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A minor setback
Monday, 09 December 2013 01:07

9th December 2013


It's now less than 11 weeks until the Caracas marathon, and 13 weks until the 7 marathon project is complete.  But my left foot hurts.


It's been niggling for months, but what started as referred pain from my left hip (which has troubled me a bit for over a year now), became much inhibition of muscles around the hip, altered gait patterns and especially an altered awareness in the left leg, nerve signs all through the back of the left leg and now seems to be plantar fasciopathy.  I think a few other factors contributed to it - like using low drop Spira Stinger shoes as part of a shoe study, but the shoes were a little large, felt odd, and I think caused more problems in the 12 weeks I wore them (only for speed and recovery runs, never the long run).  


The hip problems (a significant neural / dural component to the problem, as well as sacrotuberous ligament and may be some other structures around there, very high up in the back of the leg and the medial parts of the buttock) caused a lot of issues, with pain inhibition and apparent weakness or slow initiation of my glut medius, glut max, glut min and subsequent overactivity / compensatory patterns from iliacus, psoas, TFL, piriformis and hamstrings.  Full and moderate hip flexion werre very painful, sitting would aggravate the pain, and it behaved a lot like a hamsting tendinopathy, except that the proximal hamstring itself was non tender, except for perhaps a very medial / anterior portion that was almost impossible to reach.  


My weekly yoga session dropped off, such that I've been 20 times in 9 months, only 6 times from late June to early December.  The flexed positions hurt too much, made the hip worse afterwards, I struggled to get into lunge positions, let alone hold them strongly and the balance on my left leg was affected.  And that, I think, has not been so good for the rest of me, especially as I used it as my main stretching and conditioning work.  I have also managed to steadily gain some weight since the 12 hour run in July, so that can't be helping my foot (all that load, every single step).


I've done exercises - strength, stretch, coordination, had physio of a couple of different sorts, including some cranial sacral work, chiro and massage - especially for the long adductors and hip flexors.  I've addressed every weird little part of this problem.  I stopped sprinting hard during the middle part of the year, to avoid overstriding.  I stopped yoga.


Crunch time really came last week, when after a short run in the hills with a friend on Wednesday, I really really hurt.  On Thursday morning, I was up bright and early (it was cold!! only 8 degrees that morning - in December!), headed out to run, walking and limping while the watch found the satellites.  As I was limping, I figured I'd walk until it loosened up.  It was over a kilometer of slow walking (a bit embarrassing having all these morning brisk walkers striding on past) later, I decided a walk back home was best - running on it now that it didn't make me limp was not going to help.  So home, hip strengthening exercises, taping the foot up, and being more diligent with massage and stretching.  I didn't run for the rest of the week, and after 4 days of being taped, it is feeling a little better.  I limp for less time in the mornings, I am doing better on my calf raises (just flat for now - from a step in another few days), and yoga has felt better in the last week (a good sign for the hip).


Fingers crossed I can get back into the swing of things properly in the next week or so.  2 marathons in 2 weeks is going to be a challenge, and I'd like to be very well prepared for it.


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Health News

This weeks links

The Cancer Council came out this week and announced that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that alcohol should be considered to be as carcinogenic as smoking and asbestos are.  As well as being highly associated with throat and mouth cancers, it is now found to correlate highly with breast and bowel cancers.  Perhaps it should not be so surprising that a substance that can so alter mood and ability, even at very mild levels should turn out to be in fact, not good for us.

This story, an editorial from the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year has some amazing targets - it ties in with our look at sitting and health, and is about developing healthcare systems that support exercise - recognise it as being as vital a measure of our health as is blood sugar levels or blood pressure.  It recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults as a minimum.  30 mins on 5 days.  For children, it is 420 mins / week - 60 minutes every day.  How close are you?

This is another article on inactivity / obesity and health from Sports Medicine Australia, highlighting the link between an inactive childhood and a lifetime of battling depression.  It is food for thought (!) these days where there seems to be much paranoia about safety of children away from their parents watchful eyes, and therefore a tendency to want to keep them closely under watch instead of encouraging more activity and indeed risk taking behaviours.  The ability to judge situations for risk and to be able to take appropriate risks builds self esteem and resilience.  Not much to do with bowel cancer awareness, but close to my heart as well.

Another article on sitting

This one is in really simple terms - if you walk 30 mins (as recommended) and sleep 8 hours, most of us still have 15.5 hours per day not moving.  You cannot sit all day behind a screen, then drive your car and sit and watch tv with out it being bad for you.  A good read.