On The Road Again – My First Walk In Months

I started the Mayo Clinic’s 12-week walking routine today. Sure it was 15 minutes, but it ended my 10 months as a couch potato. Sweet!  I’m following the routine to ease back into walking. I know from experience injuries happen when you go from zero to 60.

The routine is simple. The first week consists of a daily 15 minute walk: 5 minute warm up, 5 minute power walk, 5 minute cooldown. Every week you add 2 minutes to the power walk portion until week 7. From there on, it switches between 2 and 3 minute increases. At the end of 12 weeks, I’ll be walking for 40 minutes.

Before my walk, I stretched for 15 minutes to loosen my hip flexor, hamstring, glutes, calf, and lower back muscles. Walking on level ground doesn’t bother me. But my home is at the top of an incline and any direction I pick, it’s uphill on the way back home. And unstable hips don’t like going uphill.

There was a chill in the air, but I didn’t mind. It felt great to be outside despite the overcast sky. I did have a gear issue. At 32 degrees, I had to wear my big puffy coat, making the walk hotter than necessary. Because the chilly, wet weather is here until April, I may pick up a cheap, light jacket. I plan on being successful, which means I won’t be able to use it in the fall. No need to invest serious dollars into clothes I can only wear for a few months.

All right, enough of the jibber jabber. What’s my baseline to measure my January walks by?

Dot’s Walking Stats*
Time: 15 Minutes
Steps: 1,773
Distance: 0.62 miles
Avg. Pace: 24.22 minutes/mile
Calories: 102
*Data from Runkeeper app and a 3D TriSport pedometer to track my walk.

The good news is, other than some muscle tightening, the walk was pain free.  The stretching pre-walk was a good move. My ankles felt a little tight at the start but loosened up about a minute into the warm up. I just need to add in some ankle rolls to my stretching routine. My lower back started tightening midway through the power walking section. I paused my walk and did a standing lower back stretch, which hit the spot and let me continue my walk.

However, my tight ankles and back muscles clearly altered my stride. One mile is 2,000 steps. I walked 1,773 steps, which is slightly more than 3/4 of a mile. My Runkeeper app showed I’d walked a little less than 2/3 of a mile.  That means my tight ankles and back muscles forced me to take shorter strides, resulting in 300+ additional steps for a shorter distance.

Bottom line: my core is too weak. A lot of my weight gain is in my midsection, and my core isn’t strong enough to handle it. Core work and dropping 5% of my body fat will fix my back problem. Working on my core and continuing my hip routine should help improve my stride.

When I look at the numbers, my desire is to try to beat the 24 minute mile. But that’d be a bad move. My best bet is to focus on distance first, time second. Speed will come as my body gets used to movement again. And speed means nothing if it’s physically hard to walk more than a mile. When it comes to getting back in shape, I’m the tortoise not the hare.

I have to admit that during my walk I didn’t really focus on my tightening back muscles or how hard walking up a slight incline felt. Only one thought dominated the walk: When can I start training for a 5k?

The hare wants to run free!


Summer of Hip Therapy & Bad Eating

We’ve been so busy this spring and summer. It looks like fall and winter are shaping up to be just as, if not more, hectic. Obviously posting and making cooking videos have taken a back seat. But my cameraman/editor husband and I are fine. We’re just super busy.

This spring we made the decision to put a hold on making new videos. A big work project landed on my husband’s lap that demanded all of his time spent on filming and editing our videos. The project’s end date was late August…but here we are in September and it is still rolling along. Now it’s looking like the end date is closer to November/December.

As for me, the one word to describe the past 8 months is “frustration.” My unstable hip dominates everything I do.  For months on end sitting, standing, stretching, walking or rolling over in bed caused intense pain. It’s been difficult to do basic things like cooking, cleaning, walking to the mailbox, or grocery shopping. I found if I sat for more than 30 minutes I wouldn’t be able to walk more than a foot or two without risk of falling.

No matter the amount of physical therapy or stretching “3 times a day,” it just felt like my hip muscles were getting pulled into a tighter ball instead of lengthening.  I know my orthopedic doctor warned me it would take about 18 months to stabilize the hip. But patience with one’s self goes out the window when you’re use to physically doing what you want when you want.

Rather than being patient with myself and having that laser-focus on my health, self-pity won out this summer. So rather than focusing my time on getting healthy I went back to my old bad eating habits.

To say my carb count “crept up” is putting it mildly. There were days (most) I ate like the old 300+ lbs. me, and days where I was strictly keto (far too few).

So this summer I added a lot more weight…and didn’t care. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself.  I knew what I was doing was wrong and frankly, stupid. But as they say, you need to hit bottom before you turn your life around.

It wasn’t until August that my hip started really responding to therapy. I became more mobile and flexible. The pain isn’t constant. For now it feels like I’m over a hump. My trainer recently cleared me for biking and interval running. That’s huge!

And sure enough, around the same time that mental funk started lifting too. I’m starting to eat out less, cutting back on alcohol, and making better food choices.  In September I decided to do another keto reset (for the zillionth time…but whose really counting) with a 30-day challenge.

Since I’m on a video hiatus, I decided to go back to where it all began for me…this blog. I’ll try to do 1-2 posts a week. The posts will focus on my reset — the successes and failures.

 

 


Pain…Lots & Lots of Pain

I’d hoped to be blogging about my experiences on doing a 30-Day Carnivore Diet Challenge (ongoing). Instead, I’ve spent the last few days hobbled and in pain. I’ve written before about my tight calf causing pain in my Achilles tendon. That hasn’t gone away. This is something new and a little more worrisome than my Achilles.

A few weeks ago, I started doing lower body stretching. I figured since I can’t really workout right now I might as well work the muscles with some stretching. After that first attempt, I felt soreness where the front of my leg meets my pelvis. Not a biggie, since I expected some soreness.

That soreness came and went. And after a few days, it turned into jabbing pain. “Nothing to worry about. I probably pulled a groin muscle,” I thought.

Fast forward to the last few days. The jabbing pain has become more frequent. The pain hits when I climb stairs, move my leg too far to the left, right, backward, or forwards.

Walking is difficult. I call it a “walk,” but it’s more of a very pronounced limp. I find it hard to stand straight without feeling a dull, painful, tightening sensation in my hip.

Thursday was the worst. My whole left leg ached all day. The hip felt hard as a rock and hot to the touch. I was immobile all day. It was time to call for help.

My husband’s company offers a wonderful service that helps you navigate the insurance and health care system. I contacted them for my best options. They quickly put me through to one of their nurses – Barb.

After going through my symptoms, pain level, family history with osteoarthritis, and overall issues with the leg, Barb told me I needed to see a doctor immediately. Because it was Thursday afternoon, that wasn’t going to happen. The next best thing was skipping my primary doctor and going directly to an orthopedic specialist. Thankfully my insurance doesn’t require referrals!

Barb gave me a list of specialist to contact and sent a bunch more. I hit gold on my first call and got an appointment the next morning.

Hoping For PT, But…
I arrived at the specialist office and pretty quickly had x-rays taken of my hip. At that time, I thought worst case was a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, and that it had completely wore away any cartilage. Meaning a hip replacement was needed.

But I held out hope for a really bad groin pull. Fingers were crossed that I just needed some physical therapy.

The x-ray showed very little arthritis and the start of a bone spur — but nothing that should be causing the pain.

Once the PA started moving my leg around, she pretty much ruled out a pulled muscle. Something else is triggering the pain.

My PA ordered an ultrasound and an MRI. The ultrasound is needed to rule out a blood clot. The MRI is needed to see whether or not I have a stress fracture. Yes, the x-ray didn’t show any signs of a fracture, but MRIs can see things that the x-ray can’t.

She also wants me to use a cane or walker to help alleviate the weight and stress on the hip. My sister beat her to it. She drove me to my appointment and gave me my mother’s cane to help me walk. The cane works. I don’t feel any pain going up or down stairs.

Plan For Getting Me Back On My Feet
The PA told me regardless of what next week’s test shows, a plan is needed for my calf as well. I’ve been on and off for 2+ years with this pain. My mobility is limited, and I can’t do simple activities like walking, hiking, bowling or just swinging the golf club.

So I’m feeling relieved tonight. There’s forward movement to figure out what is going with this leg.

Oh, and carnivore? It rocks. So far!