Good news and bad news. Saw a sports medicine doc today -- not a sprained gracilis after all. Rather, 'tis a case of "iliopsoas syndrome," a fancy term that means that I've stretched the tendon connected to my psoas muscle. This is actually the good news: I can ride, I can do anything I want... so long as it doesn't hurt. The bad news is that it *does* hurt, and it's getting a bit worse. Time to stay off the bike... I'm sure 5x of the 110 rpm 8-minute runs in "Be It. Own It. Control It." was not ideal for the muscle responsible for hip flexion!
Yes, it's nice to update you... but that's not why I'm writing. Just like many people looked quizzically when I dropped the "gracilis" bomb (as in: What the hell is the gracilis?), I'd venture to guess that the iliopsoas is another strange animal... and yet, very important for cyclists.
I found this particular article helpful when acquainting myself with my own injury:
The iliopsoas is actually two separate muscles (the iliacus and the psoas) in the front of the hip region, that start in different places (the psoas starts from the back; the ilacus comes from the hip bone) but both end together at the top of the thigh. That's where my injury is, and where most iliopsoas injuries occur.
When we overuse these muscles or do not stretch sufficiently (hint: the stretches we do in the last 3-5 minutes of Spin classes are not sufficient! We need to go outside to the mats and do additional stretching while our muscles are still warm!) or do not give ourselves appropriate recovery between workouts, our tendons can become inflamed. In the context of inflammation, injury can occur -- in my case, sudden contraction of the muscle... which made my tendon "snap." Yes, that room was too cold for stretching... but it's also because my hips were so darned tight.
Stretching is key!
To that end, coming soon to a Mat Near You:
I will be starting to hold informal guided group stretching sessions after the following classes:
Monday 7:00pm 23rd/Park
Tuesday 6:45am 59th/Park
Wednesday 7:00AM Varick
Wednesday 8:15PM 36th/Madison (we started this last week, and it was awesome!)
Thursday 6:30AM 86th/Lexington
Friday 12:30PM Water St
Sunday 9:30AM 41st/3rd
If you're attending any of these classes and know in advance that you're going to want to stretch afterwards, do let me know at the start of the class... that will help me (at least for the first week or so, until it becomes part of my routine) remember to make an announcement after class that I intended to offer this extra freebie.
*UPDATE* Psychological Effects of Heart Rate Monitor Use Study
12/21/2010: Preliminary results were reported at Indoor Cycle Instructor in October 2010. Manuscript in preparation. Once published, results will be made available on this site and at ICI.