Friday, May 18, 2012

Alter-G Part 2 & Other Updates

Yesterday was my second rehab session on the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill.

I felt very lucky to be there at all, as 24 hours earlier I had been in the throes of a freak virus that sent my temperature up to 102.9 and made my head feel like some alien was trying to break through my skull. The sickness came on me at work Wednesday in the form of violent shivering and nausea. I managed to haul myself home and collapse in bed. At that point I thought there was no way I could make my 5:15 running date the next day.

But in the morning, after 14 hours of sleep interrupted only by a trip to the bathroom around midnight, I woke up with NO fever and only a slight headache that faded to nothing by noon. It was the briefest illness I think I remember having, if also one of the more intense. I took it easy in the morning, did a few of my physical therapy exercises in the afternoon, took Will and Ruth to the annual Art Show at their preschool and then Dan took over so I could make my appointment.

Fever aside, I was curious about how the session would go this time. My calves were SCREAMING on Tuesday and Wednesday after the first session. I think this was mostly a "Whoa, what is this running thing all about?" reaction (after all, they haven't had that kind of intensity asked of them for over two months), but my new Pure Flow shoes probably contributed too. I actually looked over old racing pictures of myself to make sure that, yes, I generally do have a mid- to forefoot strike. And I think I really do--even in the finish line pic of me in Houston last January (see the right-hand column), where I was doing what passes for sprinting for me at the end of a marathon, shows me landing neatly in the right place on my foot.

Yesterday's Alter-G session was apparently just what the doctor ordered for the calves. I wore the Pure Flows again, and while there's still some calf tightness, it's quite run-of-the-mill now, and fading--whereas on Tuesday and Wednesday they felt like I had just run a marathon on them.

And what about the back? My sacro-iliac support belt got in the way of the machine's calibration yesterday, so I did the run without it. My back's left side definitely bothered me more this time, but it wasn't alarming. In the end, I managed another good two miles of running, this time at 75% body weight (yay for the increase!). The exercise physiologist in charge this time was Patty, who will also likely be the person I'll go see about Pilates once Cathy (my physical therapist) thinks I'm strong enough for that. At the end, she loaded me up with a giant bag of ice for the back and on my way I went.

My back definitely hurt this morning, so I've been wearing the belt a lot today. But I did get my recumbent bike session in (I'll keep doing those until I can run a lot more than I'm allowed to right now), and I did a few stretches and some PT exercises afterwards. Things are definitely feeling more normal now.

My next Alter-G run is on Monday morning. This time I'm going to bring my Garmin to see how my heart rate looks at the various paces and percent body weights, and how that compares to what I'm used to seeing on the bike at this point.

Sleep Update: So this month was supposed to be the month where I got in the habit of getting eight hours a night on a regular basis. I even enlisted a handful of others to go along with me on it. Well, for me, it hasn't happened. The month's only half over, so I'm not giving up, but my bad habits in this area have proven much more deeply ingrained than I thought. I love sleep! So why is it so hard for me to get myself in bed when I should? Life's just too interesting, I guess.

Weight/Eating Update: At least I'm still doing well on this front! My weight this morning was 128.4, and I'm still going strong (stronger every day, in fact!) on having no processed sugar of any kind any day but Sunday. I've found not only am I no longer craving sugar during the week or wanting to graze from treat trays brought into work, but that when I do have my Sunday treat, I appreciate and enjoy it much more. Last Sunday, I rode my bike over to the Dairy Queen on Main Street and picked up a chocolate dip cone for myself and a plain vanilla one for Dan, then rode home where we enjoyed our little treat together. That cone tasted awesome! That might be what I have to do this Sunday too.....

Could I still eat better? Definitely! I've found myself dipping into the tortilla chips I buy for our Friday night taco dinners much more often than I should. I don't eat regular potato chips at all--but corn chips....they've got my number. So I feel like they might be the next thing I eliminate, or at least bracket into just one day of the week.

That's it for now! I'm thinking of my friends Cynthia and Kathy, both of whom have big races this weekend!