Monday, July 19, 2010

A Whole Different Set of Running Muscles

Since my last injury that sidelined my running back in 2006 (plantar fasciitis), I've been luckier and smarter in my running to be able to avoid injuries the last 4 years.  Especially a good sign with a chronic medical condition (fibromyalgia).  And through this, I've increased my training miles significantly, completed almost 20 half marathons and many smaller races, and worked hard to get faster (Big D Half Marathon in April 2008: 3:08; Cowtown Half Marathon in February 2010: 2:26).

But now, I'm 5 months pregnant and running 20+ miles per week for the last 3 weeks.  And I'm learning about muscles I didn't even know I had.  Or knew that they were important for running. 
  • As the baby bump grows out front, the pelvis starts to tilt, and * ta da * now my hamstrings are constantly a little tight.
  • Have you seen those women in their 9th month of pregnancy waddling around bowlegged, legs turned out, feet pointed out? Turns out you have muscles on the inside of your thighs called hip adductors.  And they are kinda important stabilizing muscles.  The position and weight of the baby is starting to make those adductors a little sensitive, and I can definitely feel that after a run.
  • Those hip adductor muscles connect through a network of muscles that run along the shin.  So some mid-shin pain also.
  • Finally, the round ligaments are muscles on either side of the tummy basically all about stretching to make room for the expanding belly.  Last long run, wowza, I found out what those side stomach muscles can feel like when they are irritated.
So last week I spent about 4 1/2 hours over the week, running 21.6 miles.  That includes a 12.5 mile long run Friday night.  And then I spent about that same length of time, 4 1/2 hours, over the course of the week RECOVERING from these runs.

Saturday included an ice bath to start the day (long run was late the night before). Then in the evening, a warm epsom salt bath followed by a 1.5 mile walk and concluded with another ice bath. A lot of work, but I woke up Sunday morning with no DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that most would get not the day after a long run but the day after that.

I don't mind the time spent recovering to keep running because it's still better than the alternative.  First pregnancy, in 2007, at 20 weeks in I was already doing physical therapy 2-3 x a week. It was a hard pregnancy, with bedrest the last couple months and a lot of pain.  Not that surprising for a women with fibromyalgia going through pregnancy.  This time, I feel so much better.

And I hope for a while I can keep it up!


  1. Interesting perspective on the different muscles you're using! I think it's awesome that you're still running - and you look great! Good to see you at the race yesterday. I was excited to see you in your H&H gear. :)

  2. Thanks, April, you are too sweet! Wish you had yelled at me though - I didn't get to see you at the race! Parsing through a crowd of 2000 runners for familiar faces is not easy.

  3. I learned all about those hip adductors from my massage therapist. It seems that most of my problem spots come from my hips. I can tell when I am in the wrong shoe (or mine are wearing out) because the inside of my leg (hip flexor, adductor, mid shin) will hurt. As Shakira says "The Hips Don't Lie." ;-)