Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hamstring Treatment - Day 13

Rode Gamble tonight and cantered for about 5 minutes. No probs (and no soreness the next morning). Keeping up with the stretches.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hamstring Treatment - Day 11

I've been doing my stretches whenever I can -- trying for every 4 hours, but it doesn't always coordinate with an appropriate place to do them. I'm able to put on my shoes and socks, now, without any significant pain. And I'm generally able to walk without a significant limp. A couple more days and I think I'll be totally limp-free!

I rode for about 12 minutes tonight, including about half of that at a trot. Gamble was excellent, allowing me to go at an extended and (somewhat) collected trot with ease. I don't feel that I've stressed anything three hours later, which is good.

Craig came by and did some ultrasound therapy on my leg, and then had me do a bunch of stretches. I now have a total of 5 to do:

1) The one from Nov 24 -- Putting thigh at 90 degrees to the ground and moving the lower leg up to the point of pain for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
2) Sit on a barstool leaning forward with chest puffed out and back hollowed. Lift lower leg to point of pain and hold for 15 seconds. If you can put the leg out 100% of the way, you aren't hollowing your back enough. Repeat 5 times.
3) Stretch back of heel by leaning into the wall with right (bad leg) heel extended out behind you. 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
4) Stretch heel by placing foot 4" from wall, putting weight on that foot, other leg straight out behind you, and lowering yourself towards the wall with the bad leg. 10 seconds, 5 times.
5) Sit with your back at the wall. Put feet together. Push knees _apart_ towards the ground.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hamstring Treatment - Day 9

I'd chatted with physiotherapist Craig at a Lions event last night and he really didn't know if me riding my horse would be a problem or not. He knows that he would be stiff -- but he's not a rider. For me, it probably wouldn't be an issue, so we left it that I could ride as long as there was no significant pain. To Tori and I went for a hack -- me on Gamble (who hadn't been ridden in 7 weeks) and Tori on Joey. The hack was uneventful and when we returned, I wandered around the arena with Gamble for a bit. So clearly there was no significant pain, or I would have bailed on the riding far sooner.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hamstring Treatment - Day 7

Craig Irwin, who has a physiotherapy clinic in Seaforth, but who lives in Lucan, swung by our house tonight. Apparently, most of the people who he sees with hamstring injuries don't have as much black and blue bruising on the back of their leg as I do.

Craig did some ultrasound therapy on my leg and some massage work, plus gave me an anti-inflamatory cream (5x per day) plus some exercises: Active stretching of the leg to straighten it out throughout the day, plus 4 or 5 times a day doing the following: Lie on back with left (good) leg straight out and right (bad) thigh up at 90 degree angle to the floor. Lift my lower leg up to the point of pain (no further) and hold for 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of 5 reps.

Jenny should do some other massage work on the leg to get the blood moving around and getting absorbed, rather than having the blood just sitting there turning into a gel within the leg.

I'm going to do the cream and exercises at 7, 11, 3, 7 and 11 pm. He said no other exercise on the leg (i.e. running) that causes pain for 3 weeks from the date of injury, since if I do too much too soon, I'll end up ripping the repairs that the body has already made

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hamstring Injury Recuperation - Days 4 to 6

I've been at work the last 3 days and while the hamstring has been causing me occassional bouts of painful cramps and a fair bit of shifting around to try to get comfortable, I've been able to get work done. Today I drove into Hamilton and back (4 hours on the road) and while there was some pain, it was definitely bearable. I'd keep the car in cruise control most of the time on the highway -- but keep my right leg ready to hit the brakes if necessary. One thing that is different is that I've been getting many more leg cramps in my _lower_ leg in the past couple of days -- both in the right and left legs. Must be something to do with the tension with my hamstring in my injured leg, I guess, although it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hamstring Injury Recuperation - Day 3

Today we flew back from the resort. It was a long day -- we left the resort at 9 am and didn't board the plane until 1:10 pm. A fair bit of standing around in line and then sitting around, so trying to get comfortable wasn't easy. And on the plane trip home, I had an aisle seat so I could stand up and stretch my legs without disturbing other passengers. Getting out of my seat was fairly painful, still, but standing felt good. Lots of walking when we got into Toronto and lots of standing there too. Over 1.5 hours from the time we landed to the time we were in our car heading home. Not happy -- most of that time was standing around waiting for the luggage. Jenny drove home -- we aren't comfortable with my ability to "hit the brakes" quickly if I need too, yet. Jenny took another photo of my leg. The entire back of the leg is purple, now, with dark purple at the top-inside of my thigh, some dark spots on my butt, and some darker areas near the back of my knee. In short, its quite a mess.

2 Days after Injury

4 Days after Injury

5 Days after Injury

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hamstring Injury Recuperation - Day 2

Got through a second night with my hamstring injury relatively well. Everything still hurts and my leg feels as tight as a rock, but I'm able to find positions when trying to sleep where there is minimal pain. And I can switch positions relatively pain-free as well. But sitting down to go to the bathroom is particularly painful.

I read up on the various degrees of hamstring injury assessment and recuperation at My range of motion of my left (good) leg is about 80 degrees when lying on my back and lifting my leg up in the air relatively straight. On my right (torn hamstring) leg, the range of motion is about 50 degrees, Jenny says.

There is no question that I have a grade 3 tear, though:

From :

Strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity. Grade 1 consists of minor tears within the muscle. A grade 2 is a partial tear in the muscle and grade 3 is a severe or complete rupture of the muscle.

Grade 1: What does it feel like?

* May have tightness in the posterior thigh.
* Probably able to walk normally however will be aware of some discomfort
* Minimal swelling.
* Lying on front and trying to bend the knee against resistance probably won't produce much pain.

Grade 2: What does it feel like?

* Gait will be affected-limp may be present .
* May be associated with occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity.
* May notice swelling.
* Pressure increases pain.
* Flexing the knee against resistance causes pain.
* Might be unable to fully straighten the knee.

Grade 3: What does it feel like?

* Walking severely affected- may need walking aids such as crutches
* Severe pain- particularly during activity such as knee flexion.
* Noticeable swelling visible immediately.

Evening Report: It appears that I'm already on the mend a bit. Walking is a bit easier. I'm able to negotiate stairs a bit easier as well, as I think ahead of time (usually) what purpose my "good" leg should serve in going up or going down the stairs. Everything is still tight, though. We've stopped with the ice, so now my recuperation is based on rest and Scotch -- although I'm experimenting with Grand Marnier, wine, beer and margueritas as well. I've now developed a fairly significant bruise at the top-inside of my right thigh. Jenny took a photo to show its progress.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hamstring Injury Recuperation - Day 1

I emailed my vet and running coach to let him know the news that I'd torn my hamstring on the trapeze and to get some advice on recuperation. Here was Brian's reply:

- - - - - -
Great news- you'll have an awesome bruise a few days after it stops hurting!

My medical advice based on years of experience drinking-just wanted you to know it wasn't based on expertise- for a severe tear rather than a "tweak" is:

1. Absolute rest for 10-14 days. Consider walking an extreme sport, anything more IS STUPID. No stretching until walking without pain.

2. Lots of ice, ice and more ice for leg, but none in the Scotch. It ruins it. If it needs ice, drink better Scotch.

3. Ibuprofen is fine, but no need to go nuts. That inflammation is part of the healing response, and no reason to "cover it up" with meds when (a) you're not in training (b) with a bad tear you can take the whole bottle and it isn't going to make it feel great anyway.

4. You can go to Mike the Dr (our personal physician, who is also a cyclist) if you're not sure about the diagnosis.

5. Physio helps your recovery, but would be more important for you if you need to be back faster or if it tore as a result of your desired training (i.e. running). When you have 4 - 5 weeks [until I start formal training for Boston] anyway and it was a result of swinging through the trees in the jungle naked and drunk, I'd just wait to see if you can start to run without pain in 2-3 weeks and go from there.

6. Drink more, worry less.

7. As you alluded to earlier, if it's not getting better there is always another "option" on the table. [Brian is a veterinarian, so the "option" is that he could just put me to sleep.]

- Dr B
- - - - - -

So I took his advice and stopped putting ice in my Scotch, and always asked for the better Scotch (they had 8 year old or 12 year old -- so I'd ask for the latter) at the bar. We kept putting ice on it. I stopped taking ibuprofen. Limited walking and no stretching, although a certain amount is simply going to happen by moving around and trying to get comfortable.

We took the crutches back to the nurse. It was actually more painful using the crutches, now, than it was shuffling/hobbling around on my own.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Severe Hamstring Injury

All this week, Jenny and I have been doing the trapeze stuff at the resort. We've done trapeze at Club Med resorts for the past 12 to 14 years, and the Breezes resort setup is identical. Today, though, something went wrong with one of my trips. I was doing a "Planche" (which I'd done several times -- probably over 30 times over the course of my trapezing) and on the first swing out I went to get my legs into "first position" -- which is basically to get my legs up and over the bar. For whatever reason, though, I got one leg barely over the bar, and the other one was hanging down. On the swing back, then, the centrifical force of the hanging leg flung it out even further, thereby forcing me into a "splits" -- which my body is definitely not used to doing. I heard 3 "rips" in my leg as I swung back towards the board and I knew something was seriously wrong. I got down to the safety net and tried to haul myself towards the place where we drop down to the ground -- but every pull with my hands along the net was unbelievably painful. The circus team crew got me off the net and to the ground and asked if I wanted the nurse (to which I replied in the affirmative). At this point, it felt a bit like I might faint, so I sat down as we waited for the nurse. Then the circus crew transported me to a chair in the shade. What was particularly weird was that my vision had changed to monochrome -- very bright and dark, but no colours. Eventually, though, by the time the nurse arrived, I could see colours. The nurse checked my blood pressure and pulse and everything there was fine. I had two ibuprofen and then I was wheeled into the nurses office and she put some (horse?) linament on my leg. Some of the linament hit "the boys", which wasn't particularly pleasant. Then she put some ice water on a compress and wrapped my leg. I was told no alcohol for the rest of the day (which we eventually ignored, although I limited my intake), and to keep putting ice on the back of the leg. The resort supplied a shower curtain and extra sheet so that we could fix up the bed in our room to allow me to keep ice on it during the night. I had 2 ibuprofen every 6 hours or so. I was supplied crutches by the nurses office to let me get around, but every step -- even with the crutches -- was painful.

So, of course, the reason this non-running event made it into my running blog is (a) hamstring tears are very common in runners and (b) now I get to try to repair this injury and get in marathon shape within 5 months for Boston. So this is going to be interesting.

Running in Curacao - 7.66 km

We ran into town and did some shopping today. Well, sort of. We had just enough money for a beer, so we basically scouted out some stuff that we planned to purchase tomorrow when we'd ride into town on bicycles: some paddock boots for me, and some knee-length hi-top runners for Jenny. 7.66 kilometres, 5:43 average pace.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Running in Curacao - 8 km

Today was another 8 kilometre run into town and back. We went across the river on the ferry and I had a beer (Jenny had a Coke) and we ran back. It was hot -- no rain today (unusual this week) -- but our average pace was Jenny's Marathon pace of 5:43/k.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Running in Curacao - 8.8 km

Just a short run into town and back -- 8.8 kilometres total. We've started a very pleasant tradition of running into town, I have a beer (ideally something I've never had before and at a place I've never been before) and we run back. Today I had a "Bright" beer. We kept it to less than 6 minutes per kilometre, so the pace wasn't brutal, but certainly we weren't slogging it either. But speaking of "slogging it", we got caught in one of the frequent rain showers and got more soaked than usual on the run into town.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Running in Curacao - 14 km

Jenny and I did a run into Willemstad today. It was a 4 km run into town, and then we ran around the "Punda" part of town for a bit. Then we went over to the "Otrobanda" side using the free ferry boat ride (the floating bridge was "open" for repairs) and I had a Polar beer (imported from Venezuela) on that side and we ran back home. 14.36 kilometres total.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Running in Curacao - 4 km

Landed in Curacao earlier today. Quite hot (forecast was for 31 degrees) but I needed to work off my lunch and go for a run. So I ventured down Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. from the Breezes resort towards the main city on the island, Willemstad. I just did 2 km and then turned back (total of 4 km running), but it gave me a bit of an idea of what the weather would be like and how it would affect my running for the rest of the week. 5:13/k average pace.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marathon Day!

It was a perfect day for a run. Forecast of 12 degrees C. for the high. Sunny. A bit of a breeze from the south. I didn't have a particularly good sleep last night, but it didn't seem to affect my running performance.

We were targeting 5:27 per kilometre to get us in at 3 hours 50 minutes. While we were able to keep that pace for better than half of the run, by the end we were just trying to get it done. Lots of run-walk-run-walk to get through it. But we did!

Here are the splits:
5:31 (gel at water stop)
5:10 (downhill on Red Hill Valley Parkway)
6:11 (still on track overall after 28 kilometres)
5:41 pace (200 m.)

4:08:21 for an average pace of 5:51 per kilometre -- good enough for a personal best for Gayle by over 5 minutes! It was a grueling run for her, but she toughed it out, and ran the last 2 kilometres without a walk break.

Attagirl! :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

4 mile taper easy run

Jed and Brian came over for the run tonight. We started a bit late, so we were running in the dark for part of the run. The goal for this one was just to get in some easy miles, so there was no particular pace in mind -- although we didn't want to go any faster than marathon pace (4:51/k). Here are my splits:

5:42 pace (600 m.)

I felt good. No aches or pains to speak of. A good run 4 days before the marathon.