Oh Hi There, Incredible Running Path Near My New California Home!

My first run on the Los Gatos Creek Trail in sunny California! It was too warm for this vest, but I need the extra pockets. in the vest, so I
My first run on the Los Gatos Creek Trail in sunny California! It was too warm for this vest, but I needed the extra pockets.

The best thing about moving to California so far has been the discovery of the most amazing running path half a mile from my apartment. I can drop into the Los Gatos Creek Trail near its 7 mile point (it’s 10 miles end to end) and then connect to a couple of others, creating a long out-and-back route that I can’t wait to tackle!

Yesterday I went for my very first run on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. It wasn’t exactly pretty (I’m talking about the way my body felt—darn butt acted up thirty minutes in; the appearance of the path itself was quite lovely), but there is so much potential here I practically cart wheeled back to my place. I’m really looking forward to getting stronger, building up the miles, and gaining speed on this trail!

California, you and I are going to be great friends!

Have you discovered any new paths lately? What’s your favorite running route?

The Diagnosis: Strained Gluteus Medius (a.k.a. A Pain In The Butt)

8 miles at warp speed on the Alter G—engage!

The fix: Cancelling my marathon plans and diving head first into rehab. (Cue: Amy Whinehouse, “They tried to make me go to rehab.”)

I mentioned last week that my marathon training wasn’t going well. I’d been plagued with pain, and I was debating whether to push through and run the marathon anyway. To help me make the best possible choice for my body and future running, I made an appointment with physical therapist extraordinaire Michael Conlon at Finish Line PT. I picked him for three reasons: 1. He and Michael K. Farrell are buddies. 2. He takes my insurance. 3. He has the most adorable golden retriever, Miles, who sometimes hangs out in the office. (I’m a sucker for a cute pup!)

After a thorough evaluation that involved me standing on one leg and leaning awkwardly in several precarious directions, doing moves reminiscent of a hula dancer, and getting a torturous psoas massage, Michael diagnosed the problem: left gluteus medius strain. (I would like to formally apologize to my hip. I’ve been complaining about the poor thing for weeks, when it was a broke-down butt muscle causing the problem the entire time.)

I didn’t decide to cancel my marathon plans right away. Nope, instead I attempted to run a half marathon four days after being diagnosed. I dropped out when the pain set in at mile three—my first, and hopefully last, DNF…did not finish. I cried the whole walk home and I didn’t even feel better when a plate of banana and Nutella crepes showed up in front of me.

My legs are in outer space and my head is in Shasta County, California—I’m watching game wardens bust poachers on NatGeo’s Wild Justice.

I’ll be spending time with Michael at Finish Line PT for the next 4 to 6 weeks. I’m pretty bummed about not running the NYC marathon in November, but the gadgets in this high-tech treatment center should keep me distracted. And I still get to run—at 75 percent body weight on an Alter G treadmill! It’s not Central Park, but at least I don’t have to completely cut running out of my life.

Have you ever run on an Alter G treadmill? What’s your “pain in the butt” running story?

My Hamstrings Love The Himalayas

I’m spending a day in Namche Bazaar at 3440 meters to acclimatise to the altitude–and I need it. It’s hard to take a full breath here, but in a matter of hours it will be easier. It’s amazing how adaptable the human body is. Soon I’ll be able to process oxygen more efficiently, allowing me to climb even higher.

I can’t wait to see how this affects my running when I’m back in NYC. Like pro distance runners who sleep in hyperbaric chambers, I’ll be able to go faster for longer. And thanks to all these intense ascents I’m getting constant strength training–my hamstrings, quads, and glutes are firing like mad.

Running here is hilarious. My Nepali guide Subarna didn’t want us over exerting ourselves today, but I raced the assistant guide Pimba 100 meters along the Namche airstrip (7-seater planes can land here) anyway. I beat him in my hiking boots and all! I was laughing so hard though because it’s difficult to get any speed and I had to concentrate to keep my breathing steady. My travel mates thought we were nuts, but cheered us on regardless.

I’m lucky to have such a fantastic group of trekking companions. We’re a motley crew of Australians, Irish, Brits, Japanese, and Americans with lots of stories and laughs to share. They make the 6+ hour hikes feel like a walk in the park. We’re polite, happy, and get along now, but there is the potential for us to go “Real World” on each other as the pressures of the climb increase.

Five more days (and 1924 meters up) to Everest Base Camp!

 

My Hips Are Working Harder Than My Backside

Grete’s Great Gallop, Here I Come!

My left hip flexor is angry today and I’m not sure if it’s from the Cat Hill repeats I did last night or walking around my neighborhood in hiking boots (those suckers are heavy!). Either way, I know from experience that this is a sign of a weak butt and lazy hamstring muscles.

I’ll admit it—I’ve been slacking off on the strength work. I used to squeeze in a few moves post-run, but there’s been a severe lack of lunges and squats in my life lately. When your glutes and hamstrings fail to engage while you’re running, your quads end up doing all the work and in turn start to rely on your hip flexors for help, causing them to strain. The last time I let strength work slide, my hip flexor became inflamed and impinged, and I was sidelined for over a month.

Hopefully, I can get through tomorrow’s half marathon without my hip flexor throwing any tantrums. Post race I’m getting off my butt and getting it (and my hamstrings) back in shape with a squat-heavy regimen and some moves from FitSugar.

How strong is your butt? Do you incorporate strength moves into your weekly workout routine?