Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Piriformis What? As Sweet Brown would say, "Ain't nobody got time for that"!

I finally have the diagnosis to my excruciating leg/foot pain......Piriformis Syndrome.  Here is what WebMD says about this condition and then I'll add my 2 cents worth of what I'm feeling:

Piriformis syndrome is an uncommon neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. This enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs -- in short, in almost every motion of the hips and legs.
The sciatic nerve is a thick and long nerve in the body. It passes alongside or goes through the piriformis muscle, goes down the back of the leg, and eventually branches off into smaller nerves that end in the feet. Nerve compression can be caused by spasm of the piriformis muscle.
Okay...so, there was your short lesson in this uncommon neuromuscular disorder.  Here is what I was feeling:  Getting out of bed in the morning I feel great until my right foot touched the floor.  Then, I couldn't walk to the bathroom, I was hobbling and stumbling.  After some brief stretching, I was able to walk almost normally.  I was walking as if there was a large stone under my heel (not the arch, the heel).  The muscles of my lower leg would tighten and tense.  The muscles in my upper leg would feel as if they were being pulled into my hip socket.  My inner thigh muscle, part of the adductor group would periodically spasm and cramp.  I kept a good secret for days (although my hubby knew I was hurt) because I was so excited to be racing in the Wrightsville Beach half marathon.  My leg would actually feel better periodically throughout the day and felt great once I was warm.  Hence why I didn't see anyone about it.
This wasn't an overnight thing.  There was no defining moment.  There have been moments for the last 3 months that I have ignored.  I think I thought if I just pampered my leg all would be good.  I hung upside down on my inversion table. I rolled my leg & butt with my foam roller. I used my marathon stick on it.  I have been teaching yoga consistently at least once a week.  Why am I telling you this?  Because at 47, I thought I was better at listening to my body but now I realize I need to be not only better at listening but also obeying my body.  My livelihood has depended upon me being in relatively good shape.  I am not in my 20's or 30's anymore.  Am I still trying to be faster than women in those age brackets?  Yes.  Do I need to do more than the average runner to stay healthy?  Yes.  I tend to overload my schedule with teaching classes, running, and tennis.  No more.   I am mortal (although it pains me to say it) so I have started to scale back a little (notice I said little.  Hey, at least I'm trying!)
There is a reason I have been running for 35 years now.  I have always taken care of myself.  I have been blessed with virtually no ailments (solid knees and good hips).  This is a short term setback to my training, but a long term wake up call to be a better steward to my body.
Dr. Jeremy Phillips has not only fixed my leg, but I feel pretty confident I could audition for the Rockettes.  Just kidding.  He has helped tremendously and a week and a half later I am now running a little each day.  Yesterday I ran 2 miles.  Today 3.  I'm going for the big 5-6 tomorrow.  I have a little over a month till my Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach.  I realize I may not be able to PR (1:27), but I feel good about flirting with 1:30:00 again. 
So....I'm excited to unveil my new slogan:
Get Real.
Get Moving.
I can't wait to blog about my new adventures in the making!
Stay healthy!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Recap of Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon

Here it is already Tuesday and I've already fallen behind in my race recap!  Wow...what a whirlwind.  Let me try and find some chronological order to my chaotic thoughts!  Kind of like A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".  Charles Dickens had no clue that I would define my whole weekend by his opening sentence.  As many of you who know me, I'm not one to make excuses.....ever......so, I'm not going to start now.  I did not do what I set out to do.  Period.  I was not trying to PR, I was merely trying to drop below 1:30:00.  I did a 1:30:42 at Richmond without much effort.  I was ready for effort this time.  I had a plan.  I deviated from the plan.  As usual, let me back up and start from the relative beginning.

One of my dearest friends, Trish, and I left Friday morning from Greensboro.  It was a beautiful day, albeit still rather chilly.  Actually, Friday would have been perfect racing conditions.  Warm with a breeze.  We drove to Wilmington to stay at Josie Whitmore's gorgeous home in Landfall.  How great it was to be staying in a house where several miles of the race was in her neighborhood.  When we arrived around lunchtime, we all went to Dockside in Wrightsville Beach for lunch.  Here is the gang:
From left, we have Trish, Patty, Chris, Josie and me.  I know these girls from my tennis life.  Many of you don't know that I took up tennis a while back.  Anyway, what a pleasant Friday afternoon eating, shopping, picking up our race packets, etc.

Saturday morning I got up and ran a few miles to loosen the legs.  I've been having some issues with my right leg from my hip to my heel and it remains happy when I am constantly moving and stretching it.  More on that later.  We played tennis and did a little more shopping.  We ended up having dinner in downtown Wilmington Saturday night and walked around the city a little bit.  Here are our Saturday night dancing shoes (there was no dancing, we had a half marathon very early the next day!)

I will let you decide who's foot belongs to whom.  Anyway, we tried to go to bed early, but sleep didn't happen till after midnight.  The 4:30 alarm went off and we all rose and scampered around in a hurry.  Here is what we were wearing for our race:

I guess my shoe is easy to spot because I had my "Sole Sister" charm from Christie on my shoe.  We walked outside to 61 degree little after 5:30am morning.  It was a great morning even though the temperature was 10 degrees warmer than predicted. 

We made it to the starting line with ease and didn't freeze waiting for the gun to go off.  Here is where I should point out that there were 3 waves and they put the slowest wave first.  Besides a 24 hour relay, I have never seen this done before.  I actually liked it because it gave you people to look for.  I had some friends that were great about cheering me on.  They didn't realize how important that was to me during this race because I was trying to ignore the pain I felt in my right leg.  I will go over split times at the end, but suffice it to say.....they energized me to spring forward :)

The pain I've been feeling has been a tightness that occasionally throbs, occasionally feels like a zinger, and occasionally feels like I'm running on a rock on my right heel.  It appears to be a piriformis issue that travels down my IT band which makes my soleus super tight which tugs at my plantar region.  The good news is that I'm done trying to diagnose myself and I am ready to admit that after 35 years of racing, I'm going to see a qualified professional for the first time.  Literally, tomorrow.  I'm still hobbling until I get everything 'loose and lubed' as they say. 

Back to the race.  I finished with a 1:32:30.  Although I didn't do want I had anticipated, it is still a respectable time.  I realize that.  I think the sadness I felt afterwards was more because I couldn't turn my mind off during the race.  I felt every blessed mile.  Most races there are miles where I have no recollection of running.  You have to love it when you have one of those type races!  I tried not to look at my watch too often because I had my Garmin set for my 6:55 average mile pace to get me there in 1:30:00.  I heard the mile beeps on my watch at every mile.  I tried to dig deep because I'm the motivator.  I'm the life coach.  How do you motivate the motivator?  Quite frankly I think I told myself to shush several times.  Well....maybe it was a little more harsh than shush.  I'll never tell.

After finishing, I practically ran to the massage part of the tent and 2 very, very nice people tried to work on me as I was in a love/hate relationship with my leg.  I think I catapulted off the table several times and swatted the table with my hand (which I think I bruised a little).  They got me moving and grooving again.  Luckily I had friends that I ran into after the race while waiting for my house buddies:  I ran into Melanie who I paced in the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon for a PR.  Well.  She PR'd again!  I was so thrilled for her success, it was hard to not be totally happy! 

I also ran into one of my sole sisters, Lori.  Tiffany and Lori were smart enough to wear a hat with the sun blinding us.  I know I was not feeling great on my right leg, but I looked absolutely pained in this picture!
Photo: Wrightsville Beach 1/2marathon.

The cotton tank I wore during the race was a "one and done" for me.  I wanted to give my brother-in-law's bar a shout out because we basically ran right by Fibber's.  I, however, did not realize how hot cotton is to run in.  I was beyond sweaty!  Luckily, my runningskirts.com skirt and my fellowflowers.com flower kept me looking cool!

So....back to my Dicken's quote.  It was the best of times because of all the great fun.  It was the worst of times because I did not accomplish my goal.  One of the lucky things for me about racing is that I am cognizant of competitors around me, but I am truly out there for myself.  I was lucky to earn some $$$ for my efforts and I am more determined to heal and then train for DIVA half marathon the end of next month!

Here is a photo of my tennis girls who all PR'd.  I couldn't be prouder of ALL of them.
Photo: So proud! Pr for all

Even though it was a girls' weekend, my hubby came down and watched me receive my award.  He means the world to me.  I was thrilled he was there.  Well....there's the recap...here's the splits, according to my Garmin:

Mile 1  7:07 (I started my watch when the timer started...)
Mile 2  6:59.98
Mile 3  6:59.17
Mile 4  6:52.02
Mile 5  6:54.26
Mile 6  6:50.79
Mile 7  6:52.51
Mile 8  7:02.35
Mile 9  7:05.97
Mile 10 7:03.48
Mile 11 7:09.11
Mile 12 7:00.81
Mile 13  7:07:05
Mile 13.21  (My Garmin had me at .21)  1:21:16
Total:  13.21  1:32:26    7:00 avg/mile

For not looking at my watch, I was happy with my consistency...even with discomfort.  Hope all of you who raced this weekend had a great experience.

Thank you, Josie for a great weekend!