Tag Archives: healthy-living

Back On Track…(A New Track, But Back Nonetheless)

It’s good to be back.

I just wanted to check in and give you a quick update on where I’m at and what the immedate future has in store for me.

I have been going to Physical Therapy to address my crappy knee and build up my legs/ core. It’s been going ok, but it’s not a quick process. I am adjusting to it, adapting it into my daily routine, and having patience and faith that as long as I keep it up and trust the process it’s going to put me where I need to be.

I’m not 100% yet, but all the swelling is gone and I can safely say that the vast majority of the pain is gone as well. I have been cleared to begin working out again…slowly.

There’s a  lot of work for me to do, but pretty much everything I’ve done to date has required a lot of work…so why stop now, right?

So it will be the new and improved workout routine now. Starting with short runs, and alternating with rides on the bike and pool workouts. I got my hands on a hand-me-down road bike which I am slightly obsessed with right now, and I am joining the local YMCA to get myself access to the pool as well. All the pieces are falling into place.

I go on vacation with the family next week, which will free up a lot of time. I am hoping to churn out a handful of reviews I have been meaning to write but running out of hours in the day to get to, start to piece together the panel of people that I want to assemble for the blog to field beginner’s questions, and get some form of workout in every day, alternating between rides on the bike and runs, followed by ice and rest/ playing with my daughter on the beach. (…and probably eating & drinking more than I should be, but hey: I’m on vacation, so it is what it is)

I am looking forward to ending the forced rest break that my crappy knee enforced. But while it did make me lose my mind with no real activity to speak of, I feel like it did me some good too (and not just in the obvious physical sense) This break also provided the “reset” I think I needed to shift my perspective a little bit.

Running will always be a love of mine, but I am really excited about the new multi-sport approach I will be taking.

The more I talk about/ read about/ plan for my Triathlon focus the more excited I get.

And to bring it back home, one of the reasons why I get so fired up about it is because by adding biking and swimming into the mix, it’s going to make me a more well rounded, stronger, more flexible, BETTER runner. So let’s fix this crappy running form of mine and start to build up the rest of my body that has been neglected with the laser focus on the weight loss and endurance running. I am excited and nervous. I am not under and false illusions here: I am fully aware that incorporating not one, but two new sports that are completely foreign to me is going to suck. It will hurt, I’m not going to be good at either (at first) and the temptation to go back to my comfort zone of solely running will always be there, but if I do this and do it right, it will pay off massively (in multiple ways). So as my good friend Lonnie says, “Suck It Up, Princess”…and just get after it.

As I get into it all I know I will have more to share, but for now it’s all about getting the work week wrapped up, getting packed and getting my ass down to the shore.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let you know that you can (hopefully) expect a flurry of product reviews from me next week, and give you a peek as to where I’m at both physically and mentally.

Much more to come, but for now:

Take it Easy

State Of The Union (State Of My Crappy Knee) / What My Summer Looks Like

It’s time for my next “traditional” blog post where I fill you in on what’s been going on with me, what I have on the horizon, what I’m currently training for, etc.

So, in the time since my last post, there’s been some stuff going on. I have made reference to my bum knee/ arthritic knee in the past, but things kind of came to a head 4 days into my RW Summer Run Streak and cut that short before it even really began. My knee swelled up and started causing some big time pain. This lasted for a few days which prompted me to utilize the follow-up with the orthopedic doctor that I had available in case things started to give me problems again.

So I headed back to the doc and after a new set of x-rays and a through exam, the situation is this: I have 3 separate things going on, but all are kind of related and overlapping. One I can’t really do anything about and the others I can. The non-fixable issue is called Chondromalacia (Con-dro-my-al-sha), which (in actual English) means I have a breakdown of the cartilage behind my kneecap. This is not a running specific thing and was not caused by it.  I have crappy genetics to thank for that one. It is what it is, and I can’t fix it. I had the option to get Cortizone shots, but I elected to pass on that for now. I want to see if I can’t fix this mess on my own before I resort to alternate means. And fixing this mess on my own leads me to the two things that I can actually affect some real change on. The second thing I have going on is Patellar Tendonitis. Again, translating that to words that non medical people can understand: The Patella is the muscle that is largely responsible for keeping your knee and kneecap straight in line when you are running. I have put extra stress on mine to the point where I have overworked it because of the 3rd thing I have going on. When I run, my kneecap tends to roll to the outside of my leg a bit. This is most likely caused by a combo of a few things. 1.) Strength: My legs, butt, and core are not strong enough.2.) Flexibility: I am not flexible enough, particularly in the hips. And 3.) my running form is not optimal for reducing undue impact on the already susceptible (crappy) knees. Yes, my knee still hurts like hell, but I am exceptionally hopeful and anxious to get back into things. I have been sitting for over a week and I miss the hell out of running already. Physical therapy starts next week and I am ready to get going and kick its ass. I have been saying that this summer is going to be dedicated to becoming a better runner, this really just gave me a good shove in that direction. I’m now looking at a few months of being dedicated to getting stronger, more flexible and most likely running no longer than a 5K.

As for my immediate future:
So it’s now time for me to get serious and take some measures to improve/ protect the knee and become the best/ smartest runner I can be. That means utilizing everything available to me to aid in the performance and support while running. I’m building up my legs and core. Looks like I’ll be rocking the compression sock pretty much all the time. I will be becoming a tape expert. And exploring any and all means available to make sure I’m in peak condition.
Not coincidentally, be on the lookout for product reviews in the immediate future for: KT Tape, Spun Performance Compression Gear, 110% Compression Sox & Ice system, and the Triggerpoint “The Grid” foam roller.

As for looking ahead:
If you know me, you know I am always working on the next plans and this is no exception. There were two other takeaways that I walked out of that doctor’s office with, and both have me EXTREMELY fired up and dying to get back out on the road.

First and Foremost, a marathon is not off the table. I repeat, a marathon is NOT off the table. I kind of assumed it was, but to my severe delight I will be able to chase down that final goal. Not tomorrow, mind you, but eventually. And with the caveat that I do it the right way. In the words of the doc (after we had been speaking frankly for the duration of the appointment), I will need to take my time, train up to the distances slowly, and be “strong as hell” to compensate for my knee issues, but it’s an attainable goal, and one that I will hit. Not this year, but I am saying that before I turn 40, I will be a marathoner. I’m 36 now. 4 years to get it, and I am going to do it. Suck on that, crappy knee.

And secondly, he made the recommendation that I do not give up running, however he advised that I find other means of being active to replace a portion of  (and compliment) the running. Means that are not body weight bearing, so that I am not putting myself in a situation where’s it’s all pounding, all the time on my knees. The two suggestions he threw out there specifically were swimming and biking. Both of these are great ways to get a workout in while sparing my knees the wear and tear that running brings with it. These two things are also, coincidentally, the other 2 legs that make up a Triathlon. And yes, I am 100% on board and will be aggressively be chasing this new goal down. I am very realistically looking at a Sprint Triathlon for Spring 2014 and an Olympic Triathlon for Fall 2014.

Big Andy the Triathele….I like the sound of that.  Sounds pretty badass I think.

Actually, my 2014 calendar seems to be pretty well full already.

There are a few races that I want to continue, and then when you add in the others that I want to do, I am looking at a fantastic year. Phillies 5K, UCP 5K, Broad Street, Sprint Tri, Olympic Tri, and the Runner’s World Half and Festival “Hat Trick” are looking to fill out 2014. (The Hat Trick is going to be awesome, by the way. 2 days, 3 races, 5K,10K,& a Half. 22.4 Miles in the span of 48 hours. I’m really looking forward to pushing myself and seeing just how much I can accomplish) I am getting some pressure to add in the Philly Marathon, but we’ll see on that one. (So no promises Rock, but if I can do it, you know I’ll be there with you)

That’s me and what I am looking at in a nutshell for the summer. It’s not sexy, and I have no races to speak of all summer. I do still have the Runner’s World “Five and Dime” in October where I will be running back to back 5K and 10K races, but nothing until then except for PT, and working my way into being bigger, faster, stronger.

So that’s the state of affairs on my world right now. Crappy knee is still dragging me down but I’m dealing with it, and as long as I take my time, do it right, and don’t do anything stupid to do more damage the time invested now will pay dividends far into the future. -Granted, I’m losing my mind right now with being severely limited and having a forced rest period…but staying smart and not going out too soon. The last thing I need is to get antsy, push too hard too fast and end up hurting myself. I want to get strong enough that I can run some on my vacation down on the Jersey Shore. I did it last year and nothing beats running by the ocean. But again, PT starts next week and I’ll know more after that initial appointment.

For now I’ll be playing the hand that I’m dealt. I won’t be logging insane amounts of miles, but then again I never expected to anyway. Looking forward to (yet again) pushing into the unknown and trying new things… and kick some ass along the way.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, take it easy.

Andy

Weight Still Good / New 5K PR! / Finally Cross Training For Real

Weight is good. Hanging in the high 190’s and comfortable. The 4 days on/ 3 days off of the logging food in MyFitnessPal seems to be holding so far. I’ll keep it up like this for a while more and then probably add another “off day” to my food logging. Slow and Steady.

So this Wed I went over to the gym to get in my scheduled 4 mile training run. There was nothing remarkable or noteworthy about the night, just trying to go get my run in and be back before bathtime so we can get Tess down for the night. So no real angst pent up or massive frustration or anything to burn off in the workout. Just a good old regular 4 mile run. Nothing to indicate that I would go out and break the 5K PR that I have been chasing down since August. But guess what happened? Oh hell yeah. So I started out fast, running at approx an 8:30 pace. About a half mile in I realized how fast I was going and dialed it back a little bit thinking that I needed to pace myself better, since there was no way in hell that I keep that up pace and finish 4 miles strong. As soon as I dialed it back though, I also realized I was feeling really good, even after running faster than normal (which usually would have me breathing hard and struggling already), so I decided “screw it, I’m going for it” and cranked the treadmill right back up. A little faster to offset/ make up for the slower running and decision-making process I just went through. I decided on the fly that 4 regular tempo pace miles had just become 3.1 race pace miles. I held strong for the entire time and had enough in the tank to really crank it and kick hard in the final stretch. During that final kick I had the treadmill ramped up faster than I ever have before and just seeing the 9.0 speed kind of scared me a little. I knew I was one missed step away from flying ass-first straight to the floor behind the treadmill instead being of upright and running hard. And believe me, in the end, I was pushing myself HARD. But I am happy to say I beat my previous PR by nearly 20 seconds. You want to alter your outlook on pretty much everything for the rest of the week? Go accomplish something you have tried to do for approx 7 months on a random Wednesday night. I am super proud and excited, but also pretty sure I have just completely screwed myself for my goal of breaking the 5K PR during the upcoming Phillies 5K. 8 days to get myself in fighting shape and ready to rock out 3.1 sub-8:30 miles on a road race course. It’s flat and fast, so if I’m going to do it, this may be a great opportunity. The new PR and time to beat at the Fightin’ Phils 5K: 26:34. Let’s get after it.

So I finally started, after about a year of talking about it. The dreaded/ infamous cross training. Yes, I am aware I should have done this since the beginning. My only explanation/ lame ass justification is that I was so focused on the running/ changing my diet/ losing the weight that I got a kind of tunnel vision in terms of my routine. I can’t go back and change the past, but I sure as hell can control what I do in the future, so from here on out I’ll be incorporating this extra layer into my fitness routine.

In order for me to do this I had to find a means to cross train that met a set of very specific criteria to make sure that I actually pull it off.

It had to be cheap. Quite frankly, with a new house, a toddler, and a newborn on the way I cannot afford to be going out and buying free weights of all shapes and sizes. Say what you will, that stuff adds up and I need to build up the diaper fund ASAP.

Like most people out there, I feel like there is just not enough hours in the day, so the program I found absolutely could not be cumbersome time-wise either. As it is the only time I can find to do this is when Tess is asleep for the night and the house is cleaned up a little. So I’m looking at 9pm or later typically. I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future.

And lastly, I have proven to myself that I can push myself to run for literally miles and miles. Further than I ever thought possible. That does not, however, mean that the rest of me is built up like I want it to be. So the program I use needs to be very introductory and slowly ease into more difficult challenges.

With the help of a recommendation of my good friend Clarke, I have come across an iPhone/ iPad app called Gorilla Workout that meets all my demands. It’s all basic body weight exercises (or a he calls them, “prison yard exercises”… This makes them sound exponentially more badass) that are basic movements. Squats, lunges, push-ups, etc. It starts you off slow and gradually works you up to more advanced and challenging positions.

Thank god it starts slow, because for a workout that took 15 min tops, I was sore as hell the next day. Up until this point, the program’s workouts have not been time-consuming at all, so I have been doing them on all non-run days.

So far so good, but I am still in week #1, so we’ll see how things progress as I get deeper into it. But I can feel it already. It’s sore but a good sore. Like my body is pissed off at me again for pushing it to do something unfamiliar. I have come to learn this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Ok, enough for now.
Be on the lookout next week for 2 Product reviews, one for Pro Compression socks and one for a Hydrapak Hydration Backpack. Both are pretty damn cool products.

I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy St. Patty’s Day.

Till next time, Have a good one.

Andy