Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Anatomy 101..........

Husky Sprint looms. It's a few days away and I am on the windtrainer spinning away. Visualising the race. I've done this race a few times now and can visualise details, even bumps in the road.

Jump off the trainer and hit the treadmill for a 10min easy run done as 2min run/1min walk. Why? Because the nerve is aggravated and so the burn is happening (both knees) right on the bony part on the side of my knee.

After 2 rounds of the 2min/1min it really is cranky and the pain increases. I get off the windtrainer totally deflated. The Gazman is out for a 2hour run. How come he can run! Earlier this week my girlfriend announces all over F.B that she has just run 16kms. Nuts! I head inside and sit with head in hands trying to make sense of it all. The naysayers and my own evil twin (you know the one that would rather have you sit on the lounge all day) starts her taunts in my head. 'What are you doing? just give up'. 

The Gazman arrives home drowned in his own sweat. He says one thing wrong, it doesn't matter, it wasn't him. But I picked up my running shoes and walked down the hall. I see red. Screaming a broken 'I QUIT!' The shoes become black and fluro orange missiles hurling down the hallway landing innocently against a cupboard. I hit the showers. The Gazman finds a drowned rat, curled up letting the water dilute tears of frustration and anguish. 'No, I don't want to talk.' I want to stay here feeling miserable and woe is me-ing for the rest of my life!

A text from Coach, how's the legs? in a word.....FARKED!

He reminds me in his sensible voice, that the nerve will settle by race day. And it did. I am a true believer, and I am sorry I doubted him. When the Oracle speaks.....listen and believe also.

Race day. I travel down South to beautiful Huskisson. 

Huskisson, wet the day we were there
First time travelling on my own to a race, and quite eerie. I register and meet up with my buddies. Bike looking pretty sweet swinging on the rail. I was unusually social and chatted with a few women in my age group. 55 of us gals having a crack today. Huge.

Swim, deep water start, on my belly, hooter, away. Rounded the first buoy without much fuss, aimed for the second. Linked arms with another girl in a red cap while dodging the slower girls from the wave ahead of us. Aiming for the last buoy, I look ahead and don't see any other red caps. Just two beside me. Hey, I'm doing ok. Hit the beach, hit the steep carpeted stairs that are iconic to Husky and enter transition to the calls of 'Go Sammi!' (6th place) T2 over quickly and out on the ride, shoes-on mount and away. Dial in the legs to big gear churn and hit the out section of the 10kms. 

Its a steady grind as it is not steep, but it is a long gradual grade. I play, 'overtake, no you overtake,' with another girl. There aren't that many bikes in front of me, keep it up. Downhill and the legs worked the circles, Up onto the pegs for a few rolling hills before diving back into the bars for the descent. I was overtaken by a couple of girls younger than me. But at the last 3kms, spied a girl my age over take me. I let her go, opting to spin the legs prepping for the run. (7th place). 

Run Sammi, and bang! itb both sides give off loud warning shots that they are not happy. Ok, back off the accelerator and just put one foot in front of the other. Worse case scenario, a 5km walk. Low and behold, the feet kept ticking along. tap, tap, tap, shorten the stride, cadence up, itb's ease, ok, let's go. I ran consistently and without stopping except for a quick drink of water and a splash. The legs kept going and so did I. Blister coming grrrr in a spot I hadn't taped. Mental note of its location for next time. Turnaround cone dead ahead Sammi, keep it up. A quick stock of the body gave a green, all clear signal just as I spied Sonya coming towards me. Ok, there she is approx 2mins behind me. She saw me too. Time to lift. I found energy in the legs, lengthened the stride a fraction and put a little pressure them. They groaned but kept at it. A tightening mid way down the left itb, but nothing scary. Finish line dead ahead Captain. Lifted the pace and with the feet lifting, knees coming through, head up, zipped up suit, and cranky face on, I finished. (11th place) yep, I had watched lots of girls pass me by.

Me behind.
I was very happy with my race, and later spoke with Coach who was equally as happy.

Fast forward to Monday and treatment with Coach. Nothing really to work on as both legs weren't burning and the itbs were relaxed, we chatted instead. 

Ok, this is how I interpret what's going on with my body and these pesky itbs.

Tight illiotibial band is my thing. Much the same as Coach has a pesky achilles heel, Baby Bear has his neck issue, The Onion Man has his tight calves and Slippery has his groin, and Scott has his shin splints. ITBs are my 'thing' accepted. Deal with it.

  • My tib/fibs are very curvy, but my feet track true so the podiatrist has given me orthotics to help address the tracking.
  • My form has been addressed by Coach and run form analyse and constant mental adjustment from me and cues from Coach when he sees something ensures good run technique.
  • Fascia adheres to muscle, so I need to maintain, so I stretch, roll, yoga, self massage and regularly see Coach for physio as he says it gets so tight even self maintenance is not enough.
  • Core and frame alignment are crucial and so I do my clams, core work, 1/4 squats, strengthening work to keep strong in the core and keep the frame in line.
  • The bursa gets inflamed with too much rubbing of the itb over the bone and so occasionally I need an anti inflammation cream or ice to keep it from getting to angry. I have needed cortisone shots 3 times now before Ironman as the work load was too much to maintain.
  • Load on the body, program load and how much training I can manage before the itbs flare up is all important and I need to communicate this to Coach more often. The fine line between working too hard and time to recover is always a constant tweak for Coach as I get fitter.
  • Racing and training combination. As we do not take a lot of time for rest post race, this can put a load on the itbs. Rest is important, I need to communicate and rest when it says rest.
  • Neural load, when training and racing the load on the nervous system becomes greater and sometimes the load is too much and so the burning comes from the nerve being irritated rather than the itb being tight. Again something to communicate with Coach is the amount of residual fatigue I am carrying over a period of time.
  • Scar tissue, over time and constant rubbing and sawing of the itb over the bone has built up some scar tissue, this adheres to the muscle and bone and thickens the itb at the burn site. Maintenance and treatment can ease this. But surgery is really the only way to cut away the scar tissue and by punching holes in the itb the band can stretch again. I am not there yet. Maybe in winter I will consider this again with Coach and see what he says. For now, I am trying cupping and suctioning the fascia off the muscle.

Have I missed anything? So that's my anatomy 101 understanding of what's going on with me. Time to start planning my next race and enjoy my 3rd Happy Thought in a row. Woohoo.

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