Doing It My Way

And so the story goes…

The past 8 weeks or so I’ve been dealing with constant hip pain.

NOT really pain, more of a persistent ache in the outer hip area.

It’s a maddening…suck the life out of you kind of discomfort. I could train, but it was always there….knawing at me….every single day!

The proverbial straw that broke my back was what I THOUGHT was a pulled back muscle from breaking form during a plank….

NOPE….

Glute medius spasm….OUGH!

Guess what all this nonsense FINALLY all came back to…..

THE BIKE….

Rewind way back to the end of March when the lateral part of my knee became all jacked before my 70.3 and I couldn’t walk 10 feet without feeling like someone was driving an ice pick into my femoral condyle.

DX I: ITBS

CAUSE: if y’all remember I kept telling every doctor and therapist that would listen that is WAS NOT the running that was doing this, it was something with the bike, but I felt the symptoms while I was running so I was treated like I had a running injury! If you think finding someone to treat you as a runner is difficult, try finding someone with ANY experience treating a cyclist….and if you happen to cycle and run great distances, back to back….pfft…forget it!

Take-away: Problem was never resolved despite symptoms easing.

I don’t know if I’m more frustrated with myself or those that I depended on for help.

I KNEW deep down to my core that my bike set up was the problem, but I let everyone else convince me otherwise and so I got progressively worse all summer.

Until that fateful plank….

REALLY, enough was enough….

I gathered my logs and went for a proper diagnosis with the intention of figuring the “WHY” myself.

None of this garbage about “too much too soon” , “weak this or that”, or the “you do too much”.

DX/Cause II : trochanter bursitis caused by longstanding ITBS (NICE!) and gluetal tendonosis (excessive wear and tear/inflammation) …..

The end result was a bike seat that was too high….

Gee, sound familiar???

And NOT just a little too high either…

Almost an ENTIRE  inch, but it is being decreased gradually.

For me, raising my seat forced my glute medius to be overworked.  It also altered with my foot position b/c I naturally peddle heel down/flat-footed and the increased seat ht. forced me into a heel up/toe down sorta way….I kept asking people around town how they peddled because I couldn’t get off my toes and I felt like I had NO power…

I also made the decision to ride like I ride. I’m faster and more comfortable in harder gears with a lower cadence (78-82RPMs). I can ride like that forever and all spring and summer I’ve tried to adapt to easier gears and higher RPMs….

Isn’t gonna happen. I’ll probably always ride between 18-22mph, just like I’ll probably always run b/w an 8-10 min/mi.

And I’m good with that.

Then there’s the “weak glute” theory that is apparently an epidemic here in the running, cycling, and I guess recreational sporting world in general.

Like a good little athlete I was hip hiking, leg lifting, and band walking only to make things worse….

Tightening/strengthening an already tight muscle is a true recipe for disaster….

So I don’t really KNOW if my glutes are all that weak or if this is another urban legend like foam rolling to lengthen the ITB…

I do know they are quite tight….

So for right now, at least….I can say I have a tight ass.

Who knew the day would come when I would be actively trying to rid myself of such a thing…

For now its all about loosening…rolling….some pressure point work on the softball and good ole ice…on the hip/glute musculature (not the ITB….urban legend stuff 😉 )

And a return to the gym for a well-rounded strength program.

Late last week, I took 2 easy rides. The first was 25 miles, averaging about 17mph and the 2nd was a few days later. I tried to work a little harder on that 2nd one, but not too hard and so I rode almost 30miles at about 20mph. A lot of stretching and icing followed both and I’m happy to say I finally feel like I’m making some progress. I had a really good swim this morning and each day things are feeling looser than they’ve been in a long time.

Bursitis and tendonosis are not all that uncommon and actually respond well if the right things are done.

I tried to tell em”…

From here on out, I’m borrowing the mantra of Frank Sinatra…

I’m just going to do it my way!

So that’s what’s been going on with me….

How’ve y’all been??

Ride Happy, My Friends!

12 thoughts on “Doing It My Way

  1. I found a doc who’s a triathlete… and he’s moving to CA… I too have tendenosis but from shoulder to heel on my left side. My GP was starting to think I had an auto-immune thing and while that is still within the realm of possibility, it’s mostly just bad form and over-training– according to the doc I just saw 2 weeks ago who does ironman events and is moving at the end of OCTOBER!!! The fates are against me!

    • Jacqui….THAT is exactly why I went in NOT wanting a bunch of “possibilities”. I knew I sounded like I had an autoimmune thing or fibromyalgia…But I had taken copius notes and KNEW when it flared, resolved…triggers…I’m so sad for you that your resource is leaving, but maybe he can give you someone to see in his place…..MAYBE????

  2. Good thing you found out what was wrong and the cause. An inch is really high.

    Don’t worry about your cadence. It is fine. Triathletes often have lower cadences than über bikers and yours isn’t too low. As long as you can run strong afterward, all is good.

    • Well you really are the 2nd-3rd person that has agreed with my rationalization to just throw caution to the wind and do what works….I see some people spinning like fools and quite frankly my inguinal tendons would develop tendonitis if I tried to maintain that kind of cadence!
      My running of the bike really has nothing to do with my gearing or cadence choice…it’s all about wattage/RPE/HR. Probably MORE about RPE/HR than anything….I know if I work within certain parameters I’ll be fine….
      And honestly, the climate (heat/humidity) tends to be the true factor. I end up walking no matter WHAT I do on the bike!!…..I’ve given up those mid-summer sprints!! 🙂

      • One reason why I believe wattage is a better governor than RPE has to do with the taper. When you taper for the “big day,” you’ll probably feel better than you have in months. This leads to going too hard based on RPE (often fatal for runs).

        Also, HR can break down based on hydration. Dehydration will lead to higher HR. I use HR vs power vs RPE to help dial that in.

        Yes, I am a power bigot.

  3. Oh goodness, so sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with this!! One question re: glutes… are your hip flexors and quads tight? I’ve been dealing with a tight hamstring, and finally realized that they’re tight because my hip flexors in front are tight… so hamstrings are trying to pull the leg back into neutral position. So stretching hip flexors/quads and strengthening glutes/hams have really helped. Not sure if that same dynamic would affect glutes but thought I’d mention it? Hope you recover quickly!!

    • Oh yea….everything was tight and causing a horrific pelvic tilt. You know its bad when you can feel the front of your pelvis dip…..the hips were a biggie; all 3 angles …my hamstrings are always a little tight, but easily manipulated….these hips are being persistent and I think its the tight glutes with them combined pulling on everything including my lower back/upper glutes (hard to distinguish)….its improving, but sometimes when I do a deep hip flexor extension and stretch my psoas it still takes my breath away…I was told this is a persistent nightmare often similar to planter fasicitis….its not cured, only managed!! AND BTW, how have you been???? Someone around here mentioned going to Miami and I thought of you…next year???

  4. The Jennster is in da house!! An intelligent approach to problem solving. Change – test, change – test. The record of an experience we will all have, one day 🙂 Thanks for sharing Jenn, and WELCOME BACK!!

    • Geeze David….I hope no one ever has to experience all this….BUT I do hope everyone realizes that we’re all made to work a bit differently. None of us are biomechanically efficient creatures and our bodies have found a way (somehow) to do all this stuff….I think 1 small change at a time, it can handle…MAYBE…but at least you know where the issue lies and can fit it quickly…You start changing fit, technique, equipment….man, its near impossible to know where the issue lies! 1 small change at a time and see how the body responds…And never change anything that’s working.. 🙂 So hard when we want to improve, but “stuff” will never make us better!!

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