Life has been crazy, crazy, crazy busy this past week, which is why this post is almost a week late. Because most of the exciting stuff was covered in the previous blog, I will sum up this past week and what all went on in my transformation from injured runner to…the Comeback Kid…
On Monday, my physical therapy session was cancelled with Daniel. Which kind of sucked as I had wanted to talk about the ankle pain I was having. But he was running a fever, and I really am a huge germophobe.
So, he wasn’t coming in and I didn’t have to show up, since my therapist was out of the office. Instead, I went to work and sent him an e-mail regarding the situation. He messaged me back on Wednesday and said that he would look at my ankle on Thursday when I came in for my physical therapy session.
That meant a lot of waiting…and a lot of NOT running. Again. Because…honestly…the last thing I wanted to do was aggravate something else and be sidelined more. It seems like a never-ending battle. Anyway…I’m not very good at being patient or waiting.
That being said, when I finally did go in on Thursday, the first thing he did was ask about my ankle and have me take off my shoe so he could look at it, manipulate it, and basically bang the crap out of it to see if it was anything to be concerned about. When that meant I sat there going…no…nope…that doesn’t hurt…that’s weird…hahaha….nope…it’s fine…
Yeah…I think he was wondering if it was all in my head. It’s not. It wasn’t then, and it still isn’t now. But, as he told me, it’s not a stress fracture, because I wouldn’t be able to walk…so it was just some natural aches that come with starting to run again after NOT running for so long. He then had me warm up on a bike and do some dynamic lunges and moves before taking me outside into the cold air in my shorts and all and having me run around the building.
Why was I running around the building? So he could watch my form and see if I was babying my hip by putting more pressure on the other leg (that is the sort of shit that brought me my first (and only) stress fracture in my leg…and the last thing I want is to end up in Bootsie again!)…but he said that my form looked great from every angle he viewed me from. Only thing was my high cadence, but that’s normal for me.
So…he cleared me to do the Anthem 5K that Saturday (as I was up to 3.5 to 4 miles of running every other day), as long as the hip continued to feel good. So, we made one more appointment for a week and a half out…and I was done.
I wrote up a blog on the Anthem “5K”…that you can read if you missed out on that exciting adventure. The best part of that day was that I got to hang out with Melissa and Paul before the race…saw Tammy at the start of the race…and ran comfortably at a 7:29 average for the race. Without pain. At all. And without feeling like I was pushing myself harder than I should. Which says a lot about me maintaining my fitness level even without running in the equation. So YAY! But, I wasn’t supposed to race that one. I was supposed to run it…so…that wasn’t exactly fun to tell my PT over e-mail. He helped a little by putting things into perspective…about thinking long term. So…my mindset is starting to fall that way. I have goals I want to achieve…and being Gimpy McGimpster is not part of those plans.
Into the next week I went. The cold weather gave way to some mild mornings in the 50s. They were rainy…and windy…but I was in my shorts and loving it. I was doing short 4 mile outings and reminding myself to ease it back. This worked better on the windier of mornings (like 40 mph gusts will mess with you regardless!)…hey…I’m a work in progress. I’ll get the hang of it. By the weekend, the bitter cold weather returned. I was NOT happy. It seems like we get gorgeous weather during the week…but on the weekends, it is determined to freeze us out. I wasn’t running as far as…anyone at the training run. I was doing 5 miles as a natural progression to the Rodes 10K this coming Saturday. So…I was definitely the ambassador, and training run attendee doing their own thing.
I’ve been doing a lot of cross-training on gym machines and at spin class. I know…I need to swim more…but swimming is just not fun for me. Or relaxing. So…I am working on that. But, despite the cold temps this week, I’ve gone out on a 5 mile run yesterday morning and felt good. I dialed back the speed and focused a lot more on form. My roommate pointed out that my feet were really pounding the pavement when I’m running these days. Soft feet. That’s what I’m working on now. Another good reason to NOT wear headphones while running. You can tune into your body and that is so important. The run felt good and I finished it feeling tired (hey, I started at 3:30 am), but proud of myself.
Today was my final PT session with Daniel. Yep…officially released! OFF THE CHAIN! I couldn’t be happier. My session today started with a warm-up on the bike before he had me doing my lunge matrix and then running through all the dynamic warm-up stuff he’s assigned to me in the past. And then….he had me doing these giant plyometric jumps before taking off at a run. All that went well…so he had me fill out final paperwork and I was discharged with the understanding that should anything flare back up…I am to call and they’ll fit me in.
And that, my friends, is a good, happy thing!
So…this weekend I am treating the Rodes 10K as a training run…and NOT…I repeat NOT running it hard. I have enlisted my running partner, Matthew, to help keep my pace back. We’ll just have a nice 6 mile conversation. The goal is to finish without any pain. I am really looking forward to this.
Going forward, I get to add some speed and hill work back into my training each week, but nothing monumental. Just some basic strides and a few small climbs. So, that’s progress. I also get to increase my long run by one mile each week leading into my races in April…so that’s also a good thing. I’m feeling good. I’m happy. I’m making my (hopefully final) comeback!
And there it is, friends. Stick with me. I’m sure there is more to this adventure!
Ugh! Asterisk time. I hate having to put that little thing near a time on a race…but it’s only fair because I can’t call this a PR. Not even close to one. Seems that the Anthem 5K was actually the Anthem 4.7K.
I. AM. NOT. JOKING.
Granted, I wasn’t on tap for a PR time…but I wasn’t pushing myself through this race either. Still, I know a lot of people who were thrilled with their HUGE PR times, and I wonder if they just didn’t bother, or didn’t care, to check their watches. I never even got to 3 miles…and others didn’t either. Those who were, like me, cognizant of this fact, were rather angry, rather than celebrating PRs that were not PRs. I mean, most (not all, I admit to that) runners do wear some sort of GPS watch and that, right there, is an instant snapshot of your race. It might not be 100% accurate on the time…but the distance…that’s usually pretty spot on. My Garmin never even beeped a third time before I crossed the finish line. So, I wasn’t putting it out there that I had a HUGE PR (not that this would have been HUGE even if it was a PR pace)…but still…
OH…did I forget to mention that in all of this…I was told to run a race?
Yep. This soon. Already. As in…yesterday.
Because my physical therapist thought that it would be a good mental boost for me. I was really leery…because of every race that runs in Louisville…the Anthem 5K is my least favorite. It’s crowded. It’s hard to find parking. And this year…the LMPD, apparently, used last year’s course map and cut 944 feet off the race course. So, it wasn’t even a 5K. And, I’m sorry, I paid almost $50 for registration for this race…I want to get my money’s worth. This race should have been 3.1 miles. NOT 2.93…NOT 3.2…but an accurate and exact 3.1. And it wasn’t.
Anyway…enough of my grousing. Let’s move on, shall we? Where was I?
Ah yes…I was racing. Kinda. The deal with my physical therapist was that I should and could do the Anthem 5K because, he felt, it could be the mental boost I needed because, let’s face it, I have played it overly cautious with my comebacks because…just as I start falling into a rhythm…something else on me breaks or falls apart or however you look at it. It’s the proverbial shit hitting the fan at times, and I’m sort of done with that. So…my PT felt that it would be good for me, as long as I didn’t all-out run it, to actually sign up and participate in my least favorite local race.
And that, my dear friends, is how I ended up with a race bib for the Anthem 5 (4.7)K Fitness Classic.
I registered for the race on Thursday afternoon, after I had seen Daniel that morning for my physical therapy session. After he checked out my ankle (the opposite ankle was giving me some issues) he had me do a dynamic warmup and then took me outside to run so he could take a look at my form and make sure I wasn’t compensating. He said everything looked great and that the only thing he noticed was my high cadence, which is normal for me. And then he said…to give the 5K a go on Saturday. So, I registered…coughing up $50 I didn’t really have to run a race I really didn’t like. Easy come, easy go.
Friday, my bib number was listed on the site and after work (we were trying to make up time due to the Sting concert that happened Tuesday night and the big storms that went through the midwest delayed the return drive long enough that it would eat into personal time if I took a lunch). SO…right after work, it was over the river to Slugger Field. Packet pick-up was a breeze. It was easy to remember my bib number…6061…and I was at the very end of the table due to my late registration. But we were in and out of there in no time. No problems. No issues. Back over the river…a quick stop at the grocery store for some supplies (I am batch cooking good, healthy, real food for people) and then…home.
Dinner…a gluten-free and vegan BBQ Ranch Pizza.
Night before a race = pizza.
I keep trying to find something else that works, but pizza seems to be the key. So much for my plan to cut back on pizza.
I never really sat down that night. I went from cooking up lentils and making sauce and baking potatoes to…my PT exercises and stretches. AND…foam rolling for a brief moment. I had every intention of going to bed early too. That didn’t happen. I had to have my foot taped (the right foot that had the whole plantar flare-up back in the early fall). So, I got to bed just before 10:00 pm.
AND…I set my alarm for 3:30 am. Why? Because I needed to run through all my PT stuff prior to heading out for the race. My roommate was getting up at 6:15, and these take me close to 2 hours if I do everything I am supposed to do. So, I got up and bundled up, headed outside to do my dynamic warm-ups, my marches, my lunges, my steps, my lunge matrix, my hops and jumps…before heading inside for the resistance band stuff, the hip stretches and exercises, and even some work on the BOSU. I finished up at 5:30 am. I was tired. I made tea.
I packed my breakfast to go. I did that because I didn’t have a banana (I usually always eat a banana 30 minutes before a race) and with all my PT stuff, I never really had time to dart out to the grocery store and get one. My local Kroger usually has bananas that aren’t ripe enough anyway. So, I packed my Freedom Foods Rainbow Rocks cereal (think Fruity Pebbles made from real ingredients and not LOADED down with sugar) in a baggy, packed coffee cups for after the race, got protein bars ready for AFTER the race, and the roomie was up and eating some cereal soon after that. We were out the door just slightly ahead of schedule. It was freezing cold outside. Thankfully, the windows hadn’t frosted over. So, we made our trek over the river to downtown Louisville, where we ended up parking randomly in a street lot as the rest of the road was blocked off for the race. Thankfully, there were a few spots left. We paid the substantial $15 fee for the “convenience” to park there, then began walking down toward Market Street. I had an Ambassador meet-up at 7:40 am at the Jimmy John’s. Except…it was still REALLY early. So…yeah…
I was miserable and cold. The sunrise was gorgeous. But I was more focused on finding a spot where something (like a building) could act as a windbreak. This race is ALWAYS cold. I swear.As meet-up time came…I was still all by myself in front of the Jimmy John’s. But not more than a moment later, I see my amazing friend (and fellow #KDFMarathon Ambassador), Melissa and her husband, Paul, coming our way. They had already had a hell of a morning…had just picked up their race bibs…and Cathy was already pinning Melissa’s bib on her. This has become a trend. HA! I actually had a gift for Melissa…which I handed over while she was being pinned. Here’s the thing…Melissa and I are basically the Injury Crew (she’s been dealing with knee issues since The Light Side…and I’ve been dealing with the hip issue since…the beginning of the year). Anyway…when I purchased mine, I knew, as a fellow injured runner, how sometimes you just need a little motivation. She’s amazing…and she’s going to do amazing things. We waited for a few minutes, but none of the other ambassadors showed up. So…with needing to the start line and into the corrals (that no one really enforced)…we took the picture. And for being as cold and miserable as we were, the picture was super cute!
And being super cute is what is important, friends!!
We trekked to the start line…and as I was standing in Corral B…I get spotted by my good friend, Tammy. We sort of hung together while her boyfriend, Dean, moved up with all the fast elite types. Because…he’s fast and elite. Tammy knows what it’s like to have goods and bads and ups and downs, as she has been dealing with it for awhile. It was so good to see her and run with her through the start gate. I lost her after that.
So…one thing I dislike about Anthem is how crowded this race is. Honestly, you never get out of the pack. And I think that’s one reason that when I went out…I went out way faster than I intended to run. The good thing was, the hip didn’t flare up on me or twinge or anything. So…as I don’t check my watch for pace while running, I thought it felt comfortable and just went with it. I maintained. Honestly. My splits are pretty much the same. The first mile was amazing…it made me feel good, even if I was dodging a few people and maneuvering over some rather rough pavement at times.
Mile 2, however, was where the issues began. Leading into it I was feeling good. And, honestly, when I run, I get tunnel-vision. I rarely notice anything around me. Well, I’m just doing my thing and as we come around a corner, there is Mile 2. Okay. Wow. I noted the time on the clock on the mile marker had just hit 14 minutes. In order for that to happen, I would have had to blast off a 6-something minute mile and, honestly, this body is not up to that right now. And as I ran beyond it, I noted that my Garmin hadn’t beeped at me yet either to indicate the 2nd mile. So…I glanced at my watch. The top. For the mileage. And I was only at 1.88 miles. So, the marker had to be at least 0.15 miles off. I had hoped that it was an oversite and it would correct itself as the race goes on. Sometimes this happens. BUT…not this time. I rounded the corner and made the long slog down Main Street, taking it upon myself to glance at my watch after the 2 mile beep happened. I still hoped for a course correction in miles,but as I kept going, and when I could finally see that Finish Line…I hadn’t even gotten my third beep to mark a third mile. I hustled into the finish line…stopped my Garmin, and checked.
2.96 miles after crossing the finish line. Not even 3 miles. And there were a lot of angry people at that finish line. Every fast, elite, and finisher who gave a damn was pretty much discontent and having a little bitch session. I waited for Cathy, who was walking down to meet me and called her over to say, “The course was short! It wasn’t even 3 miles.” I double-checked with some runners who looked unhappy and they were, “It was WAY short and I’m pissed.” My friend Amber and her husband felt the same way.
Seemed like everyone PR’d that day…because they PR’d on a short course. I knew it before I crossed the finish line. I think everyone else did too.
Was I on pace for a new PR? Nope. But…I might have beaten my 2013 time…which would have been cool. But we’ll never know now. The race people went back to measure the course and did find that they were 944 feet off. They said that the Louisville Metro Police Department had barricades up in the wrong place as they used last year’s course map. Regardless…this is a HUGE race here…it always kicks off the Triple Crown of Running. You’d think they could get it right.
Like I said, when you pay as much money as this 5K race asks, you expect a little more in the end. Needless to say, this might have been my last Anthem 5K. Unless I get the Triple Crown bug again…but I’m happy just churning out the 10K and 10 miler, to be honest.
So…the official results of the Anthem 5K (4.7K) Fitness Classic are that I finished in 21:55. No new PR…not even on pace to set one. Even with the course mishap. I was 515/5315 finishers overall. I was the 91/3037 for women finishers. And I was 19/412 in my age division. I’m pretty proud, considering I’m still nursing an injury.
I will say this…I was able to run a pace that I haven’t seen since December, and have it feel comfortable. This hip never once twinged at me while I was running. I felt good and like I could hold that pace forever. To me…I count all of that as a win. PRs aren’t what I run for anymore. I run because I can…because it makes me feel alive…because it makes me feel good. Finishing this race was a mental boost that I needed. Daniel was right. So, in the end…I take with me the fact that I ran my heart out and I overcame another setback on my running journey. And that means more to me than the length of a course or the time on the clock.
It has been one month since I started seeing my physical therapist, Daniel, twice a week. And…yes…there has been major progress since that initial meeting.
I mean…I started off not being able to walk without a limp…run more than 1 step…and pretty much being unable to do a one-legged squat or pretty much anything involving any sort of stress on my left leg. Gimpy yet again.
But over the weeks, Daniel has entrusted me to more and more dynamic movements to get this hip flexor back into working order. And…for the most part it has been paying off. For one thing, I can jump and hop without anything more than a twinge…and even then, that’s a rare thing.
I have been churning it out on the Alter-G treadmill. The first time he had me on there, he had me at 80% of my body weight. When I went back to see him on Tuesday morning this past week, he put me back on the Alter-G for another 25 minute session. He said to start at 90% of my body weight and if that feels okay…boost it to 95% of my body weight. I started off slow, getting my stride, focusing on form…and after the first 15 minutes, I took it from 90% up to 95% as he said. The pain didn’t climb…it only twinged a few times at me. And I was bored at the slower pace, so I boosted that…so that could have had something to do with it.
Sorry…treadmills bore me! Even really cool anti-gravity treadmills. So, I tend to go faster just to get it done.
After I polished off that run, Daniel said that he felt comfortable giving me the go-ahead to run outside. OUTSIDE!!! OUT-FREAKIN-SIDE!
The angels sang and the birds chirped and life was good. I was pretty excited. Daniel cleared me to run OUTSIDE every-other-day for no more than 3 miles. Thursday would be my first attempt. The thing was…after my run on Tuesday, I was pretty sore on Wednesday. I wasn’t exactly sure if I could get the run done on Thursday. I also started to feel crappy. Thank you seasonal allergies…in February. We had a stretch of weather in the 70s and all the trees started to bud…pollen…pollen everywhere. UGH. I was miserable. So, I got some Benadryl…and curled up in my bed at 8 pm…not looking forward to Thursday morning at all.
But when it came around, I actually only hurt a little bit. Nothing big. And I was able to get through all my dynamic warmups without a problem. So…I went for it. I did my 25-ish minutes of running…stopping when I got to 3 miles. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast. There was a lot of me thinking about my stride. I could tell I wanted to baby the left hip and would do an occasional limp-run. And at the end of the run, while I felt good, my right ankle was a little sore, which did mean I was compensating. That was frustrating. But…the run went…better than I expected!
I rested the rest of the day and prepared to see my PT on Friday morning. The first thing he did was ask how I was. I told him I was sore and what I gathered from my run. He had me walk the length of the room and said that my limp was gone when I walked…which is BIG!! I’ve been limping around since January 1st. WOOHOO! So, he had me run through some of my lunges and stair work. And then he hand me on the BOSU for some dynamic stuff. And I got a light massage on the hip flexor to see if that helped any with the soreness. And it did. I went into the weekend feeling better.
And then the weather changed again. From 70s down to the 30s. No joke. I was freezing at the Norton Sports Health Training Program run. Most people were running 7 or 14 miles. I was doing 3. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one in shorts. In fact, my fellow ambassador, Reggie, won for the most under-dressed that day. Poor guy!! Special shout-out to my warm friend, Jack, who helped keep me warm as my body pretty much locked up and didn’t want to move during the warm-ups. I was TOTALLY okay with that! I HATE being cold. HATE. The cold does bad things to my body.
So, after the really weird warm-up session, I shed my long pants to reveal my compression shorts (the ones I bought at Disneyland) and went out with the group, managing 1.5 miles one way (with hills, which I was supposed to be avoiding, but I swear, we ran downtown last time we started at the U of L Row House. UGH. So, while everyone else went on…I had to turn around. Which sucked…but I was definitely following instructions. The last mile was pretty much straight into the howling wind the entire time. When I hit 3 miles, I was right where I started. and I got into the car to warm-up.
And once again, my right ankle was being cranky with me. And it stayed that way the rest of the weekend. I vowed that I was NOT going to run again until I saw Daniel…which should have been today, but my appointment was canceled as he was running a fever and staying home. I see him Thursday morning and will discuss it with him then.
My allergies are clearing up, finally…so that’s good. And I’m feeling better. But…mentally this continues to be a tough pill to swallow. I still have a few meltdowns throughout the week…even when I do get to run.
I start to fret over all the small things, every pain, every twinge…and I focus on what COULD happen. So…to help me stay focused, I made a purchase over at Momentum Jewelry…this wrap:
EVERYTHING you want is on the other side of fear.
THAT…pretty much sums up what I need to focus on these days. It’s like my physical therapist said…there is this area where I won’t be doing enough for my recovery…and then there is doing too much…and there is all this middle-ground. And I’m right on this line…and I just need to push a little more. And that’s what we’re doing.
Once I get this stride, limp-run, Bambi-leg thing fixed.
And that’s is my first month working toward a comeback. MAJOR progress…I’ll take it!
Traditionally in the interwebs, this makes it Throwback Thursday…or #TBT, if you will. And that’s kinda fun to participate in. Dig through those archives for some sort of fun photo of you and post it…then poke fun at your hair, your outfit, your bad decisions!
BUT…with that being said…I have the BEST decision you will EVER make on a #TBT for realz! (Did I really just say that?)
You see, the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/miniMarathon is providing their very own THROWBACK today…and TODAY ONLY! So, if it is not FEBRUARY 23, 2017, this code will not work for you. So…act fast because just like the past…this offer will also fade away!
If you REGISTER TODAY for any distance (the full marathon, the half marathon, or even sign up as a relay team) you will get THROWBACK pricing..back to August’s rates. That’s a full $20 OFF your registration TODAY. But this is ONLY today!
Plus…when you register today, you will also receive a THROWBACK KDF T-SHIRT! How cool is that. It’s so simple…just use the code below:
Yes…that is me, the blonde, at the start line of a little local race in my hometown of Corning, NY! Seriously, I didn’t run as a kid – this was the one race I did every year. How’s that for a throwback. Look at all those white shoes! HA!
Anyway…this code for KDF is only good TODAY – February 23, 2017. So do NOT miss out!!
The Code is: THROWBACK
And, please, pick me – Karen Brady – as your Race Ambassador Referral!
And…one more time…without the words…a THROWBACK in honor of today’s THROWBACK code!
There is a good possibility that I will be back to running on the streets in as little as three (3) weeks. Yep. That is how confident my physical therapist is with my progression. That being said, he really put me through the wringer this past week.
My appointments were later in the week…Wednesday and Friday. Due to his schedule this time. Next time…it’s all me. I have a Sting concert to attend and all…
But I digress.
That being said, it gave me the whole first part of the week to work on the marches and all the lunges he assigned me to work on at home. And here I thought I was totally done with homework. Let me tell you…my quads were burning. I tend to do my PT stuff twice a day. So, that was a whole heap of lunges.
This is, legit, one of the lunge moves I am to do to help strengthen the hip and get that hip flexor firing properly. He also added a new resistance band move for the left hip as well…in addition to the other stuff I was doing. OH…and the lunge matrix. Five lunges with each leg in basically every direction possible. It is beyond hellish.
Told you…lunge hell. If I don’t have the best looking ass at the end of this I will be highly disappointed.
On Friday…it got a little more real. After going through the stretches, exercises, and adding some fun new plyometric lunges and leaps with the BOSU to help with not only the push-off but also landing. It’s a great exercise, and I luckily own a BOSU ball, so I can do this one at home. Outside. I’m in a 2nd floor apartment after all. HA!
So, then my PT had a little heart-to-heart with me. For real. He said I was coming along great…and my pain was minimal these days. So…he wanted to know how I would feel if he told me to go outside and run 3 miles. Just go. Right then. And run.
So, he asked me why I felt that way…and I told him that I was nervous about it hurting again, or doing further damage. And that I don’t want to take any more steps back. He said that I was ready to get on the Alter-G treadmill…and he wanted me to pick a pace I felt comfortable with and see if I could run for about 25 minutes on it.
He had to kick someone off of it, but he got me all zipped in and I got started…
So…this wasn’t a fix. Not at all. In fact…I still had some twinging in my left hip flexor while doing this…and I was running with a slight limp. He pointed that out immediately. So, he told me to attempt to even it out as I was going, and I could keep going for the 10-25 minutes as long as the twinge didn’t escalate. It didn’t. So I managed 2.83 miles at a 8:34 pace for 25 minutes. It wasn’t perfect…but look at that smile! I WAS FINALLY RUNNING! It had been a full month since that had even happened.
This week, I think I’ll be doing a lot of work on the Alter-G. He had me at 80% of my body weight on Friday…and I think he’ll move me to 90% this week or next…and then…I’m on the road…IF all things go well.
That being said, I showed up for the training run for the Norton Sports Health Training Program for the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon…and I was able to do some of the jumping jacks and other dynamic warm-ups that I had to phone-in before. So, I do think the process is working. It’s just slow. But I’ll take any improvement at this rate. I took a short walk, went and got my taxes done, and then met back up with my fellow Ambassadors at Big Four Burgers + Fries for a social. It was the best way to spend my Saturday for sure.
Looking forward to moving forward some more this week. But now…I’m off to officially cook my first Gordon Ramsay meal…Mushrooms on Toast for dinner!! Yes…his class…his recipe…me cooking it. Wish me luck. I’ll need it…it involves bacon. Not for me. For my roommate. Mine is minus the bacon. Chef Ramsay has his hands full with this gluten-free vegetarian!!
You know…there are so many times that I give up on myself. Those little moments of weakness when, despite doing everything I am supposed to, I get frustrated and impatient with progress…or the lack thereof.
And I break down…I melt down…I just…fall apart.
This past weekend was extremely hard. I was the very back of the pack on the training run…on my slow walk from Swags to Iroquois Park…and as the half marathon group lapped me…I turned around and walked back. I tried to stay positive, even doing an Instagram Story and keeping it lighthearted. But the fact of the matter was, for months, since signing up for the Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon…it has all I’ve been looking forward to doing. And I wasn’t even going to do it for time. But, when I went in to see my physical therapist on the Tuesday leading into race weekend, I inquired as to whether I could just go and walk the 13.1 miles. And my amazing, and very patient therapist looked at me like…
Like…come on! It was a logical question, yes? Right? Yeah…I probably deserved the, “Really?! You crazy!” look that he gave me. But, I figured I’d ask.
On Tuesday, he gave me a resistance band to add to the hip stretch that he had me doing for 6 minutes a day. I did it religiously. Like…this stretch was my church, for real. So I have this red band that loops around my ankles and I side-step normally, with toes out, and with toes in…2 times each set…and…in addition…I have this fun leg movement that I have to do to sort of activate the hip flexor. It’s not easy. I have to do this toe tap/leg-lift thing 20 times 2 times a day. My leg gets tired. But…I do this. Because I want to get better. And, I’m pretty freakin’ obsessive about my PT stuff. Always have been.
On Thursday, I went back. And my physical therapist started me off with a simple walk. He said that I was still limping, but at this point, he wasn’t sure how much of that was just habit. SO…we were going to focus on getting rid of that limp. AND…in addition, he stepped it up with me. First he had me step up onto the stairs, using my bad hip to pull up, not the opposite foot to push off. This was hard…but it did prove that the hip was still pretty tender when asked to control the entire movement of my body. He had me step up and down. Then we moved onto lunges with the stair. Up the step. And down the step. A little sore, but I managed it. And then…he decided to see how my body could handle marching. He got out a metronome…yes…that metronome is back…and set it for 140 bpm. He had me march in place, which, I did…and it didn’t hurt. Which shocked me. So, he moved the experiment a step further and had me march to the beat. And I managed that too, without any pain.
And my physical therapist said that he was shocked that didn’t bother me…and that meant I was further along than he even expected. YAY! After that, he gave my injured hip a bit of a massage, and realized that the tender points were definitely more on the flexor and not as much the TFL like he originally thought.
So, I continue to be a mystery. I went out for my walk with the other KDF Marathon/miniMarathon peeps on Saturday. And…like I said…I walked. I kept a smile though and was given a lot of encouragement from people who passed me either heading out or returning. Sometimes it’s not easy to wear that smile but I do it. It’s usually when I get home that I fall apart a little…
That is a pretty accurate reenactment. No joke.
Anyway…I am, as always, very thankful for everyone who continues to lift me up, support me, and believe in me. Because, when I’m ready to give up…that helps me to keep going. It helps me get off the sofa and stretch, or march, or go outside in the 28 degree weather simply to do lunges on stairs.
Instead of doing the Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon, as planned, I brought the chocolate milk to the training run, and spent some time with these amazing people, who are helping our dear Melissa, through her own injury recovery…because I am a part of a group of amazing people…and this is just a handful of them! And this is what we do. We lift up and support others…ambassadors or not.
Anyway…I’ve been working on that not limping thing. And if I manage to get that corrected, my physical therapist said that he’ll put me on the Alter-G treadmill so that I can do some running. Crossing my fingers. Because news like that makes me SO happy!
Yeah…I never thought I’d be this happy to be able to get on a treadmill!
But the Alter-G Treadmill is magic. It is. And I hope that I can start doing some actual training with the help of the magic of the Anti-Gravity treadmill! My next PT session is Wednesday…so we’ll see what he thinks. But I have to say, someone at my office said to me as I was walking down the hall, “You’re walking really good today!”
Well…it finally happened. As most of you who read my blog know…just after the New Year…heading into the Disneyland Light Side Rebel Challenge…my left hip…the *OTHER* hip from my hip labrum tear that basically took me out of commission for a year, began acting up. I repeat…this is THE OTHER hip. I did the smart thing for the most part. The instant it started to bother me, I didn’t run. In fact, I didn’t even continue the dynamic warmups and plyometrics I have been doing for an entire year for the right hip. I wasn’t going to mess around. It was the week leading into my trip to California, so I called my orthopedic doctor.
And he was booked. So, I was told he would call me before I left on my trip. I called 2 times in that week…and never got my call back. When I was on my way to Los Angeles, I called from the Phoenix airport and they pulled him out of an appointment to talk to me.
He said from what I was describing, it sounded like a hip flexor strain. He said to take a cocktail of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. Two pills of each…three times a day as needed. This began immediately…
So the two days leading up to the first race (the Light Side 10K)…I was starting to feel a little less sore and slightly better about the situation. My previous physical therapist sent me a wrap I could do with two ACE Bandages as well to help the hip flexor while I raced as well…to at least get me through. The 10K went okay. I actually felt good through the entire thing…but as the day went on and I walked around Disneyland, walking turned to limping and my over-the-counter drug cocktail was not helping me at all. When you wake up on the morning of a half marathon with a limp…you freak out. Or at least I do.
The positive side is…I finished…and I didn’t totally crash and burn. In fact, my finish times for both races were respectable. Although, I wasn’t running these for time due to the hip. It just came down to the fact that once I got going, I was afraid to stop. Stopping might mean I wouldn’t start again. I was *VERY* sore for the rest of the day after the half marathon. I limped pretty much through the rest of my Disneyland adventure. But, I didn’t complain. I just went and enjoyed myself.
The following Monday, I called my orthopedic doctor’s office to get an appointment. And…the earliest one they had was 3 weeks out. February 1. I took it. And for three weeks, I went to spin class (spinning doesn’t anger the hip) and worked on a few machines unless they bothered me. But I had to stop going to Body Pump. Too many squats and lunges and the last thing I wanted to do was do something to further damage/injure myself.
February 1 rolled around…and into the doctor’s office I went. I knew X-Rays were happening, but I wasn’t sure if there was going to be more after that. I was prepared to hear the word, “MRI” from my doctor, but after examining the X-Rays and noting that there were no fractures, and the ball/socket and hip labrum looked good in that hip…(to which here was much rejoicing)…
Seriously…when he said the labrum looked good, I started crying out of relief. That was what I had it built up in my head to be. And, while I understand that X-Rays are not perfect…and it could be this and just not showing up…I needed to hear those words. I was diagnosed with a hip flexor strain and given a prescription anti-inflammatory and told to go to physical therapy…again. I was sent back to the place I went to for my other hip, but my therapist had left to go back to school. So, I was put with the guy who took her spot, and he is also a running coach…so that’s awesome yes? At least he’ll understand that runner mentality. That started on Friday.
Of course…for starters…it was all about initial assessment. He asked me about the problem I was having…and had me run through a bunch of different drills just to assess where I was having difficulty. This is always interesting. I swear…I confuse the hell out of every single one of my therapists. I do nothing normal. He initially thought it was a stress fracture, but immediately ruled that out. After a lot of moving me around, bending me, and twisting me…and a lot of confused looks…and even having to go and consult the Human Anatomy Atlas…(NO JOKE!)…I was pretty much feeling like…
But after a little reading and looking over hip issues and why when he turned my leg outward I was in pain…he narrowed it down to the hip flexor being an issue, but it was being caused by my tensor fasciae latae (TFL). It’s a helper muscle. It activates hip flexors and glutes and all that stuff…but mine, it seems, doesn’t want to help. I guess it’s on strike. Who knows. Either way…it makes me walk with a limp and not be able to do anything high impact. Sometimes…walking up stairs hurts…so…there is that. I have a stretch I now get to do for 6 minutes a day. Next week…we’ll add some strengthening exercises and eventually…he’ll get me on the Alter-G treadmill (which I have used before)…progressing from all runs on that to some outside and some on the Alter-G…to easing back into just being outside.
Needless to say…I’m optimistic…but a bit…concerned. I can’t do anything normally and the last time I puzzled my physical therapist, I was being treated for the wrong thing. So…yeah…part of me is ready to get this show on the road, and the other part is just…not loving this at all. I don’t have time to muck around and test this and that. I simply just do not want to go through that again.
That being said, I’m making the most of all this and doing my best to stay positive. Which means, I have a meltdown at least 3 times a week. Mostly on Friday night and on Saturday. As a #KDFMarathon Ambassador, I have been turning up to the training runs and just walking for a little while. I don’t do the mileage…I just walk until I feel like I’ve done enough. This past week I was on my own…and my mind was left to focus on the hip and I cried a few times. My fellow ambassadors have been so uplifting though and have kept me laughing. In fact, my biggest joy this past Saturday happened during the initial warmup before we all took off to run/walk. Dynamic stretches that included jumping jacks were going on. As I am not allowed to jump, I simply waved my hands up and down.
Paul, one of the ambassadors, said, “For all of you beginners out there, follow Karen for a lower-impact version of these exercises.” I laughed so hard at that. The hugs, the blankets, the words of encouragement, when they check on me…I am so lucky to be a part of this group…even if they are all doing jumping jacks and I’m simply flapping my arms like a flightless bird.
So…yeah…this sucks. It does. And I’m mad. And disappointed. And afraid of making other people mad and disappointed. There are times that I don’t feel like I’m worth of wearing that KDF Marathon Ambassador shirt…but then…I have people around me who remind me…that I really am one of them. And my struggle…is their struggle too.
…if you see me on the street…walking by myself…talking to myself…maybe even trying not to cry…have pity…(sort of quoting Hamilton there, HA!)…I’m just working through all this stuff again.
Hugs are always welcome. Keep me smiling friends…I’m going through this all over again…
♪♫…But no, I’m not leaving, even though I’m bleeding Even though this nightmare makes me wish I was dreaming Even though I hate it, I’m gonna take it Until I win ‘Cause I’m a comeback, I’m a comeback kid Don’t know why bad things happened, but they did I don’t think I deserve the hurt I get, but I’m made for it It’s not the end, no, it’s not the end I’m a comeback kid Down for a minute, I’ll get up again Looks like I’m breaking, but it’s just a bend; it’s not over yet ‘Cause in the end I’m a comeback, I’m a comeback kid…♫♪