Week 1: On weak glutes and the color of running shoes

Photo from Naked News Girl on Tumblr – Get it “bad ass”? Plus, who does not love a costume. And wine.

I am going to call Week 1 of TLAM Marathon Training done. The first half of the week went well, the second half, not so much but I laid down 5 miles on Thursday and 8 miles this morning with the Best Running Group, Ever (I seriously love those women but that is a post for another day). High pollen content and humidity have flared my asthma so that has been a real joy. Technically, tomorrow is the last day of Week 1 and I am supposed to rest. I doubt I will because, instead of cross training this week, I paid people to torture me. I saw my physical therapist, Smurti Shah, on Monday and I saw my sports massage therapist, Suzanna Dupee, on Friday. These people hurt me and I pay them to do it. They are also super cool people I enjoy talking to and experts at what they do.

Why do I need to see these people so regularly and pay them to torture me? I have weak glutes, you see. Apparently, you need to have an ass to run efficiently. I have no junk in my trunk. All the junk went to my belly and my boobs (running as a well endowed woman with the ever present gift of a saggy belly from 70 pound weight loss, two pregnancies and a c-section, will be covered in my “I don’t look like a real runner” post). It seems my Irish ancestors could not outrun the invading Norsemen because they had no glutes and that is why we are all blonde or red-headed in my family (Norsemen? Makes me think of Eric Northman. Eric Northman and his naked, very well endowed glutes on my TV every Sunday night, but I digress). Without strong glutes, you have to “fire” your running from other large muscles like your quads and hamstrings (at least, this is what Smurti tells me). Apparently, these muscles don’t like that and they become cranky and sore. They also make other muscles, like you plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, all achy, which is called tendinitis (-itis means inflamed, learned that in my on-line medical coding class). As an aside, runners discuss their injuries like war wounds. It can be annoying, we know, so if you ask a runner how they are, and they start telling you about their injuries, just nod and say “wow, that sounds like a problem, you should do more planks”. Planks are the solution to everything, by the way.

I fire from my quads to make up for having no ass. This makes my Achilles and IT band unhappy. So, I pay Smurti to rub on these things very hard with a metal wrench (it is a technique called “Graston” but I think it should have a Spanish sounding name because I think it was invented by someone during the Spanish Inquisition) and to show me exercises to strengthen my glutes and to “release” my hip. (Runners are always “releasing” things). This results in me doing walking lunges around my house and planks in front of my TV while our black lab, Pepper, stares into my face wondering why we are not going running, my children laugh at me and my husband to look over the top of his iPad and declare he thinks I am doing them “wrong”.

I pay Suzanna for a “focused session” once every two weeks, assuming I can get in to see her. First, she is the best massage therapist I have ever known and every runner and cyclist in town knows that about her, too, so getting in to see her is a challenge. Second, she is a professional cyclist (massaging is her side business) so she has a pretty packed racing schedule. This is not a spa massage with scented oil, dim lights and new age music. This is a “what hurts this week and I will release it”, hardest massage you have ever felt massage. It hurts so much but it feels soooo good. Runners also embrace pain. We’re weird like that. She is a miracle worker. It also sounds like a luxury but is not. She is very reasonable and very necessary. I cut out other luxuries like going out to lunch during the work week and pedicures to see Suzanna. Besides, who wants to pay to have someone paint your black toe nails? I am sure they are commenting, in Vietnamese, how nasty my feet are. I am limited in my color selection to shades of blue, green or purple. Pink, my signature color to steal a line from “Steel Magnolias”, does not cover up black.

When I saw Smurti this week, I took all my pairs of running shoes. This required a shopping bag (from lululemon, of course) because, not only do I have the three pairs Saucony gave me for the program, I have my other pairs, as well. She videoed me running in all my pairs to determine which pair I looked the best in. Sadly, this has nothing to do with which color I like the best (pink or purple) or that matches my running outfits (I have serious matching issues) but which shoes I don’t heel strike in. It seems, overly cushioned shoes allow me to heel strike because it does not hurt because of the cushion. Heel striking, with my weak glutes, makes my Achilles hurt even more. So, to travel 26.2 miles in a forward motion, without messing myself up, will require me to strike with my mid-foot. I ran in all my pairs and the winner was the Saucony Cortanas. She told me “you look like a runner with perfect form in those”. I made her repeat it again – a runner with perfect form! Me? Yay! We also determined that another pair will work to alternate but she wants me to run the marathon in the Cortanas. Luckily, I happen to think they look pretty sharp, too!



So, on tomorrow’s non-rest, Rest Day, I will likely lift some weights and might ride my bike on the trainer in front of the TV. Seems like there might be some big soccer game or something like that on tomorrow? : ) There will also be lunge walking and planking and children laughing at, not with their, mother. In the meantime, happy running, my friends.





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