Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Physical Therapy Ch. 7

Wow, seven chapters on my physical therapy visits! I never knew I'd be writing such a long (and boring) book.

It's about to get longer, too.

Here's the quick and dirty summary of my appointment with Cathy (back from Australia and all tan):

1. No needling today (I'm glad to have had a break from that)

2. My sacro-iliac joint looked good to her. I'm now allowed to remove my SI belt for four hours a day. I still need to wear it at other times, and most especially when I'm riding the recumbent bike, walking for exercise, doing weight-lifting and doing my PT exercises. As I'm typing this, I'm out of the belt. While I don't miss the constant wedgie, I am missing the support a bit. But I figure that's OK. I'm near the end of the four hours so it makes sense.

3. My abs are getting stronger! Cathy thinks I'm close to being able to do those elusive leg lifts on the Swiss ball.

4. BUT...and here's the big BUT (or maybe I should say BUTT)....my glutes are still far too weak to consider running on them yet. She ran me through some tests that confirmed it: I have a serious case of white-girl butt. This explains many things: why my finishing kick in all my post-pregnancy races has been lacking; why it's so much harder for me to power up hills when I'm hiking; why I tended to avoid lunges and squats in weight training class.

Cathy actually quantified what I'm in for thanks to the weak bottom: three more months of no running (though I may get to hop on the Alter-G sooner). I think it's a good sign that this didn't surprise me much. On a trip last week to the park with my kids, I saw from afar as my son fell off his bike. I ran in his direction...or tried to run. I felt it instantly in my SI joint....and at that moment I knew that, geez, if I can't even jog over to help my crying kid, I probably shouldn't be huffing it around the neighborhood yet (even with lots of walking in the mix).

5. I have new PT exercises for homework. They all involve the glutes. I plan to attack those suckers. Buns of steel, that's what I'm going for. It took me six weeks to get my abs to where they are now (and yes, I'm still working on the abs, too). I know I can expect the same amount of time for the glutes.

So here are my priorities, in order:

1) Do everything necessary to rehab my back. This means a) do the PT exercises the prescribed 3-5 times a week, 50 reps each and building, b) learn to sleep on my sides and back, relinquishing forever my beloved stomach cuddle and c) be vigilant about my posture and lifting technique.

2) Maintain my cardiovascular fitness so it's still intact when I return to running (I know the running muscle strength won't be there--nothing I can do about that). This means the recumbent bike is my best friend. I've even named him Pitbull, after the vulgar-yet-charming-and-certainly-catchy hip-hop dude whose music accompanies me on all my "outings" on this bike. Move over, Mario Lopez--I have a new Latin lover.

3) Maintain my weight. So far, so good on this. But I know I can continue tweaking my diet to include even less sugar and even more fruits and veggies. I'm wondering now if I can even lose a few pounds and finally hit the low 120s. I'll be writing more about this later.

4) Improve my sleep habits. More on this in a later post as well.

5) Do upper-body weight work.

6) Remember that these months away, which are crucial to my long-term health and my abilities as a runner, will someday be just a blip in what I hope will be a lifelong relationship with trails, roads and running shoes. I can and will take as much time as this problem requires.


  1. I've been waiting all day for this post.  I play pool in Denver on Tuesday nights and my playing partner seemed a little annoyed I kept checking my phone.

    I'm liking your attitude about the blip.  You ARE being smart and patient.  But selfish me - the first thing I thought of when I read "3 months" is - "oh no - no Slacker Slumber party!  :( "   maybe we can do an alternate version tho???

    Sounds like you have a plan  - I'm quite sure keeping your cardio up will *really* give you a leg up when you start running again.

    Lots of good stuff here too - you are making progress and you sound upbeat.  You are getting there!  :)

  2. I'm right there with ya, sister! I'm in bad shape. Wow. It's amazing how these things can go downhill quickly if you are not careful. I have pretty much banished myself to pool running until further notice. And TONS of SI joint exercises, PT exercises (from my hubby's PT for his hip-another weak area of mine) and weights to strengthen my legs and upper body.

    Feel free to post your glute exercises when you get a chance. Would love to see what I, too, should be doing.

  3. I admire your discipline and attitude.  You are doing the right thing being patient and listening to the PT.  I am not on board with you loosing weight missy...I will out you...:)

  4. I have weak glute muscles also.  I have to work on them all the time but tend to let my lifting fall behind all the time.  No pun intended! 

    Good luck with your goals!

  5. Sounds like a good plan. I like your proactive attitude! I've got white girl butt too. I need to work on getting a substantial booty. You will be back, you are doing all of the right things to be a strong and long lasting runner!

  6. I love your list of priorities.  Your attitude in this post is inspiring.
    I'm sad to hear that you have to take such a long break!  We'll be here to support you when you need it!  

  7. Think about how much these exercises might help the look of your butt in jeans?! I am thinking I need some motivation to strengthen mine too if it makes a difference in that area too?! :)

  8. 3 more months? Argh! I'm so sorry- although I'm glad you sound so positive about it.  Glute strengthening and upper body strengthening are great goals that will pay off in running later.  Yes- only a blip-- that's so important to remember!

  9. Damn that 'white girl butt' strikes another runner! LMAO........

  10. i like the word hiccup too (although blip is also good).  looking back, this will be a minor hiccup in terms of your running career.  you will return stronger than ever!

    cathy sounds like an amazing PT, you are lucky to have her!

  11. Yes it is a blip..but keep doing what you are doing and you and your new glutes will kick the blip to the curb!
    I have weak glutes as well..we'll be dealing with them next training session me thinks... 

  12. Ah, ups and downs - I think this counts as hill repeats!! Pitbull! Love it!! Snap shot in time, my friend, it's all about the long road!!

  13. Hello Terzah - I came to your blog from Jill's.  I know you will get that BQ, the desire is the most important element to getting the Boston.  It sounds like you have a solid plan for your injury rehab.  I'm anxious to hear more about the weight loss plan.  (I struggle with this always). 

    I was in Houston this year and paced a friend from around mile 14+, to the finish.  She finished 3:54, her new PR. 

    I'm thinking I will run TOU this Sept.  Any tips? 

  14. I can only imagine how hard this is for you. I'm so sorry that you are having to go through it but love that you attitude is so positive. You will come out of this so strong and much healthier. Hugs to you

  15. Those are important priorities; it sounds like a very good plan.
    You are doing well.
    Best wishes and get well soon.