My Physical Therapy

My gift to myself in December 2011 is physical therapy appointments.  Do you know difficult it is to get help medical treatment without a doctor’s note?!  I’m willing to pay for myself, yet no one will see me.  The problem with going through my doctor and a medical plan is that the physical therapist will only help the one part of my body that is under scrutiny.  What happens when your entire body is in pain all of the time?  And it’s not because of fibromyalgia or other medical issues?  I need someone who will listen to my story of where all my pains are and figure out what areas to work on first but then to continue fixing all the parts that hurt once we get one part fixed. 

We drove by this gym about a month ago, and I see a PT office inside the gym.  I made an inquiry afterwards and decided to go in.  I met this great PT who listened and then went through a group of exercises with me; she assigned some of them to me but also did a lot of range of motions types of things and did some one on one exercises that I wouldn’t be able to do at home alone without help.  About 90 minutes later, I was worn out but felt that I got my money’s worth, $115.  I made another appointment for one week later.  I was there for about an hour and it included 18 minutes on the treadmill.  She watched me walk, corrected my running gait… hahaha… running.  If nothing else, it gave me to confidence to walk for 2 minutes and “run” for 1 minute.  When I’ve been on the treadmill on my own, I’ve been walking for 5 minutes and then running for up to 1 minute, but wait!  I can do better!  $85 later, I left to return two to three weeks later.

I’ve been doing my PT exercises on a regular basis, two day on, one day off.  I feel sore on the second day but the day of rest feels pretty good, although the pain never goes away.  It’s been about 2 weeks since I first started this.  Right now, my IT band doesn’t really hurt, but I know it’s going to be in pain again… like what normal person needs to know where the IT band is?! Well, mine has hurt for years!  It’s the side of your body on each side that runs from your hip to your knee.  My lower back is sore but not as bad as normal, and I know there has been other improvement since the first day.

My goal is to continue with these exercises and then add the treadmill workouts on January 2nd.


Back to Exercising Again

I haven’t exercised since the Bay to Breakers!  It’s amazing how quickly time seems to fly when you measure time by the last time you exercised!  In reality, I’ve been on two vacations since then too, so it’s not as if I’ve been home and not working out. 

Today, I walked 2 miles in about 33 minute, which I consider to be great results under the circumstances.  I spent the first 5 minutes warming up at about 3 miles per hour and the last minute or so at about the same pace.  I was able to job for about 2 1/2 minutes total at the 5 minute intervals.  The most amazing thing happened today… my Achilles tendon didn’t hurt.  What I don’t know is WHY!  It’s been in pain since March 2008; that’s over 3 years of pain even when I walk a couple of blocks to pick up food for lunch.  With no pain, I could have walked so much more but because I didn’t know why it was cooperating, I decided not to take any chances in reinjuring myself.

Bay to Breaker – May 15, 2011

What a crazy weekend!  It all started on Friday… I had a conference in the morning and then took the bus, not just any bus, but the 19 Polk to 8th and Brannan to pick up my bib, chip and packet.  While on the bus which was filled with tourists, regular people minding their own business, and an assortment of possible no-gooders (the bus goes through the Tenderloin, a not-so-desireable area of San Francisco), I met this lady who is a student at the Academy of Art.  We got off the bus together, picked up our packet, and walked around.  When I was ready to leave, I hailed a taxi and told her she could ride while I paid, since she was going my direction anyway.  We talked about possibly meeting up at some point during the foot race.
On Saturday, we drove to Sacramento for Caitlin’s basketball tournament… strange as it may sound… she plays in an Asian basketball league – the players have to be of Asian descent (any percentage) so that there would be somewhat of a fair competition.  In other leagues, Caitlin could be guarding girls her age but are 6-8 inches taller than her, and she’s already almost 5′ 6″!  We took separate cars because the tournament was held on both days.  I got home around 10:00 p.m. and had to prepare for rain… went to the other house looking for a poncho but only came up with the plastic hat.  Then I got my windbreaker ready and two plastic bags and rubber bands to cover my shoes from getting as wet.  I prepared my food as well:  peanut butter smeared on a bagel, banana, two baggies of peanut M&Ms.  Then I had to look up the BART schedule, etc., such a long process…  By the time I got into bed it was 1:00 a.m. – I hate sleeping in the house alone, so it took a long time before I stayed asleep.
I wake up at 6:30 to realize that it was a nice clear morning, which I didn’t prepare for!  I had to find the sunscreen and decide whether to wear a jacket or not, etc., all which took a few more minutes that I had hoped.   I drive to the SSF BART station, park, and get to the platform in time to sprint for the train,,, pretty much like any workday!  I started to see people in costumes. The best one on the train was the guy who dressed up like how Brian Wilson appeared on the George Lopez Show as the Captain.  After getting off the train which was my normal stop when I go to work, I walked two blocks to my corral right when it was allowing people to go through while tortillas were flying all over the place… suddenly I starting seeing giant green ones too.  Yikes! Those would hurt!
It didn’t take long for the naked guy to find me… actually, I found him next to me.  I got away… and found myself in back of another one.  The interesting thing is that I saw less than 7 naked people throughout the whole walk, not that I was looking or counting or anything (it’s not my fault they kept appearing every so often!).
I’ve been having this Achilles tendonitis pain for over 3 years.  It occurs pretty much right away when I walk, whether at a foot race or during a short walk to the car.  Every so often, it will go away after the first mile or so, but most of the time it doesn’t, so I’m walking with some discouraging pain that makes me feel like my calves are going to explode, even though the pain is right below that.  Mind over matter (not!)…
We passed by the fire station on Howard Street, and the firefighters were watching us go by.  Many took photos with them, which they accommodated.  There were a lot of spectators as well, and many were interested in taking photos of those naked people…  AND at some point, some of the spectators were naked too!  Any excuse to remove clothing in broad daylight in public, I suppose.  This is San Francisco after all.
That Hayes Street Hill – well, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined because you could only walk so fast, and there’s entertainment all along the street, so you walk, look around, and soon afterwards, you’re at the top.  According to my notes (yes, I took notes), it took me 15 minutes… which is nothing for 4-5 blocks of purported 11% grade.  Right before the top of the hill, my brother-in-law, Jeffrey, runs into me, literally and purposely.  How is it that with 55,000 people, he finds me at the most difficult moment trudging up that hill?!
After mile 3, we started entering the Panhandle area.  I saw this great portrayal of the movie, Up.  A large Asian man was dressed like the little boy, carrying this massive bunch of balloons with a house underneath it.  Soon I was in Golden Gate Park.  At the water fall, I asked someone to take a photo of me, which turned out fine.  At the bison park, I asked this lady to take a photo of me…  it turned out she was drunk, so she had to do it twice.  As I walked away, I hear her friend say into her phone, “Oh, she just fell over!”  Oops…
At the mile 7, the marker was ground level, so there was a short line to take a photo which I did.  Only .46 miles more to go… by this time, I was really beat and was ready to stop walking soon, but I hung in there and finished… 3 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds after I started.
What I forgot to mention was my new friend… even though we didn’t walk together and actually never saw each other again, we texted each other every so often throughout the walk, and that really helped me get through.  The leg pain was a little discouraging along with the time it was taking me.  The purpose was not to get a personal record, but I had still wanted to be faster than the 25-26 minute/mile pace I was going.  Although there are many distractions, and I prefer to walking alone, it’s encouraging to know someone is kind of around, not necessarily physically but at least in thought.
I picked up my medal soon after I finished.  I was quite impressed because it wasn’t plastic.  It was made out of a very heavy metal.  I thought there was a finisher shirt at Footstock, so I walked another maddening 1.5 miles there only to find that there was no finisher shirt and had to walk at least another .5 miles out of the park to where my sister-in-law, Margaret, picked me up.  That 1.5 miles to Footstock took me almost 50 minutes!  Margaret drove me to the restaurant where I picked up my recovery meal, Beef with Tofu over Rice.
I’m glad I did it… and I will probably do it again in the future… I’m not positively sure it’ll be next year though only because I feel like I’m still recovering!  My body ached all over for about 4 days, and I haven’t exercised since, but I know I need to continue…
So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Last Week of Training for Bay to Breakers

I didn’t get a chance to walk until today and ended up walking at the gym for 2 miles.  I spent about 35  minutes walking 2 miles.  I did .5 miles at 11% in hopes it would help me when I walk up the Hayes Street Hill.  I’m planning to walk another 2 miles tomorrow, and then I’m done until Sunday morning!

This Week’s Training – One Week Left!

On Wednesday, May 4th, I walked 3 miles on the treadmill… it was the first time I was back in the gym!  I haven’t been in the gym for about 11 months.  Anyway, my 3 miles took about 51 minutes and included .3 miles at 11% grade hill.  I jogged about 30 seconds every 5 minutes, and in all I am very pleased with my time.  At that pace, I would finish the Bay to Breakers in 2 hours and 8 minutes.  I wish I could put a smiley face because I’d be using the one with the teeth showing!!!  However, treadmill walking is different than pavement walking as you will hear next…

On Saturday, May 7th, I did my 6 mile walk on Sawyer Camp Trail.  I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes there, but only about 1 hour and 53 minutes was really walking.  The rest was resting, using the toilet, stretching, taking photos, and tracking my time!  My Achilles tendonitus was around almost the entire walk, except for maybe the last mile or so.  Wow, it’s amazing to walk without pain.  I feel like I can walk 100 miles, but the pain just totally discourages me.

Lessons learned:  I need to position my water bottle and fanny pack in a way where my hands and arms won’t touch it while I’m walking.  I need to bring more food… Ritz crackers don’t count, so I will need to have some peanut M&Ms, almonds, banana, and some other food in my fanny pack during the race.  I need to decide on how to handle the stretching or non-stretching dilemma.  What foods should I bring with me?

Training The Rest of This Week

I walked on the streets in the dark on Wednesday while Caitlin had basketball practice.  It turned out to be about 2 miles and got back right when they ended practice.  I didn’t keep track of the time though but made Daniel drive the entire route.  🙂

Today I did my long walk, 5 miles.  Originally, I was going to do 6 but decided that was probably overly ambitious.  I started around 6:50 and finished the five miles at 8:40.  I got 11 Weight Watcher points out of it, but that’s 22 minutes per mile, which is not good by my measure.  I would finish the Bay to Breakers in 2 hours and 45 minutes.  My goal is somewhere between 2:07 and 2:15, but I suppose I’ll be happy if I finish! 

I’m taking tomorrow off but will continue the training on Tuesday.  My long walk will be this Saturday, aiming for 6-7 miles.

Sabotaging Myself

It’s funny how I can unwittingly sabotage myself.  Saturday night, after my 4.4 mile walk, I wrote up a training plan on a calendar.  Sunday was going to be a 2 mile walk, followed by a 2 mile walk this evening.  However, on Sunday I was still in so much pain, there was no way I would be able to walk another 2 miles.  In hindsight, of course, I can tell myself that was a silly plan, but yesterday, I was beating myself down about it.  Then there’s today’s training.  This evening, I walked 2 miles on the treadmill at the hotel.  I finished in 31:49, which is quite good for me (I know it’s not for most other people).  Yet, I kept thinking there was something wrong with the treadmill, that even though it said it was going 3.7 miles per hour or jogging 4.3 miles per hour, that the belt was slow and therefore was slower that the reading!  <sigh>  Instead, I should celebrate staying on the plan and finishing at a faster time than I probably have ever done in the recent couple of years.  Also, I went to the gym close to midnight when most people wouldn’t bother!

Training notes for today:  the Achilles tendonitis paid dissipated at the 1.15 mile mark, and it didn’t hurt as much as it did on Saturday.  Perhaps the massage I got earlier helped.  Or maybe it was because I didn’t stretch first…  I stretched afterwards.

Tomorrow will be a more difficult day.  I’m concerned about the Hayes Street hill, so I will be putting the treadmill at either the maximum or 11%, whichever is less and see how fast I should expect to walk.  I’m going to walk 2 miles tomorrow but will incorporate .2 mile of the walk at the steep grade.  I’m hoping to build up to .6 mile to almost match the length of the Hayes Street hill.

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