Thursday, April 14, 2016

Post 5k (by a couple weeks!) and more traction

April 3 was the 5k  April Fools event.  This is one of the funnest and best races I've participated in. First, this race director has plenty of emails and Facebook notices about an event (but not too many, you know what I mean?).  He also has a great staging area of the Start, food/tents, and Finish lines.

Let's take the Start line.  He has it set up with a nice inflatable banner, plenty of "minute" corral areas and, this is to me one of the best things, speakers all the way back down the corral area. This means, if you're a walker or a 13 minute runner, you can still hear what's being announced and hear the national anthem too!

I got out to the race site about 45 minutes early. The day was still chilly, but not near as windy as Saturday, the original event day, was.  Saturday had wind gusts up to 50mph, and I think a few may have been faster than that.  The race director was able to work with the venue (state park), food venues and portapotty people to have the event on Sunday instead. This in and of itself is a huge feat. Not many cities or race directors would be able to arrange that!  I got a parking spot about midway between the start and finish/staging area.  My main reason in getting there early was to get a good parking spot, and to be able to get a race shirt at 8:30, when those of us who registered too late could get a t-shirt.  HOT PINK :-)    There were a few hundred people I guess, who weren't able to make the race on Sunday, but there were over seven hundred people who were happy it got rescheduled!  The race director is awesome. Any other city/race probably would have resulted in a flat out cancellation.

I started walking back to the Starting area about 8:45.  I didn't want to stand out in the breeze any more than necessary, even though I had on a Mizuno thermal shirt, a loose winter Adidas over that, and my Saucony running jacket. On the bottom half I messed up and wore Athleta knee pants, with Nike winter run pants over that.  I should have worn full length tights and then the Nike over it.  My calves were ccccold!  
Not these type of calves!  
I stayed on the side of the corral until the near end and then tucked in to cross the start line.  I was sure I was going to have the same issue as I do with running--going out too fast in "turbo" fashion.  I think I was doing well for the start and then did pick it up a little to stay with a couple other walkers who were near me. My back was a little 'ick' from the twisting of the hips as I walked, but it wasn't too bad. I was walking faster than I do on the treadmill and could tell that.  About three-fourths of a mile in the right lower back was a sore spot. This had happened before, since the accident, on the treadmill and was a "knock it down" signal to me.  I tried to slow up the walking but it didn't seem to help on this day.  I took my thumb and pushed it into that area to try and loosen it up.

The course is sort of an out and back with a side loop about a mile in.  While I usually see the lead racers on the side loop, today walking this course, I saw them much earlier on the course and it freaked me out! Made me think I must be reallllllly slow and then I realized, 'yeah, I am slow today. I am a walker!'  One of the up and coming runners is a young thing, and it was great to see him out there keeping pace with the leaders. (He's 8).  Some people are shocked to see someone 'so young' out there, but it's really about finding an interest that the person like and loves and he loves running and being fast.

That side loop is almost another mile as well, so it's not a straight line out and back and there is some scenic change to enjoy as well!   On this side loop is where I slowed down and was massaging the right mid back several times.  I got to where I walked with it just barely making its presence known, so it wasn't painful, but wasn't gone either.  Just 'noticeable'.  

The rest of the event, last mile or so, I slowed down a bit more too.  I was loving the beautiful day, with the chilly breeze, even though I'd rather have been running the event. I tried not to let the need to walk get me down, but it was definitely frustrating not to go faster, and having to slow a walk.

I finished with a little over 55 minutes, so definitely faster than I have been on the treadmill, but with the low back twitching and hurting, I just don't know how I could go any faster. [I thought it was funny that we always run in races faster than in training and the same held true for walking--even though I didn't expect it to happen].  I wanted to hang out for the finish, but the cool breeze was at work cooling me down too much. I got my results sheet, chocolate milk, banana and popcorn and headed back to the car.  I was trying to remember if this is the race where the race director has a door prize drawing and I couldn't remember, then I decided it didn't matter. I wanted to get warm!

I had my second traction therapy last week on Wednesday and didn't notice any difference, unlike the first one the prior week.  I hurt going into it and I still hurt after the traction and heat + stim.

Friday I felt a lot better. I got on the treadmill and did another 5K.... at my slower pace 57 minutes.  A couple miles into walking I decided to bump the treadmill up to 5mph and try running. I did get further until the pain kicked in, and then cut it back to walking speed.  A whole 30 seconds I ran.  WOW. I **should** be impressed with myself.  

This week I missed traction.  Essentially, I got a whole two hours of sleep on Tuesday night, waking up at midnight "wide awake" for the day. I grabbed the kindle and read on the couch for a bit.  Later in the morning we had our new bed and couch delivered. I feel like a princess having to climb up into the giant bed (with memory foam padding!).  Last night I slept solidly (probably because I realllly needed the sleep) and today I got busy with closet cleaning and laundry.  My wrist pain shot up with all the activity and back pain was steady. About 11am I get a call from the car dealer that I missed my brake appointment. Thankfully I was still able to take my car in. Unfortunately, it meant I also missed my therapy (traction) appointment this morning.  I called to reschedule and they were surprised to realize they had missed me not checking in and rescheduled for the first available on Monday.  I was surprised that they hadn't called me after missing my 9am appointment.

In cleaning out the closet today, I found my bright pair of Brooks Ravenna 6 shoes that I won at last year's Marine Corps Marathon. I'm 'saving' those for when I'm able to get back to running!  I have three old pairs of running shoes I can use for walking and therapy.

Here's to a beautiful weather week ahead!  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Walk--not run, Get Me The Rack, 5k!

I usually thing of things to write about when I'm driving, or doing something else that means I can't write down what I'm thinking about.  By the time I get to paper and a writing utensil, I have forgotten what I was thinking ;-)  I hope I'm not the only one who does this!

This last week I was (still) bemoaning that I cannot run.  Someone asked me a few months ago if I've tried running. I said no, quickly, but the reality was that yes, I did try once after the accident.  My treadmill goes has three instant speed buttons of 3mph, 5mph, and 7mph.  I bumped it from 3mph to 5mph for about as long as it takes to say "NOPE", and went back to 3mph. My whole back was so sore from that 'try' that it just became more simple to say "I can't run" since 11/17/16 car accident.

Earlier this week my doc's office called to tell me the results of the MRI I had on Friday of last week. My wrist has water on it.  I wonder why it can't be aspirated. My knee was aspirated about a decade ago when I ripped my ACL and meniscus. My doc just racks everything up to my autoimmune disease.  (sigh)  It'd be even nice if insurance companies let you pick a physician based on their lifestyle. Such as, I'd like a doctor who is food/health conscious, and runs/exercises, and would look outside the box at investigating things.

The results of the wrist said I had water on it, and apparently it'll just go away in time.  The low back showed some issues and my PCP's nurse relayed that I could do injections or try traction.  Let yourself see how you'd react to those two options and being made to make a decision with that information.  I asked what type of injections, 'corticosteroid'.  Oh, so Prednisone?  She replied with yes, probably. Hmmm, well, I HATE Prednisone.

I asked what traction was about.  The nurse told me "weights on your waist".  Hmm, well that one doesn't sound as scary as Prednisone, let's go with traction.  The nurse replied, yeah not everyone wants a needle in their back.  My thought: Why would an injection/RX be anyone's first choice of recovery?  Medicine is good, but seriously, let's try some non-pharmaceutical things first!

This last time for PT, traction was "added".  (i.e. I did traction, plus the stim, but no Gym to see how I feel).   Traction is putting on a corset/waist belt system, laying on a table, having the belt system attached to a machine that slowly and gradually pulls your lower body from your upper body. Essentially, "traction" is the modern day mid-evil times RACK.  It actually didn't hurt. It felt good and I could only tell I was being moved because the Athleta pants slipped on the table as it moved under me.
(found via search for "The Rack")
Afterwards I felt good. Still had some pain, but I felt like I could hop and skip.  The pain came back about five hours later, but not as strongly until later that night.

There's a 5K this weekend that I've been debating on entering, so I decided I better get my butt back on the treadmill to walk a full 5k and see how I'm going to do with it.  I decided my time was doable and wouldn't keep the volunteers at the race finish extra long.  In addition, after I had two miles done, I decided to try to run.  BIG mistake.  I bumped up the treadmill to 5mph and immediate pain shot horizontally on the low back and up the back as well. I went back to walking.

Then the race was postponed from Saturday to Sunday. . . . due to strong winds forecast. By strong winds, we're talking wind gusts up to 50mph.  Some people were upset because they had Sunday commitments, but most were happy that:

1. The race director is looking out for racers and volunteers;  and 
2. That "Iowa Nice" extends to parks being flexible with something like a race.  

I cannot imagine a race on city streets being postponed one day. However, since this race takes place in a state park, and no one had the park reserved for Sunday, then the race can still go on!
I entered this 5K for Sunday, as well as one at the end of the month.   I have mixed feelings for having to walk it, but happy to get out in the beautiful Spring and get enjoy the day.  

Last year when I did the Marine Corps Marathon in October, someone asked me why I just didn't postpone it until the following year, and get a better time, since it'd be seven months after my acral lentiginous melanoma/ "toe cancer".  I said because I got into the race for this year and I was going to do it, and I had to get something BIG moved in order to be able to do the race, and would have to get permission to move that again in the following year.  I am now ecstatic that I ran the Marine Corps Marathon last year.  It was my slowest, marathon ever, out of five, but I did it.

In that fashion, I'm getting out there and doing this 5K.  It will be my slowest, longest 5K ever, but I am going to do it.  (I did walk this race with a friend a couple years ago, so it'll be the second 5k I've walked since 2009 when I started running).  

Now, should I do a costume, or just dress as a "walker" ;-)   It is a Foolish race to do, after all!