Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Physio Focus

I have been staring at this white screen way too many times in the past month, wondering what I could write about. Last time I wrote it was all about doing more of what made me happy. And I did follow suit, however these opportunities were far and in between. There is a sort of lassitude that is slowly creeping in. The less I work out, the less I am motivated to do it, kind of -
"without running, what's the point?". I know it's silly, but I am slowly losing the passion, the fire that ignites my willpower. Without races on the horizon, without a coach, without a plan, it's easy to fall back into the couch potato routine.
Pretty sure I was about to cry. Thank God for that Larabar.
I managed to drag my sorry ass out for a swim every week, hot yoga once a week and a bike ride or two every week, mostly outdoors. However, I've only tried running once for 15 minutes, and that was rather uneventful. Another reason for this decrease in activity has been because I've started working with a new physio therapist and I was told to stay put. Everything has to be "easy" and no runs longer than 20 min for now. But I am very busy taking care of my hips and glutes. All physio work is targeted towards strengthening these areas, so I've been trying to be a good student and fit in as many exercises as he prescribed.

I went to see this guy, who was recommended to me by half a dozen people for being the best at fixing wonky knees and shredded IT bands. I could not afford going last year because I had maxed my physio budget before my IT bands decided to go on strike. But as the new year started, I made it a mission to have a gait analysis done and find out what it would take to fix my legs so I can return to running. His practice is just 5 min away from my office, so that worked out perfectly. The good news is that I run well and he had nothing to say about my gait. He said things like "natural ability", "great posture", "talent" blah blah blah. Maybe he was just trying to be nice. But anyway, then he went on giving me the not so nice picture about my strength. "You are nowhere near as strong as you should be for doing the kind of distances that you chose". Or rather, I am not strong in the places that I should be, like hips and glutes. I've heard this one before... But only now I've been given extremely specific exercises that target precisely those areas. And gosh, he has me working hard.

He said that if I were to do just sprint triathlons or run 5Ks, he would have just told me to go home and not bother, but since I made him understand that running long distances is important to me, he is committed to seeing me returning to doing what I love. And he wants to follow me throughout the entire season to make sure I keep on doing things right. Not once he tried to sway me away from doing long distances or to tell me that I am destroying my body, like many other therapists said before. He isn't Lisa Bentley's PT for nothing. I really liked the guy. He also took time to explain every single exercise and how it affected my body. He puts a lot of emphasis on doing all exercises with such focus and purpose, it's almost intimidating when you think about engaging all these muscles during a single stretch or exercise. Like the bridges below. Try doing them on your heels, tilting your pelvis, squeezing your butt and the legs to keep them close to each other. And don't forget to breathe. Ouch.

He has me on a 40% mobility, 40% stability and 20% strength routine. I don't have the video to share with you, but when I run, my knees collapse inwards and good running technique can only take me that far before knees and hips start complaining. It's all normal since I sit at least 10h a day and then I add more sitting on the bike. So now I have to get up every hour and stretch my hip flexors and IT bands. I have to do a variation of the "couch stretch", by using my desk, with a good posterior pelvic tilt and glute recruitment, at least 5-6 times a day. At home, I get to do daily bridges and work with bands, and a thousand jumps and core stuff. Here's what this week's torture session looked like:
  • 10 x bridges 10 sec on/off 
  • 10 x bridges with leg and arms lift 10 sec on/off 
  • 5 x 5 lateral steps each direction with 2 bands 
  • 12 cross leg stretch on step and opposite side lunge, each leg 
  • 5 x 10 basic stance hops 
  • 5 x 10 left leg runner forward stance hops 
  • 5 x 10 right leg runner forward stance hops 
  • 5 x 10 forward/backward hops 
  • 5 x 10 forward/backward hops with open/close stance 
  • 10 cross step and side lunge with bands, each direction 
  • 10 x 10 sec low plank with arms on bosu ball
  • 5 x 10 sec side plank with leg lift each side
Band Level Up! Twice the bands, twice the resistance.
Sweat makes perfect
Can you guess how sore I am? These exercises make me grunt and sweat with each step! But after 2 weeks of work, the PT seems to be happy with my progress, so fingers crossed that I'm on schedule for his 6-8 week prediction of seeing real improvement (aka no more pain while running).

What else can I share? Maybe a little more of that stuff that makes me happy? It may not have been all unicorns and rainbows, all the time, but sure it did the trick, at least for a while.
Warm enough to wear my new Coeur bike jersey
Riding my bike with hubbs
Channelling my inner cycling diva before falling on my face (true story)
I knew I could turn the gloom around. Now that was a beautiful day worth reminiscing. Just looking at these pictures makes me smile!! 

What else did I do that made me happy? 

First, I got my NCCP coaching certification. Yessir!! I am supposed to sound legit and shit when I talk triathlon now. Just don't forget to talk to your doctor before doing anything I say, mmmmkay? Not that I plan on giving up my day job for becoming a coach any time soon... But at least I keep my mind entertained with knowledge since I cannot keep my body busy with practice.
Second, I managed to renew my Hot Yoga pass! For cheap. And I'm not even a Goodlife member. Don't ask me how I did it, as it may, or may not have required a pig tail and the blood of a virgin.
Last but not least, I met a bunch of friends and we had dinners and fun together. Friends make everything better!! Here is Phaedra and I eating ALL THE SUSHI and chatting up a storm. I love this girl!
Okay, I think that's enough smiles and good news to redeem this post. What say you? Here I click Publish.


  1. Your new physio regime sounds promising. Hope you see some gains that help you stay motivated. It would be very difficult for anyone I think,to keep the motivation. You are doing great though so hang in there. Hopefully the nicer weather will make it a bit easier. Love the pics as usual.

  2. Good work! (some wandering led me here, I don't usually read your stuff so don't worry).

  3. Ups and downs, my friend, they happen to everyone! But I like how your recovery is moving. It's hard work to stay healthy!