Can you Train for a Half Marathon in 7 days?

Blog 32

(How Not to Train for a Half Marathon)

 

So that’s the question. Can it be done? Is it any use at that point, or should one just “suck it up” and run without any training?

This is what I am going to try to answer.

If one were to read the previous Blog, (Blog 31) they would know that I signed up to run the BMO Half Marathon in Vancouver on January 5th, 2019.

The run was May 5th, 2019.

This should be plenty of time to prepare for such a challenge. It turns out that the biggest challenge for me was procrastination… and it definitely got the best of me.

In January, I gave up fried foods.

In February, I gave up alcohol.

In March, I think I gave up hope.

In April… I can’t remember April. It’s kind of a blur.

Then, along came May. It was time to get ready for the Big Race. I had 7 Days to prepare myself for a 13.1 Mile run (21.1 km) – exactly 1 week after returning from a vacation that involved plenty of late nights and debauchery.

Day 1

It was a nice day. Much cooler than San Diego was the week before, but I decided that I should formulate some sort of training plan and admit that I had failed to properly train for a half marathon.

Day 2

It was another nice day. I thought it was a good day to try out a long run and see how my fitness level was.

This was a leisure run of 16.3 km. It was far. It was hard. It took me a long time to do it and my legs began to hurt in places that I didn’t know existed. I also had to make an emergency pit stop to use the facilities…alas, these things happen.

Although the run was not very fast, I pushed through the best I could. I discovered something about running…all you have to do is take it one step at a time.

One foot in front of the other.

Running a Half Marathon is no easy task.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the short sprints in life. It’s easy to get caught up in the little battles that we face on a daily basis, but it’s the end game that counts. It’s the marathons, and the wars that matter at the end of the day.

One foot in front of the other.

Day 3

As one can imagine, my legs were pretty sore the next day.

I knew I had to do something, but I also knew that a run was out of the question.

Why not go for a bike ride? I haven’t gone for a bike ride in probably 30 plus years. That seemed like a great idea!

Well, headwinds and a sore butt were the biggest challenges. I knew I wasn’t going to set a land speed record, but I also knew that it was a good thing to work the legs and get those kinks out of my old, tired muscles.

Day 4

It wasn’t like I wanted to go for a run or anything, but it had to happen. The race was only days away, and I needed to give my lungs one more workout before I rested up.

I mapped out a quick 8.48 km circuit that I figured would take me an hour.

After battling a strong headwind through the first portion of my run, and another emergency pit stop, I could feel a rash developing in my nether regions. You know, my private parts?

Like a true pro, I pressed on.

Ouch!

It wasn’t as long as the long run I had done, but it felt good. Not great…just good. Maybe it was just “ok”.

One foot in front of the other.

Day 5

A day of rest.

I did just that. I stretched out my sore legs. I put cream on my rash. I basically spent the day licking my wounds and regretting not training like I had planned.

Day 6

Another day of rest. Actually, I believe the runner people call it a recovery day, or something like that.

We had to pick up our Race Bibs and shirts. We hung out at an Expo with a bunch of healthy runner types.

By the end of the evening, I was feeling pretty low. I knew the next day was going to be hard. I knew that I wasn’t going to get a personal best. I knew I didn’t look like a runner, or an athlete fit to participate in a Half Marathon.

I went to bed early that night filled with anxiety and regret.

Regret of my own procrastination and letting myself down.

Day 7
Race Day

I don’t know that it should actually be called “Race Day”, because I was only running against myself. I wasn’t competing with anybody. I just wanted to finish the damn thing.

The start is always exciting. Corralled like cattle being led to the slaughter, held in a pen colour coded to your anticipated finish time.

Surrounded by fit, athletic people.

Have I mentioned how many fit people there were?

Once I started, I found it very hard not to get caught up in the race pace that everybody was at. It was far too fast for me and I knew I would be in trouble later on in the run if I didn’t slow down.

Oh yeah, I slowed down all right.

It was somewhere around the halfway point that I began to run out of gas. I was getting tired. My legs were starting to hurt.

I just kept to my mantra:

One foot in front of the other.

Yes, it was hard. A half Marathon is supposed to be hard.

I crossed the finish line 2 hours and 51 minutes and 41 seconds after the start.

Not a Personal Best.

Not an amazing time.

I don’t care. I did it. I accomplished something that seemed so impossible at times. I did it with 7 days worth of training.

I did it for me.

I felt the exhilaration of crossing the finish line like a true champion. I had accomplished something that not everyone will do. Something that a lot of people feel is out of their reach, or too hard, or even impossible!

All they need to do is show up and put one foot in front of the other.

So, to answer the question… Can you run a Half Marathon with only 7 days of training?

Yes! Of course!

Will it be a stellar performance?

No.

Will you feel like you accomplished something?

Yes…. And you’ll probably wish that you had trained harder and prepared a little bit more before hand.

What’s even more amazing than my story?

My wife ran too…with No Training!!!!!!

She is absolutely amazing.

Until next time,

This is me!

 

A Long Term Program (with a Short Blog)

Blog 31

January is over. The 1 Crunch a Day Challenge is still on… and I also stopped eating Fried Food for the month. I celebrated on the 31st with Chicken Wings! Yes, I know, they were deep fried.

Vlogging is not really working out as good as I’d hoped, but it’s a skill I will only get better at.

The running training for the BMO Half marathon, in May, is such a slow process for me.

Bottom line?

I suck at running. I still can’t go 3 km without stopping for a minute or two to catch my breath. Again, I know that I will only get better. Persistence will pay off.

I believe I said this in an earlier post, but it’s not the short term that I’m interested in. This is a long term program.

Did anybody else notice that February only has 28 days?

I think that’s great! It’s the perfect month to try something for a month, or give up something for a month. And I have…. Or I am….. But I’m not going to spill the beans yet on what that is. Not yet, anyway.

Everything is coming together nicely. It really is the little things that add up over time. Start slow. Build up.

I believe that applies to everything. It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about a diet change, or training to run, to just changing my lifestyle. The little things count.

This is an incredibly short Blog. I really thought I’d have more to say, but I’ve been busy with the YouTube channel and trying to keep my head afloat at work, as well as stick to the training plan. — and trust me…. There’s not much of a training plan.

Here’s a couple of video links you can watch what I’ve been up to. Click around… See some more.

I’ll be back in a while with an update.

Until then, Stay Motivated, Enjoy what you Have and…

Stay Positive!

Just Like 50 First Dates… Over and Over

Blog 30

I spent the earlier part of the day watching the movie 50 First Dates. It’s a great RomCom.

Lucy has a brain injury that affects her short-term memory. Every day she wakes up, she thinks it’s the same day that she got her injury. Every day is Groundhog Day – another great movie, by the way.

Henry falls in love with Lucy and every day he has to come up with a new way to get her to like him.

I find that every time I start a project, or a program like “getting in shape” or “learning how to play the banjo”, I start with good intentions and then slip up once…twice…well, you know me by now…and then kind of put the project on the back burner.

Eventually, I start up again. It’s not like every day, but it happens often enough that I can never achieve the results I’m looking for.

I often feel like every time I start… well, I feel like it’s the first time. I go in with gusto, and then it fizzles out.

Let’s see. We’re 3 weeks or so into the New Year and everything is going good.

What? Please, tell us your secret! Hahaha…..

Just like Henry trying to get Lucy to like him, the secret is simple.

Persistence.

Persistence pays off… so does starting slow. That’s my secret. It’s working good so far.

This is my first day out on a run. I’m not pushing it. I have to go slow. It’s not the short term that counts. It’s all about the Big Picture. It’s the Long Run. There’s 15 weeks to the BMO Half Marathon and, uh, I think, that counts as a long run. This is where I start. At the beginning. Slow.

I mentioned in my rambling last post about the importance of having a plan, seeing the Big Picture and Staying Positive.

It’s a beautiful day and I’d rather be sitting on a patio having a beer, but by starting small and slow I intend to show how the end goal can be reached.

Don’t worry, I’ll be on the patio with my reward soon enough.

Next Tuesday I want to talk about food. Who doesn’t like food?

Until then, I’m going to enjoy my run.

Oh, and about 50 First Dates… Spoiler Alert — Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore eventually get together. Surprise!

Oh, and Stay Positive….anything is possible.

Stay Positive

Blog 29

Stay Positive

It’s a theme; it’s a mantra; it’s a way of life.

I’m no expert, but whenever I let myself down, I always try to look at the bright side. I try to look at the things that I did right, and learn from the things that I did wrong. I try to stay positive.

From time to time, we all bite off a bit more than we can chew. There’s nothing wrong with that. My 1 sit-up a day challenge (now 1 crunch a day challenge) is going good. I hate to admit that I missed a coupe of days at the start, but I am committed to it now. I have to be. I’m already planning the December 31st party!

That’s all it takes sometimes – an end goal, the Big Picture, to help you with the challenges along the way.

I could have hid the fact that I missed a couple of days. I could have told myself, and everyone else, that I’m doing an excellent job of meeting the challenge every day. But I won’t, and I didn’t. The only person I’d be lying to would be me. The only person I let down is me… but that’s not a bad thing.

Yes, I was disheartened. I started thinking that there is no way I can keep up this challenge. Negative thoughts can grow inside my head and fester like an infected wound and if left untreated, they can start to spread and cause more problems than if the problem was dealt with from the beginning.

This is a long challenge; a year long challenge; a 365 day challenge! Perfection can’t be expected. Persistence and perseverance will get me through to the finish line… and that’s really what my goal is. Finish strong at the finish line.

I happen to live in a great little neighbourhood. There used to be about 8 young families that lived on our street. In the summer time, the kids ruled our street. Passing cars would have to give way to a street hockey game, or drive around bikes that were abandoned in the middle of the road, as the children rushed inside for a quick lunch break. Halloween would see the street virtually blocked off from traffic as there would be 200+ kids trick-or-treating with parents in tow.

I happen to live in a great neighbourhood. One summer’s day, the kids had decided to redecorate the road with chalk drawings and graffiti.

Yes, that sounds weird.

Scrawled across the road was a banner that has become my mantra. It simply stated, “Stay Positive”. Actually, the “S” had sort of been rubbed away by passing cars, or pedestrians, so the banner actually said, “tay Positive”. That is what has become my mantra.

positive

So simple, and yet so powerful.

I can’t imagine the reason a 10 year old might scribble this across the middle of a road, but there it was, written by someone who was clearly more intelligent and self aware than me.

So, I don’t look at a couple of missed days of Crunches as a failure. Will I miss more days in the coming months? Yes. Yes, I will. It’s a long way to the finish line and if I start playing head games now, negativity will win, and it will spread like a cancer to all my other goals.

If I keep the Big Picture in mind, all will be good.

So, if you’re driving down my street, be sure to watch out for the little ones. They rule the road. Be patient as they dart to-and-fro from yard to yard jumping through sprinklers and leaving their skateboards and bicycles in the middle of the street. Be sure to keep a look out for signs of motivation, and most importantly, Stay Positive.

Or as I like to say, “tay Positive”.

This is me.

1 Sit Up a Day Challenge

Blog 28

So…. of all the bright ideas…..I thought it would be fun to create a challenge.  I am doing One sit up a day for the whole year!

That might sound silly.  1 Sit up every day?  Surely anybody can do that!

No….  well yes….. anybody probably can do that…. but this is a little bit more involved…..

On January first, the first day of the year, I did 1 sit up.  On the second, I did Two.  By the end of the year, December 31st, I will do 365 sit ups.

At this point, it seems impossible.  All I can say is it’s a Good thing it’s not a Leap Year!

Watch the video to see how it’s going, so far.

And to answer the question….. No….. I will not post a video every day of this Challenge!

Check back, though, there will be updates.

This is me!

Looking Back to Look Ahead

Blog 27

January 1, 2019

Yup. ‘Tis the Season, and all that. Sometimes you have to look back, not necessarily to see where you’ve been (although that’s important), but to see where you are going.

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Meme borrowed from Me.Me

The last couple of weeks have been spent reflecting on the year that has just passed. It’s far too easy to focus on the failures, and bad things, or things that I never accomplished.

The old car is still old. The skinny jeans still don’t fit, although, really? Should someone my age even be considering skinny jeans? Really! So many goals appear to be just as far away today as they were this time last year.

Wait a minute. Why am I focusing on the negative? Yes, it’s my human nature, but if I spend a minute looking at some of the highlights I can see so many opportunities that have presented themselves and have been taken advantage of.

Last year a couple of musical things presented themselves, and I took advantage of them. I can say that it was a very fulfilling year, to say the least.

We were offered a weekly gig at an Irish pub nearby. Every Friday night! A house band gig! It’s not like we asked for it. We didn’t even want it. We even tried to offer it to other musicians and bands. They only wanted us.

That’s crazy! I’m not sure why they wanted us. I’m not sure what we did to make them like us that much, but it has turned into a very fun gig. Every week I expect a phone call saying that the music night has been cancelled, but here we are… a year later, and they still want us to entertain them on a weekly basis.

IMG_3368

We’ve grown from a duo to a trio with a fiddler friend and now to a four-piece with a Cajon player banging out beats and keeping us in time.

We decided that the end of summer would be the end of the gig and held a big Summer Wrap Up party with all of our friends. We rented a Party Bus, had a table filled with food and treats, and made sure everyone had a drink when they walked into the pub. It was awesome!

Two weeks later, the pub was asking when we were coming back.

A weekly gig is perfect for keeping your voice in shape, and fingers limber on the guitar. It keeps the songs (and words) at the ready in your head and it also provides the opportunity to try out new things.

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

This is the time of year that we start thinking about our annual St. Patrick’s Event at our local pub in town. Last year was the greatest show of our lives!

Since St. Paddy’s Day was on Saturday, we planned a full day of music. Six hours worth! Yup, Bruce Springsteen’s got nothing on us!

The day started with an afternoon matinee. We had a fiddler (for the first time) and he played tunes and accompanied us to the delight of the other folks in the pub. It couldn’t get any better.

Or could it? Next up we had a couple of friends join us. Another fiddler and a Ulliean Piper (which for simplicity sake, I’ll just describe as Irish Bagpipes) banged away with us for a couple of hours. Yes…. 2 fiddlers playing traditional Irish tunes! Surely, it couldn’t get any better.

Oh yeah? The last couple of hours of the evening we added Bass and Drums to the mix. We Rocked out many of our Folk songs and made the most memorable of day for everybody there.

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

At some point in the year I saw an ad from a local music organization that was putting on a weekend seminar with Tom Jackson. He is a Live Music Producer and it’s fair to say that I am a fan of his.

We applied to be a Featured Performer. We were accepted. The next thing I know, we’re on a stage, performing a song with Tom Jackson guiding us through how to make it more interesting to watch. It was nothing short of a dream come true.

IMG_3427

Another unexpected reward was seeing a local band (they were already very good and entertaining to watch), be transformed to Star Level with minor tweaks and changes. It was pure magic!

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

It was hot. It was June. We were in Nashville. What a place! The worst musician was better than anybody I’ve ever seen here. Everywhere we turned, there was music. It was awesome. It was inspiring. It was an incredible experience. We even saw a show at the Grand Ole Opry! Will the Circle be Unbroken? I think not! Never!

It was an experience that I’ll never forget.

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

At some point in October I found myself in a hotel for a few days. I was bored and found myself watching a lot of YouTube videos.

action adult aperture blur
Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com

I accidentally discovered Vlogging and binge watched, at least, 36 hours of videos.

I can’t say that this was a life-changing event, but I can say that it started my brain thinking differently.

This is hard to explain.

This Blog was originally created to chronicle my training for a half marathon. That is it. One purpose, one direction. Basically it had one thing to say.

For the longest time, I struggled with how to change that one direction that it had. By watching various Vloggers go about their daily lives with their posts, I realized that it’s not always the destination that is interesting. It’s the journey. It’s the road that takes you there.

I believe that I can continue with this Blog and Vlog with a secret destination in mind, but the most interesting part will be the journey to get there.

So…….

What’s going to happen in 2019?

fork-roads-in-steppe

It’s going to be fun. It’s probably going to have some surprises.

What will they be?

That’s the best part. I don’t even know! This is going to be exciting.

Let’s find some opportunities. Let’s accept them. Never have any regrets.

Happy New Year!

This is me.

Beat the Rush (back to the gym)

Blog 26

It’s December. Everybody is busy with “Holiday Parties” and visiting family and friends. I’m not saying, “Bah Humbug,” but why not hit the old gym and get a head start on everybody that will be there in January.

Today, for some unknown reason, I was cold. I initially thought I was tired and hungry, but I ate and I didn’t feel like taking a nap, (contrary to popular belief, I don’t always take naps), so I decided to get moving forward.

Any visit by me to the gym is not my favourite thing. We do not like each other. We do not even tolerate each other. I don’t know why I thought today would be any different.

First of all, I made the mistake of thinking that I’d beat the New Years Resolution Crowds. I thought I’d show up to an empty room with all the equipment to myself. This was not to be true. Although, it was not packed, it was much busier than I thought.

I am shy. I don’t want other people to see me fail at lifting weight, or stumble on the treadmill. I don’t want others to judge me as I drip with sweat, and maybe cry a little.

Yes, I know, nobody is actually there watching me. It’s foolish to think that anybody would care what my struggles are…. especially in the gym!

All I needed to do was show up.

I did a 15 minute light jog on the “mill” and did some upper body stuff. Don’t ask me what they’re called… but it’s various exercises involving lifting weights and killing my arms and shoulders.

This was more difficult than I remember doing. In fact, I had to trade in the trusty 20 pounders for something lighter. I believe they were 8 lb dumbells. I’m just going to call it downsizing.

Yeah, that’s fun.

I also spent some quality time stretching my wounded leg, just like my therapist said I should. It was neither fun, nor easy. I have not been as diligent as I should be with these stretches.

Like most people, I don’t want to put the work in, I just want to get better.

Let me tell you, nobody is ever going to do the work for you, but if you show up, you’re more likely to do it yourself. Yeah. That sucks, but it’s the way it is.

I found a nice quiet spot in the “Stretching Room”.  There was nobody around, so I could do my thing.

I was lying on the floor when someone walked into the room. It was everything I could do not to laugh out loud at the situation. It wasn’t the huffing or puffing, it was the fact that I was signing along to a song on the iPod (headphones in) when they walked in. I was singing loud and proud, and way out of key, and I only knew every other word. I can’t imagine what they thought of that performance!

I’m not cold anymore.

I showed up.

I survived.

I will do it again.

This is me.

Unexpected Events

Blog 25

This story started off in one direction and took a strange turn. One I wasn’t expecting, or ready for. It’s one of those roads, in life, that we all have to travel down at one time or another. This is also a story that I really don’t want to share, but for some reason I feel that I should.

Yesterday, I was feeling the stress of the clutter and disorganization in my life. Perhaps that should read: “of my life”. Either way, I was growing tired of the feeling of constant pressure. Pressure that is mostly self-imposed, but pressure, none-the-less.

I am a person who likes to have goals. Dreams. I spend a lot of time in my own little fantasy world filled with Rainbows and Unicorns and….. wait…. What???

Anyway… I’m still on the “Do Not Run” list from the physiotherapist and I can’t help feeling that I should be at least 1 month into my training, (actually, maybe 2 months in), and I know I have a long way to go before I will be ready for a Half-Marathon in May, 2019.

Being stressed because I’m on the “DNR” List is only part of my problem. Christmas is fast approaching. Work schedules are getting busy. St. Patrick’s Day will be here before I know it, and I’m feel like I will still be right where I am right now — Waiting.

Just to add to the external stress, our house is under a Kitchen Renovation that is beyond my control. The Landlord has obtained new (to us) cabinets and wants to install them. Yes, they look nicer than the ones we have, but until the job is complete, we have to live with the chaos that goes with low-budget reno’s… plus, I have no idea when, or if, we’ll ever have a counter top to put on these cabinets.

My safe haven. My Sanctuary. My Happy Place, is my Home Studio. It is true that I don’t actually accomplish much in it, but it is nice to have a place to go and just get away from reality, for a bit. It’s a place where I can just dream and fantasize. A place where I can be me.

The studio was an unusable space of clutter and junk, and a layer of dust that must have blown in from the Sahara Desert, or the Sand Dunes of Tatooine.

The “Sabre Room” was anything but a Sanctuary. It was a place of clutter and mess that only added to my stress and created a much higher level of anxiety than was necessary. In fact, just walking into the room made me feel like Woody Allen in one of his films. (Actually, it made me feel like I was Watching one of his films!)

So, the mission was to clean the studio. Tidy things up and return the dust back to whichever Desert it came from.

I was getting my groove on. I started with my desk area. It was pretty bad. Then I moved onto the Box Table in the middle of the room and worked my way to the dreaded Book Case in the corner.

Now, the book case actually wasn’t that bad. The top shelves were tidy, they just needed some dusting. The middle shelf is where I ran into something unexpected.

I have tons of notebooks. I fill them up with notes, song ideas, fitness plans, story ideas, notes on how to make a web site, journals… just about anything you can think of, I’ll put in a notebook somewhere. Whether I ever look at that notebook again is another story.

As I cleaned off the dust to one of the notebooks, I absent-mindedly started flipping through the pages. Buried between a page of notes on “30-days to good health” and drawings for “how to build a proper Home Studio” were 2 pages of notes I didn’t expect to see.

It was from the day we got the word from the hospital that my Mom was very, very sick. Don’t get me wrong, we knew she was sick, but I don’t think anyone realized just how sick she was until this particular day.

The day started with a phone call from the hospital around 4:30 am, or 5. They said that overnight she had “Crashed” and had to be Intubated. She was sedated and moved up to the ICU.

Seeing her in the ICU, on Life Support, in a hospital induced coma was scary. It was horrible. It’s not how this was supposed to be.

But it is how the day was.

In my notebook, I had written down the times of meeting with Doctors throughout the day. Little notes, like Blood in the Stomach, and Transfusions. I had noted the time when we were gathered in the “Family Room” with the surgeon and our discussion about Ischemic Bowl and doing Exploratory Surgery. I also had the note that said “O.R. 22:30”, and following that, “23:45 Dr. says there’s nothing they can do.” The last note was simply: “0200 13 January, 2011.”

And that horrible day was over.

You might think, that was enough of a trip down memory lane, surely it can’t get much worse.

I opened another notebook and it was the one I had used when my dad was going through his Cancer Treatment.

Indeed, yesterday, I was a sucker for self-punishment.

The first few notes outlined the treatment process, the drugs to take and when to take them. I found it interesting that most of the following notes were quite positive, given the fact that he had a terminal disease and no matter what was done, the outcome was always going to be the same.

After the first round of Chemotherapy, there was a CT Scan of the brain to make sure the Cancer hadn’t spread to the brain. It hadn’t. That was actually Good News.

I don’t know why it felt like good news, but I think, in this case, a person starts to hold onto anything positive….anything good…. Anything that sounds like a win is a win.

This was a trip down memory lane that I didn’t intend on travelling down. Not yesterday. Not any day. I honestly thought it was behind me.

I started the day worrying about the clutter in the studio. I started the day worrying about things that really don’t matter.

I ended the day remembering the horrible days I’ve seen, but the fact is: I came through the other side. I came through stronger for it. I came though better for it.

Perhaps, this was the “clutter” that I really intended to clean up.

This story is not unique. Millions have travelled the same road, or one very similar to it, many times before me. Millions will follow.

I am not alone. Nobody is.

I know that I am lucky to have had a relationship with both my parents. We did not always see eye to eye. But, do you know what? We did have a lot of great times. We did a lot of things together and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful beyond words.

I love my mom.

I love my dad.

I miss them very much.

This is me.

wayne

Therapy Report

(Physiotherapy, Ultrasound and IMS)

Blog 24

 

A word about therapy. Physiotherapy. I did my first session. Is it called a session? It doesn’t really matter. I have mixed feelings about the process. One is a pain the ass, and the other is just a pain.

As a side note, I received a notice this week from the fine folks at #Wordpress that this is my 4 year anniversary. Wow! I haven’t done much in 4 years. That makes me feel as good about myself as going to therapy.

Right. Physio. My first visit was… well….. let me tell you the story.

After I filled out the usual Q&A forms and signed a waiver, (I think I signed a waiver. It only makes sense these days), I sat down with my therapist as she went over my history.

She didn’t seem interested that I was once a star 5-pin bowler (when I was 10!) or a mediocre hockey player through my teenage years. She really didn’t care about my musical endeavours. She was, however, interested in my running career.

Right. Those blasted little words on the prescription my doctor gave me. “PT is a runner”. I knew that was going to haunt me.

She then proceeded to bend me and twist me just like my doctor had done. I should point out at this point, that walking into this first session, I was feeling pretty good. My hip… sorry, my hamstring, wasn’t giving me much trouble at all.

Well, she found that magic spot that my doctor had found. I could feel the pain coming on. She repeated the move again, just like my doctor had, for good measure.

“You definitely have something going on with your hamstring.” I think she was smiling when she said it. “I recommend a combination of Ultrasound and IMS as well as some stretching exercises.”

I was quick to agree with whatever she said. Partly because I want to heal whatever I’ve strained so I can begin training, and partly because she was still holding my leg in whatever submission position she found that was causing my pain to return.

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Now, I am familiar with Ultrasound. I’ve seen it done before on expecting mothers to monitor the progress of a baby’s growth while in utero. I wasn’t sure how this would help me, but I leave the expertise to the experts.

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IMS on the other hand… I had no idea what it was. IMS is short for Intramuscular Stimulation. It’s a form of Acupuncture. I’ve seen acupuncture performed on TV and it appears harmless enough. The patient gets needles placed in strategic areas for a certain length of time – relatively painless and comfortable for the patient. They can even carry on a conversation during the whole process!

“It’s the kind of thing that will get worse before it gets better,” she informed me.

When I asked her if there was something specific that I might have done to aggravate, or strain, my hamstring she simply said, “You probably just did too much too soon in your training.”

Did I forget to inform her that I hadn’t actually started my training? No need to bring it up now.

“Okay,” I said moving forward, “Let’s get ‘er done.”

First of all, the Ultrasound was not what I was expecting. There was no monitor showing the muscles and tendons in my leg. Thankfully, there wasn’t a picture of a little fetus either.

Instead, she ran the machine up and down my hamstring, sending little electric shocks down my leg. It wasn’t painful at all. Well, except towards the end, when the intensity was increased, but even then it was only a slight discomfort. It was completely tolerable.

Next up was my acupuncture. She showed me the little needles that she was going to place in my leg. I imagined that a little wire would be attached to each of them and my leg would twitch rhythmically in sequence. I was picturing the TV commercial with Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System.

This just might be kind of fun.

Of course I couldn’t actually watch what was going on because I was lying on my stomach, my head nestled softly into a pillow, but I believe I was quite relaxed when she poked me with the first needle.

I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure she jabbed it halfway through my leg. There was a jolt of pressure. It’s not easy to describe, but it was very uncomfortable.

The next needle was pretty well the same except I’m pretty sure she jabbed it through the other side of my leg. More pressure. More discomfort. I would have screamed like a wounded child in a playground, but my head was now firmly ensconced in the pillow, effectively stifling any expletives that came out of my mouth.

And so it went until she had used up all 5 needles. She placed a heating pad on my leg. I think she said it would help the muscle relax. I’m not entirely sure. I was still waiting for the electrodes to cause my muscles to twitch and move, but before I knew it, she was marching me out to an exercise bike.

I walked very gingerly and was very careful not to disturb the acu-torture needles protruding from the back of my leg.

As I cautiously sat down on the bike, I was expecting a sharp pain from one or more of the needles as it got caught on the seat, or my shorts, or some other thing.

I had to ask, “Is it okay to do this with the needles still in my leg?”

She laughed at me. “Oh, they’re not in there anymore.”

Apparently, they are only inserted long enough to cause discomfort and tears and then removed. There are no electrodes, no muscle twitching or any other hocus-pocus that would make me think something good is happening.

The amazing part of that magic trick was the simple fact that I could feel exactly where each needle was placed. I could touch each and every one of those little pricks sticking out of my leg… only there was nothing there. I was simply experiencing a phantom ghost feeling from the IMS.

After a 5-minute warm-up, my physiotherapist had me on my back doing a couple different stretching exercises. I should explain that although they were just stretches, I found them very difficult to do. It’s a hard realization that I am not nearly as flexible as I thought I was. Not only that, these stretches were more like a workout than a simple leg stretch. I broke out in a sweat. This wasn’t nearly as fun as I had told myself that this was going to be.

“Good job,” I’m sure she said that just to make me feel better about myself as I wiped some sweat off my forehead. “Come back next week, and we’ll do it again.”

“Right. Next week. See you then,” I said trying to feign my enthusiasm.

I picked up my ego and hobbled my way out the door. Her words of encouragement fell on my deaf ears. “Keep doing those stretches!”

Yeah. Whatever.

I’m pretty sure she was laughing at me as I nodded my head in answer. This was not the experience I was hoping for, but it was all in the interest of getting better so I could start my training.

The next day was definitely not pretty. The individual needlepoints in my leg were replaced with a very pronounced dull ache. I admit, therapy had beat me up pretty good. My stretches were harder than the day before.

On day 2, of recovery, there was something of a miracle going on. The leg pain had subsided. The tightness was indeed going away.

By the time I go back for my second session, I should be feeling pretty damn good. Just in time to go through it all again, I’m sure.

The road to recovery is not an easy one and indeed, it does have to get worse before it gets better.

I can’t wait to get better.

Until then, This is Me.

Wayne

Doctor’s Orders

Blog 23

Doctor’s Orders

I had one of those fun experiences where the Doctor thinks I’m more of an athlete than I actually am. Unfortunately, now I have to go to physiotherapy.  Somehow, I always knew I’d end up in therapy.

It actually all started about a month ago. I woke up one day with a terrible pain in my hip (I’m pointing to the area in question.  I know that nobody can see me, but if you can imagine that bony spot on my side, inline with my belly button).
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I’m old. I’m not exactly a healthy person. I hit the Google machine and, with the help of WebMD or some other site, I self diagnosed and concluded that I was suffering from something between Rheumatoid Arthritis to Lupus. In any case, after a couple of weeks of not seeing any improvement, I thought it best to visit the ‘ol Dr’s Office.

First things first. I told the good doctor my story, repeatedly using words like hip and pelvis, radiating pain, lateral movement and the like. The eyes were glazed over as I continued on with my self diagnosed case of Arthritis or Lupus.  I was pretty sure it was just Arthritis but figured it was worth exploring all the options.

When I finally paused to take a breath, I was interrupted and the doctor took that tone. You know, the tone a teacher might take when they have to explain, for the thirteenth time, something that you should already know.

“That’s not your hip.”

I pointed again to the area where the pain radiated and moved down through my buttocks.

“Right here,” I ran my finger in a line from my side and down through to the upper part of my leg.

“That’s not your hip,” the doctor reiterated.

I was obviously confused, and it showed.

“That’s your Leg,” the patient doctor continued, “the muscles from your leg run up through your glutes and connect to various spots on your pelvis.”

A picture of the human skeleton was pulled up on a computer screen, to help me understand.  Clearly, I was indeed pointing at the outside of my femur.

Hip pain would be in an area that I would consider the groin.

I really should have paid more attention when we learned anatomy in school.
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Well, after that brief lesson, the doctor proceeds to twist, turn and bend my body in many awkward directions three ways to Sunday. One particular contortion brought out the shooting pain I had described. The move was repeated just for good measure, I’m sure.

Yup.  That hurt.

“The problem is your hamstring. I suspect you strained it during your training.”

At this point I had given up trying to explain anything, so I felt it was best to leave out the part that I hadn’t actually started any training.

The doctor, being a runner as well, handed me a piece of paper.  “I’m going to suggest you see a physiotherapist.  I had an injury this spring and thought it had healed only to be re-injured,” she continued, “I don’t recommend any more running until you see these people.”

That’s it!  I’m off the hook!  I don’t have to train for a half marathon. The doctor said so. I have the note to prove it

Wait a minute. I gave the note the “once over” and there, at the bottom of the page, it stated: “PT is a Runner”.
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I didn’t have the heart to try and explain that I wasn’t “really” a runner. I’m just a weekend warrior who likes to torture myself with the odd half marathon. How on earth am I going to pull this off?   Surely the folks at the physiotherapy office are going to take one look at me and laugh. They’ll see right through my charade.

I limped my way out of the office, with my doctor’s note for physio, got into the car and drove home to figure out how I was going to pull this off.

Much to my disappointment, they can’t get me in for 2 weeks.  Two weeks?   I’m going to be hobbling around for 2 whole weeks?

Well, at least I should be able to get myself looking more like an athlete.

After all, I am a Runner.

This is me

Wayne