Realizing the Cause of my 6-Year-Old Injury

>> Saturday, June 29, 2019

I had a MAJOR revelation a few days ago. I figured out where my sacrum issue came from in 2013!

(If you remember, that was some pain that seemed to come out of nowhere and stopped me dead at mile 4 of a half marathon [as part of a half ironman relay] after an otherwise solid year of running. It was initially diagnosed as a sacrum issue that was referring pain down my leg, but I didn't buy that at first. After 4 weeks of not running, it was NO better, and I still would collapse in pain trying to get in the passenger side of a car or take too big of a step up a curb. I had an MRI of my hip in case it wasn't referred pain, but it came up clean. I started doing all kinds of PT exercises. I had a running evaluation 3 months after the pain which showed a lot of weakness from side-to-side (so more exercises). At that point, I was up to running 8 minutes, walking 2, and running 8 more. I used a "back to running" program to ease myself back after nearly 3 months of non-running and lots of pain. I ran a total of about 30 miles over 4 months at the end of 2013, all with a walk/run strategy.)

So this past week, I started doing some patch work on the foundation of our house. I did the same thing a number of years back, but it's not NEARLY in as bad of shape this time. I pressure washed and scraped and peeled and chipped on Monday, and that made it look like this:

Spots that need *some* work. It didn't look NEARLY this bad before scraping and peeling.

The light gray concrete peeking through at the bottom
and middle is my handiwork from years ago. It's holding well!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I started patching with vinyl concrete mix, which worked well for me years ago. And at the end of Wednesday, it looked like this:

Note that the VAST majority of this problem is due to freeze/thaw under
our unheated porch. Once the house starts back there (where the
foundation doesn't freeze on the inside), it looks SOO much better.

I'm letting it sit for a few days, and then I need to go over some deeper areas a bit more before I let it sit for another week before priming and painting.

Anyway, on Tuesday night, I could hardly sleep. My sacrum was just pounding. It truly wasn't THAT bad, but I lost sleep more because of the thoughts of "Oh man... this is what it felt like back in 2013 when it was starting... I don't want to go through THAT again!..." Finally, at about 1:30 a.m., it hit me...

This was the pain that started to kick off this initial injury back in August/September of 2013. Hmm... what else was happening in August/September of 2013? Oh, that's right. I was doing the same foundation repair (only about 10x worse because I had to do a lot on the south side of the house as well). When I "naturally" sit down to work on something like this, I sit on the side of my left foot as it's under me and my lower left leg is on the ground, and my right foot is flat on the ground with my knee in the air. Googling all kinds of versions of "sitting on one foot" got me to this image, which is close:

(source) Not me, but equally awkward.

I also came across THIS image... which is... well, really not helpful.

It is NOT a coincidence that this pain started 6 years ago while doing this and flared up a little while doing the same thing. The logical conclusion is that the act of "torquing" my hips/sacrum by sitting on my foot that way for so long while working on my foundation really upset my body. I mean, you try sitting like that - it's not uncomfortable, but does seem to really make your hips go cattywampus. And then I sit like that for 1, 2, or 3 hours at a time as I work on my house.

Holy crap. Mind blown.

After 6 years, I figured it out. That still doesn't help me fix anything, but it might be able to help me stay healthy (meaning "pain-free") and not do those things that aggravate this 6-year-old issue (which I still feel on a daily basis).

That was Tuesday night. When I worked on the foundation on Wednesday night, I sat flat on my butt and leaned forward, or I kneeled on both knees. I stayed symmetrical. None of this cocked-to-one-side crap that felt so natural but f-ed up my body.

Entertaining side-note: that big paragraph at the top has all kinds of links for injury notes back in 2013, and here's a post from right in the middle of all those posts that shows the same foundation work that I'm doing now. (Only that big crack along the sidewalk has stayed nicely sealed. And the steps look WAY better right now than they did back then.) It's just so funny that that post is literally sandwiched between all the "why can't I run?!?" posts, and it took me this long to figure it all out.


Friday Funny 1620: Fitness Funnies 16

>> Friday, June 28, 2019

Just a dump of images tagged with "fitness" from

Lots more funny things posted every day on HAPPY WEEKEND!


Friday Funny 1619: Drunks

My students could use this in December, going into finals and then Christmas.

More funny things posted 10x every day on


Friday Funny 1618: Safety Fails

More funny things posted all day long on


Maybe My Best Week of Training All Year???

>> Thursday, June 27, 2019

Last week was a really solid week of training. Here's what it looked like:

That's 4350 yards of swimming - my biggest week since last November.

That's 59+ miles of biking - my biggest week since last July.

And that's 22+ miles of running - just a "solid" number (I had 2 different 23+ mile weeks last month). My running is usually the best of all 3 of these, but this was more of a "balanced" week. At least I think so.

And then some decent strength work - nearly 6 hours, which is about the COMBINED total of the previous TWO weeks. (But those weeks were lighter because they were the week of the USATF MN track meet followed by a week that had 3 days of camping in WI.)

• MONDAY wasn't a fast swim, but had some nice broken 400s and 200s.

• TUESDAY was a long run that started rough, but I got through it. My long runs have been "boom or bust" lately, and this one started with me easing back so I could get through it all. After doing that, I ran 6 "harder" miles (in the middle of 11) at 6:25 pace. (Starting at like 6:43 pace and dropping to around 6:17 pace.)

• WEDNESDAY was the 3x5 mile interval ride I wrote about on Monday. Just a good workout.

• THURSDAY was the descending track workout I wrote about on Monday. Some fast speed that I'm not really used to.

• FRIDAY was 15x100 in the pool, and some kick drills. They were all 1:27 to 1:29 except for one near the middle when I TOTALLY lost my focus and swam a 1:31. Oops. Then the last 2 were faster yet (1:25 and 1:26).

• SATURDAY was an easy run after a good week!

• SUNDAY was an "all around town" 20 mile tempo, with extra riding to make it 32 miles total. I rode River Road, Shepard Road, Big Rivers Trail, along Highway 13 for a few miles, and back to Downtown St. Paul before climbing Ramsey Hill and taking Summit Ave home. I was at an unimpressive 20.33 mph average for the "hard" 20 miles, and then I just rode easier after that.


USATF MN Master Track Meet Photos

>> Wednesday, June 26, 2019

I raced the 1500 at the USATF MN Master’s Meet a few weeks ago. Race buddy Tom R was there, and he took some photos during some of the events. He handed me his camera for a race he was in, but then his battery started to die. Here are some photos of his from the first (faster) 5000 meter heat (found here on Facebook):

Threatening sky as people gathered to start the meet.

Quite a pack early in the race

39 people in the first heat.

3.5 laps in about 4:20 for the leaders.

Suize and Angie.

The guys in yellow in the middle were lapping people like crazy.

Angie pulled away with a lap or 2 to go to beat Suzie by nearly a half lap.

I saw this happen - this woman tripped on the home stretch! She got
up and finished the race no problem. It was scary in that moment.

This was the finish. First through third. First didn’t even look like he had worked at all!

First through third were within 3 seconds! And all sub-15:30.

The lap splits of the winner (1st is a half lap). Sheesh!

The 2nd 5000 meter heat after 100 meters.

There’s Tom in the middle. (That means I was taking these photos for him.)

Kirt’s final kick.

Tom finishing behind the lap counter’s hand, as the
counter is telling a race-walker that she’s got 4 laps left.

A few events later was the 1500 (which I was going to run). I was in heat 4 out of 5: there were 2 female heats, then a “fast” male heat, and then I was in the “medium” male heat.

Fast females 200+ meters into the 1500.

Lead pack.

2nd heat of females.

Ann (who used to work at my gym) in blue.

Fast 1500 men.

Some of the fast 5000 meter finishers were back for the 1500.

I think this was the final kick.

And then Tom’s camera died. Right as the heat before me was finishing. Dang. But then I found another album on Facebook from someone named Jeff who had a few photos from the meet. Here were 2 of his from the end of the “fast” heat of 1500 runners:

A different angle of Tom’s photo from 2 photos above.

Another different angle of the finish from 2 photos above. With teammate Dan in the orange in the infield.

Then Jeff got some of my heat. (A few of which I used in my race report.)

At the end of our first lap. I’m back there in 6th.

Close up of me and teammate Jamie in that last photo.

300 meters in.

Close up of me and Jamie in that last photo.

I think this was just 1 lap later (with 2 laps to go).

Close up of Jamie and me in that last photo.

I think that was the closest Jamie got. He remarked post-race that I “found another gear” and pulled away a bit. I wasn’t happy with my 2nd lap time and was able to hit it harder for the last 2 laps to finish 0:03 ahead of him (but I had no idea where he was for the entire race - I was happy he was right on my tail!).

The last photo of Jeff’s was from the 100 meters. I was on the infield just off camera cheering for this heat:

I hope this track meet is part of the USATF MN Series again next year - it was pretty fun! Here’s my race report if you missed it, and here are some final thoughts from the track meet.



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