Friday, September 25, 2015

Hills, A Wise Friend & Physical Therapy

I love hills.  I love hills.  I love hills.

True story.

Okay... the truth is, I only love DOWNhills.  I really struggle with uphill workouts.  It's not a good thing because I live in a very hilly neighborhood, so unless I want to drive somewhere I have to tackle them.

My friend at work (hi Cathy) just finished her first marathon last weekend.  Mitch and I took a drive along the course the day before the race.  The first part of the course is rolling hills.  Not my favorite thing.  Today we were talking about her race and I mentioned that I didn't like the first half because of the hills.  Cathy smiled big and said, "I love hills." Followed by, "I eat hills for breakfast!"

Oh how I want to embrace that mentality!

Cathy said that she puts her butt and thighs to work and just tackles them.  I'm so ready to learn this!
I have to thank her.  Somehow, I'm going to love hills.  It's mostly a mental game.  I just need to be tougher than my head.

Training for my first marathon was fraught with IT Band issues.  My right hip down to my knee was in a state of constant, nagging pain.  I lived in KT Tape (which is awesome, BTW) and visited my chiropractor at least every two weeks.  That helped a little, but never completely.

My regular doc suggested a couple of visits to a physical therapist.  So, I bit the bullet and started to see Evan Jones at West Billings Physical Therapy.  She set my hip in place and put me to work doing some exercises twice a day to strengthen the muscles that support my hips and insisted that I use the foam roller I that I usually avoid like the plague.

While I struggle to get 2 times a day in, I make sure I do these EVERY night.  Its amazing how quick I began to get better.  My nightly routine looks like this:

Clam Shells - Two sets on each side until I feel the burn.  Sometimes I add a resistance band, but I hate how it makes my hands smell so not very often.

Reverse Clam Shells - Again, two sets on each side until I feel the burn.  The pic doesn't show it very well, but there should be a gap between your knees of about 4-6 inches.

Bridge - Two sets of 15.  Squeeze the glutes when lifting your butt off the floor.

ITBand Stretches - Each stretch for about 30 seconds

Foam Roller - About 2 minutes rolling up and down the IT band, avoiding the outermost part of the hip bone.

The more you do the foam rolling, the easier it gets.  I wanted to CRY when I started doing this.  My roller is NOT forgiving, so I recommend starting with a softer one.  I think the colors tell you how firm they are.  At the PT office, I used a pink one and it was quite squishy.  Very nice.  But mine is black and I'm pretty sure that means death.

If I knew in May what I know now, my marathon training would have been so much better and I would have missed a lot less days of running.  It's kind of maddening when I think back on it. But I'm glad I feel better now and I have hope for a better marathon time in the future.

Tomorrow is long run day.  We will go to Red Lodge again and I should get around 12 miles.  I'll talk about fueling for long runs this weekend.  Stay tuned.

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