After my undoing at the Vermont City Marathon a little over a week ago, I jumped immediately into “fix it” mode. I confirmed with my regular doctor that nothing was torn, broken or ruptured and got a prescription for physical therapy. Great! So I headed to the physical therapist two days later for an initial consult. Verdict? Too flexible of a lumbar with hips that are “inappropriately” tight and weak for the kinds of activities I like to engage in (ie: running marathons). I also got the okay to do any and everything that doesn’t hurt, including running up to five miles at a time.
Feeling positive, but not ready to jump into anything just yet, I gave myself the rest of Thursday and all of Friday to rest and heal more. By Saturday, I was desperate to sweat, so I downloaded a podcast from a spin class and jumped on my bike that’s hooked up to an indoor trainer in the basement (so I could easily abort mission if all the figurative wheels fell off), and, had a great, sweaty, pain-free ride.
The next morning, despite the climbing temperature, I made my way outside donning my running sneakers. Nervous, I breathed in deep, and took off at a VERY slow pace down my street. Knee felt tight, I noted, but not painful. Hopeful, I kept going. I made it a little over a mile before the pain set in again and I had to shut it down. I turned around to walk home and it only took about a minute of walking before the pain and tightness subsided. I had a tiny bit of residual soreness for the rest of the day, but woke up Monday no worse for the wear.
So what’s on the schedule for workouts this week?
Monday — first real physical therapy appointment.
Tuesday — another spin podcast; arms + abs + PT homework
Wednesday — going to give the Harvard Stadium stairs a shot and see how I feel! Yoga and more PT homework in the evening.
Thursday — outdoor bike ride; second PT appointment
Friday — test run again (worse comes to worse, I get a good walk in); PT homework, abs and arms
Saturday — hot yoga class + PT homework
Sunday — short run if Friday went okay OR a long bike ride
Although I am still disappointed about how my race went down and I, of course, dislike not being able to run, I’m counting this injury as a blessing in disguise. Even though I’m fairly decent about warming up and cooling down from runs and doing some strength training, I know I haven’t been as good about as I *should* be and this is forcing me to really get back to basics, to really think about training in order to run instead of running in order to train. A couple years ago when I was seeing a personal trainer once a week and working on strength and balance stuff really regularly, I was a much better athlete overall (not to mention, more toned and with less extra fluff). I’ve needed to reconnect with that version of Rachel for awhile now, and, while I wouldn’t necessarily have selected injury as the path to get there, at least I’m working down that path. In the space I have without running my life at the moment, I have the time to retrain my body properly, to build the strength I so clearly lack, and to make all these PT and strength routines that will help me stay in a less-injured state later on a daily habit. Bring it on.