Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Injuries make for lame updates

I haven't been up to too much the last few weeks. No running and cycling makes Nick a dull boy. With any luck, I'll have some news about the progress of my knee injury after my first physical therapy session this evening.

Even though I don't write too much about my actual training, when I'm not doing it, I become more deeply involved in my other activities. And with Hannah in Texas, that leaves me with work, which I haven't been short of in the past few months. But since writing makes up a good part of my work, I don't really want to spend more time writing about work.

So, to tide you over until I have something interesting/amusing to say, watch this trailer that I came across the other day. Since Tim Burton's involved, you can bet it's going to be really bizarre. All the same, it looks pretty cool. And it probably helps that they use a Coheed & Cambria song in the trailer, which ups the awesome factor.

Have a happy New Year. Watch out for post-apocalyptic robotic cats (or whatever that thing is).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Apocalypse... not now, maybe later

I feel like I've avoided some personal disaster, at least as far as my sanity goes.

An explanation:

I've been dealing with some right knee trouble for the last two weeks.

It started during a run on Monday, December 1, hurt enough for me to cut my December 2 run short and then was bothering me at my track session on December 4, which I stupidly decided to finish. It hurt enough that I took the entire following week off from running or riding. On Saturday, December 13, I did an easy 90 minutes on my bike (very easy) and then lifted (very light weights). My knee didn't bother me at all during the ride, but I stupidly pushed through some light pain during leg lifts at the gym. I tried running on Sunday morning and got 20 minutes in before the pain became debilitating. I then walked it back home.

Yesterday I went to see a sport orthopedist, who, much to my surprise, said I didn't need an MRI. Basically, it's just very tight iliotibial band, tensor fascia latea, and the assorted inner leg muscles combining in a perfect storm to pull my knee out of alignment, which, not surprisingly, hurts a lot.

The prescription is some vitamin-I for the inflammation and physical therapy and strengthening/stretching of all the assorted muscles in the area. Interestingly, I learned nothing yesterday that I didn't already know from the interwebs (specifically, ExRx.net, the best little strength training/injury site on the Internet -- complete with anatomically correct 3D digital models!), I just wanted a professional confirmation.

So, I'm off running or riding until this clears up. If might be as much as six weeks, but since that would be awful, I'm hopeful I can be better sooner. If there's one thing I am, it's aggressive about recovering from an injury (I kicked the crap out of my achilles/calf trouble 18 months ago -- take that body weakness!).

If you're looking for a lesson here, it's that you shouldn't be stupid about stretching and strengthening the unused parts of your body. This is closely linked to the hip (TFL) pain I talked about last time. Sedentary office life doesn't naturally mix well with having a healthy lifestyle.

Monday, December 08, 2008

This just in: I'm not 19 anymore

Hannah and I met in Florida over the weekend to visit her friend Sue who has a house in Sarasota. We're quite the international travelers lately.

It was a nice trip: some sun, some beach, some strolling around. Lots of not-young people.

I've been having some trouble with my hips for the last five months, specifically my TFL in both legs. I'm pretty sure it's all related to tight/over-worked IT bands, in turn related to tight/over-worked soleus muscles in my calves. It's not because I do too much training, but it's because I do too much training after sitting in a desk chair all day (and with the current market conditions, I've been spending a lot more time in an office chair).

I still try to get the same (or more) exercise in as I have for the last few years. The problem is, with limited time and even more limited motivation, flexibility work is the first thing to get cut.

After watching the pained expressions on many slow-moving folks over the weekend, I've decided to recommit to keeping myself in good working order. Goodbye power-lifting, hello girly hip bridges.

Also, hello awfully painful foam roller. If you've ever used one before, I'm sure you're surprised by my reluctance to use it daily.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Lost and (thankfully) found

I was down in Texas for the entire week of Thanksgiving. While you might think that San Angelo has no Internet access (based on my lack of blog updates), you'd be wrong. I was just lazy.

On Sunday, Hannah and I did a short trail run to try out our new END Stumptown trail shoes and see if they're as cool as they look. The answer: Yes. Very cool and very fast.

On Thursday, we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for Hannah's brother and three airmen from the local base. Because Hannah had so much fun running on the trails on Sunday, we opted to go out for another trail run in the state park before getting ready for dinner. Hannah chose to wear the new shorts I bought her. (50% off on all running gear at Randy's Bike and Run! Of course, that's only applicable to my two San Angelo readers, both of whom probably already know about it...)

Anyway, they have a nifty little key pocket, in which she put the car key. About a mile into the run, we stopped for me to fiddle with my running vest (which I had just learned -- after seven years of ownership and clearly a lack of common sense -- folds into itself to become a hip pack). As I was about to bound off down the trail again, Hannah asked if she had given me the key. It was then we realized that Hannah's shorts had a key-sized hole.

Long, uninteresting story short, we searched and searched. We were both worried about getting back in time to make all the food for dinner, and beyond that, actually getting back to the house in time for dinner. Just when I was ready to give up and go run back to the ranger station to call the police or AAA to come help us out, I found the key, standing out in the middle of a clear patch of sandy trail. How we missed it twice before, I have no idea.

Thanksgiving was saved, dinner was prepared and the airmen were interesting to talk to. Since all three are in Intelligence, I now know exactly the same amount of secrets about our national security as I did when they arrived. In fact, I think they shredded some of my own stuff for good measure.