Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One year, 2665 mile check up

Today I went in to see Dr. George Tang, MD, the orthopedic surgeon who so successfully repaired my fractured hip socket after my accident in 2014.
With Dr. George Tang, MD,  Huntington Orthopedics.  Best orthopedist ever! Note the plaque on the wall

 I'd last seen Dr. Tang at this time last year, a couple weeks before the 2015 Leona Divide 50.   I had taken a stumble running down the Sam Merrill in which I'd overextended my injured right leg forward while keeping my face from hitting dirt and rocks.  Ouch!  I'd been limping on a sore hip from that save for a few days after that and was scared that I had re-injured the hip.   X-rays were clear and he had encouraged me to work through it.  Sure enough the hip was back  quickly and I had gone on to a good run at Leona and was graced by a smooth ramp up for the 2015 AC100.

 Today was my one year, 2665 mile check-up so to speak. I made the appointment to make sure that after  twenty-six hundred miles and in light of the recent stiffness and pain in my right hip area that the joint was OK.   Relief:  I was given the all-clear-  no signs of trauma-induced arthritis.  But there is weakness as I'd gotten a bit complacent about my exercises in recent months-  Dr Tang encouraged me to get back with the regular exercise routine.

I am extremely grateful to Dr. Tang not only for the years of learning and commitment behind the perfect job he did screwing my hip socket back together --  enabling me to not only run again, but to run AC100 in a top-10 finish one year after getting off crutches--  but also for the no-nonsense clarity of his guidance on when discomfort is OK to work through versus when it is not.

The day before driving up to AC100 last year I dropped off a "thank-you" plaque that I had had made with my Leona finisher's medal.   You  can see it behind us in the picture above, outside his office.  Here is a close-up:

Today's workout:

  • Kick-outs:  standing on one leg,  kick out  20 at each of 5 angles separated by 45 degrees starting with forward medial.
  • Stair step-ups 3 x 20 each side
  • 1-leg glute bridges 3 x 10 each side.  Still difficult on the right-  the right hamstring/glute  is weak.
  • Clamshells-  lying on side, with elastic band, 3x20 each side
  • Straight leg raises 3 x 20 each side, with heavy boots on
  •  Hip adduction raises 3 x 20 each side, wearing heavy boots-  lying on side
  • Hip hikes, 3x 20 each side
  • Fire-hydrants with extension-  3 x 20each side
  • Dynamic lunges 6 x 12 (length of my driveway!)
  • Static lunges, 3x30 each side
  • 1-leg RDL, 3 x 20 each side

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rest weekend

Given the right hip tenderness I've experienced lately and most particularly last week, I decided to rest this weekend.  On Friday I walked 5 miles and the right hip was tender around the greater troncanter, particularly when the right leg was weight bearing in extension.  Saturday I stretched thoroughly, did a mountain bike ride with my son at Cherry Canyon, and did an upper body workout (27 pullups, 50 pushups, 160 sit-ups) but other than stretching and trigger point massage with a tennis ball I left the hips alone.

Today I did the Mt. Brown ride on my mountain bike (no discomfort riding), stretched and did the following hip workout:

3 x 10 single leg glute bridges
3x20 clamshells with an elastic band
3x15 "fire hydrants with extension"  (
3x 20 SLR with heavy boots
3x20 lateral leg raises wearing heavy boots
3x10 glute "kickbacks" from kneeling position

...and finished it off with tennis ball massage around the front, top, are rear of the greater trochanter.  Its feeling better.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hip exercises March 24

I ran 10.3 miles  from work as a "Runch"  up into Monrovia Canyon via the Sawpit wash, about a mile past Camp Trask.  Felt great albeit in the last mile or so the right anterior hip was getting tight again.  Dammit.  

Tonight's hip circuit-  bilaterally:

  • Kick-outs:  standing on one leg,  kick out  20 at each of 5 angles separated by 45 degrees starting with forward medial.
  • Hip hikes 3 x 20
  • 1-leg glute bridges 3 x 15.  This was very difficult on the right-  the right hamstring is very weak.
  • Straight leg raises 3 x 20 with heavy boots on
  • Additional Hip adduction kick outs 3 x 20 wearing heavy boots-  lying on side
  • Stair step-ups 3 x 20
  • 1-leg RDL, 3 x 20
  • Knee ups 3 x 30
  • Clamshells-  lying on side, with elastic band, 3x20

Monday, March 21, 2016

Rest day; hip stabilizer thoughts and an unintended consequence of a workout shortcut

Today I took a rest day and focussed on my hip stabilizers.

My long runs over the last two weeks have left me hurting around my right hip (the side I broke in 2014) and I spent some time yesterday trying to sort out what the problem is. Yesterday's run- a 24 mile round trip up the Sam Merrill trail and on up to Mt Wilson and back -- had started out well enough. Achilles both fine, felt good on the run up and cranked fairly hard on the run down, turning over 7-8 min miles on the long decent from the summit. However by the time I reached the Idlehour trail junction, about half way down the mountain, the right hip just felt tight and crampy. I slowed the pace going down the lower Sam Merrill as the hip flexors felt tight and weak.

After the run I did some diagnostic stretches and exercises and found it rather painful to stand on my right leg with my left foot of the ground, holding my pelvis level with the hip stabilizers. From the Wikipedia:

"With the leg in neutral position (straightened), the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus function together to pull the thigh away from midline, or "abduct" the thigh. During gait, these two muscles function principally in supporting the body on one leg, in conjunction with the tensor fasciae latae, to prevent the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side."
After going through my stretching routine I felt better;  then it occurred to me that I've been taking a short cut in my hip exercises that may have had a negative unintended consequence.  Namely, I routinely do standing  hip abduction exercises on my right leg (standing on my left)  but have gotten lazy about switching and doing the exercises on my left, while standing on my right.   Moreover, I often do sets where,  standing on my left foot I will kick out my right leg 20 to 30 times at  various angles separated by 45 degrees:  45 degrees to front (like kicking a soccer ball), straight forward, then 45 degrees lateral, then straight out to the side, then 45 degrees to rear, and finally straight back.  The problem is that while the exercise on the right is getting various hip muscles and glutes,  all the while the LEFT hip stabilizers are getting worked by maintaining the pelvis horizontal-  preventing lateral pelvic drop.  By not switching sides and repeating the exercises on the left,  the right side hip  stabilizers  have gotten short changed. I outsmarted myself trying to save time.  

This made me recall that early on after starting walking again after my surgery my TFL had been so tight and sore I couldn't walk without a limp...and that feeling of tightness I felt towards the end of my run suddenly made sense.

My  circuit today: Every exercise done on BOTH sides to make sure I get balanced development.

Kick outs as described above-  BOTH sides

1-leg hip hikes (lateral hip lifts), 3x20

"Fire hydrants" with extension, 3 x 15 both sides

Slow-motion step-ups, both sides, 3 x 20

Lateral plank-ups, 3 x 15 both sides

3x 20 1-leg RDLs, both sides

1 leg glute bridges 3 x 15 (could not do 20 today, right was weak)

Knee ups (50) and sitting knee ups (3 x 20) both sides

50 push ups, 140 situps

3x30 sec static lunges, both sides

Note added 3/23: Ran 10 miles yesterday and felt great.  The right glutes were sore from the workout above while the left are fine.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mt. Wilson via Sam Merrill Trail, Mt. Lowe railway

Beautiful morning today in the Gabes  with my pal Alex, 24 miles round trip to Mt. Wilson via the lower Sam Merrill trail, the Mt. Lowe railway, and Markham saddle.  Walked to Echo mountain as a warm-up, then ran to the summit (2:29), total time 4:07.

Views were spectacular: