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A Hip Routine Named Myrtl

One of the advantages of living in the same building as 2:50 and faster marathoners is…. knowledge. Lots and lots of knowledge. And lucky for me, they like sharing their runner wisdom with those of us who are less competitive. Enter my new 10 minute hip routine.

It is a well known fact that I am prone to injuries, perhaps more so than others. In fact, I’d say 99% of my injuries are a result of something being wrong with my hips. I have no idea what I did in my life to get such finicky hips, but whatever it was, it has plagued me for many years. Well it turns out that I’m not the only runner in this world who has suffered a myriad of injuries due to weak hips. Super fast marathoner/neighbor #1 has too, and he shared with me one of the ways he has gotten past the injuries. The Myrtl routine, named so because it rhymes with girdle (and girdle = hips).

From what I remember of the story, there was a cross country team (I’m not sure where, maybe Oregon?), that always had stellar performances at the beginning of the season, but by the time competition rolled around, most of the team had some sort of injury. Well one running coach decided to tackle the problem, and he developed the Myrtl routine. It’s a very simple hip strengthening routine that can be done before or after a run, although I think after is preferred. The routine is so simple that when I first saw the video, I thought I was watching the wrong Myrtl routine. Five to eight repetitions of each exercise on each leg? How helpful could this really be?

When I wasn’t running for most of the month of October, I completely forgot about the 12 simple exercises. Then this past Friday, as I was finishing up an easy run, super fast marathoner #1 came upstairs to the gym after his run and immediately started doing the Myrtl routine. Ok, ok. Maybe I should be a little more proactive about injury prevention. So ever since my run on Friday, I’ve been doing my Myrtl routine, and I take back anything I ever said about it being ineffective or too easy. In fact, doing those 12 exercises after my run, actually make my hips a little sore and it does get a little difficult towards the end. Perhaps that has something to do with my tight hips or my titanium rod and two screws, but who knows? From what I’ve read, it’s actually quite the effective routine and I plan to keep it a part of my running ritual.

You can watch a video here explaining each exercise or there is a PDF here. I printed out the PDF and keep it near my yoga mat. It serves as a good reminder.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running/Baby Update: Running continues to be a mental and physical battle for me right now. After my morning runs, I always feel so achy. Therefore, tomorrow I’m going for a prenatal massage to hopefully help the blood flow. Baby T-Rod is almost 17 weeks!

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I Ran Long

This past Saturday, I ran long. Not long as in 15+ miles long, but long as in my new definition of long. Saturday morning I successfully ran 8 miles, my longest run since surgery, and it sucked. But was great, all at the same time.

Due to my paranoia about running on slanted sidewalks right now, I’m keeping most of my runs indoors. For all the miles that I run, I stare at a blank wall about 4 feet in front of me. (I’m working on my mental fortitude.) Before I headed upstairs Saturday morning to stare at this blank wall, I decided to meditate. I’m horrible about meditating on my own so I prefer to listen to a guided meditation. The meditation that I chose to listen to Saturday morning was about gratitude, and I thought it would be the perfect way to start the morning. During those 15 minutes, I practiced gratitude for many people, but I also made a point to be grateful for running. Right now I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love it because I love running and have for many years. I hate it because right now it is hard! My legs ache, my hips are stiff, and I can’t run as fast as I once could. But on Saturday morning, I took time to be thankful for this sport, no matter how easy it once was or how hard it has now become. I do still love it.

Eight miles on a treadmill used to be nothing, especially at an easy pace. Now it is a mental and physical battle to watch the miles go by, while staring at a slightly too close white wall. I decided to break my run up into 2-4 mile segments. Run the first 4 miles in my new pair of Zoots (thanks to the awesome new running store, Runologie, opening up next month), and the last 4 miles in my Brooks. The first four miles went by ok but then I thought to myself, how the hell am I going to make it 4 more miles? Thankfully, I had a few ideas to help me along the way. First, cover up the numbers on the display. Nothing makes a run seem like an eternity than watching the numbers slowly tick by. Second, play bad ass music kinda loud. (Thank you Eminem and Maroon 5 for helping me along.) And third, practice gratitude. Like I mentioned, I have a love/hate relationship with running right now. But as hard as running is for me, I still love it. I took the time during those last 4 miles to just be thankful that I was able to run at all. Fast, slow, easy, hard – it doesn’t matter. I was still doing the one thing that has made me feel “me” for so long and for that, I was thankful.

As I’ve started to run more miles and longer distances these past few weeks, I’ve come to realize something. Once again in my life, I am a newbie runner. If you had asked me 8 months ago about running being easy or hard, I would have declared easy! And then tried to understand why it is some people don’t like running. For so long, I’ve taken running for granted and thought it was something that just came easily to me. I forgot what it was long to be a new runner. Now I am reminded of just how difficult it can be, and it gives me a deep understanding and respect for those just starting out on their own running journey. If I could offer one piece of advice to those just starting out, it would be perserverance. It is the one thing that is helping me through all of this.

Two Saturdays ago when I was out for my first 7 mile run, the last 3.5 miles were so hard. I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. I wondered if I was ever going to make it back to my car. Then I started thinking about my husband, who has a mental fortitude like no one I have ever known. (For example, he ran 35 of the 200 miles in relay event a month ago, with only having a few long runs of 8 miles and a weekly mileage topping out at 12.) I remember he told me a few weeks ago Once I make my mind up to do something, I just do it. That’s what it’s going to take to get me back. A decision to just keep going, no matter how difficult, how slow, or how uncomfortable. In the end, that is what is going to make the difference for me – a new level of mental toughness and a new willingness to just keep going, no matter the obstacle.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Baby Update: I’m a little over 16 weeks and feeling good. We had a doc appointment on Tuesday and all went well. We find out if it’s a boy or girl on December 9th, but I’m not telling anyone until Christmas. Sorry Mom, Dad, and Toni. 🙂

My first 7 mile run

8 miles on the treadmill

Letting Go (And a Poem)

Have I ever mentioned that a couple of elite runners live in my building? I may or may not have stalked them out. Just kidding. They are actully friends of ours and I feel like I know a few local running celebrities. Anyway, as I was heading out for my run yesterday morning, I saw the elite runner husband finishing up his run and we stopped and chatted for a bit. He asked how my running was going and I replied with the this is not my year for running, I’m so slow, I’m just trying to get back into it lament. We then briefly talked about the benefits of having those easy days and non-timed runs. It gave me something to think about as I headed out for my first 6 miles in over a month.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I’m the worst at easy days and forget leaving the Garmin at home. But you see, I’m at a different stage in my life right now. I have two major things I’m trying to work through…. a recovering hip and pregnancy. I’m not the same as I was in March and I need to stop trying to run like I’m the same. As I turned around at the 3 mile mark, I decided to not look at my watch for the last 3 miles. (It would have been much easier just to turn the darn thing off.) How did that work out, you ask? Horribly. I didn’t make it ½ mile before I was checking my time. What the heck is wrong with me?!?! It’s like I’m an addict and by putting pressure on myself, I’m starting to take the joy away from the sport I love so dearly. Nobody said I had to work my ass off every single day. I think it’s actually okay to take time and enjoy myself and what I’m doing. And what if I don’t want to wake up at 5:20 am every morning just to be at the gym when they open at 6:00? I think that’s okay too.

All of this got me thinking about a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Of course, it’s a poem about running and the baby, too! I think I need to continue to remind myself that for long I’ve been so selfish with my running. It’s time to let go and just give myself a breather. Here is what I wrote…

 

Only six short months ago,

I lay broken and weary in a hospital bed.

Running as I knew it,

had become a sad and distant memory.

And the identity that I worked so many years to create,

would never again, be just the same.

But you see, life is funny and the Universe unyielding.

For only six short months ago,

I knew not what lay ahead.

 

Just two short months ago,

I had a plan.

Boston 2015, it would be my day.

I told the world my dreams.

Blogged about it. Talked about it. And even journaled about it.

And as I write this silly little poem,

right at this very moment,

I have realized my one profund error.

I was being selfish.

And have been selfish for many, many years.

 

The Universe, oh I do love the Universe.

You tell her your plan,

and she’ll show you her’s.

Running has ruled my life,

for far too many years.

Who I believe I am as a person,

somehow centered around miles, paces, and races.

And at first, I thought a nearly broken hip

might change my view of who exactly I am.

But with my first 6 mile run,

I was back to where I started.

Assessing my worth,

with every mile that I ran.

 

So with my announcement to run Boston,

and a dangerous cycle starting again,

the Universe said, “No, not yet.

You have not learned your lesson.”

And with my decree,

after I told the world my plans,

I learned the difference between selfishness and selflessness.

For my life is no longer about me and my running,

Instead, it’s now something bigger and something better.

My life is about growing and nurturing,

a tiny little life,

our tiny little baby..

 

A year is so long,

but yet so very short.

In only 365 short, long days,

My life will go

from a nearly broken hip,

to my new role as a mom.

And to add to my story,

I will yet again be in the same hospital,

presumably one year to the day,

where I had the surgery,

that changed the one sport and the one identity,

that I thought was actually me.

 

2014, you have taught me so much

2015, I am open to the new adventures.

(and the pic is baby at 12, 13, and 14 weeks.)

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie