Viva revolution (per minute)

In my case, best divide by ten

Today’s workout (treadmill): 40 minutes

Today’s session wasn’t tough, but it was indeed a workout. The elliptical machine provides low impact, moderately aerobic conditioning with great cardio benefit. There is a small percentage of people who despise the elliptical, while many have told me that they find it far easier than running. I’ve observed that the elliptical challenge varies greatly with the level of resistance I choose. Level 2 is a breeze, while level nine is a hill climb.

Owing to my hip issue (are you as tired of reading about this as I am writing about it?) I set the level at 3 and focused on keeping my “speed” above 55. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I suspect it’s revolutions per minute. I ended up at close to 2,200 revolutions by the end, so the math works. I do miss my old BH Fitness elliptical that actually displayed distance, MPH and effort expended (by watts). That’s what paying 3x as much gets you. Plus construction that doesn’t feel like a metal tinker toy.

At the end of my session, I noticed that my hip felt fine. Happily, that hasn’t changed throughout the day. I’ll assess its condition tomorrow and will hopefully be ready for a neighborhood run. I won’t count on that, but it would be great to be back on the road again.

Is it progress or stasis?

Today’s run (treadmill): 30 minutes

I spent the day in the city, so I got up early this morning and ran on the treadmill. I’d considered the elliptical, but I had some cognitive dissonance after yesterday’s run. I wasn’t sure that I was making much progress in my recovery and wanted to retest my hip. I’m not sure what that accomplished, because my experience on today’s run was exactly the same as yesterday.

As I ran on the treadmill, I thought about my decision to run, versus other alternatives. I knew I’d be covering a lot of ground on foot today, so I could have easily used city walking as my workout. I chose to run because I really wanted to gain some aerobic benefit. If my hip felt better today, I’d know I was on the right track.

I got through the run without much trouble, but my hip soreness remained. The pain was no worse than on Tuesday, but I wondered if I’d traded a recovery opportunity for some marginal conditioning. There wasn’t any post-run pain, so I don’t think I did any damage. Tomorrow I’m definitely returning to the elliptical for a lower impact workout.

The question right now is when to try another street run. The last two times I did that, my recovery was set back for days. I need to get back to race training mode, but I’ll need to be sure that I’ve passed the risk point for re-injury.

NE recap and a return to the run

Ambivalence in Vermont (Go Sox, boo Yankees!)

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

The problem with vacations, even short ones, is that you often end up less rested by the end than you did at the start. This weekend was like that. We returned home exhausted, but for the best possible reasons. Our weekend started with a visit to Vermont, where we were excited to spend time with my brother, sister-in-law and their adorable 6 year old boys. They’ve recently moved to the greater Burlington area. Besides being visually beautiful (it’s adjacent to the Green Mountains) there’s plenty of places for trail running. Unfortunately, my injured hip disqualified me from doing any of that this weekend. 

Green Mountain highway view

Green Mountain Coffee HQ
Minuteman Centennial statue, erected in 1875

After spending midday in Stowe on Sunday, we finished up with a visit to the Green Mountain Coffee visitor center in Waterbury. We said our goodbyes there and headed south through New Hampshire, bound for my home state of Massachusetts. The rest of our trip took us to Concord, where we visited the Old North Bridge and battleground and then to Plymouth. That brought back memories of my primary school visits there, many years ago.

I was hoping that I’d make up for a lack of running by walking longer distances while I was away. I fell short of my daily goals, but only by a small amount. My decision to skip my run yesterday morning worked out well. I still felt some residual muscle soreness today, but didn’t think an easy run would invite further injury.

I was a little gun shy about running on the road today, since my last two street runs had ended rather abruptly. I compromised by doing a treadmill run and closely monitored my hip for signs of weakness or pain. I set the speed to a moderate pace that didn’t cause me to sweat until I’d reached the 15 minute point. Performance was my least concern. I began to feel slight discomfort at the two mile mark and decided to limit my distance to about three miles. I planned to stop right away if the soreness increased.

The good news is that I completed my run without any additional discomfort. It was good to get an aerobic workout done after three days away. I’ll probably do an indoor workout tomorrow, either on the elliptical, or on the treadmill again. Either way I’ll take it easy. I’m hoping that by Friday I will be back to form. If not, I still have my appointment with the sports doctor next week.

Travel trumping training

It’s been a great few days in New England, but I’m working on my third day without a run. We left Vermont yesterday (mountains below) and we’re in the Boston area today. It looks like we won’t see the snow that’s hitting the Midwest, but we may encounter some rough weather on the way back to New York.
I considered heading to the fitness center to run on the treadmill when I got up this morning. Today is my wife’s birthday, so I’m opting for a family breakfast instead.  My hip has improved a lot since Friday and I’m planning to try a street run tomorrow.  I really want to do a test run today, but one more day of rest seems like a better idea.

Resistance is Useless – Hooray!

There’s another way

Today’s workout (elliptical): 40 minutes

You may recognize the phrase, “Resistance is useless!” as the battle cry of the Vogons in Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” So what’s all this about resistance? I discovered this morning that by using the elliptical machine with zero resistance, I can still do a hard workout without hurting my injured hip.

I woke up this morning and tested my hip as I made my way downstairs. It still felt a little sore, but my mobility seemed fine. I wasn’t fooled into thinking that I could get away with an outdoor run today, but did consider other options. It seems that the intense pain that I’m experiencing while running manifests only when I run on the road. A recent trail run had gone well, and a handful of treadmill sessions have caused me little problem.

After some gentle dynamic stretching, I decided to test things out on the elliptical while my wife did her morning treadmill run. My theory that I would do okay with lower impact workouts quickly proved out. I started my session at neutral resistance and, instead of ratcheting that up to a mid-high level as I normally do, I just began moving. It felt a little too easy, so I increased my speed to get my heart rate going.

This session provided a good aerobic workout and I generated enough of a sweat to be satisfied with the effort. My hip felt the same from start to finish, with none of the stabbing pain that caused me to cancel yesterday’s run after three minutes. I’m pleased that I have an alternative to running while my hip gets better.

I will miss the opportunity to run the trails of Vermont this weekend, when we visit my brother and his family. I’ll gladly settle for a hike though. With only three weeks to go until my next race, I don’t need to make my injury any worse than it is already.

A painfully abrupt end to an outside run

Medical description of my hip problem

Today’s run (street): .38 miles

Yesterday I took it easy, covering about five miles, all walking. My hip soreness remained, but it felt closer to a dull ache than a sharp pain. Last night, I walked through the neighborhood and my hip felt nearly okay. I was energized and thought about completing the last mile of my route with an easy jog. I didn’t do that, mostly because I wasn’t wearing the right clothing. Had I tried it, I may have better understood that this injury is far from over.

I haven’t run on the road for a number of days. I’ve either used the treadmill or the elliptical over the past week. The only recent outdoor workout I’ve done was a trail run on Saturday. I thought it was time to go out for a street run this morning and gauge the condition of my hip. I wasn’t looking to burn up the road, but I wanted to stay within my normal pace window. I was conscious of my last run on pavement and figured if I could get past the first fifty steps, I’d be fine.

That assumption turned out to be wrong. Like really wrong. I was fine for the first moments, though my stride felt slightly off. The pain level seemed low, but quickly sharpened. I still thought that I could manage through it. A minute later, the pain became pronounced and I had to stop right away. It became clear that I was going to do some damage if I continued through my planned route.

I had barely been on the road for three minutes when the pain reached its peak. I started to walk, but the pain still felt very intense. I hobbled home and immediately put ice on the sore area. I then took Aleve and called a sports orthopedist. No more fooling around. Unfortunately I won’t get in to see the doctor until April 2nd so I’ll need to manage until then.

I guess this means I’ll have to focus on upper body and core workouts until the pain subsides. Walking seems to be okay again, but it’s clearly not the cure-all I thought it was.

Time for new shoes or just wishful thinking?

Ready and willing to test again!

Mondays are rest days and that’s what I did today – sort of. I didn’t run (or cross train) but I did get all around the city on foot. I’m happy to report that, even with all that walking, my hip is feeling much better. I’m hoping the pain won’t come back tomorrow when I go out for a run. Of course, running outside may not even be an option in the morning. According to weather.com, we’ll be seeing showers throughout the day.

I’ve been thinking about my hip pain and wondering if this a warning that my Kinvaras are beginning to break down. I haven’t been wearing these shoes much lately, so it’s not clear to me if there’s really a correlation. I’ve been fortunate to get close to 500 miles on the Kinvaras and they still look good, but I’ve noticed some pronounced wear on parts of the outsole. I just got an email from Brooks asking that I update my testing profile. Perhaps I’ll be getting another pair to evaluate, just in time.