Wednesday, April 20, 2016

getting stronger

I've slowly been getting better at my physical therapy exercises.  Last week I was finally able to get through 3 sets of all of them.  I was rewarded this week with more and harder exercises.  So far when he's added exercises he hasn't let me stop the old ones....and now it seems I have more to do than I can fit into my evenings.  Today I got up early to do some.

I only got to run twice last week because I was busy.  I'm trying to run with a high cadence and I feel like I'm prancing along like I'm training for Riverdance....but I do feel better.  It'll be a lot better when I'm fit enough to run at a pace that warrants a fast cadence.  For now it's just good for my stride and hips. 

Yesterday I ran at lunch and it was pretty hot (83 degrees) compared to what I was used to.  I was doing this loop 4 years ago between 33 and 35 minutes.  Yesterday I was feeling pretty good for about 28 minutes, but with the higher cadence my heart rate was higher than it should be for the pace I was running.  After 28 minutes my hips were getting really sore and I could feel a bit in my patella.  I end every run praying my patella doesn't flare up.  At 35 minutes I stopped and walked in. Probably would have been around 37 or 38 for the loop.  So pretty slow, but I'm so happy to be out there I guess I don't care how slow it is. 

I went to the gym at lunch today and I'm really happy with how all the core and hip stuff I've been doing has translated to strength in other areas.  My pull-ups and just about everything are way better.  Hopefully next time I go to physical therapy he lets me drop some of the easier exercises so I can fit in some other things. 

Here are some of the hardest exercises I do..

1) planks with leg movement.  I do 1 minute of normal plank lifting one leg at a time up using my back muscles, then immediately turn to this side plank moving my top leg in a running motion..., then roll to the other side.  After the 3 minutes I take a 30 second break and then do it again.  I do 3 sets.

2) Next I do band walks.  Those are pretty easy looking but after 3 passes back and forth of my living room my hips are cooked.

3) next I do one legged squats where I push the up leg into a ball.  This puts a lot of lateral pressure on the leg that I'm squatting with.

4) Next I do 1 legged bridges and I dip the hip of my up leg 30 times during the 1 minute bridge.  I do that 3 times with both legs.

5) Next I take bands and close them in my door.  I stand with my right side toward the door and stand on one leg.  With the bands in my hands in front of my stomach I twist to the right, middle, left, and when I go back to middle I take my hands straight out.  I do that 10 times with each foot then turn and do them facing the other way.  It may sound simple but it was almost impossible at first.  Now I can do them ok, my balance is getter better and I can really feel my feet getting stronger and I have to force myself to turn. 

6) most of the other exercises are balance related.  They don't seem very hard except that I do them when my hips are already cooked from the other exercises. 

As I was running in the woods yesterday I just kept waiting for my knee to hurt and praying that my patella holds up and I can really start to run.  So far so good. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

a restart?

I've spent a pretty fair amount of my time in the last 3 weeks sitting in doctors offices.  A lot of interesting news.  Just enough to get me to start dreaming again.   I'm afraid to even write about it and jinx myself.

First the doctors, then trip for MRI, then back to doctor, then to physical therapist.  Turns out at some point I had a bulged disc that pressed on the nerve that tells my multifidis to fire.  The disc bulge went back on its own, but the muscle wasn't getting the signal and wasn't working.  I did a week's worth of exercises and got that firing again and now I'm finding all sorts of weakness because I've spent a few years compensating for the back stuff.

First off is a horribly weak left hip and poor stability when doing one legged squats with my right leg.  I did about 2 weeks of all sorts of crazy exercises for those.  Pretty pathetic! One of the exercises was a side plank, but instead of just holding, I rotated my top leg as though I was running.  I could last 7 seconds.  Well, after 2 weeks of that I can now do 3 sets of 1 minute.  My hips are getting nice and strong, my core is nice and strong.  Still weakness in my left hip, but the main problem now is the stability issues when squatting. 

Right now we're tackling that with some exercises where I land and hop stopping in a one legged squat.  Sort of odd to express in writing.  We'll see how all that goes.  All I can say is that every night I go to bed with my hips totally wore out and all day long they're quite sore.  Good sore!!

Yesterday they had me run on the treadmill and did video gate analysis from the side and back.  My form over 6:10 pace is too up and down and my cadence is too slow.  Once I get faster than 6:10 my cadence improves, but I'm still up and down.  Measuring my legs upon landing it's quite clear that I'm catching myself cushioning with my muscles, then having to push up and off again.  Hopefully cadence with take care of some of that.  The other problem is that I lean to the right when I run.  He thinks that's is what has been the main issue putting more stress on that right knee.  Probably due to my back not working, my left hip being too weak, and my back to those exercises.  For now that's my emphasis...but I am allowed to run. 

Here's hoping I finally beat this thing.  Don't just be teasing me!  I want to run!  Save some love for me!