Tag Archives: injury

Not what I expected…

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This was not the result I was hoping for when I registered for Sunday’s half marathon last spring. That’s a DNF (did not finish)…or more accurately, a DNS (did not start). If you’ve been following along, you already knew I made the tough choice to sit out the race following my injury flaring back up in November.

I’ve had to work through some emotions during that time, and the past few weeks were pretty tough watching everyone else get excited about their races. It felt like when you got passed up by the cool kids in middle school. I wanted to be happy for all my friends, but I’ll be honest that some days, I had to work at it more than others.

I began to wonder if this was a sign that my days of longer distance running were over. “Maybe I should stick to 5k and 10k races,” I thought. This was the result of having a challenging training season prior to the injury’s re-emergence. I was doing well until October, when I had all the car drama. That took me away from the Houston Fit group on Saturdays as I was consumed with selling the old car and buying a new one. Solo runs on Sunday felt harder. I tried to follow the plan of running without music, but that is hard on your own, and without the neat routes they select for us. By the time I got through that, the injury flare popped up.

And then this weekend happened. Thanks to all the activities I was still a part of due to my Ambassador duties. I felt a part of the running world again. It started with hearing Meb Keflezighi share how hard it was for him to sit out of a race when he was injured, and using that to come back (and then having him tell me personally that I would come back…and to focus on my cross training and what I could while I heal).

Saturday’s EXPO reinforced this. Seeing the joy of so many people gearing up to race the next day began to give me hope that I could be among them. A quick spin around the booths led me to find a race in Galveston in April that not only looks like a lot of fun, but has a 5k option.

So I thought, “Hey, I can do that. Even if I don’t start training in earnest until Charity Ball is done in 3 weeks, that’s about the same amount of time I trained for my very first 5k.” And the bonus? I have running experience I didn’t have 7 years ago. I have the backing of all I learned in physical therapy to improve my form and work to prevent further injuries.

But it was today, race day, which really brought me back to thinking I could do longer distances again. I decided to cheer from the finish line, instead of sitting at home and moping (Thank you Eileen for the pass!) To see the runners crossing the finish line took me back … to my first half here in Houston 3 years ago, and even to my second in Galveston 2 years ago. The sense of accomplishment, mixed with exhaustion and all kinds of other feelings, is just awesome.

And I want to feel that again. And I will.

Church tonight reinforced it. This week’s readings included the ones where we are told our bodies are not our own, and that they are a temple. I felt it was God’s way of telling me that I need to do all I can with the body I have been given, while I’m young and healthy enough to do it!

Other than the 5k in three months, I’m not sure when or where I’ll attempt a half, or maybe even (gasp!) a full. Houston is high on my list…you can’t beat running in your town with friends to cheer you on. But I’ll have to see how my return to running goes. When I’m closer to getting ready, I’ll make a decision … but it would be great to be running one of those distances a year from now.

Sounds like I may have just come up with my first Before 40 bucket list item.

Adjusting expectations

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. Months ago, I would have thought that today I would be just about two weeks away from my third half marathon.

But, it’s not meant to be. After successfully completing physical therapy in November, my injury flared back up just 2 days later. I was in mile 4 of what was supposed to be a 9-miler that weekend. Logically, all I can attribute it to is walking around a bunch the day before at the UH Homecoming game … I had been warned before about not using the muscle too much back-to-back.

Spiritually, I think it was a sign to slow back down again. 2014 was a year of my life where I stepped back and started making changes in my life. I hired a personal trainer and began to get more serious about making healthy nutrition and fitness choices. I ended or cut back some volunteer commitments to make room for new adventures. I went through ups and downs with my vehicle.

And perhaps the biggest change came while I spent the past 6 weeks resting my leg: I adopted a dog! I’ve missed having a sidekick since my Lab, Buddy, passed away right before my divorce. I knew when the time was right, another pooch would come into my life.

And, Ava has been helpful in getting me active again. I think we’ve had maybe 1 day since I brought her home nearly 2 weeks ago that I haven’t gotten my 10,000 steps (and that’s because we spent yesterday watching parades and football!). 

I’m starting to see progress. I had a pain-free personal training session this week while doing some leg work. I ran for a full minute earlier this week. As you can see from the below, I haven’t been doing much of that lately (November 9 was the re-injury, and the rest are walks with the exception of 2 intervals of 30 seconds on Thanksgiving which led to some pain later in the day.):

I’m sad not to be running the half marathon with my Ambassador buddies. I’ll be honest, I was down about it for the past few weeks. But I realized what was more important was to listen to my body, and to help it heal so that I can run and do all the other activities I enjoy again. 

I just have to remember what I was told, and what I was experiencing, in physical therapy: an injury is a chance to step back and learn about how our body works, so we can build it up even stronger than before. 

I guess like other things in my life, God stepped in to say I wasn’t done learning my lesson yet. It’s not yet my time to be racing again. But my time will come. I’ve been known to work years to accomplish other goals in my life. Why is this different?

So friends, if you experience road blocks and detours, in running or elsewhere in life, know they are there for a reason, learn from them, and don’t give up!

And P.S.: I will still be there marathon weekend cheering everyone on!

Finding uses for my fitness equipment…

AKA “I’m really glad I bought this exercise ball a month ago!”

Today was my first “real” day of physical therapy at Memorial Hermann’s Ironman Sports Medicine Institute. (Friday’s session was more like an extended exam to zero in on where I hurt.)

I was a little nervous going in as I had been achy all day, starting from feeling a bit of a pain behind my knee when I got out of bed. Today’s workday was not a desk day…so I was more active than I had been in a few days, and my leg was already a little tired. I made sure to tell my therapist all that, so we started on the bike as a warmup.

I did 8 minutes! That boosted my confidence (and told me I should stick with this for my cardio for now). Leah (who is studying to get her PhD in PT) then took me through a workout which was actually pretty fun.

There’s a strip of astroturf in the facility, and first she had me doing some side jogs (basically striding sideways and hopping together) and grapevines (dancers, y’all know these!). A good way to keep my heart rate up but also allowed her to see my range of motion.

Next we moved into exercises that I could easily replicate on my own. There was a series of planks involving a Bosu ball (which I’ll have to try again at the gym), and some bridges with a ball similar to the one pictured above. Since I told Leah I owned one, she put these into my homework assignment.

We finished out with stretches using a cord that resembled a yoga strap (again, excited because I have one of these too!). We discovered my IT band is really tight, so I am your stereotypical runner. A fresh application of KT tape and I was good to go.

So I have a list of exercises and stretches I’m to do daily for the next week, plus try to get in some more cardio. Which means the ball is getting deflated and coming on the road with me!

I’m feeling better tonight than I did when I went in to the appointment, so I’m hopeful I’m slowly progressing along.

And so it begins…

So today started my physical therapy adventure. The good news? No nerve issues. The bad? I’ve strained the part of my hamstring where the muscle connects, which is harder to heal than the “belly” of the muscle because it’s near the joint.

This means a longer recovery time for me, but my therapy team seems confident that we are going to build stronger hammies, so I’m putting my faith in that.

This also means early to bed tonight for me because just that little bit of poking and prodding wore me out, and I have a full session scheduled for Monday afternoon. I’ve been promised I’ll break a sweat. While I’m not looking forward to potential aches, I am looking forward to a decent workout 🙂

Dealing with Detours

I’ve strained my hamstring. It started about a month ago during a training session in the gym. I was doing back extensions, and my abs and back weren’t strong enough for the last few, so of course my hamstrings tried to jump in and help. I could feel the ache as soon as I finished, but hoped it wasn’t anything serious.

It was. Zumba the next day did NOT feel right. So I spent 2 weeks doing mostly upper body workouts and resting. And I felt fine. So I ran. And kept training.

Mistake. I wasn’t ready yet. I started aching again…at least this time it was not the full right hamstring, but just the base of the muscle. I did a little more running for our National Running Day event that week and called uncle. Massage helped, but I skipped a 5k I was hoping to do that weekend. So I sent myself to the stationary bike. I could do just 7 minutes at first, then 15, then 20. I was feeling good.

Then I went to my training session last week, and my trainer felt strongly that I should see a doctor (I also think I pushed a few too many things in the session and ended up a little more achy, but that’s another story). 

So Thursday, I saw my first sports medicine doctor ever. Seemed like the right choice for my newfound athletic life. A few X-rays and an exam confirmed it was a strain (at least it’s not a tear!). Here’s what he prescribed me:

  • Cardio: stationary bike level 3 or less, elliptical (ski style not climber style), treadmill 2% incline or less, swimming (but watch the leg)
  • Weight training: upper body only
  • Meds: I can keep using Advil but he gave me a stronger NSAID for nights or weekends if I’m hurting badly
  • Physical therapy: A few sessions to learn stretches and exercises I can do on my own. My first session is Friday.
  • Other treatments: heat and ice are both OK, gentle stretching is fine and keep wearing a compression sleeve on and off for my leg, especially when active. KT tape is OK too.

The good news is he thinks I’m on the right track, and can likely start my Houston Fit training program next month (my follow up with him is the day before to be safe). I’ve put massage and personal training on hold for now. 

The hardest part is how much you miss something (the running and lower body weights) when you can’t do it. But boy I am grateful he at least cleared me for some activity or I would go nuts!

I know this is the right thing to do. I don’t want to mess myself further and not be able to run the half marathon in January (not to mention, try to achieve a new record!)

I’m hopeful that I come back even stronger from this 🙂