Monday, February 27, 2012

What now?!?!

Before bed last night, I noticed that my left foot was hurting a little bit. Usually when my feet hurt, they hurt on the top, but this was on the outer bottom. I went on to sleep and was awakened about 1 AM with excruciating pain. I got up and took 2 motrin and rolled my left leg and stretched a bit and went back to sleep. It's a little better right now, probably due to the motrin. But I guess I won't be running today. :(

I have no idea what happened - I didn't wear different shoes, or step on anything, or step funny! What could this be?!

EDITED TO ADD: My left foot is feeling much better now... the right foot (heel) didn't want to be neglected so it started to bother me later on in the morning. It is still a little sore, but not nearly as sore as the other foot was this morning. I am going to retire the shoes I have been using for my "hanging out" shoes and will use last year's marathon shoes for my walking around shoes now. I'm sad I had to take a day off today, but I'm hoping that the rest will be good for me. There is always time to run 3 days next week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rehab: Week 6

It was a good training week, as you can probably tell from yesterday's post! I did get to run my 3 runs this week and I have been celebrating ever since! The rest of the week looks quite similar to the previous weeks, but here it is anyway:

Monday - 30 minute run (1/1 intervals)*, running yoga mini-workout
Tuesday - 1200 meter swim, swimming yoga mini-workout
Wednesday - 60 minute Yoga Conditioning for Athletes
Thursday - 30 minute run (1/1 intervals)*, running yoga mini-workout
Friday - 40 minute cycling (gym), cycling yoga mini-workout
Saturday - 30 minute run (1/1 intervals)*, running yoga mini-workout
Sunday - 45 minute Athlete's Guide to Yoga, Flexibility

* On the running days, I also did some walking for a warm-up and cool-down. 

My swim workout this week was kind of funny. Last week I had been able to do my 1000 meter swim without breaking it up into two segments. This week I had decided to do the same thing, but when I was done, I had 5 minutes left before I needed to go, so I just kept on swimming. As far as I can remember, this was my longest non-stop swim. And I felt great! I was so proud of myself and I felt sort of cocky! Then Wednesday morning hit... and I could barely lift my arms to wash my hair! LOL So I won't feel so cocky anymore... but I will stick with the 1200 meters for another week or two before I move on up! I think 1500 meter is an olympic distance tri swim. Just sayin...

I have felt fine after yesterday's run. This morning I tweaked the inner part of my left knee during yoga, which is so annoying! Why do I keep hurting myself during yoga of all things?!?! Luckily, I guess, it hurt intensely enough to let me know quickly that I was doing something wrong so I moved out of the pose immediately.  I haven't really felt it for the rest of the day, so I hope it will be OK for my run tomorrow morning.

My plan for this coming week is to just do what I did this past week, and add some leg weights on Tuesday and Thursday. I haven't wanted to add the weights yet while I built up to 3 runs, but my PT told me I need to build strength in my quads, hamstrings, and glutes to support the IT band, and he gave me some exercises to do on the machines, so I will do those now. If all goes well this week, then I will begin to increase the running interval during my runs!! :) Just remembering to be patient and listen to my body!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The best things come in threes!

Like my running this week!!

For the first time since my injury in October, I completed three training runs in one week! I can't even begin to describe how good that feels mentally! What a huge milestone in my recovery!!

My Next goal: Running more than walking during my training runs!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A small mistake

On Monday afternoon I went for my usual 30 minute run at a 1/1 interval. It was an absolutely beautiful day!! The weather was warm for February and sunny and I felt GREAT! I felt like I could just fly - and it felt so good! I came home and downloaded my Garmin data and found my run intervals were fast. Like around 9:00 miles fast.

Too fast.

I didn't realize it until Tuesday afternoon when the knee twinges began. If I hadn't thought it would make my knees hurt, I would have kicked myself in the rear-end!! How could I be so stupid??? This is supposed to be my first three-run week! How could I jeopardize my progress this way?!

This morning I got up to attempt my run, knowing that if my knees bothered me, I would stop. My left knee was twinging, but I decided to just go out and see. I went SLOW. Very SLOW. A few minutes into the warm-up walk I felt fine - and it stayed feeling fine. Thank Goodness!

I got back home and rolled and stretched out and did a little yoga and felt great, and I have continued to feel good the rest of the day. I feel like I have dodged the bullet. What a valuable lesson learned!

It is vital that I continue to control my pace while I'm building back into running. My lungs are ready - my heart is ready - but my IT bands are NOT. I need to get over the feeling that my pace is "too slow", or that I'm not really running because I'm taking so many walk breaks.  I need to do what I need to do to get myself healthy. I keep thinking of "getting back to where I was" but I also need to realize that that's going to be a very slow process. And maybe it won't be possible to be "where I was", but that's also OK! I'm just moving into the next chapter of my story now! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rehab: Week 5

I really need to come up with a title for my training reports now that I'm not actively training for something! LOL This week's training felt pretty good and I'm looking forward to next week!

Monday - run 30 minutes (1/1 intervals)
Tuesday - swim 1000 meters
Wednesday - run 30 minutes (1/1 intervals)
Thursday - Yoga Conditioning for Athletes, 60 minutes
Friday - cycle 40 minutes
Saturday - Power Yoga, 25 minutes
Sunday - Athlete's Guide to Yoga, 49 minutes

The running went pretty well. I was nervous because I had to run with only one day's rest between runs which I hadn't done in months and months. But the weather called for heavy rain on my regular 2nd run day (Thursday) and I didn't want to skip it, nor did I want to rearrange my cycling for Friday (I am trying to keep mostly to the pattern in the schedule from the Marathoning for Mortals Half-Marathon training program that did me so well for so long). So I ran on Wednesday and it was a beautiful day. I think I pushed a little too hard on my run intervals - or maybe it was just a little too soon - but I felt some tightness in my left IT band that I could not release. I had released some tightness in the quad a couple of times which was so cool! When I got home to roll, there was a knot right where I felt the tightness and I was able to roll it out. I didn't have any pain at all during either of this week's runs, so I'm going to add a third run next week!

Speaking of rolling, I have started to roll my hamstrings as well as my IT bands. That seems to do me a lot of good. I am thinking about buying a Stick to take with me places where it isn't practical to take a foam roller. They are so expensive though. 

Swimming on Tuesday also went well. I was running late due to lying in the bed debating whether or not I wanted to swim, so I didn't have as much time as usual. I ended up doing all of my laps without a break! That was very encouraging to me, because an Olympic distance tri swim is 1500 meters. That's only 10 more laps than I'm able to do now, and I'm not even in training!

Since everything had been changed up, I decided to hop on the upright bike at the gym on Friday. Is that what it's called? Upright?? It's non-recumbent, anyway! I figured it is time to try to transition to the regular bike in preparation for the spring weather coming and being able to ride outside again. And since I hadn't run the day before and wouldn't be running the day after, this seemed like a good way to do it! I climbed up and started to pedal and immediately felt like I was going to fall over. It was like I was falling off the seat/saddle, and  kept adjusting myself, but I wasn't really falling off. It just felt so strange. I noticed that there were handlebar-looking things that angled up like aerobars might look (I think this is the kind my gym has) so I decided to lean forward on them. Immediately, I felt balanced and comfortable. So I stayed this way for my workout, despite the feeling that people were looking at my behind and thinking I'm very strange! LOL I was able to pedal much faster this way and my RPMs crept up to 95 at times. Overall the workout went very well and I didn't experience any pain. Until I got home... and realized that I didn't wear padded bike shorts! Yeah, it's been awhile... and that part of my body still aches! ;) 

The yoga continues to feel really good on my rest days. I wish I could force my flexibility to come along faster, but I know it won't do me any good to 'force' the poses. It will just hurt. So I patiently stretch and breathe through the poses and try to enjoy the tiny bits of improvement that I am seeing! 

I am really excited about adding a third run next week. I will stay with 3 runs at a 1/1 pace for a couple of weeks, and then I will start slowly upping my intervals. I have my first "rehab start", as I like to call it - being a big baseball fan, on March 17th at the Fallen Heroes of Georgia race. I have signed up for the 5K, instead of the 10K that I have done the previous two years, so that I can take my recovery as slowly as I need to. But I really love this race and what it stands for, so I wouldn't miss it, even if I walked the entire thing! :)

Hope you have all had a wonderful week of health and fitness! Work hard and safely this coming week!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Revelation

I've been mulling over this post for the last 2 weeks, unsure how much to write and how best to do it. In the end, though, I guess the best way to handle it is just to write from my heart and share what I have learned. It is so important to me, and it has really changed the way I look at all that has happened to me since the time of my injury.

This is how it all came about: a couple of weeks ago, I was re-reading Chapter 2 of The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. My daughter is reading this book for school and I wanted it to be fresh in my mind for our discussion. The title of this chapter is "The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing" and it involves how our souls are meant to be in relationship with God and, though we may try to fill it with worldly things, nothing can satisfy except for God. One example given in this chapter is the story of Abraham, and how God gave him a son to fulfill His promise. However, Abraham was in danger of making his son an idol, and God had to fix that. He instructed Abraham to take his child to the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. Abraham had to wrestle with the notion of losing his son, and reconciling that with the promise God had made to him, and in the end, Abraham was faithful and trusted God. God stayed his hand. Tozer writes, "I (God) only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love. Now you may have the boy, sound and well."

As I read those words, it was like a revelation to me! All of the pieces fell into place and I understood everything that had happened in the last few months. Running was becoming my idol, if it wasn't already. As things got more stressful in my life, I turned to running - not God. I credited running with helping me through all of the craziness in my world. I relied on my own strength, and did not depend on God.

Shortly after my injury and all of the heartbreak that surrounded that experience - including losing out on my dream to be a Marathon Maniac - other things in my life took a nosedive. It was truly the blackest of times. And I could not deal with it as I usually did. I struggled mightily, and I felt like I was all alone in the blackness.

Slowly, though, God was calling to me. And he was drawing me near. I have struggled with trusting God and with living out joy despite my circumstances... but there was nothing left. I had nothing left and no strength left of my own. I made the decision to turn to God for my strength and He gave me verses and songs to strengthen me. When I was scared and overwhelmed, I could call out these verses and fill my mind and soul with those songs and be comforted. And then during the Goofy Challenge, I experienced the grace and mercy and love of God in such a real and powerful and meaningful way. He allowed me to have this dream and took me through it in an amazing way! He revealed himself to me! I had spent years lamenting that I never felt God's love and closeness or heard Him... and finally, here He was!

Until I made this connection with the story of Abraham, though, I hadn't understood why He had allowed this injury to come into my life. Now that I understand, I am grateful. If you aren't a Christian, you may not understand and, in fact, you may be thinking, "Wow, what kind of loving God would take away something that means so much to you to teach you a lesson??" But that's not it at all!! It is BECAUSE He loves me so much that he had to get my attention in a BIG way. I was never going to achieve the peace that I was searching for - that I was running after - without Him. I could have run a hundred marathons and it wouldn't make anything better! I need Him, and that's it. But as long as running was distracting me (and it wasn't even helping because I was finding myself miserable even after my runs), I would never understand.

So I am thankful that He allowed this injury to come into my life. I am so thankful that He drew me close and allowed me to feel His grace and His love! And I am thankful that He continues to be with me during my recovery. I trust that He will continue to see me through - even if I do not get back to my previous level of competition, though that is my personal goal. I trust my God enough to know that, if I am not able to do half marathons and/or triathlons again, He has something for me that's better than I could ever think of on my own. Because He loves me!

I know this may not make a lot of sense to you if you don't have a relationship with God through Jesus. I have been a Christian for more than 14 years now and it doesn't always make sense to me - I'm still learning! But if you want to know more about having a relationship with the Lord, I'd be happy to talk to you about it! Just post a comment and I'll get back with you!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oops, I forgot!! Isn't that great?!?!

The best thing happened today!

I forgot to do my stretches!!

You may be thinking, "Huh?? How can that be a good thing??

Today, for the first time in a long time... I didn't have pain in my knees to serve as a reminder that I need to stretch!! :)

See?? I told you!

I did my Power Yoga this morning and then we went to the ballet in the afternoon. Then we stopped for dinner and came home and hung out with my mom and the kids all doing their things. At 9:35 this evening it dawned on me that I hadn't stretched. And I hadn't needed to. I drove all the way to the ballet and back without my knees killing me! I had sat and watched the ballet without my knees killing me! And then I sat on the computer and on the floor of my living room hanging out with my family without my knees killing me!

Don't worry... I didn't neglect my stretches once I remembered. I'm not that cocky! LOL

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One more step towards recovery!

Today, I did something I have not done since October 2011 - I ran twice in one week! (Ok, yeah, I know that I did Goofy in January which was running back-to-back days... but that was more walking than running, and, well, anyway.... it's just different. Trust me! LOL).

I did a 1/1 interval like I did on Monday and like I did last week. It was super-cold this morning and it was hard to relax my muscles like I've been trying to do as I work on my form, but I did the best that I could! Towards the end (30 minutes) my left IT band started to tighten up. I felt it coming on because I started having a hard time relaxing my left leg. But it never hurt... it was just tight. When I got back home and rolled and did my post-running yoga, it felt completely better and hasn't bothered me the rest of the day!

Excuse me for a minute while I say HOOOOORRAAAAAYYYY!!

Since this was a successful step up, next week I plan to run twice again. It is so tempting to add a third day back, but I really want to be careful. I figure the IT Band tightening is a little sign that I need to stay where I am. No pain is a good thing, and the fact that it released right away is awesome, but I don't want to take any chances! I'll run twice again next week, and if there is no tightening/pain then I will add a 3rd run the following week!

It feels so good to be out on the roads again, though I do have to admit that it would have been nice if the weather had stayed mild for me! I am truly looking forward to the time when I can do more running than walking - and even no walking at all! But I am determined not to screw up my recovery!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No time!

I haven't had much time to blog, which is a shame. Lots of really great stuff to talk about - at least this time I'm writing it all down! LOL

I ran again this week yesterday and felt pretty good. I'm going to attempt another run on Thursday. If successful, it will be the first time I've run twice in one week (aside from Goofy, of course) since October!!!

Hope everyone's training is going well... will update in a few days when things settle down over here!