Tag Archives: Hip flexors

A Little Slice Of Heaven

If these were my muscles, they'd all be super tight and unhappy. I think that means they'd have sad faces. Because tight muscles are sad muscles. Ask any scientician.

I’ve opted not to run this eve.

I’ll give you a minute to recover from that ever so shocking news.

It’s true. I’m not running this eve. My knee feels a bit wobbly from my long run on Saturday, and it’s probably best if I let it rest an extra day before carrying on with my training. As much as today would have been an awesome day to run, I’d rather not injure myself before the season even gets started. Especially since the first of this season’s races is this Sunday – the 30k Around the Bay in Hamilton. Eep!

Instead of running, I’m going to spend some quality time stretching as many of the muscles in my legs as I can. The goal is to reduce the tightness in the muscles (especially in the hip flexors), because this in theory should mean less pulling on my IT band. The less pulling there is on my IT band, the less wobbly my knee feels. It’s all very scientific, and I’m definitely not the scientician to explain the highly technical biomechanical bric-a-brac that provides cause-and-effect pathways from tight muscles to wobbly knees.

All I know is that when I apply gentle pressure to some of the muscles, I can feel the result in and around my left knee. It’s not pain that I feel, it’s tightness. Pain would be a problem. Tightness, if treated properly, shouldn’t be. Tightness like this is rather common for me after a long run – so it’s nothing for me to be alarmed about – so long as I stretch and listen to my body when it says it needs a rest. Like today.

Anyway, this means that I’m currently rolling around on my acuball. In fact, I currently have it “massaging” an extra tight spot in my left hamstring. I write “massaging” because what I really mean is nothing like the gentle relaxing experience that one might normally associate with the word. No, in this case “massaging” means placing the acuball on the tight area of the muscle, then applying as much weight as I can while rolling on the ball. The effect is both painful – breathtakingly so – and, at some magical point in time, releasing. Because at the very moment when the muscle fibres seem to finally give in and relax – well that’s just a little slice of heaven.

And really, that’s all I’m looking for this eve: a little slice of heaven.

Just A Little Prick

Yes, that is my leg - with pins in it.

So as you know, I’ve been training my butt off in order to be as prepared as I can be for the Ottawa Marathon at the end of the month.

As an aside – can you believe the marathon is only 18 days away? Gah.  It still makes me a little throw-uppy to think about it.

Anyway, as part of my training, I am required to run a lot.  Run.  Run.  Run.  And when that is done, I run some more.  True story.  Of course, that isn’t all.  I have to balance my running with healthy eating (lemon poppy-seed cake and beer are healthy, right?), stretch as much as I can (and it never seems to be enough), and get a full nights sleep (5.5 hours is a full night, right?).  Clearly, I’m on track to success.  Ha.  Riiiiight.

Given all of the running and the fact that I seem to never be able to stretch enough, my IT band has taken some abuse.  As have my knees, hips and back.  But mainly the IT band is the problem child of my body.  Once it tightens up, everything else falls apart.  Of course, it started to tighten up a few weeks ago, during a 25k run.  The problem was that I stopped running to get some food, and failed to warm up my suddenly cool muscles before restarting my run.  And that dear readers is dumb on a level that I can’t even begin to describe.

The result – everything tightened up.  My hips and knees were screaming, and I had to limp-walk-run the final few kilometers.

Thankfully, I am fortunate enough to know some amazing people.  Specifically, my massage therapist Patrick, and my chiropractor Marco.

Yes, one pin goes into my butt - er - my hip flexor.

Since that time, I’ve made sure to schedule 1 massage, 1 chiropractic appointment, and 1 acupuncture appointment a week.  And it has done wonders.  This weekend I managed to run 32.37 km without any significant pain (crazy, I know).  Was I tired?  Hell ya.  But I was tired without bad pain.  You know – those pains that scream to you that you’ve just done something really bad to your body.

Anyway, today I finally remembered to get some photographic evidence of my acupuncture treatment (for your viewing pleasure).  For those of you that might be afraid of needles, it’s really not bad at all.  It doesn’t hurt, and the end result is awesomeness wrapped in pure amazing.

Oh, and did you notice that red clamp attached to the needle in the picture?  Ya, that’s one end of a wire that connects my muscles to an electric current.  There is another clamp attached to the pin that is in my leg.  The red one pictured is attached to the needle in my butt (er, hip flexor).  That’s right, my acupuncture treatment is electric!  I think it’s supposed to create some sort of uber healing.  Honestly, I have no idea what it does (technically speaking).  I do know that it feels great and it works wonders.  You can see the effect of the electricity in the YouTube clip below.

Overall, the combination of stretching, yoga, massage, acupuncture and chiropractic works magic on the body.  For any of you that work out on a regular basis, I highly recommend doing any or all of these things.  Your body will thank you.  And it may just improve your performance too.