4 Weeks Without Running = Still Not Even CLOSE to Feeling Better

>> Monday, September 30, 2013

(This is a little long. Basically, my knee still hurts, and I've just recently gotten a few answers. Read the next few lines, and then scroll to the bold capital words after Sept 24 for the newest info.)

Here's the quick rundown of the last 5 weeks (with the upcoming things scheduled in blue):

August: too much running. My bad.

Aug 28: Left foot pain at the end of 12 miles.

Aug 30: Sports Med Doc said it was just tendon issues and told me not to worry about it.

Sept 5: Short, easy 3 miler to test left foot. No foot pain! But inside of right knee was a little achy by the end of the run.

Sept 8: Square Lake Half Iron Tri relay - only got 3.5 miles into the run before dropping out due to pain inside/above my right knee.

Sept 11: Saw a Chiropractor because I realized that there's a lot of pain in my lower back (on the right side) and in my right hip. He said my sacrum was out of whack (as I posted about here). Started doing some hip/glute exercises.

Sept 14: Saw a Sports Med Doc (a different one from the 30th) who basically agreed with the Chiropractor that I saw earlier in the week - I have weak hips/glutes and a SI issue (officially diagnosed on paper with "SI Joint Dysfunction") that may have been caused from limping on my previously sore foot. Gave me a "prescription" for a good Physical Therapist who can also do "adjustments," meaning he's very "hands on" and will work with and manipulate the muscles, etc, and not just give me more exercises.

Sept 18: Saw Chiropractor again - he was able to get more of a POP in my lower back this time. He was still confused by my hip pain (which, if anything, was getting worse), so he sent me for an X-ray just to rule out bone infection, bone spurs, etc.

Instagrammed this photo with the caption:
"Changing into some sweet shorts at HCMC for a hip X-ray."

Sept 23: Saw Physical Therapist for 90 minutes. He pointed out an imbalance in my lower half and weak hips/glutes (tell me something I don't know). He really tried to dig out the sore spot in my knee. I couldn't do a few of the exercises that he wanted me to do because I can't even do 1/10 of a squat with my right leg before being in pain. He still gave me a handful of new exercises for my butt/hip.

Sept 24: Saw a different Chiropractor (in the same office) because the one I saw the previous 2 times was out for the week. He didn't have the X-rays (or didn't look them up), so still no word on that.

THE MOST ANNOYING THING AT THIS POINT IS THAT I HADN'T RAN IN OVER 3 WEEKS, AND NOTHING WAS FEELING BETTER. No one told me what was wrong with my knee. A "weak hip/glute" doesn't explain my sore knee. A "weak hip/glute" doesn't mean I should be limping up any incline or decline, including 1 step up or down a curb. A "weak hip/glute" doesn't mean I should be collapsing in pain trying to get in the passenger side of a car. A "weak hip/glute" doesn't mean I should have major pain after 1 step of running after 3 weeks rest. WHAT IS WRONG? WHY CAN'T ANYONE TELL ME? I've been resting, stretching, foam rolling, icing, etc, and nothing was making anything feel better.

I've been saying "I'm good at being injured - I understand there are times the body just needs to rest up." But after nearly 4 weeks of no change, I was getting frustrated. I called Dr. Folske on Thursday, and he could get me in on Friday. He's a Chiropractor / runner / triathlete / Ironman who's never led me astray before. It had been 2.5 years since I've had to see him. But I stopped in on Friday...

Sept 27: Met with Dr. Folske. Explained the entire timeline above. The reason I love Dr. Folske can be summed up with one of the things he told me on Friday. After talking about what I'd been told by everyone, he kinda rolled his eyes and said "EVERY physical therapist will say you're weak somewhere.... And EVERY Chiropractor will say you need to be re-adjusted somewhere." And he's saying this as a Chiropractor. He gets it. After hearing my story and poking at me for 20 minutes, he started throwing around some big words. He whipped out a big anatomy book to show me what he was talking about, and I snapped pictures of the book. He told me he thinks it's a mix of this tiny muscle called the Sartorius being tight and sore, and some nerve pain from right underneath that.

The Sartorius cutting across the Quad.

A septum and nerves underneath that.

He also had me flex both quads, and it shocked him. He said "feel this on your left knee... now feel it on the right." He had me poking at this little "bulgy" muscle as I was flexing:

On my left (my "good" side), it was rock hard. But on my right, it was squishy and was like it didn't exist! (Maybe from limping up and down steps for the lat 4 weeks?) He actually "prescribed" some eccentric exercises on a quad machine and on the adductor machine - meaning to put the weight down S-L-O-W-L-Y. I was to do 10-second reps where I go up for 2 seconds, and then take 8 seconds to put the weight down (and only with 1-leg at a time). He thinks that will help re-train the muscles to work properly. When I had my heel issues 3 years ago, I was really helped with some eccentric work on my calfs.

He also really worked out that little Sartorius muscle. Can you tell what leg he worked on?

I'm wearing shorts - don't freak out.

4-5 hours later, my skin wasn't red anymore, but the hair follicles were still pissed off.

Sept 28 and 29: I started doing the 2 things at the gym that Dr. Folske recommended. When I brought the (light) 30 lbs up with both quads and then took my left leg away, my right leg gave a little twinge. But it wasn't bad, and I lowered the weight for 8 seconds. I did that 15 times, then 15 times on the left, and then 15 times again on the right. Then some hammy curls, and then another 3 sets for my quads.

Then I headed over to the "Yes No Machine:"

Just think about it for 0.5 seconds, and you'll know why it's known as the "yes no" machine.

I did 2 slow sets with the pads between my knees (like she's doing in the photo above) going really slow on the way down (on the way from "no" to "yes"). Doing all of this slowly takes a lot of time! Doing what I just noted (3x quads, 2x hammys, 3x quads, 2x adductor) took nearly 30 minutes! But IMMEDIATELY it felt a bit better as I was walking around the Y!

And then I went back to the Y the next day (Sunday) to do it all over again. It's been the only thing to give a little relief right now! For the last 4 weeks, I'd call my knee and hip at 40% for the majority of the time. After doing these slow eccentric moves to re-train my muscles, my knee and hip feel more like 85%. That's HUGE! (Even if it does start to feel worse [back to about 50%] after a few hours.)

This Upcoming Week: (as noted in the calendar above...) I have a PT appointment later today, and I think that will be my last. I don't know know how much more he can help me anymore. "Let me watch you do your exercises for an hour..." Yeah, no thanks. And then 2 more visits with Dr. Folske so he can workout that Sartorius. We'll see where things are at by the end of this week. I'm hoping to have my hip / knee up around 70% by then!

So here are 4 final notes:

- I feel like Dr. Folske has given me a jump in the right direction, but I still don't have all the answers. I just feel like headed SOMEONE now and not just stalled out. Stairs, bending down, playing with Henry, and lots of other "normal" activities still hurt, but I may finally be moving forward.

- I still can't even think about running yet. I'll be shocked if I'm running by November. I'm laying off biking too, just because it's not 100% pain-free. I'll hit the pool when I can.

- This has caused me to miss 4 races (the 70.3 relay that I DNFed, the Victory 10K and 5K "doubleheader," the Treadman Du, and the upcoming TC 10 Mile), which sucks. But maybe I'll use this to get better in the pool. That can be my silver lining.

- And if all else fails, I need to remember that life is still good because I get to hang with this guy (as shown in a few Instagrams from the weekend):

Working on our new garage.

Shower time.

Sunday breakfast in bed! (I made crepes and oatmeal for these 2.)

Cousins holding hands on a long road trip yesterday.


Rivalry Update

>> Saturday, September 28, 2013

Frenemy / fremeisis / mustached pedophile / pro triathlete Devon Palmer just mentioned me in a recent post on his blog:

My longtime fremesis Steve Stenzel and I failed to race the Treadman Duathlon as a relay together. If you think back to our big challenge at the Gear West Duathlon, my runner Ben was afflicted with an ankle injury at the last second. I never said anything directly, but it was pretty obvious at the time he had been sabotaged by Steve much the way Nancy Kerrigan was sabotaged so many years ago. Anyways, it seems Steve’s instinct to defeat me was so strong he ended up sabotaging himself and injured his leg the week before the race. He is nothing if not determined to beat me, irregardless of the cost. I hope recovers quickly so we can race with and or against each other soon. I really like and do not like that guy.

I love to hate you and hate to love you Devon. I hope we can race together soon.

THIS JUST IN: here's some footage of Devon starting his ride at Ironman Louisville last month:

Looking unusually speedy, Devon. Keep it up.


Friday Funny 593: Funny Links (and a Good Core Workout)

>> Friday, September 27, 2013

Here are some of my favs from the last 2 weeks or so from my tumblr page:

Athletic-related funny things:

THOR de France.

Balance balls at work.

Need to rent a pace dog?

[GIF] Now that's an interesting football tackle.

Do not let your bike out of sight.

[GIF] Bike trick on a ROAD bike.

Know your limits.

Re: sports bras. My wife likes this one.

Eric Forman in gym class.

I dunno... this guy could get a LITTLE more aero on his bike.

Need a new bike seat? Don't get this one.

Nope. Can't do that.

Working out in a magazine vs real life.

Non-athletic funny things:


Mornings for men and women.

A beautiful nursery rhyme.

Just heading out for a little boat ride...

Getting older.

[GIF] Funny friends.

The problem with being an adult.

The truth about trail mix.

An "honest" joke from George Carlin.

The first rule of Vegan Fight Club is....

That's a great scout book.

My answer would be the same as his!!!

(Related to that last one...)

I don't know how many times I've said this about taking a shower.

[GIF] It's easy to make mistakes when trying to lip-read Happy Potter.

A dirty e-card for someone who was watching PBS cartoons 10 years ago.

[GIFs] Inspirational advice from Disney cartoons.

Hank Hill on vegetarians.

Don't get drunk and try to make ravioli.

What men do after orgasm.

[GIFs] Any Tenacious D fans out there?


Our society.

Sorry dude.

Do you like coffee?

How EVERYONE sings the opening to The Big Bang Theory.

Nothing like a good "yo mama" joke.


BEST IDEA ever for new parents.

Gross. But an oddly good explanation.

Remember, check out steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com often for funny stuff.

p.s. Here's your core workout for the day:


Friday Funny 592: Bad Days...

When having a bad day, remember that you're day could always be worse...


More "fun" at steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.


Friday Funny 591: You Had One Job

More "funnies" on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.


Friday Funny 590: "1980s Problems"

Here are 12 "First World Problems" from the 1980s from HappyPlace:

I've experienced all of those except for the LA Lights and the TrapperKeeper ones... I was never cool enough for either of those. (I'm still not.)

Stop by steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com for more funnies all week long.


8 Rules for Swimming

>> Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I've been back in a pool a bit more recently. And I just found this quick article about 8 points of swimming etiquette, so I thought I'd give my reactions:

1. THE BLACK LINE ZOMBIE. Swimming is an anti-social sport in some regards; we spend hours on end swimming back and forth, lost in our thoughts, often too out of breath between sets and repeats to spend any remaining air on conversation.

During our unending march up and down the pool, it’s easy to get hypnotized by that tiled, black line that is often the only thing that stares us back in the face for the duration of our workout. Just remember to not to fall for its tractor beam and swim up-and-down directly above it, lest you slap a couple teammates with your meat-paddles.

OK, I don't know the last time I spent "hours on end" in the pool. Because I have a life. And job. And family.

But I tend to hop in an empty lane and swim to one side so someone else can hop in with me. I'm no lane hog.

2. I’M NOT TICKLISH, SO THIS ISN’T FUNNY. Okay, I kind of lied. I am ticklish. But just a little. And certainly not in my toes to foot area. Which makes it all the more infuriating when the swimmer behind me – instead of passing – stays tucked in behind me, enjoying a free draft while also trying to instigate a tickle fight.

Not interested, sir.

Not a problem for me... I'm not fast enough to catch anyone in the pool. So you won't find me on your feet. I promise.

3. DON’T MAKE PEE ANNOUNCEMENTS. Look, you and I both know that everyone pees in the pool. It’s not a secret. And while outsiders – rather understandably I would think – imagine we are an insane lot by admitting to the fact that we swim around in pools that we freshly peed in, let’s all just play the deny-deny-deny card on this one.

There are things we don’t ever need to think about. Our parents, doing, you know. Where hot dogs come from. And swimming around in freshly-peed in water.

Wait, people pee IN THE POOL?!? I'm all about peeing in every open water swim that I've ever done (and 90% of races), but I've never peed in the pool! Do I NEED to do that to earn some street cred as a swimmer? If / when I do, I won't announce it. (But the expression on my face might give it away...)

4. STOP PULLING ON MY LANE ROPE. Because when you do, it means that I cannot. (Just kidding! Well, sort of..)

I only swim freestyle (I can't do anything else), and this seems like a back-strokers issue. Not a problem for me.

5. TURN AT THE MIDDLE, OR LEFT CORNER OF YOUR LANE. Just like driving, or walking, or life in the general, observing the rules of the road always makes things go a lot smoother for everyone involved. Less head-on collisions, and fewer fist-waggings.

Circle swimming, although short of traffic fines and reflective signage, has its own set of peculiar customs. Swimming in a circle, for one. Which means not swimming in a rectangle, or worse, a rhombus.

Remember to angle towards that big, black T when swimming into the wall so that the toe-tickler behind you has room to swim into their turn as well.

If you have any common sense at all, you'll pick this up when you circle-swim for the first time. I'm not that bright, and I figured this out all by myself pretty quickly. Yay me.

6. YOU’RE TIRED? THAT’S GREAT. MOVE OVER. You’re bushed. I get it. Swimming is rough stuff. But if you’re gonna sit out a repeat to stretch out a cramped muscle, adjust your goggles, or reread the set, please move your posterior to the far depths of the corner of the lane so that your lanemates can turn unobstructed.

This might be the biggest pet-peeve of mine while swimming at the pool at the Y. If I hop in right after a Masters class, it's not uncommon that some people will stay in the lanes and chat for the majority of my workout!

7. WHAT’S THAT? YOU’RE GOING SLOWER THAN ME? PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO PUSH OFF RIGHT BEFORE I TURN. This is most common during meet warm-ups. You’ll be building up to a good boil, cruising into the wall to do a fantastic, race-speed flip-turn, only to have another swimmer watch you intently swim towards him or her, and then decide to push off right before you turn.

You’re not even halfway through your breakout when you submerge below said swimmer, who looks at you with an expression that can only possibly read: “Derp.”


This is a big deal for "actual" swimmers, but not for little ole' me. I've never had the pleasure of encountering this issue.

8. GRAND THEFT KICKBOARD. Equipment tug-of-wars are never funny – unless you’re not involved. At that point it’s kind of funny. Watching two teammates yank a kickboard back and forth, when the easier solution would be to jump out and get a new one, is an absurd show of pride.

How do you insure that your teammates don’t snipe your stuff when you’re not looking or still swimming? Build a pyramid of your gear at the end of your lane, and if that fails, just make sure you get your hand on the wall first.

Or be like me and never do any kick work even though your kick sucks. Problem solved!

So all that being said, I'm not guilty of any of these. I don't know if that means I'm doing something right or doing something wrong.

And here were 4 "issues" left in the comments of the original article:

- If we have just started a set, do not ask me what number we are on or what the set is. Listen to the coach and then count. For the love of God.

- Sandbagging. That guy you go ahead of and own for 23 out of 25 100s, then on the last two he is suddenly swimming up your butt.

- I know you think you belong in the fast lane, but if I’m lapping you every 200 yards, it’s time to move over.

- Coach said leave "on the top." For those of you that don’t know, that means you push off the wall when the second hand reaches 60. Not 57. Not even 59. You push off at 60!!


How to Get Fat During the Off-Seasons: Minnesota's Largest Candy Store

>> Monday, September 23, 2013

Yesterday, we went down to Mankato to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. The grandkids all got a pumpkin from my Mom's garden:

We went out to eat, then went out for ice cream, and then Pharmie, Henry, and I headed back to the Cities along Hwy 169. We were going to make 1 stop on the way back if Henry was still doing well on the long car ride and if it was still open...

Sure enough, "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store" was still open! They don't have posted hours and they don't have a website, so it's always just a guess.

One side of their sign...

... and the other.

Henry was in AWE before we went in!!

FULL of candy!

This is at the other end looking back towards the door.

The bacon section along with what parts of the pig make what bacon items.

They had an entire aisle of "fun" gum.

I wanted to get this gum to give to my pro triathlete frenemy Devon Palmer.

But one of the main reasons I wanted to stop was because they have 191 different kinds of root beer. Here's their soda selection:

A couple of cold cases.

More sodas...

... more sodas...

... and more sodas. These are all root beers. (And there's meat in the foreground.)

On our way out as Henry finishes off his candy.

Henry in the pumpkins.

The entire store. The closest flat-roofed section was added this past year
because that wasn't there last year when we stopped!

We talked with someone inside, and they said their hours are 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. all week long until December 1st. But she grinned and said "tonight we're open until 9." We stopped at 7:40, and I'm assuming she meant that if there are still people around, they'll stay open.

I picked up some candy and 10 different bottles of root beer that I'll be posting about soon on my root beer blog (along with photos of the candy we got). Check that out shortly. Have a good week!

UPDATE: Here's the link to my post about this on my Root Beer Blog. Check out the photos of the root beer and candy I bought (and the pics are bigger on that blog too...).


NOT Sleeping with the Enemy...

>> Saturday, September 21, 2013

... at least not THIS weekend.

I'm going to be skipping the duathlon relay with my frienemy Devon Palmer this weekend. I still can't run 2 steps without horrible lower back / knee / hip pain. I found out that I CAN still bike, but I haven't been doing much lately. A week ago, Devon asked me this:

And later he added this:

I know... I'm such a jerk. :)


Friday Funny 588: Fun with Safety Illustrations

>> Friday, September 20, 2013

I, for one, always check my back before groping dead bodies.

More funnies on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com!


Friday Funny 587: "Fixed It!"

12 people who fixed it themselves. Obviously.

Lots of funnies here: steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.



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