Thursday, June 23, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons....

When life hands you lemons....we make lemonade (well I would make it strawberry mint but you get the picture).  You have to roll with it.  As little grandmom Nero would say "que sera sera".....So I am and I haven't ruled out the running out of Vineman just yet.

Before Memorial Day, I had a pain in my calf/achilles area that led me to believe I had achilles tendonitis; however, I wasn't sure, since it did not completely travel to the heel.  The pain was on my inner calf on the left side.  I went to the orthopedic doctor who said he did not think it was Achilles tendonitis and instead recommended I see some guy name "Tim" at STAR physical therapy in Medford, NJ, the running guru.

I made my appointment and through a series of exercises and movements he pinpointed the issue, I had strained the flexor hallucis longis (huh???). The FHL goes from your big toe to your calf.  It bends the big toe when you curl up your feet.  It is used daily by pushing off the surface when walking or running. 
I over-pronate, I also wear orthodics which is supposed to "correct" the over-pronation.  However, I still run slightly over-pronating in my left foot.  So there is extra stress from the over-pronating thus causing a bunch of micro-tears by the calf.  Since no other exercise caused this pain, I was at least able to resume all my other activities.  I had to go back so he can use an ultra-sound and do some various exercises.  He also said that power yoga and strength training were going to HELP the issue. 

He had strong feelings that there was still a possibility that I could run in time for Vineman, but we have to not think about it as we worked on this issue. OK, I am inherently a happy go lucky person and as bitter as I get about falling down I try to roll with it, however, I am still type A when it comes to planning and training.  So I had to make sure I pushed type A to the side for a while.

I was given some exercises to focus on 2-3 times a week prescription
  1. Strengthening exercises with theraband - doing inversion and and eversion exercises.
  2. Toe-curls
  3. One-legged calf raises (3 x15)
  4. Calf stretching (holding for 20 seconds five times)
  5. One leg balance on uneven surface catching a ball 15 times
  6. One leg balance kicking leg out in 4 different directions behind me.
  7. 4 plane feet positions for squats (regular, toe in, toe out, 1 toe in and out (R/L) and regular) - 15 sets.
  8. Lunges (Right front, left front, right side, right back, left side, left back) x 15
I then did various upper body and core to even myself out.  Plyometrics hurts the area so I am not allowed to resume that until healed.

After my second visit on Thursday, we talked about aqua jogging since Mike and I have an in-ground pool.  You basically run in the water.  You really concentrate on your running form versus treading water.  When you are in deep water with only your head above, you are using 90% of your bodyweight.  It was going to be boring as hell but he told me how there have been elite and non-elite runners that have benefited and came back quickly at their same pace by aqua-jogging.  I was in - anything so I can get myself back into Vineman and try to do the whole race and not 2/3.  He gave me an aqua jogger which is a floating device around your waist.  Think adult swimmies...

Friday, we had some storms so I opted for another one of my kick my ass swims of anaerobic threshold workout from the Swim Workouts in a Binder for Triathletes which included a series 75's followed by pull sets, 50s, kick set, and more 50s...not to mention a 1000m warm up.  I then went immediately to the salon to get my roots done so no one knows I am actually a dark brunette.

I have added another swim and bike in lieu of running in addition to some strength training that I was formerly NOT doing anymore.  I have to say I feel stronger and faster and hoping the race at Vineman shows that at least in the first two legs. 

Sat, I had initially planned on leaving at 5:30am  and riding 60 miles to where I was SUPPOSED to race, with my friend driving me back, but I was having a hard time figuring out the route and too much time messing with my bike that I wasn't going to make it in time, so I opted for a local 55 mile loop.  The ride was really awesome and very picturesque as we passed tons of farms and open land and homes I can only dream about.  We got a little lost but thank God for google maps!!  NOTE TO SELF:  ASK FOR A BIKE GARMIN FOR XMAS....

After this, I was home in time for a lunch consisting of beer from our new kegs:  Dale's Pale Ale and Southern Tier Phin & Matt's Extraordinary Ale, grilled chicken salad and getting a tan by the pool with Mike and Nicole as Nicole recounted her first race of the season - little jealous....

On Sunday, I decided to try my hand at aqua-jogging.  I got my belt and did an hour session in my pool.  I set up the outside speakers with my playlist with a bunch of punk/grunge late 80s/early 90s music and "ran" to nowhere.  Sometimes I ran in circles in the deep end and after 5 times switched to the other directions.  I used the football to throw it and "sprint" to get it.

I have to say it was an excellent workout (considering I felt it the next day).  The therapist said yeah, start with 30 min....but WHO works out for 30 minutes?  I mean I haven't had a workout that short in years.  So I did an hour and I FELT it the next day.  I swam in the pool after and got ready for the Father's Day festivities at our house with the Cipolone's and LaCouture's!

Until next time!


  1. BUMMER about the calf.

    I had a calf injury last year, it totally sucked. What helped me in the end was 2 things:
    1) I biked my tushie off.
    2) I went to an ART (Active Reflex Therapy)

    Biking kept my fitness up, and the ART guy (it hurts) seemed to help release the calf after some time. I totally know how frustrating this is, keep biking and swimming - you can walk the vineman HM if you have to! BUT I bet you will be all set.

    Good luck.

  2. Wow, I never even heard of the FHL. Hopefully the aqua jogging will keep you in shape without further upsetting your calf. I know of people who have done aqua jogging (pregnant and marathon friends) and it seems to be effective! I've never tried it though. Nice job keeping it up for an hour, I could see it getting boring.

  3. There was a story on Runner's World today on aqua jogging, thought you might be interested!


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