Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making progress - check!

As of this morning I've been to the physical therapist 3 times and really none of the visits was all that painful + I've ditched the pain behind my knee. Sure there was some pain but it's not a constant and to address Cindi's earlier question, it feels like getting a knot worked out during a massage. Unpleasant but unlasting. Thus, we are making progress! And while I won't be back to see Vinita for another week, I do have a couple exercises I'll be working on to help with my hyper extended low back. And, of course, I can continue running. Wheee!!! In fact, I see that there are two races in Forest Park while I'm in STL. Although I have no intention to race in either and likely not even run in them, perhaps my sibs and I can coordinate a run in the park at the same time. Spectating while trotting through the cold temps will surely make for a more pleasant experience :)

And so for my own records & as a reminder as to how this all went down, I've decided to note the time line here.

After a distinct "something" happening in my left leg (specifically left knee pit) approx. 2+ weeks prior to Chicago, my already weak and crabby left leg grows increasingly more painful. I cut running down to once per week after the marathon while bulking up on all other activities.

12/9 - 4 mile run is interrupted within the first 1+ mile by sharp stabbing pain behind my knee, stretching helps a bit but the pain continues throughout the run

12/16 - Having not run for a week now, I meet Vinita (aka Supa PT Girl) for the first time. She assesses the state of my body after hearing my 3+ yr running & injury history and starts some active release and other massaging, stretching & acupressure techniques. Focus is on my spine, left glute, psoas, left knee & right IT band. Her initial assessment includes noting:
  • My left hip sits higher (millimeters) than my right
    • Still unknown is whether my left leg is structurally or functionally longer than my right. If structural, a heel lift of some sort could really help out but if functional we need to do more work
  • Because of the aforementioned my left hip flexor rotates in causing my left big toe to never plant correctly and thus taxing my gluteus [minimus & medius] and left hamstring
  • Also causing my spine to slightly twist
  • Most recently resulting in a pissed off sciatic nerve behind the left knee (aka my knee pit pain)
  • Not helping matters, my quads [on both legs] dominate and create a heavy but powerful front leg while my back legs remain weak[er].
  • Also of note is my hyper extending low back
  • And weak lower core (weak? dangit!)
  • Throw in the possibility that my left hamstring and IT band are stuck together ...yes! stuck together, who besides the science types know this is possible?
And that's just from our first week together.

12/19 - Back to Vinita and more active release, acupressure, trigger point release, massage and stretching. Focus is back to the spine & psoas, left quad (ouch!!!), lower back, left hamstring and left glute. My appt. is capped off with a quick 5 minute run on the TM - all looks great re: foot plant and foot strike, I feel solid, my knee pain is gone. Vinita observes that although my left side is still sitting higher, the inward rotation is markedly improved

12/20 - Out in CP for a 4.4 mile run. NO KNEE PAIN and only a dull ache in the left butt & hamstring.

12/22 - A return to Vinita. After some more active release and stretching, we start on some exercises that I can work on from home. They're quite basic at first, addressing my low back arching and tendency to not use my core as much as I could in running and relying instead on my upper legs and butt to do all the work. Other areas of focus are psoas (for anyone not familiar with where this is... the psoas major attaches to the spine and comes frontward over the hip (making up part of the hip flexor) and b/c of the placement, Vinita has to access this through the front of me (more ouch!!!)), left glute, left calf and ankle, left quad and IT band and low back.

So lots of good stuff going on there including tons of interesting anatomy information and encouraging results thus far.

Back to the upcoming holidays! Also done this weekend, preparing tasty snowmen treats for brunch on Sunday...

Spending time with the fake Swiss Miss...

And her adorable little Swiss Miss Santa brother...

Missing here but also present were the 2 older brothers of Fake Swiss Miss. Last seen pelting each other with Nerf Buzzsaw Blasters provided by Uncle JJ and myself. hee hee...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

With All Your Heart

say out loud, i want to live a happy life
listen to what you just said . take notice of things
surround yourself with people you love . listen to the wind
imagine . let everything change all the time . let go of
the why . welcome miracles . thank God constantly . breathe
tell the truth about how you feel . make choices . want what
you want . let the animals reach you . have children
teach you . take good care of your body . love passionately
share your dreams . spread your gifts . check it out
forgive the past . dive in . eat it up . take chances . be real

Even before I started talking with Vinita, my new physical therapist, I knew it was going to be a positive thing. This piece of framed artwork was hanging in the assessment room and I couldn't help but take notice, embrace the message and of course take a picture so that I might have it with me forever. (thanks handy iPhone)

It was indeed a wonderfully positive session. I felt at complete ease with Vinita and she understood fully what I was telling her. One of the first things she told me was that we were going to treat the cause(s) of my somewhat chronic pain and not focus so much on the actual resulting pain. A girl after my own heart! She also shared that she was a runner and while marathoning wasn't her thing, she plans to run one so as to better understand her patients. Helllloooo, how freakin' cool! So we chatted some more and she assessed and she showed me some cool anatomical stuff and then there was some pain but not a whole lot. I don't doubt that this was probably the least painful session I'll encounter but I don't care. I can tell she understands how much running means to me and how much a strong physical & mental sense of self I have. I'm truly excited for our progress and and the pain that the future surely holds.

List of lists

I'm getting some to-do items crossed off but not enough to make me feel confident that I'm actually making any progress at all. I need to remind myself that if I don't do everything the world won't stop revolving. Chill. Chill. Deep breaths.

With that said, I did finally find an ART practitioner close to the office [and thus crossed that item off] and will be heading there later today for my first session. I know it's going to be painful but I'm wondering to what extent... massage painful? or worse? I also know that I'll forget the pain within a half hour but with an afternoon appt, I have much of the day to make it worse in my mind. Argh. It's become overwhelming evident that I need to do something else with this bum left leg. While I've continued with plenty of swimming, spinning, strength classes and other cardio, a short 4 miler left me literally stopped in my tracks. The weird knee pit pain was piercing and nothing like the dull aches and pains I've been expecting on my runs. Time to call in the professionals. Will report back later tonight.

Anywho, onto things not related to ART... I finally finished our Christmas Card list, synced my contacts from the phone to my Mac and purchased stamps on the way home from the pool this morning. I also believe I just might have a list of baking items ready to roll... or at least a first round of goodies. Here's what I'm planning on for tonight:

- Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cookies
- Apricot Orange Shortbread Bars
- Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
- Snowmen Cupcakes
- Sweet & Savory Pecans

I still need to page through the December issue of Cooking Light to see if other recipes are up for contention in the baking line-up. Anyone have a favorite recipe they'd like to pass along?

A little something from our tree

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feeling more like my old self

It is amazing what a week of consistent workouts will do to boost your mood. Last week I got to the pool twice, attended a yoga class & a spin class and got out for a much-needed energizing night time winter run. And despite having loads going on at work & traveling out of town for the weekend, I'm not stressed, I'm not crabby and I'm ready to do more. So a repeat for this week will be happening + a few more runs + a couple strength classes.

With my improved mood I feel like I'm more more in the holiday spirit as well and so I'll get some tree decorating on the docket for tonight and a bit of this...

Holiday Meme

Thanks to Kris for the good idea. If you want to play along, copy the questions onto your blog, post the answers, and leave a comment here so I know to go read yours.

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Being a bit of a junkie with this kind of stuff, I prefer a blend of both when preparing several gifts. I like wrapping paper with cool non-traditional ribbons and gift bags filled with shredded paper and donned with pretty tags.
  2. Real tree or Artificial? With the exception of one year, I've always had an artificial tree. I like real trees, love the smell but could do without the constant needle clean-up. Besides, I'm pretty sure Dillon would attempt to eat the entire tree.
  3. When do you put up the tree? I'm usually all over it on the Sunday after Thanksgiving but this year I've been lazy and still haven't put it up.
  4. When do you take the tree down? I generally don't keep it up longer than the first week or two of January.
  5. Do you like eggnog? Not really. It does improve in taste with some booze in it though. :-) Doesn't it also have like a million calories per serving?
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? Mattel shopping cart filled with fake food.
  7. Hardest person to buy for? Jason
  8. Easiest person to buy for? Brendan, Ellie, Jack, Hunter, Lyla and Keaton (aka the kiddos)
  9. Do you have a nativity scene? I think I used to have one but I haven't seen it for years.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I love sending out cards and it's one of the few times I use snail mail.
  11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I tend to not remember this kind of stuff.
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November or early December
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies, cookies, cookies!!! I'm a cookie monster.
  16. Lights on the tree? Yes, all white.
  17. Favorite Christmas song? Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I always travel to St. Louis to be with my family, that's home.
  19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Nope, I always get them mixed up with a heeeelarious card that outlines Santa's Second String (ex. Spitzen)
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Rustic star
  21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Growing up we always did Christmas Eve but now we'll do whatever works best for everyone's schedules.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Greedy people & retailers, crowds and less than festive attitudes.
  23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I'm a fan of little-bit-of-everything
  24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Mom's hash brown casserole deal ...sooooo cheesy good!
  25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Snow during our kick ball game.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm an addict and quite possibly a stalker

I know it, Jason knows it, my co-workers know it and my family now knows it. In fact my problem is quite contagious!

For the last several weeks I've been obsessing over, monitoring and talking about my addiction non-stop. I squeal in delight when the objects of my obsession are on screen & even more so as they tumble and wrassle around with one another. I know when they're most active, when they eat, when they nap, what their mom looks like, that they have a cat uncle/aunt and that soon they'll be leaving for new homes.

I know they have a cool doggie door now and they've been spending more time on new surfaces and socializing with others outside their family.

I know their momma used to come in more regularly to feed them but now they share a big bowl.

I know they all are very interested when their human mom or dad comes into the room, especially when there's movement around the camera.

I know they love their cat uncle/aunt very much and just wanna give it a kiss or a lick.

I know that the more time that crate spends in their area the closer they are to leaving for new homes.

Quick! Before it's too late, check out the famous Shiba Inu siblings...

It won't be long (read just a few more days) before Autumn or Ayumi or Amaya or Aki or Akoni or Ando takes off for greener pastures. Until then let the squealing continue!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Mine means the world to me. This Thanksgiving, despite having lost my uncle the weekend prior to a stroke, we were lucky enough to have most of them (we missed you Mike, Martha, Bren & Ellie!) out in NYC. It was wonderful, delightful, meaningful, & fun out the wahzoo!! We caught the balloons around the Natural History Museum on Thanksgiving Eve, we watched the Macy's parade from 55th St. while sipping on bloody marys and mimosas, we busted out our regular regime of board games, we shared a delicious Thanksgiving meal together, we visited with Matt & Kelly and the kiddos, we played a bit of kick ball and SPUD together, we sucked down some cupcakes from Magnolia, we shopped a bit and we laughed A LOT.

The saddest thing about being together like that is the very second everyone leaves, departing for their homes and knowing a big event has just passed. Sigh. Luckily it'll only be another few weeks until we're all reunited again for the Christmas holidays. Someone remind me, why do I live almost 1000 miles away from these fabulous people (and 3000 mi from Jen)?? Sigh.

Here's the gang kicking it up with a rambunctious game of SPUD in Central Park.