Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Verdict

What's up with the Elbow and Knee?

Arm/Elbow - Got X-rays and had a quick follow-up appt in which I received the green light to resume normal activities. If it bothers me in the future, come back, otherwise case closed. That was good news. I was good about following doctors orders: resting it and doing my mobility exercises. I think this helped speed up recovery.

Knee - Same diagnosis as in 2008. Chondomalacia Patella (irritation of the back surface of the kneecap) from Patellofemoral Syndrome (kneecap scraping on the femor). Essentially, this is a chronic issue that is never going to go away completely, but it is manageable.

Treatment plan - He gave me a cortisone shot yesterday which hurt like crazy, but is supposed to provide short term pain relief by tomorrow. I will start a series of 3 Euflexxa injections spaced out one week apart beginning on the 16th. My patella tracking doesn't seem to be much of an issue, so no PT this time, but I should keep up with the PT exercises from before for maintenance.

What is Euflexxa?

Euflexxa is a particular brand of medicines for HA therapy.

Essentially it helps replenish the joint fluid, providing cushion & lubrication to the knee. This works for my issue, because it gets the kneecap up off the femor so that it stops scraping. It normally provides relief for 6-12 months. In my case, it was wildly successful treatment last time, providing relief for nearly 18months. He said he's never had a patient report such long lasting results. I'm optimistic that it will work for me again, although I'll probably consider going back sooner if I have even mild symptoms because once my knee started bothering me it went downhill fast and the wait to get in for treatment is rather long.

What does this mean for Training/Racing?

I don't expect to be able to resume run training until mid August. If you follow me on FB, I posted a note yesterday with my thoughts on specific upcoming races and a half-baked training plan for the interim. When I figure it out completely, I'll fill you in here.

All-in-all, I'm encouraged. Just a bit anxious to put this all behind me. Mid August seems like a long way off.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Three

* My fitness walking (with an occasional wog) added up to 19.25 miles last week. That's on par with my run mileage during half marathon training. I may not be building cardio fitness, but it should be good for building strength; I went up and down the hill 10 times last week!

* Son traveled solo for a few days at UC Berkeley last week. His travels went well except for a minor issue on the BART (boarded wrong train) which he was able to work out. Apparently he had a blast while he was there. He came home *very* excited for school in the fall. Next time that he heads out to Cal, he will be moving in and staying for 4 months. *gulp*

* Today is my long awaited orthopedic appointment for my knee. I hope he devises a plan to fix me up soon so that I'm able to run again. My knee has gotten progressively worse over the past several weeks. It now bothers me even on my walks. This appointment also includes a follow up on my elbow fracture, which is feeling much better. Perhaps I'll be released to normal activity on that front. Fingers crossed...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Musings

  • Walking is a pain in the butt. Literally. I don't really feel it anywhere else, but my glutes have been particularly fatigued since embarking on my run-walk endeavors.
  • Our neighborhood is home to not one, but two three-legged dogs. One is missing a rear leg. One is missing a front leg.
  • This weekend I bought a pair of white jeans that are too long. I knew they were too long and bought them anyway. Why? I like how they fit in the rear.
  • My elbow is feeling a lot better this morning. I'm hoping to get the green light for normal activities (from an elbow perspective) when I go back to the orthopedic next week.
  • I'm still waiting on the appointment for my knee. Not happy about the long lead time...
  • Bandit graduated from basic obedience training this weekend. He did even better than Stymie! Proof that you *can* teach an old dog new tricks.
  • One of my cherry tomato plants is out of control. I counted 15 tomatoes on it this morning and at least 75 blooms. It's crazy!
  • I planted my watermelon and cucumber hills 5 ft apart in anticipation of being overwhelmed by the vines. Instead, the plants are maybe 3" tall. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong.
  • I totally misjudged how long it would take to walk 4 miles Sunday morning. As a result, I missed church. Oops.
  • It's officially the first day of Summer. I hope this means that the wind will finally die down.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Elbow Saga continues...

Tuesday morning I got a call from the Urgent care clinic. Upon further review of my x-ray, the radiologist discovered a non-displaced fracture at the radial head. I was told to see an orthopedic asap.

Got in this morning. Ortho doc explained that when you move your forearm, turning your wrist over, the radial head must rotate within the joint. A fracture reduces this movement, causing problems with extension, as well as forearm pronation and supination. I need work on these movements so that I don't lose mobility. If it heals improperly, mobility is gone for good. That would be bad.

No cast or sling or surgery required. I consider that to be a good thing.

No swimming, no cycling, no weights. Take it easy with the arm and just work on mobility.

Running technically okay, dog walking not so much. But he stressed that taking it easy so that it heals properly is very important. Damaging it further would be a bad thing.

I'm supposed to go back in a few weeks. Until then, I guess I'm on injured reserve...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Greek Yogurt & Elbow

Greek Yogurt

A few weeks ago, I decided to get on the non-fat Greek Yogurt bandwagon. On paper, it's a great snack - loads of protein, zero fat, real sugar (but not too much of it), pro-biotics, and calcium. All packed into an individual snack sized container.

I don't recall the first brand that I tried, but it was a big YUCK.

Next I found Oikos brand in strawberry, which I liked a lot. Except for the price tag. It was ~1.69 for a 5.3 oz serving. Yikes.

Then a local health food store had 6 oz servings of Chobani on sale for .99 each. I picked up a couple in several different flavors each: strawberry, pomegranate, vanilla, peach, & blueberry.

The strawberry was too sweet for me straight out of the container, but my daughter likes this one. With some real berries added in (strawberries or blueberries), the flavor is balanced out more to my liking.

My first try of pomegranate was favorable, but since then I've decided that I don't care of the crunchiness of the seeds. I probably won't buy that one again.

I did not like the vanilla when I first tried it. The vanilla flavor is too overpowering. But it's grown on me. I actually enjoy it mixed in with my granola instead of milk and a handful of fresh blueberries.

Peach is hands down my favorite. I like it every way that I've tried it. I like it straight out of the carton. I like it with my granola. I like it with berries. I think I could eat this for breakfast, snack, and dessert and not get tired of it. Just thinking about it is making me want another one..

My husband's favorite is blueberry. I like this one too, but not as much as I like the peach.

Flavors I didn't try were plain, pineapple, and honey. I wanted to try plain, but they didn't have it in the 6 oz containers. Pineapple sounded interesting, but it wasn't non-fat. Honey simply didn't sound like something I would like. I also noticed that it had more sugar & more calories than the other flavors that I tried.


I ended up going to urgent care this morning because my elbow was hurting more quite a bit more than I thought it should. It was also a bit swollen. They took an x-ray and it doesn't look fractured. However, the wound had gotten infected, which is what the doctor thinks was causing the tenderness and swelling. They cleaned it up again, wrapped it, and put me on antibiotics (Good thing I have all this Greek Yogurt on hand to replenish the good flora). Tomorrow morning I need to unwrap it, clean it up, and wrap it again. I'm really hoping that the doctor is right, and that my elbow will feel better when the antibiotics kick in.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Good thing I wasn't chewing gum...

You know how some people can't 'walk and chew gum' at the same time? Well apparently I have trouble with the simple act of walking. Who knows what would have happened if I had complicated matters by trying to chew gum too...

I woke up early Wednesday morning to give time to do a repeat of the hill gallowog from Sunday before work. I was out door at 6:00 with Bandit in tow. We had just completed a run segment and were slowing down to a walk.

When out of nowhere, I was attacked by a speed bump! Okay, maybe "attacked by" isn't the right phrasing. Perhaps "surprised by" is more accurate.

Next thing I knew, I was going down...and man oh man, that asphalt was unkind upon impact...

So, I picked myself up, dripped blood back to home, and proceeded to clean up my newly acquired road rash.

The worst of it is on my left elbow, where is where I took the bulk of the impact. I have a very impressive 2 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch gash/wound. It's rather disgusting looking and still painful. I'm expecting a scar to match the one I have on my right knee from a swing set related injury as a kid.

I'm taking a few extra days off so this can get a good start on the healing process.

On the bright side, this new elbow injury has distracted me completely from the problems I've been having with my left knee!

Be safe out there. There may be a speed bump hiding in wait to attack YOU!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hill Gallowog

After reading more about the Galloway method, I decided to give it a try on Sunday. Right now I'm thinking of it as walking with run breaks (vs running with walk breaks) and expecting it to balance out to a slow jog pace. Hence my term, Gallowog.

The plan was to take one dog out solo and go up the hill near my house. Try something like a 1:1 or even a 1:2 (more walking than running). Return home. Repeat.

Decided to take Bandit out first. Had to adjust the run/walk interval a little to optimize it to the route we were running, but it went fairly well. My run/walk buddy, Bandit, did a good job matching my pace and staying at my side with a loose leash.

Switched dogs and went out with Stymie. Woah, boy! During the run intervals, he consistently took off at a much faster pace and I found myself trying to reign in my 80lb puppy. I need to work more with him to get him to match my pace and/or use the hands-free leash if I plan on running any with him.

When it was all said and done, it took me about 60 minutes to "gallowog" the dogs for a total of 4 miles and traverse the hill twice.

I'm quite pleased. This seemed like a much better workout than normal dog walking, was fun, and still didn't bother my knee.

Looking at my exercise logger, I realize that I haven't taken a rest day for the past 10 days. So, that is what I shall do today.

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Running vs. Walking

This morning I covered ~4 miles by feet, of which only 1.25 mile was running. In addition to being easier on my knee, the slower pace of walking allows me to enjoy the world around me in a new and different way, but it takes *forever* to cover the distance.

When I got home, I decided to do a little research about the benefits/disadvantages of running vs. walking. This is what I've discovered:

1) From a calories burned perspective, logging miles makes a lot of sense. It doesn't matter if you run a mile or walk a mile, it takes the same energy either way. But since running is faster, walking requires a larger time investment to burn an equivalent number of calories. It's doable, just takes longer.

2) Walking does help with cardio fitness, but not as much as running. That's because normal walking doesn't usually raise one's heart rate to the optimal training zone. Brisk walking and/or hilly terrain, however, may help.

3) Running has 3-4 times the impact on your bones and joints than walking. That means running has a higher risk of injury. It's also why it bothers my knee more. But on the flip side, the higher stress on the body from running has a bigger benefit toward building/maintaining bone density.

After digesting all that I've learned today, I'm beginning to think that a good compromise may be either a structured easy run/walk (Galloway-style) or race-walking (which I'm really not too interested in).

And with that, I'm off to learn more about the Galloway method...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Different Paces, Same Places

Walked the dogs for 2 miles Tuesday morning. I rode my bike to the run group meeting spot in the evening, chatted for a bit before they headed out on their run, and rode back home.

Wednesday I took the dogs on a 1.3 mile walk in the morning, then did a short 0.7 psuedo-run for national running day. Yeah, it wasn't far, but at least I got out there an ran!

Today I took the dogs out for a short 1 miler in the morning, and another 1 miler this evening.

It doesn't seem like a lot, but I'm realizing that even a little bit every day adds up. Including Monday, I've traveled 8.2 miles on my feet and 18.5 miles on my seat (bike). Not too shabby.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Tally and Random Musings

May Totals

46.1 miles on my Feet (run + walk)
84.3 miles on my Seat (cycling)
0 races
1 high school graduation


The summer isn't going to turn out as expected due to issues with my knee, but sometimes life's greatest experiences are unplanned; I'll try to make the best of it!


Orthopedic appt at the end of the month. Taking it one day at a time from now until then with regard to my run/walk/cycle schedule.

Random Musings

* Chobani Strawberry yogurt tastes just like strawberry jam. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy strawberry jam (on toast), but I prefer yogurt to be more tangy. The Oikos brand Strawberry is much more to my liking.

* I had been planning to run another half marathon in August. It now seems unlikely that this will happen. Today I decided that if I can't run it, I will volunteer. It's a win-win!

* Rode my bike yesterday to the store to pick up a few things and carried them home in a backpack. Felt all proud of myself until I saw another couple who was there with a pull cart attached to a bike and an entire week's worth of groceries.

* Our grill seems to have died and needs to be replaced. Is it wrong that rather than be sad, I cheered? I'm really excited that we might be able to replace this old grill with a new Weber grill (they are supposed to be high quality)!

* I'm only about 3 lbs from my goal weight and holding steady. This makes me happy.

* When all else fails, boiling water is an effective organic ant killer. You're welcome.