The 7mm Experiment And The Increase In Abduction

I’ve been waging war with my Illotibial Band on and off for nearly 6 years now. It’s been a hard fought series of battles where I only won by the skin of my teeth on occassion, but mainly had loss after loss. Back when I was oriognally sidelined with Illlotibial Band Syndrome back in the summer of 2012, I had no idea what was wrong. The outside of left knee became so inflammed over the course of a week that I could NOT run without excruciating pain and the feeling of my knee contantly about to give out. I dropped from 85 miles a week to virtually 0 instantly.
Nearly 9 months later, after hundreds of hours of rolling the outside of leg with a foam roller on top of weighted leg lifting exersizes, I finally got a corticosteroid injection in the outside of both knees (both were now chronically in pain at all hours of the day and night). Let me tell you, there are few things more frightening for a runner than a needle going what seems like 2 inches into a knee joint. A few weeks later the pain was gone, but ever since then I’ve had times that it’s flamed up again for short periods, as well as phantom pain that creeps into my hips on occasion.
I’ve never been able to go over 55 miles a week since then without some kind of injury – crippling for a 5k-10k specialist. I’ve only run near my PR of 14:33 on the track once (in the only track 5k I’ve run since then) when I ran 14:37 off of only 6 weeks of training at 50% of my previous mileage. When I ran that 14:37, I aggravated my tender left calf and walked away with a season-ending strain.
The point is that I’ve had all kinds of nagging pains in my left leg since my first year of college in 2011-2012, and a lot of them can be linked to my I T Band, a thick strand of fascial tissue that runs the length of the femur, located on the outside of the leg. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my issue may have something to do with the fact that I wear a 7mm heel lift in my left shoe to offset my leg length differencial. My left leg is 7mm shorter than my right leg (if you include my very slight scoliosis, there is a 9mm difference). All of the research I’ve been doing is pointing to the fact that there is no consensus that heel lifts help prevent injuries, and in some cases they seem to cause more problems than solutions in athletes.
I never ran in a heel lift until midway through my freshman year in college, despite knowing there was a difference in my leg lengths much earlier. So I took out my 7mm heel lift 3 days ago and followed that with a lot of stretching.   Hopefully my legs can realign and I may see some relief over time. I have nothing to lose. That is my 7mm experiment. So far I’ve had no issues besides some initial tightness in my left shin.
Oh and I’m also doing tons of abduction workouts (hip drops, clams, side-laying leg lifts, etc) to strengthen my hips.  For context, I’m currently running roughly 22 miles a week over 6 days and I haven’t changed my mileage at all during this experiment. We will see if this one simple trick works fam. Thanks for reading.

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The World Has Grown Too Small

I’ve had a bit of a revelation, and that revelation is that I’m missing out.

It all started when I decided on Friday that it would be a good idea to find some dirt roads nearby to run on – both for soft surfaces with hills to train on and a change of scenery. The chain of events continued when I biked to Best Buy on Saturday and they didn’t have the SD cards I was looking for. I’m headed to L.A. in less than 2 weeks and I plan to vlog my trip for this blog, so I need those cards. The guy who was helping me at the store checked nearby Best Buys on his computer, managing to snag a couple that were 11 miles away and have them set aside for me to pick up.

So I jumped on my bike and rode west. Of course, I wasn’t just going to get my SD cards. I also used my Android to look for nearby parks and places to plan runs. I had too much with me to go for a run with, but I found a paved biking trail wide enough for a semi-truck, and headed down it. This is where it really started to strike me how different Waverly is from the city where I live. The bike path had a number of offshoots onto gravel paths that I took note of and as I went along the main bike path twisted and wound through middle and high class neighborhoods that were so friendly it seemed 90% of them had their back doors open. Everyone there was comfortable leaving kids’ tricycles and barbecue grills in their fence-less yards, which is the polar opposite of Lansing, where people will cut bike locks on your porch to steal a $50 bike.. People walking by smiled and waved at me as I biked past them – far more friendly than Lansing. And the farther I went, the more interesting the terrain – steep hills, bridges, rolling hills to either side of me, some farmland. It was gorgeous.  I passed through neighborhoods further on with huge houses (almost mini-mansions) with huge screened in decks and trampolines out back. When the bike path eventually ended, I rode around some more but didn’t find any more promising areas as it began to get dark, so I headed back, happy with my exploits, and also deep in thought. I was thinking of just how much livelier and healthier this place felt than the stuffy, crime-ridden city I’ve been living in the last 3 years. Exactly where my apartment is located isn’t all that bad compared to the South or North sides, but it’s a trash heap compared to the areas I visited in Waverly, and that makes me feel like I’m missing out. I knew then that I want to get out of this place soon, and see how people live all over world in large and small communities. The magic of fireflys rising like embers around the path as I biked back under descending twilight bostered my resolve even more. I needed that change of pace. I feel renewed and empassioned to work hard.

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A picture of the path as it got dark on my return.

I knew I was getting back to Lansing when I saw the “LIQUOR BEER WINE LOTTO” sign above a store in letters that spaned the length of the entire building. You know when the store is literally named “LIQUOR”  or something similar that you are entering God’s forsaken lands. I fucking hate Lansing.

On a lighter note, I am exited to be heading to L.A. soon to go to my friends wedding, Anime Expo, and just for general touring. As I mentioned before, I intend to vlog my trip, so look forward to that. Thanks for stopping by!