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I Still Have a Defective Heart

Atrial Septal Defect - Image from Wikipedia (Creative Commons Image)

Atrial Septal Defect – Image from Wikipedia (Creative Commons Image)

Let me start this post with a correction: I misheard my cardiologist last week. I thought he said I have a ventricular septal defect. He actually said I have an atrial septal defect. Today when we went over the results of my tests, he told me I have, not 1, but 2 holes between my atriums.

The human heart isn’t that big. How is it possible that I have 2 holes in one little area?

The rest of my tests were unremarkable. Nothing unusual showed up when I wore a heart monitor for 24 hours and my stress test looked good. Overall, my doctor is unsure what’s causing my symptoms – the chest pain, the fatigue, and the night sweats. He prescribed me a low-dose beta-blocker and said I can go back on ibuprofen for pain. (Yay!) My beta blocker dose is so low my pharmacy had to special order it. Since I’m so small, my doctor’s having me only take half a pill every other day for the first five days to see how I adjust to it. (He said it could make me tired.)

My cardiologist also referred me to another heart specialist to evaluate whether my heart defect is causing my problems and whether they should be surgically sealed. Apparently this guy specializes in these types of defects. I hope it doesn’t take weeks to get an appointment. If my defect should be patched, they go in through the groin, not open heart surgery. That was good to hear.

My doctor said I’m allowed to try running again. I was pretty nervous to see how my stamina is after not running for nearly 3 weeks. I was slated to do 5 miles today and I opted to do it on the treadmill where I could control my speed. I ended up doing a run/walk combo and finished in 53:58. I think that’s a good start. My chest hurt a little bit at first but settled down by mile 3.

I’m scheduled to do 14 miles on Saturday and I think I’ll do it on the treadmill again where it will be easier to manage speed, take breaks, and have snacks. For now, my plan is to keep following my marathon training program, but modify it by walking and running my miles as needed.

Marathon Training Week 13 Recap: Walking Sucks

This was a challenging week of training. I saw my cardiologist on Monday and he said I could only walk, not run until we got the results of the tests he ordered (ultrasound, stress test, and heart monitor). There are two main challenges with walking: (1) it takes a lot longer than running and (2) it’s boring!

Walking with Heather

Walking with Heather

I’m still sticking to Hal Higdon’s marathon training program for novices, but walking my miles. I hope I can still do Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona in January.

Monday: Rest Day.

Tuesday: I had work commitments early in the morning so I opted to do my 4 miles in evening – on the treadmill. That thing still feels like a human hamster wheel. Maintaining a 4 mph pace was pretty challenging.

Wednesday: I walked 9 miles today. It took 2.5 hours. It’s so frustrating that I can’t run. I think it’s starting to make me batty.

Walking with Lawton & Oscar

Walking with Lawton & Oscar

Thursday: I was scheduled to walk 5 miles today but I ended up walking 5.4. I did it first thing in the morning which made it less painful. I also had my stress test that morning, so I had to be caffeine-free for 24 hours and not eat for 4 hours before the test, so taking a walk kept me occupied.

Friday:  Rest Day.

Counting Loops

Counting Loops

Saturday:  I walked 19 miles today, and it took over 5.5 hours to finish it. I walked from my place to ASU Tempe campus, walked 4 loops around campus, and then home again. My friends Heather and Lawton (with her adorable dog Oscar) joined me for part of the walk which made it much more bearable – Thanks so much! Every time I finished a looped, I marked it on my wrist with a Sharpie pen so I wouldn’t lose track of myself. I kept myself energized with water, GU Chomps, and an energy bar.

Here’s another reason why walking sucks – when you’re walking long distance, you feel the pain of your first miles before you’re done with your last mile. When I run, I’m done after a few hours and I’m home before the pain sets in. My hamstrings were killing me by the time I got home.

Sunday:  Yesterday’s walk gave me heat rash on both my feet and ankles – sexy I know. The last thing I want to do is put on socks or shoes. I’m technically supposed to do cross training on Sundays, but I walked 19 miles yesterday. I’m not doing anything today. (I think the heat rash is nature’s way to saying I’m not meant to be a long distance walker.)

I’ll see my cardiologist this Thursday. So far he’s said I have a hole in my heart and that my heart skips beats. I hope he’ll know what’s wrong with me and that he says I can run short distances so I can alternate running and walking for the rest of my training and through the race.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  0 miles
Walking:  37.4 miles
Push-ups:  0 push-ups

I Have a Defective Heart

Who has two thumbs and a heart defect?
This guy!

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) - Creative Commons Image from Wikipedia

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) – Creative Commons Image from Wikipedia

I feel like I’ve been living at my cardiologist’s office this week. I was in this morning for my stress test when my doctor pulled me aside to share some news about my ultrasound. (That raised a big red flag since I wasn’t expecting any results until next week when all my tests were done.) He told me that I have ventricular septal defect (VSD), better known as a hole in my heart. It’s a genetic defect where there’s a hole between the ventricals of your heart. My doctor said ~10% of the population has it, and not everyone has health problems as a result, so we don’t know if mine is causing or contributing to my chest pain at this point.

(Of course you know the moment I got out of my doctor’s office, the first thing I did was call my parents and say, “It’s all your fault.”)

Then he reminded me not to run this weekend – I can walk instead.

Once I was done talking with my doctor, I got to have my stress test – that’s the one where you run on the treadmill with electrodes attached to your chest. They gave me a half gown thing to wear over my electrodes, but I was in a sports bra and I have no modesty issues so I opted to run without it. I had 8 electrodes on my chest and a blood pressure cuff on my arm where my tech periodically took my blood pressure. We had to go up four levels to get my heart rate up high enough – the speed and incline increased with each level. At each level, the machine produced an EKG printout. When it got challenging, the real issue wasn’t the speed, it was the incline. My calves and hamstrings were burning. I’m glad it only took 14 minutes to get through this.

The worst part about doing a stress test is you can’t have caffeine for 24 hours before the test. I popped a caffeine pill the moment my test was over.

My Holter ECG

My Holter ECG

After my stress test, they stuck a Holter ECG on me for 24 hours. It’s a heart monitor with 5 electrodes that connect to a recorder box that clips to my hip. When I saw the box, my first thought was “1990 called. They want their pager back.” With all these cords hanging off me, I feel like I’m wearing 5 iPods. For the duration of this test I’m not allowed to shower or sweat and they gave me a log to record any pain, dizziness, or other symptoms. I ‘m afraid one of the electrodes will come loose so I keep pushing on them. I probably look like I’m molesting myself. We’ll see how easy it is to sleep with this on my body.

I’ll see my doctor next Thursday to get the results of all my tests and hopefully he’ll have a proposed plan of action to deal with my pain. Until then, I’ll still train for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, but I’ll be walking my miles.

Ultrasound!

Heart and Heartbeat by ThrasherDave from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Heart and Heartbeat by ThrasherDave from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

No, I am not with child.

I had an ultrasound on my neck and heart to try to figure why my chest hurts and why I wake up in  a puddle of my own sweat halfway through the night.

Getting an ultrasound is a pretty simple procedure – you just lay there while the tech puts goo on the ultrasound wand-thing and slides it over your skin. They had me take off my clothes from the waist-up and put on a paper tank top that was open in the back. (I wonder if they only give paper gowns to women.)

The tech started with the ultrasound of my neck arteries. Because I had to have my neck stretched, I couldn’t watch the screen. He periodically turned the sound on to listen and/or capture the sound of my heartbeat. The first time he did it I giggled. I instantly realized this was probably the only way I was going to hear a heartbeat during an ultrasound of my body because I have no plans for procreation.

After he finished scanning my neck, I asked how it looked at he only said, “I think you’ll live through the weekend.” We moved on to my heart ultrasound and I got to start laying on my side, which was awesome because I got to watch the monitor. The female tech put some electrodes on my chest that monitored my heart too, which was cool to see my heartbeat going across the screen.

Of course, I couldn’t understand anything I was seeing. I swear sometimes my heart looked like the face of a deep ocean fish and sometimes it looked like The Blerch from The Oatmeal. I’ve decided I have an alien in my chest.

We finished the scan with an ultrasound of my chest while I lay flat on my back. It was interesting to hear the differences in how my heart sounded depending on how I was laying and where the tech was holding the ultrasound wand.  Sometimes it sounded eerily similar to a theremin. (Think of the original Star Trek theme song.)

Hat tip to the Cardiovascular Institute of Scottsdale for handling female modesty well. When the tech needed to scan my chest, he just ripped a small hole in my gown instead of asking me take it off. Modesty is a non-issue for me, but I can see how other patients would appreciate this.

Of course the tech couldn’t tell me anything from my scan, though when I told him I was getting all my test results next Thursday, he said, “Good.” So maybe he saw something on my ultrasound, but if he did, it can’t be that bad because he didn’t seem to mind that I’ll be waiting 10 days to get the results.

New Mystery: Why Does My Chest Hurt?

My new drug of "choice."

My new drug of “choice.”

As many of you know, I’m training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Arizona in January. Unfortunately, I haven’t run a step since November 29th. I feel fine when I run but I started having chest pains after my long runs. After the second time it happened, I felt like a giant lumberjack stomped on my chest while wearing his work boots and then kicked me in the ribs. The night sweats are a bitch too. I woke up soaking wet halfway through the night last night.

I saw my general practitioner who referred me to a cardiologist. They couldn’t get me in for a week so I had to walk last week’s miles. Do you know how boring it is to walk 8 miles?

My friend Bill warned me that I would look very out of place at the cardiologist’s office – and he was right. The only person who looked close to my age was a woman who was there with her father. All of the patients were at least 25 years older than me.

My doctor seems like he knows what he’s doing. He asked a ton of questions, took lots of notes, and listened all over my torso. To my dismay and frustration, he didn’t have any answers for me yet, and if his has any hypotheses regarding what’s wrong with me, he didn’t share them. He created a solid-sounding plan of action to figure out what’s going on:

  • Ultrasound of my neck and heart
  • Stress test (that’s the one where you’re on the treadmill)
  • Heart monitor for 24 hours
  • Prescription for Prilosec in case there’s an acid reflux issue
  • He told me to switch from ibuprofen to acetaminophen (Tylenol)

I think taking me off ibuprofen is evil. Every woman I know (except those with stomach issues) swears by it. It’s the cure-all for everything – headaches, cramps, sore muscles, etc. I was not happy to hear that instruction. When I filled my prescription, I bought the biggest bottle of acetaminophen in the store. Between the headaches I’ve been having and the pain I get in my legs from working out, I’m going to need it.

My doctor echoed my general practitioner’s instructions that I can walk but I shouldn’t run until we figure this out. All of my testing is this week, but I won’t have my follow up appointment to get the results until next week. So I will be walking for the next 10 days – including the 18 miles I’m scheduled to do this weekend. 18 miles of walking?! This is going to suck.

Since I deal with the world and my life through blogging and social media, I’ll be documenting this whole process.

Marathon Training Week 12 Recap: WTF is Wrong with Me?

12 by Jalil Arfaoui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

12 by Jalil Arfaoui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

My training had a major setback this week. My chest has been killing me since last weekend. At first I thought it was just costochondritis, which I’ve dealt with off and on for years. The pain was bad on Sunday night and it extended into my neck, head, shoulders, ribs, and arms. I started having night sweats over the weekend too. And I mean sweating – I had to change my shirt two hours after I feel asleep because my shirt was soaked from the neck seam to the waist seam.

Monday: Holy shit my chest hurts. It hurts to take a deep breath, laugh, bend over, and sit up straight. I called my doctor as soon as the office opened and got a same-day appointment. They ran an EKG, which was normal (yay). My doctor listened to my chest and referred me to get a chest x-ray and to see a cardiologist. My doctor recommended that I walk instead of run my miles this week. (I suspect he’d prefer I not work out at all.)

Tuesday: My chest and head still hurt but it’s not as bad as yesterday. The idea of walking this week’s miles make me cringe. I run partially because I don’t have the patience to walk. I walked my 4.5 miles this afternoon. My foot hurt a bit and my chest and ribs hurt a bit. I kept myself entertained by listening to multiple episodes of The #AskGaryVee Show.

I got my chest x-ray results: normal. I’m glad the news was good but it’s annoying not knowing what’s wrong with me.

This is my night shirt after a night of night sweats. I took this photo 6 hours after I took this shirt off and it was still drenched!

This is my night shirt after a night of night sweats. I took this photo 6 hours after I took this shirt off and it was still drenched!

Wednesday: My chest and head still hurt but the chest pain is continuing to improve. Walking is boring and I don’t like how much time it takes up. It took 2:10 to walk 8 miles today. I entertained myself by listening to the Dr. Drew Podcast and Evo at 11.

Thursday: I had to get my car serviced and pick up mail from my office. When I realized they were 2.7 miles apart, I opted to do 5.4 miles instead of the 5 miles I was assigned to do. Yay for killing 2 birds with one stone. Boo for the fact it was raining. I wore my raincoat from when I lived in Oregon but that didn’t prevent my jeans from being completely soaked by the end.

Here’s something that’s weird. When I run, my left leg and my right hip hurt. When I walk, my right leg and my left hip hurt.

Friday:  Rest Day.

Saturday:  My plan for the weekend was to skip cross training and walk the 12 miles I was scheduled to run on Sunday. That didn’t happen. I was pretty run down on Saturday and by Saturday afternoon, I was feeling weak and warm. It turned out I was running a fever. I slept from 5pm on Saturday evening until 6am on Sunday morning, waking up twice to change my sweat-soaked shirt.

Sunday:  I may be a masochist, but I’m not an idiot. My temperature was back down to normal by 7am, but I was still weak from the previous day. Plus something in my liver/lower lung area was hurting. I opted for a mellow day and did housework instead of walking for 3 hours.

I’ll see my cardiologist on Monday morning. Hopefully we’ll get some answers and I’ll be back pounding pavement soon. Being sick sucks.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  0 miles
Walking:  17.9 miles
Push-ups:  0 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 11 Recap – Geez that Hurts!

11 by MaretH. from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

11 by MaretH. from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I am 11 weeks into Hal Higdon’s 18-week marathon training program. It was mostly a good week of training until this weekend when the excruciating pain started. I switched up my aural entertainment from podcasts to mostly music and it made a big difference.

Here’s the recap of the last week:

Monday: Monday is usually a rest day, but I knew I’d be hiking on Thursday so I did the 4.5 miles I was scheduled to do on Thursday today. I entertained myself with my race day playlist. It’s easy to zone out with good music and just run in time with the rhythm. It was a little chilly but it felt good towards the end. I didn’t have any real pain until Mile 2 or 3 when I started having a little discomvfort in my hip, left calf, and left shin/post-tib. I was pretty sure I was going to need KT Tape on my left shin and post-tib for Wednesday’s 8-mile run and Saturday’s 16-mile run.

Tuesday: I accidentally slept in today so I ran my 4.5 miles in the afternoon. It was an uneventful run – just my standard pain in my left shin and right hip.

Wednesday:  I ran 8 miles early morning and watched a beautiful sunrise. It had hip pain from Mile 1, but it wasn’t that bad. I wore KT Tape which helped but it didn’t stay in place very well. I ordered Tuf-Skin when I got home. That stuff makes tape stick like glue.

I’m stepping up my push-ups this week: 5 sets of 25.

Thursday: Today was the Annual No Guilt Thanksgiving Hike with my cousin Marian. We hiked 5 miles up Shaw Butte. It was a good trek with good conversation, and as a bonus, I felt no pain.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: I had a Forrest Gump moment during today’s 16-mile run. I started my run just as the sun was coming up and I was running next to a park that has some beautiful red rocks. There weren’t any cars or people around and I could just begin to see the sun peaking up over the horizon. It was very peaceful and gorgeous.

The run went well. I listened to Profiles with Malone and Mantz followed by my race day playlist. I put KT Tape on my left shin and post-tib and I was annoyed that it wasn’t staying on even though I followed all their directions – and then I realized that I got this roll of tape almost 2 years ago. The adhesive is probably drying out.

I felt good after my run until the evening when my entire body started to hurt – especially my chest. I felt like someone stomped on my sternum and kicked me in the ribs.

Sunday:  Holy crap my chest hurt this morning – but some ibuprofen helped take the edge off. Instead of biking, I went hiking with my friends at the Wind Cave Trail. It was 4 miles with a lot of rocks to climb. Toward the end, my legs and glutes could definitely feel it. After the hike my chest was killing me. Some of the people on the running Subreddit suggested that I might have a posture issue. I definitely plan to hit the Runner’s Den injury clinic this week to get their opinion about this.

After a nap I felt much better and cranked out 4 sets of 25 push-ups.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  33 miles (130.6 miles total for November)
Hiking:  9 miles
Push-ups:  225 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 10 Recap – Masochism Begins

under 10km/h by kssk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

under 10km/h by kssk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I am 10 weeks into Hal Higdon’s 18-week marathon training program. I needed KT Tape last week and after a few days, my leg felt well enough to run without it. Yay for that! I’m still having ongoing hip pain but my physical therapist friend suggested a stretch that helps a lot.

Here’s the recap from last week’s training:

Monday:  It was a chilly 46 degrees this morning. I didn’t feel like running in the cold and I definitely didn’t want to take the time to find my cold weather running gear. So I ran on the treadmill for 4.5 miles, and I ran my face off. I was done in 37.5 minutes. I wanted to be done so badly I cranked the speed up to 8.5 for the last few minutes. Hat tips to The Creative Giant Show and The #AskGaryVee Show for keeping me distracted and entertained.

Tuesday: Rest day.

Wednesday:  I ran 7 miles today. It was 52 degrees outside when I started so I ran in long pants and long-sleeved shirt. I was warm enough that I could have been in shorts and t-shirt by the end. I was entertained by an episode of the Dr. Drew Podcast with guests Anna David and Mike Carano. I laughed out loud several times.

When I got back from my run, I cranked out 100 push-ups: 4 sets of 25.

Thursday: It was another chilly morning, and since I worked from home today, I waited until 9am to run my 4.5 miles so I could run in the sun. I made the mistake of listening to my Christmas playlist today. Although it has some awesomely powerful songs, there were way too many ballads in the mix to be good for running. Plus it made me sad because it reminded me that I’m away from my family on Christmas.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: I ran 15 miles today – the longest run I’ve ever done. Ever. I filled the 2.5 hours by listening to episodes of The Dr. Drew Podcast, The Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart, and a repeat of Profiles with Malone and Mantz featuring John Hughes. My hip handled the pain pretty well but it still hurt, as did my foot and my knee by the end. I started hating myself around mile 11. The last few miles were not pretty, but they got done and that’s what matters. It takes a true masochist to voluntarily run this far “for fun.”

Sunday:  I did a 19-mile bike ride today for cross training. It was only about 50 degrees when I started and I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, so it was pretty chilly. On the upside, it was like I was icing my body as I was inflicting pain on it. I can definitely tell that my quads are getting stronger and have more definition.

When I got back, I finished my push-ups for the week with 4 sets of 25.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 31 miles
Biking: 19 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 9 Recap – Back in KT Tape

Number 9 Sign by tedeytan from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Number 9 Sign by tedeytan from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

KT Tape is my friend. When I did the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half marathon in 2013, I think my feet and legs were taped up from November until after race day in January. Since doing physical therapy for my shin splints and re-working my running form earlier this year, my pain is greatly reduced, but I’ve been plagued by post-tib pain in my left leg lately. So I’m back in KT Tape for the foreseeable future. Here’s how this week of training went.

Monday:  Rest day. My quads definitely feel like they ran a half marathon yesterday. My neck and back are bit sore too.

Tuesday: It was a chilly start to the day – only 58 degrees when I started my run. I’ve given up on running on the treadmill and elliptical at the gym. Running in the real world may take longer, but it’s a lot more fun. I listened to an old episode of the Evo at 11 podcast wile I ran 4.5 miles – thanks for making me laugh.

When I got back, I cranked out 100 push-ups: 4 sets of 22, 1 set of 12. I wonder, once I get up to doing 4 sets of 25, if I could increase it to 6 sets of 25, twice a week. I think that would be more efficient than doing 100 push-ups, 3 times week.

Wednesday:  Another chilly morning run with Evo at 11 – 7 miles this time. It wasn’t that painful, but I felt like I was running exceptionally slow for the last 2 miles.

Thursday: I had an early morning event so I moved today’s run to tomorrow. I finished my push-ups for the week in the evening: 4 sets of 23 and 1 set of 8. The last 3 reps of each long set were a bit challenging. I expect to be up to 4 sets of 25 by the end of next week and hope to be up to 6 sets of 25 within 2 weeks after that. I love having muscle definition in my arms.

Taping my Post Tib with KT Tape - I'll probably have my leg taped up most of the time until after the marathon

Taping my Post Tib with KT Tape – I’ll probably have my leg taped up most of the time until after the marathon

Friday: I was in hurry this morning so I didn’t heat my hip before running 4.5 miles. That was a mistake.  It hurt like hell by Mile 2. The Creative Giant Show, a new podcast by Charlie Gilkey, kept me somewhat distracted.

When I got back from my run, I decided it was time to step up the care for my left post tibialis that’s been sore so I taped it up with KT Tape. You can wear KT Tape for as long as it stays in place so I’ll be wearing and sleeping in knee socks for the next 9 weeks to keep it from rolling and catching on things.

Saturday: I ran 10 miles today, and yes, I heated my hip before I headed out. It still hurt but it was much more manageable. As usual, I was entertained by the lovely Scott Mantz and Alicia Malone with their Profiles podcast. They featured Julia Roberts this week. I was bummed when they announced that they’re taking next week off so I’ll have to find something else to entertain me during my 15-mile run.

Ironman Arizona is tomorrow. On the second half of my run, I saw a lot of fit people riding very expensive-looking bikes. I assumed they’re all Ironman athletes getting in one more ride before turning their bikes in for the race.

Sunday:  It was weird getting on my bike after having a week off from cross-training. I rode for 19 miles and I noticed the ride is starting to get easier, except when I ran into a pretty strong head wind around Mile 3.  I hope it doesn’t cause any problems for the Ironman athletes.

I think I’m starting to experience the constant soreness I’ve seen in other friends who are marathon runners and triathletes. Sometimes it hurts less to run than walk, and sometimes it hurts all the time, especially my hip when I go from sitting for period of time to walking around.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  26 miles
Biking:   19 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 8 Recap – Running Hurts!

Looking for Answers? by David Bergin Photography (Creative Commons License)

Looking for Answers? by David Bergin Photography (Creative Commons License)

Week Eight of following Hal Hidgon’s training program has been about managing pain.  This week I was scheduled to run a half marathon on Sunday and I was bummed that I couldn’t find a local race. It’s much less painful to run with the fanfare of a race around and it’s nice to have people cheering for you along the way. In case you wondered if it matters that you’re on the sidelines – it makes a huge difference. Here’s how last week’s training went.

Monday:  I didn’t have a workout scheduled for Monday but I was preparing to lead a 4-mile hike in Papago Park as part of a continuing legal education lecture on Friday. I wanted to make sure I knew where I was going, we went out and walked the route.

Tuesday: I’m not sure I’m going to keep hitting the gym for my Tuesday run. I was annoyed to see that both treadmills weren’t working when I got in there this week so I did my 4.5 miles on the elliptical again – in 31 minutes. I kept myself entertained by listening to three episodes of The #AskGaryVee Show podcast. The only benefits of working out in the gym is I tend to get my miles done faster and I can periodically glance over at my reflection in the mirror to check out my slowly increasing muscle tone.

After my “run,” I cranked out my first 100 push-ups of the week – 5 sets of 20. I’m thinking I’ll but up to 4 sets of 25 by Week 10 and might try to push myself to increase my push-ups to 300/week from 200.

Wednesday:  My hip and feet hurt getting out of bed this morning. Determined not to let that stop me, I headed out on my usual 6.5-mile run. The pain let up after the first mile and returned around mile 4 when I was going up the hill for the second time.

I went to the Injury Clinic at Runner’s Den to get my hip looked at. Matt from Endurance Rehab is always so helpful and super knowledgeable. He poked and prodded at me, had me walk and run a few steps (and said my gait looked good so thanks to Eric my physical therapist for fixing my running form).  He said I don’t have hip problem but a glute problem. He suggested I heat my muscle before I run and roll it on my foam roller afterwards.

Hanging out with my heating pad wrapped around my hip and butt is easy. Working it on the foam roller hurts like a bitch – it’s like self-inflicted deep tissue massage. It helps but geez it’s painful in the process. I’m glad I’m a masochist, but I much prefer to have someone inflict this type of pain rather than having to do it myself.

Thursday: This was my first run where I put heat on my hip and glute before heading out to run 4.5 miles. It helped a lot. Right now my 4.5-mile run has me turning around in the middle of the Mill Avenue Bridge. Something about that seems incomplete. I’m looking forward to my training program bumping me up to 5 miles on Thursday so I can run the whole length.

When I got back, I finished my push-ups for the week: 4 sets of 21 and 1 set of 16. I like seeing veins in my arms when I do them.

Friday: No official training today but I had my 4-mile hike. It was a nice mostly-flat walk.

Saturday: My training program says to run a half marathon on Sunday so I got today off. I’m really bummed that there wasn’t a half-marathon race in my area this weekend.  The race environment is so much more fun, and strangers cheer for you.

Sunday:  I ran a half marathon by myself today. I let myself wake up a little more than usual, had a bagel and a banana for fuel, and put in my contacts so I could enjoy my surroundings more. Despite these allowances, this was a pretty painful run. My feet and right glute hurt from step one. My shins started hurting around mile 4. By mile 8 it seemed like everything from the knee down hurt on both sides. Around mile 10 I had to pick up the pace a bit to cross the street before the light changed. Based on the reaction from the car that was waiting at the intersection, I think I actually grunted. (Sexy I know.) The last mile was pretty brutal. But it got done and that’s what mattered. I finished in about 2:15. Hat tips to Scott Mantz and Alicia Malone of Profiles and the Dr. Drew Podcast for keeping me entertained.

After my last half marathon, I booked a two-hour massage the next day. The only thing I have scheduled after this run is several sessions with my foam roller and work.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  28.6 miles
Hiking: 8 miles
Push-ups:  200 push-ups