By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
September 13, 2015
As I write this blog, I am one tired man. Yes, I had a rather interesting day at work, but that's not the reason per se. The one downside of owning your own pets is sometimes dealing with the parental moments that make you ask “why?” If anything, having your own pets is like having your own children, only they don’t listen you very much and you don’t have to worry about shelling monstrous amounts of cash to get the new gaming system that will break down after a few months because it is a cheap piece of garbage made in China and the company that sells them had money to make! When I first got my little pup Scarlett, she was definitely a handful. It was extremely difficult to house train her due to her lack of intelligence, and she also gets bad rashes that require medicine. On the other hand, she is very sweet and loving, more so than my boy Rusty, who happens to be a little more independent. Anyway, Friday night was something of a weird evening for me. Scarlett had become rather sluggish, and right about the time I tried to go to sleep, she started dry heaving. Here I was, needing rest for a 4 a.m. wake-up call and Scarlett’s loud heaving was permeating the house. I know this because I locked her out of my bedroom, and I could still hear her. Then came the crying in between the heaving…something was not right with my little girl. Since I couldn’t sleep anyway due to worry, I stayed up keeping an eye on her. I was thinking I would have to skip work the next day to take her to the vet, which was something that I was not hoping for. Anyway, after a couple hours of worry and a little bit of belly rubbing, Scarlett finally puked out what she was trying to get out of her system (the only time I will be happy one of my dogs puked!). Turns out she had been eating the under lining fabric of one of my old couches, and judging by the amount, this has been going on for days. Fortunately, Scarlett felt better almost immediately and stopped the dry heaving. But of course, this was well past midnight and the damage to my sleep pattern had already been dealt.
I was going to get some rest this weekend due to a little problem I had with my body, but Friday night proved to be the opposite of what I really needed. You see, I had gotten yet another injury, and this time it really wasn’t from overuse or anything, but this time it was from actual use. I was hoping a couple full nights of sleep would help, but a loss of sleep and then having go to work made for some interesting adventures the next day. Fortunately, I was sent home early and almost immediately hit the snooze button when I got home. Scarlett was very happy and upbeat and even snuggled me when I layed down (she better after all the trauma she put me through!). Anyway, Thursday’s workout caused a little bit of a problem for me. While I had no problem with just about every workout movement Jon gave me, there was one that ultimately caused some problems. After putting me through a bit of functional hell on Tuesday, I was treated to yet another round that focused on my shoulders and legs. The 100 bent over rows with the 53-pound kettle bells and push-ups were simple enough, as well as the 100 jumping jacks and the one mile run (I ran it in 8:39 with a level three out of 12 incline), but something about kettle bell long jumps just sounded scary. I’ve never been scared of kettle bells, not even the one we call “Big Bertha” that looks like an old-time relic. Heck, when I did the 100 rows, I added 50 from the original 50 Jon wanted me to do! Anyway, back to the long jumps. Sure enough, I had to basically bend down and do sort of a broad jump movement. I didn’t use a heavy kettle, but I could tell I was putting some pressure on my ankles and shins. I used to get this problem from time to time when I would frequently play basketball. But of course, I haven’t really played much basketball for a good five years. So not only was my body a bit out of whack and ill prepared, but a predictable thing happened. I got shin splints.
I wasn’t really mad, but I knew something bad was going to happen when an hour after returning home, I couldn’t walk right. I felt like a flamingo of sorts, lifting my leg high up and then daintily touching the ground. I already knew this was something that would be a bit of an annoyance. I knew my running for the weekend would be scratched, and I would be reduced to some funny dog walking. Truth be told, this is really the first time I have had shin splints like this before, for typically it was due to me running a distance I wasn’t used to, like the Arizona Distance Classic with a mere two weeks of preparation. Now shin splints aren’t exactly something I should get too scared about, merely because this is something I have been dealing with my entire life. You see, when you overwork the muscle along the tibia bone in your leg, this is when shin splints occur. Overuse is the most common reason for the problem, which is why runners are so susceptible to the disease. This is the reason why I have been trying to slowly build up my running time after a summer of maintenance running. Rather than gun for seven mile runs like I have done before, I’m going for time (right now, I am on 45-minute intervals, which will be 50-55 minute intervals next week. Since I still have a little bit of a stomach, I have to rebuild slowly because I could also overwork my back muscles. Holding up your girth can cause some stress in the lower back, and simply switching from three-mile runs to seven or eight mile runs would be a bit hazardous for me. So far, under my self created program, I haven’t run into shin splints yet. But of course, doing an old exercise like the kettle bell long jumps was the kind of thing that would aggravate the body a bit. Heck, even when I have done a tremendous amount of leg work or done box jumping, I have never run into this problem!
I’m not going ban this particular workout movement fro the main program, but it will definitely be put aside until at least after Ragnar Las Vegas. You see, I had some big plans. Thursday night, I was going to do a short 45-minute run, and then wake up early in the morning to do another three-mile run. I would then wait until the evening, possibly around six o’clock and then put in another three-mile run. I was going to call the blog for the weekend “My First Ragnar training day!,” but that will be put on hold until next week. Fortunately, by the time Friday rolled around, it was pretty apparent that I didn’t have some stress fracture in my leg, which could be the other primary reason for shin splints. So I did what was pretty much recommended of me….rest! Now there are plenty of other things a person can do to combat the issue of shin splints, but I wasn’t really interested in any of them. I could have spent some money on anti-inflammatory medicine or something, but I said no to that (I hate taking pills unless absolutely necessary). I could have iced my leg every couple hours, but I will admit, I was too lazy to do that and I don’t have ice trays (in fact, who does anymore?). So the only thing I really can do in light of this slight setback is to walk.
Of course, my pups were getting the benefit of this particular shift in paradigm, because one thing they love to do is mark territory and meet other dogs. I’ll admit, I would rather have been running than walking the pups, but sometimes you have to do things just to make the body work better. One suggestion that was brought up when suffering from shin splints was to keep the body moving, which is why I partook in the walking sessions (much to the dogs’ delight!). The reasoning of course is to create a bit of flexibility to a body part that is seizing up and becoming rigid. As I walked the dogs on Thursday and Friday, I was constantly stopping along the river walk to actually do some stretches. That’s how weird it was for me, that even when I was doing something as benign as walking, issues were still cropping up. Fortunately, after each and ever time I had to stretch, the legs felt much better. I walked a total of roughly nine miles on Friday, doing my best to gain some flexibility while also keeping the legs warm. I’m not gonna boast a whole lot, but doing this constant low impact movement proved to be a big help for me. Mentally, I was quite frustrated, mainly because I really wanted to run. I got jealous of some of my digital friends talking about workouts, whether they are doing bike riding around town or doing some light running (I say light for my brother-in-law Brandon who ran eight miles and is only five weeks out from running a half marathon….I would be in the same spot but I had to nix the idea of running up “A” Mountain here in Tucson due to finances). Of course, that jealousy is always short lived, because I know I will be back on the saddle soon enough. I decided to rest my legs a good three days before I attempted any more running. It’s rough enough that I have to stand and walk all day at work, but I don’t want to put any unneeded stress on my body until I am good and ready.
So there I was once again on Saturday night, waking the dogs and doing my best to stay limber. The frustration in my mind had pretty much slipped away, for I knew deep in my noggin I would either attempt a run on Sunday evening or Monday evening. Granted, I can’t have any more of these setbacks leading up to Ragnar Las Vegas, but such is life, kind of like my Friday night. While much of the world was having a good time, I was cleaning doggy puke off the kitchen floor (at least Scarlett ralphed in a part of the house that is easy to clean). I don’t wish such a stressful night for anyone, but that is the whole point of injuries. While I am lucky to have nothing more than soreness for a few days, I would rather have these few days of discomfort rather than something more serious like a pulled muscle, a torn ligament or a stress fracture. It’s kind of funny when I think about the old days and how much I have changed (as opposed to two and half years ago). I would work out till I was so sore, I could barely turn a screwdriver without discomfort. Now look at me, being responsible and stuff. One thing can be said though….my pups are really happy to get some extra walking time. Usually I only walk them Tuesday through Friday, with a sporadic schedule for the rest of the days provided my legs aren’t hurting too much. Well, it is time to take them out once again. I’m sure they will enjoy the pace as I constantly stop to get a little extra stretching. Usually it is me waiting on them as they sniff and mark the whole river walk. I hope they enjoy the fact the roles will be reversed for once!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.