Wednesday, May 25, 2016

learning what working hard is

My step-son is about as lazy as they come.  My mom likes to laugh at me about it.  She knows that throughout my entire life I've never had much patience...especially with laziness.  When I was a college coach that was the biggest thing I hated about the job.  Dealing with lazy people.  I can't count how many times I'd have someone in my office all afternoon telling me how badly they wanted to be All-American.  Just how driven they were to be great....and then the moment passed and all that gusto just seemed to run right out of them like air escaping a balloon, because I never saw any of that desire expressed in actual work.

I was very quick to give up on anyone who didn't live running.  You know how coaches all say they'd rather have a mediocre runner who tried hard than a talented runner who didn't?  Well I didn't even bother.   The path to mediocrity doesn't need an escort.  I only gave my coaching time to hard workers.  The rest could read the workout from the wall in the gym and have at it, or not. 

So here I am, on a daily basis coming home to a young sheltered 16yr old who hasn't ever known real work.  His exasperation when given simple tasks is something I just was never prepared for.  Some kharmic angel sent him to me to round me out a bit, build something in me...but I gander I'm probably failing.

Which brings me back to my running.  I've been bragging lately about just how strong I've been getting, only to have setback after setback.   My attempt at returning to running so far has been a frustrating and totally humiliating experience.  Well, if all I can do is run 30 minutes a day and do physical therapy....then I'm going to own that shit! 

Matt, my physical therapist has been slowly removing limiting factors.  My back wasn't firing, my hips were weak, my QL was locking in compensation.  One by one we've strengthened to reduce the symptoms.  Each week he assigns me new exercises without taking away the old ones.  Each week I astonish him at how strong I got that week.

Last week I was able to run 6 days.  When I started my 4 mile loop (at 128 HR) I was able to do it in 35:10.  That quickly came down to 34:12 average.  A few more weeks and I was averaging 31:17.  Now I average 28:20.  So I'm back to running 7 minute miles on hilly twisting trails at a very low heart rate (even with 176 average cadence).

I started out, as I posted earlier, doing about 2hrs of physical therapy exercises a day.  Now I'm up to almost 4.  I wake up to 16 minutes of various planks followed by 18 minutes of various bridges.  then I'm off to work where every hour I take a break and do 9 minutes of my suitcase carries and different variations, or my foot exercises, or my stability with weights exercises, or my weight assisted stretching routine.  After work I run 30 minutes, then my stability exercises and ball routine.  After that my stretching exercises, shower, etc.  

I'm going to fix this, I'm going to be the best 42yr old runner I can be.  It's the journey.  If I have to remake every muscle in my body I will.  I'm done complaining, I'm done being frustrated.  It's time to embrace this shit and show it who's boss.  I'm not afraid of work, I define work.

People say the best thing for a child is to see consistency, work ethic, and healthy habits.  It's in front of him, all day, every day.  If none of it sinks I said before, he'll have plenty of company on the mediocre highway.  I have a different destination for myself in mind.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Everything was going along smoothly, until it wasn't.  I got up to running 2 days, then 1 day off.  I was increasing all my exercises...but my back wasn't responding.  One day I woke up with a kink in my neck.  Figure I was doing too many push-ups with my feet on the exercise ball.  I took that day off running and did more stretching.  All that stretching without exercising seemed to make my back I took another day off.  By then my neck and back were so bad that I had to make an emergency appointment with Matt my Physical Therapist.  He worked on my back and shoulder gave me some homework....

So I've been doing my homework.  I'm back to running 2 days on and 1 day off.  My runs are still going awesome.  My heart rate has come down while my cadence work has done wonders.  I'm pretty consistently running 170-176 cadence easy cheesy.  Doesn't feel all that weird anymore either.

I went for PT today and we found that my back just isn't responding.  The funny things we've noticed... 

1) When my back tightens up my knee hurts.   Regardless of activity or inactivity. 

2) Doing a "suitcase carry" or "bottoms up kettlebell carry" exercise almost immediately helps my back.  too many however or too much running and my QL locks up and I'm leaning right a bit.

3) At around 28 minutes of running (I currently run for 31-34 minutes for my loop) my left hip fatigues and I can feel that instead of springing off the ground, my right leg is catching me, sinking in, then having to muscles me up.  That I'm sure comes with some hip tilt and then causes my right leg/knee to dive in.  When that happens my form has basically gone bad.  Keeping the high rpm combats this because my stride is shorter, but not completely...and I can only maintain the high cadence for so long.  So for now we'll keep the run duration right around 30 minutes and just add more runs per week.

My functional strength measure ok for everything.  My form on the treadmill looks great... but I still get the neck kink with too many exercises and right QL lock with too many.  So today he introduced me to dry needling.  This is where he takes acupuncture needles and jams them through the skin, then moves around here and there poking and aggravating the muscles.  He said this causes them to send acid and enzymes there to repair them, and blood to wash away everything.  Basically attacking the adhesion's like massage.  Holy hell!!  rank this right up there with the dentists drill.  He worked on my right quad for about 10 minutes and I was just about to my limit when he graciously moved on to my hip and back.  Hip and back didn't bother me nearly as much.  A few places really seemed to release things.  I'm sore, but my range of motion and strength improved pretty dramatically really quickly.  The leg though.  Dang!!! I'm barely able to kneel down.  My quad is pretty sore.

We'll see what that does for me.   Setback after setback....but at least I'm running.  I may be the slowest man slogging through the woods but I'm getting out there and enjoying it....

maybe I'm in last place....but hopefully I can pull a Waddle.