Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Improving my Piriform-ance!?

the piriformis is a little muscle in the butt - sits underneath and below the glutes and more importantly near the sciatic nerve.
when it gets narky it can upset the nerve causing back/hammy/calf tightness and pain.
sitting prone on the massage table the other day with the massage dudes elbow square in the middle of my very painful butt confirmed to me that my 'tightness' post lamington run has been related to piriformis syndrome.

luckily things arent too bad and i will front up at the start of bright 4 peaks on the weekend.
will trot the first day and see how things go from there.
of course the big test may be the 4 hour drive to bright from the airport on friday!!
my cheek is aching already.
i am currently sitting on a pillow typing this :)
so i guess 40% of mellum currently has butt-ache!

booked into the overland track hike with TOH end of january.
its the 'executive trek' ie. nice huts/hot water/sleeping bags supplied.
very excited - already have done a couple of practice packs and went gear shopping again on the weekend!
i think i need professional help :)

speaking of which these little babies arrived today ...
(picture above) and...
now i've just GOT to get to anaconda before their sale ends ;)

did nothing all week except attend physio/massage appointments

Monday, October 22, 2007

Toned? You bet I am!

most people use the word toned in the same way as 'buff'.
i'm not talking about that of course!

you know the feeling when you get out of the car after driving for 4+ hours and your back aches and you feel tight all the way down the back of your legs/hammies to the soles of your feet?
well thats how i've felt over the last week (since lamington).
you know youre in trouble when you start your run and the hammie starts to seize up in the first km doing 5.30min/kms.
and in even more trouble when the muscles just start 'firing' of their own accord even laying in bed!

my muscles are waaaaaaaaaay too narky - the muscle tone is too damn high.
after 6 years of med school, 11 as a doctor and more importantly tens of thousands of dollars in physio and massage fees over the years i think i finally know the secret to reducing muscle tone.

1. muscles need exercise - sounds counter-intuitive but when youre injured the worst thing to do is do nothing as your tone just 'goes nuts'. regular gentle exercise seems to keep the tone down. of course if you have an inflammed itb thats impossible!
2. massage - and lots of it. via the massage dude, tennis ball and muscle mate. with 'neural' things eg my current sciatic symptoms start at the top (back) and work down (glute/piriformis then hammies then calves).
3. stretch LESS - when things are really narky stretching can do more harm that good. you'll know this if you try and strecth and its much harder than usual for things to let go. try again 10mins later and if things are even tighter then stop!!
obviously massage can help let go of a lot of tension and allow you to stretch again gently. then when the muscles are more relaxed go nuts!! have done more piriformis stretches this week and added in a glute stretch.
4. drugs eg.valium - but lets not go there.

in view of this i set a PW for my 14km run this week - 77mins.
took about 7km for the hammie to warm up then 2km later it just felt tired.
broke rule number 1 and had 3 days off (fri-sun).
was supposed to have a gentle ride on at least 1 day but that didnt happen due to work adn laziness.
went to coot-tha today and did a jen_runs run in 1.45.
the sciatic nerve stuff felt much better but my right meniscus is aching more than usual so i may do an 'extreme' taper before bright 4 peaks and simply not run for the next 10 days.
just some gentle bike work and lots of time sitting on the muscle mate.
and everything will settle :)

ps 2p i tied your 'shower challenge' and the montane gear passed with flying colours :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lamington Classic

spent the weekend at o'reillys at lamington national park: http://www.oreillys.com.au/
was here last in february and spent so much time running and walking/hiking i injured myself and missed 6 foot!
the lamington classic runs the 21.5km from the lodgings at o'reillys to binna burra (along the 'border track' ie. along the Qld/NSW border) on the saturday with the return trip BB to ORs on the sunday.
to try and improve the DTI we stayed at o'reillys (the 'nicer' end!) and i ran straight back (semi-officially) on the saturday.
ORs is at 920m and you climb to 1200m before heading back down to BB at 780m.
i have described the trail before as the closest thing in SE Qld to the overland track/cradle mountain run without being anything like it!
the border track has quite a few rocky parts and tree-rooted sections but is without the ferocity and consistancy that the overland track does.

the start was divided up into 6 'waves' (2.5 mins apart) of 6 people and was seeded on best recent HM time.
i've always thought my HM pb of 94.10 wasnt too bad (for an ultra runner anyway) so was a bit shocked (and pssed) to find myself in the 5th wave!!
started eyeballing those at the start in superior waves and before i knew it i was counting all those i thought i could pass based solely on appearance :)
discounting the obvious fact that i had twice as far to run that day.
never knew i was so competitive!
was particularly focussed on a 5 foot tall 60-year old asian grandmother (i assume she was a grandmother - she was that old) who was in wave 3.
consequently started off waaaaay too fast and passed the first person in 4 mins and had passed 5 people in the first 20mins or so.
eventually settled into a good rhythm and although passed a few more 4 or 5 passed me again on the way down to BB.
refilled the camelbak and turned in 2.18 (not far off 6min/kms) and when i explained to the lady what i was doing she asked me if i'd had my medication that day.
saw the 60 year old doing her warm down and stormed back up the hill again shaking my head and promising to quit running forever due to shame :)

made some mental arithmetic and thought a neg split was way off the cards but a 2.30 would be nice.
passed a few people on the way back - people still finishing and a few going for a post race warm down.
one asked me if i was running all the way back and i explained that if i stopped halfway i would have a very cold & lonely night! LOL

the hammies which were hurting in the first half really started to suffer and i just didnt have any 'zip' up the hill for the second time and found myself walking long sections.
really gritted the teeth on several parts and its been a while that i have stuffed myself so badly on a 'short' ultra.
i have to admit i really suffered all the way back!
got thru the rough mid-section and calculated i needed 6.40s for the last downhill 7km to go under 5hrs.
managed 5.50s of so doing the last half in 2.36 for a 4.54 finish.
was veeeeeeerrrrrrry stiff and sore at the end.
very pleased when TOH decided she didnt feel like a walk that afternoon!
went for a gentle 2 hour stroll this morning.

need to sort out my ongoing narky calf.
only 3 weeks til bright/alpine 4 peaks.

no running this week other than at lamington.
3 x 1hour bike sessions tues/wed/thurs.

thanks for the gear tips 2p - those were the watches i was looking at and will probably get from rei.
re: gortex etc... dont take this the wrong way but you have a bit more padding that me ;)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Shopping or Running

so what would people rather do?
well both of course!
2nd biggest highlight of my melbourne weekend was running on the MCG at the end of the melbourne HM.
biggest highlight was gear shopping on the friday :) :) :)

as well as the usual paddy pallin, mountain designs stores etc... (available in brissie) after a tip from whippet man i stumbled across the 'backpacking light' store: http://www.backpackinglight.com.au/
brendan (cr virtual) talks a lot about the super-light montane jackets so i decided to have a look...

well i bought 2 jackets (featherlight h20 and '200') and the 'atomic' pants.
montane are the leaders in the 'event' waterproof technology that is lighter than and claims to be more breathable and yet more waterproof than gortex!!
pity it costs almost 3 times as much ;)
anyway i stayed away from the real heavy-duty stuff and just bought the single-layer lightweight (non 'event') stuff.
the featherlight is about 110g and passes my simple 'tap test': put it on over my jumper and ran my arm under the hotel room tap for a while - nothing got thru.
very impressive!

after ensuring the economic viablitity of that store for the next financial year i went over the road to paddy pallin and bought another western mountaineering sleeping bag (the ultralite): http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=Products&page=Sleeping%20Bags&cat=ExtremeLite%20Series&viewpost=2&ContentId=17
claimed stats are suitable to minus 7 and weight 705g.
for the record it costs nearly a $ per gram!!
i was very warm in the hotel room :)

after leaving paddy pallin i started looking at (rather expensive) altitude/temp/compass watches then thought better of it and went back to the room!

the next day i stumbled across some 'modal' undies made by gazman.
as yes before tesso asks they are the micro modals - referring to the fibre size of course.
best anti-chafe undies around.
except of course for no undies at all - but we wont go there.
for 1/4 the price of the calvin klein version they were a bargain!!
more money saved!!

for the record i trotted the HM in 1.45.50 watch time (wearing the new undies too!).
started nearish to the back and took me 15km or so to catch the 1.50 group who i stayed with until the end.
saw quite a few CRs out there.
a nice weekend.
lamington next weekend.