Another 6k, 2 days after squash training featuring my cool face! ;)

Another 6k, 2 days after squash training featuring my cool face! ;)

Last time I did a run after squash training my legs felt very tired, but today, even though its only been 2 days since my solo training I managed a 6k without problems.

I’m still a lot slower than before the injuries but my step feels a lot stronger and there’s no pain!

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War face!!! AAARRRGGHHHH! 🙂

 

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Squash Solo Training

Squash Solo Training

Had a fantastic time doing solo training on the squash court this last Saturday. Lately I find myself more and more often at the court, which unfortunately keeps me off the road since I need to also get some rest time in for my knees. But it’s just so much fun, and oddly satisfying and addictive, to get to smash that ball.

Here’s what an hour of training did for me according to Suunto:

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Hopefully this will also help improve my game to the point where I can beat P a little more often. 🙂

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Building the legs with a paddle shaped racquet

My friend P started playing Squash.

Of all sports…

Was my first reaction.

Then he kept asking me to join him, which had me even more perplexed.

Me? In a squash court? LOL…

But since P is really good at getting his way, after turning him down a couple of times I found myself standing in the court holding a borrowed racquet.

P gave me a crash course and we played through a string of games which mostly consisted of P serving and me running all over the place trying to catch the ball. I was afraid at first that it would be bad for my knee which was still giving me pain at the time, but after a rather intense hour I felt no pain or discomfort at all.

Until the day after when the muscles in my butt hurt like crazy. In the good way!

Turns out that the explosive start / stop movements of squash are really good for exercising your glutes and building strength in the upper legs. And to top it all, it was crazy fun.

Since then we’ve been playing almost every week (5 times now) and I’ve even managed to bet him in a set or two.

I really hope we (I?) can continue this as a complement to the running. What are your complements? Do you regularly practice any other sports besides running to help you build strength?

How a new pair of shoes fixed my IT band issues and got me back on the road!

Personally I find the following a bit hard to believe, but since it’s my own experience I’m talking about I vouch for it to be 100% correct in terms of my own recollection and situation.

Last year near the end of November I was pushing myself pretty hard in terms of distance and speed. I was on a mission, since I had set out to clear the half marathon click count before the end of the year, and was doing about 13-15 kilometres at most at the time.

It was a Sunday, which meant my slow and long run across the nearby island in the Stockholm archipelago. I had just passed the 11k mark when I noticed my body suddenly changing my stride and step on its own. I had felt a bit of fatigue just before, but suddenly it was as if my legs found a new ‘angle’ and it was like flying forward again.

That is, until about a kilometer later when a sudden sharp pain in my right knee ground me to a halt.

I tried walking for a bit and then running again, and somehow I cleared 15k that day. Truth be told though, rather than my usual gazelle-like self (right?), the last 3k were more like a slow Limp of Fail.

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The 15k that broke me… You can clearly see where the pain started around 1h10m…

The following days my right knee hurt so bad that I could hardly walk, until I managed to get a time with a physician who via massages and some kind of muscle curing apparatus that involved lasers got me back limping again.

Running, for the time being, was off the table.

So, how did I end up there and what did I do about it?

First we need to back up about 6 months to the beginning of last summer. I was headed to Japan with the rest of the family to spend some time with relatives and work out of the Tokyo office for a while. As part of the trip I had packed my old running shoes since I had decided to give the road another chance after a very long (years…) hiatus.

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First ever 10k race!

As I went for the first few runs I remembered how much I used to love running, and decided to make it a regular part of my routines again. One thing lead to another and though I was trying to hold back and not stress my untrained body, before long I was pushing both distance and pace northwards.

Things were going really well, and around late September I felt like I had reached a plateau at around 20 (5+5+10) kilometers per week, which seemed both healthy and sustainable.

Until I got the bad idea of gunning for the 21k mark before the end of the year.

In hindsight it is clear I pushed myself to hard. Most likely I fell victim to the effect of my cardio developing faster than my muscles, which in turn had me thinking I could add ‘just a few k’s’ on every run.

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Average HR decreasing, distance increasing. Cardio tricking you into thinking you’re stronger than you really are…
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Increasing both speed and duration faster than the body can keep up…

After the ‘crash’ I went to a physician a couple of times, and tried to rest and do some rehab exercises, but no matter what I tried I could never run more than 2 kilometers before the pain would overtake me.

I did a ton of research on the net, trying to figure out if it was Runner’s knee, IT Band Syndrome, or some other more esoteric injury. Unfortunately all the results told me was that it would take several months, if not years to get back on the road…

I had all but given up until one day in early March when I decided to go to the nearest running store and simply beg for help.

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The store I went to in Stockholm. Highly recommend it!

I took a couple of hours off from work and went down to a local store, well known for taking the customers seriously. There I simply grabbed the first person I saw and told her ‘I will do anything to run again, so please help me!’. She laughed but then introduced me to the store owner, who kindly listened to my story and then exclaimed ‘You don’t have to tell me any more. You have been running in the wrong shoes all this time. Let me show you.’

With that he put me on the treadmill in a pair of expensive Asics, asked me to run for a minute and then showed me the video. He pointed out exactly where my step was bad and how the shoe did nothing to help. In fact it rather made it worse.

He then gave me a pair of New Balance Vongo and said to repeat the exercise. And lo and behold, the weird angles in my knee and step were gone.

Apparently I have a small pronation problem which is exaggerated by weak leg muscles. The Vongo shoe helps correct this and also ‘forces’ my step to fall in a way which helps build up muscles over time (instead of destroying my knees).

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The Vongos! (Worst name for a shoe ever…)

There is one caveat though. To quote the doctors (and the store owner): Running does not build leg muscles. So for this to work out I also need to properly exercise my legs and build strength. Once I have the muscled properly built up I will also be able to run in my old shoes again.

With the new Vongos I noticed the difference on my first run. I had not been able to go for more than 2k since November until the knee pain set in and stopped me short, but suddenly I could run 3k without any pain.

Since then I’ve done several 5k runs, and yesterday went all the way to 6k without any problems.

Hard to tell if its all thanks to the shoes, but since nothing else has changed I’m inclined to give them the credit.

If you are experiencing diffuse pain around the knee, consider taking a long hard look at your step and your shoes, perhaps the key to solving your issue lies there…

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Miraculous 6k after over 4 months of pain…

A Perfect Detour

A Perfect Detour

26.3.2017 – 0:21 h 3.73 km, Running

There is a beautiful walking / running path along the shore line next to the hall where L has her tennis lessons. I’ve thought about running there many times but never gotten around to it, until yesterday when the weather was amazing and I just couldn’t stop myself.

The path was a bit crowded but there were lots of other runners out so I didn’t feel like I was taking up too much space.

From now on, as long as the weather holds up I’ll try to make this a weekly run.

4k of Vogon Poetry

4k of Vogon Poetry

Looks like it’s holding up, at least so far!

Another record, albeit a small one, with 4.12k without pain.

I tried very hard to not go extreme on the forefoot strike, since I’ve noticed that it really taxes the calves.

I also noticed even more clearly than on the previous two runs how much the Vongo shoes are guiding my strike, even from the very first contact.

Just wish they would rename them since they sound like something from out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…

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On a different note, today was the date of the Stockholm City Tunnel Run race (8k). I had planned to attend but since my knee is still not 100% i decided to stay home and do some basic muscle exercises instead.

There’ll be other chances.

Beware the generics / biosimilars!

S has been using Enbrel for the past 4.5 years.

It started with a hospitalization while we were living in San Francisco. A flare up of her sickness that led to horrible head aches, high fever, joint pains and other symptoms.

These flare ups are not uncommon for her, but due to the nature of her auto-inflammatory sickness they can be (often are) associated with an internal inflammation happening somewhere in the body. Thus it’s very important to get medical attention as soon as a certain line is crossed to make sure that a potential serious inflammation does not lead to further complications.

(In the past she has had episodes of ulcers, acute uveitis and other symptoms that can lead to permanent damage if untreated.)

During the hospitalization, after seeing how simpler anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs and prednisone was unable to control the flare, the doctors suggested we try Enbrel, and it has been very effective in keeping the flares at bay.

S still gets symptoms and smaller flares from time to time, but they are shorter and lighter than before the Enbrel.

After moving to Sweden she was able to continue her Enbrel medication, but late last year due to a cost control program in Sweden we were asked to trial a generic alternative called Benepali (made by Samsung…).

Generics for biological drugs like Enbrel work different from other generics. They are actually called Biosimilars because replicating the exact medicine is impossible due to the manufacturing process. Instead a ‘biosimilar’ is judged based on its effect, and how close it is to the original medicine.

Unfortunately the Benepali did not work at all the same for S’s sickness and she had a serious flare up as a result. The doctors put her back on Enbrel right away, but she is still (after 4 months) feeling the effects of the lapse with constant pain, fatigue and frequent fever episodes.

My belief is that the effects of the Benepali will wear off and Enbrel will again be able to provide a certain level of relief, but it will likely take a while before S is back on her feet again.

I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that you really need to be careful when switching from a brand name medication to a generic version, and especially with Biosimilars…

Today’s Run:
Another record after the horrible knee pain. 4k without noticeable problems. Forefoot strike is getting stronger but it sure is more painful and taxing than the regular heel strike…

Source: nds_runners 0:26 h Löpning Move