Monday, October 13, 2014


image from
So, you read the internet and magazines all about working out and what kind of workouts a person should be doing and for how long?  Yeah.  I know.  There's advice ALL OVER THE PLACE.  (don't forget, I use a TON of embedded links!!!  Click on them!!)

There's the "old" way of thinking:  "calories in - calories out = weight loss or gain" that still causes people to exercise just to burn those stubborn calories and their thighs off.  Then, there's the Paleo camp who say that calories don't matter and that you should just work out a little every day (doing the things our body was designed to do), but that primarily weight loss is from WHAT you eat, not how much.  AND then the ones (who DO make a lot of sense), like Chris Kessler, who talk about how damaging over-working out your body is to your system.

So... what do I do?  Well, you must remember that I still have to do the "Fit 2 Fight" model for the reserves, meaning push ups, sit ups (I still refuse to call them "crunches"), run 1.5 mi/walk 2km and have a slim waist.  At my age, and with all the arthritis and joint issues creeping up on what feels like a daily basis, I have to test every 6 months as I just haven't been able to do a full-component fitness test in yeeeaaaars.  Oh well, keeps me honest.

So... as a PT, what do I do?  I truly do think we need to be moving each and every day.  Personally, I have a hard time running (always have, ask my high school PE teacher...) and doing anything with my arms (weak shoulders).  So, I make sure that's in my program.  Why not just do something else?
link to AF fitness program
Well, I might, but there's that pesky AF fitness test ;)  Plus... it IS a good idea to push oneself in her weakest areas, don't you think?

I returned from a lengthy time away from home and got WAY off track while gone.  I was doing my Couch to 5K program MWF and BurstFit every day but Sunday.  But, after 2 months of just walking and a run every now and then (but not even that far... I had gone to Utah and they're almost 5K feet high!!!), my fitness had gone WAY down.  Not to mention my weight had gone a little up and the flab-factor was reappearing.  So, here's what I've done so far:

1st two weeks home:

  1. Acclimatize to new timezone (4-6 hours behind where I was visiting), but establish a get-up-before-6am routine with 7-9 hours of sleep.
  2. Go back to eating well and eating organic (clean 15/dirty dozen+ rules).
  3. Get unpacked, laundry done, travel paperwork submitted, etc.  Get out from under obligations that keep me up at night.
  4. Focus on my hubby, son and dogs.
  5. Get back into the family routine.
  6. Set workout goals:
  7. Sign up for Color Run
    • Color Run 5K on November 8
    • Fitness test NLT 31 Dec 2014 - NO EXEMPTIONS!  (goal, right??)

Week 3:
  1. Continue above
  2. Begin walking (whatever distance was comfortable to my body) each day upon rising and use my fitness apps to remain accountable to all the "friends" on them.  I use Nike+ (running app, but I like it for walks, too), Map My Run (which has a place from where I can chose to use "walk" instead of "run"), and Runkeeper (why this 3rd one??  Different "friends" that provide feedback on walks and runs than on the other two apps).  
  3. Here's what week 3 walks looked like:
    • Monday - 2.31 miles at 17'28"/mi in 40:29 mins
    • Tuesday - 2.89 miles at 17'31"/mi in 50:39 mins
    • Wednesday - 2.53 miles at 17'42"/mi in 44:50 mins
    • Thursday - 3.13 miles at 17'53"/mi in 56:00 mins
    • Friday - 2.96 miles at 17'54"/mi in 53:05 mins
    • Saturday - rest
    • Sunday - 2.43 miles at 17'29"/mi in 42:30 mins

Week 4:
  1. Continue eating well, sleeping at least 8 hours a night and rising early (6am-ish)
  2. Add Couch to 5K running program back into routine on MWFs and walk other days of the week (you'll notice that I abbreviate that to C25K and the week x day x to WXDX):
    • Monday (C25K:W1D1) - 2.06 miles at avg 14'45"/mi in 30:27 mins
    • Tuesday (walk only) - 3.13 miles at 17'46"/mi in 55:44 mins
    • Wednesday (C25K:W1D2) - 2.15 miles at avg 15'13"/mi in 32:50 mins
    • Thursday (walk only) - 3.08 miles at 17'56"/mi in 55:21 mins
    • Friday (C25K:W1D3) - 2.23 miles at avg 14'43"/mi in 32:54 mins
    • Saturday and Sunday were both rest days as I caught a tummy bug Friday night
Week 5:
  1. Continue eating well, sleeping at least 8 hrs a night and rising early
  2. Move up to week 2 of the C25K:
    • Monday (W2D1) - 2.59 miles at avg 14'47"/mi in 38:21 mins
    • Tuesday (walk) - 3.12 miles at 17'58"/mi in 56:09 mins
    • Wednesday (W2D2) - 2.57 miles at 14'47"/mi in 38:03 mins
    • Thursday (walk) - 3.09 miles at 17'30"/mi in 54:13 mins
    • Friday (W2D3) - 2.57 miles at 14'16"/mi in 36:44 mins
    • Saturday - rest
    • Sunday (walk) - 3.08 miles at 18'00"/mi in 55:36 mins 

Week 6: (this week... so far)
  1. Continue eating well, sleeping at least 8 hrs a night and rising early
  2. Move up to week 3 of the C25K and add in Burst Fit workouts:
    • Monday (W3D1) - 2.41 miles at avg 14'16"/mi in 34:27 mins
      • Burst Fit:  Abs and Back Shredder

Needless to say... I'm a work in progress!!  What a great start!  Yes, working through an achilles bursitis (kinesiotape and rolling help) and the usual hip/knee joint pains, but I'm OUT THERE!  Working out at comfortable paces for MY body and now pushing my strength.  My goal is to do 20 push ups for my AF fitness test in December.  I'll get there!  

Now, GET MOVING!!!  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sadness, grief and loss...

"Hey friends! I want to let everyone know that suicide IS preventable. Here's my promise to you: I will always Listen/Talk it out/Be a trusted friend/Get you help. Talk to me if you're in crisis. The Lifeline is there for you and so am I."
#800273TALK #suicideispreventable #LETITOUT 

September 30th is the last day of the Suicide prevention month.  On this day, I found out my dear friend's (from our last military assignment) husband apparently shot himself at home.  She found him according to the news reports.

He was an amazing man.  High ranking Army officer.  But, a Teddy Bear in person.  Always had a wonderful, full, encompassing hug ready and available no matter where we'd run into each other.  A smile and a kind word... always.  Did he seem depressed?  Not a year ago when I last saw him.  Yes, he went for walks with the dog and was a quiet man, but didn't seem "depressed".  His family was amazing and supportive.  Very involved in the community and at church.  Why him??  I, personally, do not expect I'll ever know.  All I can do is to pray for his soul, pray for his family, and pray for my dear friend that her dreams are not nightmares of finding him... AND get the word out about suicide prevention.

Suicide was a growing trend in the military (it 'might' be lowering... slightly in the past 2-3 years).  Presumably from the time spent in deployed locations and the stresses that one is under just from being in the military.

We, in the Air Force, are subjected to yearly Suicide Prevention briefings.  We're taught how to be a "good wingman" and recognize the "warning signs".

But, somehow... my friend's husband slipped through that.

No, he wasn't AF, he was Army.  Yep, they lead the way statistically speaking.  In 2012, the Army had 283 confirmed completed suicides and the Air Force 83.    However, the non-military world still has HUGE numbers, too.  Teens, older Americans (above 65), and middle aged people are all trending upwards.  As a matter of fact, it's the 10th leading cause of death for Americans right now.  Sad.

What can we do?

We can learn the warning signs...

I think one of the things that most people do not realize is that you MUST ask DIRECTLY if your friend or loved one is thinking about hurting or killing themself.

You MUSTN'T tell them they are stupid or weird or wrong... just listen.  THEN, STAY with them!!

Check in with them if they're not in immediate danger or take them to an emergency room or doctor.

Hide items that they might use to hurt themself...

don't just say "Life is too wonderful... why would you WANT to end it??"   Typically, they are in such pain that ALL they can think about is ending their pain... their life is NOT wonderful to them - No matter if yours is to you or if theirs appears to be wonderful from your perspective.

Do NOT place guilt on them... don't tell them how many lives will be "ruined" if they die... just listen to what is hurting them and BE there for them.  Even if you feel like you just NEED to say something... say, "I am here for you" and mean it.

PLEASE help end suicide.  Especially for our military and veterans.

Click here for the National Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pulled pork deliciousness!

Pork.  VERY controversial!  I've read articles that say that ALL pig meat is bad for humans, then some that say it's OK and others that point to only some people having issues with it.

IF you eat pork (I do)... here's a nice way to prepare pulled-pork using a crock-pot that I came up with after researching how to do it online.  There was just SO much advice that I finally stopped reading and researching and just MADE it.

1 Pork roast - whatever size fits in your crock-pot!
7-10 garlic cloves - peeled and the larger ones cut in half length-wise
sea salt and pepper
apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's organic)
BBQ sauce (you can make yourself or find some that fit your "rules"... mine is NO HFCS or GMO ingredients)

Start with a decent cut of pork... I use pork shoulder with the bone still in.  I have used pork butt and other chunks of pork meat, but my favorite is the shoulder.  Of course, in a perfect world, I'd buy from a sustainable farmer who really feeds their pigs well... but, on the budget we have, that only happens once in a blue moon.

Next... LEAVE ON THE FAT!!  I have tried this in cutting off EVERY single scrap of fat before (the hubby can NOT stand fat) and it does NOT cook well at all.

Slice small cuts into the meat and insert a garlic clove on both sides of the roast.

Place into crock-pot and salt/pepper one side, flip and salt/pepper the other side.

Add approx 1/2 - 3/4 cup vinegar.  Don't worry if it seems like it's not enough as the juices will FLOW while cooking and it'll appear to multiply!

Turn the crock-pot on low setting and leave alone for 3 hours, minimum.

Turn over at that point and cook at least 3 more hours.

Check for ability of it to just tear apart with your fork at the 6 hour mark.  It might need 1-2 more hours.

This one was ready at 7 hours.  I then removed most of the liquid and preserved it in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Next, cut off the HUGE layer of fat on the side.  You can leave it and eat it, but this was NOT from a reputable farmer and I'm loathe to eat the fat from a pig who eats conventionally.  So, off it came and into the garbage.  Remove the bone and shred right in the crock-pot.

Some cooks recommend shredding the pork on a cutting board, but I'm all about the LEAST amount of clean up possible; so inside the pot is fine by me!

Here's what the pork looks like at this point.  I've added back in some of the juices that were taken out and saved in my measuring cup... still a little dry appearing, so I added more back.  Then, the family REALLY likes BBQ sauce, so I add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of that and place the rest on the table for them to add more, if necessary.


Serving:  For the hubby (NOT gluten-free or Paleo/Primal), he eats it on a bun... for the son and myself?  We just eat it with a fork!!  I usually cook up some roasted veggies like cauliflower and broccoli to go along with this and a mixed garden salad.


Monday, June 9, 2014

15 lbs??? How? When??

First off... wedding.  We had a wedding in our family.  It was my oldest son getting married to his college sweetheart in Ft Worth, TX.  What a beautiful day and celebration!!  Here I am in my most glamorous gown... wearing all that spanx thingies to hold all the stuff in place.  
Yes, hubby got cropped out of this photo!

I'll try to do an "after" picture... once I get these extra 15 lbs off...

From my lowest weight loss to now, yep, 15 pounds.  That's 6.8kg for my non-American friends.  

HOW??  WHEN???  

Looking back on my daily weight loss calculator, I see that the weight really started to come back on AFTER the holidays.  WHY???  Well, IF I had been keeping a food journal or diary, I could look back and see what I was eating to possibly contribute to this gain.  Otherwise, I'm left to make suppositions and theories as to how I sabotaged my weight management program.  Can I blame it on the stress of the wedding?  Possibly, but why... it was joyful.  

So... getting back to the basics.  The "rules", if you will, of being Paleo/Primal. 
Let's see how I fare in the basics... (I'm not going to get into the 'why we don't eat these' right now, just going through how I've sabotaged myself):

1.  Change your eating to REAL foods (no processed junk)

  • No grains.  none, nada, nyet, zip!! That includes wheat, barley, rye, rice, corn, etc.  Now, here's a possible weight gainer for me:  rice and organic corn.  I've tried to reason away eating rice (ONLY if it's non-GMO or Japanese!!) and corn (ONLY if it's organic/non-GMO or the blue kind).  Yep... I've been indulging a little too frequently in rice and corn.  Corn itself?  No, more like chips or crackers.  STOP!!  I also have a confession to make... it's easier to be "Gluten-free" than Paleo in this world.  I have slipped and purchased pre-packaged goodies that are "gluten-free", but definitely NOT Paleo/Primal.  Why?  'Cause they're so darn good.  STOP!!!

  • No beans/legumes.  Well... this one is OK for me as I haven't had beans since having the gallbladder out.  If you've read this blog since it's inception, you know all about how painful eating legumes was for me back then (you can read my story here).  The inflammatory nature of legumes was really impressed upon me back then and I've not 'cheated' eating them at ALL.  (it REALLY was painful!!).  

  • No Dairy.  Well... the reason I call myself Primal is that I do allow myself some dairy.  It's usually the raw, unpasteurized and organic kind (NO hormones, antibiotics, etc.), and more likely the harder cheeses.  I find that I cannot do any of those fake cheeses nor "cheese substitutes" like velveeta or American Cheese.  My intestines greatly revolt against fake stuff and the softer cheeses.  I can eat harder cheeses, as I mentioned as my system tolerates them.  I've also found that I can eat goat cheeses and some soft cheese as long as it's raw.  Needless to say, I do not drink milk anymore.  Now, if my uncle who owned the milk farm was still alive and I could get my hands on some raw milk, I might try it.  Ah well, rest in peace, Uncle George!!  Even so, I do not eat dairy often at all.  Not enough to consider it a "cheat" or sabotage to my weight loss.

  • No added sugar.  Ugh.  Right here is my issue.  Right here.  I was, for a LONG time, staying away from white sugar... well, I still do, it's not in my house.  BUT, the added sugar in fruit juices (even 100% pure fruit juices
    are still VERY sweet) and candy are my biggest and most recent downfalls. I have been drinking Simply Lemonade (LOVE it) with raspberries and blueberries and strawberries.  It's so dang natural that I reasoned it away... a while back, I posted on fructose and how you'll need more and more to hit that rush... well, yeah.  I went from one small glass with tequila, triple sec and simply limeade to large 20 ounce cups with just the lemonade and fruit mixtures.  To get off of this, I pulled out the crystal light.  BIG mistake!!!  Made my body crave sugar even more.  Out came the peppermint patties, the Hawaiian macadamia nut chocolates, etc.  Bad, bad Debi.   
2.  Fitness!!! 

Up your fitness level, but not by overdoing the aerobic exercise!  Right now, I run 3 times a week (it's a "military have to"), but never go beyond 3 miles and mainly stick around 2 to 2.5.  Also, 6 days a week, I do tabata style exercise.  This is intense weight lifting, no weights and just body
weight exercises, and sprinting.  I only do this for 22 minutes with my Burst Fit workout videos (by Dr. Josh Axe, you can access his site by clicking on his name).  I'm not good at just exercising, so these videos give me a great 22 minute workout and I can make them as intense or as modified as I need.  Yes, some people have mentioned that perhaps my weight gain is due to starting the Burst Fit back in Feb 2014 (it does coincide with my weight gaining), but I reject that notion... based solely on what has been going between these two lips and into my body.  Yes, exercise makes a body hungrier.  Yes, I ate more.  We (Paleo types) tend to say calories don't matter, but if they're sugary, grainy calories, they DO.    

3.  Sleep.  

No problems here.  I even downloaded an app:  24/7 that records sleep (I found out I'm not a regular snorer!!  YAY!) and tells you if you're sleeping deeply or lightly by how much you move in your sleep (yes, you have to sleep with your iPhone in your bed).  So, 7 to 8 hours a night when working and 8 to 9 hours a night when not.  I'd say, I have this one in the bag!!  

So, there you have it.  I've been eating too many pre-packaged "Gluten-free" goodies that include grains (they almost all are made from rice flours) and sugars.  I've indulged WAY to much on candy in the past few weeks (daggone Hawaiian chocolates!!!) and eaten more calories, that contain these two bad boys (sugar and "gluten-free" grains).  Needless to say, today being a Monday, I'm back "on plan" and will, most likely, hit that silly carb wall in about 2-4 days. No sugar and no grains (corn and rice, mainly) for the next month or so to get these 15 lbs OFF!!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Some DIY!

We had our first house guest (outside of my oldest son and his friends visiting) for the first time in over 4 years!!  It made me realize how little we've done around the house to actually spiff it up and begin updating it ("Its SO dated!").  We've done some things such as:

1.  Installing two Big Ass Fans (seriously, that's the company's name!!) in the main room:
"Before" look over to the main room
"During" to show one with the light on it
2.  Installing an access door/ladder and attic in our garage (sorry, no pictures!).
3.  mounting the TV on the wall and hubby putting the cable access into the wall to get rid of all those lovely wires from hanging down!
4.  Fixing various things around the house that were broken... such as the microwave door, the fridge ice maker and dispenser and fridge lights (we thought they were just lay and hadn't replaced the lights inside the fridge, but there was some kind of circuit issue in the electric board inside it... thank goodness hubby is an engineer!!), new kitchen faucet and put old one in the laundry room sink, etc.
5.  Hubby removed some bushes from out front and planted grass.
6.  etc.

However wonderful and necessary those changes are... nothing updated the house.  So... I started with the guest bathroom.
Befores and Afters

Right after we got the keys to the house and hadn't moved in stuff.
See where the towel bars are located?  WHO puts them THAT low??  Seriously??  

I always "cut in" first

ALWAYS take off the plates!!!  See how the builder painted with them on and left a huge indent? Stupid.

Done painting the sink room...

Cutting in the tub/toilet room

Quite a difference between the dried paint and newly painted whole wall!
Don't worry, that dries well and matched up. 

Changed to teal colored towel and son moved up the towel bars.

New shower curtain... WalMart!! 

In the long run, plans include removing the mirrors and replacing with two over the sink ones, removing medicine cabinets, painting the cabinet white and putting wainscotting up to the level of the medicine cabinet and on the wall behind the doors.  
 Welcome to the world of DIY, BabyPT!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Couch to 5K and rehab

Gosh... it's been, well, a loooooong time since I blogged!  Why?  Life got in the way.  I would start to blog, then get busy doing something like move into a new house or go to Utah on reserves or show a Japanese friend's daughter all around Hawaii.

Last time I wrote, I wrote about hip pain.  Well, I took 2 months off and got "activated" with the reserves to go to Utah.  Worked SO hard there that the time is almost a blur.  Well, I got back to running when I returned to Oahu right before Christmas (yeah, started the following week... kinda like a "New Year's resolution".  I started back on the Couch to 5K program again.  I may have blogged about it before, but here we go again!!

Couch to 5K Running Program:

The Couch to 5K program is a registered trademarked running training plan... but, before it became trademarked, there were a few other groups putting out free apps out there.  Now, it seems, everyone has their own version and you pay for them.  You can try some for free, but to finish the plan, you'd have to pay.  So, for the "original"... go here: for their plan (its $1.99).  Now, the nice thing about this website is that you can print the plan for free on their site and make the intervals work for you.

WeekWorkout 1Workout 2Workout 3
1Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
2Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
3Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
4Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
5Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
6Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.
7Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
8Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
9Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

The hard thing is... I don't want to look at a timer to see how long to run (well, that does work well on a treadmill!!).  So... I did buy one of those "other" plans when it was still called C25K.  The plan I've used now for almost 3 years is "Ease into 5K" by Blue Fin apps (this one is $2.99).

Now, I'm not telling you what plan to use... they are ALL modeled after the same interval-based running program to get you off the couch and running!  I have seen some of my friends, who were self-proclaimed couch potatoes, get up and run and be SO proud of themselves for running greater than 60 seconds at a time... then to see them run a 5K?  Priceless!!  (not to mention ME running!!!  I've always "hated" running as it was just too hard and "everything hurt")  Most of the free apps are the main app allowing you to try out the first 4 weeks.  I did find some other free apps, but cannot speak of how good they are.  I did download some and found they appear to have all the intervals and weeks, plus the GPS and music sync.  Investigate for yourself!!  Like I said, mine was free when I first got it.  Would I buy it for $2.99 now?  Probably not as the other ones seems so similar.  But, I'm used to it now...

What I like about the interval way to getting off the couch and running is that someone else is telling me (through my earpieces) when to run and when to walk and when I'm 1/2 way done or when my last run is coming up.  I LOVE to listen to music when I'm working out as it really makes me think of the songs instead of how my body is feeling.  Believe me, at 47 years, your body YELLS at you to stop at times!!
So... here's how I use the training plan for my patients.  In the military, most people are now runners (due to the annual or biannual fitness testing requiring running) and are in a hurry to get back to running after hurting themselves.  The kicker is that mostly, they've hurt themselves... running.  (Or doing crossfit type workouts improperly.  But, that's another story.)  So, most of the injuries are "runner's knee", ITBand friction syndromes at the knee and hip, ankle pain, shin splints, and back pain.


There are typically two to three things that cause a person who supposedly runs all the time to become injured:

1.  not warming up.
2.  running improperly.
3.  too much/too soon/too fast

1.  WARM UP!!!

Most people I see going out for a run (yes, I watch every one, all the time!!  I am a people watcher and habitually look for gait deviations and such... sheesh... I'm a physical therapist!  Its in my blood!!) do a few stretches then simply... run.  Now, we have all taken an aerobic class or two in our lives and they ALWAYS warm up.  Perhaps it's a slower paced dance move for a few minutes or some other activity to get your heart started pumping... but they warm up.

There is a LOT of research out there as to how a person should warm up, should warming up include stretching or not, and why we should warm up.  There are also some great videos that'll take you through a 5 minute standing hip/lower extremity warm up prior to running.  There were so many on YouTube that I got off-blog for a LONG time just now!!

What I tell my patients?  Warm up through some kind of movement which gets your heart pumping a little bit faster than "normal" walking.  So, for a runner, it would be a faster walk than their normal walking pace.  So, I ask my patients to build in a 5 minute warm-up walk and a 5 minute cool-down walk after their runs.  Stretching??  When to stretch?  My response is typically when YOU want to stretch... after the warm up walk or after the cool down walk?  Its up to you.  The research is all over the place, but does tend to point to stretching at some time (leaning toward "dynamic" stretching prior to running, but longer static stretches afterwards), period.

2.  Run in proper alignment!!

Heel strike is the MAJOR cause of shin splints and joint pains, in my opinions.  Somehow, when we're younger, around middle school age or high school aged, we change the way we run to include a heel strike.

There are a LOT of hits when you Google:  Proper Running Form.  I'm a visual person and need things explained in a way this kinesiologist understands... not in words, either.  So, I tend to skip all those great sites (and there are amazing ones out there!!) and go straight to YouTube and look up "Chi Running"... it'll get you a great PowerPoint-looking video that's white background and a stick figure with ovals on him as one of the first hits.  In my opinion, that's the best video.  Take the time to watch it... it's less than 10 minutes and explains how to run in a way that's taken most of my patients from painful running (regardless of where the pain is) and into painfree or tolerable (at the worst) running.

My second favorite video is by Danny Dreyer, "inventor" of Chi Running, himself describing why and how to do Chi Running:
Alignment people... alignment and the forces that act on your body.  To get it right, I've put patients on the treadmill, jacked up the incline and put the tread speed slower than their typical speed... then have them lean forwards (hold on!) and PUSH the tread as they run.  They'll get used to pushing the tread more with the balls of their foot and the feeling of pulling the ground with their feet instead of stopping the forward progression of their body with a heel strike.  It's a great exercise for a little while, but will burn out your treadmill motor if you did this all the time.  Yes, there are some non-powered treadmills out there on which you can work at your body's pace (more like running outside anyways), but I have no idea how to buy and which ones are the best to buy.  I would recommend running on an indoor track, if weather isn't cooperating, or outside.

3.  Begin running or going back to running SLOWLY and smartly.

So many of my patients fit into one of two categories:
1)  "I'm not a runner and NEVER have been a runner, but now I 'have' to run 'cause the Air Force says I have to!!"
2)  I was injured while running (or had a surgery) and was told by my doc it was "OK" to go back to running.

#1.  These folk dislike running so much that they've never taken the time to learn how to warm up/cool down, do proper stretching, wear best running shoes for their feet, run in proper alignment and how to go from a couch potato to becoming a runner.  These folk mainly need to be shown the Couch to 5K program, Chi Running video, given some stretches and exercises for their specific body type and diet/nutritional counselling as they usually have a little excess weight to manage and think running alone will solve their weight problem.  Typically, they have a mental block on running... so, if I can make it easier for them to get out there through education and weight loss, they tend to lose that mental block (hey, I'm one with this group!!!  I always thought I "hated" running, too!!)

#2.  These folk think that because they were distance runners before their injury or surgery/procedure, they can just get back out there and pick up from where they stopped... or just go out and run until something hurts or they're too tired to keep going.  WRONG.  Everyone should give their body a chance to readjust back to running... even if they've been on a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike!!

These prior runners also benefit from a return to run program, such as the C25K.  Yep.  I'm hooked on that one.  Why?  Because you can start it at any level of fitness.  Typically, I'll have a prior runner start farther in on the program, such as week 3 or 4.  This allows them to get their pace back and figure out their new alignment, smooth over issues with muscle weakness or tightness, and get back to running smartly.

Needless to say, I've done this with myself, too.  I'm the kind of PT that won't do something with her patients unless she's tried it out on herself first.  I need to experience the treatment/program in order to truly understand how to use it and with whom to use it.  Make sense?  GREAT!!

Now that the hip is feeling better, I've started taping it and got back to running.  After a 2-month hiatus and an injury... you bet I went back to week 1 day 1 of the C25K!  Yep... first week felt as though I was being a wimp, and that I could run farther or for longer times, but it was the SMART way to get back.  It allowed me to focus on my hip level (don't let one hip drop down when weight bearing anymore - that's part of what caused the injury... gluteus medius weakness and a pull to the TFL), my pace and cadence, and whether anything was hurting or feeling OK.

Now, let's try some running!!

Questions??  I'd love to answer!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Running and hip pain

Running and Hip pain

(PLEASE use the links throughout this blog!!)

I hate to run... always have, probably always will.  What I like is how it makes me feel AFTER I'm done.  Like I've actually accomplished something fantastic... something the fat Debi was unable to do...  even all the way back in high school, when I was was skinny and malnourished at only 90 lbs, I still hated running!!  Since it was always so difficult for me, I just hated it.  
Ease into 5K app

However, once I lost my weight late 2011... I wanted to try running since the AF fitness test demands it.  So, I came across a program called Couch to 5K (C25K) and downloaded an app that would allow me to play music while a disembodied voice called out to me when to walk and when to run.  The PT in me LOVES the intervals it uses in order to get someone like me used to running.  ALL workouts are 30-40 minutes long.  I liked that as it could definitely fit into my day.  I also liked that as soon as I felt like I was out of breath and could not possibly run another step, it dinged and I'd be told to walk.... a little bit later, as I was recovering from the run, a voice would tell me to run again.  Slowly, over 9 weeks, it gets you prepared to run a full 5K... still with a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down sandwiched around the running.  The PT in me liked that even more!  

When I started the program in 2011, I did so on the treadmill.  It was running, but it is NOT the same as running outside or on a non-moving surface.  Though I knew that, it was wintertime and I needed the comfort of working out inside my house.  Treadmill it was.  However, as I hit the 9th week and ran... for the first time in my life, a distance of 5K (3.1 miles), I noticed left iliac crest pain.  Not really hip pain, as it was higher than my hip, but wasn't my side.  I looked it up and realized it was a strain of the muscles of the hip that attach on the iliac crest and of the side of the trunk that help lift the hip and also attach at the same spot.  It got so painful that I had to stop my running and walking workouts all together.  Definitely soft tissue as I could replicate the pain.  (more on that later)
Random photo showing results paying off on the running!

Well, I've run on and off since then, but never got to the point of running greater than 10 minutes at a time until we moved away from Japan to Hawaii.  I started it (the couch to 5K program) all over again, determined to be able to do my physical fitness test doing the run portion.  I mean, shoot... I'm in Hawaii now... beautiful weather 365 days a year.  OK.  GPS was working on the non-usable Japanese iPhone... all my music on there... good to go.  So, I went... outside and started running from week 1 again.  I even continued when I went back to the mainland USA for my reserve 2 weeks this summer and visited family.  Everyone was impressed and I was feeling invincible !  I even looked forward to my time alone... I was actually beginning to ... *gasp* ... enjoy running!!  

I took my time through the 9 week program as I really wanted to run faster for my fitness test... so, instead of doing more time, I did more intervals and then hung out at the 6th and 7th weeks that would get me to my goal of under 12 min/miles to do even better time for my run.  Well... two weeks ago, I was running and noticed pain in my left hip.  NOT the same as the previous left hip/iliac crest pain.  This was in the groin.  That's not usually a good thing.  I iced and rested for 4 days, then ran again.  No pain... even added a little time and felt great.  The next day?  PAIN.  again.  Farther on in the run, but worse.  This time, no relief in 2 days, so I tried some stretches in standing that my husband showed me (they were interesting stretches... I figured I'd try them even though our bodies are incredibly different and he's no PT)... since they were in standing, they were weight bearing.  

Its the runner's stretch we've all seen with crossing the legs at the ankles, knees locked and leaning to the side.  OH MY HOLY LORD!!!  The pain caused me to fall to the floor and cry.  Seriously.  Not.   Kidding.  Problem was, the pain was not on the side of my leg (that's an ITB/TFL stretch for the lateral leg/hip), but in the groin extending almost to the iliac crest.  DEEP, searing pain... ice... ice... heat... ice... heat... ice... hot bath... ice for the rest of the day.  

Needless to say, since it's been 5 days now and I'm just now walking with a minor limp, I'm not running anytime soon.  So... let's look at the ITB or the Iliotibial Band.  It's one of the most frequent causes of hip and knee pain in runners.  Why?  It's stressed something huge with running and needs to be stretched.  Why in me?  Well, I have a shorter right leg, putting the ITB on stretch on that side.  My pain most likely comes from a slack ITB and overworked Tensor Fascia Lata (a small muscle in front of the ITB).  So.  What does one do for an ITB that's NOT tight?  

Well, you don't stretch it... you have to tighten it.  See where the TFL is?  It's very intimately positioned with the ITB.  Therefore, strengthen the TFL, and the ITB should tighten up a little.  ALSO... look on the opposite side and see what's tight.  Yep, you got it.  My right ITB is very tight.  

Nope... not me, got it from Runnersworld.

My favorite stretch is for the Vastus Lateralis (lateral quadriceps muscle) and the ITB... I call it the pretzel stretch.  Obviously, I did not come up with this one myself.  However, my right ITB has been tight since I had a soft tissue surgery at 18 yrs of age... it created a band of scar tissue along the lateral side of my patella (knee cap).  So... for YEARS I did other stretches, but finally figured this one out and NEVER do any others for my right side as this one takes the cake.  Absolutely works the BEST for my leg.  

I really like this next graphic as it shows how to get yourself into the pretzel position... it's extremely important to pull the leg back BEFORE adducting (pulling your knee toward the other knee) as it allows the ITB to stay overtop of the greater trochanter on the femur (the graphic 2 above has a RED spot over the greater trochanter as this is the area that hurts when the ITB rubs over it in most people... if you don't extend the hip before adducting, the ITB stays in front of this spot and doesn't get a good enough stretch!).  

From Laurel Chiropractic 

The next thing is to strengthen weak TFL AND the gluteus medius.  The Glut Med is a SERIOUSLY important muscle... it stabilizes your pelvis when you are weight bearing on that leg.  So... each time your foot hits the ground and you take your other foot off the ground, it's responsible for keeping your bootie from dipping down and staying in midrange... No, you don't want to shake your booty while running!!  Ha ha!  The graphic on the right is to strengthen the abductors of the hip.  Note that in two of them, your foot is pointed straight ahead... the last one, the leg is slightly rotated outward and you're moving diagonally backwards.  This one gets the glut med the best.  You can do this in lying on your side, standing and with lunges.  Since I cannot seem to exercise bearing weight right now, it's lying down for me!!  

Are there other things that can cause hip pain from running?  Yes!!  I've just pointed out the most common ailment.  There's also femoral neck stress fractures (very uncommon), psoas tightness, adductor tightness, and a few other muscular issues.  Yes, you can get bursitis in the hip, though that tends to be rarer in runners (in my clinical experience) and more in the middle aged, semi to very sedentary person.  Can a tight ITB cause bursitis... absolutely!  Deal with the ITB before it causes the bursa (a pillow-like structure that keeps the ITB from rubbing against the boney prominence of the greater trochanter) to inflame.  

One quick word on inflammation versus mechanical pain.  Inflammation hurts when you are just sitting there... it can be caused by a mechanical issue (such as a tight ITB).  However, if you're not inflamed (which is a chemical process), you don't really need to worry about anti-inflammatories like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), or naprosyn (Aleve) or use ice.  How do you know you don't have an inflammatory process going on?  The pain goes away when you stop using it.  Like me, the pain goes away after I sit down and take the weight off my leg.  Thus the reason I'll heat it, too!!  

I hope I've enlightened you a touch about hip pain and possible cause from running.