldn't be surprised it's sore. Not quite full blown shin splints though.

So in addition to rest and ice I've also been tenderizing my lower leg with a foam roller, the Stick, a broom handle and a tennis ball. Like I said.....ouch!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Great Bay Half Marathon

It's been a rough training week following last weekend's 20-mile adventure on the seacoast. I guess I didn't realize how taxing that race really was. My legs weren't sore, just constantly fatigued and every run has been a struggle since. So with that in mind I decided to run a half marathon yesterday. Logic and common sense did not report to work this past week apparently.
I met up with Mark Wimmer and headed over to Newmarket for the 3rd annual (and my second) Great Bay Half Marathon, which happens to be the 1st New Hampshire Grand Prix race. I met up with my fellow Gate City Strider (and acidotic RACING) teammates in the gym and prepped for the race. It was a beautiful day, sunny and near 50 but a nasty wind was whipping in from the west. I had done my research and knew the headwinds would be along the 2nd half of Bay Rd (miles 7-9) and for most of the last 3 miles. Unfortunately, that did not mean we had tailwinds the rest of the way.
Mike Wade, Justin Soucy and myself headed out for a roughly 2 mile warm up on the course, changed and then headed over to the start. Did I mention it was windy?
They added a 5k to the venue this year which started at the same time as the half. About a 1/2 mile into the race the 5k'ers took a left and the rest continued straight. For such a large race (nearly 1500 runners) I was pretty surprised how well people seated themselves at the start, so other than a fast start the race started off pretty smooth.
Right from the start I found myself in a pack of familiar faces and most were teammates (a very good thing when you're running a club race). Mike Wade, Danny Ferreria and myself with Mike Wright leading the way. We would stay together nearly the entire race, occasionally swapping positions except for Mike Wright, he held a 30-50yd lead on all of us most of the way.
I learned a couple of things during the race. One, my legs were not yet recovered from last week. Most of the race was a struggle, with the effort far greater than it should have been for a half. Two, this course was harder than I remembered from last year (with more hills than I recalled). Part of the difficulty was the wind, with gusts that had to be in the 20-30mph range. To add to the carnage, the winds seemed to smack you on the flatter sections of the course. Just like my pre-race research had shown, miles 7-9 and the last 3 were tough and the field had stretched out a bit, leaving me exposed (so to speak) for most of the last 5 miles.
By mile 8 or 9 I had lost track of Mike Wade, Danny was in front by a few yds and Mike Wright was still holding at least a 50yd lead. I slowly gained on Danny and passed him at the belly dancers around mile 10. Coincidence? I think not. I think he was distracted...
I now had my sights on Mike Wright with 5k to go. I attempted to pick up the pace but the head winds on mile 11 were the toughest all day. It felt like one big hill. In fact, the winds were generally in our faces for the remainder of the race and only a few turns in town gave us some relief. Jerry Fitzgibbon hooked up with me on his bike just after mile 11 and provided some much needed encouragement over the last 1 1/2 miles which helped me pick off a few more runners and get close to Mike Wright but not close enough to pass, finishing in 1:25:11, roughly 6 seconds behind Mike. Not my best performance but considering the short rest and less than ideal conditions I guess I'll take it.
Scott Graham and Mark Wimmer somehow convinced me to go for a 2 mile cool down run after the race and several painful blisters did not make this a pleasant experience. Mark and I waited a bit for results to be posted but finally gave up and headed home around 2pm.

Splits for the day:

Mile 1 6:05
Mile 2 6:23
Mile 3 6:31
Mile 4 6:31
Mile 5 6:23 (31:54)
Mile 6 6:42
Mile 7 6:24
Mile 8 6:55
Mile 9 6:39
Mile 10 6:31 (1:05:06)
Mile 11 6:35
Mile 12 6:35
Mile 13 6:20
FINISH 1:25:11 (6:31 avg)

24th overall (1243 total)
6/93 in my age group

Complete results can be found here.

As far as the New Hampshire Grand Prix series, my club (Gate City Striders) kicked butt. As some of you know (and others continue to 'remind' me), I predicted early on in the season that Greater Derry would win the NHGP series this year. Apparently my evil plan is working, with huge numbers of Striders showing up just to prove me wrong! Keep up the good work.

Gate City Striders 147 points
Greater Derry Track Club 109 points
Granite State Racing Team 71 points
Rochester Runners 44 points
Monadnock Milers 20 points