Another Guy At The Gym

Because the knee is doing funky things right now I’m spending more time on the gym floor with the weight equipment. My “soccer mom” gym Planet Fitness is great for my needs. The equipment is always operable, there’s never a wait for anything (at least not early in the morning) and the price is right. This past weekend I went in at early evening and lo and behold “that guy” was there.

I’m headed to the back where you do all your abs, stretching and such. The back also contains the adductor and abductor machines which I hit last before the ab work. There are two of each machine, only one is available when I roll up but I figure somebody will be done by the time I finish my set. Two machines opened when I finished. One didn’t, the one with “that guy” on it.  I always time my workouts and since the clock was ticking I wanted to know how long he would stay on. I got a bit more than time with this one.

That fool on the adductor next to me definitely was not doing thigh work. What he was doing was sweating all over the machine with his headphones on doing some weird swooping movement for his… abs?  I want to say DUDE YOU’RE ON A THIGH MACHINE WTF? Clearly he didn’t know that those machines are the exclusive territory of the big thigh mamas like me.  Now homie would throw a few reps in for good measure but go right back to the swoop and sweat. While all that was going on I completed, adduction, abduction, abs and stretching which took 18 minutes at which time he finally vacated.

So I’m submitting another entry to the “don’t be that guy at gym” series as follows: “don’t be that guy who is using the machine for purposes other than what it’s made for and stays there like he’s on his La Z Boy at home.”

If you’re that guy, please stop this foolishness.

Until next time, see you at the gym.


photos: mine

If it Ain’t One Thing

True to form after the debacle of dehydration weekend (which I also think was heat exhaustion) I jumped right back in on Monday with a kettlebell HIIT workout and a bit of ab work. Tuesday morning?  A treadmill run, which was tiring but good. Felt a little soreness from the prior workout but that was ok.
Then it happened.
After arriving at work and heading down the steps of the parking deck an old familiar nemesis made itself known.  The old left knee was sore and heavy and the stair descent exacerbated this problem.  Looks like the running was going to have to go on the back burner since I have what is commonly known as “runners knee”.

What is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s knee” is a term used to refer to a number of medical conditions that cause pain around the front of the knee (patellofemoral pain). These conditions include anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, and chondromalacia patella.”  Some causes of runner’s knee are:

  • Malalignment of the kneecap
  • Complete or partial dislocation
  • Injury
  • Tightness, imbalance, or weakness of thigh muscles
  • Flat feet
I can check off three of the above along with arthritis in the knee which was diagnosed a few years ago.  What really bites about going down with knee pain this week is that this weekend is going to be NOTHING like last weekend. It’s supposed to be cool with a high chance of rain all weekend, the best weather you can hope for, for August in Georgia.  Yet I know better,  there’s still a bit of pain present probably from those blasted squats this morning (too soon).    The recumbent bike didn’t seem to bother it, yoga seemed to help and strength training sans squats and extensions have been fine too, which means those exercises along with ice will be the regimen until the pain is gone.

Have you had runner’s knee or some other injury that sidelined you?  How did you handle it?  Let me know in the comments. If you happen to be suffering from runners knee right now, you can find treatment options here and here.

Until next time see you on the trail and hopefully that will be in about a week.

You gotta have guts, good ones that is

The metro (Atlanta) has had a very mild summer.  90 degree days have been few and far between and no 100s.  As such running has been a fairly joyful experience, then August happened.  It’s still not really “Georgia hot” as we’ve been right at 90 but the humidity has been absolutely out of this world.  Creature of habit that I am I still run outside only on the weekends and only in the morning, which happens to be when the humidity is at its highest.

So what had happened was…
Last Saturday, I really didn’t feel like going as I was tired from the week, tired from my other workouts and just plain old tired.  I checked my Accuweather app and in spite of the the reported 100% humidity I took my tired tail to a park that I’d not been to in a long while, thinking different energy, different people would motivate me and I would enjoy the run.   The park was fine, this particular trail is a shorter one which was fine as it turns out. After my usual quarter mile walking warm up I started plodding along, slower than usual, knowing that this climate was not conducive for pushing pace.  I checked my mile time and though I’m a slow runner, my time was way slower than usual.  My legs were feeling like lead, I was sweating bullets but could not cool off at all.  I got to 5 miles (was scheduled for 6.5) stretched briefly and jumped in the car and went home.

The routine is usually, shower, food, nap and then the rest of my daily activities.  However that plan was delayed a bit by my bad guts, it didn’t stop me from my routine however, I ate, and napped as usual, but was really busy up until Monday, so busy that I didn’t drink much and didn’t eat well.  By Monday, which is a scheduled treadmill running day I was screwed, never made it to the gym my stomach was giving me fits until about noon that day.  This weekend was a repeat performance, humidity was near 100% yesterday morning. I sweated like crazy, put in 6.25 miles and followed routine except for the nap.  In fact I was busy all day yesterday and worked early this morning.  After work and breakfast this morning, I’d planned to go to church, my guts had other ideas. I figured dehydration was a problem and food choices were a problem as well.  I let Google do the research for me and here’s what I found out.

Running in humidity
Type in “running in heat and humidity” and you’ll get over 11 million results.  What I found most helpful was an article from Runner’s World, which explains in layman’s terms the impact humidity has on the body.  Basically, the higher the humidity, the harder the body works to stay cool.  Humidity makes sweating inefficient at cooling the body because the sweat doesn’t evaporate.  As the body heats up, the adverse effects pile up, dehydration, increased body temperature, increased heart rate, changes in mechanics and judgment and possible heat illness.  Age and weight can exacerbate these issues.
About Dehydration
From the Mayo Clinic: “Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you may get dehydrated.”  Reading through the symptoms, causes and risk factors, I knew that more than food, dehydration was the cause of my GI problems. My risk factors are pretty high and include:
  • Diabetes
  • Medications (all the ones I take adversely impact hydration)
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Age
  • Climate
  • Cumulative effect – “Dehydration is also cumulative over a period of days, which means you can become dehydrated with even a moderate exercise routine if you don’t drink enough to replace what you lose on a daily basis.” I exercise 5 days a week 3 of those days are running days in which I sweat plenty.  I’m also peri-menopausal meaning I might bust out a hot flash every now and again or a night sweat and I can say with certainty, I am ALWAYS dehydrated
But what about those bad guts?
This isn’t a simple answer but a number of factors that can contribute to GI issues for runners include the simple jostling of the gut during running, food choices before, during and after run and dehydration.  Knowing my risk factors and habits, I’m re-thinking this whole running in the humidity thing.  If I want to continue to run in humidity (heat isn’t as much of a problem for me), I’ll need to make some adjustments like thesethese and these or, I may just have to let it go until the climate moderates here during the fall and winter.  I’ll let you know how it goes.
What about you.  Have you had GI problems during or post run/exercise? Have you narrowed down the culprit? Have your issues been resolved and what did you do? I’d like to know, so please share in the comments.
Until next time see you on the trail.